The Totality for Kids

The Totality for Kids

The Totality for Kids

The Totality for Kids

Synopsis

The Totality for Kids is the second collection of poems by Joshua Clover, whose debut, Madonna anno domini, won the Walt Whitman award from the Academy of American Poets. This volume takes as its subject the troubled sleep of late modernity, from the grandeur and failure of megacities to the retreats and displacements of the suburbs. The power of crowds and architecture commingles with the alienation and idleness of the observer, caught between "the brutal red dream/Of the collective" and "the parade/Of the ideal citizen." The book's action takes place in these gaps, "dead spaces beside the endlessly grieving stream." The frozen tableau of the spectacle meets its double in the sense that something is always about to happen. Political furies and erotic imaginings coalesce and escape within a welter of unmoored allusions, encounters, citations, and histories, the dreams possible within the modern's excess of signification--as if to return revolutionary possibility to the regime of information by singing it its own song.

Excerpt

Music: Sexual misery is wearing you out.

Music: Known as the Philosopher’s Stair for the world-weariness which climbing it inspires. One gets nowhere with it.

Paris: St-Sulpice in shrouds.

Paris: You’re falling into disrepair, Eiffel Tower this means you! Swathed in gold paint, Enguerrand Quarton whispering come with me under the shadow of this gold leaf.

Music: the unless of a certain series.

Mathematics: Everyone rolling dice and flinging Fibonacci, going to the opera, counting everything.

Fire: the number between four and five.

Gold leaf: Wedding dress of the verb to have, it reminds you of of.

Music: As the sleep of the just. We pass into it and out again without seeming to move. the false motion of the wave, “frei aber einsam.”

Steve Evans: I saw your skull! It was between your thought and your face.

Melisse: How I saw her naked in Brooklyn but was not in Brooklyn at the time.

Art: That’s the problem with art.

Paris: I was in Paris at the time! St-Sulpice in shrouds “like Katharine Hepburn.”

Katharine Hepburn: Oh America! But then, writing from Paris in the thirties, it was to you Benjamin compared Adorno’s wife. Ghost citizens of the century, sexual misery is wearing you out.

Misreading: You are entering the City of Praise, population two million three hundred thousand …

Hausmann’s Paris: the daughter of Midas in the moment just after. the first silence of the century then the king weeping.

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