Sunday, April 05, 2009
Icehouse & Thirteen Keys to the Talmud by Hugh Fox
By Hugh Fox
Crossing Chaos enigmatic ink
“Independence is, in essence, the ability to
within the perimeters of one’s own psycho-sexual
frontiers, enough release and satisfaction
to completely fulfill the genetic demands of one’s
inner-outer nature.” P, 39
Thus we have the “philosophical” ethos of a madly expansive, hyper-erotic, almost porno story of a couple living together in carnal over-drive --- clinical, surreal, intense and obsessive – in paradoxically, an icehouse. It’s a wildy funny, brilliant cosmic
Flambeaux, flambeaux Mrs. Mouse (the character who is, according to Fox in the introduction, based on his “sexiest second wife.) carries the flaming torch of lust through an “all mica-crystal-gleam-white.” Her unnamed partner in one episode pulling from her uteruis/cunt “large wet, slippery slices of fresh liver (12 slices.) p. 27 proceeding to fillet them to a “light brown.”
Food and sexual devices (like candle stubs) are just some of the catalogues of objects wall-papering this icehouse of perverse domesticity. Fox creates amazing juxtapositions of pop icons and acquaintances in a quest for an original imaginative aura:
“But it still wouldn’t come. Valentino (3 ulcers and a hernia), John Wayne,
Tarzan, King Kong, Great Dane (Lauritz Melcior, age 43 – Tristan), George
Raft, Bob Taylor, Clark Gable…in the MISFITS, blonde (her) down in the desert
(sand) and Clark Prick (motorized) driving into .putt….putt…putt….putt….the smell of peroxide semen wetting down the sand, writing (snack-prick), squaring-
circles, hypotenusing long, dry brown horizons.” P 41
CAPS, Dadaistic compound nouns invented for sound glory and nonsense, popping up parentheses…..these punctuation quirks are ALL OVER THE PLACE and
they frankly tickle the reader like a flamingo feather.
Cinematic, paradoxical, and rebelliosly conflating mysticism and sexuality, rage and adoration for ancestors, the stupid utility of everyday objects and their aesthetic/masturbatory value – Hugh Fox has brewed something that both beat William Burroughs and futuristic William Gibson would seriously envy. The one genius trait that Fox possesses is a very canny and strange sense of humor which pervades the work. Like a drug-trip of hallucinatory sex-candy, “Icehouse” swings the reader with a runaway vengeance of excess and extreme wisdom for how banal and bestial human life is. (Wrapped up in black lace and stalking in black suede fuck-me boots….)
It’s peppered with catalogues of states and appliances and nature scenary which usually lead to a sublime existential awareness:
“Tension building up. Short wave, long wave, FM, cybernetic, TV. Alternating.
Wind rubbing a close-to-the house oak tree arm against the roof, like a squeaky
Shoe, cosmic giantess out-in-the-snowstorm-moan.
The Manhole Covers:
“We know it’s coming and although it’s late,
we know that all we can do is wait….” P 1
Sort of like Godot.
Not that there aren’t allusions to sin or attempts at martyrdom: in one Fellini-like episode, we’ll call him Mr. Mouse, self-immolates….there is talk of saints and these are profound and deliberately mixed up contradictions from a genius writer who spent the better part of his writerly education steeped in Bukoswski, ancient civilizations, watching avante-garde cinema and working on underground magazines, in addition to taking cosmic gurus.
“(In the Hochscule of St. Mary Margaret Damian of the Bleeding Tit,
showering with long white “shifts” or in private stalls, private inside private
inside private, Chinese (highest church) box-puzzle minds, froze-through nights
of suspended disbelief in anything but Ice Christ hovering in the black air,
waiting to icicle down into the midst of her soft purity, to reward her (maximally)
with the Stigmata of the Bleeding Tit.) p. 53
In his in his intro to The Ghost Dance Anthology (1968-1993/4) Hugh Fox writes:
“I call (us) the Invisible Generation. We weren’t “Beats,” although we all had
great affinities to the Beat Generation. It’s tempting to call us the Hippy
Generation because we were kind of “Hippyish.” Our drugs were soft,
our world-view non-linear, non-occidental….. We lived inside the Great
American Dream Machine always dreaming our own alternative dreams.”
Fox writes with brilliant word-play, so prose and poetry intermesh and limericks emerge from other descriptions of scenes and characters, like Grandmother Gemultlichkeit:
“So goodnight little pumpernickel<
Sleep tight as an icicle<
If you never wake again,
It’s the same as if you’ve never been….”
Afterwards, Mrs. Mouse shits fistfuls on Grandma’s portrait and 12 other portraits too. Her narcissus/Dionysian/philosopher fucking savior then leaves her with a “fart at her with a haughty expression of who-needs-ya jam spread across his mug, and POOF! Disappeared. P. 58
But he still loves her, returning. And in the end, they are “fresh start – churning, churning (eyes closed) churning ---“ p 74
On peyote or not, I adore Fox’s zone in this book. The Icehouse is both a frozen tundra of cerebral observations and sensory details out of place and perfectly in place and a hot house of weird sex. A must-read.
Unfortunately, the voluptuous free verse of Icehouse left me incapacitated to review the companion piece to this book: “Thirteen Keys to Talmud.” Fox was raised steeped in Catholicism – Christ seems to be both a restraining martyr and also the son of a Sun King, a prophet – and then discovered his true Jewish ancestry.
Fox dedicated the 214 page novella to his mentor, Menke Katz, “who gave me the foundations.” And to Chris (his grandson?) to whom he credits the motivation for writing the book in the first place. It looks like a fascinating work of mysticism, replete with mathematical equations and charts. For those who don’t want to dive into the maniacal porn aspect of Icehouse, I suggest they read this. (There is also a more logical narrative – dare I say linear? – to follow.)
His epigraph is a beautiful poem:
“There is no blade of grass in this whole
world that doesn’t have a star guarding
it so that it should never vanish.” P.75
French poet Rene Char once wrote, “There is no absence that cannot be replaced.”
I think Hugh Fox would agree philosophically with this, but for me there will never be another Hugh Fox.
Lo Galluccio for Ibbetson St. Press