Berryman and the unpredictability of dream songs

There is a remarkable video somewhere on that shows a television interview with John Berryman, if I remember correctly, that was filmed a few hours or days before he committed suicide. He was wholly non-compliant with any assumed rules of appearing before a camera. When I watched this I was struck by the implausibility of such a thing in today’s media. With all our demotic trash talk and our seeming candour, is madness more off-screen than ever before? Is human distinctiveness, is the discomfort of people speaking and differing freely edited out from our ubiquitous screens?

Dream Songs No 67: I don’t operate often (1964)

John Berryman

I don’t operate often. When I do,
persons take note.
Nurses look amazed. They pale.
The patient is brought back to life, or so.
The reason I don’t do this more (I quote)
is: I have a living to fail —

because of my wife & son — to keep from earning.
— Mr Bones, I sees that.
They for these operations thanks you, what?
not pays you. — Right.
You have seldom been so understanding.
Now there is further a difficulty with the light:

I am obliged to perform in complete darkness
operations of great delicacy
on my self.
— Mr Bones, you terrifies me.
No wonder they didn’t pay you. Will you die?
— My
friend, I succeeded. Later.

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