Thursday, May 23, 2013

bluestone alley

The leap between the Broken Shore woman and my own situation (a long-faced Witness with the uncanny curved brown teeth of a camel lifting up his meeting-pamphlet) is a footnote I have extracted on my own, not one that the author wrote, not the kind of reference that Joyce ever invites you to make in Finnegans Wake (in fact acts against it by breaking up the continuation of an apparent reality in his literature), but it is the reference that Temple promotes, even if he didn't consciously formulate any kind of aim like that, by setting his story in a specific place, in a realistic place, in a place that he describes with the language that a person walking down an existing street and looking at the scenery might bring into their active vocabulary -- he uses the word "Victoria" and telling you that the detective Cashin drove his car to a city -- he uses the name of a city that exists, "Melbourne," and locates the character in a car, which is an existing form of vehicular transportation, he is not asking you to swallow the words "flying horse" or "galloping giant rainbow" or "a teleportation device" -- which he could do, he's the author, it would be simple -- "Cashin joll to Vim-Blimgydor on a yimpy dingbat sherp" -- took me about ten seconds to type that, easy, too easy, but now I want to pick it apart -- "joll," does that sound right? -- I'm not happy with it -- what is this pickiness? or am I just addicted to distress? -- anyway -- and then he's using words that belong to existing particulars within that city, the Gallery with its water wall, and the sight of vaguely-sketched characters on the other side of the water wall setting their fingertips against the glass to have lines opening in the sheet of downward-running water, as meaty people do every day, insulting the queenhood of the liquid blanket that would command the complete surface of the glass if they left it alone; and he brings his detective to a bluestone alleyway in North Melbourne though the one I picture when I read those words is a bluestone alleyway in Richmond which is for some reason more attractive to memory, and though the mind has seen alleyways in North Melbourne it still rebelliously sticks with this one in Richmond, making a sort of excuse for itself, "I know it isn't North Melbourne but something like this," or maybe, "Not the right one but close enough," though what it is really uttering or formulating I do not know, and how would I strain through the mind itself to see or discern the mind, and not type "Not the right one but close enough" which is not an honest deduction but only a few words to fill the space that was going to be the end of that sentence until I decided to keep going?

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