University of Notre Dame
Re: Keats’s 14 March 1818 letter to J. H. Reynolds
To JH Reynolds
Today I’m going to go to a sci-fi movie in the middle of the day. It’s about a zone where toxins speak in flowers. In that it’s like poetry.
Yesterday I watched a sci-fi movie about a robot who gives birth to a daughter. They find the mother’s bones buried in a box underground. They find the daughter in a bubble. One man is a robot, the other is human. Or the other way around. Or they’re both robots, both bounty hunters, both killers/lovers, both caught up in memories that may not be their own. They’re both foreigners, of course, immigrants. They don’t have soul, they don’t have children, their children are dead. Ditto 4 ditto 5. My point is: they walk up the stairs to the temple in which the daughter lives in a bubble and one of them dies on the stairs while the snow confetties down on him like poetry. While the other man enters the temple like in poetry.
One of them carries a little wooden horse in his memory.
The other carves a little wooden horse for his daughter.
Being a lover of antiquities, I imagined myself as both the man expiring in the snow and the man who gets to see his daughter – not speak to her mind you but to raise his hand and see her inside the bubble – and I imagined that they might be the same person, that the film couldn’t decide whether he would die or see his daughter. But then being a lover of antiquities, it seemed to me that they were indeed the same person and the daughter was dead and only by dying in the snow – which as I mentioned is like poetry – could the man see his daughter.
This science fiction and its sympathetic moisture: You have the sensation of betrayal.
You have the sensation of bleeding from the fingernails.
You have the sensation of ashes.
You have a small wooden horse of your own in science fiction.
Being a lover of antiquities, I imagine myself inside a science fiction as a kid of Betrayer. Inside the science fiction the green is beautiful as they say and pity it is that it is amphibious. I am amphibious inside the science fiction of flowers.
The science fiction of flowers: The Betrayer copies his fourth book and writes a preface. It’s all done. His mind is free for something new. For a little innocent bit of Metaphysic. He copies the fifth book from the Metaphysic of Innocence. He can’t find his money. His coins, his bills. He can’t find his daughter inside a temple that is like poetry: pretty cliffs, pretty Brooks, pretty Meadows, pretty trees. The green is amphibious in this science fiction film about poetry. The toxins killed his daughter. Or poetry killed his daughter. His daughter killed science fiction in my innocent head.
In a little innocent bit of Metaphysics in my head, in my temple of art, in my poem, in my science fiction film about memory, about snow (how it confetties, how it covers up my torso, which is bleeding from the fight, how it lands in my beard and on my lips), about a dead daughter inside a bubble, I’ll cut all sick people.
I’ll cut you.
I’ll go to the Theater and put a pebble in Your Mouth.
I’ll cut you.
I’ll cream you, I’ll clot you, I’ll sick-people you, I’ll tumble you, I’ll amphibian you, I’ll entertain you with cavalries sick people, I’ll dash you in your Country, I‘ll subject you to a sympathetic moisture, I’ll mouth you, I’ll harbor you in several houses, I’ll insult you at poor Jem Rice’s, I’ll look at you with a longing eye, I’ll forget to tell you that I’m a sweetheart, I’ll sweetheart you in the future, I’ll future you in Town, I’ll redress you with seasonable weather, I’ll direct you to Oxford, I’ll forget you in Oxford, I’ll summer you at the Bonnet Shop, I’ll weather you full of invention in the Bonnet Shop, I’ll write you a virgin and repent you, I’ll wing you and fly you to Nova Scotia, I’ll wish you to a favorite tune, I’ll know you have long taken it for granted, I’ll never you with speculations, I’ll nature you in places that I haunt the most, I’ll nature you in cavalries and clotted theaters, I’ll nature you with immense-other-nights, I’ll immense-other-night you with long letters, I’ll see you written in the air above you, I’ll remember you like an affectionate friend, I’ll john-keats you in Christ’s Hospital, London, March 14, 1818.