Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
go find out what j/j has to say about it: "what is the body capable of". (if you're not taken directly to the essay click on the blog link on the left.) or go here: what is the body for.
...and remember that j/j's new books are out!!...get .compilate. by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org..and get asymptotic lover//thermodynamic vents at blazevox.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
in the process of reading and doing the layout design of and for j/j hastain's .compilate. i was inexorably moved outward into the past and future of my relationship with poetry and thus my relationship with the world. in many ways i wanted to write a short note explaining or offering some brief insight or captivating and influential press release to share this book with the world. as i was writing these blurb like phrasings/opinions i was thrust beyond them via the texts own diverse momentums into further thought and other books. so, here, rather than condense my feelings/thoughts/impressions/relations of and to j/j hastain's writing, i thought it might be useful to map the movement of my thinking and reading...those processes being produced by the varying gestures of .compilate.'s text....as an introduction and example set, here is a short sampling of the book (please understand my personal html limitations in formatting produce a text not identical in format to the original):
from the first section:
.stolen. books. objections. personas. exiles.
membrane. junky jolted you. in groan and
localized eros. corporeality of any cicala
theory. if it matters when it goes engraved.
salted. strung together to make more than two
hundred miniaturized girls.
.with accommodations the sentences begin to shift.
.the room is opaque often laminatedly related.
something like out of the top of your. who
does the incremental switch belong to. making
beings that extend beyond contradictions in the
fashion. general constructions beading banality.
dead cats then a dress made of cast. calle as
in this to reach renee. the hospital is not
fake. the infant and its numerous furry bulks.
.nomadic taxi touch.
.sockets become unexpected shovels. the
syringe buries. impulses of sea umbrella.
waning circulature. intelligence actually dying.
the sacrilege of dedicated grosspace.
.work itself verge or spill construction.
the trusting blackened. grind to and ash.
tumultuous turning floatations into sanskrit.
or potatoes between hardening hands.
I. this text is one that co-operates with language. as i have heard mr. duncan point out in audio lectures: some "use" language others "co-operate" with it. this is something fundamental for/to me as a reader/writer of text/world. i am prompted to continue that premise...knowledge/language exists outside of myself and only in relationship to others/geographies/texts do i (whatever/whoever i may be) collaborate in meaning making....compilate. did not necessarily reveal this to me, yet .compilate. is a text that re-members this consistently throughout. and maybe that is the process that this book encourages in the experience of it...the re-membering of these polysemous cells. i am brought into the biological act of fusion, or no, something more dirty...some prosthetic or transformation process where membranes are introduced to each other and either reject or assimilate themselves. here in .compilate. i believe we as readers/writers both assimilate and reject this prosthetic membrane. we as co-participants in the meaning making process re-member and suture this monster to ourselves (willy-nilly and with momentum). it hangs strangely and comfortably off of ourselves...changes our functions as we learn its own kind of consciousness.
I. in the beginning of .compilate. the reader is given a few brief "pre" poetic texts. these texts act to me as a womb or gestational mediation system viewed from an outside...or maybe through ultrasound.... texts like: "compilate: collect+compile+grate.", "gathers things from many different sources. much duration. this matters." reveal some of the clues of the form and shape and parts of the baby/monster to come...then the book proceeds into the birth, "has no affinity / to the history book". this birthing of things collected, compiled, and grated resembles the ways i have read benjamin, arendt, and jae emerling (on benjamin and arendt). each of these authors has lauded the collector's relationship to her/his/their world...by re-contextualizing objects/words/things through a kind of "pearl-diving" into the past (arendt on benjamin) the genuine collector "exhibits a love of things, a care of things, that refuses to appropriate their alterity...in the presentation of the what-has-been, a past that was never present the as yet unlived." (emerling on arendt and benjamin). from here i suggest also that recent discussions of kenneth goldsmith's work in a parallel fashion, as well as thought in/around/about viktor shlovsky's queering/making strange/defamiliarization can be thought in terms of this kind of idiosyncratic and and times radical collecting/birthing. pulling texts/worlds together through a variety of personally idiosyncratic methods of construction/reconstruction/rereconstruction so that their past breathes in the present. In fact through reading/writing this .compilate. monster i am reminded that maybe this process--of idiosyncratic collecting--is what builds (and possibly has always built) the polysemous human conversation/narrative [and not just what is called "discourse" (but that too)]...is it only now that humans have been so easily rendered useless to their own future through the lack of attention to their past? Or have we always been so forgetful?....compilate., through its attempt at collection and dispersal, is building a narrative in conjunction and in relation to the reader/writer and their world. this monster is growing/transforming on/into us...it is re-membering itself as it attaches its history to you and your room presently.
and don't these notions/notes also reinforce similarities between benjamin's ideas about brechtian performativity and relationships between our objects, ourselves...a dialogic or polylogic dialectics of reading/writing.
(note to self: write a paper on benjamin's brechtian influence towards a performativity of the reader/writer: a benjaminian performative dialogic dialectic of reading/writing a new art-historical poeisis?wtf?.)
I. .compilate. is a text that meditates, that breathes, that sits and yet transfoms. I am reminded and sent back to gertrude stein's stanzas in meditation, a text in which language comes back to itself...back to its own breath (huh?)....the form of .compilate. is phenomenological in this sense...or attempts to be so...it does not seem like a record of meditation (though it may be)...rather it appears to me to be the enactment or embodiment of meditative states....the reader/writer of .compilate. is confronted with accumulations of meanings and contexts only to be moved steadily, if not swiftly, (on the wind horse) into others...just as during a sitting meditation one's mind may wander and body may begin to fatigue (these never being mutually exclusive), one attempts, consistently, to bring their mind and body back to the immediate moment...it is in in this sense that .compilate. seems to be operating in my mind and body...as i read/write the text i am brought back to the immediacy of each phrasing...then group of phrasings...then back. then back. again. again. consistently. back. again. .this movement is not one that gives a sense of forward linear movement...there is no "progress"....trajectories are rhizomic in .compilate....we breathe. we read. we sit. we go out. we come back. we set the book down. we go back. we hear the gong. and the music doesn't stop. rather, we experience our moments and .compilate. rests itself uncomfortably and monstrously in our breath and seats...
I. so far in writing responses and close readings/writings of texts it has been difficult for me to express specifically what it is that is happening lyrically. now here .compilate. has added another insight into where i find lyric and lyricism most intriguing. in the past year or so a handful of texts have stood out to me lyrically for the simple reason that there forms seemed antithetic to lyric or to use nezval's phrase (i think) antilyric...these texts are joseph cooper's autobiography of a stutterer, andrew peterson's anselm hollo private eye, gertrude stein's stanzas in meditation, and now j/j hastain's .compilate....what each of these texts does in their own ways is to create a music that would at first seem to be impossible. "stutterer" places reader/performer in the place of the author through the use of symbols that articulate the difficulties and seizures of his own tongue. a brief look at the text is dizzying due to the number of disruptions. yet a clear lyric is imbedded and made possible by the impediment. one finds herself working through the text in her own disruptive singing. i have spoken briefly in the past about AHPE by peterson and will again reiterate how a period after every line created a kind of stop. /and. /go. /experience. that motion becomes a kind of music of musics or musics of music as you move through...small voices combining for an overall effect of song. stein, of course, in stanzas uses almost no nouns in her masterpiece which serves to alter your presence with it...the text is most difficult to stay involved with in prolonged readings...yet its music becomes unmistakeable with all of the prepositions and articles repeating in every possibility...(in an ideal world i'd give lengthy examples of all...but...)....compilate.'s music is also at first an interruptive one as well. we are confronted and released by periods on both sides of the text...in a way framing but also a kind of punching through the page...as if the periods were holes in this fabric...or to look back to duncan again in his warp and woof lecture...this is a fabric that is hol(e)y. so even though i am in a way interrupted by its formal architecture i am pressed through these (w)holes into another weaving. into another weaving. into another weaving. and so on. and these are, ultimately, part of the same fabric. (which is why it is possible to be read at all...for anything to be read.?)...but the music is in the movement from warp to woof and back...wait...does that make sense? .compilate. is an interruptive lyric or antilyric in the sense that you come to abrupt holes (metaphorical and lyrical) that move you into and out of cushion-ey...then rocky...then velvet-ey...then abrupt sound spaces...but the only way to travel from stop to song is through those portal period holes. And those portals are revealed two-fold: architecturally [periods (punctuation and length of time)], semantically [meanings (relationally created)]. the result is a movement of sound that traverses underneath between, over and through the accumulated text...a kind of superstructure...or ego...there it! is!...the sound of compilate is the accumulative identity binding its monstrous baby system to our own as readers/writers/experiencers...the lyric of .compilate. acts as a barb extending out of its tentacles which have wrapped themselves around yr torso...sticking its lyric inside of your body this monster releases its genetic sonic fabric changing again and again the way yr ears make their sense.
I.…ralph the naropa bookstore owner while i was attending (whose been at naropa since its beginning) would bring certain books in (i can only imagine his stashes from previous 30 odd swp’s) one at a time to be found by the most steadfast explorer of books. some of us understood that if we spent the time to look (three to four x's a week) we might find some crazy textual rainbow loot! something not visible (and most likely not even there) the day or two before and placed there just for us (or so it seemed)…this is just how i came across robert grenier’s attention, a curriculum of the soul book, #28 that was put out in 1985 by the institute for further studies at glover publishing…so, here (in portland), the other day i see it sitting next to .compilate., as if placed there by the ghosts of kerouac and stein, and i pick them both up and read them into each other...and so here is part of that experience.
here are grenier narratives, IV., V. and .compilate. poems, .susceptible variations., .borderlands as in late noon., .the magma of the alley., .lace vortex., .this is a party., .so what nests after woman.:
“IV.: What’s the ‘connective tissue’? what does “it makes another syntax” mean? ‘Syntax’ & ‘narrative’ clearly indicate (?) ‘the same thing’? What a charming muddle!—Darling, don’t leave!
.invoices. repetition polarities. seek tendencies
authoring what differentiates the frogs. forums
filled with buttered corn. scrolls and apparatus.
Almost everything remains to be undertaken in the investigation of ‘narrative’—we don’t know what it is—what’s the ‘symbiosis’ between language (apparently a ‘structural event’) & human (animal, generally, huh? Semicolon; rocks?) ‘mental process’—“language”?/”mind”?(“language are”—‘in’ the brain?)? Almost everything is “in quotes” including, particularly, that previously casually supposed copy-relation among /between “language” & “the world” (now presupposed to be merely the image, purely projected by men’s and women’s wills, as language, within which ‘we’ are trapped, rather unfortunately, but within which we can alter the environment by transferring ownership or employing a competent & highly recommended gardener to reduce traffic noise?—the notion of ‘syntax’ as some total ‘governing’ language’s pre-programmed ‘narrative’ of ‘events’ arrived?)?
.borderlands as in late noon.
.what loops it to itself. a regional frothing
of circular. the revolt of parabolic literals.
playing music out of the tips. of a war
who can speak for halle barry leaving her
husband. the most complex biological slates.
What’s the ‘comparative time’? Eh!? How, then, ever know what follows? One thing after another?—“one one one”—what does that language mean? Form is what it looks like afterward, depending ‘from’ what happens?—well, then, on same old question, how such? Mark what happens, extant sort!—how ‘then’?—how did what happen?—the past, It Was—outcome of what mysterious ‘flesh’…? What made it?—something make it?
.the magma of the alley.
.form of how it does or does not respond
to the cat the henchman. the reach. akin to
over fifty. retaliations against the etymology
of darwin drawing. dissolution of embedded
organs. self-invention in break with god.
“Don’t mess with narrative!”—absolute dictum of society which would phase you in, phase you out, ‘finally’—assumption of “beginning/middle/end” & series form through which we are supposed to ‘live’, so heavy-handed & pervasive it’s not even noticed—until you step out, on occasion—with ‘narrative’ as henchman of this awful mind-control, that spreads abroad, with intent to aggrandize whatever it can push/persuade the world is this the way to—the whole thing ‘organized’—synchronized/in sequence—in our lifetimes!
.not named but nameable transmissions.
disintegrating loons taste the great arousal.
upside down pineapple. hive. closest. flute.
ferret running in its passage. they go. because
they made it.
V.: What is the passage of time to time, that's narrative, what is the order in which 'things happen', in 'language' of course--i.e. in & through language--but more primarily order of events through man perceived to share that same 'structure' that...
All writing is essentially ‘narrative’—not only storytelling/prose—but any combination of letters, that moves in time.
You always have to tell the story of.
It does its activity as a major means to salute & acknowledge, recognize & ‘define’ & manifest itself, I write.
.this is a party.
.send out the coaches. accesses of
ontology. zoo roams. protruding
reimaginings of refused vestibule.
this is a cup is an orb calculation.
caress. am still leaving. the me
of my doctored herbs.
The mere activity of a reader ‘reading’—by moving through words and syllables (at high speed or at a crawl) while thinking almost anything about/never everything by any means of what the words ‘say’, in toto—makes a small (unwritten) ‘narrative in itself’, for itself.
Essentially, the reader makes the narrative—the writer, as a reader, makes the narrative?
.so what nests after woman.
.snorting vein along the coast of your
squiggling cuerpo. ligatures activate
the temporary barn. each other politic
hygiene. shines exquisitely press-on
can’t say blatantly. moss-complications
meaning you stay if not one shape.
then dividable in the cleanest. the
final body becoming the first.
Ok, then, the issue is the same thing (as if the writer makes the story up, out of the Imagination)—its glory forth—
:: ummm, so ya....compilate. is available today!!!
email me at livestockjared[at]gmail[dot]com and order yours!
livestock editions does not charge for their books...but is always happy to accept donations or trades!!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
"It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there." - WC Williams
the overthrow of the government is a crime
overthrowing it is something else
altogether. it is sometimes called
but don't kid yourself: government
is not where it's at: it's only
a good place to start:
1. kill head of Dow Chemical
2. destroy plant
3. MAKE IT UNPROFITABLE FOR THEM
to build again.
i.e., destroy the concept of money
as we know it, get rid of interest,
(Pound's money, as dated coupons that come in the mail
to everyone, and are void in 30 days
is still a good idea)
or, let's start with no money at all and invent it
if we need it
or, mimeograph it and everyone
print as much as they want
and see what happens
declare a moratorium on debt
the Continental Congress did
'on all debts public and private'
& no one 'owns' the land
it can be held
for use, no man holding more
than he can work, himself and family working
let no one work for another
except for love, and what you make
above your needs be given to the tribe
None of us knows the answers, think about
The day will come when we will have to know
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
"I thought to myself, wow, writing is so far behind other art forms in this regard. . .
Twenty five years after Baudrillard, these poetry students were still prioritizing Romantic notions of authenticity -- "truth", "individuality" and "honesty" -- over any other form of expression. My god! Is it a case of naivety, amnesia or just plain ignorance?. . .
Now is the time of possibility we can be everyone and no one at all. With digital fragmentation any notions of authenticity and coherence have long been wiped. When we're everywhere and nowhere at once -- pulling RSS feeds from one server, server-side includes from another, downloading distributed byte-size torrents from hundreds of other shifting identities -- such naïve sentiments are even further from what it means to be a contemporary writer. Identity politics no longer have to do with the definition of a coherent self, rather it has to do with the reconstructed distributed, fragmented, multiple and often anonymous selves that we are today. We're infinitely adaptable and changeable minute-to-minute. Shouldn't our notions of art expand once again to include these as well?"
-- Kenneth Goldsmith
Monday, August 25, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
An interpretation of resistance throbs with blood as you ask the question. What I call the erasure of concepts night, good, night, good, good, night, ought to mark the places of that future meditation. An economy of analytic listening, historical manifestations, is undisturbed by the extraction of foreign body. The eye I look out of would be a relationship of translation. Even when human beings were involved with it, they complained of violent spasms. It’s expanse of sky, contradiction, between desire and pleasure. Ornery experience of the intimate recasting syntax and vocabulary. What I am to myself, shall constantly reconfirm that writing is the other that must be remembered. Incandescent, unbearable limit between inside and outside separated from mouths. It is the question of a supplement, where it cannot, my mind sinks, falling short of itself, is born. The violence of poetry, and silence, a depression visible in satellite photographs. Earlier in the evening the moon became capable of being imperceptible, going to bed, making love, the age of writing begins. When narrated, identity is a latticework mating to disperse your body as referent. As I said to my friend, the presence of a spectator is a violation, a silent and immobile darkness surrounds us.
I'm glad to let you know the newest issue of Brown Bagazine is complete. Issue 5, "Borders/Exclusion/The Other Politics," includes the work of Tim Armentrout, Amanda Haney, Harish Thakur, David Trame, David McLean, and Puma Perl. It is printed in color on tabloid-sized laser paper and folded to resemble a road map. The writers represent India , Sweden , Italy , and the United States .
Information is available on the website in regards to future issues, submissions, and subscriptions.
Please also be aware the following publishers are actively accepting submissions and publishing new work:
bedouin books is an independent publisher of handmade works of literature and poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Information is available at www.bedouinbooks.com.
Fact-Simile is accepting submissions for Fact-Simile 1.2 (Fall 2008). If you haven’t seen their flagship magazine, yet (Featuring an Interview with Jerome Rothenberg), you can check out a PDF version on their website: www.fact-simile.com.
Have an excellent week!
Yours in Art,
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
A large crowd cued up in the Marshfield/Pembroke Burger King anticipating the beginning of Opening Night for the Marshfield Fair ("New England's largest and oldest fair"). A more antique Bohemian flavor than your usual fast food chain. Steven Tyler mingles and greets people, Steve Correll brings guests unusual food and drink. ST come up and talks to us in anticipation of arrival of featured reader & main event at fair first night - Allen G! There is a swirl of unusual, artistic, old world peoples, elaborate animal clothes, foreign languages & accents. We talk w/ ST when Allen's entourage enters - he is frailer, w/ a much bigger beard than usual. There is a great rush for him but he navigates with ease & comes right over to us, - informal introductions, - he has heard of us through the Naropa circles. We are all pleased & conversate like old friends tho soon time to go & the great rollicking energy of the place is let out when Allen leaves. We agree to meet after the reading - a great party being thrown by an old Russian restauranteur.
We stop at liquor store Rte. 139, a great buzz & crowd of townies in parking lot, many I used to go to high school with. They know nothing of Allen or the great reading, but are planning to visit the Demolition Derby at the fair that nite. We turn them on & soon everyone's excited to go; the entourage doubles. The line around fairgrounds entrance seems endless, but we pass right through into this large barn with a grandstand; tiered medieval looking room lit with huge warlording candled chandeliers. Crowd, raucous as before - barbarian furs, eastern Euro- roughstock, accented, bearded, elaborate evening dress, men & women hard to tell apart. A friendly man I recognize from around town approaches w/ large suitcase - he's been put in charge of what Allen should read tonight and what do we think? He opens suitcase to find all of Allen's books, bound in elaborate, 18th C. type leather, gold calligraphied handwriting on spines, etc. We ponder set list like excited music fans - old farovites chosen - "Howl", "Green Valentine", etc. - I want to suggest "Wichita Vortex Sutra" but we somehow mutually agree on one of his more obscure favorites called "The Beginning." (Later, awake, I check: Allen has no poem called this.)
Allen reads, all a great success, we rush off to restaurant - again, a dark, unusual other occult country feel - old friends are met again at an overflowing bar - talk abounds again with Allen, & other poets.
I end up in conversation with the owner who ushers me away into separate seating area where other non-reading attendees are dining in black tie & dress. There is a large table set for the reading guests that have arrived, tho nobody interested in sitting to eat or casual conversation. The owner - old, eastern European accent, kind dark eyes' penetrating gaze - makes me sit at a table for two with his mother (or ancient wife?). He pulls up a chair & together they take food from her plate & waiters & waitresses continuously bring & feed me the most unusual elaborate & delicious appetizers I have ever tasted ...
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
gradually less expired endeared juniper/a miss list greeted these
breaks a plurality in asphalt placed semantic in so many spaces
to experience feet on trophies so that spectator implies dig
just like we the moment who shake a trick in discourse falls
language proposed a memory in body: the pronoun fits in curves
low to the right leg should make time for an address: it playing
the coming and soft like it just gelled in that not tomorrow before
Friday, June 27, 2008
we speak of resentment as an old hat bent one too many times around the brim. but our collective intolerance became things that were essentially different. ever narrowing circles. the anguish of answering questions. voluptuous imaginings. pushing rude sex back into the obscene. I never uttered that loose word. that interdiction or concealment. it was hard to know this as politics. an entirely theoretical elaboration. sexual manuals newlyweds. and never has perversion noted such strange ass. the most numerous and searching details. nakedness persuading shapes of rationality. unusual erotic art. sustained--but not without trembling a little.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
a marvelous animality of asses and mouths
by diminishing or destroying the locus proprius
tortured bodies written by law
after falling into a magical sleep she gives birth
swallowed up like atlantis
peaks beaks arrows and sharp points
doubtless, there must always be death for speech
nocturnal feeders where bodies are lips
do we exist to speak to the other or be spoken by her
an androgyny halfway burst open
a challenge of and dedication to
cutup bodies that can be disassembled like dolls
Saturday, May 17, 2008
ISSUE FOUR IS DONE. And here it is.....It isn't available everywhere yet because we have not yet made enough to stock both the Bookmobile and Haus Frau. These are wayyyy labor intensive so they are taking a while to get enough together. But if you want one, they are $10, and you can either buy one from Courtney Blazon at her booth at the Saturday Market, or from the Bookmobile there, or at upcoming events. Soon to be at Haus Frau as well! Very soon. See below the photo for updates on recent events, upcoming plans, and so on!
Did you know there is a real treasure map inside that leads to a real treasure buried in Missoula? Did you also know that you will find work by Courtney Blazon, Katie Ludwick, Nabil Kashyap, Jonathan Marquis, collaborations by Liz Guthrie & Andy Peterson, and that the cover is made by Kayla i dont know her last name? And more? Yes, there is more.
Thursday, May 22, 8-10 p.m. KBGA 89.9 FM, Missoula, Montana
Friday, May 09, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
But if i had to examine, perhaps, reasoning for success in this genre i would have to say that on some level i rely on form, on constraints, for this allowance. As Dodie Bellamy relies on Horror, Bhanu on identity and relation, i escape insecurity by recognizing body, using the grotesque as writers before me have as well, see Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal", among others who have used exposure of reality and truth of bodily action as methodology. this is contact. this is bodily significance that reaches further than regulation, than the bindings of flesh necessity. we are investigators. we are interrogaters of body. this needs no apology. this needs no forgiveness. i do not apologize for my love of pornography, for my absolute unsatiated desire for erotic body, for the text that is provision.
in truth, it is all about body, recognizing that body is character, body is element, body is exposed to action, and circumstance. as hot as is the stench of your and my ass, we are body. as much as my genitals find satisfaction when aligned with another's we are body. as much as beer is smooth, and glass divides flesh, we are body. we cannot avoid what happens to body in life, body is subject to desire, to injury, to want, to fluctuation in size, to dismembering, to memory. but what i consider equally communicable is the tangential transference of memory. in essence, memory is mine and yours, but neither one is reliable, is consistent. because i have memories that i truly believe are my but are actually hearsay, memory is manipulated, therefore human identity can be manipulated. it is the fear of succumbing to desire that forces purity of memory. religion, corporation, gender role identity, these things REGULATE what is acceptable, what is reliable.
but this is whole other side of erotica and acceptability. a text like dodie bellamy's Cunt-ups, a derivitive of the William Burroughs/Brion Gysin experience expostulated upon in Third Mind, dissolves REGULATION, by hermaphroditic identity. body is omnipresent, and not subjugated to corporation but is therefore pronounced manipulated, and manipulating of human experience and sexuality. while every text cannot be hermaphroditic, because of human obsession with authorship and the demand for recognition, it can stimulate the ambiguity that must exist in text for univeral, experiential transformation. so the question is, how does text exhibit ambiguity whie demonstrating human experience? is collaboration the key to denying authorship (see wickerman, consultations)? are we defined as writers, as thinkers, as bodies, by regulatory knowledge and experience? is memory defended and moreso responsive to ethics? can dissolving memory constraints dilate textual inhibition, to widening audience and accessibility?
What Touch Me affords me, as a writer, is that it is based on the memory game Simon, if you recall. incorporating childhood memories bashed with sexuality and conflict of relationship's present, affords me a certain tenderness in violation. the significance of gaming is that it draws upon deep childhood memories (obviously audience is reduced to those exposed for complete textual satisfaction, but even on the internet you can play Simon). everyone has relationships with gaming. this is notion of connection, of affiliation between writer and reader. drawing upon relation, upon that communication is essential to textual connection. and by tampering with memory, writing is priveleged to the indistinguishable patterns which memory creates. Perversion through memory.
make it universal, make it organic. if it's bodily how can audience refuse it? make it somehow relational, a place for communication. if there can be an interaction, a dialogue between author and text, a textual relationship between them, then refusal of bodily relation is the pain of audience, not the text. while audience is necessary for the respiration of text, there committment to it, raises them from the operating table. they are patient and surgeon alike. ultimately by making the text interactive, providing the privelege and responsibility to partake, see shelley jackson's Patchwork Girl, or in some respect, Jamba Dunn's Fossil 23, the reader will become more immersed in their responsibility and action with said text. by placing commands on the reader, do this, do that, they are forced, or less commandingly so, convinced to obey the requirements of the text.
command vs. request is really the two forms poetically we're experiencing here. demanding a reader to partake, to experience, forces them, verbs the shit out of them, imposing interaction. more commonly is the voyeur text, the inclusin based luring, on teasing a reader inside a text. even the most widely accepted writers, such as Billy Collins, or Charles Bukowski, commit to luring. Collins does so in form, in the hynotics of language, the charisma of the line, forming a sense of perfection and neatness, which promotes populous, promotes readership, a sense of reliability and committment. this is luring, this is the basic form of seduction. Bukowski, on ther other hand, while committing to the "art of seduction" entices readership through setting, and the unfamiliar. he still fails to promote command, in the sense that we're speaking, but lures a reader through a series of interactions: whores, race tracks, alcohol, isolation, etc. ultimately this a language of committment and communication in its most simplistic form. without communication, language is essentially useless, therefore audience is a required condition. but again, there are various methods of infecting audience with these notions of request vs. command.
in my text, Autobiography of a Stutterer, i have placed readers in an uncomfortable situation. they are forced into impediment. when i was younger, i watched the terror and discomfort in people's faces as they watched me struggle for voice. some so uncomfortable with the action taking place they offered to call an ambulance. so i am very much associated to discomfort, but essentially you must not consider offense as hindrance. offense is for those who choose discomfort and are blinded by such, unwilling to explore the various avenues of discovery capable in human dissection, both literally and figuratively. the impediment forces discomfort; if read aloud the audience/reader is forced into authorship via experiencial dissertation. they are speaking pain; they are speaking violation; they are essentialling committing themselves to the act of impediment, the action of violating language...which brings me to a whole new point that this is ultimately, first and foremost, a violation of and through language. we are not pornographers; we are not visual artists in the most mechanical, fundamental regards of that expressionism. we are literary, we are read. writing up to the twentieth century required a violation of language because the option of media was unavailable. now in this mediatized culture we are subjected to simplification through language, furthermore the reduction in comprehension and willingness to postulate, learn, discover, and then erradicate their willingness to be exposed and therefore are discomforted by this "new" exposure through language, when in actuality we, as a mediatized culture, are violated quite heavily and regularly by media.
what shakespeare would have done in words, what jonathan swift would have done in words, etc, would have been accepted for the sake of visual representation, for the sake of communication and the discovery of signficance, human elements, entertainment, and truths. now what dodie bellamy does, what daphne gottlieb, etc., is considered, if not underground, avant garde, an experimental text that is certainly not considered by wider audience. but really how often to the arts, those that abscond from formula, monetary advantage, find exposure and wider audience. not often. so basically, through a mediatized culture, one that is exposed visually to horror, violation, murde, be it news updates, or simpy visual arts, movies, television shows, we as a culture should be accumtomed to it, but somehow reading the words aloud is more violation than a simple viewing. while it is no longer necessary to write horror in the truest sense of writer/reader relationship it has been discomforted and banished to "underground" audiences. but this mentality, this erotica, this impediment, this violation, this sexual violence, this experience has never been detached completely, simply traveled the various back roads of artistic community.
jared and i have done extensive work in collaboration based on violating the grotesque body, see www.aplaceforcrazies.blogspot.com. with this work we have pushed audience to a level of actually standing over the operating table, violating text through thievery, violating body through murder, dissection, disembowelment, and various other methods of cutting.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Joseph Cooper gave me some deep thoughts at this past weekends in.tim.ate series. (Yeah Jamba for hosting and being such a driving force!)
Ok, back to the ideas - violence + sex + language + memory = sexually violating memory games - all part of poetry, right?
"your tongue doing things you didn't think it could"
can one use language to experience physicality? I think this is something I have played with for some time- the smut poems I write or the pseudo-romantic luv poems attempt at re-creating fabricated memory moments that interact with the reader evoking a sense of touch, taste, smell...well, maybe i have not yet gotten the smell part down, but the taste/touch i think possibly. Actually, to digress - who has achieved smell in their writing?? anyone? anyone? bueller?
point of interest in the lecture: hair is dead/ we all have deadness - we run our fingers through our lover's deadness (i.e. their lushous locks of dead string - gross).
memory as dismembered body - i gave my left forearm to the other body
"fuck love mustard and swap self infliction" - Touch Me by Joe Cooper
"I've agreed to run my tongue along your scar" - Cunt Ups by Dodie Bellamy
I think this last quote might just end up being the impetus for a new piece of writing - i have to say it is just yummy.
Joe did a splendid job of provoking the audience and compelling interaction with the content - makes me wonder if you can inherit a stutter or if this impediment in language causes a default of more precision when articulating. Like the disruption actually creates a space for creation and in that a breadth of betterment...
- this has been a series of deep thougths by celestual.
Friday, April 25, 2008
A note: the new issue of Jacket features three of us goons!! Mr. Armentrout's chapbook All This Falling Away is described in the introductory essay. And My own CaGeD is featured with a few poems as well as a selection of Mr. Cooper's Touch Me jacket issue 35 Dusie Feature (scroll to bottom of page)
Yo, and all yall should keep yr eyes out next month for the new issue of Fence. You'll find work by yours truly as well as goon mama, Jennifer Koshkina/Rogers translating mr. viteslav nezval....(i'm almost positive we're both in the upcoming issue!)
Also, last but not least, check out bhanu's new blog at kerouacispunjabi
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
CONGRATS TO THE ARMENTROUT FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
today in our little world we have been rushing around the house getting ready for the baby's arrival tomorrow morning and i took a break from cleaning to read and "randomly" opened to this poem.
I remember everything simultaneously;
Like the distant beam from a distant lighthouse,
I carry the universe before me
like an easy burden in an outstretched palm,
and in the depths, mysteriously growing, is the seed
of what is to come...
we'll be in the hospital for a few days, but as soon as there are pictures i'll post them.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
on a separate note, i wanted to link you to a site from a poet who recently moved to portland. one of the guys that i work for is friends with him and told me about his project a few months back, and i took a look at it again today when i realized that he's in your area. it's www.thepeterprinciple.org
"Against a notion of truth as the instrument of a mastery being exercised by the knower over areas of the unknown as he or she brings them within the fold of the same, Levinas argues that there is a form of truth that is totally alien to me, that I do not discover within myself, but that calls on me from beyond me, and it requires me to leave the realms of the known and of the same in order to settle in a land that is under its rule. Here the knower sets out on an adventure of uncertain outcome, and the instruments that he or she brings may well be inappropriate to the tasks that will arise. Reason will play a role, but it will be a secondary one; it can only come into play once the primary fact of the irruption of the other has been experienced. And this other is not a threat to be reduced or an object that I give myself to know in my capacity as knowing subject, but that which constitutes me as an ethical being: in my originary encounter I discover my responsibility that will lie at the root of all my subsequent ethical decisions. Knowledge and its operations are subordinated to this initial ethical moment, for the responsibility that I then experience is the very ground of my response-ability, that is, my capacity to communicate with others and with myself in noncoercive ways."
I am wary of Wlad's heroic approach and his ability to call an encounter originary...but nonetheless he expresses some other thoughts eloquently.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
"The music hoped for and heard, echoes in the body like an inner voice that one cannot specify by name but that transforms one's use of words. Whoever is 'seized' or 'possessed' by it begins to speak in a haunted tongue. The music, come from an unknown quarter, inaugurates a new rhythm of existence--some would say a new 'breath,' a new way of walking, a different 'style' of life. It simultaneously captivates an attentiveness from within, disturbs orderly flow of thought, and opens up or frees new spaces. There is no mystics without it. The mystic experience therefore often has the guise of a poem that we 'hear' the way we drift into dance. The body is 'informed' (gets form) from what befalls it in this way, well before the intellect becomes aware."--Michel de Certeau
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I Remember liking this in '91 & now happy to find their bio includes thievery, irate Swedes, livestock carcasses & burning money (Hayes'll like this)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
1. The last time we played you were heaving up sonnets. Thick sentimental meter covered in textual goo. You woke up at four a.m. on the verge of panic.
2. Elle’s harebrained staging of a miscarriage demands mutilated identity. Short circuited she pretends to walk down the aisle, tonguing a chocolate frosted spoon. Her gaze cut by a razor of sunlight. My stomach pangs have returned. Sympathy pains. Inscape is imagined to hold its own against threat. Rarely does Elle accept symbolism over authority. This is what she always wanted. She wanted to begin.
3. Teabags dried onto our windowsill. Begin breathing. Erotica chewed into mouth. Create diabolical results. I am guilty of rummaging through her foul delicates. I breathe rank discoloration, stale fumes playing games. Elle is crumbling untranslatable. Sleeping Beauty’s burnt lips awakened in terror. Subject castration wears a rubber mask. Eye sockets mold delight; lingerie soaked under thrust of menstrual fiction. Pants cuff thighs in muff lunge. Between two powers the recourse of anal eroticism fears castration, the reticence of anthropologists. Neither tears nor sperm are prohibitions. Murderous confirmations reveal obsessed neuroses of the father.
4. Once upon a deconstructive surgery the proper body terrorized virtue. Insist on this missionary form. Stick your finger in my ass. Fetal delegates crave harmonic rhythm. She used to suck my cock and push my hands away when instead I tried to fuck her. Immediate relation to the unclean thing.
5. Each speaking being has corporeal altercations with climax. Falstaff smeared clitoral spasms. Queen Elizabeth, Bernadette Mayer, (that is the sexual life). Rhymes sound church bell resuscitation. Cheek-flats honeymoon her lower body. Strung between paranoia and poison, sustenance feeds on organized repetition. Body of nails begins a mother-speaking being. Maternal body is nourishing, murderous, and fascinating. Serrated errantly her blouse stitched hormonal derangement. Chiropractic embraces.
“Explain once again your genitals hemorrhaging with paternal function.”
Intimately nocturnal struggling between the bodies of two women is the incentive toward defilement. Jalapeño thumbprint smothered cock lips. Light my cock ablaze and inject it into eyeball. Umbilical cord constricted wrists. Cannibalistic libido pulverizes fantasy. Labia glisten. Her dress around her waist preyed obliqueness of pre-memory. Learn her birthmark. Elle swallows until there is nothing left: an epileptic’s reentry. Lead into cage. Argue and persuade. Differentiate between sophisticated restraints and decaying symbols. Unavoidably diluted, I will have my complimentary altruist.
6. Elle’s hands curled around a chalk-drawn wastebasket wait for pyrotechnic epistolary. Nips and hisses speckle back an epileptic audition. Suture this languagescape. Clean amplified mystery and self-destruct. Within this architecture we are eroding into spatial intimacy of other, an eager mouth, a body-bound thing. The designated punch line complains of violent spasms. Think of my lover’s face covered in marginal comments. Operate on a subordinate function pulling it fragmentarily into a nearby sentence. Despite apparent chaos you are alien to original purpose.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Recently ordered a copy of Ted for the store. Today I checked: he's still in the inventory, but there is no book upon the shelves. Most likely (or at least, I HOPE for all sakes of appropriateness): Ted has been stolen!
PS - Jared sorry you didn't like the Zuk bio!
Place projects on "The"
Mantle of "The"
are the fictions
of our reactions
anything but tepid
one, two, three, four
flossed dialecticalwilderness es
its sideline of dismemberment
softness of delinquence
geo geode geogy geoga geogi etc. etc....
this whines almost gone
don't you think we'll be Her again
Her story as such peace tomorrow v.
rhetoric of plague
econ and crush
red red red red red red red red five six seven eight
defeated in or by blood
remember it bare and touch ing itself as
Sunday, February 24, 2008
who needs a checkup?
no insurance needed
in the mouth tongues are sleeping through the grinding
interpreted to mean a shaking having broken off
broken on bound downwards toward the bones
keeping together speaking waxed poetic
of that flesh mountain aflame in pharynx
blown in obedience scraping glass
the frame or physical part man, animal
something around her wrists pressed against a flash of mouth
straight through the trunk distinct twilight fibres
discharged in quick succession
one piece tight fitting dogtown
citational bodies bullwhip corresponding clit
vague elevators a corporation in transit
blotting descent with three in the back two in the head
disallow meaning after the handsaw
across the flocculus no human community
the tangle of handcuffs deforms the studded tongue
enthusiasms halyards yanking out the eyes
disfiguring the little pair with early ruin
woods woods ocean damage damage dismember
pure rag in the gutter of meat traffic
maximus phallic from the old holdings momentum
the audience throttled in found objects
you have a long nose from which to bleed
head downward follows partial objects home
bones nests drudgeries circles of black ever outward
gutted undone against the ear of the other
if you don't let us, death will, by shitting. endlessly
down yr throat
Thursday, February 21, 2008
From whatever side one approaches things, the ultimate problem turns out in the final analysis to be that of distinction: distinctions between the real and the imaginary, between waking and sleeping, between ignorance and knowledge, etc. -- all of them, in short, distinctions in which valid consideration must demonstrate a keen awareness and the demand for resolution. Among distinctions, there is assuredly none more clear-cut than that between the organism and its surroundings; at least there is none in which the tangible experience of separation is more immediate. So it is worthwhile to observe the phenomenon with particular attention and, within the phenomenon, what is even more necessary, given the present state of our knowledge, is to consider its condition as pathology (the word here having only a statistical meaning)--i.e., all the facts that come under the heading of mimicry.
For some time now, for various and often undesirable reasons, these facts have been the object of those biologists with a heavy predilection for ulterior motives: some dream of proving metamorphosis, which, fortunately for that phenomenon, rests on other foundations, others, the clear-sighted providence of the famous God whose bounty extends over the whole of nature. Under these conditions, a strict method is essential. First of all, it is important to list these phenomena very rigorously, for experience has shown that there are too many bad explanations pushing them toward confusion. It is also not a bad idea to adopt as much as possible a classification that relates to facts and not to their interpretation, since the latter threatens to be misleading, and is moreover controversial in almost every case. Girard's categories will thus be mentioned, but not retained. Neither the first: offensive mimicry designed to surprise the prey, defensive mimicry designed either to escape the sight of the aggressor (mimicry of dissimulation) or to frighten it away by a deceptive appearance (mimicry of terrification); nor the second: direct mimicry when it is in the immediate interests of the imitating animal to take on the disguise, indirect mimicry when animals belonging to different species, following a common adaptation, a convergence, in some way show "professional resemblances."
It has been assumed that, in order to protect itself, an inoffensive animal took on the appearance of a forbidding one: for example, the butterfly Trochilium and the wasp Vespa Crabro- the same smoky wings, the same brown legs and antennae, the same black and yellow striped abdomen and thorax, the same vigorous and noisy flight in broad daylight. Sometimes the imitative creature goes further, like the caterpillar of Choerocampa Elpenor, which on its fourth and fifth segments has two eye-shaped spots outlined in black: when it is alarmed, its front segments retract and the fourth swells considerably, achieving the effect of a snake's head capable of deceiving lizards and small birds, which are frightened by this sudden apparition. According to Weismann, when the Smerinthus ocellata, which like all hawk moths conceals its hind wings when at rest, is in danger, it exposes them abruptly with their two large blue "eyes" on a red background, giving the aggressor a sudden fright. The butterfly, wings spread, thus becomes the head of a huge bird of prey.
The clearest example of this kind is surely that of the Caligo butterfly in the jungles of Brazil, described by Vignon as follows: "There is a bright spot surrounded by a palpebral circle, then by circular and overlapping rows of small radial feathery strokes of variegated appearance, imitating to perfection the plumage of an owl, while the body of the butterfly corresponds to the beak of the same bird." The resemblance is so striking that the natives of Brazil affix it to the doors of their barns as a replacement for the creature it imitates. It is only too obvious that in the previous cases anthropomorphism plays a decisive role: the resemblance is all in the eye of the beholder. The objective fact is fascination, as is shown especially by Smerinthus ocellata, which does not resemble anything frightening. Only the eye-shaped spots play a role. The behavior of the Brazilian natives only confirms this proposition: the "eyes" of the Caligo should probably be compared to the apotropaic Oculus indiviosus, the evil eye that can not only harm but protect, if one turns it back against the evil powers to which, as an organ of fascination par excellence, it naturally belongs.
Here the anthropomorphic argument does not apply, since the eye is the vehicle of fascination in the whole animal kingdom. It is, on the other hand, decisive for the biased declaration of resemblance: besides, even from the human point of view, none of the resemblances in this group of facts is absolutely conclusive. For the adaptation of form to form (homomorphy), there is no lack of examples: box crabs resemble rounded pebbles; chlamydes, seeds; moenas, gravel; prawns, fucus; the fish Phyllopteryx, from the Sargasso Sea, is simply "torn seaweed in the shape of floating strands," like the Antennarius and the Pterophrynx. The octopus retracts its tentacles, curves its back, adapts its color, and thus comes to resemble a stone. The green and white hind wings of the Aurora Pierid simulate umbelliferae; the bumps, knots, and streaks of symbiotic lichens make them identical with the bark of the poplars on which they grow. One cannot distinguish Lithnius nigrocristinus of Madagascar and Flatoids from lichens.
We know how far the mimicry of mantises can go: their legs simulate petals or are curved into corollas and resemble flowers, imitating by a slight instinctive swaying the action of the wind on these latter. The Cilix compressa resembles bird droppings; the Cerodeylus laceratus of Borneo with its leafy excrescences, light olive-green in color, a stick covered with moss. Everyone knows the Phyllia, or leaf insects, so similar to leaves, from which it is only a step to the perfect homomorphy represented by certain butterflies: first the Oxydia, which places itself at the end of a branch at right angles to its direction, the front wings held in such a position as to present the appearance of a terminal leaf, an appearance accentuated by a thin dark line extending crosswise over the four wings in such a way as to simulate the leaf's principal veins. Other species are even more improved, their hind wings being furnished with a slender appendage that they use as a petiole, acquiring by this means "a sort of insertion into the plant world." The combination of the two wings on each side represents the lanceolate oval characteristic of the leaf: here, too, a spot, but longitudinal this time, continuing from one wing onto the other, replaces the middle vein; thus "the vital organic force.. .has had to shape and cleverly organize each of the wings since it thereby achieves a fixed form, not in itself, but by its union with the other wing."
These are chiefly the Coenophlebia Archidona of Central America and the various kinds of Kallima in India and Malaysia, the latter deserving further study. The lower side of their wings reproduces, following the pattern indicated above, the leaf of the Nephelium Longane where they prefer to alight. Furthermore, according to a naturalist employed in Java by the London firm of Kirby and Co. for the trade in these butterflies, each of the different varieties of Kallima (K. Inachis, K. Parallecta, etc.) frequents a specific kind of bush that it most particularly resembles. Among these butterflies, imitation is pushed to the smallest details: indeed, the wings bear gray-green spots simulating the mold of lichens and glistening surfaces that give them the look of torn and perforated leaves: "including spots of mold of the sphaeriaceous kind that stud the leaves of these plants; everything, including the transparent scars produced by phytophagic insects when, devouring the parenchyma of the leaves in places, they leave only the translucid skin. Imitations are produced by pearly spots that correspond to similar spots on the upper surface of the wings."
These extreme examples have given rise to numerous attempts at explanation, none of them truly satisfactory. Even the mechanism of the phenomenon is unclear. One can certainly observe with E.-L. Bouvier that mimetic species depart from the normal type by the addition of ornaments: "lateral expansions of the body and appendages in Phyllia, modelling of the front wings in Flatoids, development of tuberosities in the larva of many geometer moths, etc . . . ." But this is a singular abuse of the word ornament, and above all it is more an observation than an explanation. The notion of preadaptation (insects seeking out milieux that match their dominant shade of colour or adjusting to the object they most resemble) is insufficient on its side in the face of equally precise phenomena. More insufficient still is the recourse to chance, even in Cuénot's subtle fashion. He attaches himself in the beginning to the case of certain Phyllia of Java and Ceylon (Ph. siccifolium and Ph. pulchrifolium) that live by preference on the leaves of the guava tree, which they resemble by the subterminal constriction of their abdomens. The guava, however, is not an indigenous plant but has been imported from America. So if similarity exists in this example, it is fortuitous. Without being disturbed by the exceptional (not to say unique) nature of this fact, Cuénot goes on to say that the similarity of the Kallima butterfly is no less the result of chance, being produced by the simple accumulation of factors (appendage in the shape of a petiole, lanceolate front wings, middle veining, transparent and mirror areas) that are found separately in nonmimetic species and are there unremarkable: "resemblance is therefore obtained by the sum of a certain number of small details, each of which has nothing exceptional about it and can be found isolated in neighbouring species, but whose combination produces an extraordinary imitation of a dry leaf, more or less successful depending on individuals, which quite notably differ among themselves .... It is one combination like any other, astonishing because of its resemblance to an object."
Likewise, according to this author, the Urapteryx samqucaria caterpillar is one combination like any other of a characteristic attitude, a certain skin colour, tegumentary rough spots, and the instinct to live on certain plants. But properly speaking, it is hard to believe that we are dealing here with combinations like any other, since all these details can be brought together without being joined, without their contributing to some resemblance: it is not the presence of the elements that is perplexing and decisive, it is their mutual organization, their reciprocal topography. Better to adopt under these conditions a shaky hypothesis that could be drawn from a remark by Le Dantec, according to which there may have been in the ancestors of the Kallima a set of cutaneous organs permitting the simulation of the imperfections of leaves, the imitating mechanism having disappeared once the morphological character was acquired (that is to say, in the present case, once the resemblance was achieved) in accordance with Lamarck's very law. Morphological mimicry could then be, after the fashion of chromatic mimicry, an actual photography, but of the form and the relief, a photography on the level of the object and not on that of the image, a reproduction in three-dimensional space with solids and voids: sculpture-photography or better teleplasty, if one strips the word of any metapsychical content. There are reasons more immediate, and at the same time less to be suspected of sophistry, that keep mimicry from being taken for a defense reaction. First of all, it would only apply to carnivores that hunt by sight and not by smell as is often the case. Carnivores, moreover, do not generally bother with motionless prey: immobility would thus be a better defense, and indeed insects are exceedingly prone to employ a false corpselike rigidity.
There are other means: a butterfly, in order to make itself invisible, may do nothing more than use the tactics of the Satyride asiatique, whose flattened wings in repose appear simply as a line almost without thickness, imperceptible, perpendicular to the flower where it has alighted, and which turns simultaneously with the observer so that it is only this minimum surface that is always seen. The experiments of Judd and Foucher have definitely resolved the question: predators are not at all fooled by homomorphy or homochromy: they eat crickets that mingle with the foliage of oak trees or weevils that resemble small stones, completely invisible to man. The phasma Carausius Morosus, which by its form, color, and attitude simulates a plant twig, cannot emerge into the open air without being immediately discovered and dined on by sparrows. Generally speaking, one finds many remains of mimetic insects in the stomachs of predators. So it should come as no surprise that such insects sometimes have other and more effective ways to protect themselves. Conversely, some species that are inedible, and would thus have nothing to fear, are also mimetic. It therefore seems that one ought to conclude with Cuénot that this is an "epiphenomenon" whose "defensive utility appears to be nul."
Delage and Goldsmith had already pointed out in the Kallima an "exaggeration of precautions." We are thus dealing with a luxury and even a dangerous luxury, for there are cases in which mimicry causes the creature to go from bad to worse: geometer-moth caterpillars simulate shoots of shrubbery so well that gardeners cut them with their pruning shears. The case of the Phyllia is even sadder: they browse among themselves, taking each other for real leaves, in such a way that one might accept the idea of a sort of collective masochism leading to mutual homophagy, the simulation of the leaf being a provocation to cannibalism in this kind of totem feast. This interpretation is not so gratuitous as it sounds: indeed, there seem to exist in man psychological potentialities strangely corresponding to these facts. Even putting aside the problem of totemism, which is surely too risky to approach from this point of view, there remains the huge realm of sympathetic magic, according to which like produces like and upon which all incantational practice is more or less based. There is no need to reproduce the facts here: they can be found listed and classified in the classic works of Tylor, Hubert and Mauss, and Frazer. One point, however, needs to be made, the correspondence, fortunately brought to light by these authors, between the principles of magic and those of the association of ideas: to the law of magic -- things that have once been in contact remain united--corresponds association by contiguity, just as association by resemblance corresponds quite precisely to the attractio sireilium of magic: like produces like.
Hence the same governing principles: here the subjective association of ideas, there the objective association of facts; here the fortuitous or supposedly fortuitous connections of ideas, there the causal connections of phenomena. The point is that there remains in the "primitive" an overwhelming tendency to imitate, combined with a belief in the efficacy of this imitation, a tendency still quite strong in "civilized" man, since in him it continues to be one of the two conditions for the progress of his untrammelled thought. So as not to complicate the problem unnecessarily, I leave aside the general question of resemblance, which is far from being clear and plays a sometimes decisive role in affectivity and, under the name of correspondence, in aesthetics. This tendency, whose universality thus becomes difficult to deny, may have been the determining force responsible for the present morphology of mimetic insects, at a time when their organisms were more plastic than they are today, as one must suppose in any case given the fact of transformation. Mimicry would thus be accurately defined as an incantation fixed at its culminating point and having caught the sorcerer in his own trap. No one should say it is nonsense to attribute magic to insects: the fresh application of the words ought not to hide the profound simplicity of the thing. What else but prestigious magic and fascination can the phenomena be called that have been unanimously classified precisely under the name of mimicry (incorrectly as I see it, one will recall, for in my opinion the perceived resemblances are too reducible in this case to anthropomorphism, but there is no doubt that once rid of these questionable additions and reduced to the essential, these facts are similar at least in their origins to those of true mimicry), phenomena some of which I have reported above (the examples of the Smerinthus ocellata, the Caligo, and the Choerocampa Elpenor caterpillar), and of which the sudden exhibition of ocelli by the mantis in a spectral attitude, when it is a matter of paralyzing its prey, is by no means of the least?
Recourse to the magical tendency in the search for the similar can only, however, be an initial approximation, and it is advisable to take account of it in its turn. The search for the similar would seem to be a means, if not an intermediate stage. Indeed, the end would appear to be assimilation to the surroundings. Here instinct completes morphology: the Kallima places itself symmetrically on a real leaf, the appendage on its hind wings in the place that a real petiole would occupy; the Oxydia alights at right angles to the end of a branch because the arrangement of the spot representing the middle veining requires it; the Clolia, Brazilian butterflies, position themselves in a row on small stalks in such a way as to represent bell flowers, in the manner of a sprig of lily of the valley, for example. It is thus a real temptation by space. Other phenomena, moreover, such as so-called "protective coverings," contribute to the same end. The larvae of mayflies fashion a sheath for themselves with twigs and gravel, those of Chrysomelidae with their excrements. Oxyrrhyncha or spider crabs haphazardly gather and collect on their shells the seaweed and polyps of the milieu in which they live, and "the disguise seems like an act of pure automatism," since they deck themselves in whatever is offered to them, including some of the most conspicuous elements (experiments by Hermann Fol, 1886). Furthermore, this behaviour depends on vision, since it neither takes place at night nor after the removal of the ocular peduncles (experiments by Aurivillius, 1889), which shows once again that what is involved is a disturbance in the perception of space. In short, from the moment when it can no longer be a process of defense, mimicry can be nothing else but this. Besides, there can be no doubt that the perception of space is a complex phenomenon: space is indissolubly perceived and represented.
From this standpoint, it is a double dihedral changing at every moment in size and position: a dihedral of action whose horizontal plane is formed by the ground and the vertical plane by the man himself who walks and who, by this fact, carries the dihedral along with him; and a dihedral of representation determined by the same horizontal plane as the previous one (but represented and not perceived) intersected vertically at the distance where the object appears. It is with represented space that the drama becomes specific, since the living creature, the organism, is no longer the origin of the coordinates, but one point among others; it is dispossessed of its privilege and literally no longer knows where to place itself. One can already recognize the characteristic scientific attitudes and, indeed, it is remarkable that represented spaces are just what is multiplied by contemporary science: Finsler's spaces, Fermat's spaces, Riemann-Christoffel's hyper-space, abstract, generalized, open, and closed spaces, spaces dense in themselves, thinned out, and so on. The feeling of personality, considered as the organism's feeling of distinction from its surroundings, of the connection between consciousness and a particular point in space, cannot fail under these conditions to be seriously undermined; one then enters into the psychology of psychasthenia, and more specifically of legendary psychasthenia, if we agree to use this name for the disturbance in the above relations between personality and space.
Here it is possible to give only a rough summary of what is involved, and Pierre Janet's theoretical and clinical writings are moreover available to everyone. I will, however, briefly describe some personal experiences, but which are wholly in accord with observations published in the medical literature, for example with the invariable response of schizophrenics to the question: where are you? I know where I am, but I do not feel as though I'm at the spot where I find myself. To these dispossessed souls, space seems to be a devouring force. Space pursues them, encircles them, digests them in a gigantic phagocytosis. It ends by replacing them. Then the body separates itself from thought, the individual breaks the boundary of his skin and occupies the other side of his senses. He tries to look at himself from any point whatever in space. He feels himself becoming space, dark space where things cannot be put. He is similar, not similar to something, but just similar. And he invents spaces of which he is "the convulsive possession." All these expressions shed light on a single process: depersonalization by assimilation to space, i.e., what mimicry achieves morphologically in certain animal species.
The magical hold (one can truly call it so without doing violence to the language) of night and obscurity, the fear of the dark, probably also has its roots in the peril in which it puts the opposition between the organism and the milieu. Minkowski's analyses are invaluable here: darkness is not the mere absence of light; there is something positive about it. While light space is eliminated by the materiality of objects, darkness is "filled," it touches the individual directly, envelops him, penetrates him, and even passes through him: hence "the ego is permeable for darkness while it is not so for light"; the feeling of mystery that one experiences at night would not come from anything else. Minkowski likewise comes to speak of dark space and almost of a lack of distinction between the milieu and the organism: "Dark space envelops me on all sides and penetrates me much deeper than light space, the distinction between inside and outside and consequently the sense organs as well, insofar as they are designed for external perception, here play only a totally modest role." This assimilation to space is necessarily accompanied by a decline in the feeling of personality and life. It should be noted in any case that in mimetic species the phenomenon is never carried out except in a single direction: the animal mimics the plant, leaf, flower, or thorn, and dissembles or ceases to perform its functions in relation to others. Life takes a step backwards. Sometimes assimilation does not stop at the surface: the eggs of phasmas resemble seeds not only by their form and colour, but also by their internal biological structure. On the other hand, cataleptic attitudes often aid the insect in its entry into another realm: the immobility of weevils, while bacilliform Phasmida let their long legs hang, and not to mention the rigidity of geometer-moth caterpillars standing bolt upright, which cannot fail to suggest hysterical contraction.
On the other hand, is not the automatic swaying of mantises comparable to a tic? Among others in literature, Gustave Flaubert seems to have understood the meaning of the phenomenon, when he ends The Temptation of Saint Anthony with a general spectacle of mimicry to which the hermit succumbs: "plants are now no longer distinguished from animals .... Insects identical with rose petals adorn a bush . . . . And then plants are confused with stones. Rocks look like brains, stalactites like breasts, veins of iron like tapestries adorned with figures." In thus seeing the three realms of nature merging into each other, Anthony in his turn suffers the lure of material space: he wants to split himself thoroughly, to be in everything, "to penetrate each atom, to descend to the bottom of matter, to be matter." The emphasis is surely placed on the pantheistic and even overwhelming aspect of this descent into hell, but this in no way lessens its appearance here as a form of the process of the generalisation of space at the expense of the individual, unless one were to employ a psychoanalytic vocabulary and speak of reintegration with original insensibility and prenatal unconsciousness: a contradiction in terms. One does not need to look far to find supporting examples in art: hence the extraordinary motifs of Slovak popular decoration, which are such that one does not know whether it is a question of flowers with wings or of birds with petals; hence the pictures painted by Salvador Dalí around 1930, in which, whatever the artist may say, these invisible men, sleeping women, horses, and lions are less the expression of ambiguities or of paranoiac "plurivocities" than of mimetic assimilations of the animate to the inanimate.
Beyond doubt some of the above developments are far from offering any guarantee from the standpoint of certainty. It may even seem questionable to compare such diverse realities as homomorphy and the external morphology of certain insects, sympathetic magic and the concrete behaviour of people of a certain type of civilization and perhaps a certain type of thought, and finally psychasthenia and the psychological postulations of people belonging, from these points of view, to opposite types. Such comparisons, however, seem to me not only legitimate (just as it is impossible to condemn comparative biology) but even indispensable as soon as we approach the obscure realm of unconscious determinations. Besides, the solution proposed contains nothing that should give rise to suspicions of dogmatism: it merely suggests that alongside the instinct of self-preservation, which in some way orients the creature toward life, there is generally speaking a sort of instinct of renunciation that orients it toward a mode of reduced existence, which in the end would no longer know either consciousness or feeling--the inertia of the élan vital, so to speak. It is on this level that it can be gratifying to give a common root to phenomena of mimicry both biological and magical and to psychasthenic experience, since the facts seem so well to impose one on them: this attraction by space, as elementary and mechanical as are tropisms, and by the effect of which life seems to lose ground, blurring in its retreat the frontier between the organism and the milieu and expanding to the same degree the limits within which, according to Pythagoras, we are allowed to know, as we should, that nature is everywhere the same.
*originally published in Minatoure, 7, 1935 (N.B the demarcation of paragraphs in this text is not as it occurs in the original)