Tuesday, October 23, 2018


from JUST LIKE THAT a novel as a beginning of the Sixties of the last century...

The I of the novel has spent much of the night [in the spring of 1965] next to the monument to the Battle of the Nations on the outskirts of Leipzig in what was then called  the German  Democratic Republic (DDR).

 Martin who has been with this I all day and now in the late night begins to speak:  Don't sit there anymore.  The night is done with.  You are an American and you can't deny it. It is written on your face, in the book you carry next to your heart and how you would like to insert that book into your heart of you could.  That little greenish book, the colour of corpses in comic books which the frontier guards will look and had hand back to you as if you were diseased.  Did you feel that as your crossed our country on the way to Berlin?  Surely you did. You are so sensitive, if you say so, as you please.  I know that.  An American is a diseased scrap of humanity who does not what it is: just a creature who will die and before dying will grow old and not all the money, not all the wishes, not all the king's men will be able to step in and put a stop to the lines appearing at the corners of your eyes, at the corners of your mouth that has kissed my lips and which will spot the backs of your hands with those false stigmatas of saintliness: are they not saints for having endured this life--- but in your United States of American from what I have read, the old are put to the field and turned into manure, the young have not the experience of being around their old people and the aged are left to rot.  But even to  think of death--- what a heresy--- how the stakes must be kept in readiness all across America because death is what denies the ever bigger future and the happiness always around the corner if you work very hard and have the boss's dick you up your ass and you don't comment on how small his dick is.

Martin had walked a little way from the monument and I could see him pacing back and forth beyond the low hedge. I sat with the stone of the monument to my back, as I have said, the bullets stitching a death across my chest.  Was I not James Connolly tied to a chair because I was unable to stand to meet the English guns.

This novel is about a young American boy on holiday from University College Dublin in the Spring of 1965 goes to what was then called East Germany on holiday.  The opening and concluding sections were published by Barbara Probst Solomon in her journal THE READING ROOM.

A second book was written : THE END OF THE . BEGINNING, which takes place on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the early 1970s Anthiny Burgess, the shade of Charles Manson and others move through this book which marks the end of Sixties of the last century

Saturday, September 29, 2018



This is a sort of teaser for the very long essay that THE HOLLINS CRITIC  asked me to write on...

                          TRUTH AND FACTS
        An essay on ANNIVERSARIES by Uwe Johnson

ANNIVERSARIES is published by New York Review Books and will be available in October... look to Amazon...

Uwe J.[Johnson] last and solitary 10 years in England always fascinate me. Shortly after his death I met a bookseller in Richmond that knew him. And when Sebald invited me to a symposium in Norwich I met there the late Michael Hamburger that was his friend. Speculations [About Jakob]... a very innovative work. I keep a very good Spanish translation, Conjeturas..., from 1973, annotated, with a critical introduction and bibliography. No publisher will do this kind of work in Spain anymore. And his Spanish translations are out of print. But I believe Zamyatin was right: the future of Russian literature, and of literature, for short, is in its past. The rich past will erase the pastime. And the eyes of a new and real reader will follow the lines and the lives of St. Patrick's Day...

(from a letter from Julian Rios (author of LARVA) to the writer of this essay)

The tendency of every age is to bury as many classics as it revives.  If unable to discover our own urgent meanings in a creation of the past, we hope to find ample redress in its competitive neighbors.  A masterpiece cannot be produced once and for all; it must be constantly reproduced.  Its first author is a man. Its later one--- time, social time, history
                                              ----Philip Rahv


         ANNIVERSARIES by Uwe Johnson is a great American novel though written in German but now available in a complete, precise and very readable translation by Damion Searls.

I began writing this essay about Uwe Johnson’s ANNIVERSARIES on September 1, 2018, the 79th anniversary of the beginning of World War Two and I am writing the essay in a small town in New Jersey, home to a former Michelin tire factory that closed in 1930 though the main street is still crossed by Pershing, Haig, Foch and Joffre streets with a little side avenue named for Petain and an American Legion hall named for Joyce Kilmer as is the elementary school.  Everything remains and is forgotten.
I had thought more provocatively to have started my essay with:  ANNIVERSARIES  by Uwe Johnson is one of the greatest New York City novels  and of course it begins at a New Jersey beach town and will end at a Danish beach town.

Or, Uwe Johnson’s ANNIVERARIES From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl (giving its complete title) is the freshly translated, definitive and complete 1668 page novel constantly centered on the year of 1967-68 in the life of a German woman living at West 96th Street in Manhattan remembering or being placed in times that include both the Nazi past and the then present divided Germanys, while constantly mirroring those lives in a daily reading and quoting from The New York Times. 

I am unsure of including this note as there is already a PS to my essay... but it seems necessary... Johnson always acknowldged that William Faulkner was THE great American writer as indeed does much of the world. Faulkner is the only modern American writer who can be thought of a member of the World Republic of Letters as  Pascale Casanova mentions in her book with that title

--  From the essay by Evelyn Scott on William Faulkner’s THE SOUND AND THE FURY: “William Faulkner has that general perspective  in viewing particular events which lifts the specific incident to the dignity of catholic  significance, while all the vividness of an unduplicated personal drama is retained.  He senses the characteristic copmulsions to action that make a fate.”  [this is from a photo copy of the actual original booklet that the publisher issued for the publication of the novel]  

Of course Johnson’s name could be substituted for Faulkner.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

COMMENTARY BY INDIRECTION on the present moment


This posting has three parts.  Over the years I have published five poems.  I published a poem in Poetry Ireland, Broadsheet and Arena--- the defining poetry journals of contemporary Ireland. A poem was published in a small Dutch magazine Manifest and another in a small journal published in the US.

The second part of the post is a walk around the art galleries in New York City.  The language of the handouts from the galleries in Chelsea reflect the art on display.  To reproduce the art would be a constant insult to the eye.  

The third part of the post are two passages from Curzio Malaparte's THE VOLGA RISES IN EUROPE, his reporting from two of the fronts following the German invasion of Russia in 1941.  

In a real sense it prepares for the reading for his two masterpieces: KAPUTT and THE SKIN which while describing his experiences in Europe during World War Two, can also be read as a description of the reality of Europe... as one remembers that the Third Balkan War filled up the 1990s... not that long ago... and of course a war continues by other means in the Ukraine.

                                    A PART


Thomas McGonigle
I left the train at five o'clock in the afternoon 
and found love 
dressed in a gymnazium uniform 
black with sewn-on white collar 
we talked 
she took me to her house 
ate fried cheese and drank red wine 
her mother came in later 
a fire was lit in the stove 
i told them of coming from Ireland 
waited while she translated for her mother 
told them of coming from America 
waited while she translated for her mother 
told them of going to Turkey 
waited while 
told i could stay as long 
nodded yes 
which in Bulgaria means no 
they nodded no 
which in Bulgaria means yes. 

In the morning 
after the night's narrow bed lying together 
we walked the lemon streets of Sofia 
viewed the corpse of Dimitrov 
went to the zoo 
saw the militzia guarded American Embassy 
talking of going to the mountains 
and the next years 
not realizing: 
our love 
would turn in upon itself 
we would rub together 
two files 
going in opposite directions.

Page 64, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 12
                                     A PART

AGAIN . walking through the art places in Chelsea... what remain are the sentences in the pages that the galleries and the artists put out for off-site consumption.

You will notice no names are attached to any of these sentences... I went walking on Thursday 7 June 2018. I read through the pile of paper this morning and circled lines and words... I avoided any attempt at ordering them.

-blurring the lines between our unwavering cultural dependence on technology and the power structures that benefit
-compression, transition, cadence, syncopation---these are the operative words when discussing the techniques and strategies

-to create visual fictions that deliver moments of wonder, silence and introspection

-his wide-ranging oeuvre

-experimentation with surface, tactility, geometry, color, and expressive juxtapositions infuse her paintings with vibrant energy

-a variety of visceral and psychological narratives that incorporate an amalgam of recurring themes

-namely playfulness, violence and sexuality

-his ever-explorative vision and curiosity in depicting forms in space-our perception of reality by placing untamed bamboo brooms and glistening fish eyes next to each other

-the immersive group exhibition

-this realm is just on the heroic side of human scale

-from the position of a creative strategy "newly planted."

-attempted to create metaphorical landscapes within my work, referencing the natural world, architecture and my interest in history, travel and literature

-the hyperrealism of ............sculpture highlights this conflict between the genuine and the fake
-this lyrical dimension also contributes to another layer of meaning, something....has described as a hypothetical narrative

-though his practice occupies a position between architecture and activism

-reverberate an unfamiliar dimension, a sense of fear and alertness, primal powers and the night

-the evolution of these hieroglyphic-like narrative-less 'texts.'

-space paintings appear looser, more stochastic and more open to incident

-the boundaries between broad and narrow bands of adjacent colors generates visual vibrations.

-finds.... deftly threading the needle between the familiar and strange, beauty and mystery

-.....'s provocateur nature is his seminal sculptural work

-emphasizing the role of traditional modes of thought and hegemonic institutions in stifling original thought

-these visible traces of the artist's hand counter the autonomous quality of the poured veils, suggesting........ wish to mediate the universality of her work with a more personal experience

-Will the rising form of the pale-yellow orb diffuse their transparent membranes?

-presented in glassless frames, the drawings are delicate, vulnerable even.  Overwhelmingly articulated in life-size scale, the figures insist on being beheld

                             A PART

++Sitting almost bolt upright in a shell-hole is a dead Russian soldier, his face splashed with blood.  Sprinkled on his knees and all around  him are innumerable tiny fragments of that fresh cheese made from sheeps' milk which in these parts goes by the name of brintsa.  His mouth is still full of food. He was eating when a shell- splinter struck him in the temple.

++Dust and rain, dust and mud.  Tomorrow the roads will be dry, the vast fields of sunflowers will crackle in the hot parching wind.  Then the mud will return.  This is Russia, this is the Russia of the Tsars, the Holy Russia of the Tsars, this is also the USSR---dust and  rain, dust and mud. This is the Russian war, the eternal Russian war, the Russian war of 1941 ...  AND then the winter will come--- the beautiful, beautiful winter, for as long as the winter lasts--- the beautiful, beautiful winter of Holy Russia, the winter of steel and cement of the USSR.  Such is the war against Russia, 1941

(from THE VOLGA RISES IN EUROPE by Curzio Malaparte. published by ALvin Redman Ltd, London 1957)

Friday, June 8, 2018



        There was a PAUSE  in my writing of these pages.  

        The now usual feeling of fatigue and despair as to the future of printed words.  But for some reason that gate has opened.  

        Possibly the news that the complete ANNIVERSARIES by Uwe Johnson will be appearing in the early fall from New York Review Books.  Like many I had read the two book version that Johnson himself had approved but the new version is the complete version of 2000+ pages.  

         A novel unimaginable in American writing yet the novel is set in the US in the year 1968.  The New York Times is a central fixture of the novel as it is read by the woman who is at the center of the novel and as she exists in both New York and in her past in Germany.  More about this... 

         and also in the fall, a biography from the French of Maurice Blanchot...  at one time only some years ago Blanchot was read and read by all those who were really interested in writing...but as the universal dumbness descended thanks to the now totalitarian political correctness in the colleges and the imposiiton of a rule by identity politics such a writer is now impossible to imagine being read... yet a biography is appearing from Fordham University Press...

         while the third push to return is the beginning of the translation and publication of the complete stories of VARLAM SHALAMOV.  Two books of his stories had appeared but they are but a taste of the breadth of this most heroic survivor of the Gulag...  

         Again it is New York Review Books that is doing the complete stories, translated by Donald Rayfield and the first book is now available at over 700 pages.  

         The simple reason that Shalamov is not better known is that he resisted any form of collaboration with the regime that had kept him as a slave in a gold mine in the Gulag for six years and then as a hospital worker so spending more that 15 years in the Gulag.  What makes his work remarkable is that he survived and did not shrink away from the simple awfulness and the fact that nothing is really learned from the experience except that one has survived.  

        A friend George Kamen who was a medical doctor and psychcoanaylst and exile from Bulgaria went back to Bulgaria after "the changes" to interview both the guards and the prisoners and discovered that both groups of people felt a great shame as to what had happened to them.  

          The shame of the guards was understandable to anyone but George did not live long enough to fully understand the shame of the prisoners as it was more than the survivor guilt.  It is this terrible truth that is at the center of Shalamov's work.  

       Rayfield includes in his intrioduction an unpublished fragment by Shalamov with the title:  WHAT I SAW AND UNDERSTOOD IN THE CAMPS...  I will record three of them:  

17:  I understood why people do not live on hope---there isn't any hope.  Nor can they survive by means of free will---what free will is there?  They live by instinct, a feeling of self-preservation, on the same basis as a tree, a stone, an animal. 

36. I understand the thieves were not human. 

45.  I understood that a writer has to be a foreigner in the questions he is dealing with, and if he knows his material well, he will write in such a way that nobody will understand him.

      Statement 45 I have the feeling describes  my own understanding in some way  of my own books both published and unpublished. 

         A sure sign of incipient crankhood is the writing of letters to the editor.  I have done this over the years and once achieved the feat of two letters within one week in The Irish Times IN (1974).

        I have recently sent 4 letters to the Times Literary Supplement and they have published one of them.  Here they are and I will not pick out the one which was published.


          Sir, It was nice to see the review of new edition of a biography of Hans Henny Jahn (June 1) but one must question the assertion "effectively unknown."  I have next to me as I type the Charles Scribner's Sons edition published with a nice spare green dust jacket of The Ship (from 1961) and of course one has from 2012 the Atlas Press edition of the stories mentioned in your review.  I would note that the collected edition, in German it is true, of Jahn was prominently on display in the library of Julian Rios who I interviewed in France once upon a time for The Guardian.  
       It would be better to lament the dreary prejudice of too many publishers for the living when it comes to doing translations into English.  More frequently the dead give better value as they are not celebrating the commonplace cliches of the present.


       Sir, A certain sadness over here at the news (May 11) that the Pillars of Hercules is boarded up as I recall meeting there on July 27, 2012, the writer (Born in the UK and  Dire Straits) and former editor of Melody Maker, Mike Oldfield to talk about something I have forgotten but then very important.  We were both surprised when we looked up to the TV and realized the Olympics were opening that night in another part of London.  I wonder if any other writers were in there as could one have  had better seats?


       Sir,  I would like to second the very thoughtful defense of George Steiner by Leslie Chamberlain (Letters 23 March 2018).  He came to a class in the School of the Arts at Columbia University while I was a student  there in the very early 70s to talk about his own fiction.  He admitted that he was a bit jealous of our good fortune to have Anthony Burgess as a professor since he was the only British writer who he thought was really interesting and knowledgeable of world writing both in his own writing and in his criticism.  He also admired the school for having visitors like Jorge Luis Borges, Nadine Gordimer and Nicanor Parra as such revealed what could be done.  He left us with the comment that the only living German language writer he was interested in was Thomas Bernard.  
       Later I wrote to Steiner that the chairman of Alfred A. Knopf, Bernhard's publisher, told me that the first three of Bernhard's books that they had published  had sold less than a 1000 copies  each. Steiner replied that he thought the man was exaggerating given the reality of American literary culture.


The review of "The Discovery of Chance" a book by  Aileen M. Kelly (March 3) about the Russian writer Alexander Herzen reminded me of Eugene Lambe, who lived for many years in Long Acre in a top floor flat above what was at first Bertram Rota and then The Gap.  There were three objects in the flat:  a David Hockney print on the wall, a wooden painted flower and the bound hardcover edition of Herzen's My Past and Thoughts.  These objects were never discussed but their meaning was supposed to be obvious.  

Lambe was from Northern Ireland, a one time  law student at Trinity College, Dublin, the dedicatee of poems by Derek Mahon, was claimed as being a servant by the very wealthy property owner George Lawson, was a friend of Peter Ackroyd, J.P. Donleavy and Giles Gordon, a frequenter of The French Pub, the father of a son named Orlando whose mother was an heir of the Hudson Bay Trading Company and after dying of a heart-attack in a gay disco in Covent Garden  among those attending his funeral were his two brothers, high officers  in the British Army, one of whom was in charge of British forces in Bosnia at that time.  

To the writer of this letter Lambe insisted that when visiting the nearby National Gallery  one should never look at more than two paintings  per visit as the third will make you forget the three of them.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


     AFTER a medical procedure the other day,  I was  feeling blessed with the good news and at home now exhausted I opened for no reason in particular Rilke's THE NOTEBOOKS OF MALTE LAURIDS BRIGGE  and reading the opening and forever seductive opening, "So, this is where people come to live...

     I had no need to continue as I was again walking on West 8th Street in the early morning of a May day in 1966 when I went into the Marlboro Bookstore and bought my first version of this book which I have carried in various editions with me across many countries and all these years.  Together with Thomas Wolfe's LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL it set me on my literary road to....

       That morning I was walking from a modern apartment building--- 416 Lafayette Street--- where I had been the fifth person in a very large bed where I had slept at the edge while these two couples were or were not doing things---though early on I must have thought I would be part of it all--- or at least with Julie--- as I had met these two English girls--- Julie Rowland and Beryl Sayers, who it turns out were waiting for these two guys and we had fallen into a conversation in the English pub on Sixth Avenue near the Waverley Theatre. 

      It was late at night and I had arrived there after my  night shift as a copy boy at The New York Times--- one of the girls was from Yorkshire--- and I had talked with her of having  gone to visit Clive Snape from Hull who I had met at Trinity College in Dublin, in 1965, when I was actually at University College, Dublin--- this guy had been a medical student and lived in rooms as was said in  the college and I was much taken with the idea that he had a servant---they had word for this person which I have forgotten-- who made their beds, cleaned out the fireplace etc...

      I was now working as a copy-boy while waiting to go to the Peace Corps training in Los Angeles for going to Turkey...  this was not to be as in the last week of the training I broke my knee playing soccer so went instead back to Ireland and as many know: on my way later in the following summer to visit friends from that training,  I got off the train in Sofia, Bulgaria in September 1967 and of course as I walked on the Boulevard St Michel with Lilia just before Easter in 1968 I thought of, "So, this is where people come to live...

      Over the years I have thought of that line later with Ruth, the mother of my children--- and yes I have thought of this line even later when walking there with my daughter Elizabeth who was going for a term at the Sacred Heart school in Nantes... I have thought of it while walking along it alone on my way to visit Julian Green...and I have thought of it now and of how the line continues, "...I would have thought it was a city to die in. I have been out.  
I saw hospitals. I saw a man who staggered and fell. A crowd formed around him and I was spared the rest."

      The day after the procedure I was watching the Errol Morris documentary on the photographer ELSA DORFMAN and as she was flipping through photographs I saw a picture of Hannah Green, from back when I first met her.  The picture was used on the cover for THE DEAD OF THE HOUSE...

       Hannah would approve of this sort of post as she valued Rilke, of course, and knew why I was attached to this book and she might like the being remembered from the time when we had first met each other when I sat in her class at Columbia... 

      Here is the picture and then the description by Elsa Dorfman of the taking of the picture.

Summer 1972 Harvey and I went up to visit Hannah Green and John Wesley in Peterborough, New Hampshire. I took pictures of Hannah in front of the farmhouse, inside the barn, in an open field by the pond; they weren't spectacular. And we wanted one for the jacket of her book, The Dead of the House. So Hannah and John came to Cambridge and we tried some in my backyard. They worked.

When I had my show at Boston City Hall in October 1971, Hannah and John drove all the way down from Peterborough to see it. But unfortunately, three days before, Mayor Kevin White had made me take it down because he was having a banquet for big-city mayors in the gallery where it was hanging. He was trying to impress the mayors, especially Alioto and Lindsay, and the media who would cover The Event, and didn't want them 'to see all the sad faces in those depressing photographs.' When I got furious that he suddenly wanted the whole installation down after all that work, he said, 'You look cute when you're angry, my dear, but it's my city hall. If they were Rembrandts and I wanted them down, they'd come down.' When Hannah and John got there after that long drive, and it was a hot day, all they saw was a huge empty space. 'Elsa Dorfman? Never heard of her,' the guard told them.

Monday, February 19, 2018

NOTHING DOING. Can it be seen into print?


This book moves between Patchogue, Arizona, Bulgaria, France and Estonia with as much ease as going on the number 6 train from Bleecker Street to City Hall in Manhattan.

 (the book concerns itself with a number of men: a priest accused of abusing boys, a man whose wife has threatened to kill their child, a psychoanalyst struggling to over-come the futility of his vocation as a therapist and a number of other men who find themselves wandering in southern Arizona... there is a painting by Poussin, "Landscape with Travelers" in the National Gallery in London which organizes in a way this book...)

                   NOTHING DOING
                Thomas McGonigle

For in that she poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
                                              (Matthew 26/12)

Writer:          …I’m called the Writer.
Professor:     And what do you write about?
Writer:          Readers.
Professor:    There’s obviously no point in writing about anything else…
            Writer:         There’s no point in writing, full stop.  About anything.
(STALKER  dir. Andrei Tarkovsky)

Looking for a house to die in and a place to have a hole dug for my corpse which shall no longer be mine.
Gone west to die echoing what was said of the dead in World War One but knowing, I suppose,  is a way of saying I knew it was getting closer. Once you pictured yourself flung into a tree or bridge abutment when something didn’t work out with her or him or anything else and the thought of the resulting tears is sufficient consolation for leaving the party earlier than expected 
If anything, back then I thought I would have ended up somewhere in North Dakota as I had long ago been thinking of those little towns slowly closing up shop and  occasionally getting written up as examples of how things are changing with the passage of shriveling time: the school closing, the shops going. 
But that was not what happened. 
Somewhere in Arizona between Douglas and Apache or it could have been between McNeil and Elfrida or between Ajo and Sells I turned off the radio or turned off the CD player--- I forget what was playing--- and pulled to the side of the road. 
It came down on me…   which probably echoes too many songs…

-----------Does it go on to this-----------

In the National Gallery in London there is a painting by Nicholas Poussin.  Landscape with Travelers Resting.   Three men wearing Roman looking tunics are shown.  At the bottom of the painting a man is resting and looking.  In the center right a man is adjusting a sandal.  In the upper left part of the painting a man is walking.  The men are distinguished by the colour of their clothing: yellow, blue and red
            Remember, when Marina was saying as we walked in the Louvre, Look for the yellow as it is often at the center of the painting about which the eye is to turn.  But she was not there in the National Gallery that afternoon.
What if the three men are the same man? 
Can that be imposed upon this canvas?
And then in the catalogue there is another painting mentioned as being painted at the same time--- Landscape with a Man scooping Water from a Stream --- like this one, there is no reference to classical sources.  But it was not meant to be shown as a pendant, the writer of the catalogue asserts.
            Three men together. 
The men in the painting are about the same age.  That has always been a problem for them.  They know and do not know the same things.  Of course they do not look out at the world with the same eyes, though they are being looked at with
   left to stutter>
eyes connected to a central nervous system.              The difference in their ages is minimal. They come from the same town.  They have had the same schooling.  They are on the same road.  At the moment they are going in the same direction.  They have come from the same place though because of the way they are being seen that is possibly a mistake, an assumption easily made and for the moment without consequence. 
Nothing is being hidden.  A person has to start from some place and three men had to have started from some place.  They are stuck into those funny clothes which to the viewers in the early 17th Century were as remote from their own day as they are from a viewer today, almost four centuries later though it is possible this is the costume many viewers would have expected these men to have been caught in, at this moment, in oil on canvas.

-----------Or does it go on to this-----

Could it be believed that on another afternoon I was leaning against my car at the Sandspit dock in Patchogue in late summer waiting for Pete Phlite to show up? 
Could it be believed that Pete Phlite and I were sitting on the bench in front of our cars parked on the Sandspit dock watching the boats enter and leave the Patchogue River between two jetties made out of great boulders with those small light houses at the end of each of them?
Could it be believed that Karolin and I had been waiting at the Sandspit dock for Pete Phlite to show up after he said, be right over and Karolin then listening, I would often come down here and watch the boats enter and leave the Patchogue River when I was a kid in high school or back from college. 
Could it be believed Pete Phlite asked me why I wanted to meet him at the Sandspit dock in Patchogue?
Could it be believed I had asked to meet Pete Phlite down at the Sandspit dock--- you know where--- at the end there, where we can watch the boats enter and leave the Patchogue River?
Could it be believed Pete Phlite and I were talking about Al Wells, Sean Patrick Bradford and George Kamenov while sitting up on the back of the bench in front of our parked cars down there on the Sandspit dock? 

---- jarring transitions?-----

The sun made me shield my eyes as we watched boats enter and leave the Patchogue River.  I had wanted to talk about Karolin's stepsister coming unwelcomed by her now many years ago from Estonia to Edison, New Jersey to see their father a week after he had died unbeknownst to this woman who had been traveling many days by way of Tartu, Leningrad, Moscow...
Could it be believed I was telling Pete Phlite about meeting Al Wells, Sean Patrick Bradford and George Kamenov and how their lives had intersected mine as did Karolin's life and the memory she had of her stepsister coming from Estonia many years ago to see their father a week after he had died.
So, three men described by saying their names. It would be a mistake to assume the men whose names have now been revealed are wearing the costumes that might now only be worn in a high school Latin end of the school year celebration if the teacher had been trying to inspire the students to the lively nature of what most people think of as a dead language, morbid and gone, really gone.  Existing only in books and possibly in some Vatican documents, written in the dilemma of finding Latin words that can be applied to helicopter and ballpoint pen.

------all these names?-----

            If you blink you miss Apache, as they could say.  A closed up gas-station and some other buildings.  A u-turn to go back                                through the place (a line of cow skulls in front of that building to be photographed) and another u-turn and pulling off to the side of the road.  Nothing to pick up as a significant souvenir.  Flattened grass and types of cactii I could not begin to name.  No garbage or broken bottles…the constant wind on the face but no waving trees… a 360 degree turn, a low water tank across there in a far field… barbed wire fencing on either side of the road… not a house to be seen… wanting to say, nothing to be seen… but then I would have to describe how I could be standing by the side of the road… the sharp incline down from the edge of the shoulder…
Realizing that in all of this movement not a single car has passed by.

----Arizona to Patchogue and Arizona and Patchogue…----

Could it be believed that I was telling Pete Phlite down there on the Sandspit dock I had come back from the desert in Arizona and wanted to tell him about it and about meeting Al Wells who had been in our class at Patchogue High School and about this guy Sean Patrick Bradford who I had met again in Paris last year and more recently I had been and was still  mourning the death of George Kamenov who had been a Bulgarian psychoanalyst who had spend much of his life outside of Bulgaria and when he had gone back to Bulgaria it was to study the curious behavior of the guards and  the prisoners in the Communist concentration camps which had continued to exist in Bulgaria up into the  early 1980s which is hard to believe but it was not hard for Karolin to believe in any of this as she had met her stepsister when that now middle aged woman had come to Edison, New  Jersey from Estonia a week after their father had died and who smelled of someplace where… she did not have the words for the… but wanted this woman to go away as soon as possible while at the same time…
Could it be believed I had wanted to talk with Pete Phlite about a lot of such things as I was still wondering if it was possible to talk  and hope my interlocutor who maybe did not even know where Bulgaria or Estonia were on the map but knew that Paris at least was in France and could he be found to have an interest in this telling while I was also interested in talking about someone who had gone to high school with Al Wells and me at Patchogue High School and who had not really been back to Patchogue after our parents had died?