The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2012

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NOV 2012 Issue

from I am the Robert Walser

The first one can’t be the one about vocation because that would be presumptuous.  So I noticed a girl who was like a book to defer it.  Her shirt was of black and white splotches like my composition notebook that’s called marbled.  Her skin underneath was pale and smooth like my composition book’s pages, with faint blue veins of lines.  Her tattoos were big words in another language, dark green and curvy.  I did not get to leaf through her or write a sentence on her.  She said hi; I grinned and nodded, clutching my pen.  My name is Robert.  I am a booklet.

It’s tough to write when the bald head glows by the window.

Ceiling Fan
The ceiling fan light fixture tried to break free from the ceiling, but its feverish and frantic whirling was in vain.  Disappointed, it stared out the window.  One of its bulbs fell into despair and blew.

My Vocation
They inquired, Who is like Robert Walser?  Who is the Robert Walser who is American?  Isn’t there one?  Maybe, not really.  No, there isn’t.  Who is the closest?  The crowd coughed musingly.  Trembling and silent, I remained in my seat, although I wanted to jump up and shriek at them, I am!  I am the Robert Walser!  My name is Mina, short for Bertramina, but really I am Robert.  I write Stücklie, I wander and I dream.  Furthermore, I possess tiny nearly illegible handwriting on white paper, like bird scratches in the snow.  And finally, I intend later to go mad and commit myself to a sanatorium so I can quit writing, only I will keep writing.  After some time, they will transfer me to a different sanatorium which I will hate, and it will hurt me.  They’ll shock my suffering forehead with its flanking temples like the two Marys on one side and St. John on the other: they, too, suffered.  I shall die on Christmas day, then the Three Vagrants will come upon me to bear away my frank nonsense and mirth.  No religion will arise from me, for I will die the hidden second son of God.  His Punctuation Mark.  No apostle will behold my shape.  My name is Bertramina Wallis, however, secretly I am Robert Walser.  Those with eyes to see should look.  But the majority should stay blind.  Shapes are like cries.

Short Treatise on Cries
They can be of joy or of torment, for what’s heard has meaning only in the context of an instant.  Therefore fast sensitivity is required and good.

Feeling is the ultimate reality.  Rationalism and empiricism have been refuted. Emotionalism lives onward!

Discourse on Method Writing
Once more with feeling.  The first time, it was dead.  Repetition brings resurrection. 

A certain awkwardness.  The wrong sort of self-consciousness.  Words that get stuck.  Stuckly.

Go on a break.  Take a walk.  Eat a slice of bread with butter and sugar. 

Wallisflower = Walserflower
This is my job: to stand on the side, see and feel, notice but go unnoticed, be ignored and even not exist for them.  Fail by folded-in flourishing.  I will keep my petals to myself.  Robert qua stubborn bud.

Death of  a Flower
It is by wilting or else by getting your petals plucked by some beautiful Mädchen’s fingers.  At least in the second case, they have picked you.  But then you grasp how it isn’t worth it.  They picked you carelessly, on a whim, with the secret wish to destroy you.

Cry of a Wayfarer
I am no flower!  Flowers don’t rove.

Who would bed a flower?

Flowery Prose
Ah, lots of adjectives and sentiments and prettiness.  Robert is a tall thin man flower whose head hangs down slightly and bobs in the breezes.  Luftmenschblume!  Girls adore man flowers.  So I guess they would bed them.

Flower Power
Therefore my penis.                                               


I started a new pen, it was pointy and brilliant.  But then I felt that I didn’t deserve it because I was bad and writing duds, minus inspiration.  So I put it back in the plastic case with the other virgins.  But then I started writing joyously with an old pen, I had ideas and strivings.  Emboldened, I took out the new pen which I had tried before, now I was ready for it and deserving.  I used it to write this paragraph.  We did not let each other down.  Snow filled the park and kids wore colored coats and sledded.  I did not see it in life but I saw the photograph in the paper and I could imagine it.  Today is a Tuesday in March.  I love my new pen. My name is Robert.

Incident (Hold onto Your Book or Vice Versa)
A man shovelled snow off the sidewalk.  He wore blue jeans, a blue nylon jacket and a black woolen hat like mine.  The shovelling action made a glorious scraping sound.  Sunlight caressed the cheekbone of the building.  The recycling bottles in the Fra Angelico blue plastic bag tinkled excitedly.  The clink clink of the hammer at the building site was architectural jewelry.  The cars played bass.  The sights and sounds made a huge snowball that rolled through my window to be an Annunciation. Blessed!  Free!  This notebook rejoiced solemnly and humbly like the Virgin Mary.  It held me.  Notebooks have hands.

In my haste I messed up the first F, but I still love my new pen.  F is for faith, so I fixed it.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, it can show a blotch like the one on my cheek, which I got from being too much in the sun in my illuminated childhood manuscript.  Bert means bright like Lite-Brite the toy but also shining glorious one like the Messiah or Robert Walser.  Bright is furthermore like Clara, so any minute I could turn into Clara like the musician Clara Schumann who was married to another mad Robert.  Thereby I would extend my reign.

Sunny Day
The cries of the workmen equaled the cries of the pigeons.  The sky stretched on the field of roofs and yawned.

Footsteps over my head: manly heels, not feminine ones.  Although lately, there has been a girlfriend on high heels.  She takes showers.  Then my ceiling leaks.

They grabbed the pipe and shook it, they strangled it, whipped it and chipped away at it.  O fearful scourging!  But it only continued with its elusive, stubborn gurgles.

No Space
My tendency to push words together into one word as in ribcage and beltloop and schoolgirl proves that I am truly German, also that love is the metaphysical element.  Secretly, everything sticks together in one great Gesamtkunstwort.

Das Wort
Parmenides said Ja!

Philosophical Argument
They said, Everything is full of space, solidity is a mirage and construct.  I said, Everything is empty of space, solidity is the miracle and constant!

The One Being
Reality is a continuous full sphere of Being.  Only read Parmenides, he will tell you!  Certain implications of this need to be grasped quietly and alone.

Vice of Walser
Vice versa.  Vice of verses.  V-i-c-e is an interestng sequence of letters forming different but homomorphic words.  V-i-s-e is an interesting sequence of letters forming a different but homophonic word.  Earlier today I felt like my head was in a vice.  Sometimes my words feel like they are in a vise.  Also vice versa.  This doesn’t mean to be a homo. 

Maybe Robert Walser was left-handed.  I, Robert Wallis, am left-handed.  So I forget what I write, because after I write it, I can’t see it.  Soon afterwards, I write it again, and it seems new like a truth.

Averse To
Myself.  This innocence is disgusting.  Spit it out.


Ryan Was My Muse/Impromptu w/ Ryan
The young men in wool hats and long beards.  Impossibly thin ankles, thoughtful eye aversion.  Use both thumbs for poetry.  They should be opposed to.  What’s the total?  Ryan is Ryan, baggy, shiny, jumped to electric whips of drumkits. Yeah, it’s the rich line.  Pure suede shoes.  To get a job.  Bright green button down.  The tongues refuse to lie down.  Swig.  Ryan plays basketball and drinks like a kid.  His hand is sweaty but I still have a crush on him.  Conor clutched his skateboard and did face rust.  The guy w/ the tapered torso, black map of hair, thin pink socks.  Ryan & Conor have matching Nike sneakers.  I didn’t recognize the short one on the other side of the employment.  Swellings with leather intentions.  Or dissatisfaction at your lottery.  Sigh w/ flapping lips.  Intension deflected into sweat.  My name’s Jesse said one.  The beefy hand on the NY Post.  Morton Feldman’s fingertips.  Finger painting by Philip Guston.  Tips for wrists like do it here.  Don’t go there, it’s always there, it doesn’t have necessity.  His lower back hurt its chances.  Guilt or something about the lurid and pathetic.  Dust of men like for fingerprints; at the end no conviction.  Rationality is lazy, logic rote.  She’s very conscientious.  She’s my conscience.  It was about Puerto Rican independence or something.  Right.  Yeah yeah yeah.  It’s just weird, because the guy threw out wrapped Christmas presents.  In the shed!  Found by Philip.  Join a community garden.  This one’s huge.  It’s amazing.  Then packets of secret dust particles.  Vs. speech ones.  It said we said don’t get into that.  Gustav w/ his walking stick.  The notes were connected into a sustained note which glowed with handwritten sentences and his fingertips pressed down tenderly.  The guitar string made me sorry.  The floor tiles had blotchy surfaces.  The old man’s hand trembled as he reached for a napkin.  The lanky men spoke Hebrew.  The guy w/ the tapered back had a fine nasal profile.  I saw my future bent over and asymmetrical.  Wheels still work on ideals.  Her heels banged w/ shallow urgency.  How long could you listen to one note?  How long could it stand to be with you?

And falling in love with the strangers, w/ the French strangers.  Or loan your lap with info-crotch—can I lie in your lap, have big round female handwriting?  Be a Chinese mathematician, able to be turned sideways, get a bigger picture of the world?  Back to the drawing pad.  I fell in love with his lines and young brotherly persuasion.  Black turtleneck, French cough, unless rumpled older hair, essayistic long limbs.  Rubbing elbows and listening to the same music is like tender fucking.  I love everyone, my lip isn’t numb anymore, my tongue never was.  Thank you so much, that was really helpful.  It’s just, my sight was down.  Antoine, les Flics, Paris, après.  Behind me, my space cape billowed.

Trouser Role
He looks exactly like Gary Oldman when he was young.  Reads with a pen.  Has an antiheroic or heroically handy thumb, a mistrustful vestie, sounds that are private and fingertips bespeaking filching experiences or pardoned folded pages.  Take off your monad, put on your modal singlet.  Blanket props, a lack of isomorphism.  Still language had belt holes.  I, twinning in ink.  Minor in communication/ communication’s minor.  Closet mezzo.  I mean I’m not like reading it like superintensely.  With trans underlining.  Bashful fists.

There is an x
Guy curled over counter, head resting in hand clutching curly black hair.  His window blue, slim untabulated, extra-terrestrial, white shirt untucked, grey sweater baggy.  Disappearing into black pants shot.  Where it’s this plain, how can it be extraordinary?  That it is.  The existential quantifier’s makeshift mystical.  He scratches his fly as demonic temptation.  But this adoration hugs the curve of his boy torso.  Passion with loose threat does not lose the thread, it is handheld.  Like a loaf of French bread, a clanking glass, a sweaty shining/shiny forehead.  Taking the train down to Canal.  DH Lawrence in green and yellow: soft, thick.

Soft White
I was the light bulb that went off in God’s head.  Heilige Glühbirne!  Not aggressive but soft like a gentle young girlyman.

Standard White
60-watt, the authorless content idea, it’s superrelevant, yeah!

No more palindromes is a reason you could slay yourself.  Or how time keeps going and

I left my friend upstairs, now I cannot remember him.  I can’t remember exactly what he said or looks like.  He makes lots of hand gestures.

I have to do this but first I have to get my hair cut like Ben Whishaw’s.  We both have thick dark slightly wavy hair, big dark eyes, small slight bodies.  But he played Hamlet as a spoiled brat, my idea is different.

I have to do this because....

I have to do this because every young male actor wants to play Hamlet and I am a young male actor.  Albeit not.

I fixated on the book, I fell in love with the book, I stalked it and I flung myself upon it.

Not in the Mood for Others
The aggravating noise from the woman’s earphones!  I want to rip the earphones violently out of her ears!  Violently I want to rip them out of her ears!  I want violently to rip them out of her ears!

Instead, I will go back to my quivering room.  Be a gentle scent.

No I won’t!


Mina Pam Dick

MINA PAM DICK is the author of Delinquent (Futurepoem books, 2009). Recently, she has been making out and off with Hölderlin, Trakl, Nietzsche, and Büchner in hybrid translit.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2012

All Issues