As for the decapitated son in the Heike -- forever now running, forever now without his head and running at the same time, headless and running or running into his father's sword -- save yourself father, he says, run away, but no says his father and off goes the head, poor perishing child who never knew, when he approached his father at the age of two or three, that this day was in his future, that this father who gave him a cake would one day take off the head that ate the cake -- I had to look him up too for he had faded like shadows. I remembered his M and none of the other letters. He was this:
That gap was occupied by I-don't-know-what, an impression or artificial fullness, reassurance, or enough padding to make the word behave like a name, non-intact but nameful, an echo mistaken for a speech. When I remembered him running away from Imai Kanehira a thought came into my head, "What's after the M?" This was a new feature for him, and not in the poem. It was a trait added by myself and no other person. What was his father's name; that was another mystery, and so there were all these mysteries around the mysteries in the story as it would have been if it had been recalled fully in every detail by myself which is how I pretend to remember it when I say, "The Heike is like the Iliad in such and such a way --" all the while feeling endless avenues of but opening here and there as I run down the corridor of this proclaimation, all opening behind me where I cannot see them, still, other people, seeing, saying, "Monsters coming out of that door," like spectators in the audience of a horror movie, pointing, "The Iliad you say?", galloping over that connective bridge even as they doubt it, monsters coming to get them too, coming, coming, coming; and each book teaches a new system of forgetting.
If I knew in advance what I was going to remember then I could have a book made -- I don't know how but it could be done if I had a prophetic telepath and a research assistant; I'd outsource -- with nothing in it except the parts of novels that I was destined to remember. I would read nothing except that book. Then I could start speaking about books or writing blog posts exactly as I'm doing now, based on everything I was supposed to recall. The outsourcee would know when I'd need a reference too, so they'd leave page numbers, eg, they'd write,
son can't escape, running, endangering father, they are being attacked, "Muneyasu was too fat to run even a hundred yards" (Heike, page 436, about three fourths of the way down the page, Seno-o, father won't go, waits with son, beheads him, invites death, slashes at enemy, eventually dies, see pg. 437, "They answered him with many blows | until at last they struck him down.")
I had to look up the page numbers to write that too. It was blahnumber filling the gap this time instead of blahname. If a book disappeared as I was reading it, piece by piece, each page dissolving after I had left it for the next one, and I couldn't go back, I think it would be as if I had eaten it, gone like that.