Terrific collection of attempts at languaging mystery around incarnate language: https://maney.us/blog/2014/12/28/meditations-on-the-incarnation-from-select-church-fathers-and-doctors/
This is another post I made during Advent four years ago, which bears repeating. I have read this sermon by St. John Chrysostom (late fourth century …St. John Chrysostom: Homily on Christmas Morning
Tell me the songs you don’t knowDan Beachy-Quick, Of Silence and Song
Light…makes some things seen, makes some things invisible-SIR THOMAS BROWNE, IN B-Q, OF SILENCE AND SONG
iii. inside the other
caves, hollows, holes
cloud or animal
eye, crotch, finger, part
leg, mouth, buttocks, cleave
and and and
what is called
what feels like
to the opening
(“Tell me,” she said)
(“i don’t,” i said
-click image or link below for full text –
“Sometimes God, sometimes nothing”
-Franz Kafka –
“Blank page called a day.
– Dan Beachy-Quick –
The praxis of empty signifiers : words : full of sound and fury.
If you accept the ‘I’, or find a name to call yourself – like using a credit card received in the mail (illusion of invisible funds), what do you charge to it, and does it always end in debt?
Does it make of you a consumer to believe the ‘I’? To use self-reference as a token or coin?
How soon do “my” and “mine” follow after, even though each object, event, or transaction, is clearly only a loan?
What is charged to the ‘I’ must be paid back – to put it in legal or religious terms.
Be careful what you say.
Wittgenstein claimed that we mostly speak without giving full meaning to the terms we use – that we ought remain silent whereof we cannot speak with adequate comprehension. Where we sing beyond our knowing –
very few (if any) utterances comply.
But how learn anything (even the untrue) without not-knowing? Without composing walls to break apart or knock upon, to breach or to climb? Without making it up to unlearn and repent of?
A word changes direction.
It’s happening as I write or think or imagine this. As if.
As if it signified something. I write with sound and fury. Into silence.
It’s what ‘I’ do – so I should do it! (shouldn’t I?!)
I seem to know I’m alive by touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing – things other… feeling, sensing, perceiving… crafting empty signifiers like nostrils, like a tongue, a kind of eyesight and ear, my fingertips. My flesh on loan. To be paid back.
In debt to what then? ‘World’? To sing. To sound. To dance a little. Imagine.
If I am given the sound of leaves as they crisp and color the Autumn breeze, refracturing light; if I can smell the moisting decay (debts repaid by undoing what was charged), if I can gather them with my hands and roil about them with my body, if I can bake the seeds and chew, take them in…
…what does ‘I’ owe?
You sentence me: two I’s. I hear your melodious song. You whisper, close.
I say ‘I love.’ Terms lacking comprehension. Metaphysics. Their meanings beyond knowing. Unlearned. “We” are (whereof we cannot speak).
Charging invisible funds we become responsible for. Obligated.
Swiping our cards for contents.
What do we owe?
What do we know?
What can we?
Each their own set limits. Sometimes raised, sometimes lowered, depending on our fidelity to pay with interest.
We owe. We all of us owe.
Even for our silence.
Even cash-only – that empty signifier – words. Even simply action. ‘I move’ – is a statement on credit, like breath.
Sweet burst of being! To “is.” To “I.” To “we.” All so heavily borrowed, contingently. Imagine.
Imagine what it means. To owe.
Again I break the silence of what I do not know via signs of repentance. These words.
All the silence they require.
“the turned-to-water book…
with all that has room in it,
– Paul Celan –
Decide to write the book-that-turns-to-water, as speech-that-turns-to-air. All that rippling silence, even without language.
Someone asking: what is gesture? movement? expression-in-its-being?
Signification the silent razor.
Someone mentions music, which it claims “represents nothing at all,” (Michel Seuphor) and I doubt that: is there not expression? confession? some sonorous and vibratory friction or exhalation? A “constant inscription of birth in innumerable ways…language is metaphor and metonymy, one cannot avoid it.” (Helene Cixous)
[“where trace becomes existence” (Seuphor)]
I am tracing letters without a model, refusing to hub any wheel…
Out of its mouth: communication sounds. The body moved likewise. Undulant, suggesting. only sounds, no discernible words.
Signification, perception, emotion, feeling, sensation… and then translations: prefrontal cortex: “meaning”?
A blockage. Refusal.
Andre Malraux: “You are human when you can say no.” Remembers Bartleby.
What is called ‘agency’? Only negation?
This is how the story goes?
Prefers not to.
“Pleasures,” “pains.” Pain wakes. Pleasure lull(abie)s?
And when is the “system of nonknowledge” (and unknowing) not “unfinished” (Bataille) posthumous. Post-humorous. Generations.
What was it? Ah, yes, the Book-that-turns-to-water. Speech-to-air bubbles, balloons. Hot air, as they say. They? We.
(someone wrote, silently saying).
“all that has room in it”
Of truth and genesis – constant inscriptions of birth. Unthinking the point and the line.
“Not to worry about the rest of us. Love you.” (someone said).
This is the shaping of chaos, this hell of stories.
Unbearable lightness of being, this breath or stream of life.
Mismaking is an art (or so we hope, we think, desire, demand).
Men and apparitions.
[everything I letter down is plagiarism]
These – the margins of philosophy, a way of life.
Saying I no more. Interior distance.
This is the writing of disaster: the book-that-turns-to-water.
Speaking turned to air.
Philosophy, the posthumous. Dust.
Text (from textare: to weave).
My notes in the fog.
The trouble with pleasure.
Myopia. My opium.
We followed the arc of the diver, losing it in the fog, wishing to make it out clear. I might have said this meant “philosophy.”
“Poetry,” he said, “is utilizing known language to invoke the unknown.” Or certaintly uncertainty, or something like that, which I liked, and indicated by asking what is not uncertain?
Your hands, the music. My desire, a naming for them. I think of your waist as a séance.
What is it to be crippled? I keep trying to use words.
Another asked about the “arc of the diver.” How should I know? All of my sentences should be read as questions. I wonder how divergent questions or commands might be… as statements.
She said, “it falls between. It has to go somewhere.” I guess we pressed it there… were poietic… since we couldn’t find a name. “Dis-appearance” might be one. Like a guess that can’t be falsified.
We all hold a paper marker printed “You are here.” Perhaps paper is too substantial. But it still seems like an invitation I wish we had.
Maybe this is why Albahari inscribed “Words are something else.” We leave it at that. And are flummoxed as to what “that” refers to.
Still we look.
You move like flocks of birds that wheel. I’ve never comprehended “swarm.” Mathematics doesn’t cut it, though it certainly uncertainly tries.
The telephone Pictionary of ear-mouth-brain when we issue sound or gaze. Don’t foibles equal actions? Parts of us experience this as violence, as valence.
Relation as a struggle to balance victimhood and perpetration. Uncertainly.
When or where does this infiltrate unknown?
He went on to say…
I thought (imagined?) your ankles, knees, elbows and knuckles as adroit sworls in swift mountain streams.
So also losing it in the fog, hoping to remember where the trees were. Philosophy. Or was it the forest?
Poetry as ocean surface between “known”/unknown? So wavy, so heaving. No one said that.
The richest respect he gave was his readiness to call me “Nobody.” Or “Anybody.” Carte blanche.
I can hardly perceive what’s in your head now. Potentia? An horizon of waves. A place where words press images press events, the banal. Perhaps. Uncertain sphere of unknowing? They say learning happens there. Like a cell in a culture, animal in terrain. Cacophony of dreams.
Each time we encounter.
Dear Michael, Dear Jonathan, Dear Scott, Dear Laurie, Dear Lydia, Dear Sam; Dear Meghann, Dear Summer, Dear Tyler and Karl; Dear Edie, Dear Sara, Dear Mari; Dear Albert, Dear Paul, Dear Denise; Dear Tristan, Dear Aidan, Dear William; Dear Andy, Dear Pippin, Dear James; Dear Timothy, Dear Jada, Dear all of you who save my life from time to time, by being:
Perhaps I should not own a phone. It’s Short Message Service, in my employ, allows a nearly ubiquitous, immediate reach of the text, from my thumbs.
Thank you for telling me about the exhibition, I have the retrospective tome near me even now, attempting to go in and near the two-dimensional images on paper. It is not the same as being present to the sculptures and paintings, their ambience. But now I know I could not move around them, nor touch them, I’d have only to use my eyes and very little of my body.
This obsession with connection. Once I would have had to go to work unlinked to any of you for hours at a time. Once my going home would mean your absence unless we arranged for sharing space and time. Now I reach, I report, I ask and beg, and enter your lives like someone shoving a newspaper, pamphlet or flyer into your hands at will – without contact – propaganda blaring from speakerless speakers.
Your mails and email show deference and thought. I am happy to have your works near at hand to consult and resort to time and again. I see the care in the hand-writing, the pacing of thoughts, the reasoning reflection, the sense of your audience. They lie about me on the floor, I can feel them, turn them, taste them if I wish.
Your phone makes a hum or a buzz. An ejaculatory missive from Filbert again. He’s lonely, he’s excited, he’s drunk. He wants to share. He needs to share. He needs communique. He wants connection. He is not thinking of us, he suffers the duress of himself. He spouts, he shouts, he slurs. He insists he needs solitude and rest, needs quiet, less public. At any hour, at all hours, these textual packets flow.
Perhaps I should not own a phone.
Where do the gaps that make the heart grow fonder bloom? What is banal and what evental?
Thank you for your poem. I will read it again and again. Thank you for that clip of music, I repeat it throughout the days, when the mood demands an answer. Thank you for your books, your artifacts, your gardens, your hands. Thank you for your eye-contact (those of you I’ve sat or walked, camped or climbed with). Thank you for the melodies of your particular voices. Thank you for your hugs, your nourishing, your care. Your listening.
I do remember the ground there, how it fell away desperately or rose violently into sky. What the birds did. Where the fire flowed. Yes, the leaves. Yes, the sleeping bags. Here’s to the unknown trails, the stumbling, to whatever’s discovered.
I am sorry I flood your phones with less than thoughtful driveling – explosions of fear, anxiety, want. Am I alone? Am I alone? Do I matter? Does anyone want my voice? Am I also missed? But also love. Yes, sometimes I merely wish to tell you the difference you make to being alive, that I feel you out there, somewhere…
Perhaps I should not own a phone.