Close Up Acker Jumper 1
Detail of Robert Maplethorpe’s portrait of Kathy Acker

In the scene some readers meet in the dark and gather texts. One is sick, one is sick, one is sick, one is late, she is sorry for the delay, one is in many places at once, alone in a bedroom, she is tired, they are reading, she is writing, they are dreaming another scene. In this scene the artist is in debt and is being given money by the librarian. With the money they buy a room to work in. Scene end. How might we interpret this? Looking at each other as well as the book is important. They are coping with being in the wrong space and wearing ballet shoes. What to call themselves? Book widows, confesses the older reader. How much louder until it’s a confessional. One reader stood up on a chair and said, if you’re sick once your ill, if you’re sick again you’re getting good at it, if you’re sick again you have a passionate attachment to the process and so does everyone around you.

They are a reading group and their institution of the dark is a good idea. No lights for the moving along wisdom. The circle makes rehearsals of futures, translate lines into speeds of the future. A voice from low down on the list gives a set of names: Reynolds, Neely, Language, Medium. Unspeakable allies. The sound of one inaugurates an exercise session. Running in one direction to speech, in the other to health, to the other health, to the other, to the other, to the top of the list. You can definitely practice your spelling in here: an artist’s name is spelt, a-c-k. Maybe it’s a-c-h-e, or maybe it’s a-r-c-h. It is always spelt. They read out the spelling in turn and fold paperwork. Tending to the wily institute of outsider agents. The carefully described self they’re talking about comes from this kind of space; in a preparatory consciousness. Today is the fourth experimental listenership that Makes Contact with the readers.

Holly Pester is a poet, writer and researcher. This text is the first instalment of a series of ‘magical correspondences’ with MAP’s archive of past issues and content. Each instalment will be a projection that stories imagined potential from the archive data. Read Pester’s introduction here.

See also ‘Sick Sick Sick’: The Books of Ornery Women