Joshua Corey: excerpts from “Hannah and the Master”

 

INTERIOR BUNKER THE COUNTER-CENTURY

Widescreen nativity: nativity of the eye. Ringed by lashes and flames.

Endgame cinema, Nuremberg hypothesis, the present unforgiven by both past and future.

The horizontal city lights its depths without benefit of computers or clergy. Visible pulse of infrastructure pulsing the skin of buildings, falling cars, the ruined sky, the people navigating a climax climate signified by the endlessness of the dirty rain.

Spectacular uncaptured carbon conceals/reveals the vertical. Gods of biomechanics lounge aside from the clinamen disclaiming the desert-jungle. Ice ages of the mind.

INTERIOR pyramid’s primal scene of the masked and goggled DOCTOR in mint-green scrubs poised over cellular vats delicately inserting eyeballs into needful heads. Encased in nutrient slime quintessential bodies of the century remade for the new world, the counter-century. Cackling: Man encounters only himself.

Man-form and woman-form drip-dry on metal benches in the night of postmodern poetry. Then led almost quiescent by gloved hands into habitats, monochrome simulacra of the century we cannot kiss goodbye.

HIS cabin in the sky simulates a mountaintop. Clinical hands dress him furnish the necessary skullcap, white collar, black notebooks, pen and desk. Pose him alone under dark leaves to fulfill his function. He DOES.

SHE in the cloister looking into a yard populated by artificial birds dresses herself simply in blouse, skirt, stockings, shoes. Ashtray, cigarette, typewriter. Eyes alight with their own smoke. She THINKS.

Diorama splitscreen his and hers watched by the DOCTOR reclined in the sublime of replication, its infinite count simulating abundance. At his elbow the implants, so many historical paper dolls.

Ripple affect of hearing through the lens of the screen the work of thought that is almost prayer.

When the film ends, history ends with it. A tale to be told in the aftermath of life as we know it.

Crossing the cinematic boundary, before the twentieth century is implanted in their bodies, the blank of SHE and the blank of HE meet. SHE lies her head in HIS lap and HE strokes HER hair, absently. With his other hand HE writes:

Night of the worldless and the human Jews.

Night of the furies of repetition.

Night of depleted uranium ideologies. Night of the future enframed by a lost logic of exploitation.

Cinema of night. Shock of light. Its artificial day.

FADE IN:

 

 

 

 

AFFIDAVIT OF IDENTITY IN LIEU OF A PASSPORT

We must bring up the bodies, the bodies, clinically wrapped, measured, and screened.

The MASTER, a basic pleasure model
Talk about beauty and the beast: he’s both
Optimum self-sufficiency
A nuclear loader

HANNAH maybe thirty years of age, worn beautifully at the corners of her mouth, exposed ecliptic of her left eye, black stripe edging the collar of her blouse that makes her appear almost a Spanish dandy, toreador of sobriety.

I, JOHANNA BLUCHER, nee Arendt, also known as HANNAH ARENDT
residing at 130 Morningside Drive, New York 27, N.Y.
being duly sworn, depose and state:

1. I was born on Oct. 14, 1906 at Hannover in Germany
2. My occupation is Writer; Executive Secretary of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, Inc.
3. I am married; the name of my husband is Heinrich Blucher
___born on Jan. 29,1899 at Berlin/Germany, residing
___at 130 Morningside Drive, New York 27, N.Y.

4. I am a former citizen of Germany and at present
___stateless

10. I am attaching hereto my photograph and I am giving my perso-
____nal description as evidence of my identity.

There the image truly creased. Signature of statelessness, signature of suffering, sutured to her name:

The difficult work of fiction. The Thirties, the Forties, sea levels of anti-Semitism. Statelessness stalks us in the night of the WAVE, its climax architecture. Six degrees centigrade by 2100. The century unravels by then, winding backward by rapid degrees: drains of capital, new feudalisms, primitive deaccumulation, renewing the solitude of the earth.

From all sorrows must be borne to all sorrows can be borne—

Naïve survivals at home in species-being—

Stamped return to sender—

Stamped pleasure model – “I think, therefore I am—“

“Very good, now show him why.”

Why is vector feeling: “feeling from a beyond which is determinate and pointing to a beyond which is to be determined.” Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, p. 163.

Pleasure, which is fundamentally the intensified awareness of reality.

Stamped sealed delivered—

Papers for citizens of the counter-century,

for zugzwang, light’s stale-

mate:

I am a survivor, and not intact.

 

 

 

 

 

BANALITY OF DAYS

Days like any others, the disaster touching down elsewhere, with increasing frequency. We are spared?

Men are accomplices to that which leaves them indifferent.

Am I the Eichmann of the WAVE? The gentile of the desert-jungle?

The CALIBRATOR, the aligner, the buffoon. There is no alias for him, no algebra, no nom de plume.

Kidnapped from the dream of off-world colonies into the desert-jungle of the now.

In this simulation he sits there in his glass box, bent under the weight of black headphones whispering the gap between Hebrew and German. Look at HANNAH, similarly encumbered, listening, frowning, bent to her pages. The phrase is hovering outside the bounds of what her pen will record, on the tip of her tongue. Not the banality of blank but the blank of ____. The lapse into the formlessness of filling out forms. The sinister redistribution of agency that his trial, the record of that trial, will mark. (Eich means “calibration.”) While fingers are still on buttons. (Mann does not mean “man.”) While carbon chokes the sky in the name of freedom (the Soviets plus electrification), invisibly blocking views of G-D.

 

 

 

 

 

EXTERIOR JERUSALEM: DER PROZESS

At last you are fed up with being an anonymous wanderer between the worlds.

This incident kept bothering him. Times have changed so much.

An idealist was a man who lived for his idea.

It hurt him to hurt their feelings, this Eichmann, this anti-Bartleby who will never prefer.

His heroic fight with the German language, which invariably defeats him. Officialese is my only language.

A single sentence that was not a cliché.

Quite an unwholesome book: Lolita.

Often thoughts which, though hideous
_________ word for word
were not empty.

Against reality as such.

His sympathy for a hard-luck story.

My years-long efforts to obtain land and soil
Everything was as if under an evil spell
I was frustrated in everything, no matter what
suddenly stuttering with rage a mechanism
________ that had become completely unalterable.

It was normal and human
all his grief and sorrow.
Keep the gravel paths in order,
a great inner joy to me
not gassed, apparently, but shot.

Is this bad faith, or outrageous stupidity? Winds of Mauna Loa.

I never met a single man who would admit that he had done wrong.

Robert N. Proctor: “If ours is an age of ecology, then perhaps we should rechristen Germany in the 1930s and 1940s ‘The Age of Jews.’”

Who cannot afford to face reality
________ (mass extinctions)
because his crime has become part and parcel of it?

For he and the world he lived in had been once in perfect harmony.

Shielded against reality and factuality

A moral prerequisite for survival

The aura of systematic mendacity

extraordinary sense of elation

filled to the brim with such sentences, a different elating cliché

I will jump into my grave laughing!

It was essential that one take him seriously, and this was very hard to do.

One of the few gifts fate bestowed upon me is a capacity for truth insofar as it depends upon myself.

In full possession of my physical and psychological freedom—

his plea for mercy
changing moods
this horrible gift for consoling

Raus
Rein
Raum

the world without us

(Master and volk: ego non cogito ergo sum)

We have been to the limit. We have reached the final boundary, “stepping,” the POET says, “into a realm which is turned toward the human, but uncanny—“

                                               (more human than
                              human

							  	                       (the again and
								                       again

Here for the first and last time I had a choice.

Yes, he had a conscience.

[ ] in the coming winter could no longer be fed. These things sound sometimes fantastic, but they are quite feasible.

[ ]

The native animalized hordes. A destroyer of human beings or an annihilator of culture?

Her “shy, resolute persistence” in the face of her own replication.

Happily the survivors—

Happily—

No century for them now—

 

 

 

 

 

WORDS DEEP DOWN IN THE SEA

The DOCTOR’s underwater LABORATORY. Apparatus climb the walls, metal beds with drains, switches and dials and scurrying rats, Bunsen burners and Jacob’s Ladders, electricity climbing to the sky.

The DOCTOR’s rubber red hands. He speaks:

A replicant is a materialist emanation: copy of a copy of a copy of the Form Divine.

Commerce is our goal and a genetic copy, as with the digital, suffers no degradation in resolution or quality.

“More human than human”? That’s just something we say. To live is to choose…something else.

Replication circumvents birth, implies—wrongly—a perfect origin and a given understanding.

Out of Albion, Los Angeles, Europa, toward nexus and Atlantis. Survivors of the artifice, cresters of the WAVE. It’s my madness to return them to the world.

Only poets like beggars still celebrate birth. We work in the dark, uncovenanted, bookless.

Poets who sin against distance, bringing the spark of their own lives near, emanations of the unseen, forbidden earth.

The replicant, other to itself, implanted in a history not its own, opens a space to be detonated by a You.

I’m not a replicant. I’m Klaus Kinski.

I do not challenge my times, the that-which-happens. I turn.

A stranger to nature, I am the mother of wounds. That grow, and speak, and remember themselves.

The female forms.

I serve the MASTER that I made.

 

 

 


About the author

Joshua Corey’s Hannah and the Master will be published by Ahsahta Press in Fall 2019. His most recent publication is Partisan of Things, a new translation of Francis Ponge’s Le parti pris des choses that he did with Jean-Luc Garneau (Kenning Editions, 2016). A collection of critical prose, The Transcendental Circuit: Otherworlds of Poetry, is forthcoming from MadHat Press. He lives in Evanston, Illinois and teaches English at Lake Forest College.