The Piece That May Have Tried To Provide An Explanation
Filled with, and characterized by, the difficulties that plague all writing and especially poetry and considering also an observation made about a lack of butterflies.
for Mireille Juchau
Some things begin with a dream. These are nice – the torn out heart wearing the paper napkin as a hat; truly understanding the relationship not had by the barn and the picture of the barn1; swimming above the sea in a stage of mitosis, out-flung chromosomes moving towards the poles in one enormous embrace.
As a method, not one expostulated but one in busy-ness, I have decided not to be aware that what I am writing is poetry. Of course, it’s useless – things which are often not dangerous and sometimes are – and dangerous to persist with this thought-action when not writing. One must be prepared to live unprepared. Further, to prepare everything for that which can abide no preparation.
I see a mudpuddle. I see mudpies. It’s all too unclear and messy for allegory. Symbols can sometimes get in the way of other symbols and life has refused its familiarity to the living. Bought a lamp and write by lamp-light. I do this for none of the wrong reasons. I simply write differently beneath the softness of a moon-sun.
It was said of Bruno Tant that ‘[he] designed fantastic buildings for imprecisely formulated purposes.’ My poems are invisible sleeping dwellings on the maps of these towns where Tant’s architecture migrates towards the imagination. Perhaps Poe stands in the square taking snap-shots. The poems are not as useful as ribs but like them do protect life and when removed from the body grow certain murmurings of the mind.
Susurrant. Should we consider it the work of many rather than the work of one? Libratory. Poised between islands only occupied by each of us once and alone, I consider this token space – plants, animals, stories about them beginning with the last sentence of the previous tale, but used to head in a different direction. A tree moving position. Seahorse becoming seashore. Little poems, in the form of voices, knocking on the door of the neverending house.
What is the main danger with deciding to do this? To write a little piece and make no claims with it yet still believe in its justification? Is it that tears and chuckles bearing signatures – not names, but the unmistakable marks of a singularity – cannot be cried and laughed again by others? Or never enough others? May I answer: the voice has this special nature, that it can speak to, and of, itself. So listen...
A friend of mine, herself a writer, tells me that there are no butterflies in her life anymore. I was delighted today, when in a restless moment, two white ones with wings edged in black (as if outlined by the drawing hand of a child god) chased each other in circles fluttering the tree opposite my balcony. But I cannot take her butterflies – they are the kind of thing which loses what you want from them when taken.
You cannot hide stupidity in poems yet all poems contain stupidity, as well as the intelligence they seek. They must be the poorest of the poor living by a full sea in which to fish; they must be where they are originally from in every place.
Other things begin in the mind awake. These, also, are for travelling with. And though we may stop to ask, How candid can we be with ourselves, truly?, there is nothing here by which to be overwhelmed. To be afraid of life, is to be afraid of poetry; hearts bleed, with or without the humour; ready to grow, the plot itself, like the stem of a young tree.
There is the impossibility of finishing – what must be finished and in general. Clouds sink like stones some days and others they seem as light as the ghost in my chest. My heart is not on this cover but within the pages of this book, a book which contains a missing growl.
1. Representation differs not only in reality but removes the representation of the thing from its own representation. The barn you see from another direction is the same size as the barn you see from the other direction. The picture of the barn is a different size from every direction and the barn that is always the same size is not there. (This perhaps makes sense only as dream.) Why dream of a barn?
accompanied by poetry
If your poem sinks
It is because paradox has already disembarked
Once I spent a whole day doing absolutely nothing
This caused death and disaster to ensue
This poem is a desire for survival
Therefore I am without evolution
I lack the understanding for this
And so should you
We float by virtue of being vessels
Our design more important than what we carry
So it should make no difference if paradox gets off
All the same the poem sinks
‘I try the hearts of men, and their reins, and give to every one according to his conduct, and according to his device.’
AElfric, Died circa AD 1025
Philosophy, a publisher told me, is five dots – the first white and the next four black. I like this, the philosopher on the bare back of the palomino heading for dark mountains. If I had a horse perhaps I wouldn’t dislike horses so much. I don’t find them sexy or particularly interesting and tend to associate them with kicking people to death. Certainly, I think they’re at their best when off somewhere with other horses and am sure they don’t reciprocate the young girl thing. Do philosophers just have too much time to think? How do you go from horse-brain to human-brain and who cares where the dots lead anyhow? Philosophers are, of course, up on the horse and lost for the lot of us. If I could bear being up-close to those monstrous eyes I’d sidle up, grab their reins and simply lead them to water. But then, what is it they say, you can’t make them drink. Not like publishers. They think horses are an angle and the booze only runs out if you think it does. One told me once, in his cups, that poetry is sneaking up on dickheads...
‘The Mysterious Laws of Poetry’
after José Lezama Lima
These are really quite unable.
As they tend to shy away.
Mystery, you see, is not a prelude.
Makes no difference.
If the facts are established.
A deliberate act become random.
If you understand it.
Its mysterious laws preclude.
The Desire Project
Arouse in the poem the parting that opens between the lip that is writers who are always people who do not believe and the lip that is writers who to write must believe and the space is dark. Have you ever gone looking for black in black? Have you never tried separating white from white? Worth having or wishing for, we think, are the things which tilt our brain in that direction, we think, unsatisfied.
Introducing a gloss:
Between your thighs is the warmest place I know but I can’t fit my life there. And by what they call pure chance two stars fall and the shape of the poetry is wholly changed. This I found one day when misreading Shikibu – kissing across centuries, you can miss the mouth.
“...and the curious way we
write what we think...yet
I write into this space of mine
Unanswered by all ever written
Poems to be occupied
As if they are uncomfortable rooms
Each brief love curled up
As if to resist the world’s cold
These are the things
Upon which I practise death:
The man eating a flower with his nose
First the flavour and then
The cylinder of colour it fell through
To become the sky
Or the other playing thoughts
With the minds of craters on the moon
Holding out to me his bleeding hands cut
From falling onto stars...
And in the end there is no picture
Turned towards the universe
No foetus that grows to a true portrait
Outside the singular womb
It may be that emotion rewards me
And motives are irresistible
But with each greyly-drawn ghost of words
I know more certainly
I do not have the time
To transform my life into a vision
All the words in the world don’t explain laughter or tears. I am not a fine observer but wearing the skin of a lens and gripped by what is before me. It appears magnified as if closed in upon when this is the world and its counterparts, its precursors and unimaginable others spreading out across a plain that runs from vision. Indeed, any sense. Try feeling the contours of the names we give to ambition or betrayal, to obedience and devotion. On your tongue they are as if the body; in the air they stretch to unbecoming. But nonexistence dressed. And this is all we say, that moving from not knowing ourselves to the story, we wrap what can never be full or empty, what is neither here nor there, what has no level, in content. The gift is on the outside. This is not to say that life as flesh and breath is a matter of style and that living it in a certain way, substance, but maybe that words measure for us the measure of us and as well the distance from everything to nothing by taking as their mark something in between.
Shattering All Writing Pens
It makes your toes go soft!
You will be eaten by snails!
You will hear voices
and be pursued by every contamination
Can you come to the bed
and do things
that can only be done
Put your cool hands here!
Please don't remember my words!