A FEW CONSTANTS, THEN
The road to school: houses crowded together, hunched and brooding. Damp sidewalk.
That thing that used to be a pied wag-tail. Once buoyant, now bones and feathers, disintegrating with damp, dirt, and tread-fall. A feather, a sign of "bird", but rotting nevertheless, into a meaningless thing--death comes to us all. With that, what?
The sky, blue or grey or pink or blue-black, vacant or cloud-shot, but a ribbon, still and all, glimpsed from within buildings, either from the postgrad room or the cafeteria or outside the concourse. Mediated nature, mediated horizons.
Exhaustion, after 12-hour days of lectures and reading and writing, followed by sleepless nights. I cradle a hot water bottle, rather than a drink, and consider violence, that which makes utopia possible, yet converts it, simultaneously, into an impossibility, for there is always resistance to that violence.
. . .
I nodded into sleep at my desk yesterday, amidst piles of books and note-cards, and dreamt of the perfect car park. Solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant, wrote Tacitus.
. . .
They make a desert and call it peace.
. . .
The perfect car park is in California, somewhere. On my last visit, along the highway on the drive north, I glimpsed great pristine expanses of concrete space surrounding one megastore or another, which seemed, to me, to go on as long as the highway existed, stopping where Big Sur began, and unfolding again as we left that preserve, the sunlight dazzling after the eerie darkness of nature protected within and against (post)modernity.
. . .
"That Corbusier could dismiss most of Paris' historical deposit as a dry crust of junk is the measure of his fervour, and one would be quite wrong to think he did not mean every syllable of the tirades he directed against the sentimental passéists who, in the name of memory and variety, opposed his 'vertical city . . . bathed in light and air.' He himself, he pointed out, was not bitterly opposed to the past, but he considered it civic duty to show that it was past by leaving its isolated memories with nothing to do-'my dream is to see the Place de la Concorde empty once more, silent and lonely . . . these green parks with their relics are in some sort cemeteries, carefully tended. . . . In this way the past becomes no longer dangerous to life, but finds instead its true place within it.'" --from The Shock of the New, Robert Hughes, p. 188.