Preferred Citation: Creeley, Robert. The Collected Essays of Robert Creeley. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1989 1989.

Introduction to Thongs

Introduction to Thongs

by Alex Trocchi

At times world (consciousness) seems containment absolute in all systems. As—"All Systems GO . . ." Expanding consciousness is burst out—as pressures "grow" in paradoxic isometric tensions. Patterns are, so to speak, points of the sphere—"points define a periphery." Blow your mind  . . . The truth is that all is —a living center.

For the Puritans—William Carlos Williams called them tight, small seeds of distrust and endurance—the experience of the outside is primary, and the edges of their world, in either "direction," are the terminals, the terms. Charge them, as you might a battery, and the organization, or organism, tenses and extends—the phenomenon of increase. It was the peculiar stroking of this life by the experience of space in the 17th century that affects the world in continuing forms—which the Puritans distrust and attempt to contain. Morphology—the logos of forms—in McLuhan becomes a "How-to" manual, and sells information in the modes it would qualify. It "shows" you so that you'll "know where you are."

Complex, then, of sexual possibilities: input, output—modulations in the terminal experiences. This way and that—leading to William Burroughs' Cut City—mind tapes, genetic taping—the great mart, distributes the world in substance .

"Puritan"—sexual possibility an inverse ratio to the degree of self-responsibility. "Is this trip necessary?" Must (a familiar expression to this "way of life") I do this, is it really necessary? Modes of people having this life-order seem to range from self-shrinking,

Alex Trocchi, Thongs (North Hollywood, Calif.: Brandon House, 1967).


convenient-to-others commitment, self -imprisoned paranoids to harsh direct noninvolved absolutists, whose actions never respond to what they experience.

Hurt me —so that I may feel pleasure . Each agency of thought in this situation effects the same condition—from the Old Testament to Samuel Beckett's How It Is . Pain is the measure of possible value, the primary in all cases.

Stendhal questioned, is pleasure the absence of pain? But the Marquis de Sade proposed, with a logic not unlike Freud's, that pain was perhaps the most formal means society had evolved for the experience of itself. In Thongs , as in the other novels he has written in this genre, Trocchi defines the isolation of persons in sexual rapport, and the facts of life as unrelieved in all possible senses. The two human conditions most evident seem the intellectual and the animal. There is no "love" felt as a convenience of possibilities for "other" relationships. Gertrude insists upon a Platonic experience of identity: "The triumph is in the rising beyond the painful into Pain. Once that leap out of the self has been made, it is an anticlimax to go back . . ." Insofar as other persons of the novel betray a sympathizing attraction to each other, or want, as Gertrude says, "to go back," they fall away, as Harry or the Prince in the closing section. Only Miguel is possessed of a like intensity:

I am alone. The Prince is alone. Miguel is alone. The Prince lies. He tries to tell me that I am not alone. Miguel tells the truth. He tells me that I am.

Miguel my love, be my executioner!

So ends the book. I leave these notes as they are in hope that the reader will find his own occasion to think of what "Puritanism" is, and to consider—with a little of that lovely wit Trocchi is so possessed of—just what it is, and has been, to love .

July 28, 1967


Introduction to Thongs

Preferred Citation: Creeley, Robert. The Collected Essays of Robert Creeley. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1989 1989.