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Finnegans Wake

It’s like the ticking of a Grandfather clock, these words that make sounds but have no meaning otherwise, except to establish the meter and rhyme of thought: Tick tock…Tick tock… They breathe with glimmers of cognition. All the while the book in your hands is like a vulva and your eyes keep peeling across the lines and you touch it and hold it with endearment and curiosity; for this is the meaning of life, beheld in partial mystery and ever-certain ignorance as the light falls and you can’t recall the liver in your pants nor the ejaculate of solemnity’s voice, now forgotten amid idleness.

 

And then somewhere in the 300s, the voice starts coming through — you picture an Irish Denisov, as you’ve formed some genetic understanding for the sentence structure. You appreciate still the meter and how the words begin to flow as rose petals are soft, like War and Peace. By page 477, you’ve come to realize, with McHugh’s annotations, that so much has gone by and you don’t have the meaning of it. It was hard reading both, as if the one weren’t enough, so you fixate on the daydreams that come as transitions between textual understanding. You solve your problems and weep at the memory of Ena, who thought she was pregnant. She saw Ghost with you — the middleman — sitting in your car in front of Columbia Inn nearly wanting her and she nearly leaning over wanting to be held. You remained cold but ever so longing. Somehow the moment passed and her boyfriend came back from New York in a couple of days. You knew it would have been wrong. Luckily, one of those moments did pass and you kept your problems to yourself. It turned out she wasn’t pregnant anyway and she knew it was wrong, in such a state of an emotional dilemma. It was better you than someone else. Maybe someone will do that for you.

 

By page 541, you’ve come to realize the Denisov image evaporates and there is a husky Irish man in a pub rattling off phrases as they sound and might be spelled in the English language. It’s like listening to someone for a long time and you understand as they articulate what before was foreign.

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3 comments

  1. I am glad you said that Ms. Brown. Yes, I do approach the most difficult texts simply because I garner the most satisfaction from them. I am currently working on a poem that I am deriving from the words of Immanuel Kant’s Basic Writings. I am at the point where I am deciding what I can let go of his ideas to maintain a train of thought that has some melody/meter. At present the poem is about 6000 words.

    Kant is a great writer as well as a great thinker. America’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution seem to have borrowed from him.


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