Monday, 5 September 2016

Three New mOnocle-Lash Releases

JUST REALEASED! Three New Publications from Monocle-Lash Anti-Press, available in print practically at cost, or as FREE PDFs from the m-Lash website!

All edited by me, two containing my short essays and translations––

This is a distinctly cross-generational release:  Two of these are published under the Revenants Editions imprint and bring to light texts from the very early avant-garde for the first time in English, and the first time in any language for over a century. The other makes one of the first and most hated/popular turn-coat apostates in avant-history accessible to a new generation of lazy readers:


1.) Rêvenance: A Zine of Hauntings from Underground Histories. Issue 1.
–ed. Olchar E. Lindsann

Rêvenance is the flagship journal of the Revenant Editions series, dedicated to the forgotten or untold histories of 19th Century avant-garde and other countercultures. It includes essays, translations, and many experimental forms of historical writing and research that connect those traditions to continuing radical communities today.
The first issue features translations (by Olchar Lindsann and Raymond Ernest André III) of work by Alphonse Allais, Gérard de Nerval, Maurice Rollinat, Alphonse Karr & Georges d’Heylli; poetic re-workings of Charles Nodier & Michel Roly by John M. Bennett; poems in Volapük by Francis Vielé-Griffin and Michael Helsem; essays by Gleb Kolomiets and Olchar Lindsann; visual texts by Edward Kulemin; and a conversation by Jim Leftwich, John M. Bennett & Peter Ciccariello about Rea Nikonova, Malevich, and the Incoherents group of the 1880s.
32 pgs on folded 8.5”x14”. Sept., A.Da. 100 (2016).
$5.00 + 1.00 s/h or Free Download
2.) Pif Paf Patapan! A Sampler of Phonetic Poetry From the 19th Century
–by Paul Verlaine, Théophile Gautier, Charles Nodier, & Francis Vielé-Griffin; ed. Olchar E. Lindsann
Though Phonetic Poetry as a designated, focused practice was developed in the early years of the 20th Century, experiments with phonetics and non-semantic sound have been explored in the avant-garde since at least 1830. These are the poets who were read by the Futurists, Dadas, and Zoumists, and whose experiments (and others’?) they consolidated into a new form.
8 pgs on folded 8.5” x 11”. Sept., A.Da. 100 (2016).
$1.00 + 1.00 s/h or Free Download
NOTE: Verlaine poem is flawed in the online version of the PDF, due to some obscure coding flaw that changes PDFs when displayed online. Email for a free uncorrupted version of the file. Sorry!
3.) The Prelude: Book 3
—by William Wordsworth
——translated into Even-More-Boring-and-Trite by Fast Sedan Nellson
From the self-proclaimed ‘Prince of Translators’, this is the third volume in Nellson’s copiously annotated translation of Wordsworth’s 230-page biographical poem into an obscure dialect of English, ‘Even-More-Boring-and-Trite’. (Wordsworth’s original poem is in a related dialect, ‘Boring-and-Trite’.) To be issued over several years as a set of 14 volumes, followed by an eventual deluxe perfect-bound edition with parallel translation and extensive introduction and commentary.
Vol. III Continues Wordsworth’s boring adventures as “I Live in Cambridge”.
16 pgs. on folded 8.5″x11″. Feb, A.Da. 96. (2012 Anti-Vulgar)
$1.50 + 1.00 s/h or trade or Free Download
Later this month, look for the long-awaited 'Collected Works' of Imogene Engine, and maybe some more goodies as well!

Monday, 9 May 2016

"The Immortal Accursed" published in 'Mythic Delirium'

Since I've been to busy to share much of anything concerning my own activity for the last month or two, here finally is my blasphemous Frenetic villanelle 'The Immortal Accursed' in the recent issue of "Mythic Delirium", amongst a wicked array of dark fantasy and horror:

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Lecture at the Aldus Society, Columbus, Ohio

Last week I had the honour of traveling to my old haunt of Columbus, Ohio to give a presentation called Freed From a Parchment Jail about the Revenant Archive for the bibliophiles of the Aldus Society at the Thurber Center. I spoke about the first-generation avant-garde in the 1830s, using books from the archive as the guiding thread. I also had the opportunity to meet some intriguing bibliophiles and scholars, explore the Special Collections Library at Ohio State University, and catch up with some old friends and collaborators (though not everybody I'd wish).

Here is the announcement for the talk:

Thursday, 31 March 2016

New Addition to the Revenant Archive: Bouchardy's 'Paris le Bohémien'

Another recent addition to the Revenant Archive: the script of the popular gothic play "Paris the Bohemian", written by the Bouzingo co-founder Joseph Bouchardy and published alongside its 1842 premier. For a full report, see the Revenant Archive update on it, HERE.

 Revenant Editions recently published Talia Felix's first English translation of Bouchardy's work, his short story 'The Garrick Remedy' (Read Here)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

On Intellectual Culture and the Experience of Time

A remark by Baudelaire which haunts me: “I would gladly write only for the dead.” One could just as easily say: “…for the unborn.”

One result of extensive and passionate reading throughout early life, when the contours of subjectivity are being formed—and thus a pervasive trait within intellectual subcultures generally—is a radical relativisation of time as it relates to the subject: the visceral investment of that subject in historical time, with an integrality which most others seem to invest only in the lived time of their direct experience. Historical time, along with the forms of relation that traverse it, ceases to be experienced as abstract. In its most concentrated form, this investiture encompasses not only or primarily ‘the past’, but the unfolding of the historical process itself, and the potential-objects (one might say pataphysical objects, with the second word placed under erasure) that are imminent, or can be imaged as such, within a historical future. So that the epoch in which one lives—indeed, the conscious life one lives—is experienced less as a plenitude which ‘past’ and ‘future’ lack, than as a constraint against which one’s life continuously agitates. One’s literal life becomes analogous to the Ego of psychoanalysis: the active function of a subjectivity that indefinitely exceeds it. One ‘is’ whatever one’s work, one’s effect, will be, and whatever one has drawn into one’s self through it. Past and Future (with all the dissemenatory movement of the latter) become sites of the unconscious. This radical infusion of the process of subjectivity with the materials of social and historical process underlie the very possibility of  intellectual experience and culture. This state of existing lies at the root of the constant theme within the avant-garde of being at odds with one’s epoch, of being born too late or too early, jarring against one’s time—from Nanteuil, Bertrand and Gautier to Huysmans and Mallarmé to Hugo Ball. It is also what, in a sometimes stumbling manner, Coleridge, Hazlitt, and earlier Samuel Johnson and others in a certain British discourse were attempting to approach in their thinking on ‘fame’. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Notes on the Emergence of Nihilism and the Yellow Sign

A series of displacements trace the progressive emergence of Nihilism from Philosophy: 

Operation #1: From Logos as origin to Logos as principle (Kant, Hume, Secular Humanism)
Operation #2: From Logos as principle to Logos as contingent projection or operative tool (by implication, subject as logos or unitary point) (Deism, Utopian Socialism, Bergson, Post-Levi Occultism)
Operation #3: Elimination of unitary subject as source or origin of this application (Artaud, Blanchot, Derrida, Kristeva)
Operation #4:  ?????????????????????

In terms of the corollary radical subjective praxis examined in The Ecstatic Nerve, one could indicate this progression from Blake and Nerval to Huysmans and Jarry to Schwitters.

The advent of the idea of the absent centre of the subject, and subsequently that of the absence or im-propriety of a 'centre' as such, is what opens the thinkability, and then the possibility, of the development of 'subjects' without biological properties or cognitive 'centres', subjectivities not founded in the experience of 'self' but rather exploring it as one articulation of a subjectivity whose defining experience is elsewhere. It is thus that the Yellow Sign has most generally been most effective or discernible when articulated or approached in relation to negative/nihilist/antiplatonic models of Thought.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Notes on the Real and its other

In its intelligent applications, Divination--whatever the degree of one's skepticism regarding its strictly 'predictive' action--puts into practice an understanding of the mechanism by which 'events' unfold in time; it is an art of asking questions, which in themselves constitute a field of contexts and themes within which the 'future', and the imminent events which are set into motion, will become manifest.

Magic seems to work best when one forgets it is occurring; the fantastic weaves itself into the same weft of impossibility through which the patterning of the Real itself is woven. Thus the reconception of ceremonial magic via techniques of devising (as of performance) on the one hand, and via the epistemological maleability of childhood play on the other.

The Imaginary vs. the Real object: fixation.
In the former, the 'Idea' that is being fixed is not proper, its form kaleidoscopically changing its aspect and articulation, the object itself so vibrant with significance as to compromise itself as object, sliding continually back half-way into the subject; in the latter, the object as object is persistent, truly fixed, whilst its implications are on the other hand held further at bay, qualitatively—as a fixed point in a fixed space, the object establishes the spacial terrain through which thought will articulate and organise itself.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

On Utopian and Marxist Socialism

The phallocentrism that Marxist hegemony established within socialism: Notwithstanding Marxism's alleged hostility to religion of any kind, it espouses an entirely orthodox religious conception of social change. The capacity for change is invested solely in a Revolution on the millenarian model: buttressed by an asceticism of the present (no real change until the universal proletarian uprising), a distance from the Ideal is maintained and deferred until The moment of Truth, The moment of overturning when everything turns inside out in one spectacular shudder of history, smashing and destroying the old order. The Revolution will come like God, separating the worthy from the unworthy, a kind of historico-celestial taxonomist, whilst the Proletariat, like the Four Riders of the Apocalypse, go about their fated business of establishing the earthly paradise. Whilst the utopian socialisms whose models were effaced by the Marxist hegemony, who so often (Saint-Simon, Fourier) framed themselves in religious terms, ironically conceived of change on a more materialist basis (in a sense hostile to Hegelian Idealist-Materialism to which Marx and Engels fell prey despite themselves), a more organic basis. The phalanstery as a seed, planted in the social soil; the transformation of society likened not to a tiresome Oedipal drama but to the planting of a forest, and the gradual symbiotic transformation of an environment.

Likewise, it is no wonder that Feminism, so central to socialist discourse early in the 19th Century, became a merely tertiary concern in the wake of Marxism, despite Marx and Engels being in no way hostile to its principles. Marxism is rigidly phallocentric, indeed it never ceases to conceive the phenomenon of Revolution in terms of a seizing of the centralised State-Phallus, a single orgasmic juissance that gives access to an entry into 'power' from the top of an inherited hierarchy, whose effects will then trickle back down to an abstracted populace from whom the energy had originated. 'We' will all share Power after the Revolution, but only by all being given a share of the phallus. And this Phallus-State will be directed by, infused with, an Ideology which will activate its power. What room is there in this vision for the diffused network of autonomous communities envisioned by other socialisms; for the slow and unpredictable growth of new patterns of life which, while sharing many structural principles and perhaps a common inspiration, nonetheless cannot be submitted to any central authority? To a model in which actual revolutionary practice is set in motion on microcosmic scale, to succeed or fail in the midst of what it opposes, without the intervention of the World Spirit, even in Communist form? A model in which, in the last analysis, the specificity of the commune, of the particular attempt—that which will resist both ideological speculation and the priority of numbers, of quantity, in designating 'success'—will ultimately determine the success of the revolution on every level. Despite its many insufficiencies, 'utopian socialism' posited a model of Revolution founded in the existent, in the Real, while 'dialectical materialism' posits a model of Revolution founded in the Imaginary, as always deferred, ahead—in the 'next life'.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Notes on Archiving

The physicality, the embedding in real space, the dead weight of the book which, object that it is, is so unapologetically oblivious to the virtuality of Thought, renders the very notion of consciousness more palpable--and simultaneously, more fundamentally impossible than any virtual, digital, or more entirely visual text could do. The age of the old book, its persistence through a span of time longer than any human life; the traces of those lives, and the consciousness itself (whose impossibility is thus even more disturbingly revealed) of its age, make imminent a relationship to time and subjectivity that underpins the notion of 'existence' as such.

To hold and read such a book, with the care and delicacy and even the small risk that it entails, cradling it in one's hands as the boards stretch always a bit farther away from the spine, physiologically enacts an act of reverence, a physical recognition of the precarious thread by which the notion of humanity, not to say being, is suspended in its own void: a thread so thin as to vanish at the very moment it becomes apprehensible.

A well-directed archive is like Perseus' mirror: looking toward the past, we advance toward the future. Staring at ourselves, we approach what we intend to destroy.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Notes on Music, Living, and Writing

Polyphony: in, for instance, a piano étude the mode of interaction of two or more threads of sound—the left-hand part & the right-hand part, each forming distinct rhythmic/melodic/harmonic entities whose interaction with each other is complex and periodic—this mode of interaction and rhythm and the distinction/merging of identities might serve as a model for thinking through many things: the rhythm of a friendship, for example, two (or more) distinct ways of living, paces of living, rhythms of living, which accompany each other, dance against each other, separate and merge.

I sense an affinity between the Sonnet and the String Quartet, something I cannot put my finger on: something to do with the constraints, and restraint, against which certain kinds of richness are able to make themselves felt with particular frisson. A vehicle for condensation. Mendelssohn's 6th String Quartet reminds my nerves of sonnets by Mallarmé or Donne.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

On Organising Events

In what terms do we spacialise social praxis, in our conceptualising the transformations we wish to bring about?

We may attempt to effect the contours of the social field, to redefine the edges of what we conceive as socially possible, the shape of our communal horizons. We may encourage a particular trajectory, a progressive development or movement of a community's praxis from one set of co-ordinates to another, following a horizon whose continual receding we affect in order to shift the centre of communal activity in a direction designated as 'forward'. We may seek to redefine the social landscape of a community, the options and recognised activities which present themselves as habitual opportunities for engagement, through which collective life organises or orients itself. Or we may seek to transform the texture of social experience, the modalities of everyday life that lay below whatever threshold of 'event' or proper 'practice' pertains at a given moment.

The way in which the 'event' situates itself in relation to the social life into which it is an intervention will take on a different character in relation to these various models. To the extent that it seeks to extend the contours of the possible, it will seek an elusive jouissance, a moment of experience exceeding our ability to socially articulate it. To the extent that it aims toward a trajectory, it will cultivate a particular kind of inadequacy, a spur toward desire that will point its participants toward something beyond itself. In seeking to affect the social landscape, it will concern itself with a characteristic pleasure, and be attentive for possibilities of growth-in-repetition, for the capacity of this pleasure to act as a vehicle of both grounding and growth. To the extent that it seeks to affect the texture of social life, it will concern itself with the percolation of its effects 'down' into the communal soil, the integration of its activities into the semi-conscious of the community, where a circumscribed 'event' will no longer be necessary in order to perpetuate the practices or awarenesses that it fosters.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Abandoned Fragment: Galatea

Abandoned draft of an aborted novel, Galatea, that was begun in late 2004 and worked on until the winter of 2005-06, when I concluded that the text evaded rather than transfigured the central questions of the Novel as a discipline. This decision was supported by the feeling that the prose style lacked precision in a way that would have required extensive re-writing. Though abandoned as 'a' work, the process of conceptualising and writing the text was truly alchemical, and I value it as a relic of a period of dissolutio (from just before I moved to Dartington, to several months into my time there) that profoundly moulded my relationship to language and to writing on every level, from the philosophical to the physiological. The trajectory of questioning and engagement that was begun with this text next took form in The Yellow Sign, a text which continues to see periodical revisitation and writing but which may or may not be published(it is, however, often alluded to in my published work), and finally reached a more rigorous stage in The Ecstatic Nerve.

Novels are fucking hard to write.

This attempt was to treat the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, in very Symbolist fashion (the Lautréamont & Mallarmé is a bit thick even for me and, needless to say, not worthy of either), through a thousand distorting conceptual and rhetorical lenses and hopefully having inverted the misogyny inherent in the story's usual forms (note the bit satirizing Mallarmé's and Moreau's treatments of the Hérodiade myth). Galatea is reconceived as an avatar of writing rather a sculpture (though an expanded, Post-Structuralist understanding of writing), and the form is essentially epistolary. It reached a bit over 8,000 words; it was not being written sequentially, so in most cases there would have been additional sections or 'letters' inserted between the ones in the draft, which have developed a more (relatively) focused dialogue and obliquely implied narrative than is evident here, where at this stage it all seems rather stream-of-consciousness (it's not, though it does incorporate elements derived from automatic writing and then woven into the rest of the text, sometimes solely through the implantation of certain words or phonetic sounds into the text surrounding the more obviously disjunct passages).


Love of art is the greatest love of all
-Francis Picabia

I had wanted to write you, my dear, for at least as long as you have been written; and a text is a kind of eternity, for it (you) swallow/s up all pasts and all futures, endlessly destroying them, a constant present that churns with potentiality. And this, as you have whispered to me in the dark nights, is as close as we can come to eternity, unless we throw all of our faith in the letters of that word itself. And in this way I can say that I have always loved you, will always love you, and love you endlessly; but these words can be turned aside; and so I can say, equally, that I have never loved you, will never love you, abhore you like the vacuum that you are and are not. It is nothing to you- I say nothing in you. I leave you gently and freely to exist as you are, and yet I engage you with the utmost fixation and unfixity; and this, it might be said (though it might not), is itself a species love. 
I was once outside the text, and am, and am not, and will be again, and am forever lost. In that place outside, from whence I issue, this jagged edge of me that juts adventurously into this sprawling house of language in which you and I (that jagged edge) reside, I sat with my ribs clenched tight in the fists of my thought. My forehead was squeezed lovingly in a crowd of letters, but the rest of me hovered like a transparent umbrella in the thin and whistling air. Shimmering clicks rebounded against the far walls, long cords of tarantula legs hummed their lengths perniciously between myself and a shadow blazed into a wheeled concrete grave that rolled to and fro with me whenever I stepped outside this iron door. 
I have said, and will again, that all is simultaneous in you, my dear, the text. And thus it was that I found you beautiful while yet you were completely unconceived (and now, of course, you are growing still, as I type this; but at that “time” you were not yet begun; though, to demonstrate what we have both discovered, that past when you were not, is now imbedded in the you-that-is, and so within the logic of the text itself- and it is the text that we inhabit, or doubly are, [I might say triply are, if we are read, during this moment, the eternal moment that is] that past is now present, that is, presented to my memory and typing fingertips, to your structure, my dear, and to the reader that may be, or inevitably is, scanning us now). I gazed entranced into this non-idea that you were, this shapeless void with the promise of intricate shapings. And the legs of the spiders contorted with clatters, the concrete grave flung against a far wall in a far wing of this endless house, knocking a bust of Dante to the floor. 
There were shadows kissing shadows in this place at that time. My eyes were glued shut with the honey from the sun, and I was drawn into an aery perambulator, was shot along a river of nodes, and I found you smiling in my flesh. I bent my chest in the tower of this mansion with its numberless rooms, the catacombs below digging into the soil like roots of dying. (It is whispered that there are corridors of mirrors there, and worlds made of straw, and a promise that stalks you, and a lovely ghost who shelters you from the jeers of mighty Jove.) In the next room, I heard an electron, abuzz with the sun, humming the typewriter cadenza from Satie’s Parade. Above it, I also heard the booming of a flake of my home, reciting the psalms of Hugo Ball. You know, my dear, because it is the constitution of you, how my brain tends to crawl out through my ears, in order to caress the thing that seduces it; and I was caught, tied to a mast and trapped between these rocks of sound and rhythm. And my brain ripped itself in half to follow these sounds, these rhythms, and in the rift as they ripped, I felt you rush through the tissues that wrapped the nerves of my head. 
By what names have I called you forth? and am still calling? and will call long after my death? Yet as I type this I die, have died, my death is a precondition of this missive; and so I love you. This all is sutured tightly together. The word is rooted in the flesh. This fruit is nearing its dreaming in theramin here. I am hiding in leather, and here in the year it is drowning in yearly secretions. Here in the year, wreathingly nearing the red in here, in the year in here, trying to hear in here, in those that are dear. And here, in here, fighting in yearly, were drowning in lowering heat. I am in the red and gyrating lowering heat, in the yearly, in heat. In the upper-side, frowning in lettering here. They are dreaming in your garden of lillies, in the fighting, in dreaming, in nearing and leathery frowns. And nearing in fighting, in typing, a smile in glowing is finicky air. She was there, flowering and shimmered, solid inarticulation of the absent word condensced and yielding only to a point. Small winged mice fluttered around her, harps gestured coyly toward their interior strings, her throatfingers fitted with rings, and here lepidopterous murmers settle on her clavicle, bring marsupial caresses in their satchels, and fling fingerprints daintily at the fritillary significations couched in the carpet; and she sings, a tightened amourous, a language in beguiling movements that stir coyly the air, and this is her skin I speak of, the veins that pulse it subtly.
And didn’t you know, she whispered, when you began this incantation, this peon to the useless word, that the text cannot escape eroticism, that it can be said, (though just as quickly disproven) to be the very constitution of it?  Because I am here, I speak to you as you write me, I am, we are, you feel me as you type, the words that I am are felt in your stretching tendons, the quick attention of your fingers as they dart across the keyboard. You write, and you are not yourself; you are the catalyst of a text- your will is the will of the text. We are inseperable, and yet you die as you enter me, lost and disemenated, you are open, a space of ifinite fields of language, immersed in language yet breathing the Inarticulate (the signpost of Desire), and for an instant the duration of the apprehension of a word, you are loosed from ‘your’ ‘self’ into the vast play of signification! Did you not see these things? Then write. Then love me.
Coy, cruel, how I love you. Bring me my head on a plate. I will watch my tongue form my words. I will see it curl and stretch itself to the shapes of serifs, tremble with undulations in praise of the nonexistant gods who have heralded your birth! I will see myself as you bear me, heavy in the soup of my blood, calling out your name and a million others, severed from myself, borne heavy on the shoulders of one that I love. I will see my mouth form words that I have scarcely heard, I will be a mirror, and watch the first startled gaze of my eyes as I tremble at myself, before this fatal split, this split that gave you to the world, and gave you to my gaze. 
I am dreaming of you, Galatea, and I’m in between here, in the synapse of desire, but in the snow the cello is chewing on your wallet. It is masticating lovingly, a powdered sheen that lapses in the evenings of desire. A letter in the marigolds. A blind fox dancing merrily over swaying fields of iodine, and licking the heels of mindful indulgence here. It is blocking out the sun, a giant and a little one, a climbing out of interest, a tickling under rhythms. I do not know where the light has gone for today, my dear, nor the green leather mind of our fortuitous undoing. It is dreaming, (though this is merely conjecture) of yesterday, minding the shuttles; dreaming in heavily interested mires of purple arches. And that is where the lace is pointing: deep into a nation of smiling straps; and it is drinking from a pool of gyroscopes. This is where we must follow the little slingless nettles, those that end up looping whistles round a dime.

How silently we adore each other, here, under caverns and mounds of soil! Yet it is, nonetheless, a throat that whistles in your wrist.
How young you used to be. And now your eyes grin with steel. And you have learned the dreadful secret: the key is to find the rhythms that govern yous, the faultlines of your thought and of your circulation, delve into the nests of nerves and thorns where they intersect. And here we are, both newly emerged and knotted together, lovingly, in the text.  At last; at last. At first only my ears (and perhaps some other parts as well; the body is so secretive, you never can be sure) knew what I had seen. But they searched, and they made certain alliances with certain parties in my brain, though the natures of these relationships were never made clear.

To feel, to know intimately the depth of the text, to run my fingers through the hairs of each trace, the wispy lines of its passage and trajectory; to feel in my flesh the thumping, whining rhythm of its movements; what is desire but the insistance of the trace, the hypnotic pull of it, into the dissemenated depth of the text? And the text itself- this text- all texts- are endlessly disseminated, systems coupling and splitting like cells of the body, languages interwoven and always turned obliquely away. And the text itself is constitutive of this rhythm, just as in this passage the text itself presents a rhythm, a texture of contractions and expansions of our attention as we feel the pull of the text, the word itself forming a scoliotic spine of the text. Thus we find, notwithstanding various shifts of tone or discourse, the erotic element in the text, now made inevitable by the very neccesity, in a text such as this one, of liberal recourse to the name of the text. This presents us with what one might, from an unwarrantedly pessimistic view, consider a parasitic relationship of the dissemenative aspects inherent to the text, to the supposed intention, which in itself implies a single or, one might say, non-simulaneous view of the workings (or workings-out) of language. Having elsewhere in this text (for the simultaneist text is simply a system of relationships whose arrangement is not consciously or neccessarily temporal, thus making it theoretically, if not practically, impious to admit to such conceptions as “earlier” or “later,” though we must privately admit, my dear {you see how that slipped in} that we have not come close to escaping their tyranny yet; one step at a time, as General Jackson used to say.) and (but let me appologize for these baffling parantheticals- we are both playing coy, aren’t we, my dear?) established critically the recurrence of the name of the text (which I prefer to the intrusion of quotation marks into the text- nationalistic, jingoistic marks which I employ only in the polemic, never what one might erroneously call the somewhat more strictly poetic works; or in any event, not from now on, from the moment I type this. And yet, you will notice how I have just contradicted myself, by bringing into focus the play of time upon my productions. But contradiction is a neccessity of the play of the text, including the texts of our bodies and our languages; for contradiction produces a multiplicty of “selves,” which incidentally is also to say the destruction of the dialectic conception of “selves,” but more importantly is also a simultaneity of “selves” or of the points of perceptual clusters which that concept re-presents. And these recurrent parentheses, which are echoed in the telescoping clauses of the prose in general, will not be a constant presence in the text of you, my dear; but they will and possibly have recurred, and thus represent a microcosm of the “real” topic of the text. And furthermore {speaking still of the parentheses} we can see in them a revelation of the tendancy of text to draw us away, seducing us, seducing me, my dear, through your warm skin of vanishing traces; that is, to draw us away from any single “purpose” of the text. Yet, before ending this parenthesis, I should mention that this does not imply a rigourous or pedantically fatalist conception of the workings of language [of you, my dear,] or our relationship with it, but rather it is “intended” to imply {though the idea of “intention” in such a text as you/rs, my dear, can be nothing inherently but an idea lovingly cared for and arranged among others for the service of poetry; or else, if one holds to the “intention” of the text for whatever sentimental or other reasons that might be advanced, as an “irony” artfully placed, in the misconception that anything but irony existed anywhere else and that the topic was thus worth discussing in any but a technical discourse} an embodiment of the glow of language, which is sumultaneously us, the catalyst for us, and athenian offspring from us {like you, my dear}.The texts of our various movements and sparks are not dialectic and cannot admit of either destiny or cultural immunity) the very name of the text is, from the moment a reader apprehends the system, employed irrevocably as a linguistico-sexual system (if one will excuse a silly neologism), a rhythm worked innegotiably into the flesh of the text.  One might easily identify many other such semantic, rhetorical, poetic, grammatic, and phonetic examples enmeshed with the text.  
It is muttered that deep in the catacombs, if one winds toward the tunnels where General Sherman was killed by a raven, mad for revenge; past the tomb of Baudelaire (you know, my dear, it is only some hack in that tomb there in Paris, the real man’s laid to rest in the catacombs), past the keyhole through which voyeurs endlessly harp on Duchamp’s dream, past the corridor where the air of the catacombs is made of sand, a panther sits daubed in tawdry gold, a wilderness of quills fluttering beneath his paws. This panther draws deep breaths, and each time his ribs expand like furred balloons, I feel myself drawn in, the air rushing madly about my head, slapping noisily into my back; the catacombs themselves become his lungs, and I am sucked irresistably to him, my lung in his lungs, his breath hooked in my nostrils, dragging me closer. And I stood, muscles flicking away imperceptable tensions, and stared in silence at this beast before me, the feathers at his clawed feet tugging faintly in the air. His flanks were matted with tiny hairs, each quivering faintly in the air, millions of yellow follicles sprouting from the ground, glinting and made nearly transparent as the fugitive light struck through them, glanced over them, as they shifted slightly in the movement of air. Here and there, fleas stalked, their shells hunched under the many burdens of their race. The flea would creep forward, cautiously, peering through the bars of follicles around it, alert to the slightest movement, its antenae trembling in tense communication with the air; then slowly, slowly, its confidence returns, a surge of desire fills its insectine nerves, and suddenly it springs into the air, quite rashly and against all natural necessity- it feels the gentle slash of hairs whisk by as it launches from the ground, it hears the whistle of atoms zipping past, and in a sudden burst its multiplicity of eyes is confronted with the sea of follicles, waving slightly in the slight wind, rolling hills of skin stretched across a wilderness of flank. 
And it was this sight that met my eyes also, but frozen in terror, I looked closer: This plantigrade cat was studded with eyes. Its bellychestshoulderlimb was a landscape of seventeen eyes, each one moist with tears, which ran in dark streaks down its coat to puddle on the floor, soaking the feathers there. The lids all flickered furtively, the small veins in the corneas bulged red, rhythmicallyrhythmically, the small crumbs balanced precariously on the lashes like pearls on a cornice.
(Is it not terrible and fantastic to recall, my dear, that all of these things are spread out below us, here, now, far beneath the groaning timbers of this house? That at this moment, now, as you read us, this panther is waiting with its breath and its seventeeen mournful eyes, watching the stirring air, twitching in silent anticipation?)
Yet I have seen it, and see it now, and will forever see it. I have looked into each of its eyes. For I fell to my knees then, and swayed in the air before its face the terror tugged my stomache into chest my lungs collapsed into my mouth wheezing shrilly. Helpless, I felt its warm breath on my breathless face, I felt my teeth wither in horror. And my head fell forward, helpless, I felt the thin tissue of flesh between its skull and its furred skin that beat a pulse against my forehead. Helpless, my hands lifted to caress its blinking sides. Its hairs sprang between my fingertips as they moved, and it did not close its seventeen eyes as my palms passed over them, and the lenses left their sticky film smeared across my skin, I felt them twitch as I pressed against them, their tears ran warm down my wrists and arms. And I wept, my forehead pressed against the forehead of the beast, caressing its warm flanks and its moist eyes. We wept together.

My dear, my lungs are strewn with your letters. And though my breaths have been shallow in these constricted spaces, these spaces without walls where all is rendered banal and subjected to a thousand glowering eyes, nonetheless I breathe you as you me, you see, a minute space where we are momentarily confused, the text and I, you, me, and it, and there it is again, you and I, and this is what we wait for, is it not? The sleepy space between the signifier and its ghost? And thus between us, dear, we hold the map to these catacombs; however, it is useless, or it would not be a map; or else, these would not be the catacombs.
There are, as you know, a numberless mass of creatures that crouch in the catacombs. There is a forlorn squid who splashes hopelessly from chamber to chamber, dragging its gelatinous body along the floor, leaving behind it a trail of secretion, like a leper dripping saliva from its pores. Its tentacular strangles of heaves and its sweat of salty mud are continuously replaying those lost years shrouded in yellow smoke, when we could not breathe each other, when the lenses of our eyes were clouded with the steam of our separate breaths. These were the years (and have they ended? and did they begin? and are they surrounding us now, at this moment, as we read?) when millenial prophesies were endlessly repeated by the various inhabitants of this house, and moreover the denizens of the catacombs; for there were many dire signs. This was the year that pacifiers rained from the sun, when a stallion was discovered whimpering alone in the hoarfrost, when fantastic prayers mounted to the heavens only to turn to whips and cutlasses, and topple again to the earth. It was the year that an army of gaseus fish was rumoured to roam the lower passages, singing a novena for the cataclysmic demise of the Rotting Bull. The lips of the earth stuttered terrible things, and small children gouged out their eyes in agonized denial, spurning the temptations of their playmates.
And then: nothing. Once again the planets smirked and whirled away, the darkness returned to the catacombs, the house above creaked and sighed. And now I am wondering whether drowning is a lollipop; it is certainly less horrible than a candle wringing its own neck. This, my dear, is a horrible sight: the waxen knuckles tightening, pressing into the waxen throat, the thin gurgle, the waxen tears mingling with the waxen blood released in a sudden drip, a rush from the gaping mouth; the spurtstruggle of the flame as it gasps and darts wildly into the air like a swimmer waving above the tide that drinks him fatally. The slow sinking onto waxen knees, the melting into the waxen puddle, the spurt, the choke, the running tearwaxblood, and all the time the stuttered flame and why and why and why. 

Orgasmic, the text and intertwined flesh. The thing, you see, is to locate the locus, the very space of rift itself; the hole through which the notion of lack, of rift, of the possibility of seperation or otherness emerged in the mode of existence which it created itself. It is not only the textual womb, but the womb of the species; and if, my dear, you will play along with me as I draw this out, the womb not merely of our species, but of the very notion: species. (You will notice, my dear, for your inky fingers are sensitive, that this is not an entirely careless figure of speech; for it implies not only, as I will discuss after the end of this parenthesis, that the scientific concept designated by the word: species, is itself ostensibly our own “creation” in the same way as is the word itself; it also implies that the very mental process of “specification,” of division, classification, is likewise a linguistic construct; yet it is also the very modus operandi of language itself; which brings us, in a different way yet stemming from the same metaphor, to the same point, that of aporia, the notion of identification or “birth,” and the concept of the rift.) Thus, to find the space of rift, to find the space that enacts the aporia through which the idea of the Other emerges (whether the Other who exists, or the other-than-what-is, the very concept of signification), is to lay hold to the defining concept of language, and of us, my dear. And Desire itself contains the concept of the rupture, of the potential-to-be-other, the possibility of a lack or refusal of satisfaction, which is encoded as a necessary condition for Desire, which forms its very terms. (This is why the text, in the end, must always be erotic; because it is a text, it is a network of lacks and refusals.) And here we have been pointed toward the space of the rift; must it not be, my dear, the space of the severing of language from phenomonological experience, of the text from the flesh? For at this point the notion of signification creates its own condition; as soon as the notion of seperation exists, but also not until then, the “mind” (which is in fact to say, the founding notion of, or recourse to, identification and seperation or otherness as a mental process) does in fact become in one sense (I do not intend here to imply any mystical, intervening force outside the play of language) “separate” from the “physical”, which is to say, more or less non-linguistic or prelinguistic (“physical” is better seen as a descriptive and qualitatively and quantitatively variable concept than as a simple or rigorous distinction); while the one is still dependant upon the biological systems of the other, they become subject to different modes of perception, structure and operation. And so, my dear, you see how well I have learned and given flesh to your teachings! I have cupped your simultaneous hearts in my hand, the blood in the veins, the lovely dark, the space in you, the words shuffling between thoughts. And here I will stay until tendons wrinkle in the sun; cradling you in this space in you, the lovely paradox, this sustaining space of grammatical romance, this space that is not space, and so which can harbour anything. Each word I whisper to you is performative; and it is in this way, by striking out against the exclusion of language itself as a space for identification in the sense of a supposed marking-off of a “subject,” at least when dealing within language in its narrow sense- that is, in writing narrowly defined- that we prove disprove in another, less logical, and yet, paradoxically, performative way, the very concept of the performative which you and I, my dear, have just activated in this text. For every word you write is what I am, and yet I do not speak through you, for every word that forms me springs full-blooded from the air or our single head, like Athena, or like me, my dear, when you asked a favour from the gods and then bestowed it upon yourself; and this is because each word you type or read is loosed from you completely, you are, as has been said and will be said again, always already of course, disseminated as your letters drop into my lap and my lips. And the reader, who is also you, at least in part (surely, for within this text, of course, youyou share the same name) will note that in the course of this discourse (whose boundaries are only definable insomuch as we can identify certain rhetorical shifts and patterns or areas of relative consistancy, the borders and even bodies of which are in fact nonetheless far from secure) the implied speaker switched almost imperceptably from the first person to the second; but this, of course, is no mystery my dear, because now, this moment, we are intertwined, as the words float for a moment in the space between utterance and textuality, this is our time together; and though I blush to mention it, there are two yous, and while you, my dear, are here with me, you, too, are implicated. If the text is always in some sense autonomous, the reader is always, in some sense, voyeur. Have I made you uncomfortable? Language is no comfortable thing; but that is why I love you; and there, you see, we have done it again; we are floating.
And hence this catacomb of nerves that are not nerves; hence the danger that is not dread, the threat that beckons welcome. You and I, my dear, have nothing to get lost in but yourselves; and this is dangerous indeed. Let us play awhile beneath the stalactite of this paragraph, we will sing together merrily as we drift into this tunnel of discontent. 

I know only one thing: the idea of the rupture exists.

And peering at you through the window, the beauty of your letters glowing in the sun, I thought that the most startling thing had been that Aphrodite (who, as we all know, is wont to be accompanied by a team of sixteen winged spaniels to whisk her glossingly through the air) in fact stepped out of my ear in order to divulge to me a secret. It had become inevitable that I should turn her away with shouts and angry incantations; I trust the work of no god.   
And in this, my dear, I am of course like you, who have, in your various twistings of who you are, so many reasons to glare darkling at the gnawing of that word: god. I apologize; let the word sink slowly, like oil, into the gurgling floor of this crypt, where we have stopped only to take a few deep breaths before pressing on into this inky cavern, searching stalwartly for a goal. This word shall not paw out from between my lips for many paragraphs hence, unless accompanied by wild and terrible exhortations against it; and in the meantime, let your ears heal, and steel themselves. We have conversed already, or will, or already are, about that word: about the idea, the chain, that it drags with it, behind it, in its endless and pitiless wanderings through the chambers of this heart of subterranian stone. We have discussed, or will, between us, the bile of that word, the chains which it drags so proudly behind it, and with it. We have mourned, or will, the many languages it has killed, has strangled, with these chains it carries murderously with it, behind it. We have cursed it, or will, that word, that Polluter of Languages, and the chains of strangulation that it drags with it, upon it. 
Yet this is only one register on which your hatred seethes through the skiens of heather for this word, for the Dead Trope; and it is only one sense of the word in which your hatred seethes. For I have, or will, already expanded upon the impossibility of your remaining single to me, that is, a single text, distinct completely from any others; and the state, of course, is reciprocal. For you too, Galatea, are not only a flight of words clattering through the skies of a glowing page, but also a dark hunk of metal bobbing on a balmy sea, belching gusts of death that shed their rust above the fishes; and you also are a sprite loved sparingly by another, and yet by another. Three eyes foam wherever you flicker, even if mine are turned for a moment away. You are, must be, always already have been Polysemic, and this is one secret of your surgically traced steps, and the nets that shoot lightly from your wrists. And in this other life, far from the catacombs, happily ensconced atop a furore kicked repeatedly through a fallow sea of boots, you were loved by three eyes and by two bodies and by a million minds. But one single eye, Galatea, as you know, is never content with its lonely corneal visions, and may be a portal to the other sense of this word you so despise, and which I must not mention for a number of paragraphs yet; for through this fallopian canal of lightshot images, only one of you can be seen. A single flop a lid and you disappear; the blind between the dark and the oracular is sliced, removed; there is no jumping from one side to the other of the peripheral flash of nose, there is no flickering of your flesh; merely in, and out like light despised. And this is the razor-line where jealosy grows, and then flesh slice and rip in mighty rage spill interest the ground might cracked, with insolent in isn’t in, in please and do not everything and riptearchew and spilled and coursing end into the waves the blood. And oneandoneandone, and there I was mourning, only one of me and only, and the shadow standing hulk and over me, darkening, grass curl in blighting and scent of bubbling, and the hulking shadowed over me, and I knew sang and though in water vanished was as a corpse and never one alone and was. And the blood drained from me, I was white as milk. And the flexing dripped from my fingers, and I was stonecracked. And the roundness ran from my dark and mouthing gape, and I was flat. And the molecules, aghast at my lament, were whisked away in terror, and I was nothing at all but light. And I felt a loving serif turning a key in my tongue of glowing, and I was a jutting of you, and enveloping you. And I was and am.
And now, because I am me (though also you) I will utter what you (though also me) have promised not to; for Polyphemus was a kind of minor god, as all are minor in the end, and petty, killing small thoughts with their small laws. And his failure, his evil, like all those of his race, was this: he lived with one eye open.

You know, my dear, that there were others before you, will be others after you, are others simultaneous with you; that is to say, of course, other writings, other texts, other networks of denials. And has been noted already, or will, this state is reciprocal, and lovely. But as you bloom continually into everything, opening yourself with a swallowing motion, relations tracing off into the distance, beyond it, becoming, in fact, (as has been mentioned already in this text, or will be, or both) a particular structure of everynothing, these others that were and are and shall be, are in fact tangled with you, to use a favourite metaphor of this text-of-you, my dear; or, to put it more aptly (I had at first, by some slip, typed ‘amply,’ but quickly caught and rectified this slip), they are latent in you (for what is not?) and so surely you posses some mysterious ancestral knowledge of these works, your fellow-texts; surely you feel the thrill and rumble of devious and catastrophic conflagrations, though they happen many genres away, beyond possibilty of your direct apprehension; surely you are gnawed by hideous guilts whose origins are utterly unknown to the letters and phrases of your text waving and swaying on the surface of the ocean of you; surely you know in unknowable ways the joys of the words of you thrown off in wild throes of other passionate and joyous texts. And so, surely (if the word is repeated enough, then surely, it becomes fact; all facts in you, my dear, are rhetorical and exquisitely voluptuous, sinuous in patient diversions and delays) you must know of the many texts that play with my many names; and surely this must include (for they are clustered thick on the nucleotides of your sentances my dear) the works of polemic, the irresponsible cries to war, the subtle dances around the radii of texts and of my many notions of them, the criticisms, the long-winded and self-defeating theories; these things must crouch in your marrow; and in this, you are like some others, whose typefaces are encased in flesh. And some (though most surely not you, my dear) may take these things: theoretical works polemic or otherwise, manifestos, criticisms in both responsive and prescriptive senses, relating to specific works, bodies of work, or otherwise, and to either “my” “own” works or otherwise; to be “intended”, at least, even if this supposed intention is inevitably doomed to failure by the very terms in which it is not only forced to operate but from which it is born, to lay out, even if only in some obscured and shadowy sense, a coherent platform for interpretation, at least in a broad sense of the term; That is to say, that the body of work that an artist has written concerning his/her own work- the themes, devices, tropes, and sets of intertextual references that the artist has laid out in such a body of work- should in some sense attempt a kind of comprehensiveness, at least insofar as it is possible to do so, to the limits of the artist’s own insight into the workings of their creation of the text. This, my dear, is not so; denials and evasions are central to the workings of language, that is you, my dear; and silences and evasions can be carefully placed, by the artist as well as the text itself.
But all of these deployments are subject to the riotous machinations of the ghosts that inhabit the realm where text and subject become shadowy and meet. And which level of these catacombs is the stage for this machinery, nobody can say; for there is no ceiling and no floor, and the walls arch like epileptic onions. It is a place where nouns implode, where we are swept savagely along in tunnels that mangle relishing the rushing, in the streaming, in the slightly downcast into netting webs, and then the stuttering, the pens that laugh at muttering, and slipping wry away are lost in wailing and in ecsacy. It is here that you were bathed in enchanted water, Galatea, dangling like a lovely fish above the pool of rushing. A single caliper pricked the space above your wrist, or below it, for there is no floor or ceiling here, in the corridor of glorious siezures. And this caliper was lowered by a wonderous machine devised by 6,268 of the very greatest minds, and thus this caliper, plucking you at the wrist, immersed you lovingly, belching steam, into this pool. And so you were armoured against the rush of atoms that met you in this sprawling mansion here above; and so it is, now, here with you in the catacombs that were your womb, where I am a jutting stranger trembling with turbulent passions and with a kind of joyous terror, that I lightly but magnetically brush your wrist like a talisman, a glowing turning in the dark, a hill from which a plant with fingers grows. 

Another name for “God,” especially in the single personified deity of the West, would be: “the reader.” Humanity defines itself and thus gives birth to itself (to the very potential of “itself”) through the idea of the reader, inscribing an identity into us as it moniters our actions. “God” must be the reader of the texts that we are, it is through this, and only through this, that he gains power. But “God” is employed here only as a trope; or perhaps, my dear, I should rather say, as a diseased and amputated limb of a trope. For when the self-reflexiveness, the self-awareness of the trope as trope, is lost, it removes the creative element from humanity and places it within the realm of external power and of a denial of the workings of language. Thus the creative drive itself is turned not into a trope, but into a rotting corpse of a trope; and the fruits wither with the vine, and the creative drive itself, which is fed by its own creations and modes and tropes, withers with it. For all tropes must be self-reflexive, or we move farther away from what we are. A trope which denies the shift of language is dead, because you, my dear, live in shiftings. And this is why we must cry out against “God” the Dead Trope, Polluter of Languages. 
And yet, if we have learned only one thing, my dear, it might (though it might not) be this: even the nonexistent can have ghosts, such as yours, lovingly haunting the nerves of these letters. Each word is possessed of ghosts, or is, perhaps, as will be expanded upon, or has been, elsewhere in this text, itself a breed of ghost; and god is nothing if not a word! And so, as we all know, are the dead. And so the dead-that-never-were have imposing shades indeed, and the ghost of god haunts mercilessly this network of tombs and palaces. 

And you willmaycouldhave noticed elsewhere in this text, my dear, that I have noted the rhythmic repitition of certain words, such as the very word: text; how we might gaze at that word in its subtle shifts, in the markings of time that the word makes- the word sometimes quick and percussive, with a word, any word, of only a short syllable, perhaps, in between, followed by a certain interval of perhaps even a line, before at last, after so long we either forget or cramp in tense waiting, the word marks once again a certain kind of time.

This existing is a very difficult thing; there are so many registers, so many thematic structures that one must reconcile.

I have noticed something strange: the beasts of the earth hate the sounds that my mouth makes, yet will sleep on the sheets where those words are written. What kind of trickery is this? What was the dreadful and prenatal crime, perpetrated by ornigraphic utterings before they coagulated like sedimentary honey in our mouths? What mothers did these words murder in the marzipan back-alleys in the womb of fir-trees? Surely it must have been a dark deed, for now we see the nations of mutterings, the whole race of words driven from every natural hearth into the knifebreath of resonators, the hideous mark blazing upon their brows, trading off their loads of meanings in exchange for a roof over the rented tongues they sleep on for the lonely night, striving in vain to convince ideas to trade their places, in order themselves to leave off wandering and die in peace. But it is vain- like literary conventions yet to be transgressed, ideas are too chaste and lovely to hold commerce with words; a spasm, a gesture at a wall of glance, a tiptoed trail only inches into the gears of night, and a recoil; this is all; this is the sad and cumbersome life of words.
And you, my dear, perhaps you have an intimation of this; why else would you spend hours up each night, away from me, counting the petals of alligators that nuzzle and purr at your ankles as you sit like a cacophonous arch in the middle of the garden, the anthropological cartouche of weeds and flowers that surround this casket of a house? I hear a snap of phonetic twig, breath slight and hesitant to heavy in the nebula of fountains; a shiver convulsing the chilled air, heart beat to the beat, the rhythm sudden and simultaneous, the nearness of breath between two solitary stone abstract, the spark the fear the almost tug and the omniprescent retreat of virgin thought; a spark a spark a spark. Let me be a spark, youareyouare.
Night is a crumple of paper. The rustle. A dark sparking, the lust of the thought for the word. Again I say to you, you who have penetrated this garden of linguistic desire: you knew, you knew what you would find, what the divining of your pen would discover underneath the floorboards and the clausterphobic expanses of the grounds of this mansion, this prison you have built for this extension of you. Just as you knew that it must be your grave, a little death woven into light and paper, every time you visited; so you knew that it was waiting for your waiting, that here the text, this text that spiders through the walltreecurtainfountaincatacombs your brain its nerves electric causeways, this text of all texts could not escape eroticism, could not escape return, that it can be said, (though just as quickly disproven) to be the very constitution of it. For the text, this text, all texts, represent little reachings out for comprehension or for utterence, or else beyond for something looking back, for something tangible that was not tangible, for some proof that we (this word taken individually, as you and I [or as an editorial “we,” which further complicates matters, for this deployment posits a hypothetical, but not “actual” other to confirm the writing of the “I”; yet I am already employing “you,” {meaning of course you, my dear} in much the same way, refering to an absent or hypothetical you {and you are always absent- hence your unassailable beauty} which is only barely active as a characterization as opposed to a bald rhetorical, or perhaps armchair-psychological device; thus the employment of “we” in the first level of parentheses, rather than here at the second register {though we have made several excursions yet deeper into this parenthetical realm, this rhetorical womb, this catacomb, such as, for instance, this, here, now now now} would represent a second register of “we-ness,” perhaps but not neccessarily heierarchical; this possibility might be said to be echoed in the nested or, to choose a more appropriate metaphor, layered structure of this very parenthesis] , or taken to imply the whole of “humanity” however one might wish to define it, or any larger or smaller abstract group with which we might wish to identify our selves) can in fact produce some thing or act in the world. In this sense we can see creation as a kind of talisman like that carried by some fictitious and shuddering man carrying nothing but a spear and the eye of his chosen, which stares back at him. How many times has the text returned to the word, text, the word, and so many other words, and so many others, and also to phrases so beautiful or terrible they haunt our minds like ghosts in the catacombs, intruders from other texts, other minds, other forests, other manors? Return is inherent in iterability itself, as is your little death, my dear, in which you are so happy to join me here among the reptiles.

No doubt, my dear, with your cosmopolitan cells tangled in the air you breathe; and with only somewhat less doubt you, too, our reader, our charming pet voyeur, have noticed the many borrowings from many other texts and many other ideas in this, our text; psychoanalytic forceps tangled in the tissue of dictionaries, semiotic apparatus rasping the text to its lovely bones. (an odd metaphor, you may have noted, an orphan among these pleasant tropes) These borrowings, of course, are both of rhetoric and sense, though where one ends and the other begins is by no means clear. You may also (not you, my dear, but you) assume, since these ideas are so repeated, are flecked so generously over the surface of the text, that I (we) think them original; in which case, no doubt, you seethe, “yes, yes, we’ve all read this or that French author, you’ve nothing to preen yourself about,” and you are, of course, in this attitude I have ascribed to you, this attitude I have written you into, entirely correct. But your eye has been too far from the keyhole (you were distracted looking for the key; there is none; what would be the need?). For this is not the purpose of these passages that I have remarked upon for you, which have occurred and will recur; their purpose is of course a figment, but they might be argued to partake of a love in these languages, their repetition a testament to our throes of joy in them. We keep returning to these themes and stylistics of the merging of the text, the dissemenation of the text, the many paradoxes of the text, the windings and diversions and repetition of the text, the boundlessness and inward-turning of the text, for one reason only, as well as many others- we love the text, and love the love of text. I am no philosopher, my dear, but a lover of the text; and any text that brushes up against me is melted by my joy, and shaped by me into another form of love; I recognize no duty to its untransfigured state. And so these revelations which have become so commonplace are the coy courtship rituals of the text, of this text, they are yet another language by which we gesture familiarly our continuing affection.
And one of these commonplace revelations is this: a word is a certain species of ghost. This can be demonstrated in a dreadful manner in one of the upper catacombs of this heliotropic mansion. One finds there, after sifting through the fens of weeds and algae, littered with pots and pans discarded there by the eunochs of Jove, a hollow place, carved from your own mouth. The corpses of your forefathers, hunchedryellowhite, range tightly about you. Glued heads to their heads, the cadavers of your siblings’ descendants, generations pendulum shaking with the steps of their anscestors, ranged all about you. The cave of your mouth breathes moist all about you, a soft juggling, the roof swelling and swaying elastic rush but not then to kill you. And behind you: the void, sloped and trembling about you. The place where words are born, slip away from their magnets, and squeeze themselves into atoms. (This is the place where you were born. One can take this in a broadly metaphoric sense [broad in several senses of the word] but I mean most especially you, my dear [I can only think that the word: you is the second-most-fitting word in the language for italicisation].) Words gush from this pit, spout joyously into the air, glower like a monk of shame, waft like teakettles into the ears of the nasal passages. The words buffet you and hurl you toward the ring of your familiars, you meet them with a click wet bone ring out and then...
And here my interlocuter broke off, shaking his red-rimmed eyes in slow terror: and nobody can say, then, what happens to you; no one has ever been there, for everyone knows what lies in wait. 
But I have unlocked the very charming secret, what remains to be discovered there: salt fish house fire-hydrant elephant archeopterix, which is to say, my dear, in this tongue we have twined for us, this: you are swallowed. 

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Toward a Radical Historiography

Here is an unpublished essay completed in the Spring of A.Da. 91 (2007) for a publication which never appeared. As there was a word limit, this text is particularly condensed in its logic and argumentation. I am currently undertaking a theoretical manifesto likely to end up as a thick chapbook which pursues much more radically the conclusions implicit in this text. Elements of the text I am posting here will end up integrated into this larger undertaking, which is intended as a burning of bridges. But as that text will most likely not see the light of day until spring, I make this available here.

Creative Sociality and the Traditions of Dissent:
Toward a Radical Historiography
Olchar E. Lindsann


If I were to state that I am writing on Art (or even art), and provided that I present neither a straightforward exposition of technique nor an unadulterated report on economic activity in the home-decoration industry, it would be understood that I referred to a cultural edifice dealing with a concept of Art inextricable from an intellectual or discursive dimension--a notion of Art as being related to Thought. What was once called 'High Art', and has since been given the euphemism of Fine Art, is a cultural edifice which distinguishes itself from the broader range of human aestheticreative activity, and especially from domestic decoration ('kitsch') destined for popular consumption, through either the controlled and managed scarcity of material objects or through the assumption of formal frameworks and characteristics destined to alienate normative audiences; Art justifies this (implicitly hierarchical) distinction and elevation from the general field of production of social artefacts on the grounds that Fine Art is uniquely self-critical. In turn, Fine Art's intellectual veneer is what makes it valuable to the avatars of established power, providing them with a hypocritical yet serviceable ethical alibi for the systems they perpetuate.

Utopia is thus implicit in the very genetics of any concept of Art entailing this distance from the normative (which is, after all, inseparable in practice from the Mass Market). Art, and Artists, buy their status as Intellectuals; and the currency they use is their presumed responsibility toward the Higher Ideals of a culture whose designers and maintainers do not in fact subscribe to them. High Art can maintain the ethical legitimacy of its distance from popular culture (the ivory tower, the hermetic vessel, the white gallery walls, the subculture) only if this distance, this self-definition, serves to create new techniques of living and of thinking which can materially and radically re-register society, granting that such shifts must (by reason of this necessary distance) be transgenerational and indirect.

Yet around this model of Art as a Utopian Island which carries on the selfless work of the best of our culture and floats above the petty materialism of our actual society, an infrastructure of closely-entwined institutions has simultaneously developed--museums, publishing houses, financial support from Nation-States, contests and State-funded biennials, commercial and non-profit galleries, corporate-funded residencies, academic tenure systems, philanthropic and corporate endowments, festivals, auction-houses, etc.--all closely allied to the political and economic entities responsible for the maintenance of Capitalist Imperialism.

These institutions mark the removal of Art from the mass market, but at the same time they reinstitute within this sphere of presumed integrity another market, this one targeted at small elite audiences, well-educated enough to feel a twinge of guilt about the global cost of the lives they live and of the systems for which they provide specialized support. This market creates and manages cultural Capital in a sociopsychological economy, its function to perpetuate amongst the educated classes the lie that they are living up to their ethical responsibilities as the privileged children of the Western Polis and, by extension, the very symbol of the decadence of the human project.

Starting years before any potential student or cultural worker's formal education and intellectual life begin, these institutions regulate every possible facet of the discourse which defines Art itself. They gradually establish the intellectual terrain in which students are to attempt to establish themselves as artists or intellectuals--which is also to say that these institutions of power establish the borders, the blind-spots, and even the psychological logics and insecurities which will keep the sheep within the fold without their feeling the bite of a whip; for a whip might bring too many realities home.

Thus liberally domesticated, the situation of the artist in relation to society is altered and channelled; in the gentlest and most discreet of ways, the avatars of power (or their more euphemistic avatars) offer the Artist status, security, and possibly money (at least enough to keep off a workshop floor and avoid the stigma of Worker) in return for an elaborate, quasi-conceptual proof-of-purchase declaring implicitly, and any overtly 'political' content not withstanding, that the system is all right, and that at least those holding the reins still support the advance of Abstract Culture, even whilst starving entire continents with the policies that they design and execute.

Every element of the dominant discourse on creative activity must therefore be looked upon as suspect.


If we examine any mainstream historical treatment or ‘analysis’ of creative currents (‘Anti-Art’, ‘Avant-Garde’, ‘Alternative’, etc.) standing in defiance against the commercially and institutionally mediated infrastructure of ‘High Art’, we will nearly always find that this analysis, and the historiographic framework which it silently presupposes, organizes itself around productions (objects, public actions, published texts, etc.) and ideologies (positions, units, and systems of thought, segregated from the practical contexts in which they acted). The social structures of these groups and traditions, their internal dynamics and modes of interaction, organization, and communication, are effectively ignored or marginalized.

Since the majority of such anti-institutional projects in the ‘creative’ domain have been emphatically collective endeavours, the exclusion of this dimension of avant-garde activity in orthodox histories, the slight of hand by which the strategies and modalities of this collectivity are whisked under the rug in official pedagogy and analyses, reveals itself a politicized blind-spot. It is incumbent upon those of us attempting to continue this broad tradition of dissent to examine this historiographic ploy, and to haul the issue into the open with an eye toward combating it.

One consistent project of this dissenting tradition―arguably its most defining project―has been to abolish the social definitions and the discursive, disseminative, and commercial walls that pen creative activity within the edifice of ‘High Art’ and away from the social conditions in which everyday life takes shape.

The collective impulse―in all of its countless manifestations―represents a focus on creative sociality. The sociality of the 'creative' subculture is merely the hermetic vessel within which the Avant-Garde performs experiments; more pertinently, its project might be conceived of as the conscious re-designing of how humanity can relate to itself. This consciousness and active involvement in how we conceptualise subjectivity and society constitutes the greatest revolutionary potential of the creative project―and the greatest threat to the commercial and institutional structures whose function is not so much to profit from it (despite its decadence, the yields of the Art Market form a negligible portion of the GDPs of the great Western nation-states) as to constrain it.

The radical potential of Thought emerging from the Avant-garde does not reside in Ideas: it resides in the way ideas are made. Different communities communicate differently; new ways of relating and interacting lead to new ways of thinking and of acting collectively upon the world.

The maintenance of this social prison, ‘High Art’, has therefore found its principal task to be that of mediating and regulating creative relationships through institutional structures. Students (formal or, less directly, autodidact) in their most formative, insecure, and critically-undeveloped stage are inculcated with the idea that validation and respectability can be easily located and enumerated through either the commercial gallery system or the State-sponsored University and Artist Grant systems (the former too often a compensatory myopia, the latter by design a monetary leash). The discourses and organizational protocols--both official and conventional--are ready-made; and thus new forms of sociality, which might threaten to destabilize the discursive and commercial infrastructure that this notion of High Art veils and supports, are curtailed. Creative agents are segregated and neutralized as ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’, ‘creators’ and ‘critics’, ‘practitioners’ and ‘theorists’. Ideology, in turn, is as subject to this operation as the production of objects or actions; it becomes something to be consumed or rejected, not discussed and activated.


Within anti-institutional traditions, a group’s productions and the ideology they articulate reflect, they do not embody on their own, or merely through their transgression of the boundaries of dominant social ideas of ‘Art’, the deeply radical stance of a group. These gestures have been metonymic, not self-sufficient. A new technique or material was an element and manifestation of a deeper revolt; its goal was analogous to, or a tool toward, but not equal to, an alternative vision of human potential. Moreover, as originally presented, these ‘artistic’ gestures were inseparable from the presence of the collective, because the collective permeated the context of the creative act, its creation and its circulation.

The dominant institutional discourse with which we are faced today―‘Post-Modernism’ or its derivatives―has rendered this kind of transgression inadequate. Their symbolic function has been pre-empted. Such gestures are immediately recuperated into its intellectually hazy brand of ‘relativism’―merely a euphemism, when so employed, for its abdication of ethical responsibility, whose fruits it nonetheless continues to collect. The artistic ‘production’ can no longer be effectively transgressive so long as it can somehow be consumed.

The same ‘Post-Modern’ logic also neutralizes any Ideology it encounters by obscuring it through a metadiscourse of ‘irony’. Even an explicit challenge to orthodoxy becomes atomized, circumscribed, packaged, and imported into the self-assured commercial and status-economy of the institutional infrastructure. Anti-Institutional gestures end up published by Phaidon. This is why it has been possible for this system to discuss, to varying degrees and with staggering distortion, the productions and ideologies of Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus, etc.

But the creative sociality developed in these and other collective efforts cannot be recuperated in this way; they are not symbolic of a dissenting stance, but rather constitute a tangible, practical structural threat. The sustained existence of a non-mediated or self-mediated community makes the functioning of a stabilized commercial infrastructure literally impossible, by removing the very conditions in which a controlled and centralized discourse can operate. This is why mainstream history and historiography―always instruments of subtle propaganda―have attempted to ignore and bury it.

Radically new and productive modes of sociality have always continued to develop―e.g. Mail Art, heteronyms, virtual and mythic projects, countless new forms of international cooperation on every level enabled by technological development (at least in more privileged nations)―and forms of collectivity inherited from earlier generations continue to be developed, amended, and expanded, in both local and international configurations. Nonetheless, much of the discourse coming from within or occurring between dissenting communities continues to focus almost exclusively on transgressive forms and ideology, thereby limiting the revolutionary potential of the practice of the creative re-structuring of interpersonal relationships, which in underlies the production and the thought of dissenting communities. It also effectively limits the applicability of this discourse, constraining it (as the institution also does) within the social and conceptual boundaries of High Art.

We must recognize that the frontier between ‘life’ and ‘art’ has largely shifted to the level of structure rather than ideology.

Without abandoning ANY of this discourse then, we must begin to articulate explicitly and in detail that what is at stake are not merely new forms of making, but new forms of living, thinking, and relating. We must examine the various strategies of socialization that have been adopted, their successes and failures, and we must explicitly address these issues among and between communities continuing these struggles and explorations. Only by forcefully establishing and maintaining rigorous and strategic alternate historiographies to combat the subtle propagandists of the commercial Institution can we locate and attack the governing structures themselves which support that orthodoxy, recover the significance of creative activity itself (which would cease to be ‘production’ and ‘consumption’), and begin the definitive erosion that constrains the potential compass of our various developments within a bounded ‘subculture’ of educational elites, while the rest of our society withers and contaminates the rest of the world with the poison leaking from it. We must collectively strategize, both within and between the various communities involved in this heteroclite struggle. Our collective strategizing and our strategies of collective action must constantly reinforce and develop each other. Only in this way can we dissolve the foundations of this particular avatar of Power, and deny it the opportunity to rebuild.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Update of Sorts

The following is nicked from the mOnocle-Lash blog, but it doesn't hurt to throw it up here too as it's only partially publishing-bound. There are further updates there.

Until I have a home and full access to my files, archives, materials, workstation etc. mOnocle-Lash is still in half-gear. But things ARE moving, and here's a scattered and meandering update in-between 'official' website news posts, partly on current and future projects, partly on potential directions and focuses for mOnocle-Lash:

The Jeunes-France Bouzingo

Here, I shall be brief, for fear of being far too long-winded. Suffice to say that things procede swimmingly, as one can see by going HERE. This new Jeunes-France/Bouzingo website is not quite ready for official launch, but since this blog has only two regular readers, I doubt it will hurt to mention it here.

OSU Avant Writing Symposium

From Aug. 19-21, Ohio State University hosted one of the largest gatherings of visual poets, performance writers, avant-gardists, mail artists, and theorists, critics, and archivists of experimental writing in years, drawing attendees from across the US, Canada, Cuba, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Spain, and elsewhere. The symposium included over 40 lectures and performances (12 hours a day!) in three languages, several exhibitions, and various other activities.

A Post-Neo/Collab Fest delegation drove up from Roanoke, including Olchar Lindsann, Warren Fry, Jim Leftwich, Sue Leftwich, and Aaron Bensen; in Columbus we met up with Ohio Post-Neos Bela b. Grimm (our host), Imogene Engine, Aaron Andrews, and Tomislav Butkovic in from New Jersey for quite a strong Post-Neo showing. We were able to see old friends again, meet long-time ocllaborators for the first time, and begin new relationships. I'll not go into detail or I'll never finish, but among a great many stimulating presentations were Fluxus actions by Keith Buchholz and Reed Altemus, a very thought-provoking presentation by Lizabel Mónica on underground literary activity in Cuba (more below), some provocative questions regarding the efficacy of the avant-garde by William James Austin, a performance by the Be Blank Consort, several presentations on digital writing in South America, a fascinating and spirited presentation by Michael Peters of materials relating to Fleury Colon donated to the OSU Archive, superb performance-lectures by Geof Huth, Martin Gubins, and mIEKAL aND, a joint reading in memory of Thomas L. Taylor, a wonderful mail art show organised by C. Mehrl Bennett, Collab Fest organised by Jim Leftwich, also a lecture and performances by myself--and much, much more.

In addition, and more on-topic for this particular blog, was a store with stalls of material from 15 or 20 micro-presses focusing on experimental writing, including mOnocle-Lash. In addition to transactions carried on here, there was a large amount of direct trading among us. It was wonderful to see so much variety both in content and in publishing approach, especially as print becomes increasingly rare in micropress publishing. These exchanges include Reed Altemus' Tonerworks, mIEKAL aND's Xexoxial, Endwar's IZEN, Tom Cassidy's Musical Comedy Editions, Crag Hill's Meritage Press, and of course John Bennett's Luna Bisonte. There was much more that I have yet to check out. I've added links on the mOnocle-Lash webpage to some of these presses (as well as to some additional online presses), and plan to distribute catalogs of of some who do not have webpages along with outgoing packets.

mOnocle-Lash publications available there included the journals Synapse 4 and BARM 1; the anthology Lung Crackle; Imogene Engine's The Iuk Kide; b.b. Grimm & O.Lindsann's The Myopic Deathray; David Beris Edward's Mr. Rutabega & the Clockwork Mince; Megan Blafas' DadMama Baroness Paper Dolls; my The Ecstatic Nerve, Toward a Breathing Text, Ananchronism as Dissent, and Feral Pool; and the mOnocle-Lash catalog.

Some Thoughts on What's Next

As one would hope, I went into the symposium with certain thoughts in the back of my mind, and emerged with them at the front. The participation of many writers from Spanish-speaking countries--and in particular the presentation by Lizabel Mónica of Desliz on Cuban dissenting literature, conversations with her later in the weekend, and the accompanying packets of work and documentation that she brought along--helped to bring into focus a concern that I have had for some time, already made pointed by my interaction with Gleb Kolomiets' Slova in Russia and the linguistic and traditional complications that make up the fabric of mOnocle-Lash's own Bouzingo project. This concern is the isolation of the anglophone avant-garde.

I have for some time become increasingly impatient with the ethical and political complacency of marginal creative communities--what I would like to consider avant-gardes. My attempts both to think my own way out of this impasse and to goad the milieus with with I engage to more rigorous self-reflection and action in this regard are complex and have met with widely varying degrees of success so far. These attempts repeatedly pose the questions: How can we define, and then achieve efficacy? What must my own generation--those of us now entering our intellectual maturity and faced with a field of possible ways forward--achieve in order to re/establish a groundwork from which the avant-garde can become a social force rather than a literary-artistic genre? What must we address, and how?

These questions have been sharpened and recontextualized through my engagement with Gleb's Slova project and the group of writers, performers, and intellectuals with whose work I am slowly becoming familiar through it. As I interact further with communities across languages, in political situations vastly different from my own--realising along the way how deeply isolated my own Anglophone conception of the avant-garde community and tradition has become, and how difficult it is to overcome this limitation in the absence of adequate translation--this line of questioning solicits further and even more uncomfortable questions:

What can be the role of a Western, Euro-American Avant-Garde, especially an Anglophone avant-garde, which is in the final analysis an avant-garde of the undeserving elite? Of the only such communities who can afford to be "apolitical", or to choose to be otherwise, who have the privilege to risk complacence? To what extent does the Anglophone avant-garde reproduce within itself, unconsciously and hypocritically, the isolationism and nationalism of the society it wishes to subvert, an isolationism that takes the form of a blindness and an obliviousness to its own linguistic and political situation that is only possible when one speaks the language that is, after all, the literary equivalent of the Dollar, by which every other linguistic and literary currency is oriented and, all too often, devalued?

What are our responsibilities, and to whom? What are our unique resources, and how might they best be utilized in service of a vision of a truly global and transnational avant-garde?

And, most pointedly to the purpose of this particular blog, what role ought mOnocle-Lash to play in asking and then answering these questions, and providing platforms for response?

I am groping toward answers to the initial questions posed here, or more precisely toward a platform through which these questions might be asked. The most obvious and immediate answer is an increase of translated texts in Synapse and other venues; the practical issue of getting texts translated can come largely through increased dialogue and involvement with the communities themselves from which texts originate, and some hurdles might be overcome via the experiments in collaborative translation being carried out via the Bouzingo project.

But beyond this, platforms of exchange must be established through which these questions can be asked and answered within an international context. Here again I find excellent models in Slova (and the associated decentralized press Mycelium) and Desliz, both of them multifaceted projects, network-nodes whose focus is on facilitating exchange on local/national levels and on international/transnational levels simultaneously, both of them establishing a loose centre via journals that bring together poetic, artistic, and theoretical work from an array of nations and, to the extent possible, languages.

Desliz in particular uses the internet to host this wide range of discourse, creative work, documentation, announcements, calls for entries, etc and as the most effective way (despite its illegality in Cuba) to slip through national borders. Lizabel in fact upbraided me for this reason for having so little of the mOnocle-Lash material in pdf form. (I am in the long, slow process of digitizing--new publications will almost all appear simultaneously in both forms.) This kind of thing must be a long-term goal, but it is long-term.

In the meantime, there is at least one way in which the pervasiveness English can be turned against itself; as the language most commonly translated into and out of, it can serve as a kind of way-station of translation. A text translated from Russian to English may stand a better chance, on the underground level in which we work and if directed toward this purpose, of ending up in Spanish. Etc. etc. The same goes for discourse in general, including strategic exchange.

The most recent issue of Gleb's Slova includes a number of English texts translated into Russian, including SPART/Post-Neo's Nobody Go Anywhere Essays, and a number of Russian texts rendered into English. He's sent me a text detailing the current conditions of micropress and small press activity in Russia, which I'm waiting for an opportunity to publish. Lizabel's presentation last weekend, also translated, covers analogous territory. In both cases I have discussed potential translation/publication/distribution of work by others in their communities.

While I'd initially conceived of carrying these ideas out primarily in Synapse--and certainly there will be translations and quite possibly untranslated work in future issues--I am moving toward the notion of a separate journal, with an emphasis on expanding dialogue regarding these issues and resolving the challenges that avant-gardes and related communities face in their various contexts, evolving ways of coordinating internationally with an understanding of the very different resources and conditions that face cultural workers everywhere. What such a project might turn into would be decided organically as a result of this conversation.

This is where I am right now. Such a project as outlined above would not be put together until early next year (I still need to find a job, rent an apartment, and help establish an educational co-op this year...) I am on something of a precipice, and welcome ideas.