“To Thomas Pynchon Regarding The Crying of Lot 49” by Amanda J. Bradley

Amanda J. Bradley


You wrote this slim volume and then I wrote one
hundred eleven pages about it in a dissertation
I abandoned. One hundred eleven seemed so
significant as I randomly landed there, those binary,
singular numbers lined up so neatly like three straws.
God damn you, Pynchon! You know, J. Kerry Grant’s
companion to Lot 49 notes you use the word
god thirty-three times in your novel. On purpose?
Was that on purpose?! I want to punch
your reclusive face. Where are you, Pynchon?
So, I’ll use the word god here three times and then you
can decide to what extent or in what capacity
I may or may not believe in such notions as purpose
and entropy and preterite versus elect. By the time I was
done, I had underlined and starred in color-coded
markings nearly every sentence of both Lot 49
and its companion with comments in the margins
such as Irigaray? Lacan? Countercultural symptom?
Commodity fetish?—always ending with a question mark.
I told my advisor I’d write about all of your works,
but I got obsessed with underground postal systems
and Jacobean revenge tragedies, and Oedipa Maas and I?
We became one and the same! I was her in the flesh,
which does not refer to communion wafers metonymically,
unless it does so subconsciously, which it could,
I suppose. Anything’s possible in your world, Pynchon.
You could mean so many things couldn’t you?
You aren’t just being cute, are you? You must mean
something. What do you want to point out here,
Pynchon? Why are you writing at all, Pynchon?
I read about the “massive axiological
catastrophe that provides the normative context
for this lived caricature of life” and wrote about the
“omni-contextual nature of reality and identity”
and said that some people accept a “consensual reality
over a solipsistic or a nihilistically paranoid one,”
but by page 111, I couldn’t believe myself.

from Rattle #35, Summer 2011

Rattle Logo