Correspondence: Robert Walser (2020)

A correspondence (of sorts) between:

Juniper-C &
Robert Walser

Waiting List-lessness

Convenient to canonise a practise once it’s passed,
To claim that “Behind jauntiness and humour, depression presides
and the wraith of insanity seems poised to tear through the gauze.”

Easier then, if your will, to go on,
With that excuse firmly stated.
To dismiss a “Conflagration of terrible reproaches”
As the slipping of a mind into darkened firs,
Rather than a cry for contact,
And closeness,
And to be shown that another is pleased by your presence
And so be made infinitely happy.

Would such a retreat be necessary if they were not so starved of touch?
If we had considered empathy before pathology would we find
A treatise on freedom found in solidarity,
rather than a lack of sense of “my own person either,
I am pure independence,
Which is not in every way quite what it ought to be,
And I ask myself If I am free.”
The answer coming shortly with a familial urging,
standing not in commitment but to commit them,
Is it perhaps any surprise,
such a man might be haunted,
by “Terrible Reproaches”?

Do not dismiss then, Please, If you will,
On the grounds of nested,
senseless, digressive, Commas,
And a particular and curious outlook on the mundane,
The more tactile and enduring truth of precarious employment,
When one is born a, “Quiet, Polite, and Dreamy Child”

Do not then, if you will,
mourn people unappreciated in their time,
No matter how painful that loss might be to your canon.
When that grief is just another stop on ever stretching waiting list,
Of appointments, applications, and commiserations,

And, if you please, if you will, permit us
Those of us who recognise in their works all the traits,
To make contact, find closeness,
and grasp that this mode of thought is not a novel oddity,
Condemned to sorrowful post-humous documentaries,
And so let us be made, at least, precariously happy.

Porcine <3

Dotted throughout our histories lie these
Hidden but often playful messages
Pencilled in margins, scraps, appendices
Like the diaries from our adolescence

Interpreting such things is difficult
Fraught with ham fisted insights into minds
That make mundane attractions mythical
Accounts of beasts we desperately define

But a rose’s name is its own to chose
For no two souls will view its hues the same
So where such flowers note their thoughts in prose
We ought to accept the titles that they claim

For the petals pink as a lover’s lips
Grow in the mud of noble pigs

About this work

A zine in imagined correspondence with the work of the poet Robert Walser, Correspondence: Robert Walser dances around ideas of waiting lists, mental health struggle, and failing institutions. It phrases these observations as a sort of communication with the history of artists struggling through these issues. It tries to take a more human approach than the tropes of tortured artists we’re all familiar with by talking to the artist, as if in a letter, rather than about them. A conversation, not a diagnosis.

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