Authors: Ann Lauterbach
Tags: #Poetry, #American, #General
If I love a painting by, say, Philip Guston or Joe Brainard or Amy Sillman, is that love animated in part by a desire to own it? But then I want to sayâwith John Deweyâthat an experience
a form of possession, something one
. I experience love for something or someone, and that love is what I possess; not the object of it. This is the side of Pragmatism often overshadowed by an emphasis on practicality and cool legal utility, outcomes or consequences uninformed by affects. The rational is pernicious if stripped of affect; reason
The experience of art shows us how to attach feeling to critical thinking, and so might inform, temper, how we act toward each other.
Without this experience, we are set adrift in received, rigid ideas of the good. Art marks, demonstrates, the passage from the good to the just through the agency of care. To make something is to care for it. The
of care. Etymology finds
The need to consider, to teach, human efforts and practices that do not immediately convert into practical utility or commerce.
Can the Internet be said to give us an experience, in this sense of fully
something? There's something at stake here I cannot quite name, having to do with the relation of mental activities to material or physical presence: the embodied, the performed, the real or actual near. Anxiety that our sense of each other will be denuded of the spontaneous ensemble of minute readingsâfacial expressions, hand gestures, vocal inflection, smellsâwhich until now have informed how we distinguish, for example, those we come to love or admire from those we fear or detest.
This is almost too basic but touches on an elision, a potential devaluating, of our creaturely beings.
Noema, when we doe signify some thing so privily that the hearers must be fayne to seeke out the meaning by long consideration.
Surplus ubiquity of imposed critique and rampant opinion; nothing can be near under these forms of distantiation; embarrassed at the very site of our attachment to work: productivity, satisfaction, use, beauty, the Other. So
as a kind of virtual nomad, wandering in the desert of permanent techno-reification.
“Underneath all reason lies delirium, and drift.”
In any case the ghosts are awake, and fearful. They seem to believe that they are about to disappear forever from our thoughts like mere clouds passing on the horizon, skipping autumn leaves. Although they are now distinct from each other, they fear they will soon be only a remnant archaic category, itself replaced by a new
generation that wafts around like so much decomposing smoke, detached from even the memory of the fire from which it rose. It will require a new name. This is what I am thinking while simultaneously aware of the fact that I do not believe in ghosts, nor do I know what the difference is between a ghost and a soul: two wayward nouns without objects. The new, renovated ghosts will be soulless and indistinct, mere zeros and ones for whom neither the peace of heaven nor the torture of hell makes any difference. These improved ghosts will have come from the old species as it set out to refine itself in the new age. Refine, and so be equipped to forget the treacherous complexities that made life before death nothing if not a vibrant passage of quixotic, mostly irresolute questions. The species will have tinkered among the twisted strands of the genome, pulling out unwanted threads, as it were, and replacing them with others, so that what was once a tapestry of variegated colors and textures will be as smooth and monochromatic as a pool of melted ice. The new nameless ghosts will float upon this pool.
There was a leak in the kitchen ceiling from which water dripped into a red pail from time to time, making a slight splashing sound, rounded at the edges, so you could almost hear the indentation in the surface of the water as the drops fell. Some of the drops did not fall into the red pail at all, but fell instead onto the newspaper I placed on the counter under a second hole in the tin roof of the ceiling. The sound of this second leak, more infrequent than the first, was muted and flat.
Dear instructor, how to
clarify this momentum from its
singularity among thieves.
The tide was pink this evening.
I saw three deer, a rabbit, and a fox.
A visitor came, we spoke, he
grown by the sun.
These mild occurences
and others insinuate
the forgotten as the retrieved and
the impossibility of any recovery
as such. I know, you are lost.
I am lost as well. We need
a table. We need
objects on the table. Say a spoon.
to Peter Sweeny
There is no provision
and made none.
the inscrutable flood
a node broken from care.
Not the sensuous
not the damn dream gouged
not the backward angel.
Not yet ice.
Rake up air
discern the altered start
word by word
to go on or beyond
no one is faithful. This is not auto-
biography. There's a clumsy note
on your doorstep
beyond orange bags at the roadside and
apology for wanting to
to have spoken to you sooner.
We're sutured now.
A calm of sorts has taken hold and
technology is fevered.
Thought wishes everything were
were everything French
as in the living dead of the sad least genre.
The poem greets its bouquet.
I am thinking of floral wreaths.
They seem to have a story.
The story is not heartland pure.
The story yields a structure and
and the structure seems infinite.
The floral occasion is a circle.
This would be a trope for
everlasting or undead love
but the boy is gone. He stepped out over
over a crest of ocean into our own
perdition while we slept. In sleep, the lover
comes back. At first the lover is
is a cruel and indecipherable metonymy.
Then, or after, he seems
seems released from the triangular hood
hood worn as protection against infidelity.
Try not to think about numbers.
Numbers are a form of punishment.
All that left aside left awkwardly on that side done away with
in immediate neighborhoods of chivalry. Wait. Under the
cleft sign to read will be continuance, a kept event because there was a
delivery of sorts. Because it had come to pass near?
Wait. Old ting-a-ling sat down sweaty
thought the portrait was of Mick, thought she had long hair
then, then stopped. Wait. And wanted these not to die
not to pass on. Â Â Wait.
The lad's charm Â charmed by the lad Â Â his demeanor
among the crowded Â Â Â the high bedÂ Â lifted charmed
while the gaze Â Â Â without therapyÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â without the car.
Wait. Â She has this Â she has the left hand a paper
she has the kiss Â long afterward Â they had passed
had kissed in the smallest room Â had found the ring of fear
and still things happened, kept happening, went on
although the mode shifted in degree and measure. Â Wait.
Had these come withered now under such guise as the planet's remembered
cycles, their friction carried out against clouds, anxieties, waste, then what
was planted or planned would approach through the center of convictionâ
âbutressed into abstraction, possibly scented with lemony
highlights in our visual age. Okay, I too have had it, the tale, the tremors, the
incidents so enjambed that only the edgy molecule catches on, breathes its
miniscule agenda onto skin like that of a peel.
The peel of evening across high bricks.
The peel of an orchid's deadly grip on perfection.
Usually biographical spill Â Â Â never mind or con-
like a snowball in hell
of the sour physician
Â Â Â Â Â Â her lesions or lessons, her
Â Â Â Â Â Â blank-rimmed scan
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â across the universal cup
âsmashed dialectic of the entire.
Usually biographical spill Â Â Â Â never mind the oil
having opened the signature of all things
and peered into method
a paradigm is only an example
and the empire of the rule
hovering over the example
like a snowball in hell
smashed dialectic of the entire
the laws of form
whereof Paracelsus speaks
herbs, seeds, stones, and roots
merciless recurrence of our nakedness
unmarked until remarked.
The irrational disorderÂ Â Â Â Â Â usually
unintelligible quotient of the real
abstracted through love
and such invitations taken to mean
humilities of virtue
revealed while awaiting execution
in the eyes of the law:
Winged creature stranded in oiled starlight.
A shadow's weight filmed
unfurls toward its catastrophic bloom,
orifice of the ancient cave
cealed secrets deposited
into an astonished fount:
toxic flames pillage the air.
Usually biographical spill Â Â Â Â Â Â never mind
It is not that what is past
casts its light on what is present, or
what is present its light on what is past; rather,
image is that wherein what has been
comes together in a flash
with the now
to form a
Deft market beckons toward a shelter, icon by icon.
the dying creature staggers across the path of
dragging omniscient sorrow.
Zero is in love with A.
These accidents happen; they are signs of
to come. Ask anyone
ask the ghost
in the machine that speaks the code's
ask the crippled incubus
Â Â Â Â Â Â limping up the hill
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ask the last of the evolutionists.
The child of Zero and A
is unable to
point at the thing that is
say thatÂ Â Â Â Â Â star
moves in swarms
over the shadowless desert
to the arc
under and over
and the radar of sound
we are embarrassed by spirit, the grid attests to this
informing the cluster of being
digital mime digital mime digital mime mime.
Cast the small occasions of research
into a cup of
I am jumping with
cast the apparition of time
into the play of integers
and their daughter N-7
forgive me I am
jumping with the unspent
as if it were a pardon.
Perhaps we should put all circles together
and then all squares. And let's
sequester blue from its neighbor
then ask it to perform in the biggest atrium.
In the greatest episode of an ordinary life
there is tenderness
but this is not recalled on an ordinary day.
The sequence, on an ordinary day, is mute.
It steals and flaunts, it has the animating
iteration of an impostor. Perhaps
we should put everything in a shelter.
The lament is recursive:
Rescind the error margin gap
adumbrated by the machine
mentioned with colored dots
during the wish for a separation
between sensation and trace
when we came close
Â Â to suggest
Â Â Â Â Â Â the indelible
to be free from
Â Â Â Â Â Â linguistic
Â Â Â song of the thrush
into the ungathered.
The diction of the road
fails its intention.
We're on some other path
along sight lines
unpermitted to land.
is fate shaped by an idea
withheld from daily force
and from the thing I
thought I saw
on the grave of the unknown?
The iris is the color of a bruise.
The world is uneven in its orbit.
Having not read the signs,
having missed the cuesâ