from Nouvelles en trois lignes/Three Line News Items/ Short Stories
with perhaps "more in mind" than his own punning use of the Faits Divers' Nouvelles en trois lignes--
he may have been thinking also of the example of Gusrave Flaubert
who several decades earlier had created out of a provincial journal’s Faits Divers the novel Madame Bovary:
“Delphine Delamare, 27, wife of a medical officer in Ry, displayed insufficient austerity. Worse, she ran up debts. To avoid paying them, she took poison.”
Nurse Elise Bachmann, whose day off was yesterday, put
on a public display of insanity.
A complaint was sworn by the Persian physician Djai Khan
against a compatriot who had stolen from him a tiara.
A dozen hawkers who had been announcing news of a
nonexistent anarchist bombing at the Madeleine have
A certain madwoman arrested downtown falsely claimed
to be nurse Elise Bachmann. The latter is perfectly sane.
On Place du Pantheon, a heated group of voters attempted
to roast an effigy of M. Auffray, the losing candidate. They
Arrested in Saint-Germain for petty theft, Joël Guilbert
drank sublimate. He was detoxified, but died yesterday of
The photographer Joachim Berthoud could not get over the
death of his wife. He killed himself in Fontanay-sous-Bois.
Reverend Andrieux, of Roannes, near Aurillac, whom a
pitiless husband perforated Wednesday with two rifle
shots, died last night.
In political disagreements, M. Begouen, journalist, and
M. Bepmale, MP, had called one another "thief" and
"liar." They have reconciled.
Friday, December 19, 2008
EL COLONEL: UNTOLD, UNWRITTEN, LITERALLY AND IN EVERY SENSE
"The untold, the unwritten war that will never get into the books . . . "
Walt Whitman, Specimen Days, 1865
for Francesco Perez-Lopez aka Francois Perez aka EL MEXICANO
farm laborer, painter, writer, Anarchist guerrilla fighter Spanish Civil War-
a great friend & gun smuggler to Spain during Franco Regime
Lifelong Advocate of Propaganda of the Deed
"How can one be free until all the Authorities and Big Mouths are shut up? And for good, too! Slit their throats, cut out their tongues, to be finished with their eternal talking, talking always talking--distractions, you know, as they lie and steal and kill under the table--"
"Each word means what it says literally and in every sense"
Arthur Rimbaud, to his mother, when she asked what A Season in Hell meant, was saying--
El Colonel is smoking, seated on a rock surrounded by thick grasses and ferns heavy with morning dew. Eerily lurid mists are sitting longer and heavier than usual in this obscure pocket in the lower mountain ares. Flipping through captured photographs and files, contemplating the burned and tortured bodies of an indigenous peasant collective. "Events quite recent, yet as timeless as the haunting scenes of childhood never yet recollected in tranquility . . . "
El Colonel is smoking, the thin lines of bluish smoke moving outwards from his lips into the garish yellow-orange tinged mists, creating "ephemeral smokes signals to be found and understood only by those random eyes who are all the same meant to find them, in the paradoxical conjunctions of the accidental and the fated which litter the peripheral and ignored wastelands of meaning, of torn and weathered writings drifting through the back alleys . . . or floating, inks fading, in the indolent waters of oblivion issuing from the over flowing gutters . . . smudged and warped letterings doing the 'dead man's float'--decaying radioactive half lives of words producing 'side effects' and after effects---Spirits and Ghosts, bringers of warnings from out of the past, messages in bottles thrown overboard from burning, bursting blood vessels--"
"-staccato, laconic, sardonic-"
El Colonel felt the jerking of words as the sharp cracks of sniper rifles tearing rents in distinctly separated moment of time in a field of dry, browned crackling high grasses . . .the jerking of words like bodies hit from a distance by the arrival of out of nowhere bullets . . . words jerking like skeletons hung to dry in door ways as warning signs--the dried bones brittle and fissuring as they smacked each other, like conspirators slapping each other on the back and laughing with the grinning mouths of skulls . . .
Taking the photos to a small abandoned home some being had made inside the burst open base of an overburdened ancient tree, El Colonel folded them and lay them neatly to rest--placing some dew dripping small forest floor flowers around them like garlands for a festival-bound beloved, arraying the small plants gently and making minuscule markings with his knife, very slightly, like murmuring, whispering, breathes evaporating in air--carving into the tree barks a speaking not found in voices or writings . . . untold, unwritten, the telepathies of an exchange among presences . . .
The grim documents El Colonel slipped inside plastic zip-loc bags and walked with them to another place hidden away in the obdurate "stone faced" rocks . . .
As expected, on his return to the white washed high ceiling room in the weather beaten hundred years abounded Monastery, the first rays of light filtering through the finally lifting mists, illuminated the latest arrivals, the most recently recovered documents and battle scarred photos, the carefully boxed fragments of skeletons--the writings, images and objects whose presences were signs of absence . . .
El Colonel sits in the spare high backed wooden chair with the faded red berry-colored cushion. lights a cigarette and begins to read, to sort, to look . . .
"How much of writing is actually erasure, " El Colonel thinks, his thoughts moving within the lines of smoke as they are given direction by the slight breeze, cool and light, flowing through the wide open high windows . . . some of which have no panes or shutters . . . "And, what then, of those writings unwritten, do they not doubly exist by virtue of their not having removed others for themselves to "take place," these unwritten non writings, which do not erase, do they not then--create those unread spaces in which they are existing, as a writing only to be found by those who are non readers within the recognized forms of literacy--a writing not by 'virtue' of 'taking another's place' via the erasure of its already existing presences, now made absences and become the ghostly after effects of faded and smudged signs barely made out through the heavily typed letterings of official fonts--but an unwritten writing in which there is room for the welcoming of the smudged and ghostly--the vanished which reappear among the unread and unwritten writings . . . which find and are found by those who live among telepathies . . . as indeed 'their own languages'
hidden in plain sight and hearing, in the plain site of that which is passed veryday and never once 'remarked on' by its very unremarkableness . . . "
El Colonel smokes and begins taking up page by page the day's deliveries of the documents of deaths . . . the sometimes sloppily and other times minutely detailed records of massacres in the mountains abandoned by those "superior forces" his own have set rout to . . .
"Above all the practice of literature requires a rigorous reading of those texts which present themselves continuously as already written, yet are not recognized as such, in favor of those only which one is indoctrinated to know as the readable by those who write them."
The document, which is official US Special Forces policy, directly advocates training paramilitaries,
pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control . . .
El Colonel also wonders--"and why is it that the country the most aggressive is that which produces the poetry the most timid? "
He thought of how he would “extract from them the deep howls of the origins of the poetic language, that expression of the moment of birth, of the first meeting of the lungs with air."
Jasper Johns’ interpretation of flags and targets, numbers and letters — things, as he has often said,
“the mind already knows,” “things that were seen and not looked at, not examined”
El Colonel smiles, perusing the text which "turns images into texts so as to produce an allegory of its own textuality, in which the buried image is "undead" as that "self," aka "author" which the reviewer tries to hide the looming presence of and which communicates itself through the transparency of its ruse as the overwhelmingly burdensome weight of the reviewer leaning over the reader's shoulder, holding a mirror in which is reflected--the reviewer himself."
El Colonel smiles. "How transparent are the claims of opacity," he reflects, observing the reflection of the glass ceiling lamp at the base of his cuticles, and, moving slightly his finger, infinitesimally moving it, seeing the reflection move in a slight path of light within the reflecting nail. "To find that angle at which the reflection of that which is unnoticed by others is present, is to find these others in the transparency of their own opacity."
. . . false flag operations, concealing human rights abuses from journalists, and extensive use of "psychological operations" (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures palatable
El Colonel permits himself a brief, dry, staccato laugh, "as dry and staccato as the rustling of brittle leaves on a pavement in the high heat at midday in the parched altitudes of a bleached and arid plateau."
El Colonel did not smile.
El Colonel did not smile. He had chosen at his own risk to walk alone through one of the remaining areas of the captured town. In all probability a few snipers remained, or a pocket or two of frightened, desperate men hidden inside one of the gaunt buildings . . .
Border police snipers
armed with Ruger 22 rifles have already started applying the new
. Under the
new regulations, snipers may fire at the legs of adults tagged as "key
instigators," according to the mass-selling Maariv daily. Firing on
Israeli and foreign citizens remains banned. Border police snipers
armed with Ruger 22 rifles have already started applying the new
regulations, and over the past month alone 13 Palestinians have been
shot in the legs in the Jerusalem area, the report said.
semi-automatic Ruger 22 is widely used for target shooting sports and
for hunting,. . .
El Colonel did not smile. “With steady eyes behind the reflective, mirroring gaze of the disconcerting aviator sunglasses, he advanced among the entombing walls of the narrow alleys. Faded and peeling layers of paint, criss crossed by cracks and fissures, bearing the scars of bullets, the sear-marks of incendiary bombs, the shock effects of explosions . . . the shrieking fragments of propaganda posters, the vacantly staring “Wanted” and “Missing” Photos’ faces, the hastily half-eradicated graffiti and blood stains . . . the film of still moist soap scum mixed with dust . . . these kept a ‘public record’ easily read by the most illiterate and at the same impenetrable to the professional writers sent to ‘cover the operations.’
As the literati danced and debated upstairs, Chilean intelligence officers were downstairs torturing dissidents and manufacturing the toxic nerve agent sarin in a secret laboratory
During the darkest years of this country's military dictatorship, Mariana Callejas was an up-and-coming writer and the hostess of the era's most glamorous literary salon.
Chile's leading authors trekked up to Callejas&amp;amp;amp;#39; hillside mansion every Thursday night to talk literature, have a few drinks and sometimes dance until the next morning. The salon offered a respite from the fear and violence of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's Chile, in which nearly 3,200 dissidents died or disappeared at the hands of government agents.
. Horror lay just below the glittering surface, however, as it often did during the 1973-90 military dictatorship.
Callejas was more than just a writer; she was an agent of the DINA, Chile's dreaded National Intelligence Directorate. Her then-husband, U.S. citizen Michael Townley, one of the U.S.-backed Pinochet regime's chief assassins, later was convicted of setting off the 1976 car bomb that killed former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier and his American colleague Ronni Moffitt in Washington.
As the literati danced and debated upstairs, Chilean intelligence officers were downstairs torturing dissidents and manufacturing the toxic nerve agent sarin in a secret laboratory,
El Colonel walks into mists at the edges of dawn
El Colonel walks into mists at the edges of dawn. “He stands at the edge of the clearing, a skeleton talking with himself as though with the sounds of words his bones might be arranged into a writing which conveyed the recognition expressed in the arrival from out of the past of words which had been long forgotten, to meet these things from the future which had rushed in, creating of the present an encounter with an otherness which was found to be oneself.”
El Colonel stands, poised, “gazing as the edges of an abyss which begins to push up from its depths an immense heaving of earth and within its roiling loams, the teeming of skeletons, of dismembered bones, of skulls without bodies and fingers without hands.”
El Colonel stands, poised, “as the first birds begin to sing, as the bright light begins to caress the lush foliage and flowers, and as the greenness explodes where it had been grey.”
The document, which is official US Special Forces policy, directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control, restrictions on labor unions & political parties, suspending habeas corpus, warrantless searches, detainment without charge, bribery, employing terrorists, false flag operations, concealing human rights abuses from journalists, and extensive use of "psychological operations" (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures palatable
Blood on the keyboard
The once whitewashed walls of the underground room never free of cracks, dirt marks, dust and spider webs—now had acquired further markings in the form of marker-scrawled graffiti and wide, wild flung stains of dried and time grimed blood.
The one overhead lamp, suspended as ever from a strapped series of wirings to a bit of piping leading to the furnace room adjacent, gave as little light possible to still read and write by, as well as to examine the marks made in flesh by burns, slicings, bruises and acid. The other light, the blindingly bright and searchlight-powerful one—was still there also—still mounted aboard its dolly, parked still in the small door way leading to a side room whose damp rotting plaster walls crumbled at the touch.
With their self-restraint pushed to its extreme, the two men stood at the foot of the stone stairs leading down into the underground from the battered wooden slanted door opening coffin like from among the weeds and dead flowers at the back of the house.
As their eyes grew accustomed to the shadowy and ill lit patch work of markings, stains, cracks, smudges, pipes, and splintered wood, the men discerned emerging a series of instruments attached to the few solid-backed areas of the walls, behind which were the fat and stoic remains of the foundation's beams, not yet thoroughly rotted and drowned in the persistent encroachments of the chilling dampness.
These instruments for the most part had not changed their features in hundreds of years—old mechanisms long known to torturers, with here and there interspersed the newer additions to the gallery exhibitions of cruelty. The electric mechanisms, especially, were there in a variety ranging from the crudest, homemade ones to ones relativity sophisticated yet still out of-date. Various forms of welding torches and other tools for the applications of fire and heat to bodies were there, and also a wide variety of cleaning fluids, over the counter poisons, gas and oil containers and stacks of coiled wirings of differing sizes.
Turning on their flashlights, the two men advanced towards the far door, a smashed and scarred wooden one once painted a bright yellow now turned a kind of off china white, like a sample of cheap heroin kept too long in a humid baggie. On this door—which, when opened, led into the furnace room—had been inscribed in permanent marker and painted in the crude colors of cheap enamels applied with a narrow brush a kind of chart, a sort of crude calendar and log book of some of the events which had taken place in this room, a room among others in a long series of clandestine spaces being haphazardly found scattered throughout an area whose boundaries continually expanded
El Colonel is humming.
El Colonel is humming. The morning-fresh beauty of the colors of the flowers seen from the large wide-flung open windows of the high-ceilings white washed room soaks into him, accompanied by the musical arrangements of insects and birds. .
El Colonel is humming. The colors and sounds flowing into his very arteries and nervous system bring to mind a favorite passage from one of his favorite writers. . . which he begins to hum as a "musical transcription of the mescaline experience, of the flowing of colors and sounds drenching the cosmos and the senses . . .”
--From the marginalia of El Colonel's notes while working on his “Varieties of
This book is an exploration. By means of words, signs, drawings. Mescaline, the subject explored.
From the thirty two autograph pages reproduced out of the hundred and fifty written while the inner perturbation was at its height, those who can read handwriting will learn more than from any description.
--Henri Michaux, Miserable Miracle
El Colonel hums. Having taken already a stroll among thick fronds wet with mist and dew, having seen the slowly dawning light begin to reveal "first silhouettes, and then more distinct features, as in tracking and targeting those about to be ambushed," he is ready now to sit at his desk in the high ceilinged, wide-windowed room that is his "center of operations", the vigorously beating heart of the Heroic Patrol," and begin to sift through the neatly stacked files of the latest arrivals "within the warmly welcoming embrace of those taking them prisoner and conducting them to their carefully prepared places of detention, those cells which endeavor to most efficiently assist their occupants in the exploration of their personal limits of endurance."
El Colonel hums. At the top of the stack is the file of "an American academician, arbiter of ethico-aesthetico cultural questions and writer of poetry, essays and blogs." Opening the file and beginning to scan its pages, "he feels the brisk breeze of the by-now familiar American scents of health-giving Moral Higher Ground and Suasion" greet him as he begins to "peruse the quaint and elevated tones of the Missionary messenger, ever on the watch for the ominous activities and aims of both the obvious and the obscure operations of an ever present terrorism in which the good Missionary never recognizes his own reflected figure."
For had the Missionary American poet-Dr Faustus of Poesy not himself written: 'To
even appear to argue the point is to ignore, if not elide, the truth of this structure.'"
And who but Angels can so place themselves, these beings higher than mere men and yet not presuming themselves, in the usual despicable male fashion, to be Gods?
That is, as Angels, do they not indeed adhere to the truth, and to that structure of truth in which they are indeed Angels, and not that most despised of all men, those who presume themselves to be Gods?
"Here was a possible truth drug, Morse Allen reasoned. "Since it had been determined that no area of human knowledge is to be left unexplored in connection with the ARTICHOKE program, it was therefore regarded as essential that the peculiar qualities of the mushroom be explored...." Allen declared. "Full consideration," he concluded, should be given to sending an Agency man back to Mexico during the summer. The CIA had begun its quest for "God's flesh
El Colonel proposes to examine a number of the invocations of the "disinterred shaman" of this Missionary American poet-Dr of the Poetics of Self-Health by approaching it with examples found among the "Experiences" connected with the practice and study, the art and poetry, the prose and documents, of the "Varieties of Mescaline Experience."
In this, as El Colonel remarks drily, his well known smile in full display, he is not so much inspired by William James' "varieties of religious Experience" as those of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, of whose "Voodoo Chile" and "A Merman I shall Turn to Be" he is especially fond.
The work of actual shamans, poets, CIA investigators, Roman Empresses and the experiments and their attendant writings and drawings of Henri Michaux are among the persons and practices who and which have contributed to El Colonel's studies.
These studies are not those of a seeker systematically setting out on a quest, but are instead drawn from the texts and images found among the shattered remains of public buildings, of hospitals, libraries, of private collections no larger than a small shelf once attached to a vanished shack's wall, the smashed volumes of a child's first books, the bizarre and eclectic trash pickings piled in secretive stashes concealed within the crumbling structures of abandoned garages by ancient weather beaten scholars of the streets' profusions of the thrown out, the unwanted, the forgotten, the damned . . . the texts whose news of yesterdays flaps down the alleys like so many straggling crows—
This sensitive US military counterinsurgency manual could be critically described as "What we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places".
Texts fire singed, bullet-holed, blood stained, food smeared, scarred, twisted, bent, buckling, reeking of booze, or holding with their pages packets of heroin, cocaine or plastic baggies of marijuana . . . stashes of hidden money inserted neatly among the pages of a book that was thought to be too dull to ever be pulled down from the shelf--purloined letters hidden in plain sight--now coughing up their secrets in trash strewn empty lots--flying in the winter winds among rusting barbed wire fences, mixing with poorly printed flyers for small Pentecostal churches, faded employment ads, addresses of whores--labels of smashed empty bottles---the tags of torn clothing--scrawls of graphic marginalia in the out of date textbooks whose bindings are coming unglued--
And here and there, miraculously intact, excellent copies of books of all kinds which El Colonel devours, and when done reading, places in the various sites he has created through time and many changes of clandestine habitations, originally as the "Library of Liberated Texts," which more recently has become "the Library of Alexandria" so named by the Heroic Patrol “ in honor of these texts having survived those conflagrations which had destroyed their illustrious predecessor, turning it from a center of learning into a figure of speech standing for all the lost works massacred and disappeared, all the works tortured and incinerated, "ashes to ashes, dust to dust," and blown by the winds of triumphant mobs and soldiers' cries out across the landscapes, scattering among the wilds and waters of oblivion . . .
“And so creating a vanished Library of Alexandria which is steadily growing infinitely more immense in the speculations and imaginations, the researches and debates of hundreds of generations as they erect the "Global Urban Legend" of the Paradise Lost when this center of knowledge was turned into a blank and terrifying confrontation with the Eraser of Eradication . . .