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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier

In Which I Confess to an Addiction to Recursive Contrariness and some of its Ramifications


We see this moment from outside as within.

                                        John Ashbery

                                        The New Spirit


Robert Hook:  only that which is allowed to be completely flexible will form the exact pattern for a stable construction of rigid materials…they way to build a stable arch is to invert a flexible chain hanging freely from two points of suspension.


The seeds of why write at all after reaching self-consciousness….

…one writes what cannot be transformed by other means


Why transformed? Why transform?  To be on the giving side,

to participate in living, in the feeling that this is what it sometimes means to be alive.

Trans and trance and true as in compasses across it all.  Across is mostly a good way to go.  It can be a short cut.


Sometimes when you hear a word you know how much the word is admired.

The word I heard was parataxis.

Here are the pieces, here are two.

Here are plenty, here now you piece it together, you say.

Here is what you get.  What you get is what you do.

Here is where you know.  Inside, no, not so fast,

In between, there now that is so, you be in between

You be the here in there, you be what pulls it all into one.

You can tell when someone says or writes a word with some kind of pleasure.

Hey, you like that word, huh.  It holds what you need in it.

Parataxis.  There are so many ways to think about it.


There were at least five safe places to be on the farm I was raised on below New Orleans, below Belle Chasse, below Jesuit Bend, on a spot on the river called Naomi.

In Naomi if you are by the river, you are said to be upfront.


In Naomi if you are by the road, you are said to be back behind.


Out over the levee on the batture with no one around.  Upfront.

(if boy cousins happened to pass by, forget it, you can be sure you’ll pretty soon be in quicksand)

Way under a haystack.  By the headlands.

(cool, very dry, now and then a mouse, now and then a cat or a kitten)

Back under the porch.  Upfront.

(silky dust, fine dirt, smooth and cool, an occasion snake might come by, good to be in the sifted quiet you could find there)

Right under a bed.  Inside.

& safest of all, up top on the same bed where, safest of all, one could sit between two facing mirrors, and there one would become a living recursive actual embodiment.  (Naturally I hadn’t those words, recursive or embodiment then, then I had me alone in the space in between those two mirrors)

inconclusively forever one sees one’s self recede into infinity, infinity on all sides,  the point is infinity and its never-ending ineluctable vanishing point


and right there, you were, right in the middle of it, in the middle of infinity


that turned out to be the safest place


let’s say, this is related to why and how it is a point of view to be wished for,

to be put in the position of looking in through a keyhole.


Let’s say, this is why thinking about false doors is to be recommended.

And later there will be frames!


And the reading of Witold Gombrowicz’s COSMOS


from Peter Altenberg’s TELEGRAMS OF THE SOUL

…………..I squandered your godly gift of freedom, doted on noble and altogether ignoble women, loafed around in forests, was a lawyer without studying law, a doctor without studying medicine, a book dealer without selling books, a lover without ever marrying, and finally a poet without composing any poetry.  Can these short things really be called poetry?! No way.  They’re extracts! Extracts from life.  The life of the soul and what the

day may bring, reduced to two or three pages, cleansed of superfluities like a beef cow in a reduction pot!  It’s up to the reader to re-dissolve these extracts with his own lust for life and stir them back into a palatable broth, to heat them up with his own zest, in short, to make them light, liquidy and digestible.


from Walter benjamin’s archives:

What is Aura?

The experience of aura rests on the transposition of a form of reaction normal in human society to the relationship of nature to people.  the one who is seen or believes himself to be seen {glances up} answers with a glance.  To experience the aura of an appearance or a being means becoming aware of its ability {to pitch} to respond to a glance.  this ability is full of poetry.  when a person, an animal, or something inanimate returns our glance with its own, we are drawn initially into the distance; its glance is dreaming, draws us after its dream.  aura is the appearance of a distance however close it might be.  Words themselves have an aura; Krause described this in particularly exact terms. “the closer one looks at a word, the greater the distance from which it returns the gaze.


And the longer one looks at a false door, the more one sees there is only one way to open it.


one acceptable way to get through it


………………… allowed to be completely flexible will form the exact pattern for a stable construction of rigid materials…they way to build a stable arch is to invert a flexible chain hanging freely from two points of suspension.





daytrip to paradox  (it will be a little harder to build paradox with parataxis)



Everything about this sentence is false.


By this I can be ever enchanted.  How words have lives of their own.

How when and if words want, they can unsay themselves as they come into being.

They seem so not inert.  They seem so moving.


Nothing can be handled with all the care it deserves.

it unsays itself as it comes into being


You and I, we go our separate ways.

it unsays itself as it comes into being


its own recording angel

everything held in suspension

under conditions of superstition

in suspicious circumstances

in substantial circuitry




up in the air with a recording angel


arc, he said, I look forward to the day when story and narrative can survive through a sentence that doesn’t include the word “arc”


parabola, on the road to parabola


prepostions as keyholes………….prepositions and do this………

(and as potential recursive word actions, or activators)

of of of of of of of

for for for for for for for

behind behind behind behind

within within within within

after after after after

through through through through


who looks through a keyhole, going through a locked door (and a false door) by other means

the outside and the inside of anything, of it all


Dara Wier is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse Rapture, and Hat on a Pond. She teaches in the University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers. Her awards include the Poetry Center and Archives Book of the Year Award, a Pushcart Prize, theAmerican Poetry Review’s Jerome Shestack Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She edits Factory Hollow Press. Visit her author page at Wave Books or read an interview.