THE SEVERED HEAD
In primal innocence
alone before what-is-not
a head singing.
The head sees the world. Its speaking overwhelms it.
Two heads, severed, stand alone before God. They do not want biography to cloud the issue.
Lamenting is ancient, like the lover whose eyes were burnt out. Lamenting when the ground you stand on is stripped away: being a voice with no body.
A little winding path to two shoes and a rock. The head, not yet severed, is walking it. The naming of the dark has not started yet. Words, stored like small beads, are placed in the back of the forehead. Later, when only the singing is left, they initiate a constellation.
Witnessing without dabbling in private details means witnessing to what might be anyone.
Orpheus lost the wife who was his soul. He regained her through his singing only to lose her again. Carelessness, or a sign that poetically to speak is always to be the one who has lost rights. Even to himself. Even to the smallest portion of happiness.
To speak out of a fate. To transcend that fate.
For all the frenzy of the maenads Orpheus’ head bears no resemblance to a 20th Century head. No part of the brain has been cut away and there is no evidence of any surgical procedure.
In the river the floating head
the part cut away, the part still singing.
The head summons. The head is a wound. How does a wound summon? To dwell in a wound, to speak from a wound is to live without defenses like a lover.
Wounds we have no name for require singing.
The lover knows how a face in its tenderness goes back beyond many lives. The wound we have no name for, the wound in the palm of the hand that goes back beyond many lives, links us to a terrifying heaven we have yet to invent.
Two worn heads in a cupboard singing in unison or chiming slightly off key like damaged gongs, two worn heads singing in a bleakly damaged landscape of the 21st century. Why do they both speak of the peculiar guilt of existing at all, of their presence on earth being perhaps only to rob another of his cup of coffee? What it means to be innocent with both eyes open. And still to sing.
Travelling into distant lands, the head may seem exotica, a weirdness-speaker. Yet it remains here, persistently among us. How familiar its babble, what might be ourselves peeled back, the landscape without the lie of the land.
Severed, a head talks for the headless. When it sings it seeks the right pitch to rebuild the world.
Posted by dwaber at July 22, 2007 12:39 PM