ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998

Notes on "Description of a Struggle", by R.L. Swihart

Paraphrasing Eliot re the editing of The Waste Land: It was unstructured
before and unstructured after

I axed the title I had stolen from Max Brod and opted for a double
theft. I also added the Eliot bit (see above)

I tossed most of the stuff re Lena (I kept the “Croydon before Moss” line,
and her trick with the thin gold chain, because pioneers are inspirations
for us all) and everything re the sketches of plump ladies
in the buff that Thomas Mann reported finding
in Heinrich’s after-clutter (as far as I know
he didn’t have a Nachlass)

I moved the “prosy” piece (inspired by recurring footage on CNN)
from the front to here. The Afghan boy and I are still dragging
along the narrow ditch and stuffing our bags with garbage.
We’re still wondering when water will flow again

I kept the pithy if enigmatic Ein Käfig ging einen Vogel suchen (A cage went
in search of a bird). Chekhov wrote something very similar to this in a letter
to N. A. Leikin in 1890 (four years after he first spit blood). He was inspired
by the wild and beautiful banks of the Shilka River. Kafka probably wrote
his “aphorism” while convalescing at Ottla’s (within a year of first
spitting blood). His inspiration is uncertain

I kept the last line (inspired by Lena and Franka) because I like it:
Run Lola Run. I’ve been looking for that film for the longest.
I finally found it on Vudu. We’re watching it tonight


Author R L Swihart was born in Michigan but now resides in Long Beach CA. His work has sparsely dotted both the Net and hardcopy literary journals (e.g., Cordite, Pif Magazine, Denver Quarterly, Quadrant Magazine, Salt Hill Journal). His third book of poetry was released July 2020: Woodhenge.

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