Poems

1. Tell me the difference between thinking and doing

My people are thinkers
mourners, mourning the dead
all the dead and

everything that has ever been
throughout the universe
since the beginning of time.

We mourn like monks
we mourn so hard
we have become phobic of the living

2. The human body

The human body is so strange
have you ever noticed?
there is water coming out of it all over the place
nose, mouth, sex, eyes
what does it want to leave my body for?

When I think of you, sometimes
funny water fills my eyes and rolls down my cheeks
then my mouth becomes dry
and I must pour more water in
until I am filled

3. Wet and dry

I am sorting out the words into wet and dry
like ‘salt’, a dry word
Salt, and ‘hate’.
‘Love’ is a wet word
like ‘tomato’
‘tongue’
and ‘saline’

 

Red pill, redemption

“Claude Lanzmann, the director of the epic documentary film Shoah…argues that his own approach to recording the experience of survivors—through direct testimony—is the only legitimate method, and that art and imagination can have no part in such an endeavor.” (The Paris Review)

The wounds of horror flew deep into the flesh. But art cannot be still, so it lends itself an air of skepticism in the face of yearning for redemption, of yearning for an imagined reason untainted by power, for the restoration of beauty into the world – as Leo Bersani put it, “Art as a correction for life.” Redeemed from our actions, our thoughts, our own death, even. Some, including visual artists such as Jean Debuffet, found these dogmatic notions disgusting, rejecting the very constructs that create such a wonderland: “I believe very much in the values of savagery,” he said, “Instinct, passion, mood, violence, madness.”

No. Humanity had hoisted itself upon a cross. Humanity as it was known had suffered, then died. Resurrection would come later (redemption, perhaps never) out of the bones of the soil, turned anew. The psychology of practice, as much as the concession of impotence, would become central to everything that followed it.

the bodymind

 

circle
We are afraid of the visibility of technologies below the surface, especially those cold and strange. We conceal them in the process of attempting to expose the illusions and myths within ourselves. We, the creators and viewers, prefer the wires tucked neatly out of sight, for the machine to be covered in skin and hair, in order to muse on its poetry, rather than the mundanity of its underpinnings.

It is fine to look back critically at the role of the traditional crafts, to the role of the traditional institution. But I would like to rip the plaster off the Guggenheim’s walls, to expose the glass wool, the wires, the pipework: the facts of its matter. To be confronted with its biology is to be confronted with the duality of that with its identity, and hence to peer within our own bodies and within our own minds… because after all we have achieved, it is still impossible to unite these disparate notions.

Paul Celan

The Vale of Soul-Making

I know,
I know and you know, we knew,
we did not know, we
were there, after all, and not there
and at times when
only the void stood between us we got
all the way to each other

— Paul Celan , from “Soviel Gestirne” (So Many Constellations), Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan. (W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition December 17, 2001)

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