Blin script (video, 2005)


(based on the 15 chapters of The Dubliners by James Joyce)

no hope
I said softly to myself the word
upon its deadly work
but there was something queer
talking of faints and worms
spat rudely into the grate
into some pleasant and viscious region
in a murmuring voice and I
so moist with spittle
of paralysis and I felt
I also approached and
disturbed to find myself at check
seemed so grave to me
let his tongue lie upon his lower lip
could not remember the end of the
circled by a scanty white
disappointed at my refusal
something queer coming
for her to break the silence

who were afraid to seem
doors of escape
was some wretched scribbler
tried to decipher the legend
would give anything to be young again
kept silent
every boy, he said, has a little
queer old josser
the ear was no good
whip him and whip him
whip such a boy as he were unfolding
in my heart I had always

image: Jazzbo (young boy, Mike’s son) walking

being blind
straggling bushes under
the career of our play
arose from the ashpits
a summons to all my foolish
in the sodden beds
desire to veil
annihilate the tedious intervening
my soul luxuriated and
wandering thoughts together
was pitilessly raw and already my heart
for some pious purpose
latchkey in the halldoor
onward among ruinous
displayed the magical name
the fall of the coins
derided by vanity
image: tree and sky

the odour of dusty
keep nix
above the broken harmonium
undesirable life
out to Canada
white of two letters in her
the sickroom saying
in final craziness
save her
black mass of the boat
felt him seize her
would drown
beyond the barrier
like a helpless
no sign
image: Niagara Falls

this channel of poverty
be genuinely happy
covertly proud of the excess
strain forward to catch the quick
in spite of temporary errors
knot of gazers
supped in a snug
tongues had been loosened
the loss of old instruments
the torpid
doubly hot
a faint cloud of the aromatic
cried Stop!
flinging themselves boldly
bundled together
glad of the dark stupour
in a shaft of grey
image: wood in water (shipwreck?)

air an unchanging unceasing murmur
cunning enjoyment
a ravaged look
winnowed of vigour
a fine tart
cigarettes every night
father’s frame and gait
globular and oily
fond of delivering
leaving his flattery open
to meditate
little ring of listeners
white sailor hat
one leg over the chains
sound of his boots
her bosom stems
a contented leer
began to control his
to invent and to amuse
brain and throat
two work-girls and a mechanic
in a subdued voice
less vanquished in spirit
the ready
on the stroke of
composed in stern calm
a grave gesture
shone in the palm

Image: lake, trees, bed with shoes, fireplace

bad meat he ruined
a big imposing
and vamped
little perverse madonna
a cleaver deals with
bacon fat and bacon rind
in her wise innocence
catch short twelve at
not rakish or
the loss of his sit
warmly in his throat
disreputable father
for bed she had tapped
her hand and his delirium
never fear
throat, so he would
pillows on which her gaze

Image: woman in water, close up of belly

and fearless accent
a row of childish white
known under a shabby
like mice upon
all that vermin-like life
gaunt spectral mansions
low fugitive laughter
future greatness in his
stupified by the panorama
onward bravely
to overmaster him
two sympathetic fingers
a sore head and a fur
expressing himself did not please him
something vulgar
a story which he knew to be true
where nothing is known
a pleasure deferred
I believe
he was a delicate
the woman and the cash
a frame of crumpled horn
in them, no rapture
a dull resentment
grew keener
to sob piteously
to stammer
his cheeks suffused
remorse started to

Image: water and rocks

out in a piercing
with labour and vexation
do you hear me now?
the polished skull
in his throat
the dark snug
hastily confused the man
two letters were missing
with the same letter
set for a spell of riot
hardly restrain his fist
the author of the
to vibrate like the knob
that was the dart!
satisfaction and staring
poisons who should come
pushed past the whining
became theatrical
an immense
oblique staring expression in
with loutish familiarity
fury nearly choked
do that again!
about him wildly but
pa, if you don’t beat me

Image: Jazzbo walking

see yourself in the big
had cut them
do to the dummy
read again the words
he took any drink
and she liked looking
women began to come
wiping their steaming hands
with disappointed shyness
till her minute body
she changed her
had so often adorned
her toes barely
cut a thick slice of plumcake
favoured him with demure nods
coloured with shame and vexation
you didn’t rub him
to crack nuts without
insisted then on blindfolding
she felt a soft wet substance
got the prayer-book
tried to show her her mistake
so much with tears

Image: cigarette in ashtray, books

upwards along the shallow river
the cloth cover of a notebook
writing materials
papers held together by a brass pin
left there and forgotten
at a little distance from his body
firmly, carrying a stout hazel
the only dissipations of his life
thinly peopled and silent
distressing prophecy of failure
a deliberate swoon of
to become intimate
captain of a mercantile boat
a distaste for underhand
or any incongruity
she listened to all
was like a warm soil about an exotic
the strange impersonal voice
the soul’s incurable loneliness
disillusioned him
fearing another collapse
pieces of music encumbered
by the falling
shock and sudden failure of the
no blame attached
commonplace vulgar death attacked
squalid trace of her vice
one of the wrecks on which
it crept
with her openly
if anyone remembered him
to feel her voice touch his ear
gnawed the rectitude
drone of the engine
of her name
he could hear nothing

Image: fire, woman’s torso sleeping

whitening dome of coals
she cocks him up with
that way to their father
don’t stir
a decent skin
opened his very long mouth suddenly
and counted the full tally
the thin edge of the wedge
the mills, the shipbuilding yards
from their bottles in silence
to hide his emotion
a very fine piece of writing

Image: woman swimming, kids in field (from Marker’s Sans Soleil)

dirty pieces of paper
out of spite
in secret
laughing at the crossing of so
she forgot nothing
idle in the vestibule
time to time at the mirror and
the talent for Saturday night
behaved indecorously
he was limping out quickly
anger began to flutter
so she was silent
the melancholy of the wet
are you in it too?
brought a breath of opulence
down to a discreet
with a plausible voice
who balanced his imposing
he was widely
it was not her fault
a swift struggle of tongues
resurrected from an old
how she was repaid
inundated with an angry
struck her ear, she caught
he felt his skin on fire

Image: lake in winter, quick handheld shots, Jazzbo walking

in the lavatory
but he was quite helpless
with the filth and ooze
struggling to look in through
forced down the man’s
touched his helmet
again into the mouth which
blood and a minute
the dignity of its calling
then spat it forth into
recalled with vivid pleasure how
tempered by brief immersions
change greatly before death
doesn’t pain you
under his exactions
to fulfill imaginary engagements in
these thundering big country
unworthy of the name
I heard him
he hesitated for a moment
was not without culture
to show the difference between their two
up two thick fingers
words had built up the vast image
it uttered the word
would be wiser to conceal her
listen to that!
I bar the magic-lantern business
and on lugubrious
settled down in the form of a quincunx
rested upon his knees
life not in the manner of worldlings
who were of all men the least
his books, the books of his
all had, our failings
say like a man

Image: water and stone, wood and water, bed, three children (from Marker’s Sans Soleil), woman’s torso

who had come
you were never coming
down in his heart
to follow the voice
I love the look of snow
assailed him
I wrote a letter
downward on the bed
grief, let it fall
into the dark mutinous

Image: woman swimming, close-up of belly, Jazzbo walking (the boy who lay in her belly), Mike at dock