“A”

a fiction, a fictive foto, a fanciful design said to have been the greatest corporate nazi killer of them all…

ACT I
Ben is lowered from the ceiling. After a moment of being alone, various office
“products” begin to be lowered from the ceiling and set in place in Ben’s office
cubicle. As each product is lowered, it is possible that a face is reflected on the
product as a “chorus.” “Parallel Text A” offers text for the chorus, but other
products could be included in the décor without texts. The products continue to
descend as Ben goes through his monologue. After the cubicle is completely decorated,
a mirror could be implemented to make the cubicle appear as one of
many).

Hi, my name is Ben! I’m calling from PEOPLES WIRELESS. Is Rebecca
Smith home? How you doing Rebecca? Are you satisfied with your cellular
phone service?

Horses: who will do it? out of manes? Words
Will do it, out of manes, out of airs, but
They have no manes, so there are no airs, birds
Of words, from me to them no singing gut.
For they have no eyes, for their legs are wood,
For their stomachs are logs with print on them;
Blood red, red lamps hang from necks or where could
Be necks, two legs stand A, four together M.
“Street Closed” is what print says on their stomachs;
That cuts out everybody but the diggers;
You’re cut out, and she’s cut out, and the jiggers
Are cut out. No! we can’t have such nor bucks
As won’t, tho they’re not here, pass thru a hoop
Strayed on a manhole — me? Am on a stoop.

Because if you don’t have a teacher, how have you created, what I called the
field of knowledge. But having worked with Winnicott’s ideas, I then went on to
Lacan’s ideas using discourse theory. And realised that what I was trying to talk
about was the fact that the teacher has to embody the object a. In other words
they have to embody a bit of existence that is missing to provoke the student’s
desire, without alienating them. So, in other words, we don’t want a Master
discourse. If the teacher is present, in the normal expected sense that we have in
schools and in Universities, then that is automatically a Master discourse if they
start to teach in traditional ways. But if they reject that teaching…

39.1 Horses: in the first instance the poet is referring in this poem to sawhorses, which are being used to mark off a section of a street under repair; therefore they have “Street Closed” printed on their “stomachs” (39.9). Scroggins suggests (359) that a probable source for the subject of this poem was Guillaume Apollinaire’s poem “Chevaux de Frise” (Friesland horses) from Calligrammes (1918), in which the poet verbally transforms bared wire covered wooden frames, called Friesland horses, into actual horses. Apollinaire’s poem is mentioned in the work LZ wrote with René Taupin, Le Style Apollinaire (1934), quoting the lines: “Non chevaux barbes mais barbelés / Et je les anime tout soudain” (Not Barbary horses but barded wire / And I give them sudden life) (238-239). Also see numerous references to horses throughout “A”, as indicated in the index.

39.1 manes: horse manes, but manes were also spirits of the dead in ancient Rome.

39.2 airs: in Renaissance usage an accompanied song; also breath or to make out of air.

39.4 singing gut: instrument strings, often made out of animal gut, catgut.

39.8 two legs stand A, four together M: shape of sawhorses seen from end view. Kenner points out (“Of Notes and Horses,” in Terrell 190) that AM suggests God’s response to Moses concerning his name: “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:16; see 12.163.24). This in turn might invoke Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s definition of the primary imagination: “the living power and prime agent of all human perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM” (Biographia Literaria, Chap. 13).

39.11 jiggers / Are cut out: (1) jig = a lively dance or the music for such a dance; joke or trick; apparatus for cleaning or separating crushed ore by agitation in water; device for guiding a tool or for holding machine work in place; (2) jigger = a person who jigs or operates a jig; a small measure for liquor or this amount of liquor; device, such as a drill, that operates with a jerking or jolting motion (AHD). Ahearn adds that jigger is also slang for streetcars (62). In letters to LZ, Lorine Niedecker used “jiggers” as an exclamation: e.g. “[…] so when you write ‘Regards to Glover’—jiggers, there’s my title” (Pemberthy 147).

39.12 bucks: dollars; robust or high-spirited young man; act of bucking; sawhorse (AHD).

Encouraged by this interest, Niedecker started writing again. She had previously earned her living scrubbing hospital floors, “reading proof” at a local magazine, and renting cottages, and had lived at the edge of poverty for years.

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