a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier
And as of today I’ve learned SATOR is the name of a press, a press that’s just published Mark Leidner’s aphorisms, this is exciting. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fernando Pessoa as Bernardo Soares in THE BOOK OF DISQUIETUDE:
I’ve created various personalities within. [ ... ] I’ve so externalized myself on the inside that I don’t exist there except externally. I’m the living stage where various actors act out various plays.
with thanks to flying object for finding Tacoma Narrow Bridge collapse film and for installing it in post #4
…………who bends as if
he were the semiarch that forms a bridge
(Dante’s Purgatorio, Canto xix, trans. by Allen Mandelbaum)
And then I stumble into this: (Thanks to Chris Martin’s book’s (becoming weather) epigraph:
THAT THE WORLD IS NOT STRIVING TOWARD A STABLE CONDITION IS THE ONLY THING THAT HAS BEEN PROVED.
CONSEQUENTLY ONE MUST CONCEIVE ITS CLIMACTIC CONDITION IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT IS NOT A CONDITION OF EQUILIBRIUM—————–
Famished I think, famished for what?
in the mind of the man who when he speaks, he inches away, as he says, to leave room for words as they pile upon the floor, as they fall out of his mouth, as he says them, right there they are, on the floor, at his feet, before him.
To be that certainly literal. To know with certainty that requires physical action, the materiality of words. We can see a word, hear a word, say a word, write a word, that’s fairly material. I like picturing a word’s spoken waves extending far out into space. That is no less material than words having some kind of literal 3-dimensonal existence that requires space for them to enter.
(I never asked, and I should have asked, what happens to these word heaps, this mass of language we bring into being, when you leave the room, when time passes. Do they dissolve? Where do words go?
I’m thinking of how many I’s Fernando Pessoa needed to write (and perhaps say sometimes) his words. Pessoa conjured so many others he makes thinking of other as more complex than a bee hive full of bees. And as dependently inter-locked as one’s body.
It’s worth thinking how unknown to one’s self is any I in one’s poems, how un-autobiographical to write with an I, how other-centric the appearance of any I is, how against self-consciousness is an I’s encounter.
I’m having a chance encounter with Jorge Luis Borges’s THE BOOK OF IMAGINARY BEINGS, And I’m looking at his: The Double.
BORGES: Suggested or inspired by mirrors, the surface of still water, and twins, the concept of the Double is common to many lands. It seems likely that statements such as Pythagoras’ “A friend is another myself” and Plato’s “Know theyself” were inspired by it.
(so when I write or say We it is okay I am just being a double, I’m just being me in a mirror)
And then and there I arrive at this halting, possibly hypocritical, corniche: if not I who and then who would I think I am when I speak for who? two? you?
At last, us.
And significantly, without thinking, here and now come indications of We, I hear myself saying……….
Whenever I know I am hearing myself I know it’s because I question the authenticity of the simplicity of what I seem to be saying. When I know nothing’s as simple as that.
Whenever I hear myself saying something I lean toward believing I’m missing something, I’m not saying what I could be saying, and possibly, I will never be able to say.
And if I can’t say it, I can’t mean it. If I can’t say it, I don’t know it. And there plenty I can’t know.
Unknowables. The Great Unknown. It has to stay that way to be that way.
I don’t believe poets like to be thought of as people who like to generalize. When we do , and it seems pretty certain we are always in the midst of it, it’s a open secret we see just how absurd we are.
Imagining distance, say 18 billion light years away, makes more sense than generalizing based on no matter what is our limited experience, filled with similarities, differences and those extra fine exceptions.
On the other hand we’re doing just about nothing but generalizing, if I take this to mean announcing something as something to be noticed apart from its original setting. Saying something’s name. Naming something.
It is outrageous and it’s one of the first things we want to do, we try hard to learn how to say and know and understand and send out into the world, words. Almost everybody has a “first word.”
I do prefer inventions and confabulations and fabrications and metaphorical standards over and all around conventional descriptions.
I do think one has to think one’s way out of one’s finitude and circumscribed surroundings and character.
I do believe in and have been given over to day-dreaming and cloud-gazing and reverie and fantasy and supposing and proposing and story-telling and speculations a good deal of the time.
At the same time, an attraction to so-called facts has also been a pre-occupation and has resulted in a liking of out of date encyclopedia, original and bogus systems of knowledge, taxonomies, organizing principles and almost every kind of religious dogma, science from an amateur skeptics point of view and appreciation, philosophy for its several competing logics and intensely conversational progressions, politics for its blatant exposure of our picayune tendencies and self-absorbing inclinations, so many things.
Dusty Rabbits in Cosmos Borders
At dusk they grow ecclesiastical and sarcastic.
Though they never say a word, it is their posture
That judges us to be the less than the serene beings we are.
They stare off into something we will always miss, us
With our big brains and long nerves and red scarves.
They write nothing down. What they know is too profound.
And they are good and true and beautiful and young.
It doessn’t matter to me whether this is true or not. I choose to believe it is true. It does matter to me that I can write it and that words can make it and that there it is somehow absolutely true whether true or not.
And almost last of all a little Randall Jarrell:
………You need to read good poetry with an attitude that is a
mixture of sharp intelligence and of willing emotional empathy, at
once penetrating and generous………When you begin to read a poem
you are entering a foreign country whose laws and language and life
are a kind of translation of your own; but to accept it because its
stews taste exactly like your mother’s hash or to reject it because
the owl-headed goddess of wisdom in its temple is fatter than the
Statue of Liberty, is an equal mark of that want of imagination, that
inaccessibility to experience, of which each of us who dies a natural
death will die.
Excerpt photo from on-going series by Boyadjiev in which photographs of monuments are finished with all their riders erased, all human heroes vanished; the series is called ON VACATION.
…………………….From the vast depths of a box embelished with foreign stamps, delicate immobile objects emerged: silver from Utrecht and Paris covered with hard heraldic fauna, and a samovar. Amongst them–with the perceptible and tenuous tremor of a sleeping bird—a compass vibrated mysteriously. The Princess did not recognize it. Its blue needle longed for a magnetic north; its case was concave in shape; the letters around its edge corresponded to one of the alphabets of Tlon. Such was the first intrusion of this fantastic world into the world of reality.
(from Jorge Luis Borges’ “Tlon, uqbar, Orbis Tertius” printed in LABYRINTHS, a collection of his short fiction and a few essays, short ones)
Dara Wier is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of Hannah, Reverse 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.