Having my way with Ulysses

Disguises, clutched at, gone, not here

No one has ever been so many men as this man, who like the Egyptian Proteus could exhaust all the guises of reality. 11:20 am

He lights the fuse and I see that flame dangerous, blue, a flame too close to the face light us, reveal our position.  Breathe it in.  Pause.  Blow it up to the sky.  A signal.  Time now.  A wild escape, light the fuse.  Hide. Then shattered glass and toppling masonry.  Ruin of all space and most particularly all time.  That’s gone.  And there’s death too.  As if death were not too.  Then, and lets be authentic now.  We are talking about the real here, no bullshitting around, the getaway happened under the disguise of the full blaze of day.  A wedding, honeymoon car, hide as a bride.  Easy.  People look and see a wild escape and imagine their own.  Ah well.  They all end the same.  Now our spurned lover is loveless, the wife is wifeless.  Again, the plain light of day washes over us all.  Think of all the landless now.  The exiles in America in particular.  The children of the children.  I think we have some Irish: American mutt.  They have forgotten.  Who?  Remember us, O Sion, we do not remember you.

As if it wasn’t broken already

There was no one in him; behind his face (which even through the bad paintings of those times resembles no other) and his words, which were copious, fantastic and stormy, there was only a bit of coldness, a dream dreamt by no one. At first he thought that all people were like him, but the astonishment of a friend to whom he had begun to speak of this emptiness showed him his error and made him feel always that an individual should not differ in outward appearance. 11:16 am

He looks a bit like Shakespeare, or so they say.  I see it.  He’s an intelligent man, doesn’t deserve his cyclical life.  Drunk wife, dancing around in a kimono with an umbrella that time, pawns furniture, he buys it back.  She sells it again Friday and he starts again Monday.  Sisyphus without the rock.  Would wear the heart out of a stone.  It was just after we saw the tiny coffin, white, Martin tried to turn the talk away from.  Poor little thing in that coffin.  Well out of it as Dedalus said.  In the midst of life we are in death.  And we all understand what that means perfectly well.  Don’t we?  I mean, I always believe.  At least for me.  Take Rudy for example.  Sweet little dwarf body weak as putty.  They say a mistake of nature.  Meant nothing, better luck next time.  He doesn’t have to.  Or at least he will never.  Hell with this, what was I saying?  Death in the midst of life.  Yes.  Nabokov said the cradle rocks above an abyss.  You see?  Life is a pinpoint of light surrounded by eternitites of darkness.   Where we came from, where we are going: the same place.  Oh they look on suicide badly enough, greatest disgrace to have in a family, cowardly, temporary insanity was Cunningham’s charitable view.  But I don’t know.  It is a route at least.  It’s one way to get there.  Poor Papa.  He was in a room with hunting pictures on the walls.  At his hotel.  The bottle was there and they said they thought he was asleep at first.  But then saw the yellow streaks on his face.  I didn’t want to look and see him differ from.  And the letter.  For my son Leopold.  No more pain.  Rattle his bones.  Over the stones.  He’s only a pauper whom nobody owns.  Nobody owns.

God, we simply must dress the character

History adds that before or after dying he found himself in the presence of God and told Him: "I who have been so many men in vain want to be one and myself." The voice of the Lord answered from a whirlwind: "Neither am I anyone; I have dreamt the world as you dream your work, my Shakespeare, and among the forms in my dream are you, who like myself are many and no one." 11:10 am

Let’s see, who shall I be?  I am a human shell and of course so are you.  What shall I fill myself with now?  I can wear my latin quarter hat with puce gloves and just say in the most natural tone: when I was in Paris, Boul’Mich, I used to.  Feel that?  Felt good, no?  Real.  And now it is for you to say you seem to have enjoyed yourself and yes, I seem.  It’s all in the seeming.  If it seems not it is not.  So then so.  Look around, no-one about?  Good.  Can shift to a new seam.  It’s allright, nobody saw.  And if caught wearing the wrong seem, well easy enough.  Other fellow did it: other me.  Which me?  Well there’s the me you can see and who the hell that is who can say.  Does it matter?  Who the hell are you?  Who are you to?  Who do you think you?  Well, you know who you, in all your glorious pluralities.  I see you shifting.  Where are you anyway?  Where makes you who just as much as when.  Is that an office?  Are you at work?  I can’t see.  Shift over a bit so I can.  Oh I see, now that makes more sense.  Of course who you are here is not who you are there.  There either.  You are free to act this way with these but not that way with those.  Fill yourself with yourself, but not all of yourself.  Save some for your solitary seem.  Nobody knows that who, not even you.

And and and and tell us,

And into the river that had been a stream (for a thousand of tears had gone eon her and come on her and she was stout and struck on dancing and her muddied name was Missisliffi) there fell a tear, a singult tear, the loveliest of all tears (I mean for those crylove fables fans who are 'keen' on the pretty-pretty commonface sort of thing you meet by hopeharrods) for it was a leaptear. 11:06 am

Oh weeping God, the things I married into.  Drunken accountant and his brother.  Stephen the artist visiting them, couldn’t he fly a bit higher than that?  Nuncle Richie and Crissie, papa’s little bedpal, his lump of love.  And how does that visit go?  I’ll tell you, by Christ, same every time.  Stephen rings the bell and that cross-eyed Walter with his sir yes sir no sir sir checks for bill collectors, repo depot, summons servers then lets Stephen in to sit in the only chair.  Offer up the back ache pills, that’s all there is.  And then what?  Drunk in the morning Ritchie holding forth in his house of decay.  And and and and how is Uncle Si?  Stephen says his uncle is a Judge, his uncle is a general.  You’re awfully holy Stephen, aren’t you.  But you will never be a saint.  You prayed to the Blessed Virgin to spare you from drink and to the Devil to spare women from clothes.  You’d sell your soul for that, shouting Naked Women! Naked Women! from the top of a city bus.  Cry it to the rain kid.  And what about that.  What about what?  You’d read two pages each of seven books every night then bow to yourself in the mirror.  Stars in your eyes.  Applause!  You think no one saw.  House not that big kid.  Hurray for the Goddamned idiot!  Hray!  And where are those books you were going to write with letters for titles?  Have your read his P?  Yes but I prefer U!  FW is wonderful but don’t read SU. You were going to write on everything that can be known and the critics would say when one reads the words of one long gone one feels that one is at one with one who once won.  And once one has won the hearts of the one who reads the one that one has won, then one may write one more one like that one but not like the other one, you know the one.  Jesus wept, and no wonder by Christ.