Spectres de Marx

Jacques Derrida's late book Specters of Marx (Routledge, 2006) most insightful in its reading of the ghostly apparition at the beginning of Hamlet, which predicts Marx and the time of composition (early 1990s), how do you compose the not-there. The Ghost who establishes the play's entire fabric in a few lines. Hamlet's words as epigraph: “This time is out of joint.” The oddly literary reading he gives the opening of both books, the play and Marx's pamphlet, that use of ghosts to spark: “Oh, Marx's love for Shakespeare! It is well known...” (10)


José Antonio Ramos Sucre (Cumaná, Venezuela 1890 – Geneva, Switzerland 1930). My efforts at translating him are necessarily slow. A presence after a plain style (prose, philosophy, allegory).


Reading parts of Derek Walcott, Selected Poems, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), edited with an introduction by Edward Baugh, an overview of seven decades:

“Speaking out of and to Caribbean experience, Walcott speaks to and for the wide world, “for such as our earth is now” (“The Season of Phantasmal Peace”), in anger at racism, at the unjust distribution of the world's wealth, at political tyranny and humankind's inhumane proclivity for violence and war. His anger is all the more eloquent because he is a poet of compassion and love and reverence for life. His representation of large and communal issues is characteristically sharpened by a subtly introduced autobiographical specificity. Running through his work is a dialogue with himself, a process of self-invention. The result is a consciously self-interrogated fictive persona in whose eyes a world takes shape.” (xv)

“Until from all I turn to think how,
In the middle of the journey through my life,
O how I came upon you, my
Reluctant leopard of the slow eyes.”

-- “Prelude” (1948)

“The airport coffee tastes less of America.
Sour, unshaven, dreading the exertion
of tightening, racked nerves fuelled with liquor,

some smoky, resinuous bourbon,
the body, buckling at its casket hole,
a roar like last night's blast racing its engines,

watches the fume of the exhausted soul
as the trans-Texas jet, screeching, begins
its flight and friends diminish. So, to be aware

of the divine union the soul detaches
itself from created things. “We're in the air,”
the Texan near me grins. All things: these matches

from LBJ's campaign hotel, this rose
given me at dawn in Austin by a child,
this book of fables by Borges, its prose [...]”

-- “The Gulf” (1969)

“So has it come to this, to have to choose?
The chafe of the breakers' moving marbles,
their lucent and commodious statuary
of turbulent stasis, changing repetition
of drizzling spray that glazes your eyes
like the marble miracles at Villa Borghese?
Do not diminish in my memory
villages of absolutely no importance,
the rattling bridge over the stone-bright river,
un-ornate churches, chapels in the provinces
of light-exhausted Europe. Hoard, cherish
your negligible existence, your unrecorded history
of unambitious syntax, your clean pools
of unpolluted light over close stones.”

-- “The Prodigal” (2004)

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