The horizon was the same general color as the sky. The horizon was the same general texture as the sky. The horizon being the same general color as the sky created the impression of being in the center of some huge body of water. The horizon being the same general texture of the sky created the impression of being in the center of some huge body of water. The horizon being the same general color of the sky created the impression of being in the center of some stagnant body of water. The horizon being the same general texture of the sky created the impression of being in the center of some stagnant body of water. The impression was specular. The impression was obliterating. The impression was oceanic. The obliteration was literal.
i forgot how good akira is
Jacques Derrida, writing of Roland Barthes in The Work of Mourning
Opening lines of DFW’s The Pale King as compared with Tolstoy’s Hadji Murad and Isaak Babel’s Crossing the River Zbrucz:
Past the flannel plains and the blacktop graphs and skylines of canted rust, and past the tobacco-brown river overhung with weeping trees and coins of sunlight through them on the water downriver, to the place beyond the windbreak, where untilled fields simmer shrilly in the a.m. heat: shattercane, lamb’s-quarter, cutgrass, sawbrier, nutgrass, jimsonweed, wild mint, dandelion, foxtail, muscatine, spinecabbage, goldenrod, creeping charlie, butter-print, nightshade, ragweed, wild oat, vetch, butcher grass, invaginate volunteer beans, all heads gently nodding in a morning breeze like a mother’s soft hand on your cheek.
An arrow of starlings fired from the windbreak’s thatch. The glitter of dew that stays where it is and steams all day. A sunflower, four more, one bowed, and horses in the distance standing rigid and still as toys. All nodding. Electric sounds of insects at their business. Ale-colored sunshine and pale sky and whorls of cirrus so high they cast no shadow. Insects all business all the time. Quartz and chert and schist and chondrite iron scabs in granite. Very old land. Look around you. The horizon trembling, shapeless. We are all of us brothers.
I was returning home by the fields. It was midsummer, the hay harvest was over and they were just beginning to reap the rye. At that season of the year there is a delightful variety of flowers —red, white, and pink scented tufty clover; milk-white ox-eye daisies with their bright yellow centers and pleasant spicy smell; yellow honey-scented rape blossoms; tall campanulas with white and lilac bells, tulip-shaped; creeping vetch; yellow, red, and pink scabious; faintly scented, neatly arranged purple plaintains with blossoms slightly tinged with pink; cornflowers, the newly opened blossoms bright blue in the sunshine but growing paler and redder towards evening or when growing old; and delicate almond-scented dodder flowers that withered quickly.
Fields of purple poppies flower around us, the noonday wind is playing in the yellowing rye, the virginal buckwheat rises on the horizon like the wall of a distant monastery. The quiet Volyn is curving. The Volyn is withdrawing from us into a pearly mist of birch groves, it is creeping away into thickets of hops. An orange sun is rolling across the sky like a severed head, a gentle radiance glows in the ravines of the thunderclouds and the standards of the sunset float above our heads. The odour of yesterday’s blood and of slain horses drips into the evening coolness. The Zbrucz, now turned black, roars and pulls tight the foamy knots of the rapids. The bridges have been destroyed, and we ford the river on horseback. A majestic moon lies on the waves. The horses sink into the water up to their backs, the sonorous currents ooze between hundreds of horses’ legs. Someone sinks and resonantly defames the Mother of God. The river is littered with the black rectangles of carts, it is filled with a rumbling, whistling and singing that clamour above the serpents of the moon and the shining chasms.
The details are unimportant, this much at least is apparent. The big picture is also unimportant, but of course that’s obvious. Names, dates, places: unimportant, all. Perforce, we mustn’t concern ourselves with what happened, nor are we to burden our thoughts with what could have but didn’t happen. Despite our deepest inclination, we cannot speculate as to whether anything happened at all. Naturally, any question as to why any of this is or may be the case is precluded by circumstance and context, both of which are necessarily unimportant and beside the strictly figurative point, as the point, such as it is or may be, is not to be considered, assuming of course that such consideration is or is not possible, the possibility of which is itself wholly inconsequential.