THE CIRCLE, OR APPENDISECTOMY:
FROM AN (AGING) BOOK ABOUT A WRITER YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF -
A.K.A. HENRI d'MESCAN
Copyright © 2002 All Rights Reserved
Appendix C: Endnotes on the Musical Speakers in Alphabet City
The Circle track thumps like an obscene baby mouth drooling beneath the speakers in a long string of gelatinous DNA or an alloy of popular imagination and super-reinforced copper filament projecting its fantastic sis-boom-ba over the public in its multivalent forms: emissaries from the secret chemical concern in civilian incognito, homesick wives staffing the ol' day-to-day while husbands fathers brothers lovers die in the blackout confusion of the Blitz, a small monkey wearing a grey fedora angrily swinging a boom mike near a pyramid of large crates…this feedback swing, the Feedback Loop, the FEEDBACK itself, infuses the crowd with a soporific of the strongest variety. We sleep with machines that have entered our central nervous system. Notes from a charbroiled pan flute emerge from scalding liquid. There is torque to the ampere-barstools vibrate and shot glasses shiver, Dewey defeats Truman in a ghostly electoral college, missed opportunities spread in chromatic marmalade over the cement cracks of politically mobilized floorboards, over the coat room congress between Brooklyn whore and Manahatta skyline, away from homeless poets lost in their shit pales and sullen compositions. We follow the speakers out to the streets, the vibrations enter our skin like the bright knives of Psalm 23…
Appendix 3: Chronological Background
||Chinese mystics calculate pi to five places-3.14159
||Leslie Henry Mescaline is born in Wilmington, Delaware on December 27, to Ümlaut Schnitzler Mescaline, a German immigrant from Westphalia, and Rosa Marina Mescaline, a future agent of international banking concerns.
||Gout-stricken Kublai Khan, astrologically minded, straps Marco Polo to the dissection table.
||The Mescaline family begins its nomadic travels up and down the Mississippi River. Ümlaut begins practicing law without a formal degree.
||Nicolaus Copernicus, researching for 63 years, composes On the Revolution of the Celestial Spheres-proffering the egregiously fallacious supposition of prior Biblical theorems concerning the preeminence of terra-firma as universal sang-froid-thus counter-hypothesizing that hotness in our solar system revolves around a comparatively minuscule piss-ant whose unemployment check is equal to approximately 71% Hydrogen, 27% Helium, and 2% other…
||Henry breaks into father's "law" office on the night of the first murder in Hannibal, MO since 1845. He discovers the dead body of an androgynous teenager, and to his great shame, becomes sexually aroused.
||Descartes re-creates God and math:
Y= mx + b gives us body and blood:
You only thought that you were…
||Mescaline sells razor blade-filled Apples outside the stock exchange on the day of the great crash. After J.P. Morgan's cousin fails to leave him a tip for the fifth day in a row, Mescaline makes a "hangman" collage from leftover tickertape and horse glue, convinces Morgan's doorman to let him in the penthouse, and scares the sucker fully to death.
||Confirming various hypotheses and articulating that sperm, mucous, and other bodily fluids transfer pressure equally in all directions-Blaise Pascal-in the Pensees sur la religion et sur queleques autres sujels, adopts the Great Khan's wager: the use-value of eternal Paradise is infinite in though-control operation and although the probability of attaining wide-spread worship by conventional religion may be small, it is asymptotically greater than by the typical methods of superpower intelligence operatives.
||Henry works as a Best Boy on Schultzie!, a low-budget movie about the life of Gangster Dutch Schultz. Despite the Busby Berkeley hit "The Lullaby of Broad's Way (Fleggie's song)," the movie is scrapped on the cutting room floor due both to lack of funds and several unexplained crew deaths.
||Thirteen rag-tag bumper states slide off the ramshackle dictatorship of mad King George and make freedom wave mother-American style. Humanity realizes it is 76.87% water. . .
||Mescaline begins work at the Brooklyn shipyard
||We wrote to you beneath this tent as summer day will become a shade and certainly magnificent florets of the cannon, aide studs from pale blue firmaments who before ejaculating faded photos…
||Mescaline writes draft of "Warning to the J. Edgar Hoover in your Closet." Time loses all meaning.
||A proto-electromagnetic punch-card computer, ENIAC, whirls on-line at the University of Pennsylvania. Its at least 18,000 shiny knobs fill up the space of at least 36,000 cow bladders. Months before, we drop the atom bomb.
||The Social Darwinist Period (January-August) produces first important work "Spacecats of the World, Untie!" and "54 Prefaces to a Single-Volume Regicide Indictment."
||A conscientiously objectifying computer language, Pascal, conflated, striated and excited by ENIAC, simplifies overwrought syntax and syntax obnoxious while creating fields of pure data and hexadecimal sub-routines…
||The Meta-Fictive Socialist Eco-Terrorist Anarchist Period (January-April) produces A Novel of Fuck You!
||Your 10-slice Mega-Burn 3000 Bagel-Matic Toaster-Like Oven Device determines pi to over 100,000,000 decimal places. This has no practical value.
Appendix AA: Preface to the Speakers
We follow the speakers out to the streets; vibrations enter our skin like the bright knives of Psalm 23, the epidermal punch of the velocity needle, the fast kick, the beatdown, the overworked cop with sensitivity issues and old accordion records, the illuminated animal and eraser blade manuscript, the nervous jiggle of stoplights and car horns, of amniotic fountains of a prostrate Ariadne, of Orpheus lying bloody and disemboweled on 42nd street, of Umma-Segnus, the hideous world worm dialectic unleashing its ooze on the coat of silver tenement windows, on stomachs thumping and pounding under the jaywalking sky. The Circle hits its last movement, as drugs hit the bloodstream. Everything goes so dizzy it almost straightens out, flies right, ships left. My head is a honeycomb, my eyes dripping nectar…
Appendix 73 Series E: Origins of The Circle
From Studies in Advanced Prestidigitation: The Adaptation of the Magi, by Olaf "Step On No Pets" Palindrome, London and Calcutta: 1856.
While the substance of the text remains shrouded in secrecy, controversy, and apocalyptic folklore, it is obvious from research that The Circle is constructed on a thematic illusion. Research conducted on behalf of the Johnston, Farquar, and Leech law firm in regards to the Crystal Palace incident of 1853 indicates that when observed from any two points on the so-called diameter, The Circle can be explained away by a straight line. Three points implies a triangle, four a square, and so forth into the agnostic territories of the hexadecimal. Sure this is free radical science-like discourse, but we also submit that Diogenes, ENIAC, and Pascal once lived in a bathtub together. Returning to the thematic implications of this construction we can surmise that any fracture to the assumed curvaceous narrative line, even when offered in fragments that presumably recreate notions of completeness (as in the violence of Paganini and Busby Berkeley), acts as nothing but misdirection. The idea is simply to expose the fact that what we perceive as complete and satisfying is nothing but an arbitrary construction of habit. Thus, even when The Circle in interpreted in a modern context, the purpose of the interpretation is not to defrock straight narrative and replace it with fragmentation, but to superimpose the new narrative that will come to provide a facsimile of completeness-that is, the new authoritarian and "straight" narrative that will draw its potency by masquerading as disruption.
Appendix Q: Letter about Henry Mescaline from an average American citizen:
Dear National Broadcasting Service;
I was disappointed to see so much space on my small television screen devoted to so-called writer Henry Mescaline on your otherwise fine call-in variety program The Thelonius Bosh Good Time Jingle Hour! (Episode 63 "A Mescaline Experiment"). Can't you see that America just wants this man to go quietly away from our children and take his communist ideals with him? It's not my fault that the Reds are practically living in my housing development at this point. And yes I am sure, thank you, because you can never know who has sympathies in that direction even with the Stars and Stripes outside on Arbor Day and a barbecue pit full of shredded-pork product. Anyway, your program is encouraging his tragic, self-indulgent behavior by devoting so much airtime to his exploits. And we wonder why there is so much wife-swapping these days! This writer's ignominious abuse of the Spacecat character, as of all things, a symbiote with an innocent, little girl…why it's downright Un-American. And his politically embarrassing critique of television merely confirmed for many Americans (and certainly my chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy/Ladies Home Auxiliary [merged two years ago Sunday, thank you very much…power to the people]) what is so wrong with the long-hair beatnik crowd. I voted for FDR five times even though he only ran for four terms just to prove to everyone how liberal I am, but enough is enough. Send the bum back to Stalin!
Levittown, Long Island
Appendix B: Why Henry Mescaline's story about Pittsburgh sounds like it may have really been about a stint in the federal penitentiary, and why it is also difficult to tell.
- He said it was very segregated.
- He said it was very dull.
- He said it produced Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
- He said that the grey was the predominant color.
- He said that cigarettes were enormously expensive.
- He said the cavity searches were dehumanizing.
- He said traffic was a bitch.
Appendix **: Justification for breaking The Circle of Old Modernism1
Is there an endless number of pre-scripted happenstances that one can sluice through in which a overwrought but under-programmed young cyborg with a (rebellious streak and runaway eczema/need for access to the law/mania for social-mobility/love of bullfighting/yen for multicellularity) causing (his parents and kid sister/absurd Eastern European townspeople/the French petit-aristocracy/Jews called only by their last name/more evolved organisms) to mutilate his body and assault his sensibilities in (an exclusive American boarding school/a legal bureaucracy/French resort towns/Spanish bars/the primeval genetic ocean) populated by hell fire zombies and (designer suitcases/unfounded accusations/tea and petit madeleines/cultural and racial stereotypes/magic plankton) re-membering the schizophrenia of multilingual cities in asymptotic regression before he fucks an obnoxious (museum display of penguins/sex-hungry schoolteacher/S&M obsessed Baron/androgynous countess/strand of gooey genetic code) who want to make boom-boom outside of (selling out/giving in/staying put/shutting up/floating apart) using preternatural, spastic literariness-absorbing the digestive track that digests inside the particle containment field-against the apparition of the great world worm, Umma-Segnus, manifest in the (scholastic establishment/brace of executioner clowns/elite social system/pissed-off bloodthirsty bulls/holy lightning bolts)?
Appendix MLK: Charts and Graphs
Charts and Graphs under reproduction copyright. Consult originals in the Library of Congress.
Appendix W-4: SEVEN Comments on the Assimilation of American Jews spoken in an Alphabet City bar.
- "I can't wait to give up my name for his."
- "And when people ask 'what are you?' I resent those who answer 'Jewish' because it doesn't take into account nationality. Why not say instead, 'my family is from Estonia, or Alexandria, or Fez, or wherever…?'
- "As we've heard before, all a Jew really wants to do is doodle a Christian Girl…"
- "God is The Circle whose center is nowhere and circumference is anywhere."
- "I needed to have a sinus operation anyway, so it seemed like a natural thing to do…"
- "We are in a clearing and the pale moon is assaulting the innocent clouds…"
- "Let's also get a Christmas tree…"
Appendix &: The "Word" from our Sponsors
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Appendix Omega: All Speaker must pass when The Circle4 ends.
My head hurt like a honeycomb, my eyes dripping nectar, and the cataract of deluge, the flood of pre-recorded revolution replaces the crowded hangar of denuded aeroplanes. The speakers are grand, gold, and ancient. The Circle is arcane, excremental, soaked in migrant cum. Traffic stops dead in the slime, car windows break from the noise, violins tear through the sky. Alarms of riot-police enter the tape and are cut back as they happen. Rats decipher the trash can code book, but we still take a beating. Everywhere the pornographic theater threatens the suburbs. We split the opiates and call it a millennium. There are court-appointed caffeine squadrons and the brassy garlic blare of aluminum-treated methane. Our arteries harden with the pulse of the people. As the barstool go topsy-turvy, I can feel the music ending, the tone moving toward falling action-but the vibrations continue. We dance to the sound of riotous mustard gas, and drawn-out jazz licks scuttle our inhibitions…the sound of the sulfur city dissipates us into millions of disarming little trinkets…
1 This satire is structurally inspired by a superb satire from Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr.'s "Cyberpunk and Neuromanticism" in Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Fiction, Larry McCaffery, ed. (Durham: Duke U P, 1991), 184, quoted in Powell, Jim, Postmodernism for Beginners, (USA: Writers and Readers, 1998), 137.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
is Chair of the American Studies Program and an Assistant Professor of English at Lake Forest College. His creative work has been nominated for a 2001 Pushcart Prize and has been accepted by Exquisite Corpse, Quarter After Eight, The Little Magazine, Neotrope, Happy, Gargoyle, EnterText
, and The Café Irreal
among others. He has recently completed an essay for the anthology Strobe Lights and Blown Speakers: The Music and Art of Radiohead
. He is co-founder and editor of the media and cultural studies journal to the QUICK
, and is currently developing an anthology on William S. Burroughs and globalization.