Part Four "Qualms"

My best book of the year was a book about books. 'night wraps the sky' edited by michael almereyda subheading: 'writings by and about mayakovsky'. I just can't imagine having a personal relationship with Jesus without thinking of him as my buddy. huh/ Or seeing him in the mirror. Like, ok, sometimes whe I eat the food I like, I get acid reflux.

"everybody is right about mayakovsky" says Patricia Blake "This book has been assembled with the hope that multiple Mayakovskies can face themselves in one volume" says the intro. I was hooked of course. I'm the kind of guy who only just avoided getting a tattoo saying "I contain multitudes". [Not like a special friend just for them. I think Jesus was more like something that belonged to the community.] I get acid reflux especially when I take my steraline and my Naproxen and treat myself to the food I like. Quora says that steraline releases acid as it dissolves, so you have to make sure it reaches your tummy.

My best bit of the book was a chapter nestled modestly not quite at the end. "This Can't Be Death" by Michael Almerya himself, where we're finally treated to an insight into the editor. [I'm not sure. Like, a friend or whatever? Do you think they though to Jesus as a person in their life?] I got acid reflux. & I cough & I cough. Before I knew what it was, I called it my forever cough.

He talks about one of his sources, a woman as 'self contained as a cat.' She dropped a book she was passing him into purple icing. "When she deflected this catastrophe with a big bright laugh I laughed with her and felt smitten" [ You ha dto just know what Jesus would do and do it. I guess you had to know him really well, as well as you knew your family members. There wasn't much Jesus i nthe home. There were implicit expectations. Mum said that even though her upbringing was religious] Not covid, I swear! Just a simple forever cough. Then the doctor prescribing me pain pills said, your acid reflux might get worse since you're already taking steraline.

I felt smitten, too. It was good and righ tot have moments of connection with the editor of a mayakovsky book, to sense Almerseyda's living breath in the ink. Svetlana Boym in "Death in quotation marks" "Mayakovsky is a poet with a biography par excellence, a poet who is nonexistent without it" [Its dangerous to go alone, take this" The special object with the divine powers. There's something in that that appeals, that appealed then and appeals now.] Now when I eat my favourite foods and I put myself to bed, I have to stack pillows so the acid drains back into my tummy. On very special days. I also stick pillows under my calves and pretend I'm in a hammock.

This is a common theme from my undergrad: Russian authors refusing to remove themselves from their work, to decorously leave no trace, or die properly, like barthes would've wanted. You're not allowed to read Pushkin without knowing he was killed in a duel; [When you held it, it made your hand take the shape of a claw. I remember it felt slightly oily, maybe a quality of the wood, maybe from the skin. I think one or both or neither of theirs was made from olive wood, from the holy land just like the donkeys.] I felt indignant, undignified, in these moments. But it helps to remember, that Jesus child of God probably also had to prop himself at night. So the acid would drain back into his stomach.

You can't sit through a Soviet literature lecture without your lecturer, smilingly remind you, "Sadly, we'll never read Bakhtin's work on the German Novel because he used the only manuscript to roll cigarettes during a paper shortage. [You were meant to hold it to think about God, to think about God when you held it. Specifically designed for the hand to hold. I love those things.] This sort of thing is often on my mind because once, when I was small, I picked up a book about theology by C.S. Lewis. I was too young for it but at the time I was obsessed with the end of Narnia: everyone dead, apocalypse, raining blood.A great example of this sense of tactfulness is in "Master & Margarita" by Mikail Bulkagov, which I read when I was 15 or 16, and didn't think about again unti lI was talking to strangers on the Griboyedev Canal & Playing with Kris's dog with eyes two different colours- stuff that happens, sort of , in the book. "Positively Bulgakovian!!!" [She and my granny each had a holding cross in their handbags. I've tried to hink, but I don't remember whether she started believing again before she was poorly or after. My auntie got poorly] I don't remember much, but I have an impression of an argument between Thomas Aquinas and someone else. about whether Jesus shat. I seem to remember the church splintering over it.

"Master and Margarita' is often cited as Russian's favorite book, and who can blame them! It's a dark comedy-cum-satire-cum-magical realist spectacular. About the devil visiting Moscow. "Off I go fucking shit up and being morally ambivalent" (& stalinism) [Or ironically straight, and which would be more obnoxious , whether to go big or queer, sometimes I imagine what it'd look like if I got married.]


Off She Goes

Was she taken? Did she vanish into the sky?