Monthly Archives: June 2009

what is the word

folly –
folly for to –
for to –
what is the word –
folly from this –
all this –
folly from all this –
given –
folly given all this —
seeing –
folly seeing all this –
this –
what is the word –
this this –
this this here –
all this this here –
folly given all this –
seeing –
folly seeing all this this here –
for to –
what is the word –
see –
glimpse –
seem to glimpse –
need to seem to glimpse –
folly for to need to seem to glimpse –
what –
what is the word –
and where –
folly for to need to seem to glimpse what where –
where –
what is the word –
there –
over there –
away over there –
afar –
afar away over there –
afaint –
afaint afar away over there what –
what –
what is the word –
seeing all this –
all this this –
all this this here –
folly for to see what –
glimpse –
seem to glimpse –
need to seem to glimpse –
afaint afar away over there what –
folly for to need to seem to glimpse afaint afar away away over there what –
what –
what is the word –

what is the word

— Beckett

We don’t really talk like that anymore

All this business he broods over, X tells me, all these confessional phrases he collects, from what, for what, to concoct evidence of his inability to what, he says, trial is an obsolete word, to sit up like a duck for my silent judgement, judgement what an obsolete word, for the father’s judgement and the mother’s kitsch, he says. Accept it already and move on, he says, we know all this. A word in your ear, we don’t really talk like that anymore. It’s embarrassing, he says, and how embarrassing that he should have to feel embarrassed about my embarrassment. He should have got over it years ago, of course, it’ll only end in tears, grow a pair, lighten up. Maybe he just needs to get laid, he says, maybe I’m right, he feels old already, can I find him a girl? No, of course I can’t.

This World is not Conclusion

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond —
Invisible, as Music —
But positive, as Sound —
It beckons, and it baffles —
Philosophy — don’t know —
And through a Riddle, at the last —
Sagacity, must go —
To guess it, puzzles scholars —
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown —
Faith slips — and laughs, and rallies —
Blushes, if any see —
Plucks at a twig of Evidence —
And asks a Vane, the way —
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit —
Strong Hallelujahs roll —
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul —

— Emily Dickinson

As one suffers an illness

I have lived [The Immoralist] for four years and have written it to put it behind me. I suffer a book as one suffers an illness. I now respect only the books that all but kill their authors.

— Gide (quoted here)

The poet

The poet, though to be fair he never calls himself this, has lost count of the pints he’s drunk. The girl is keeping up with the empties. She’s pretty as a doll and has stuck a pencil in her bun. The pencil distracts him pleasurably. She’s fast but he’s an expert drinker, that much is true. His work is very profound and becomes more so as the night wears on. Though he’s an expert drinker the poet struggles to keep up with the girl as she moves about collecting glasses. He considers speaking to her but doesn’t. The following day even his eyeballs hurt and his work has turned into a perfect illustration of Romantic excess. Then the real self-work begins, to be undone again at some later stage.

Being and nothingness

You may be asked: ‘How did God bring forth being from nothingness? Is there not an immense difference between being and nothingness?’

Answer as follows: ‘Being is in nothingness in the mode of nothingness, and nothingness is in being in the mode of being.’ Nothingness is being, and being is nothingness. The node of being as it begins to emerge from nothingness is called faith. For the term ‘faith’ applies neither to visible, comprehensible being, nor to nothingness, invisible and incomprehensible, but rather to the nexus of nothingness and being. Being does not stem from nothingness alone but rather from being and nothingness together. All is one in the simplicity of absolute undifferentiation. Our limited mind cannot grasp or fathom this, for it joins infinity.

— Azriel of Gerona


No one moulds us again out of earth and clay,
no one conjures our dust.
No one.

Praised be your name, no one.
For your sake
we shall flower.

A nothing
we were, are, shall
remain, flowering:
the nothing-, the
no one’s rose.

our pistil soul-bright,
with our stamen heaven-ravaged,
our corolla red
with the crimson word which we sang
over, O over
the thorn.

— Celan (trans. M. Hamburger)

God spoke

(‘God spoke, and what He said became our symbols. The shape of a letter is perhaps the shape of His face. God has as many faces as there are letters in an alphabet. God is written in all languages.
   ‘You will be able to contemplate God once you have learned to listen to words, to look at them carefully, that is, once you have learned to read’, he had noted.
   ‘His voice is inaudible, but it is the supporting silence which allows our sounds to be discrete’, he had added.
   ‘You will shatter the image of words. You will take away their sound. You will divert them from their meaning. You will turn them into holes.
   ‘Then reading and writing will throw you into the vortex of a voice absorbed into the void’, he had also noted.)

— Jabés, El, or the Last Book (trans. R. Waldrop)

Thus they died

I must warn you: writing leads to suicide. Is it only one human life that is at stake in the act of writing? And what is a human life compared to the life of a word? Perhaps nothing. Or all. Or all of a Nothing or again Nothing of an All.

Thus they died. Thus he again picked up his pen, and this natural, almost automatic gesture seemed so loaded with unknown forces that he shivered.

— Jabés, El, or the Last Book (trans. R. Waldrop)

The borders of life

I build a book on our sacrificed lives. Could there be a life at the borders of life where we repeat once more — but for which impenetrable purpose? — our characteristic gestures, our most intimate, our most weighty words?
   Could it be that writing is this other life stuck in the fens of the page? Here, any life devoted to its disconcerting duration gets bogged down.
   A decoy, I tell you, the open wounds of a decoy which the meaning given to our words — and woes — keeps us and others from contemplating.
   From these wounds we shall have drawn milk.

— Jabés, El, or the Last Book (trans. R. Waldrop)