Smart Girl

April 3, 2017

Wishes

April 3, 2017

Now I wish I were asleep, to see my dreams taking place
I wish I were more awake
I wish a sweet rush of tears to my eyes
Wish a nose like an eagle
I wish blue sky in the afternoon
Bigger windows, & a panorama – light, buildings & people in street air
Wish my teeth were white and sparkled
Wish my legs were not where they are – where they are
I wish the days warmly cool & clothes I like to be inside of
Wish I were walking around in Chelsea (NY) & it was 5:15 a.m., the
sun coming up, alone, you asleep at home
I wish red rage came easier
I wish death, but not just now
I wish I were driving alone across America in a gold Cadillac
toward California, & my best friend
I wish I were in love, & you here.

Ted Berrigan

Finished

April 3, 2017

Bare interior.

Grey Light.

Left and right back, high up, two small windows, curtains drawn.

Front right, a door. Hanging near door, its face to wall, a picture.

Front left, touching each other, covered with an old sheet, two ashbins.

Center, in an armchair on castors, covered with an old sheet, Hamm.

Motionless by the door, his eyes fixed on Hamm, Clov. Very red face.

Brief tableau.

Clov goes and stands under window left. Stiff, staggering walk. He looks up at window left. He turns and looks at window right. He goes and stands under window right. He looks up at window right. He turns and looks at window left. He goes out, comes back immediately with a small step-ladder, carries it over and sets it down under window left, gets up on it, draws back curtain. He gets down, takes six steps (for example) towards window right, goes back for ladder, carries it over and sets it down under window right, gets up on it, draws back curtain. He gets down, takes three steps towards window left, goes back for ladder, carries it over and sets it down under window left, gets up on it, looks out of window. Brief laugh. He gets down, takes one step towards window right, goes back for ladder, carries it over and sets it down under window right, gets up on it, looks out of window. Brief laugh. He gets down, goes with ladder towards ashbins, halts, turns, carries back ladder and sets it down under window right, goes to ashbins, removes sheet covering them, folds it over his arm. He raises one lid, stoops and looks into bin. Brief laugh. He closes lid. Same with other bin. He goes to Hamm, removes sheet covering him, folds it over his arm. In a dressing-gown, a stiff toque on his head, a large blood-stained handkerchief over his face, a whistle hanging from his neck, a rug over his knees, thick socks on his feet, Hamm seems to be asleep. Clov looks him over. Brief laugh. He goes to door, halts, turns towards auditorium.

CLOV (fixed gaze, tonelessly):
Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished.
(Pause.)
Grain upon grain, one by one, and one day, suddenly, there’s a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap.
(Pause.)
I can’t be punished any more.
(Pause.)
I’ll go now to my kitchen, ten feet by ten feet by ten feet, and wait for him to whistle me.
(Pause.)
Nice dimensions, nice proportions, I’ll lean on the table, and look at the wall, and wait for him to whistle me.

(He remains a moment motionless, then goes out. He comes back immediately, goes to window right, takes up the ladder and carries it out. Pause. Hamm stirs. He yawns under the handkerchief. He removes the handkerchief from his face. Very red face. Glasses with black lenses.)

HAMM:
Me –
(he yawns)
– to play.
(He takes off his glasses, wipes his eyes, his face, the glasses, puts them on again, folds the handkerchief and puts it back neatly in the breast pocket of his dressing gown. He clears his throat, joins the tips of his fingers.)
Can there be misery –
(he yawns)
– loftier than mine? No doubt. Formerly. But now?
(Pause.)
My father?
(Pause.)
My mother?
(Pause.)
My… dog?
(Pause.)
Oh I am willing to believe they suffer as much as such creatures can suffer. But does that mean their sufferings equal mine? No doubt.
(Pause.)
No, all is a –
(he yawns)
– bsolute,
(proudly)
the bigger a man is the fuller he is.
(Pause. Gloomily.)
And the emptier.
(He sniffs.)
Clov!
(Pause.)
No, alone.
(Pause.)
What dreams! Those forests!
(Pause.)
Enough, it’s time it ended, in the shelter, too.
(Pause.)
And yet I hesitate, I hesitate to… to end. Yes, there it is, it’s time it ended and yet I hesitate to –
(He yawns.)
– to end.
(Yawns.)
God, I’m tired, I’d be better off in bed.
(He whistles. Enter Clov immediately. He halts beside the chair.)
You pollute the air!
(Pause.)
Get me ready, I’m going to bed.

Endgame
Samuel Beckett

ours are visions

April 3, 2017

Diary 3rd April

I met an old friend at the railway station a couple of years ago. I hadn’t seen him for a long time, and was shocked by how much he’d aged. I suppose I’d retained this mental image of him at age eighteen (of us both, in fact)? We’d been at school together. Close friends. But now, abruptly, we were two very different people.

Sometime after this, I encountered his older sister Christine in the street. It was on one of my then frequent visits to London. She’d metamorphosed from a slinky beauty to a dumpy duplicate of her mother. She looked so very careworn. I couldn’t help wondering what she saw when she looked at me?

Our faces contain as much of farce as of tragedy, or so it seems.

Christine, once vivacious and charming, had become sluggish and contemplative – nothing like the girl who’d allowed my hand beneath her pleated skirt and into her knickers.

Ah, all these breathless faces from the past belong in some old picture book, not here. We’re all racing towards the discourtesy of death, and should know better than to recall vulnerable girlish sighs from half a lifetime ago.

#

We are the golden men, who shall the people save:
For only ours are visions, perfect and divine.
For we alone are drunken of the last, best wine;
And very Truth our souls hath flooded, wave on wave.

(Lionel Johnson, Munster: AD 1534)

Does anyone read Johnson nowadays? I s’pose there’s one or two: the odd, geriatric Fenian, perhaps?

Ezra Pound described him as “a traditionalist of traditionalists”. Oxford scholar, Catholic, member of the Irish Literary Society, and the Rhymers’ Club, Johnson enjoyed a drink – but then who doesn’t? He was interestingly eccentric.

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For Plato knowledge was the soul recollecting its previous incarnations. Plato and Jung have much in common, especially archetypes and the collective unconscious.