a phoetics: fragment 8
Contrary to the fix in which Eliot lost and found himself - forcing such statements in "East Cocker" as "...only health is disease..." and "...a raid on the inarticulate/ With shabby equipment always deteriorating/ In the general mess of imprecision of feeling..." - making in the phoem's immediacy is whole, or a health: What is well. The site of composition is the context integral to the work, and there is no exteriority of intellectual construct - no sense of separation from what a maker finds - to live up to. In phoetry one does not dwell in anxious leaps of metalepsis - what Harold Bloom terms "the figure without which poems would not know how to end" or "trope's revenge" - or that of Bloom's famous "influence." The syntax of a phoetic context is non-verbal: It is place and time and a consciousness that may be of their measure in words. When I speak of phoetic measure in relation to time, I should note that I am necessarily pointing toward something other than the sweep of hands around a center or of numbers gaining and resetting as we pass from one day to the next. Rather, phoetry measures the real time, which is tied to things (meetings), as of breaths, beats and pauses: of the seasons and the "time" it takes for a gull flying into the ocean to disappear; the interval of a water droplet falling from a sink faucet into a glass; or that for a lover to open a door one waits behind after many nights - just as centi- or millimeters do not measure space. Rather a phoetic measure may rule a heart or a breath as in length of a hand's reach. A phoem is a meeting within which one touches - and as it is within words to the extent that one is true to those limites, whciha re those of any moment (not a past of influence nor a future of "know how to end"), then it is one true to the immediate and vital. In this it has escaped as a voice. You have a self, an idiom, and so your immediate way.
But: Escapes what? The system. The voice escapes GDR, IBM, CBS, PC, CIA, GE, DU, ICBM, PTSS, EU, USA, SWAT, HP, TVA, CEO, BLS, EBITDA, etc., and the capital "I." While the last, representing the first person pronoun, is not as linguistically understood an acronym, as are these various tags for the military-industrial-congressional-journal complex, to "I" is attached similar operative assumptions: As a single letter to which English ascribes a universally acknowledged meaning, it is perhaps the "sharpest," most cutting, viz. its derivation from the Greek akis "sharp point" plus "name.". The meaning of no other single capitalized letter in English is as universally recognized. "X," perhaps, two diagonally crossed "I's," and just like "X" the "I" possesses an official and work-related aura: "I" operates as a cover and, acronym-like, a working convenience. We all know what "I" means, for example: but, then again, in all honesty, feeling deeper into "the bundle of accident and incoherence that sits down to breakfast" we fog up quickly. At very best, the "I" covers - perhaps sinks, as "deep crime" - a roaring multiplicity: One which, practically speaking, has a challenging time getting together, as evidenced by our state of perpetual conflict at every interactive human strata. To enter that fractious space would necessitate being open to what Deleuze and Guttari call "the whispering voices, to gather the tribes and secret idioms." The "I" is a makeshift - a convenience - by which we may have agency in the world, for as Deleuze and Guattari circumstantially posit without "I" "I" would drown in voices: Gain, say, a soul, but at the cost of a world to inhabit. But practically the "I" needs an antidote - a balance - and particularly at this juncture in the face of TNWD in which "I" have the ability to obliterate a planet through thermo-nuclear war or in the face of RID in which "I" possesses a similar ability (compassed in the former) through extermination, though in this case a slow maturation as the Earth species crust thins to the point of virtual disappearance (as thin as a capital "I" even). As from the "whispering," those voices go on to say, "I extract something I call my Self (Moi). I is an order-word. A schizophrenic said: "I heard voices say: he is conscious of life." "I" no longer have an "I." "I" has become "1," half of the binary code. "I" must escape "I," Duchamp's ultra infrathin, that imperceptible difference between two seemingly identical items. The theory that "I" does not and I do not exist underlies phoetry. Phoetry seeks to disprove "I" exists: That only ESB does.
But if the phoetic event seeks to free itself of "self," letting go of a compulsion to vacillate between a past of anxiety and a future of endlessness, the occasion, logically, in which such a freeing does: In this case, of the AV phoem as performance of an image across or beyond which a voice (among other noises) sounds. In the personal realm of the phoetic as a making out the world (and so involving, or "turning in," other people), there occurred to me in the process of working in this medium an intuition of complicating and so increasing the possibility of intimacy, and this term as not only in its conventional sense of "closeness," as may be known in physical or verbal relation between two or more people, but also from the Latin intimare "to make known, announce, impress," as in "to intimate." That in part is complicated logistically - the inherent remove of any mediarity and in phoetry by the technological bulkiness of an "AC" or "DC"-powered playback unit. Yet this remove permits my improvisational "speech," in which I hear the baulkiness of its PIE base *(s)pregh- "to jerk, scatter," as it is cast at the moment of composition to be in turn heard, unscattered or made out, as it is voiced. The made-out thing becomes itself: the selfless. The removes also permits the phoems to be played "intimately" in that one may be (usually is) alone with one's playback unit.
An AV phoem enters the train of information magnetized to and played on the computer, among other vehicles, and so becomes visible on that horizon of the contemporary with which we are becoming most intimate. This seemed to address what is construed as antiquated about a poem: A written art object in an age wherein experiential immediacy, if not simultaneity, is singularly reified. Further, each phoem is a "page" that may be viewed across multitudinous horizons simultaneously, which seems to convey a commonness to these works, though complicating intimacy. A phoem's photographic component seems to intimate that temporal consonance - though holding back from filming in real time, as such a poetic work would loose its literariness, with which - the relative stillness of the page - I am "still" interested.
Namely, with a photograph one remains within the realm of the page, which a photograph may be read as: They share a two-dimensionality and stasis, as well as a syntax, albeit a photograph transfers that to the arrangement of the "objects" in the space it frames, similar to concrete poetry. In that sense, we have in phoems the actual making of what Horace wrote: ut pictura poesis ("as in painting, in poetry"). The use in some "Transverse" phoems of two or more pictures does not contradict correspondence, as one may exchange a photograph as one may turn a page. Relatedly the term "page" derives from the Latin pangere "to fasten," from the PIE base *pag- "to fix." Flying in the face of entropic mutability, I am interested late in the arc of our literary tradition as handed to us from Plato in the page's fixity as it may relate to the architexture of a move (moment) in time. While a phenomenological impossibility, I want to stop time, because I do not want to die.
But a phoem performs something interesting to time in relation to intimacy. A photograph is a visual record of a moment - or more precisely of a second split as fine as shutter speed can make a discreet move. A speaking, then, cast into the space of that photograph (out of which, as one plays a phoem, one is experiencing the words) occurs seemingly inside of it - and so inside that shuttered (closed) moment. But the words are performed or experienced as attention to that moment's visual information degrades. One has not stopped time (an impossibility in an irreversible temporal universe), but the words remain, play, as a falling away, forward, with time - or until the next photograph (if there is one) replaces and re-"times" the phoem. The words may seem to thicken a shuttered moment - mount it, namely, "frame" - though at the cost of losing it as attention to the visual information destabilizes. In the vernacular, the visual gets "spaced out" as the reader: One, attends fixedly to the image, degrading focus; and two, loses fixity, as other sense impressions intrude. A third course on the part of the perceiver might be to absorb quickly the photographic image and then immediately close the eyes, holding it in the "mind's eye," though degradation does not follow us there, too.
When the eye's grasp loosens, interest occurs in that space as the listener (less an eyer) and the voice (to the self in its apartness) remain to form in time in the destabilized "place" of the image. The voice displaces that space in attention that with will and feeling make up our wellness. A voice touches, intimates, a visibility, recalling Neitzsche's "to listen with their eyes" without the "smash." The space (gap, difference, interval, margin, etc.) between the seen and heard becomes literary, albeit in a chiasma along the auditory-visual axis.
one: "I began working with voice recordings..."
two: "The week Robert Creeley died..."
three: "'Thing,' from the Anglo-Saxon..."
four: "While I mark the beginning of my interest..."
five: "After transcribing 'the wells at the mouth of itza...'"
six: "The distinction”and so mental distance..."
seven: "The PIE *wel- also means "to turn, roll...'"
eight: "Contrary to the fix in which Eliot lost and found..."
nine: "My relationship early on with ESB meta-intellect..."
ten: "It is absolutely important to remember..."