(extract from the novel of the same name)

 

1

When the forms disappear the roaring remains, lightly on the day’s red paving-stones,

imaginary you and I,

perhaps a mathematical image that we invented

from the first, with no exit.

You gush out into it, it offers the eye a place in which to be,

you enter its space, its freedom,

crazily liberated in its prison.

from your fingers starts

the openness of the twilight, from your veins, before you, which threw you at its face

gates, roofs, streets, currents,

whistles, soaked flags, poetic, forest-whipping

rains. His steps jostle steps, cut, his feet

trample the empty conception, (                ) you push your chin up against the screen,

masks, phenomena, surfaces converge on the focal point, become a shining disintegrating mirror,

the labyrinth that moves toward you

where the vortex of obscure,

style-driven stanzas is recorded in, superposed on, squeezed into the hope of revelation, until the crack of the bullet that laid someone low, and the event that might rupture every infinite confrontation and that I might go out to face in the last fight, the faceless or massive savage face that would be emancipation,

and the man follows the woman, bit by bit, his eye climbing up the opening between her legs and down and up, races toward the recumbent childhood of the poster on the wall (pause or breath),

the caress of your hand creates the ghostly body of the evening growing longer like a thread, and all the future evenings are suspended there. the place we are hurtling towards, a density of breath, I encounter its annulment on your mouth,

that which does not give itself and calls you to yourself,

breath and pause, burnt flesh and panting, a confusion of rhythm, a kiss, again a kiss from all sides, a drop of spent sperm and narration,

in your mouth vibrate the echoes of the old reservoirs, in the words seed and peel whisper, the remainders and the phantom of the old language.

pooper, pickled pepper, archives,

incombustible, inaccessible archives of the mother or embalmed remains, you carry me, perpendicular, like articulate mold,

you would think I was the vowel’s monophtongal enthusiasm,

episode by episode you go down through the layers of the soil, formless

night, in which the lower eye finds refuge

 

 2

quai, and that which carries us from quai to quai,

the front

enters, rushes into the space of racing posters, fliers and the grating light of a lamp diminishing contracting from horizons of wonder, and then again until a dream of headland and a promise of speech,

a lighthouse that would master the darkness between stations,

the irregular cells bud

the length of veins nerves joints, they hurt,

release their microbe armies and tribes,

my lungs are the metro’s geography, scattered, growing

incessantly, self-invading toward the breath’s peak …………. ………………………. every chamber is the whole city.

drippings of blood, and in-

cessantly the train of the malign and benign waters of tensions, thoughts, maleness down the capitals toward river and soil,

the premature or patient flow from the father

where you stop,

constellations of telephone lines, of chatter and insomniac fatigue whistle to one another, we hear each other from planet to planet,

from kiss to kiss, the length of the same wire

and

by turns the multitude goes to the urinal as well as the ballot box,

toward the automatic teller, wanders to the arches, tunnels,

cemeteries, the vision-of-death cellars, toward

headcolds of lyrical breath, toward an insalubrious breeze of exit,

every cunt is the whole armenian pack in your hand,

it swerved, turned upside down on the same disk, distributing from the same rills,

the same spindle, its sewers, skyscrapers, domes, and starwars mortars,

the aureola of the nuclear blast flies periodically around his head, we are the passion of recognition, and whatever loves us surrounds us, surveys us, races out ahead of us into the dark

3

labyrinth focusing in on the point,

I mean the point where I am going

and toward the crystalline brutishness,

who lives here?

toward the densi-

ty of weight,

as if it were a sky sunk into the ground

neither pro-

gression nor standstill

toward the intersection where I once went

to link, to join

the maze to the word………and the shades move by, are hurled

into the distance, are confounded, continue on into the pictures,

the statues, the surface of your skin, your imagination,

those who

died and all those who were about to be born and were born and became just something to hunt, persecute, strike, lay low, clean up carrion and blood, make disappear, and they dig the jostling of their bodies, from out of the legend,

Mher[1] the terror of the world or

the architect Dedalus

they floated in the sun, o how I love that skin of yours,

that belly, that —-.

we could head in any direction, back-

wards, forwards –

dewborne desire and power –

I was a shining and I say

labyrinth,

an ambivalent star that I shall unite with the crystal

4

if god was

he will be a maze, vein on vein, multidirectional

speaking confusedly

echoing the lightness of our words

with the darkness of thunder

and with untold original names

more utterly foreign than the lands of revelation

enthralling you with the dazed femininity of his profundity

with the proximity of the twilight

o his inexperienced body carving paths with blood

tearing you

from yourself

with the force of his fertile colors

sending you hither and thither

o easily entered Shiva o resonant Mary

harder to tear free of than all the fornication in the city

I rise from the bed

I go up

climb up her

back

from the most blessed face

of the luminous musical divinity

(o the o of your ass where my mouth is condensed)

 5

neutral cover or red, should he read it? (genealogy in a narrative mode):

he remembered he couldn’t say I. first person

or second story? we would go down the steps of the metro, we were sad, he would endlessly repeat going down the cavern, the inevitable umbilical cord in his hand, who was speaking there? who was living? not a one had a name. he comes to a halt near the table and there was his father a blacksmith a letter-maker always hungry a drinker wife-beater where had they come from? Kharpert?[2] Van?[3] Agra?[4] Eden? everywhere, where they used to live on all sides, a commonwealth of balls and squint-eyes, but what did you expect him to be, eat, drink, fuck thou me (read it, father, it’s a quote, it’s from the bible)

further back it was hazy, they didn’t have a family tree, an ararat like a pyramid sort of turned toward the country, I don’t know my grandfather at all maybe I never had one. an aborted child, emasculated, bollocks, it was at the end of a street, the depths of it looked dark, like that one, to the right and left, possibilities of a window, the darkness shone, he looked into the depths, like a blind man who looks at himself who feels the dark, thrusts his head into the mazes of wisdom. he reads In the beginning was the word… in the beginning ass be buggered… hee-hee.. omega… the world has two doors, back and front,

if there be a god what whoredom life is…

you stop in front of the window, the silhouette would be outlined, it must have been a light made all that possible and they could exist, but

if there’s no god not a single vulva, it’s his finger that makes every leaf quiver.

he turned his head, saw nothing, there was the tin-colored light, everything was in it, the darkness did not receive him. he was looking for his grandfather, he had to remember, a bastard, buggered, the child of sterile parents, in every skull is a statue of made of echoes, the mind that turns elsewhere is denatured, the noise vibrates, as well as its idea.

he was tired now, he opened the family album, oof… he turned the pages ut pictura poiesis

(women with turn-of-the-century jewelry, hair in dramatic positions, a man wearing a necktie, then an empty she-male generation, empty cousins, maternal uncles, their children, sisters- and brothers-in-law. word was one screwed the other, was born of the other, all of them incestuous, blood relatives, patriotic, the grandson’s grandchildren gazed like bronze statues, they gaze out at him from the windows, they were supposed to have died on the road of exile, they were go­ing to die you might say he was heir to their death agony and corpses, the frayed silence and after­births of this labyrinth falling from top to bottom, the one that from roof to roof, from the boards and poles of the tin, iron, plastic and wood shack, advances toward Café Masis, sea and cave)

he will

close the book, put it on the shelf, dust, beside the other volumes, all closed, all opened, side by side the same size, in it kleenex, gobs of flu spit, menstrual rags, letters, the pages of one open up to the seminal

flow of the other, he cuts up the pages of one glues them to the mouth of the other, Mashdots[5] dozes in Tir’s[6] temple, a babylon of sounds and tongues, this people will never become a man, so serious­ly has it taken god, backgammon, computers, the land. the shelves form a wall in his cough.

he puts a dusty hand on the wood, goes up one step at a time, you would think he was carrying the whole wall, the library, the glass towers, postmodern. army corridors, army stairs, tanks, revolutionary-counterrevolutionary reversals, transparent computer letters, between which walks the librarian, the general of the book depository, climbs to the tip of the pyramid, takes down a book, rubs his groin, starts to leaf through it, yes, swallows his slaver, a female odor, reads it closes it carefully puts it back in its place, Callimachus, Lycophron, Lucretius or Epicurus, dust and moth-eaten On Tyranny, On Monarchy, On Bribes, On Sects, On Myth, On the Iconoclast Controversy, On one-man rule, read: if there is no human freedom, you were born slaves, grow up as slaves, and in the atoms of nature raining down

suddenly a swerve, a rupture, a creative clinamen, like a swift bird, an artist spirit, a breath in a cavern of wind, an intestinal fart and look resistance square is filling up with signs, ecology, defending the family, fasts and programs, the deeper you inhale your smoke, brother, the more children you’ll produce, but what do you say about these gums that endlessly chew sperm, be fruitful and multiply, amen, amen I say to you, if you peter out, if you kick the bucket so what? the important thing, Dedalus, is to die as if you belonged to the bird family

he couldn’t say I, a sort of hole at the bottom of your mouth, a sort of invisible maze-like tube going up from your ass to your skull, there was that bald-headed male woman, always with biological precision a hermaphrodite, and inside it was fold upon fold, inside it was leaf upon leaf, you want to puke when you look out from that snaky tube, tongue, palate, throat, esophagus, stomach, universe, experiences of the inner world, in the word, nothing but pus aspiring toward the nobility of a form, Athena or David.

he raises his head, the dome, the cupola, and ranged around it the bones of the martyrs behind little gilded doors, holy virgin Mary, holy virgin, have mercy on our sick souls, books, when you shout, echo one another, Catulli Carmina, the Sparrow with which my mistress plays, fondling it in her bosom, Passer quicum ludere, reclining on the bed, Om, Om

insult, intellectual titillation’s no poetry, poetry’s a handful of rocks, a plowshare, a plow and sweat, you are a bronze flame, a bronze bull, a streetwalker and internet, Pluto, he comes walking from the dump, Persephone, he drew the trump from the pack, puts make-up on his lips, Icarus, Astghik[7] make a racket on the T.V. stations, they’re selling sleeping pills and morphine, in the beauty parlor Narcissus undid his belt (cheap at the price!), he looks in the mirror, his knee, his thigh, in the style of an eastern song, he opens the complexities of the Armenian question, slowly, mon cher, a kiss from above, a dollar from below, a dizzying fall of foreign currency, oh, mister, mister, he fainted, special Thai massage, a separate little room, free video, wherever you want, however… they talk in your stead, about your mouth, back, nationality, and cock, and the reception room thunders, the lamps quiver, they roar. applause, exhibition, lavatory.

you read distractedly you’d think a fire was going to burn up what you’re going to write, the other person yawns, collapses onto his chair, he closed his eyes, he looks at the door that has opened inwards, the scene can be repeated a thousand times, it’s a film, someone’s doing someone else in. the convicted man stands in the cell, there’s no light but it’s light, the reporter copies what he’s written from the top or bottom. his footsteps are recorded in his ear, he counts the steps of someone going from the paving stones toward the exit, a criminal or a policeman? the entrance to the metro, the world’s bellows, the water-spouts of Notre Dame in the form of devils, from where the express trains chase after one another, the ear-splitting airplanes zoom off. mechanical memory, like economic improvement, is at the end of the street, a shithouse you can’t miss.

there was a labyrinth in you, Lesbia, and you gave me, most holy, the pleasures of your hexameter.”

 6

you can

cling to its walls, feel the rough and

refractory noise.

surfaces, skins, hairs, whispers,

smothered voices arrive, you echo them,

forests came rushing in on you and the whole shaggy universe of their juices flowing from the roots the soil.

you are the shifting center of all the departing and arriving vibrations and flights,

reception room and refuge.

what is is the revelation spreading in circles, and fire,

reaching to the contrasting reflections in the panes, the hammer to the anvil, finger to the key, the attack of the shining lights, retreat, and, constantly, attack,

all the bodies

of the blue red dead heading toward an echoing,

toward the release of emancipation.

you cling to the winding movement, you love it as disappearance, and your face is a laceration in the split maze of infinite being and non-being,

the place of communication of the collision.

7

before his eye,

crumbling stairways, love niches, stairs

and a side passage

that leads to the house, goes into the house where the fire turns round and round the depth of the ear,

a lighthouse of watery noise,

and the shadows

move, barely tremble, like voices on the disintegrating

tape, the length of the quays statues, facades

looking for a story in which to breathe, vibrate, converse, work hammer to anvil,

they go out, they follow the moisture of your fingers

like a sky that appears at the end of a blind alley and like the pealing of a bell,

around it, surrendering to the voluptuousness of martyrdom, a vartabed Saint Sebastian

pierced by arrows, in the showy intimacy of distant knives,

the four

apostles go round by turns and tell the same story

of the sparkling flame that became a body,

the world is knavery, on the one hand, god, on the other, the state, while the seasons and biblical anecdotes

succeed one another, paths down which your body

glides, walls between which you’re squeezed, they crush you,

press you flat, you’re kneaded pizza dough, you’re

daddy’s baby boy with the cute little pricky.

in your palm is the flow of the lines of the verses

that exile the poem, that offered it up to the collision,

and the words

caress the nameless, faceless body, the corpse, the mask of copper and adulterated gold, and his breath traces, on the glass, the misty writing of the matinal sun, like an unidentifiable odor that circulates goes round and round loses itself in the eye, it is as if you could say, as if you managed to say, adulterate, discount, wring, vomit, banish, come out, say, always say over again, live outside, there we have it

the labyrinth made poetry

8

the course

(when we went down to the pit[8] my heart suddenly wanted forty women from forty centuries, but Akabi, she’s a fun-lover, she’s my bebek, my baby – you, it’s shameful, aren’t you ashamed, on this land? – our madame doesn’t understand, after fucking  a man has to screw mother armenia to be someone, and at that… afterwards, if you go to the wall, leave your dollars to the mafias over here, they’ll be a help, assistance, charity for the people,

go on, man, wherever you go bellow I’m an armenian, you’ll always find someone to listen, a sociologist, to use the authentic armenian word, a therapist with a rubber dick, a retired physicist, a diplomat playing house, a party member, facefucking, cruel men, which is to say, this generation’s dead, hasn’t been born yet, not at all, not at all, they’re tongue-tied, can’t so much as write a long poem, they’ll never produce an architect, they’ve got themselves a slut and are playing swine-herd, let ’em look, let ’em look their eyes out, there’s porn on the web and to spare, and those latinoamericans sure know how to dish it out from the screen, Black I am and beautiful, let me take you to wife, Hripsime,[9] daughter of Eve,

Markar, at least go out with this armenian girl for once, let’s see what you got in you, you’ve licked those two-bit poets’ asses long enough, I said, Akabi, it doesn’t make sense, jesus, leave sense out of it, it’s someone who’ll stretch out under you, vulgar, vulgar, I’ve had it, I wouldn’t trade my 180 square feet on abovyan[10] for the whole of washington… so my mouse ran away (you know what I mean, do I have to draw you a picture?), that’s how it is, you’re a man, and then you’re not a man, all played out,

here, at least, we should have had a kid and become a father, but that’s how life is, coming from the airport a typical western european city, roulette, poker, mercedes, plane-trees sacred to the arapongancestor grazing the sky,

when we went up there, I don’t know how to describe it, we were stupefied, you know, we were flabbergasted, hanging there with our mouths open, it’s a splendid view, a real show room, ararat[11] right out there in front of you, now it’s your turn, my boy, stretch out your hand and you can touch them, just like two winter pears, go ahead, touch them, kiss them, for god’s sake, later they’ll take them and sell them to some ardavazt.)[12]

9

It begins from my fingers, one fingernail at a time, the length of the circuits activated by the keyboard, permanent paths vibrating, entering one into the other, passing from one to the other, one in the next or side by side, leaping bridges connecting me to distant, unknown faces and lines and words, a gliding, tumbling, racing point endlessly shooting from horizon to horizon, screen to screen, seeking the ultimate form, rolling down an invisible curtain, apparatus and sperm, more of a mental weave than linen or velvet, joints, skins, wires, junctions, highways over which there rush commands, counter-commands, decisions, projects, tables, articles, an encyclopedia of sorrow, lamentation, our dead, our lands, wherever you go bellow… a volley of pleasure, of swooning burning fainting signs, in whose depths there floats, there butterflies a white sheet, transparent, worn bare, nearly non-existent, amid the square stolidity of its alphabet

POSTSCRIPTUM

Knossos. A Cyclopean monumentalization of rock, hewn and unhewn stones, walls and dust. Cicadas by the thousands whistle, weave, sing an ubiquitous radiance in counterpoint from all sides. Dedalus has long since left, only traces of footsteps between the olive trees remaining from the titanomachy.

The mind is enthralled by the labyrinth, drawn into its depths, to the place where it becomes purposeless meaningless wandering, as if the searching and probing abandoned him, as if he were looking for nothing, the way he’s enthralled by the screen, the curtain and folds opening onto the sanctuary’s cunt.

The thought of the labyrinth is labyrinthine. The labyrinth surrounds thought on all sides, like the darkness that is ceaselessly building behind me, when a lamp leads me into the tunnel, like the abyssal emptiness around the earth.

A problem of depth? But the labyrinth is the dispersion of surfaces, phenomena, mirrors and a thousand and one crystals, nights, bits and pieces, remainders, glitters, seeds. Everything is always new and unchanging, everything is always old and ambiguous. Always a step beyond, lacking.

It is the reprise that goes beyond the repetition. A sort of narrative chipping away at the myth. A technical side passage.

So many names for one event.

Sun and a hill of pines, where pre-historical times seem to arrive, savagery is exposed to view and becomes an inconceivable language, a bas-relief and ultimate myth. Theseus, Ariadne, Phideas, Manvel, Henrik – a vertebra gives way and you’re a humpback and go limping so as to find a style in the course of this labyrinth time.

In the light, in this greek ostensibly philosophical, apollonian light, stands, on the surface of a distant darkness, Minotaur, alien, in his very solitude, to that light. Art may kill him, it watches over the original crime, which I devised. I live on the febrile desire for confrontation.


[1] Little Mher, a hero of the Armenian popular epic David of Sasun. Like Ardavazt (see n. 12), he was confined to a cave.

[2] A city in the historical Armenian province of Tsopk’, today in Turkey, which had a large Armenian population until 1915.

[3] A city in historical Western Armenia, today in Turkey, inhabited by Armenians until 1915.

[4] The city in India where the Taj Mahal is located.

[5] The inventor of the Armenian alphabet, who died in 439. A thoroughfare in Yerevan is named after him.

[6] In Armenian mythology, the god of the interpretation of dreams and of the arts and trades.

[7] An Armenian goddess corresponding to Aphrodite.

[8] In Armenian, virab, which is also the proper name of a place located in the present-day Republic of Armenia (Khor Virab, deep pit). According to the fourth-century historian Agatangeghos, Khor Virab was the pit in which Gregory the Enlightener, who brought Christianity to Armenia, remained a prisoner for thirteen years, until Armenia adopted Christianity. A church has been constructed on the site.

[9] One of the first saints of the Armenian Church.

[10] A street in Yerevan named after the novelist Khachadur Abovyan (1809-1848),  author of the historical novel Wounds of Armenia (published in 1858).

[11] Mt. Ararat, a mountain in historical Armenia, today located within the boundaries of Turkey near the Armenian border.

[12] According to the fifth-century Armenian historian Moses of Khoren, a son of King Artashes who rose up against his father, was cursed, and was then chained up in a cave on Mt. Ararat.

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