In her Segue reading on January 16, Mónica de la Torre wrestled with workday alienation with wit and authority.
She read a piece based on a work of Martin Kippenberger that I think was called “The Hot Seat” (although a Google search turns up nothing, so maybe I am mistaken). It began with statements about jobs that implied or mentioned hierarchies. There were interview-type questions that began with “have you,’ and then descriptions of physical positions one takes in office situations, as well as what seemed like job application letters or interview responses.
“My position is sssh””
“My English is not very well”
“My English is not good and it is badly to heard.”
She read aloud typing exercises: this was almost MacLovian.
She read from her color walk project: transcribed signage in particular colors: “makeup, wigs, health food” (red?) “Yellow” had a lot of “free.”
She transcribed her computer searches and accompanying office conversation. Her comment on workaday life: “the relation of distraction & absorption should be examined.”
She referred to “la perruque” (Certeau’s term for “the ways in which workers trick their employers into thinking they are working when they are actually doing personal things using their company’s time and spare materials.”)
She related more of her computer activity, and ended on the line: “This screen is so small: it keeps taking me to the wrong places.”
Fred Moten followed with beautiful & critical lyric. His voice is unremittingly rich and mesmerizing. This was one of those readings I will definitely revisit on Penn Sound. Some of many amazing lines:
essential shtetl of the world stage
uncertainty’s cool relaxing harness
my sklls/ my shit/ the shit
what can’t be said can’t be said, and it can’t be whistled either
the song about desire always wants to disappear
our devious monad ways
having identified the shit, the shit you can’t say shit about
the terror of enjoyment is too damn good
I sail the dark water of the mind by rocket ship
I get preoccupied with the tonal situation
you have to wait for the sound of the theory of sound
His prosodic coup was this line:
“gorillas measured rhythm cloth for Horus” – which he then went on to rhyme with Dolores.
Does it get more fabulous than that?