Monday, June 15, 2009


You have tracks inside a city. You build from wherever your center is. Wherever you sit your ass, wherever you put your drink, the place you eat in or a house or an apartment, you build your tracks from here to there. If you’re going shopping, you find your stores: you usually even go to those stores a certain way. You follow certain tracks through the city. You might even work it into a sense of birth. Constantly, you’re moving toward something, but you always return to wherever your womb is, whether it’s McSorely’s bar or you know. Just put me on Second Avenue; I can hang on. I’m driving down this ugly street again and like I know where I am. I know where the parking places are, if there are any, or what streets they’re likely to be on. And it’s get out of the car and get into a subway and go where you’re going––but you immediately move into a whole new set of grooves, your head turned around, and you’re moving places. You have friends here. It’s easier to walk over to Carmine Street or to Van Dam Street than it is to take any kind of transportation whatsoever from the Lower East side. You have a fifteen or twenty-minute walk, but it’s much simpler than taking any transportation. And not only that, you can vary your routes. There are all sorts of channels inside a city, ways of doing things, going places. (But), it’s somebody else’s system. You use this whole complex of systems, somehow to satisfy your own sense of moving from here to there. I don’t build roads, man: I didn’t lay out the city. But I can walk all over Central Park practically in the dark. . . I’m completely located in this wild little park. . .

(“An Interview with PB,” with L.S. Dembo, conducted May 25, 1971; Contemporary Literature, 1972, 141-42)

Paul Blackburn, Visitation I

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