LEXICON DEVIL

booksnotes

When the written word is your first language, you often fall prey to all things dedicated—including, if not leading, play. Words find their way into daily patterns of behavior—witticisms, puns, flirts, quips. When you court the word, you allow its enticements to riddle, beguile you. Thus, my half-witted habit of entrusting documents of importance within soft & hard covers…my preferred guessing game with the lexicon devil. I recall searching frantically a few years back for my social security card. After what seemed like hours, I laughed in defeat as I sat amongst a scatter of once-shelved books thinking, “you’ve done what you thought wouldn’t happen—you outsmarted yourself—you allowed the word to win.” I finally found it in Milan Kundera’s ‘Identity’. Or how about the time you made a young move & got married to your artist peer/contemporary turned Navy Seal because he convinced you both that it would pay good money and you could live it up well in sunny California (boy, was that a laugh!)–our marriage and divorce certificates tucked neatly within Avedon’s ‘Evidence’. Anyhow, refusing to allow the mishaps of not being able to locate necessaries–I noted, and quite concretely, recorded the list to memory.

Birth certificate: Life Against Death (Norman Brown)

Social Security card: Identity (Milan Kundera)

Traffic Tickets: My Shadow Ran Fast (Bill Sands)

W2s: The Evasion (Maggie Balistreri)

Son’s Birth certificate: The Making of a Counterculture (Theodore Roszak)

Son’s Social Security card: It Chooses You (Miranda July)

Residential Leases: The Squatter and the Don (Maria Ruiz de Burton)

Love letters: Fictions of Feminine Desire (Peggy Kamuf)

Polaroids of yr ex-boyfriend’s cock: All Men are Lonely Now (Francis Clifford) & later & more fittingly relocated to Cock & Bull (Will Self)

Marriage/Divorce certificate: Evidence (Richard Avedon)

List of people you’ve slept with: Goodbye to All That (Robert Graves)

Passport: Flight Out of Time (Hugo Ball)