Monday, 23 January 2012

D.S. Marriott's The Bloods, Part 1 (Shearsman, 2011)

Halfway in, I'm finding The Bloods a tremendous book, evoking and exploring questions about language, slavery, mortality, epistemology, and so on. Here are some samples from my reading thus far. (The spacing is at times incorrect, I'm sorry to say, on account of this platform.)

In a poem, silence sounds like a gunshot.
To the flame darkness is an offering....

from "Lorem Ipsum"

Beyond water
with its blue-black punctuation beneath
fraying charts of light.

* * *

And then, amid the pages,
syntax, weft, memes, no order or world. Suddenly the
illuminations burn, perish on the white page
with its pathos night after night.

* * *

Still later I think it makes sense that language should
lead back to death and silence
devote itself to the erased letters of the air,
a flight so inviolable it has little chance
of existing beyond the natural life of a poem.

from "Greeking"

Release the words from their trap,

but don't forget to nuance the meaning.
This is where true ownership begins.
A hand scratching worth from zero.

from "Hoerenjongetje"

...the sound of the wind
that is the sound of the mind falling....

* * *

Whatever it was, the dark
held him motionless, unheralded,
oblivious to the drugs and to the sex,
the false divinities,
the dead sleeping next to other men.

from "Acque Pericolore"

Now the truths proposed by truths feel like the prison of old age.

from "An Emblem Book"

...small chunks
of time instantly duplicate themselves
with brutal honesty....

* * *

oh to be a child again, dying without knowing it,
the dark so very quiet because ephemeral
and the void a stench almost too solid to touch--

from "Diglossia"

It is quiet as I stand watching the straw-red lips of a child, perilously perfect, surrounded by darkness. The world will choke me before this image fades. It rises sheer with a thrashing force. Time reels from the impact.

from "Fish--Apostrophe" to speak the undamaged word.

from "Pot Kettle Black"

The gulls return through coastal mist, a raucous blur. As they veer past he hears a kind of cadenced longing hovering on the edge of his inner ear.

* * *

The fear . . . that the nausea he felt would bear down with a verifying force . . . .

* * *

The rain had slowed and the houses with their crested roofs looked stripped and ravaged in the greying landscape.

* * *

There was something in the life of a slave he thought, something similar to what the world owed him, a world that had forced him to wallow in spectacle and evocation. As he looks out over the hills to the sea, he thought about the power of imitation, but he didn't know that behind him the slave too was concentrating on creating a new form. He'd been cautious, watchful, but all the while he'd been learning how to shape the junk and miscellaneous things scattered all about them into new forms. And so, little by little, his dreams started to encroach upon the waking world.

* * *

If the moon went out, there would always be this light that feels unceasing, flickering below the flight of gulls climbing on divergent paths, over blackened fields.

from "Whittling, A Likeness without Shade or Shadow"

If you enjoyed these passages, I hope you'll buy the book from Foyle's (UK) or Barnes & Noble (US).

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