Sunday, February 24, 2008

Passaic Under Paris

With poet-geologist Jonathan Wonham and cataphile-author Gilles Thomas, I took a 10-hr walk under Paris, in the quarries where the architects of Place François 1er perhaps mined the "gray stone cleanly cut and put together in complementary masses” that Williams admired during his Paris hangover. There, 20 meters under the surface of the city, we found German bunkers, bone piles from Montparnasse, punk crash pads, catacomb art, defunct phone cables, a scrabble game abandoned by gnomes, beer can lanterns, and inscriptions dating back to the French revolution . . . when they started to realize that the mining that was done under the city was making the city cave in. Accordingly, most of the tunnels consist of supports at regular intervals which serve to keep whole city blocks from collapsing. Jonathan thought it would be appropriate to read Williams’ geological-cross section passage down in the depths, and so, we staged a group performance with fellow travelers to liven things up. We later found a room with a geological cabinet of curiosities, where each step carved into the stone would have at one time displayed a sample from each geological level, in much the same way that Williams' arrays the strata of the Passaic.

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4 Comments:

Blogger T. Azimuth Schwitters said...

Hi, Joe - this is Kenny (T. Az.) from the Paterson Project. Awesome post - my wife and I went down to the touristy part of the Catacombs when we were in Paris this past summer and we thought it was awesome - although the locked gates made us wonder...

...In any case, it is awesome that you were able to arrange a more interesting tour. Was this "legal" in the American sense of the word? I also dig the photos - very nice, and I have to say: I was talking to a someone about this tonight, and I think between our projects (and perhaps a few others), we are doing Dr. Paterson proud with this blogging.

Best of luck, and I always enjoy your stuff over here (especially the stuff about you enjoying yourself over there). Also, if you get tooooo curious, we put up a new list of titles over at PP that seem fun. No geological cross section though...

8:14 PM, March 01, 2008  
Blogger Joe Milutis said...

No, definitely not an officially sanctioned tour.
You need to carry 120 Euros in case the cataflic (catacomb cops) catch you. That's the fine they charge and if you don't have it, you spend the night in le clink.

12:31 PM, March 02, 2008  
Blogger Joe Milutis said...

No, definitely not an officially sanctioned tour.
You need to carry 120 Euros in case the cataflic (catacomb cops) catch you. That's the fine they charge and if you don't have it, you spend the night in le clink.

12:32 PM, March 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Complete rubbish about the PV from the cops.
1- You never get arrested, you normally get escorted to the nearest exit

2- You're never forced to pay it on the spot.

*rolls eyes

6:43 AM, March 10, 2008  

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