416 Nomadic Rome-antics riding Paul Revere's wolf to No Place on Earth in particular flushed awkwordness
Rome—21 Feb 2015
Dear Inurnet ..
.. shifted again .. from San Saba/Ostiense to now near Boca da Veritas .... also shifting focus here scribe-wise .. in writing our Raft Manifest [+ method acting here in real-time] .. riding the raft .. channeling the Tiber to Columbia .. regressing into a state of conscious incompetence .. trying to capture that flushed moment of 1st awareness of self-consciousness .. of awkword embarrassment .. a state arrested in us still begging cathartic release apparently .. maybe sumthing to do w/ going thru this state in a foreign country (Mexico) .. not knowing the landgauge or costumed customs .... a state Elizabeth Bishop captured well in «The Waiting Room» .. in her induced by looking @ a National Geographic magazine February 1918 ..
.. 97 years later here in Rome .. yesterday took the 3 tram practically circumnavigating the eternal city .. past the Colosseo .. San Giovanni in Laterano .. thru Porta Maggiore .. San Lorenzo .. Sapienza U .. Tiburtino .. Salario .. wrapping round the back of Villa Borghese to zona Parioli .. to the Philobiblon gallery for an exhibition of Félicien Rops + Riccardo Mannelli that our friend Luca Arnaudo curated ..
.. Philobiblon = an antiquarian bookshop actually .. we'd never heard of it + not much of a web presence (21 followers on Twitter) so expecting a small little shindig .. but end up in this massive mansion w/ lots of high-brow Italians .. a scene straight out of La Grande Belleza .. that fossilized decadence (or decay-dance) still alive + well in Rome ..
.. good to see old friends .. amidst old books + art by Rops + Mannelli .. Félicien Rops = 19th century Belgian artist that hung around w/ the likes of Baudelaire ..
.. + Riccardo Mannelli a contemporary Italian painter .. pornographic realism .. so real sum almost looked like photographs .. hyper-real cuz he shows blemishes + grit + tattooed rolls of fat + .. his models strung out + jaded (at times reminiscent of Egon Schiele) + unhealthy or perhaps «normal» (if we shed our costumes) ..
Luca introduced us to the gallery owners + they expressed intrest in what we do .. talking about «doing something» not sure what that ever means .... spose we shd have a pitch handy for such occasions .. like just last week same sorta thing sum1 says they can make the introductions to people @ the American Academy that maybe we can «do something» but we terrible @ jumping on such opportunities .. we freeze up (usually start sweating actually) never know what to say specially w/ the language barrier .. not that every 1 here in the know doesn't speak English but we feel stupid not speaking landgauge of land u stand in + our Italian rusted since .. feeling self-conscious .... they aks what kind of stuff we publish .. another tough thing to ∑um up in so many words depending on who asks .. fortunately we carried copies of our recent books to give to Luca so we whip them out of our backpack (that reeks of sweat from hiking recently in the Himalayas)(+ also we self-conscious that our breath stinks from eating tons of garlic the past 2 days (try to find the wine table to cover up .. so crowded cant get to it .. cant even stand in place w/o ppl bumping into u left + right .. sum ppl u member from before @ such events .. other new 1s introduced to us) .... we hand them a copy of 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY' + xplain how it = sumthing our brother wrote .. about Joyce recapitulating Homer in Ulysses + our brother applying that to a father-quest trip he took + then us recapitulating 1 more level blah blah blah.... then these guys w/ funny suits tell us about how they have a 1st edition of Ulysses that contains a chapter of the original manuscript Joyce gave to Sylvia Beach .. the only chapter of that original manuscript that lives outside the main archives in Buffalo or Cornell or wherever it lives .. »qui?» we aks .. ends up they have another shop recently opened in NYC (PrPh Books) where lives this 1st edition Ulysses .... us wondering if this for real .. u can never tell who = a hack or real deal .. specially w/ Italians .. Luca always telling us crazy stories about this or that .. like he also told us that a copy of our bird book ended up in the hands of Luigi Serafini .. Luca the type of Paul Revere connecting + spreading information solely by word of mouth .. like many Italians .. none of these ppl (including Serafini) exist to u Inurnet .. no «web presence» ..
.. after (for as much as we cd stand such hobnobbing) we continued Roming around the backside of villa Borghese .. + past Flamino + thru Piaza Popolo .. strangely desolate + quiet specially for a Friday night .. lots of polizia tho .. sum1 said cuz 2 nights before Dutch hooligans rioted + damaged the fountain @ the base of Spanish steps .... ended up eating @ sum restraunt/museum (Canova Tadolini) surrounded by marble statues + moldy newspaper clippings .. then caught the metro @ Spagna back to Piramide ..
shifted again .. in our nomadic Roming .. not too far from where we slept last night .. now in an Airbnb near the Forum .. actually have views of Palantino from our window on 1 side + on the other we can see Arco di Giano which we showed in the last post .. feels like hallow ground we sleeping on .. + feel like a traitor nearer to the Palatino when our true allegiance lays on the Aventino (where Remus lived + augured his birds (+ lost) .. while Romulus reigned on the Palantine) ..
back running along the river .. route #1 of our Rome running routes .. tho not as far as Olympic stadium .. as the moniker implies not much changes in the eternal city .. tho seems a boat capsized right where they jump off the bridge on New Years day .. + maybe sum new graffiti superimposed over the old + the she-wolves have faded ± peeled off sum .. sunny + warm T-shirt weather if not shirtless .. meanwhile back home in the big apple seems the Hudson even more frozen than last year ..
.. reading No Place On Earth by Christa Wolf .. «about» an imagined encounter between 2 (real) Romantic period (17th century) poets (Karoline von Günderrode + Heinrich von Kleist .. who both committed suicide (in real life) after this imagined meeting) .... both über intellectuals too idealistic + under-appreciated for real world low-lifes ..
they meet at sum high-brow tea party .. the omniscient narrator in the heads of every1 weaving inner monologue w/ bits of dialogue .. capturing that certain frustration felt by those at cocktail parties ± art events (such as 1 above) where dialogue always seems dumbed down compared to inner thought ..
.. at times reminiscent of Natalie Sarraute .. at other times of the Woolf w/ 2 o's (Virginia) .. but honestly most every time we picked up No Place on Earth it put us to sleep .. bored us ½ to death .. just cant relate to such highfalutin hobnobbing .. tho we do share that reluctance (as implied by the title) to accept this fucked-up world as is (+ admittedly that arrogance in thinking we too good for this planet) .. the earth as it stands certainly not worth bringing kids into .. not any place we've ever seen .... but not worth checking out early (the underlying subtext of No Place on Earth) .. may as well smell the flowers (sumthing Wolf's already dead poets seem to have a hard time doing w/ them noses so snobbishly upturned) .. even if they smell morbidly of death + lo-life scum .... then again Wolf born + raised in Nazi Germany so who knows how u'd feel in such shoes ..
ran downstream .. (route #3) .. they've extended the path since we lived here + added a pedestrian bridge over to the gasometro .. but we revisited this already .... «well I'm riding the mule to nowhere» said Frank Stanford .. as well as «it wasn't a dream, it was a flood» .... the river perhaps a bit high for this time of year + seems recently flooded .. the trees on the banks full of debris + plastic bags higher than our eye level ..
|415 <()> 417 > Surfacing from the Death Sentence of the burgeoning bourgeois-ville of inturned stiled cities|