WHEN DADA REWROTE KOANS
We like to read dead authors because they can’t be disrespectful. We read them like posthumous prizes. “Do you like the Gospel of Judas?” Da-Ren asks the archivist. “Is it any good?” Tired of abstracting life as if life could be summarised, the archived reads from the backcover copy. “Life up your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars surrounding it. The star that leads the way is your star.” He pauses for a response like a ready responsorial, the curator leaning into the cellist but still listening intently. The archivist has always felt maligned, as indicted as the world around him. “Is there any good in remorse and a new shipment of rice straw?” The archivist asks Da-Ren, with a Thomist gravity, waiting for another truism to ease the day. Da-Ren is tending to his small garden of wild herbs, dreaming of Esopus Creek. The archivist kisses him on the open plateaus of his palm, tongue tasting brown sugar.