Excerpt #2 from “Loimotopia!”: WE COULD DREAM AND DREAM BUT SUCH DREAMS AS THIS (AS SHAKESPEERE RESEMBLES IT)
title from Pepys’ diary, August 11-12, 1665
I’m tired of poets acting smart in a remote and heroic and disaffected way and purchasing furniture demonstratively. No one currently active in Manhattan has an interest in my death and the Starbucks on Wall Street extends underground and you can walk there from the Oxford publishing house offices. I know this empirically, I am showing you the empirical evidence of my walking back and forth among the bodies looking for a body in a Starbucks beneath the earth. “I am as well as can be” said Pepys to his book expressing a lack of interest in forgetting to eat when alone. He masturbated in French because the theaters shut down which I read in his book. These and similar tendencies of wildly negligent somatics. I’m going to retreat into the woods and join a cabal of anti-intellectual poets drinking water out of a damn crick and eating otter bones non-stop, writing simple lyrics about object oriented ontology and ritually administering concussions to each other until we all forget every single fact about Proust. Just like that part in Jean Luc Godard’s— but there I’m doing it again, neglecting the tasks of weaponized forgetting in front of us. In August 1665 I fled the city like every other skilled artisan the weather was hot. The weather was “hot as bells.” It was extremely hot. Lacking money for lodgings and my deportment too rude for the country gentry, I spent nights beneath the hedges dreaming and taking selfies of myself with the surgeon-barbers and apothecaries. Feeling beneath the arm-pits and over the chest for tokens having read the small book about the sin of retreat. A little ways away Dutch ships sank and everybody gave a shit so loud forever. Bells ran in a particular way to communicate affect. It was a feel-good Event in the capitalized sense. The poem was about buying stuff from Dean & Deluca. I’m like I don’t even know where that is. In happier times the aldermen went to town en masse to see the opera, drink good shit, get handjobs, try on wigs. Go home in a sweat and have a dream about Lady Castlereign. That felt good— so put it in the poem. I know. I went to college too but the opera days are shut up behind red doors. That’s why I’m out here in the woods with my head beneath the surface of the water held down by comrades driving pitchforks into the base of our collective neck. I explain to them patiently: the Greek root is plaga— it means blow. Yes, that’s Greek I’m speaking. Or the Latin pestis. It’s a dazzling display of erudition masquerading as a point about consumption of which 29 in July 1665 died in Cripplesgate Parish. 21 to fever. Spotted fever, commonly confused with plague, 25. Shadowing the “death curve” of plague two, three, or even a dozen minor epidemics performing a chunky increase. It was easy to aestheticize the work of the demographers. Hacked away at the hands and at the wrists. And the shoulders. Dies ex peste August 20 but recorded in the Register as dropsy. I was warned about that before— a jagged shape pastiching the round-shouldered labor of bodies. That’s the signature sin of my hometown.