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The Less Said HerbertBlau ASTRIDE OF A GRAVE AND A DIFFICULT BIRTH ... he made it hard in mourning to mourn him, fittingly, in anything but his own words. For who was it, after all, that wrote the text of mourning. Or, in its sepulchral orchestration, even hilarious, mourning and melancholia. The problem has always been, since we discovered that he was funny, to take him at his word, funny, but then no longer funny, from the recursive lamentations over the nothing to be done to the last obsessional and fractal testaments to the ubiquitous void: "Say for be said. Missaid. From now say for be missaid." From now, surely, be what it may. But how could it ever be anything but missaid, since he was always addressing the void (within the postmodern the postmortem condition) speaking as it were not astride but, so to speak, from the mouth of the grave or, bespoken perhaps, from somewhere beyond it. "No future in this. Alas, yes." The gravedigger puts on the forceps. But wasn't it he who told us at the risk of contradiction-or was it aporia? aporia pure and simple-that it's all a matter of words, speak no more about it, speak no more. ("Ishould mention before going any further, any further on, that I say aporia without knowing what it means. Can one be ephectic otherwise than unawares? I don't know.") I suppose I should say something about what he meant to us in the theatre, what he meant to me, that time, that time I mean when he didn't for those who walked out of the theatre seem to mean anything at all. Or 11 that other time, in the nursing home, the last time I saw him, the bed, the floor, the wall, "the familiar chamber," the indispensable door, the kind of floor, the kind of wall, which, having seen, you have seen it all, and he: "What do you think of recurring dreams? I have one, I still have it, always had it, anyway a long time. I am up on a high board, over a water full of large rocks.. .. " But as I see myself slipping, "though not yet at the last extremity, towards the resorts of fable," it occurs to me that it might "be better to keep on saying babababa, for example," or like a charm to certify the raising of the dead, reluctant as he may be in the existence uttered forth, quaquaquaquaquaAnd so it goes, as the forceps slip, with the vicissitudes of the void. "A pox on void. Unmoreable unlessable unworseable evermost almost void." Almost? There he is again, hedging his bet or bearing it out to the edge of doom, like "it's finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished," with the dubious imperative of the consummation, if we can trust his predilection , devoutly to be wished. "I have to dive through a hole in the rocks." Now that he's gone it's hard to believe that if death is not the end of him birth was the death of him. Or that even in the imagining (imagination dead imagine!) he "gave up before birth," like the voice of one of his fizzles, farted out, "at suck first fiasco," a failure before it began. Was he writing about writing or was he writing about the self? Or the inseparability of (his) writing, "vasts apart," from the outside diminishing prospect of its remotest possibility, the "meremost minimum" guesswork of a self? And what, as one tries to think of him, can one possibly say of that, in the slippage of the signifiers, not this, that, the unmoreable unlessable uttermost inadequacy of all this otherness, the shadow of a cenotaph, "one minute in a skull, and the next in a belly, and the next nowhere in particular ." Now, who wrote that? I mean: what are we to say of the identity of an author, now dead, something more, surely, than metonymically dead, who became an institution, but as a virtual penance, or "pensum," given "at birth perhaps, as a punishment for having been born perhaps, or for no particular reason" (which is if anything...


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