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While Kathy is going through the antique shops I am free to stand as long as I like in the back room of O. Brisky's store of used books. Mildew, dust, spiders living in the Geometries, the Histories. Here is something I nearly bought new, but could be mine for seven dollars: Against Forgetting: 20th-Century Poetry of Witness. The very thickness of the collection is a rebuke.
The volume falls open in my hands, obeying the law of broken spines, to the place determined by the former owner (a name inked out inside the front cover).
    Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
    we drink you at midday Death is a master aus Deutschland
    we drink you at evening and morning we drink and we drink
    this Death is ein Meister aus Deutschland his eye it is blue

John Caputo's chapter somewhere, juxtaposing citations and discussions of Adorno et. al. with Celan--the Frankfurt School statements about the impossibility of art after Auschwitz--refuted

a nice effect, the way the lines run on no punctuation
    ...he shoots you with shot made of lead shoots you level and true
    a man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margarete
    he looses his hounds on us grants us a grave in the air
    he plays with his vipers and daydreams...

the translator does a nice job, leaving the concluding phrases in the original

    ...der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland
    dein goldenes Haar Margarete
    dein aschenes Haar Shulamith

while the sunlight only reaches part way into the back room of O. Brisky's, with the dust motes filling the beam even if theoretically there is no witness for the witness.

This is my job, no? to stand here and read your golden hair Margarete every word your ashen hair Shulamith every word of "Death Fugue".
Sevenhundredsixtytwo pages, divided into sections beginning with The Armenian Genocide (1909-1918), concluding with Revolutions and the struggle for Democracy in China (1911-1991). I put the bargain back on the shelf (time to meet Kathy for lunch)
the coffee at Mildred's, the espresso, au lait, I remember now, the coffee.


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