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Monday, 4 February 2002

Matthew Stephan 2002

I dropped 10 sheets of yellow A4 throughout central Taegu, a large industrial city in the middle of South Korea. I left a few on benches in an underground shopping arcade, the majority in telephone booths (a recurring image in The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz), and one on a bench near an outdoor fountain. I targeted central Taegu since it's more likely an English reader would come across it here than in the industrial slums that I teach near. Along with the quote I also left links for The Head of Orpheus and The Kraken. I am not very optimistic about the results but I'm glad I took part in the birth of this project. I wouldn't doubt that my copies of Hoban may be the only ones in this nation, I've never seen any in stores. My resources for culling from were also limited, Pilgermann and Kleinzeit are on the other side of the Pacific so I used some quotes I found in old notebooks. Thanks to Richard for the first quote. Most are from The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz since that is the most recent Hoban I've read.


HOW-CAN-I-MAKE-WORDS-STAY-ON-THE-PAPER? said Kleinzeit very slowly, as if talking to a foreigner.
They'll stay if you don't put them there, said the yellow paper.
How do I do that?
You don't do it, it happens.
How does it happen?
You simply have to find what's there and let it be, said the yellow paper.
Find what's where? said Kleinzeit.
Here, said the yellow paper. Now.


She said, ‘Its some kynd of thing it aint us but yet its in us. Its looking out thru our eye hoals. May be you dont take no noatis of it only some times. Say you get woak up suddn in the middle of the nite. 1 minim youre a sleap and the nex youre on your feet with a spear in your han. Wel it wernt you put that spear in your han it wer that other thing whats looking out thru your eye hoals. It aint you nor it dont even know your name. Its in us lorn and loan and sheltering how it can.’
. . .

She larft then she said, ‘Riddley there aint nothing what aint a tel for you. The wind in the nite the dus on the road even the leases stoan you kick a long in front of you. Even the shadder of that leases stoan roaling on or stanning stil its all telling.’


An appalling sunny afternoon sky. When Napoleon spoke of two o'clock courage he could only have meant two in the afternoon, thought Kleinzeit. Two in the morning's nothing compared to it.

. . .

Life is the original sickness of inanimate matter.


Life cannot tolerate itself, life wants to become death.


Beyond the windows of the dining room the sea sparkled in the sunlight. Part of an island passed, a straggle of ruins, a broken citadel, the pillars of a temple, two figures on a hill. Gulls rose and fell on the air currents beside the ship. This, said the sea. Only this. What? thought Boaz-Jachin. Who? Who is looking out through the eyeholes in my face? No one, said the sea. Only this.

. . .

The petrol stations, owning the world, called to their brother monsters. Distant towers flashed lights. The petrol stations kept up their pretence, fuelled cars and lorries, maintained the fiction of roads for humans. Vast pipes slid effortlessly over miles of world. Huge valves regulated flow. Lights flashed at sea. Music played in aeroplanes. Never did the music name the pipes and petrol stations, the great steel stalking that laughed with striding legs. God is with us, said the valves and towers. With us, said the stones. Cars moved on roads.

. . .

It ceased to matter to him who was looking out through the eyeholes in his face and it ceased to matter who was looking in.

. . .

After all, when you come right down to it, how many people speak the same language even when they speak the same language?

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