Andrew Marzoni

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.

"Artists are nourished by each other more than by fame or by the public, I’ve always thought. To give one’s work to the world is an experience of peculiar emptiness. The work goes away from the artist into a void, like a message stuck into a bottle and flung into the sea. Criticism is crushing and humiliating. Pollock was hailed as a genius by the time he died, but could he have forgotten the widely repeated witticism that his paintings could have been done by a chimpanzee? As for praise, somehow it falls short, empty superlatives. The true artist knows the pitfalls of vanity. Dangerous to let go of one’s anxiety. But did you understand? must always be the question. To like and admire is not enough: did you understand? And will you understand the next thing I do—the wet canvas in my studio, the page I left in my typewriter? Unreasonably, the artist would like to know this, too. Praise has to do with the past, the finished thing; the unfinished is the artist’s preoccupation.”

—Joyce Johnson, Minor Characters (1983)

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.
They all went to the movies on Forty-second Street that night and saw I Vitteloni, a film about a gang of rootless young men in Rome. Lafcadio, according to Leo, thought it was about New York.
— Joyce Johnson, Minor Characters (1983)

Found Self-Portrait

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.

[Andrew] loves words. When not talking, which is seldom, he is usually wearing a broad, boyish grin or laughing lustily, for he appears to see the world as a huge joke. Almost as perpetual as the grin is a pair of dark glasses which are his virtual trademark.

One quickly concludes that often his words are designed to create effect, or to entertain, or to amuse rather than to communicate facts. His flights of fancy are enlivened with a flowery extravagance of language.

The spontaneous outpouring of [Andrew’s] colorful language is sometimes remarkable. One is often awed by an apparently limitless flow of baffling originations. Most discerning listeners have little trouble in recognizing his soaring adventures in imagination for precisely that. It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that his narratives are totally or perpetually illusory. They are not. None who has truly known him would accuse him of stupidity.

If many people do not take [Andrew] quite seriously, it is also true that practically none would wish him harm. If he often has little regard for fact, it is equally clear that he has little expectation that his prevarications will be relied upon by others to their detriment. It is doubtful that he has ever intentionally caused harm to anyone. Cruelty and malice are alien to his nature.

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.
I felt ill and I think Pavlov realized; he put his massive arms around me and started singing a drinking song in my ear, something about death and love, the only two things in life that are real.
— Roberto Bolaño, “Snow” (1997)

Sex and Politics in Sunnyside Gardens: Jonathan Lethem Gets ‘Real’

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.

I wrote this. Here is my favorite sentence:

In arguing that the political is also personal, Mr. Lethem seems to suggest that even if we are not, in 2013, boycotting German-made liverwurst or marching the Pentagon, we are at the very least receiving handjobs from blonde-dreadlocked neo-hippies in rental cars, as Sergius does in the novel’s final chapter.

The Orange Bears

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.

The orange bears with soft friendly eyes

Who played with me when I was ten,

Christ, before I left home they’d had

Their paws smashed in the rolls, their backs

Seared by hog slag, their soft trusting

Bellies kicked in, their tongues ripped

Out, and I went down through the woods

To the smelly crick with Whitman

In the Haldeman-Julius edition,

And I just sat there worrying my thumbnail

Into the cover—What did he know about

Orange bears with their coats all stunk up with soft coal

And the National Guard coming over

From Wheeling to stand in front of the millgates

With drawn bayonets jeering at the strikers?

I remember you could put daisies

On the windowsill at night and in

The morning they’d be so covered with soot

You couldn’t tell what they were anymore.

A hell of a fat chance my orange bears had!

—Kenneth Pachen (1949)

Untitled Love Story

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.

To Joe Gillis and Betty Schaefer

I can hear my landlord loudly walking around

Maybe she is a ghost

I could hear that too

I was wondering what it was


I think she’s going up and down her stairs


If it were ghosts only you could hear

Not in The Others

Daffy Duck in Hollywood

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.

Something strange is creeping across me.
La Celestina has only to warble the first few bars
Of “I Thought about You” or something mellow from
Amadigi di Gaula for everything—a mint-condition can
Of Rumford’s Baking Powder, a celluloid earring, Speedy
Gonzales, the latest from Helen Topping Miller’s fertile
Escritoire, a sheaf of suggestive pix on greige, deckle-edged
Stock—to come clattering through the rainbow trellis
Where Pistachio Avenue rams the 2300 block of Highland
Fling Terrace. He promised he’d get me out of this one,
That mean old cartoonist, but just look what he’s 
Done to me now! I scarce dare approach me mug’s attenuated
Reflection in yon hubcap, so jaundiced, so déconfit
Are its lineaments—fun, no doubt, for some quack phrenologist’s
Fern-clogged waiting room, but hardly what you’d call
Companionable. But everything is getting choked to the point of
Silence. Just now a magnetic storm hung in the swatch of sky
Over the Fudds’ garage, reducing it—drastically—
To the aura of a plumbago-blue log cabin on
A Gadsden Purchase commemorative cover. Suddenly all is
Loathing. I don’t want to go back inside any more. You meet
Enough vague people on this emerald traffic-island—no,
Not people, comings and goings, more: mutterings, splatterings,
The bizarrely but effectively equipped infantries of 
Vegetal jacqueries, plumed, pointed at the little
White cardboard castle over the mill run. “Up
The lazy river, how happy we could be?”
How will it end? That geranium glow
Over Anaheim’s had the riot act read to it by the
Etna-size firecracker that exploded last minute into
A carte du Tendre in whose lower right-hand corner
(Hard by the jock-itch sand-trap that skirts
The asparagus patch of algolagnic nuits blanches) Amadis
Is cozening the Princesse de Cleves into a midnight 
micturition spree
On the Tamigi with the Wallets (Walt, Blossom, and little
Sleezix) on a lamé barge “borrowed” from Ollie
Of the Movies’ dread mistress of the robes. Wait!
I have an announcement! This wide, tepidly meandering, 
Civilized Lethe (one can barely make out the maypoles
And châlets de nécessitê on its sedgy shore) 
leads to Tophet, that
Landfill-haunted, not-so-residential resort from which
Some travellers return! This whole moment is the groin
Of a borborygmic giant who even now
Is rolling over on us in his sleep. Farewell bocages,
Tanneries, water-meadows. The allegory comes unsnarled
Too soon; a shower of pecky acajou harpoons is 
About all there is to be noted between tornadoes. I have
Only my intermittent life in your thoughts to live
Which is like thinking in another language. Everything
Depends on whether somebody reminds you of me.
That this is a fabulation, and that those “other times”
Are in fact the silences of the soul, picked out in 
Diamonds on stygian velvet, matters less than it should.
Prodigies of timing may be arranged to convince them
We live in one dimension, they in ours. While I
Abroad through all the coasts of dark destruction seek
Deliverance for us all, think in that language: its 
Grammar, though tortured, offers pavillions
At each new parting of the ways. Pastel
Ambulances scoop up the quick and hie them to hospitals.
"It’s all bits and pieces, spangles, patches, really; nothing
Stands alone. What happened to creative evolution?”
Sighed Aglavaine. Then to her Sélysette: “If his
Achievement is only to end up less boring than the others, 
What’s keeping us here? Why not leave at once?
I have to stay here while they sit in there,
Laugh, drink, have fine time. In my day
One lay under the tough green leaves,
Pretending not to notice how they bled into
The sky’s aqua, the wafted-away no-color of regions supposed
Not to concern us. And so we too
Came where the others came: nights of physical endurance,
Or if, by day, our behavior was anarchically
Correct, at least by New Brutalism standards, all then
Grew taciturn by previous agreement. We were spirited 
Away en bateau, under cover of fudge dark.
It’s not the incomplete importunes, but the spookiness
Of the finished product. True, to ask less were folly, yet
If he is the result of himself, how much the better 
For him we ought to be! And how little, finally, 
We take this into account! Is the puckered garance satin
Of a case that once held a brace of dueling pistols our 
Only acknowledging of that color? I like not this,
Methinks, yet this disappointing sequel to ourselves
Has been applauded in London and St. Petersburg. Somewhere
Ravens pray for us.” The storm finished brewing. And thus
She questioned all who came in at the great gate, but none
She found who ever heard of Amadis,
Nor of stern Aureng-Zebe, his first love. Some
They were to whom this mattered not a jot: since all
By definition is completeness (so
In utter darkness they reasoned), why not
Accept it as it pleases to reveal itself? As when
Low skyscrapers from lower-hanging clouds reveal
A turret there, an art-deco escarpment here, and last perhaps
The pattern that may carry the sense, but
Stays hidden in the mysteries of pagination. 
Not what we see but how we see it matters; all’s
Alike, the same, and we greet him who announces
The change as we would greet the change itself. 
All life is but a figment; conversely, the tiny
Tome that slips from your hand is not perhaps the 
Missing link in this invisible picnic whose leverage
Shrouds our sense of it. Therefore bivouac we 
On this great, blond highway, unimpeded by
Veiled scruples, worn conundrums. Morning is
Impermanent. Grab sex things, swing up
Over the horizon like a boy
On a fishing expedition. No one really knows
Or cares whether this is the whole of which parts
Were vouchsafed—once—but to be ambling on’s
The tradition more than the safekeeping of it. This mulch for
Play keeps them interested and busy while the big,
Vaguer stuff can decide what it wants—what maps, what
Model cities, how much waste space. Life, our
Life anyway, is between. We don’t mind 
Or notice any more that the sky is green, a parrot
One, but have our earnest where it chances on us, 
Disingenuous, intrigued, inviting more,
Always invoking the echo, a summer’s day.


—John Ashbery (1977)

Your Catfish Friend

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.

If I were to live

in catfish forms

in scaffolds of skin and whiskers

at the bottom of a pond

and you were to come by one evening

when the moon was shining

down into my dark home

and stand there at the edge of my affection

and think, “It’s beautiful

here by the pond. I wish somebody loved me,”

I’d love you and be your catfish

friend and drive such lonely

thoughts from your mind

and suddenly you would be at peace,

and ask yourself, “I wonder

if there are any catfish

in this pond? It seems like

a perfect place for them.”

—Richard Brautigan (1968)

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.

My dear Théophile, hashish will be taken at my house, Monday, September 3rd, under the auspices of Moreau and Aubert-Roche. Do you want to participate? If so, arrive between 5 and 6 at the latest. You will have your share of a light dinner and await the hallucination. You may bring with you whatever bourgeois that you wish to inject; since strangers are already being brought to my home, one more will make no difference. I ask only to be forewarned so that food can be ordered accordingly. It will cost 3-5 francs per head. Please reply yes or no—if you are afraid of impure contacts, I think I can suggest a method of isolation, the hotel Pimodan makes it possible.

Always yours, F. Boissard

— Fernard Boissard, host of the Club des Hashishins, to Théophile Gautier (1845)

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.
I thought I could write. And then I smoked a big joint and I really thought I could write.
— Iggy Pop, on “stepping out from behind the drums.”

Paul Bonnetain - Wikipédia

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.

«À dix-huit ans, Paul Bonnetain s’engage dans l’Infanterie de Marine. Il découvre la vie de caserne à Toulon avant de partir pour la Guyane en 1879. De ces expériences militaires et exotiques vont naître ses premières nouvelles rassemblées dans le recueil Le Tour du monde d’un troupier, publié à Paris en 1882. À cette date, Paul Bonnetain est un chroniqueur qui cherche à se faire une place dans la presse parisienne depuis un an. La renommée ne sera par longue à venir. Son premier roman Charlot s’amuse, publié en 1883, obtient dès sa parution un succès de scandale du fait de son thème: la masturbation. Bonnetain n’en poursuit pas moins sa carrière dans les Lettres, se faisant de nombreux ennemis parmi ses confrères.»

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.
…to run a muck in the original sense of the word, is to get intoxicated with opium, and then rush into the street with a drawn weapon, and kill whoever comes in the way, till the party is himself either killed or taken prisoner.
— James Cook, The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook round the World (1821)