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You know what I mean? (Or The Harry Haller Manifesto)


HALLER:  We know what happened to the young soul rebels. They either sat down and broke bread with the old hearty conservatives or they got squeezed out into the cold streets and went mad...or bad.

What is this about? It's about trying to make art as an outsider. It's about standing in the cold street and looking through the windows of a steamy, carpeted restaurant as the rich inside adjust their serviettes and tuck in.

And we dig in. 

It's going to be a long night for we befringed, 

sub social, 

substiteutons,

in the subsoup, 

non-racing but non-decorative,

kook uitlanders,

platform ticket in hand,

autarchic asteroids of them stars over there by the main pieces with the perfect champagne glass poise,

individually or as a collective exhibition,

AND WE PLEDGE (if you'd care to cut this out, sign it, and pin on wall)

to remain faithfully suspicious on the ragged seams of whatever seems to be too concrete, tight, or compromising, 

nevertheless

eschewing no opportunity to imbibe any fine wines offered at

openings, launches, tributes, and valedictory get-togethers,

but thanks for not inviting us round too often. 

Take us away in irons if we do outstay our welcomes.

And

Just

Remember

that the Arab said that nothing is denied to a just man, 

so let's sip from the edge, 

dance on the fence, 

be the noble riders of the seams, thinking... thinking

of ten we went to school with,

ten we were on the train with,

ten who got off at stations, 

stationary stations, 

and at whose gatherings we 

just

don't 

fit 

in. 

We swear 

to dip

but ne'er be drenched,

or at least not twice.


(One is reminded of the friend who recently found himself in a group separated from the rich and famous hosts of a party, a friend who felt he lacked first class gurning potential, the gestures to serve the spectacle, and whose companions felt similarly disprivileged, could not be good, could not be great, could not pay the penny at the golden gate, nor do the lip service, and whose little grouping was, in a sense, suburban, in another sense, gauche, and in a very vital, challenging, and liberated sense, once again, suburban.)

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