This is the stuff of nightmares (1)

Leafing through my notebooks from three or four years back, I feel a certain vertigo in recognising in their pages the self I once was, and which however hard I may try, I cannot reconcile with the self I conceive myself to be today. All history is lost to us; our personal histories in a grander, more tragic scale. Sometimes it feels as if I am reading somebody else’s thoughts, although of course my memory would not allow me to believe that fully. Then I begin to realise just how cramped the pages are. Whereas now I could not even write a single word without cringing internally or without doubting whether what I am to write even deserves to be written, then it is as if each word is a testament to some urgency, to their very own insistence to be read or heard. This urgency would at times result to incoherence (sometimes even to pure trash) but there is a certain charm to the unrehearsed, a certain quality in our failed efforts that endears them to us, which allows them sometimes to surpass the mannered exercises we have strived later in our lives to master.
This passage is from 2014. It is undated, though there is, a few pages before it, an entry on 6 November, and again some pages after it, one from the 10th of the same month. The ramblings and the non sequiturs will I hope be forgiven: this is after all a transcript of a dream (though whose dream I cannot say). There are eight voices, the change in speaker denoted by a dash (a habit I have copied from Joyce), the only character a friar named John, the scene Cornwall, the time and all the other details unknown and unimportant. I posted it here so that I can finally disavow it.

Meditations on the skull of a monk

—Speak for yourself: do. When Pruscius the Welsh terrier (is it I saw him with the cubs, Cornish, Kelleogh, fr’over the Bay o’ Fundy), when Pruscius th’infernal cur, castrated was by Frère John of Tilbury, there were cries in the street (O there was cryings) nor for Pruscius nor for the dogges. There was an earthquake.
—Frère John was born in Troru, one score seven years ago to a butcher father and the mother a bitch, though when the bitch died they moved to Lostwithiel (16 he was, cheeky) where his father remarried another and Frère John joined the brothers.
—Born of infidelity and sustained injury, a man grown radical because of the wounds inflicted him by society. The final calls of a desperate man, drowning, who dies not of drowning but of hypothermia. The dog is inherently a metaphor.
—Hopefully it is all a montage.
—Carefully please: the air of the fisherman’s village would betray you. Hold the leg, gangrenous; the air of the village caused the infections. You are alive but your flesh is rotting. Rotting flesh: a fisherman’s village. In the river there are rocks, cataracts upon the rapids. Those were near the mountains where the river is alive. Nearer the sea, feminine estuaries the fishermen worshipped, is a dead river, its movements laboriously reluctant. No driftwood, no rocks: only fish and green water.
—He is a divided man, his alliance torn between England his motherland and Cornwall his fatherland; a dreamer, an extremist mystic. He told me once it’s earthquakes causes the tides.
—Benedicamus te, glorificamus te.
—Purveyor, Pruscius, purveyor. In the beginning of beginnings, one begins: laugh: I make my own mead. ‘Til Tilbury asks Pruscius purveyor, esoteric moan, appear before the council: testify to the morts des justes (c’est pour le Toussaint). Severall fathers saw him abroad in the streets leading to the town the night when there were shoutings, shoutings all over, worse than what you here at Sheffield. In Liverpool the rats are too many, I have seen too many, but not a city full of vermin, not even when Rome fell in the hands of her enemies nor Jerusalem before her. The rats: the plague.
—In Troru he went to the grammar school for three years (or four). The other children called him Kéighster (in Cornish a bonnet) for reasons unknown and unknowable. The master who retired to Troru from filthy London thinking the country life and teaching licentious young boys reading and Latin would be better did not know of the namecalling, and had he, would not have done anything anyway, leaving the affairs of schoolboys to schoolboys. The bitch is called Gertrude, by the way, which is an ugly name.
—Have we, have we not, a portrait if sanctity in a world of increasing secularism, a world of detriment? He followed the example of those before him, and in the process created his own: eternal renewal: of faith: through the lives of those before.
—The pianist would interpret him as he would.
—Our appearances betray us; first we essay to understand the secrets of heaven like the disciples when first they heard the gospels: then buried in our own interpretations, the secrets become even more severed from us, and born is the generation of gnostics and sceptics and infidels. Our resignation is necessary for the perpetration of our race.
—The house is architecturally uninteresting: a hovel. I should not say more.
—Qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.
—Frustration is the key to answer their questions. Men whose deformity of mind is irreversible, incurable: questions always there are questions. Should I begin asking Pruscius, castrated carrier, filibustering mastiff. Begin: questions: ask by screaming. Do not ask but blame: who? Blame souls, a slip of tongue. Is Pruscius always problematic?
—The drums, an empty stomach, a destructive mind.
—The Celts were pushed to the sea by pillaging Germans: none were innocent, not even the children who were but young curs. Blame them, vilify the memories of the breastless women, savage tent dwellers, toddlers who drink blood: from the mother.
—You choose for a moment of liberty a life of despair (mocked by whispers in your own ears). Rightly have you chosen. This is not the path of martyrs and saints nor of heroes and great men: no glory in this world or in that to come awaits you in the end. This is the road trodden by the dreamers of the earth, heresiarchs; there would only be scorn from the living and silence from the dead.
—Vaguely metaphysic: the discussion is in vain. Stop while you can. This hovel could not hide the shouting: they will hear you: they are coming.
—The eyesockets were as large as cat’s: ugly.
—Χριστός ανέστη! Χριστός ανέστη!
—Indemnify the earth to solemnify the heavens, prurious desultation of a Cambrian gnome, of the mater dolorosa looking for her bones which Frère John of Troru then of Tilbury told was the supreme end of all the church, its Norman grail most esteemed. Deformed Pruscius, acteur le plus beau, in the sea, the sobbing sea, an accidental victor without teeth, enchanted was by the wreck of Laura, ship of dreams.
—Frère John never learnt Cornish, but like all the children of Troru in his time, spoke English and nothing else. He studied french, I believe he did, though he couldn’t even say bonjour without dying a little
The manuscript ends here. The last sentence is incomplete.


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