:: Article

The Beauty of the Room

By Gordon Lish.

Here’s how come the title. O, it was so beautiful. The room was. I stood and swooned—and said what you just read. I swear it to you, that I stood in the doorway and said, “O, the beauty of the room.” Well, sure, I see it, don’t think I don’t see it—my saying I said O when, who knows, might it have been oh I said? Here’s another thing about this that may mute your intriguement in this—that it was a bathroom, or is. No, not the bathroom adjoining the bedroom, no. Not, therefore, or then, the en suite bathroom, unless one would have done better to have said the en suite bathroom. Yet here’s the thing with that—you italicize and, ipso facto, have you not operationalized? Better, say I, to keep it all roman, unless it’s Roman. This has become my policy in these latterly years—nicht italicization, nein! O boy, aren’t we in it now! There is no good way, it is no good saying, uh, certain things. One wants not to reveal oneself vis-a-vis one’s wants and wonts, yet the thing of oneself, it, how do you say it, it manages to materialize, mais non?  This, indubitably, was what was going on when I beheld the bathroom and was, in the beholding of it, thunderstruck. It was, qua room, unutterly, well, beautiful, and, therefore, as Scarry, repeating Keats, would aver, to be judged an instantiation of truth. Unless it’s adjudged. Is it adjudged? One had worked with detergents, with solvents, with a veritable armentarium of agents and rags to rid the room of its accrual of muck, this because a house-guest was expected. Not that where I sit in this deference to the noetical communicability of conveying feeling—oh, so you see me knuckling under to resist the toppling over of the plinth this hitch as a rhetorician is rigged to lift me up onto the top of! Big deal. The shame of it. Fine. I was setting out to say this is no house and that there is no entrant who comes into it to take up the mantle of guestship in it who’s to be ranked as other than an apartment-guest, no es verdad?

Forget it.

Yet have a care you not congratulate yourself on your having lost interest sooner than I have, or did, my zest having turned gelid back where O and oh were being plumbed for any access to issueness. It must nevertheless be confessed I was taken aback when the labor was done and one could stand in the doorway and gander. It was, all my moments considered all in all, quite the ditto. “The beauty of the room!” I heard myself to exclaim. No, it was, rather, it was “O the beauty of the room!”  Unless it were “Oh, the–!” and so forth and so on.

One of the stewards of this on-linear site, he would testify—or, anyhow, could—to the apartment-proudness that besots me, or is it of, of with, which I am besotted?

Its degree of attainment, O!

Unless it’s oh.

Let the man stand forth–and declare himself a witness.

Here, David Chadwick Winters, speak!

Has he not gazed upon the toilet in question?

Well, perhaps not.

Me, as for me, no, never have I made use of a host’s facility.





Or never.

(Ah, the columnar thing, such an easement, relief, egress.)

It was my granddaughter Nina for whom the facility was being, or had been, made its nicest, she having sent word ahead of her intended visit, from Delaware, this in the company of her intended, the man Jordan. O, oh, they showed up, all right, Nina and Jordan did, from Delaware, but never once, over the course of their duration on the premises, did either of them petition for use of the toilet. It was on this account that, when they were preparing themselves to depart, I insisted they be conducted along the corridor and, at its terminus, I stepped out of their line of sight, flung out my arm in prolepsis, and said:



What do you say to that!

The whole of it gleaming.










The mirrored vanity.

Agleam, goddamnit, agleam.

Nothing columnar about it.

All of a lineated consecution of shining welcome.

“You might have availed yourselves thereto!” quoth I.

Well, they retreated at once, got themselves into their outer garments, collected their luggage, and, in accusatory haste, left. But failed to effect their escape to the elevator before the chance to put a proper point on it all got away from me.

“According to today’s Financial Times,” I called out to their fluttering coattails, “the Chinese are warning of a meat glut in the year two thousand twenty!”

Or was it to their flailing coat tails I did?

Never mind.

If beauty be truth, and it is my final fossick that this be thus, my parting shot was not all that much out of order, was it?  O well, unless it must be oh well, whatever your thought in regardment thereof, let Nina and Jordan forever dwell with, or at least enjoy receipt of invitations galore for ultra-frequent squints at, a site so marvelously achieved, aesthetically considering.

Q: Operationalize, who said that?

A: Nanni Moretti’s older brother.

Q: Who he?

A: Senior sibling of the aesthetician Nanni Moretti.

Q: Is that to be claimed a sufficiency of explanation?

A: Yes—as Keats might have put it, but didn’t.

Gordon Lish
has been affiliated with strict destructionism since adolescence.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, March 1st, 2019.