Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Modicum of Spice

Commentary is geophilosophical in the sense of being a movement that produces the immanence of the earth both formally and actually. Formally, commentary makes of a text, its earth, an orbis, a round world, by bringing text into the space around it. A dwelling in and on the text, commentary accords with Heidegger’s explication of work as a dialectic of earth and world: “Upon the earth and in it, historical man grounds his dwelling in the world. In setting up a world, the work sets forth the earth. . . . The work moves the earth itself into the Open of a world and keeps it there. The work lets the earth be an earth.”[i] Commentary likewise does not break its text, but preserves its integrity, shaping itself to it even in the midst of digging through it interlinearly and dwarfing, dominating it circumferentially. Commentary lets the text be a text and furthermore brings it into the open as self-secluding in the sense of presenting itself, not as some transparent medium for seeing behind or underneath it, but as further text. As Gumbrecht explains: “What . . . hermeneutic topologies of the below and the behind share is a categorical—not to say dramatic—distinction between a level of primary perception and an always ‘hidden’ level of meaning and intentionality . . . In contrast, commentaries do not aim at a level ‘below,’ ‘behind,’ or even ‘beyond’ the textual surface, but commentators nevertheless do not see texts “from above” or from that famous ‘distance’ that we so readily associate with objectivity. We expect commentaries . . . rather to be ‘lateral’ in relation to their texts of reference, and we want commentators to position themselves in ‘contiguity’ not so much with an author but with the text in question. It is this contiguity between the commentator’s text and the text on which to comment that explains why the material form of the commentary depends on and has to adapt to the material form of the commented-on text.”[ii] Yet, it is absolutely necessary to add (else the essential dialectical relation between text and commentary might be lost), that commentary’s topological contiguity with its text does not delimit is interpretive, archaeological function, but rather institutes it as realized and to-be-realized in the text itself and our being before it. In other words, commentary is an immanent geo-graphy, an inscriptional earth-writing that continuously asserts by its very movement that its truth belongs here in the most palpable and factical sense, that it is written into the shared presence of reader and text, as the intersections between glossing and graffiti exemplify. So I will also say that commentary is actually geophilosophical, that it constitutes a structure of understanding and experience that opens world to earth. The telos of commentary, its far-off end, is tellus, what bears us. “Turn it and turn it again for everything is in it; and contemplate it and grow gray and old over it and stir not from it” (Aboth 5.22). What the Talmudic commentator here says of the Torah is sayable of the earth.



[i] Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” 46.

[ii] Hans Ulrich Gumbrect, The Powers of Philology, 43-44.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Desire desires only desire itself,

Desire desires only desire itself,
Not this or that, or you or me, only itself.

Little analogy, a slight allegory,
Talking of another and listening to itself.

Far above rabid trees and our viral worries
A singular trembling moon wholly hangs itself.

I am hungrier than hunger, than every else
That interposes me between me and itself.

Prophecy is no big deal, unless you forget
How everything is always forever itself.

Local tombs, drawn nearer by naming, testify
Precisely to what was never slightly itself.

Poetry is not poisonous, it is fatal,
A way for Nicola to speak speaking itself.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In one moment (the only moment) of silence

In one moment (the only moment) of silence
Are dying all of my ideas about silence.

As sound beyond sound, beyond hearing, and beyond
Beyond is the densest openness of silence.

There is an endless loveliness in your eyes while
I am trying to say something about silence.

See the past, present, and future of all language
Created, preserved, and destroyed inside silence.

Speak your heart to me, dear one, whoever you are,
In these uncertain moments enclosed by silence.

Word-truth, our rarely achieved alchemy of sense,
Is a sound transmuting silence into silence.

Keep quiet Nicola, failure of what you know,
While we keep listening for answers in silence.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Bataille, pale genius of the perverse, visits not

Bataille, pale genius of the perverse, visits not
In dreams, but in thought-pegasi, things that are not.

Earth: a sacred temple, godless and unbuilding,
Cooking consciousness into something it is not.

Happy-sad scholars exhale singularity,
This impossible, ordinary thing, or not.

Facticity is God, shouts tell-it-like-it-is,
Insisting on saying a thing saying cannot.

The profoundest temporariness of each thing
Is an unkissed kiss, sublime perfection and not.

Ancient stones also bathe daily in their own blood,
Bound by necessity to be what they are not.

The shock, the horror could not be greater, and still
Nicola finds breath, ecstasy where they are not.