He reads to Borges in a shadowy sitting room under a Piranesi engraving:
he speaks of summer night, the conscious being of the book. A servant
is taken exploring by his blind master on a raft of text and speech. He is
asked to write the occasional note on a flyleaf – though who would read
these notes to him, and when, is not the least of the Borgesian mysteries.
1st – The Book of Splendour
The beginning gives birth to the divine – from a womb with two entrances.
Starting to create himself, the heavenly king lets brightness out of infinite
space and time. It sows a secret seed, like a silkworm enclosing itself in a
palace, named Elohim. Out of Elohim everything emerges.
2nd – The Book without Qualities
A plain brown cover may hide enough at breakfast – it will vary from
household to household. A teenager knows whether her parents might
equate blankness with chemistry, say, or Spanish. Aptly, though, she reads
about a breakfast – a slightly burnt kidney, choice offering to new gods.
3rd – The Book of Souls
The obsolete resource, torn in half by a caped showman. Why not? –
he’s been hanging upside-down in a capsule for a fortnight. Pressmen
exhausted by their vigil phone in the news, some falling asleep before the
anti-climax. A demiurge with compasses, he divides the teeming city.
4th – The Book of Sameness
Antaüparolo: Any future edition will omit the puns, the verse, and the tale
of the cannibal who ate his wife. Proverbs are nearly all from Zamenhof’s
Proverbaro Esperanto. Wear the Esperanto star. Refrain from suggesting
improvements to this most beautiful language before you’ve learned it.
5th – The Book of Remembrance
Its inspiration is the museum – priceless, fragile exhibit, whose pages
can be turned only by a curatorial hand. A life under lock and key. You
can’t flip backwards and forwards through mortalities, browsing. Nobody
minds that the daily turning is unceremonial, so long as it’s never seen.
6th – The Book in Transition
Half-ghosted, the battery-powered dead float on their little skis. You touch
one, ponder lost seconds. You’re on the other side, no easy route back, as
in a store with up escalators only. The new search-and-rejoice approach is
worse: Buffalo Bill and William Cody, darn it, are the same person!
All six – The Book of Changes
At rest, this book does not initiate. When stimulated, it’s commensurate
with all causes. Actor of the force field, attune yourself to the first
stirrings, the door hinge of incipience. Find what you’re looking for in the
marriage book of heaven and earth – be it faith, rectitude or pulse.