There is much death in the water:
The wax figures are drifting near the beach,
Jellyfish-like, chrysalis-like armor;
Unknown in number and nearly
Transparent in the tidal surf; the so called
Vestigial tentacles should be
Reclassified as potential weapons—
For there is too much death in the water:
Large fish, the costal seal population,
Land mammals, goats and dogs, are floating in
The surf; a humanoid figure, grey in
The sand, of giant-like proportions
Has washed ashore, five miles north of the town.
Either he is dead or unconscious. We
Estimate 16 feet in length. Perspective
Is, however, difficult to establish;
To land would be foolish, though satisfying…
Please note a parallel with the story
The Drowned Giant by one J.G. Ballard.
Quote: On the morning after the storm
The body of a drowned giant
Was washed ashore on the beach
Five miles to the north north west of the city.
This could be visionary, for an odd
Approximation exists: the ship wreck
Took place four miles north of the city.
The giant must have been aboard. Question:
Was he killed by the sea, drowned and
Carried ashore, or did he forge his way
To land, only to lie exhausted in
The shallow pools? Debate on this issue
Remains inconclusive. There has been movement,
But we cannot remain here after sunset
To track the changes in the tides. Those damn tides.
Question: is this fiction salient at all?
Transmission will cease here: Over.
There is too much death in the ocean.
Does this sound crazy? A saliency
Taken to an insanity? Friends, I
Have read and re-read Jim Ballard’s so-called
‘Fiction’ a hundred times, a thousand times,
And I have one thing to say here:
— Big Fish Eat Little Fish—
Yes, if you’re thinking Pieter Brueghel,
His painting and his parable, go
Ahead and shout it: It’s an image!
Imagine! Yes, my friend Ballard purloined
The Brueghel image to create
A modern mystery play! Ecce! Behold:
Another Lilliputian fantasy,
Another Leviathan in his kingdom…
Fair enough! But stop for a moment,
And take your place inside the frame. Try it,
Come on, become that giant fish,
It won’t hurt—much. Take hold of the
Declining consciousness; feel the old wounds
Of an old world as new light, new sound, and yes,
As new noise grips the new world. The greatness of
An image can be found in its refusal to
Accept the relative. It takes a stand
In majesty. Its philosophy is
Philosophy—where philosophy is
Porous—where it breathes, and changes, slithers—
Where it appears as a dead god on the beach,
A dead giant about to regain his soul…
That is my answer. That is my stand.
Philosophy in the bulrushes.
First of all, I can do his voice. Here, listen:
Shit. This is crazy. He’s listening at
The wall right now, listening to hear…
The Parafin… the Parafin!
He’s trying to hear them as
They turn us into cabbage heads
Or something—giant ears…
I told you this would happen, all this
Nonsense on the radio, a giant with an
Army of little…what? Little noise machines?
It’s crazy, it really is…
It sounds just like Mr-Sane-Mr-Safe,
Doesn’t it? Thinks I’m listening to
The neighbors fart, while the walls quake;
Thinks calling them a ‘noise machine’,
Or labeling them the ‘Parafins’,
—Or for that matter ‘Equilibrium
Disturbers’—will halt the auditory
Reinterpretation of the world, this
Time’s Great Instauration. But
They all think that, don’t they? Think you can sing
To curb the noise, can shout to end the yelling.
Jus t stop your ears, my man, and the Parafins
Disappear … yeah, disappear… from sight
But not from mind, right? Let’s face it
We were taught by the world to see. Can we let
A similar world inform our ears? We’ll see.
We’ll hear. We’ll go forward. (Noise Jar) Won’t we?
Well, I guess I was about the first to know.
This new place, it’s like a theater, it’s like
The old amusement parks we had when we
Were growing up, like Palisades Park, like
A Disneyland, but smaller, and not
For kids. Definitely not for kids. It’s
More like a science fiction thing
For the old folks. You sit in booths around
An artificial lake—‘Lake Listen’, they
Call it—and you ‘hear’ the water, you ‘hear’
The sky, you ‘hear’ the Parafins as they…
You ‘hear’ the fucking grass grow—
You know that thing from George Eliot? About
The other side of silence?
It ‘Evolutionary Heaven’. It’s
All sound. You go on sound trips, you go
On sound vacations…
…Trips, excursions the mind creates. You don’t
See, you don’t really think, you sit and stay
I guess they keep you here
Forever, until you die, for your own good,
Until you stop hearing the sounds, until
The Noise Jar breaks for good, I guess.
I guess that’s it…
There is too much death in the water.
I just hope there’s no heaven.