Wednesday, July 29, 2009

. . . Al cor dolente, che lo fa parlare.

Al cor dolente, che lo fa parlare.

HEART is whom speaking is for. You know this. It does not require commentary. “I turned away [detourné] from philosophy when it became impossible to discover in Kant any human weakness, any authentic accent of melancholy [tristesse].”[i] The sigh’s sound is the sign of the heart’s turning. The sorrowing heart’s hearing of this sound is the sigh’s speaking. I.e., heart turns by attending to its sigh and makes (fa) sigh talk by hearing it as saying, by letting it be heard as the heart’s own voice, at once most intimately for itself and totally exposed.[ii] This close but not closed circuit, whereby the from (del) revolves perfectly into the to (Al), returns language to breath/spirit by releasing love from the body—a self-restorative movement also called listening to your heart, the neither audible nor inaudible exercise of remembering, recording one’s ancient, deeper will. “Not of to-day, is my love for Thy musky tress; / Long time ‘tis, since that with this cup, like the new moon, intoxicated I was.”[iii] Such a sighing one is a whispering tetragrammaton, something on the way to becoming YHWH (I am who I am): “That’s what I am, after all, at bottom and from the start . . . [one] who not for nothing once told himself: ‘Become what you are!’”[iv] Precisely what Beatrice makes Dante do in Eden after her eyes overcome him: “Men che dramma / di sangue m’è rimaso che non tremi: / conosco i segni de l’antica fiamma.”[v] Which shows something of the subtle intersection between sighing, confession, and sorrow: how love is a painful secret opening in oneself from and towards another, a word wounding from within that allows you really to speak, to tell all, as if for the first time, even before and beyond there being anything to say
: “And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, ‘Eph’phatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly” (Mark 7:33-5).


[i] E. M. Cioran, A Short History of Decay, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Arcade, 1949), 47. Dante’s likewise turns/is turned away weeping from the itinerarium mentis of “il dilettoso monte” (Inferno 1.77) [the delectable mountain], corresponding to the unfinishable philosophical project of the Convivio: “‘A te convien tenere altro vïaggio,’ / rispuose, poi che lagrimar mi vide, / ‘se vuo’ camper d’esto loco selvaggio” (Inferno 1.91-3).

[ii] For a footnote, imagine here a long posthumous essay by a philosopher on the subject of the sigh beginning I sigh. For whom is a sigh? with this as epigraph: “And surely I am not giving myself a report. It may be a sigh; but it need not” (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe [New York: Macmillan, 1958], I.585).

[iii] Hafiz, Divan, 397.2.

[iv] Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “The Honey Sacrifice,” 192.

[v] Purgatorio, 30.48 [Not a drop of blood is left in me that does not tremble: I know the tokens of the ancient flame].

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How this life is happening inside a bright cave

How this life is happening inside a bright cave
I saw blindly, wholly, as in a lightless cave.

Spatial communion with place's solidity
Is a fine phrase for the simple feeling of cave.

Before murder ends, the victim is bathed in bliss,
A quick lethic cleansing of pain's cellular cave.

Tomb-shrine: telluro-magnetic sporangium
Of mystical grottophilia, love of cave.

Shedding life to realize the dawn of existence
Demands millions of creepings through a body-cave.

Gazing into the distance finds universal
Claustrophobia, dream-sense of the cosmic cave.

Nicola’s migration passes so much space-time
He even forgets never being born in this cave.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The worry-machine of materialism

The worry-machine of materialism
Lurches cliffward on fuel of empiricism.

Master and slave take dictation from the same dog,
A rabid cur sometimes called capitalism.

Nor does philosophy exist, being fallen
Into self-fables, intellectualism.

Can hearts anamnesically learn love-sickness,
Self-consumption, via such consumerism?

Tomorrow we will institute the World Center
For the Imminent Destruction of All Ism.

For now, semi-audible complaint will suffice,
A heady, modern luxury: criticism.

Nicola is not bird or cage, light or spectrum,
But something invisible trapped in a prism.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A face always before me, a face in the air

A face always before me, a face in the air,
Unmoving in my moving, an eternal stare.

I hate that forgetting everything is easy,
Far and away too easy to miss what is there.

What has happened to us? Nothing. It is only
What is always not happening that makes us care.

Shoegazing? This is doom-howling berzerker hordes
Wielding death-lightning, slaying all from who knows where.

Because the staring back is never bargained for
And finds you, reveals you totally unaware.

Because the way up and the way down are the same,
A single winding ladder way beyond repair.

Feeling dark down a humming Lynchian hallway,
Nicola walks without hope and without despair.

p.s. an uncanny experience: remembering having written this after finding Scott's post on The Hum, like the lines were not written until now, could only appear belatedly early, as conjured by a commentary, like in a lynchian plot loop.

Attending to a sigh

io no lo intendo, sì parla sottile

SUBTLE SPEAKING, language thinner than air, narrower than every whisper. What does a word not pass through? Dante's thought-sigh does a cosmic circuit and comes back talking a language he does not intend. When was it not logos? Never other than spoken/speaking, from sospiro to spirito, it always was and will be verbum, the sonic incarnation of inner shining: "the word which sounds without is a sign of the word that shines within . . . For that which is produced by the mouth of the flesh is the sound of the word, and is itself also called 'word,' because that inner word assumed it in order that it might appear outwardly."[i] So the poet's "pensero, nominandolo per lo nome d'alcuno suo effetto" (VN 41:3-4), reversely named for its effect, stays word only by ever becoming word, by ceaselessly passing, staying prepositional (oltre, del, su, per, al, di). Word transpires, is something breathed and breathing, like a vibrational, lyric touching of the invisible locutio rerum, a thing's original, extra-topological in-tention.[ii] "Spiritus ubi vult spirat et vocem eius audis sed non scis unde veniat et quo vadat" (John 3:8).[iii] Listening to the sonetto as logogenetic allegory, bending attention into (in-tendere) its story of becoming-word, this line now talks about the vestigial body of verbal being, the way words travel as traces. Being always windily between, essentially whenceless and whitherless, word is known by unknowing its place: "io non possa intendere là ove lo pensero mi trae" (VN 41:8). That is how speaking passes, by being subtle: "Subtlety takes its name from the power to penetrate."[iv]
How verse happens: "True singing is a different breath, about / nothing. A gust inside the god. A wind."[v] How love hears: "Suppose someone hears an unknown sign, like the sound of some word which he does not know the meaning of; he wants to know what it is . . . [this] is not love for the thing he does not know but for something he knows, on account of which he wants to know what he does not know."[vi]


[i] Augustine, On the Trinity, trans. Stephen McKenna (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1970), 15.11.20. "[V]erbum quod foris sonat, signum est verbi quod intus lucet, cui magis verbi competit nomen. Nam illud quod profertur carnis ore, vox verbi est: verbumque et ipsum dicitur, propter illud a quo ut foris appareret assumptum est" (PL 42:1071). "I can remember when I was a little boy, my grandmother and I could hold conversations entirely without ever opening our mouths. She called it shining" (The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick [Warner Bros., 1980], Halloran speaking to Danny).

[ii] "[A]lthough it is clear that the beings that were created were nothing before their creation . . . yet they were not nothing, so far as the creator's thought is concerned, through which, and according to which, they were created. This thought is a kind of expression of the objects created (locutio rerum), like the expression which an artisan forms in his mind for what he intends to make [sicut faber dicit prius apud se quod facturus est]" (Anselm, Monologium, trans. Sidney Norton Deane [Chicago: Open Court, 1903], chapters 9-10). Anselm goes on to compare and identify this thought with the universal verba mentis: "all other words owe their invention to these, where these are, no other word is necessary for the recognition of an object, and where they cannot be, no other word is of any use for the description of an object. . . . This . . . then, should be called the especially proper and primary word, corresponding to the thing. Hence, if no expression of any object whatsoever so nearly approaches the object as that expression which consists of this sort of words, nor can there be in the thought of any other word so like the object, whether destined to be, or already existing, not without reason it may be thought that such an expression of objects existed with (apud) the supreme Substance before the creation, that they might be created; and exists, now that they have been created, that they might be known through it" (ch.10).

[iii] "Spirit blows where it wants and you hear its voice but know not whence it comes or where it goes."

[iv] Summa theologica, Supplement.83.1.

[v] "In Wahrheit singen, ist ein andrer Hauch. / Ein Hauch um nichts. Ein When im Gott. Ein Wind" (Ranier Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus, 1.3, in The Selected Poetry of Ranier Maria Rilke, ed. and trans. Stephen Mitchell [New York: Vintage, 1989], 231).

[vi] Augustine, The Trinity, trans. J. E. Rotelle (New York: New City Press, 1997), 10.1.2-3.