A bar in Mirage Q. And later, a bed in Mirage R. A dream in Mirage !. Waking, slowly, in Mirage B.

The formation of bubbles blown from a plastic dipper. Elongated, iridescent aubergines, tubers of soap and breath. A kind of tent of vacillation pitched in air. That eliciting of volume from a plane, kinda mysterious. Up out of nothing, so one is a sheik of a toy desert.

My work will never be understood, or certainly not in time for me to get my Nobel. No tenure, no Faber, no dinner-table talk. No book club. There won’t even be attention enough to huddle my bones in a brief obituary. My subject is the provisionality of subjects—the vulnerability of each subject to another (in fact, every other) subject. It’s probably the kind of writing that can only exist in a wealthy, “advanced” society: it’s an orchid beauty, cultured from a hothouse enclave, impossible in the streets. Decadent, I would say, to a certain extent. That’s not my fault, exactly. But it’s not what could be wanted. It just happens to be true, and — in a modest, shrug-the-shoulders, yeah-but-we-sort-of-knew-that, right-before-your-eyes, ubiquitous fashion — profound. But people want a practical truth, something they can use, something personally relevant — which is perfectly understandable, and warm, and human, and my work is cold and, in a way, elegantly brutal.

Unshaven when I wake in Mirage B. In a creased tuxedo, smelling of last night’s perfume, a detail from a 40s’ pulp novel. The vertigo of nostalgia for love already past.

Adjacency, the situation of adjoining or preceding or succeeding or remote subjects. So, it could be the death of the crowned head, and then the train wreck, and then the price of wheat or gold, or bread, or the desperate hustle of a game-show host, like Gustav in my story.

It could be anything, it can’t be nothing, and that’s it.

There’s nothing more to say, really — and that’s how we move on, finding new ways of saying that there’s nothing more to say, or saying the “nothing more to say”, either consciously or unconsciously (mostly the latter).

They’ve been doing a lot of work on Mirage Q. Refurbishment. Securing the fabric. It has nice lighting, now, very subdued. The furnishings are muted, subtle. There will be so many stories.

It’s right that it comes to this — to the personal, the individual, the self-absorbed. More orchid specialisation. I suppose a protestant impulse to claim ownership of meaning, as against the catholic retreat or storing of meaning in the hands of an elite. The platonic refrigerator of meaning, where ideal signs preserve their eternal values in an unadulterated space, a dimension of discretion. Stasis and freezing. The church guards the relics. The protestant impulse reserves for the individual the struggle with meaning. The individual is prioritised. Meaning is privatised. Or that’s the illusion. This is what they declare in Mirage !. Of course, across the sands, in Mirage Q, they dispute all such notions.

To stick with Mirage B… Their sentence is highly sensitive, very delicate, deeply cultured — and it’s the culture that gives the sentence its base, sets it four-square, permitting the intimate and gentle excursions to the bedroom, the foyer, the theatre, the hospital, the crematorium. Their sentence is the result of an absorbed imperialism, is the last in a series of exploded superiorities, the most advanced in a sequence of dismantled privileges. Perhaps over in Mirage !, they would describe this sentence as “bourgeois” or “reactionary” — they’re such firebrands! And I admire them, too, for their zealous appeal to the literal. I understand their pronounced, almost superstitious fear of irony. They are only interested in the little bit of grit at the centre, not the layers that go into making the pearl. They disregard the pearl entirely, or simply label it as an illusion or a pastime, or a gambit, or a stratagem. Their sentence could easily be parodied as a kind of Lutheran gruel, a dull, joyless dogma, lacking the rich corruption of their catholic forebears. And it should be borne in mind, they are pretty young over in Mirage ! — they haven’t, like those of us drawn to Mirage B, seen their values stewed over centuries of refinement, fatigue, assumption, habit, until those values have mutated into fantastic forms of sloth, ornament, tosh and bombast, with shapes derived less from Euclid or the long, patient study of political economy, but rather from the flamboyant, neon topography of forests of coral, the rustle of deer through a moist autumn glade in the highlands of Mirage A.

 


from the sequence, sentence (2012–present, unfinished)

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