Book of Levelling
And the Prime levelling, is laying low the Mountaines, and
levelling the Hills in man. But this is not all.
Abiezer Coppe, A Fiery Flying Roll
Let history be your hymn of penance,
Farm your parents and the races in the ground,
Not for pelf but for remembrance,
And make ready for the festival of ruin.
Edward Dahlberg, Cipango’s Hinder Door
IT IS THOSE WHO ARE LEFT BEHIND, NOT THOSE WHO GO BEYOND, that are sad. The shape shifters have their own concerns. But this is a text as much concerned with life as with death. The metaphors are there for all to see. In the tradition of the I Ching and Ovid’s Metamorphosis, this is a book of change, a book of transformation, transmogrification, a book of insurrection and resurrection… a book of levelling.
St. Ives, Cornwall
1 January 1995
SO THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED.
I’m going to chop it off, she said.
Why?, I said. What for?
I want to, she said. And anyway you don’t need it anymore.
That’s true, I said. But what will you do with it?
There are all kinds of things I can do with it, she said. You’ll see. Bring it here.
With this she motioned me toward an old, unvarnished kitchen table. The surface was grainy. As I was naked already, I placed my cock flat on the surface, pressing my groin tightly to the edge. It was just the right height. My cock laid there, flaccid and shrivelled. The tabletop was cold.