ON THE CASTLE
I read Kafka's Castle four years ago.
I hardly remember the names of the characters,
the castle bureaucrats, the droll peasants,
just that it was weary,
never sparked into significant violence,
and insult of insults; was unfinished.
I recall that I read it without pleasure,
K's systemic reproach flat and toneless
as if they'd somehow managed to weapon-proof
the very edges off the fiction.
If you must read The Castle,
read it against sterile white walls,
under the sickening hum of a constant bulb
that never admits the time.
Read it terrified and deloused.
In the quivering proximity of violence,
read it alone.
Feeling like I was flooding,
filling up with something I couldn't damn out
I read Kafka's Castle four years ago in jail.
It was supposed to be absurd,
a blunt existential impact,
like the plastic slap of prison-issue flip-flops
across the concrete floor.
I was 19.