It got to feeling like a cult. Then it got to feeling even more like a cult.
What i learned in Lot-et-Garonne. About how to operate the machine to vacuum-seal the pouches stuffed with exactly 25.5 grams of pasta made on the farm but of purchased eggs and trucked-in semolina in an unheated garage; to wield a paring knife on fruit frozen from sitting outside overnight; to climb a ladder in the dark when frost is already on the ground to gather the last of the sidetracked chayottes for seventy quiches for the Christmas market in Bordeaux and what to do when half of them don’t sell. When two customers come in to the store and you have to find someone to help them and Claudette in the patisserie tells you to get Bene cos she doesn’t know the prices which are listed on the wall and Bene asks you to please get Christine because she is busy with the accountant but nobody’s home at Christine & Luc’s so you have to go interrupt Bene again and then go back to the boutique, to mumble, On arrive. And go back to labeling pasta.
The prunes that at times did feel endless. Not only the idea of the Ferme Biologique de Crozefond (les vaches, les cochons, les légumes; artisanal bread baking, les yaourts, riz au lait) but upholding it.
-I get imperialist dreams of escape to foreign lands and wonder why my imperialist thoughts dream for an anarchist future.
Bene says not many WWOOFers join her making budin & maybe that’s why she didn’t invite me to. Twisting and tying the sausages – work that is difficult but warm – difficult and warm – ground organs steaming in the unheated kitchen – 7 kilos of blood dumped into the enormous tub of meat & onions & garlic & quatre épices and the colour soaking up through it.
a sort of irresistible / pigment
“Thousands of French people want to live in Britain, while thousands of Britons want to live in France.”
–New Statesman, 21 November 2013
If there had to be a supposition it would be in aboutness and getting lost. If there had to be an aboutness it would be in decrepitude and being lost. Ambience instead of focus.
“Unlike bakers in the past, the workers do not identify with their jobs or derive satisfaction from their tasks, precisely because the functioning of the machines is fundamentally opaque to them.”
-Jasper Bernes, Logistics, counterlogistics, and the communist prospect, Endnotes 3
After the bread’s first rise, forming the dough, kneading it a little, letting it rise again, then turning the bread from the cabinet where it rested with the cloth in one hand onto a small wooden slab, carrying it over to the fire and turning the wood over to turn the baguette back onto the paddle, a toward motion following an away motion, “a little faster, please”; Marie slicing it quickly three times with a razor before zipping it into the giant 19th-century iron oven and me amazed that you can pick up bread completely by sliding a wooden paddle under it and even further bewildered that you can pull it out that way.
Spiders in the egg bowl, Gilbert yelling at me for getting the caillou sooty in the fireplace, even the charbon végétal expired. Green clay tastes like early childhood pale pink i mean Pepto-Bismol.
Gilbert: You’re young. If you want to have a garden, you can have a garden.
Angelica for exorcism, healing, protection, visions.
“Do you know what our income is?”
When i am too sick to work in the kitchen but too well to stay in bed, Claudette sits me down in front of the fire with a bucket of prunes, a big empty bowl, a smaller empty bowl, a knife, and a towel. While she does the riz au lait, les quiches, le pizza, tous les gâteaux, and the preparations for midi (pumpkin-parsnip soup with tapioca, salade, steamed broccoli & carrots & parsnips & fennel & chayotte, a little bit of jambon from the charcuterie, poulet, et, al fini, for Naomi and me, le yaourt) i pit prunes.
They told me it would be difficult in France, this land where the language has not one but two expressions for “to put someone to the test”: “éprouver quelquien” et “mettre quelquien à l’éprouve.” Also, it has “faire sentir quelquechose a quelquien”: “to make someone feel something.” That they eat a lot of bread and cheese. And it’s true that there is bread with every meal. But it’s mopping up salad & its dressing (olive oil, (local) white wine vinegar, salt (blended w/ pepper); it’s a bit cut off dunked in the hot chocolate for breakfast. François is gluten-intolerant. And Claudette can’t eat dairy. And Gilbert with his Lyme disease is on even more of a health-food thing than i am.
“People have not forgotten the hunger in the Nineteen Thirties, in which people felt that Stalin led people starve both because they were peasants standing in the way of collectivization and because they were Ukrainians standing in the way of Russian domination.”
-Peter Storm, Ukraine: What’s going on, and what does it mean?, Libcom, 3 December 2013
-I’ve been thinking more and more that Scandinavia would probably feel like home.
alla helgons / graveyard full of burning
“clearest day of masterlessness” (Anne Boyer)
the most stable ground
the most fragile ecosystem
“Välfärd” i det ordets grundläggande mening: att “fara väl”, att blomstra fysiskt, psykologiskt och socialt genom att delta i samhället och det sociala livet.
So i got to malpensa, and dropped off my bag, then was walking to go through security and HE WAS THERE IN THE WAITING HALL, walking kind of disoriented-like; i saw him first; we were walking toward each other and i called out, Filippo! He was like, I HATE THIS AIRPORT IT’S ONLY GOOD FOR KILLING BIRDS and then, Do you want to sit down? I need to sit down. And i was like, Okay, and we talked for a minute, and then he was like, Oh you have to go? And i was like, Yes, so after just a minute we got up again and said goodbye with a stiff hug, as if he expected me to initiate the baci—i was like, I’m not from here, this is not my country, what do i know about baci?
The EU, the world’s most developed international organization, is not the paradise of liberty and modernity that demonstrators may believe it to be.
Roma persecuted in France and elsewhere, refugees detained and deported or being left to drown in the Mediterranean, anti-austerity protestors and antifascists being beaten back by riot police in city after city.
One says “sorry” to one one brushes up against in the station. One says “sorry” to the beggars who ask for a crown. Barn: Ta en frukt! The post office in the supermarket. Another face of privatization.
I walk into APLACE Sweden and the Knife is playing.
“’Europe’, for the Ukraine protesters, functions as a kind of myth, just like the Soviet Union functioned as a myth for too many radicals in the Nineteen Thirties, just like Cuba and China functioned as myths in the Sixties and Nicaragua in the Eighties. We should expose the lies behind the myth; but we should also be able to notice what is behind the attraction of the myth: a desire for freedom, a rejection of politics…”
-Don’t move here unless you’re white and have a job.
-All of a sudden they can’t go everywhere they want.
-We’re not gonna be able to count on abandoned farmland. Some things
will have to be destroyed
Lift and force pumps, cranes, windmills, geared wheels, flap valves, chains, pistons, treadmills, under- and overshot watermills, fulling mills, flywheels, bellows, excavators, bucket chains, rollers, geared and wheeled bridges. Cranks, elaborate block and tackle systems, worm, spur, crown, and lantern gears, cams and eccentrics, ratchets, wrenches, presses, and screws in magnificent variation and combination.
So people have to undergo an internal change in order to be able to confront the existing social system.