Spring does nothing for me. If anything, it makes me count the garments in my closet that I want to give away, and the ones which I want to keep. Each of my Rick Owens is a keeper. I praise myself for my good sense of style. While also thinking of my keynote address in two weeks for a Nietzsche Symposium in Finland—and what to wear. What business do I have to bust the German philosophy club? To write what, on the very first 'serious' author I had ever read as a child of 8. Before that, it was the 'eeny meeny miney mo' kind of literature that I was into. Of course, as an Americanist, I think of this opportunity as a crowning achievement. Achievement of nothing, of course, as Kafka and a few privileged others would know. In April, I'll be lecturing on liminal states in creative writing in Tromsø. The renowned Norwegian poet Liv Lundberg wants me to do a seminar for her students – anything on the borders, she said, all your aphorisms, fragments, prose poetry, and especially “the nothing that is.” Now I think that if I'll survive the Germans, the Finns, and the New Yorkers, all bona fide nerds of Nietzschean studies, I may want to say something about Nietzsche's shadow. It would be my way of revenge. Against fear. I'm afraid of Tromsø. It has a hold on me. Norway's energy field bends up there with such power that it makes me want to stay. But I am ever so pragmatic, I convince myself. I feel that the only reason why I can resist Norway is because I don't want to move up there for work. I want to move up there for 'nothing'. So unless a sack of money comes dumping on my head from the sky, I'm safe in my apartment in Trekroner. Imagine to live in a place called Three Crowns! Whose crowns? I want to be in possession of them all. Being the highest head, crowned thrice over. Having power over writing. Any writing. I'm looking at my emails. Some of them revolt me. Some I approach with resistance. And some I want to delete entirely. If writing is a form of love, it is also a form of revenge. Revenge against nothing. The nothing that is. It's 1.13 pm. I'm ready for a mass that consists of more than the Eucharist or lunch – dried fish from the Arctic. My mouth is dry. And yet, it can shout: Zarathustra, we're even now! Eat that. I'm off to read some poetry, in this wasteland of nothingness. Perhaps I'm ready for Nietzsche, after all, and Norway. The alfa and omega of the poor person who has money. Zarathustra encourages me to sing. Forget thinking, he says. It's time for the Hallowmass.


by Lynn Emanuel

At one time this holiday celebrated the return of those who have died the previous year. The spirits entered their old homes and spoke to the living.

Man lives not by bread

He lives not by that potent grain

Nor lives he by love, nor goodness

He lives not by wisdom, nor righteousness

He lives not by the body of his mother

Nor by his father, by a woman he lives

Not, nor lives he by his children

Though time and time he longs

For peace and for a calm house, though

He longs for a rich life and a quick death

Nothing he hears is sweet, he tastes not

His hands build nothing, he touches nothing

He does not sleep or drink

For his eyes are beguiled

They have eaten on the stars.

And the sky is

Black and dry

As the mouth of the dead.

Though a man journeys and journeys

And he becomes translucent

As a god, even then

He cannot forget we who say

How memory kills a man

And memory wants the old secret wine

And it is like the dead

Who rise and dance on their chosen day

It is the sound of your dying

And you will not forget

You have heard me.

  • (From Oblique Light, Slow Loris Press, 1979)


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