A manifesto is a communication addressed to the whole world, in which there is no other pretension other than the discovery of a means of curing instantly political, astronomical, artistic, parliamentary agronomic and literary syphilis. It can be gentle, good-natured, it is always right, it is strong, vigorous and logical.
A propos logic, I consider myself very charming
-- Tristan TZARA
Love On A Rampage
All I want is to make something honestly beautiful before I die. I believe in short-term goals. Only at dawn and dusk is Tokyo revealed to be a seaside town. Only once or twice a year is anyone moving slowly enough to notice. Painters with easels and seagulls could appear at Shinjuku West Exit among the skyscrapers. It’s that light.
Your mother and your spouse want you to be good. Your government hopes you’ll behave. The world is remarkably uninterested – and this is worth more than everyone’s love put together.
I now love people I hardly liked previously. I wish all my enemies robust genitals. My love is the most American thing left about me. My love is as American as opening fire in a schoolyard. My beloveds are these strangers walking past in Shinjuku as dusk. More specifically, this gelled boy wearing sunglasses even though it is night and a V-neck sweater even though it is May.
I have a mania for including the excluded. Including those who’d rather be excluded. Pedophiles and Republicans, transgendered realtors and the winners of the bake-offs, everyone attempting to opt out of the world, with buds in their ears, tapping away on the screens of their phones. I am also vigorously and on principle rigorously opposed to anything designated “respectable”.
Respectability is defined as “the capacity for being entirely useless in an emergency”. The respectable save only themselves. And their money.
It is not possible to opt out of the world. Finally this will become apparent. Perhaps when apps fail to bring rain. It is not possible to opt out of the world. Even now that everyone is doing so, or believes that they are, hiding like a toddler behind their own hands, believing they have disappeared.
I am, by definition, an embarrassment. From a highly respectable family. Just the same, I insist: if everyone was embarrassed, then wouldn’t everyone be less embarrassed over all? And, better still, less ashamed?
My all-American love is on a rampage, here in Shinjuku at dusk
Often I fear I have made a mistake. I ought to have tried harder to succeed, to make something of myself. Then I discover that well-to-do white people are trying to decide whether or not to buy their six year old daughter an iPad. Then I am simply glad to have chosen forms of uselessness that I really enjoy and varieties of worthlessness that really appeal to me. I am grateful for my unprofitable life, grateful above all for my chosen areas of research, fellatio and literature, one, of course, exponentially more popular than the other.
The sun is up, the air is clear, the cancer has moved to the liver. First I cared, then I didn’t care, and now I don’t remember. I don’t have time to win or lose. I only have time for coffee.
Some poets tells better stories than proper story people can. This is a highly embarrassing scandal, which no one is ever even supposed to discuss.
Personally, Fernando Pessoa & Company is my favorite storyteller. Entirely straight-forward and at the same time all mixed up. As in: “I got off the train. . .” Or: “One day, outside of space and time, / I was served up love as a dish of cold tripe.”
The shame is more than proper story people can bear. To be bested by poets. It’s as if they found a dildo in their sweetheart’s sock drawer. A dildo to whom they could hardly compare. And when they confront her, she says, “It’s not just the size, frankly. I also feel myself comprehensively loved.”
Feeling inadequate? Please be reassured. Millions of incompetent Americans are doing a good job every day. In banks and hospitals, in kitchens and classrooms, in bed and air traffic control. Few things are so entirely overrated as knowing how.
All I want is to make something honestly. . . you understand I don’t really care. It’s more fun to gamble. And I am not above making requests. (What fun is it to be God if you can’t answer prayers?)
I intend to be happy. . . because I am a cuss. Actually, I didn’t intend to be happy. I figured I’d be miserable forever, but then I changed my mind. I’m going to be happy because conservative taxpayers are appalled that a promiscuous homosexual with a penchant for literature might be happy. I write my small stories because it is my calling. (Not everyone, it turns out, is called to usefulness.)
Moreover, I writing in honor of all those persons who would rather I shut up. Each of the 144 volumes of my Collected Works is dedicated to a respectable person positively aghast to have their good name associated with mine. Each of the respectable shall be embossed on the spine.
I try. I try to try. I try harder. I try to try the right way for once. I try to keep trying. Abruptly it becomes clear that actually what I must do is locate a particular and peculiar form of listening. A certain wavelength, which may or may not be indigo, which may or may not be ultraviolet.
I do not know how I came upon this. It was not because I was trying.