The Fine Line

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The elusive and ever-present “fine line”

So-and-So comments on my poem “Corpus:”

“Gratitude.  Yes, without flesh, our emptiness would show – more than it already does”

Soooo…what if we stripped it all down?  If we could see through the surfaces and veneers?  Could X-ray skins and masks, barriers and betweens?  What would we find?  What would be there?

I’m not certain I know what Arkadii Dragomoshchenko was writing when, in sort of remembering a painting by Edward Hopper while looking at, listening to, and thinking of other things, he said he caught something the artist had “kept silent about” – “I saw the fine line that separates emptiness from plenitude…like the memory of something that never happened, and which sinks then to the cunning bottom of words…” he says,

which suddenly plunged my own mind/imagination into a fictional mind and body of Alberto Giacometti, strafing and violently thumbing and stripping at sloppy wet clay glopping off wires, or scratching scattering lines upon lines upon lines around toward across and through the densities of a head’s face, a skull’s gaze, to – “get at it,” “down to it”…it, it, it.

Beckett writing round after round, chicken scratching sludgy paths, barnyard maneuvers after…it…

anyone obsessed…the idea of North, a perfect composition, to say something truly or clearly, the search for love, for that specific yellow, for shadow, emotion…anything,

that craving driving hounding driving us after “it”…limned so elastically with emptiness…plenitude apparently (possibly?) impossibly just the other side, just “through,” beyond, “it.”

So let’s Giacometti the flesh, tear it away to tendons and strips, resistant clumps and stains clinging to the fresh gruelly bones.  Empty the organs, scoop out the brains and guts…get rid of the extras, trim the fat, we’re after the core…”it.”  The “plenitude” just the other side of skin, of bone, somewhere…it must be somewhere in all this mess of in-between the structuring holds, no?

Dig to the center of the earth.  Scoot on out of the galaxy.  Find “it”, “it,” “it” – the plenitude…what will it be?  What will you swallow, cuddle, absorb, grasp, “obtain”?

I can’t remember if “empty space” is an oxymoron now or not, akin to the wonderfully wise and riddled aphorism of Wallace Stevens: “Nothing is itself taken alone” – STOP.  Think of it.  “It.”  Is he right?  Anything “taken alone,” “in itself,” is NOTHING?

In other words – pursuing some “essence,” some “right” or singular universal (or personal) “truth” is destined to leave us empty-handed?  Grasping “nothing”?  “Absence”? “Empty space”?  “Void”?

Or the human (we, us, you, I), body stripped apart in a search for a “soul”…

             On the other hand…sometimes Giacometti added.  Put wire together with string together with plaster, clay and cloth, plus chisel and hammer and hands, also paint; and sometimes he kept tracing more and more and more furious lines, strokes, deepening (thickening) eye sockets, figured shapes…

sometimes Wittgenstein multiplied words after word after symbol and equation, sign upon mark attempting to scratch them away…

And there’s the other half of Stevens’ aphorism: “Things are because of interrelations and interactions.”

Perhaps the “fine line” separating (or incorporating?) emptiness and plenitude is the very mess of glop of surface and structure, blood and mud, skin and bone and tangled nerves, oil and pigment, letters and lines, sounds and shapes, all the mixed-up pieces and parts, mushy impurities, congruences and convergences, masses and movements smeary and ever-so-tenuous…

perhaps that’s “it”?  Emptiness and plenitude mutually dependent like each side of this sheet of paper?  Indistinguishable?  The same-different “it”?

So put the body together, love the skin and the noises and fluids that issue from beneath it.  Slap words and songs, shapes and colors, space and time and breadth and depth, subject object, idea emotion and everything you’re able to in your quest for…

well, perhaps actually, your experience of…”it

Everything composes this line.