Giles Goodland


The narrator first assumes the appearance
of a beetle that only has a Latin name. Its
stupidly fat body is undercut by
the humansized foot that bears
towards it. In the second in which
it speaks it speaks of life on the wing,
in all facets, and next he will
appear a little shaken as an interlude
in a Tudor masque, representing
an aspect of immorality. He walks like
a well-oiled human to the front and
the words decay him in saying
but he perseveres as if probing some
instabilities in speech when all
along what the audience want to hear is
the drunk quality of his language,
just as if (consider this about S.)  the words
were epiphenomenal, he was employed
to fill the silence between musics,
tolerated but laughed at by the clowns,
the hero anxious to fruit and stretch.
He goes home knowing the audience
did not understand, his words were
echoless in the big wooden zero
and, continued the narrator, he
retires with the feelings of a composer
of background music to bad films:
a few notes chewed out for some drama
too small for his notes. Now assuming
the person of a cheese salesman
the narrator appears in a contemporary
century, he knocks at a door and prepares
to open his bag. His spiel will be engaging
but he will not sell a thing. It involves
his childhood: the Grand Narrator had come
to speak. He told how a traveler
goes back and builds a Shakespeare machine,
a black box about the size of a man,
it can move a quill over parchment,
it has been programmed to the last period.
It made a speech about language
flowering, speech figuring from inside.

Giles Goodland's book is forthcoming from Salt Editions.

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