Dead Letter Game
up early, nattering into a bucket, which passes for a typewriter for a time machine -- in the arch-reservations of vainglory, the buddy-buddy "necessity" of filling in gaps -- all of these were pages, and in that still quiet preserve, nothing would ever come of it : except :
the smell of electricity -- i did look the part of the caretaker but stop, reverse direction, review the rules, carry on -- the rush to project mental spaces onto a waiting page "at work in my body"
consider this an opening, a venturing out -- the water in the pot kept coming out black -- and yet, I never left that place, scuttling chairs from room to room, that very moment (all of them) a dance of little appeals -- some days, it takes longer to admit...
i liked the hunger best, the fear of the flame before the ashes, the occupied diversionary transition as ploy, as seasons apply, writing to know just prior to recognition, before appropriation -- or the frame "we construct from your body," the face in the air, the heavy scale of winter
My Picks for the Week (winners in bold)
fragments at casual links
field at house
at capture (shut-out)
at that reversed
surfaces at surfaces (rain delay)
articulation at play
"Moments of conviction"
escape at missing words
Dead Letter Game: User Manual (notes for assembly)
1. Rules and Objects
- What were the rules? (did, did not, could, could not, you would, you might have, avoided, embraced, must have, could have, ...)
- What were the objects? (to..., the first to..., ...)
- What were the objects? (local things, pieces, "fragments," "casual links," "secrets" (Hocquard)
[present] (derived from R&O)
- Surfaces? (board, table, court, rink, ground, field, room, house, neighborhood, town, city, space, memory, head, data, ...)
[what comes up / emersions]
- Pieces? (manipulate, move, choose, direct, exchange, capture, trade, value, fetish/extension, sign, symbol, substitute)
[present / future]
- What to do before play begins? (established, laid out, clarified, explained, or that reversed)
- How arrange pieces (equipment) and on what surfaces?
- How prepare surfaces?
[realm of question, caution]
- To play, as play, in play
- Articulation of a secret
- No turning back, just gathering
- "Moments of conviction" (Hocquard)
5. Keeping Score
- How list? How escape? What list? What escape?
- What learned? (as missing words)
Memories are words, phrases, spoken things. Not the past nor pieces of the past but language and pieces of language in the present.
Contrary to the nostalgic elegist who proclaims his longing for the golden age, innocence and paradise lost, the reverse elegist
, who loves to laugh, study and play, makes a deal, trading ennui
and a serious spirit for play, work for study and sadness for delight.
"I'll do what the others do, but backwards. I'm going to rifle through the trashcan of my past and the waste of history. With this miserable material, disparate and anecdotal, in other words, very private
, I'll see what footage can be saved to edit. Yes, I'm an editor."
Now, scrutiny will reveal nothing in particular if not perhaps an above normal rate of past tense
. It is, in fact, quite unusual to find verbs in the future tense in an elegy. And when there is one, it is generally in the form of a negative. E.g.: I will never see you smile at me again.
The elegiac poet is a resolute pessimist.
The reverst elegist
flees representation ... plays with things as they exist ... with language as it exists ... does not turn back ... does not dig ... gathers ... .
The Recipient the Messenger the Letter.
A game played in fifteen rounds.
Let us say period. Let us not deplore the slow-
ness of the mail.
A small enterprise of assembling loose pieces
and its network of distribution in spaces we call
The messenger delivers his message to the
The message contains the words that cannot be
Grammar and fiction are one.
[Emmanuel Hocquard, This Story Is Mine
(Instress '99), A Test of Solitude
(Burning Deck '00)]
Round One: Ex Nihilo [06.05.03 - 08.22.03]
Round Two: Futures [09.30.03 - 12.27.03]
Decom(press/posit)ion [01.01.04 -
06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003
07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003
08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003
09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003
10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003
11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003
12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
An experiment in memory excavation and obsessive existentialist detailing, Dead Letter Game
is ideal for one or more players ages 12 and up. The game once started plays indefinitely. Players
will soon recognize that the end is in sight but ever receding on a horizon replete with potential
outcomes. This is not a continuous present so much as a persistent continuum. To stop and start
again is to play the same game only differently. Do not be startled if patterns emerge,
which is normal under ideal playing conditions. The game as played here is neither the all
nor the part of it. Down to the very letter as well as out beyond its margins you will find
the dead letter game, whole and in progress. An open-source document, DLG automatically
self-absorbs upon completion, returning to the epistolary commons from which it came.