Mike Wilson’s literature is a fast trip through the American night, drawn in melancholy images of great beauty.
Die wandernden Schatten
W oder die Kindheitserinnerung
Reportagen, Fiktionen, Wirklichkeiten der Hauptstadt des 20. Jahrhunderts
And what if there were a machine for doing away with memory? That one would carry in an attaché case and plug in beside one’s bed at night? A machine to stifle the shoutings to which I have never given voice?
I recognize that lobby. The Washington Hilton. Men in business suits are crammed in there by the thousands. American philosophers meeting for a convention. A compact assembly of thinkers. Thirty-five hundred of them, Newsweek published the figure. The eastern division of the American Philosophical Association. I make a tour of the counters. There are those of the airlines, TWA, Delta, Allegheny, and those of the hotel, reservations, information, mail, cashier. A perfume shop. A shoe-shine place. An art gallery with pictures painted on velvet. Crowds everywhere. Thinking crowds. All profs. Looking like insurance agents, more readily imagined talking finances than dialectic. Above a bank branch is written: Christmas, Think of it as Money. A prayer for peace follows, signed Riggs National Bank. Between Christmas and New Year’s is the time for the big conventions. I stop in front of every desk as if to bring to life the scene from...