poetry on Mon, 9 Jul 2001 02:42:59 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Heideggerian

Ontological Impossibility

When does the concept make contact with the condition
of objects. The condition, not the object or set.
Volume and weight, mass and density emerge from the
object. Colors saturate the emoting eye.

The aspect of time in a thing and groups of things.
Time is the energy waiting there, and time is the
energy brought to the waiting to be viewed.

Mass is the moments of time in an object, which time is conditioned 
by the object's viewing. The moments of time in time contained by an 
object do not exist outside the object's being viewed. A conceptual 
frame constructs itself around the temporal condition of viewing, and 
the work develops in this active space, surrounding the 
representation, the object condition or thingness being viewed. There 
is energy in objects, and there is the energy brought to objects by 
the viewer, and the sign exists, if it can ever be said to exist 
outside this constructiveness, as a complex of emotive and analytical 

The impression that objects were complete by themselves had to be 
overcome, just as the impression had to be overcome that the emotion 
attached to the object was (if there ever was an object) what was the 
matter, being all that mattered, since being is matter and the energy 
that inheres in it, the subject (if there ever was a subject). But 
can there be a concept without an object?

The condition of art as slavery, a slave to appearances, and here is 
its point of contact with mass consciousness, even for an art that 
will never be understood by the masses.  Historical trauma recorded 
in the repetition of forms. "The Last German in Italy" does not only 
inflect Milton, but demonstrates that a primary dissonance in social 
time, war and revolution, across several centuries, has not been 
exhausted. Art and its mastery (repetition) of forms labors over time 
within time, transferring what cannot be stated by the concept of 
transference. A poem gets made, only its making involves hundreds of 
years, sprung--not spun--from fragments in time. The destructiveness 
that inheres in the fragment, where remnants are pieces left over 
capable of being gathered again, remade.

A poem gets made, but the subject-object relation existing in 
material social reality remains in place, unaffected. Afflicted, 
letters endure a word, inured to the confrontation their combination 
makes graphic. Space materializes through the forms made for it. 
Empty space is everywhere, anywhere form is absent, though this 
condition does not have to be identical to formlessness. In music, it 
is what is known as silence. Chromatic tracings.

There is no more sensuous experience than the coinciding of two 
ideas. The demand that every hour be lived in dedication to the art 
that a life has been charged with conditions visual and auditory 
flows and the susceptibility that must not take a subjugated form or 
attitude, position, towards the object (poetry). The photo-poems as 
products of a subjugated consciousness, deforming the originals in a 
relation of mutually accusatory signing. The problem of poetry in 
history. "The poet, whom one can never see . . . bound by forms . . . 
lives, which we call inventions, take[s] wing."

Schematic pasts ignore unpredictability in the separate, disruptive 
forces that shape an event. Driven by the moment to the moment of 
disappearing, the motive forces do not even inhere in the outline of 
an event. Interpretation imposes an outline (probability) on an 
effect that can never be reduced by causality to the condition of 
evidence. Every determination exterminates the possibility of 
something else, something unexpected, something new. Definition of 
either a concept or a face destines the image to a resolution, which 
is not a focus. A camera's insufficiency, honed to a sharpness 
calibrated on the basis of an eye that cannot see. The position of 
the subject: you cannot see me. The apparatus interferes, unable to 

What does a poem want to bring about? A poetry may be about being in 
the condition of being-in-language, where it (what is) (what it is) 
cannot be found in the language in which the poetry might be said to 
exist. A poetry could be about the condition of being written in one 
language, waiting for another. "During a long process the face and 
figure of the individual changes in condition and expression, [if] 
the face is in the course of constant processing, and its processing 
and change in appearance depend on the strength and tension in the 
culture contained in a system of design, thoughtfulness, with which 
the organism is occupied." The conception is neither the face nor the 
form of the poem, though the degree of shaping force can be read--and 
it is this energy that poets read, how they read, that poets read one 
another for the degree of force and how the shaping energy swerves, 
veers, jaggedness, impatience, speed, sonority, miscellaneity. None 
of this can happen except in countenancing traditional forms, facing 
the past more than studying it, confronting it, staring it down, or 

A poetry summons the masters, it is not summoned by them. The 
summons, or judgment, of a new work in relation to the value assigned 
to the older works in its language, reading a poetry by the light of 
earlier poetries, subordinates the conditions under which the new 
work is conceived to an external process, surface features, false 
echoes in the hall of mirrors. Scholarship is almost always skin 
deep. The poet who needs to make something from something someone 
else once made reads a poetry from inside its skin. How can it know 
itself in any other way?

Who would want to know themselves or be known among others to others 
externally? That this happens at all in reading poetry is the closest 
a poem comes to resembling a painting on a wall. That a poem does 
something more, and here may be where it evades value, the value 
assigned to art objects--in the way that the visual arts undergo 
value conversions, given their object identities--can be found in the 
proposition that no poem contains itself. It may even be that poetry 
evades value and a stable place in a language and culture, which is 
always a formation involving market forces, and institutional 

Visual and auditory, concrete and conceptual, the intangibility of 
poetry--its elusiveness--protects it from instrumental applications, 
even when the poetry yields momentarily to a political use, or 
ideology. Momentarily, never monumentally. A poetry compelled to 
monumentalize itself becomes an architecture, and abandons 
conception. The loose ends that a work leaves unthought provide the 
areas for other poets to work, providing variations. How to read for 
what has been left undone, what poets also read for, at least those 
who refuse to approach a poem with their eyes. "A camera can do that."

The conception was never intended to become a monument. The 
composition runs out of questions. The conception questions itself to 
the verge of not existing, unable to believe in itself, barely being 
able to be. Viability, or validity. Visibility. Wish things to be 
that way and they will and will not. Art is made in the space that 
separates living from life, when living is linked with life. No one 
has ever died in a work of art. Can writing a poem be a matter of 
life or death? How far will a poetry drive itself to prove the 
necessity of its coming into language? The unbearable urgency can 
only be recognized after the emergency has passed, and the life has 
passed into the work.

Articulateness is terrifying, since composure preconceives, designs, 
and constructs a posture prior to the event and encounter. Every face 
is false, unless it contradicts itself. What do you see when you say 
you see me? Every conversation constructs a new face for the face 
that is viewed. Aggression occurs in the face that confronts another 
with the weight and volume of a voice that believes it belongs to it. 
Where is the face that pulls away in disbelief at the voice that 
appears to belong to it? Life is torn from time, and knows itself as 
volume and color. Is this why the face pulls away from its voice, 
under the weight of the thought about being said (constructed)--isn't 
this also conception?

How can what gets said be known outside its saying, either before or 
after the event in an exchange of words? What gets said gets used to 
its saying and goes its own way, going away, diffused. The shape in 
the space between note and interval. A text exerts no influence as 
long as its labor remains locked in itself. In the interlocking with 
another is where we hear ourselves. The major and minor tonalities, 
the division of the major and minor chord, the vertical and 
horizontal planes of chordal hearing (melody). Discipline (study) 
cannot produce the necessary, urgent, life-threatening note. This is 
the agony of scholarship, and key to interpretive aggressions 
(ideology). Discourse grabs without grasping.

Lost, they appear before one another, among others, for a moment that 
can barely be signified by a smile. Who are they? It is not enough to 
say they are caught in a definition (others' eyes). Age does not 
signify, for art does not know the artificiality of counting life, 
counting on life. Art counts on life to show it where to go--it never 
knows where it is--what, why, where are you going, where you are 
going I want to go. The constraint of something more difficult, more 
real and more absolute ("chamber music, that music which is descended 
from higher things") and the constraint throws light. Chamber music, 
and fescue of the sonata. There is no action other than that passing 
into the conception of what we are as far as we are art, and that is 
all we are, sound-structures, emerging and receding, and in deciding 
how they should enter, meet and greet one another, how they were to 
proceed with one another as though they were real people meeting, 
instigating an event in the radius of the point of convergence. 

"Bach's wide gaps between parts play an important role in preventing 
a vertical blending, i.e. the being changed and changing of whole 
columns of notes or hosts of chords, no matter whether rhythmically 
diminished or caught up by the releases from the dominant."

The messengers arrive from the other side, the deafening silence of a 
car bomb detonated in the space that separates one note from another. 
Birth does not confer the right to live.

We are who we are in the logic of where we are, for as long as where 
we are has the power to dictate who we are (it says what we are) when 
we are neither here nor should be, since what we could be and are not 
is not here, not even near where "here" is, how it appears, the wall 
or screen across which pass shapes that have mass, volume, density, 
color and contrast, light and shadow, voiced and unvoiced, vocal and 
visual phenomena. The messengers have begun to arrive.

He is here where he should not be, if there is still some place where 
he could be, or once was. She isn't either, anywhere. That is all 
that remains of us, and it can never be taken away.

They have never been able to be the time and place where they are. 
The "e" inserted between two identical consonants, before or after an 
"i" or "a".  The conjugation does not soften the thought. The 
experience of the words for the thought itself, outside itself (not 
beside itself).

Beside itself, a blind confidence in unprecedented volume gave rise 
to an illusion. The event does not wait to happen. The unheard-of 
event that is not anticipated can never be understood.

A parting gesture purer for the not knowing itself as a sign for 
departure: a hand in a vertical movement inches from her face. "The 
condition of exile." How a face dissolves in a foreign language. That 
she lived in a world where it was apparently still possible to smile, 
and to incarnate estrangement not as an aesthetic principle but as a 
life condition, a deformity imposed--almost, at times, a 

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