Friday, February 03, 2006

Devotion II & III*

Devotion II.

To know
if you can know

the flat portraiture
rectangle necessary

irrevocable memoir
of when we were not separable

Windmills stalk flat flat flat flat

all wind blown at wind push weather

push all mill wind through color the wash

the reeds of a plain and

flat the wind pushed through them

Towering in its gesture
their simple relay
like machines do

The wind conveyed
by points that flutter
drawn by wash

Flat cross assymetric make aerial

make conveyance make
courses through winds graves

flat cross
the mark from an aerial
my sole blank bird

be flat vanished arrow
by cursor pushing which way

What more endemic but wind?

reeds weeds reeds
weeds reeds

blank of a cross
pure reed simple move

smooth cloth
smooth cloth
cloth smoothed

What the child looks at while it has vision
of having a flower before its mind

and the flower
the flower holding her
face and breast

mute the start.
The child gazing beyond
the colors of the flower

vibration and eyes deep

If we were young child and
the face young and honest

depersonalized upon
a fold of your hand
some object

the brushstrokes would show this

With flesh contact

canvas gaze at

a slight bend over which we call landscape

not flatness, not merely time

to the horizon

where it begins and ends

Slight bud and bend swell
and blood obsess

alabaster, spirits
equation for making weather
sound as weather does

expansion through it and without
to a cold stretch of green gray land

the cheek to show me my own soft watch

Devotion III.
Ghost Riding

Being beside
others days humans

separate the flesh mass

thunder being beside
suddenly this fence

an impossible
waterway line

move for
phenomenal tuft

a point to
a distance ahead

a distance ahead
a way

On the backs points and
desert tongue

reel from sweet music
memory of orgy

artillery in a distance
without history

without joyful test

Test of truth
league of wish
for infinity
site of flight

from the photograph of work

there the ink

the screen my thought of it
while it is spilling

would be dark

We cried in games
bad air pact
bird in sub-state (substrates)
places where none march straight

we beat the graves
and covered earth with sound
of the real like a dark stone
between two dark stones

Pray for me too...

from nothing but distance
is each night born

where a mile is not a mile
where a sun’s not a sun

capitalize this refusal

Not the kids
the wrap-around dead

pushed up by car
to ladder

to him

Pushed up put guns
down words
hostage to light

dear deer above
scrape the dust

(more often the place we return to)

... small machines
deer redeemed from context

to none aimed in fog

Near enough to nearly touch
their fingers, their lapels

women and men in black
sign and small world
preposition is our silence

The eye in the cat’s body


the face
an animal’s intention

if sickness were grace

Where vision is removed the human

Where vision is replaced our thoughts tend

*composed Fall / Winter '02

"fire is not clay thus not only each" (coda)

in grace the center that is
is grace the center of our soon-to-be
innocence in grace the center that is

in grace grace the center that is is grace
the center of our soon-to-be
fire is not clay thus not only each

grace is the center
center of infinity or zero not being
only one not only itself alone with the earth
the center that is

is grace the center of our soon-to-be
fire the movement that neither amounts
to one we are either zero or infinite

in a concave scene concave our being
concave our being in a concave scene
fire is not clay thus not only each
the center of our soon-to-be innocence

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


It is her face lit by that light
Contemplative light
Contemplative mask
Of a face
Lit by that light
That beats like a drum
Dwindling in his heart

It is her
Face lit by that light
Capable of being
Being covered
By hands
Being covered by light
Covering conclusive tears

That beats like a drum

Augment the mask, mask of
Her face
The lighting design
Augments time

The camera which stays
All trains
As they pass
Not quite upon these lines

Augment the white, of shirts
On a line
For all time, for all

Show time finally
The covered face of
Her tears
Smoke cuts away.

Lit by that light
Bright light direct light
That beats like a drum
Dwindling in his heart

This is the time for this
Incense whisking
Frames away –
Fragile shades

This, the time for this
Who knows no time
When you leave,
Incense whisking

Little boats away
Down stream,
Rates per frame

That know no schedule -
Light which covers
The covered face
No heart can dwindle.

*composed Summer '05

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"in a marionette or in a God"

“But, as the intersections of two lines, from the one side of a point, after passing through the infinite, returns suddenly to the other side; or, the image of a concave mirror after moving into the infinite appears suddenly again, near or before us; so, when Knowledge has gone, so to speak, through the infinite, Grace returns again, appearing at the same time, most purely, in the structure of a body which has either no knowledge, or an infinite knowledge, to wit: in a marionette or in a God.”

I Love Poets (review)

1. Richard Tuttle is an artist’s artist. 2. Richard Tuttle is a poet's artist. 3. Richard Tuttle is an artist's poet. 4. Richard Tuttle is a poet's poet.... There is a need for logical confusion of the terms of naming. Yet, beyond any confusion, the poets and artists who read for Tuttle this past Thursday, January 26th at The Whitney attest to the affinity and company the artist shares with poets. And mainly to the force of Tuttle’s most unforceful and gracious practice.

What struck me especially during the event, I Love Poets, was a certain trend in the reading selections. These selections may be said, whether they were written directly in collaboration with Tuttle (as in the case of works by Charles Bernstein, Barbara Guest and Mei-mei Berssenbrugge) or not, to be works enacting a vital ontology *after* and (perhaps more accurately) *with* Tuttle’s own works. Charles Bernstein probably highlighted this phenomena best as he (half-)joked that the works he was to read were not ekphrastic, not poems *to* or *for* paintings, so much as texts reciting what the work of art might say if it could only speak. The work then is what it says by showing. What it does or enacts *with* its viewer.

This “withness” of poetry, its adjacency to and participation with the being of the work of art, I felt particularly in the readings by Jonathan Skinner (reading for Anne-Marie Albiach Keith Waldrop’s elegant translation of a recent longer poem forthcoming from Post-Apollo Press), Leslie Scalapino, Larry Fagin, Berssenbrugge, Bernstein, and Tuttle himself reading from a collaboration with Guest. And such withness may be necessary in the face of Tuttle’s body of work, a body which consitstently em-bodies the subtleties of essentials made sensible, and makes apparent a grace of discrete and multiplicitous materials “hanging together,” suspended seemingly in a force-field by gracefulness alone. So it is likely in a Kleistian gracefulness where the artist, at a point zeroed or made infinitely light, finds mobile center.

However different their responses, each reader presented a means of expressing in poetic language the certain forces of Tuttle’s work as the responsive forces of grace. Skinner did so by way of his well-measured French which, despite his apology to the contrary, to my ears successfully sounded the immense silences and resonance of Albiach’s spacious pages, and Scalapino by her signature forays into the temporalities of meditational interiority. Fagin, especially through a pairing of poems he had composed for the occasion, "Loosey" and "Lacey," conveyed many of the revelatory qualities of Tuttle’s installed works by concise word-choice, and by pivotting radiantly upon prepositions, articles and pronouns. Bernstein’s poem in thirteen parts, “In Parts,” (from a collaboration with Tuttle called *Reading Red*) continued where Bernstein seems to leave off in his “thought opera” for Walter Benjamin, *Shadowtime*, activating the promise of the work of art to confuse the sensible and the emotional, and to extend emotions into thoughts in a present of aesthethic encounter -- what Bernstein may call in "In Parts" "the middle of the middle". In Bernstein's selection I could also not help but overhear the refrains of *Shadowtime*’s final libretto where the poet incants “now time” invoking thinking itself as an instantaneous and emergent making, the productions of attendence beyond comprehensibility or assimilation. Mei-mei Bersenbrugge’s text, *Hiddenness* (also in collaboration with Tuttle), presented a measured meditation seemingly about her daily contacts with the artist’s person and work, the notion of *hiddenness* taking on a “psychic” (if not also biological) air of the possibility of sharing interior and exterior "lives" - what William James in his late-philosophical works called the problem of two minds knowing the same thing. The notion of hiddenness also recalled to me my own encounters with Tuttle’s work wherein many of his objects appear on the brink of an occultation, with one foot in “this” world, in actualities, and one in another – in a world presupposing a need for perceptual exegesis. Finally, Tuttle’s own reading of his collaboration with Guest, *Durer in the Window*, proved himself a thoughtful and deliberate reader of poetry as he gave Guest’s words their well-deserved space and measure. Demonstrating unequivocally his *love* for poets.

2 after Alexander Sokurov*

Whispering Pages / Spiritual Voices

The weightless will.

We laugh, we all
fall down.

to rest
in senseless sleep.


The fallen faces.
I will pretend. They will fall
To water a reflection
Of water at least.


And that they could

in reverse it is a matter

of how we find our way around

the pogramed city

convinced we
are still dreaming.


There is a sense
of magnitude in boots.

Boots made Infinite in

The dead do not
intend anything,
do they?


While birds, seemingly matted, cross the screen, the screen, as though flip pages.

While birds, birds too heavy to be real birds, play at gravity.

A Russian novel per frame.

Black cataracts
the sun
goes down in my eyes


Dear Afghanistan,

we see
with sepia the past
as though the same war
wasn’t always
being fought
under the same
desert sun.

Dear Russia,

a soldier sleeps
on sunless days
dreaming the milky
black of both pictures,

everything changes
because the eye persists.


The dust / in their eyes
profile / of a mountain / side
flat, incisive / sublime
arriving / in slow-motion
whatever “real / time” is.


Like icons these soldiers
the clouds which move
as they move
not above them

but as synchronous
angels twisted
in earthbound sleep.


The world,
the green
world is a tableaux

vivante or a Turner

where the clouds

the sun still won’t appear.

We hover above the cameras of this earth.

*composed October, '05.

Monday, January 30, 2006

For Richard Tuttle

"It is not in the premise that reality
Is a solid. It may be a shade that traverses
A dust, a force that traverses a shade."
-Wallace Stevens

As you say - no thing
should be thought
at first
not this first
line - the line
or words
but don’t you mean
first thought
best thought
or do you
that emotions extend
into thoughts with force

Like efforts

The efforts – of consciousness
as you say no thing – leads
thought back – to the way it was
not the second
line or thereafter –
what we call marks and
not lines – which could also mean
the signs
of language – that language
is now - and not was
or will be
don’t you think
lines thicken with thought
intensified by our shadowy
attendence –
our silence before them –
like causes unforced

Like effects

The effects of shadows as they cross
shadows or now – as you say
no thing – no single
or gesture – no
matter how immaterial -
matter hangs together
leads thought
back to its first
movement – not any
other here
and now as what we call
attending – not thoughts
per se
as thought grasps ideas –
intends instead
of extending – as attendance
makes a shade
for the ears and the sun sets over
our speculations
and crosses
the mind – signs that we
are taking place – the edge
of an edge
or a wire without
a frame -
the centers of the world
of perfect force and
the unforced

Consequently grace

False Generations: Lynch’s *The Grandmother* (Notes / Discursus)

For falsehood, falsehoods of generation, and corruption, the perfect inorganic (Nietzsche), the imperfect organic, who rise from colors, the colors of the false, who rise bed-ridden, false seed relation, of generation and false corruption, the non- corrupt, the renewed innocent...

Men then bear their own fathers… But it is not so simple as Kierkegaard would make out, in all of his paradox and contradiction -- his standstills; since Kierkegaard’s generations still rest on an Aristotilean genealogy, on “family trees” and re-productive “organicisms”. Men then bear their fathers, but they only resurrect themselves once (as Deleuze’s points out in *Logic of Sense)*; Kierkegaard is prey to Abrahamism as an (onto)logical paradox of heredity and generation. That one bears their own father, but also that one sacrifices the created to continue living.

There is something peculiar, something "out-of-joint," about David Lynch’s animated seed beds throughout his early shorter film, *The Grandmother*, from which "human beings" behaving as dogs apparently sprout: that trees typically give birth in linear, bifurcating generations (the “family tree”), but do so non-linerally (and thus falsely?) in Lynch’s third short film. Is *The Grandmother* then not a film concerning rhizomatic generations? A nomadology of seedlings? “The wisdom of the plants: even when they have roots, there is always an outside where they form a rhizome with something else – with the wind, an animal, human beings. … Follow the plants: you start by delimiting a first line consisting of circles of convergence around successive singularities; then you see whether inside that line new circles of convergence establish themselves, with new points located outside the limits and in other directions.(*A Thousand Plateaus*, 11)”

Perhaps. But then Lynch’s world in *The Grandmother* seems archetypal, “preformalist,” and atomistic more than anything else. Lynch says of his first film that he came about it in an attempt to make his paintings "move," that is to animate them. What is animation but a truer limit of cinema as false generation of movement (Bergson), or as an atomization of time by frame rate? False time, false motion, false generation. *The Grandmother* is the second of two films that move from the pure animation of his first, *Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times)*, towards a complex (however much intuited and post-"psychadelic") blend of diegetic elements with extra-diagetic and animation techniques.

The fact of tree / seed growth belies an inorganicism or organicism of the falsely generated, non-linear and preformalist. And we can oppose the false generations (the immaculate conceptions?) of Lynch’s films to the inorganicism of the “crystal images” of *Cinema 2*, by which images are generated in a duality constitutive of the "falseness" of actuality in relation to the "phantasmic" opacities of the virtual. This "falseness" of crystallic-virtualism – a virtualism which rests on Bergson’s crucial distinction between the dyadic terms *real* / *possible* and *actual* / *virtual* – we should distinguish from preformalist (in-)organism. Where crystallic-virtuality presupposes Bergson’s method of “philosophical intuition” – creative evolutions within tendential forms - preformalism assumes organicity as a consequence of the realization of existing potential forms. That is, realized organisms are the copies of possible forms. Such a view of creation may assume, following Jalal Toufic’s own atomistic view of cinema in his essay, “Before thy Gaze Returns to Thee,” that creation is non-continuous or *renewed* during each "subsequent" instance.

Non-continuous creations, like Lynch’s “seed,” know no continuous generationality. Rather, a seed remains a “person” in potentia until planted in the ground and watered; therefore, the generations between seeds remain horizontal, discrete, and non-chronological / non-linear. However a vertical dimension does assert itself in the set and animation segments of *The Grandmother*: initially, in order to abscond from his belligerent "father," the "grandson" / boy acsends upwards from his sprout-bed; also, throughout the film, the "grandson" / boy negotiates what appear three stories of a house: a bottom floor in which his demonic-animalistic parents sit around a kitchen table performing common household activities; a second floor, where the grandson's bedroom is and where periodically he is punished for wetting his bed with a Day-Glo orange substance; and a third in which he “grows” “the” / his grandmother, and he and the grandmother subsequently visit with one another.

In ascending and descending the stairs of Lynch’s set, the "grandson" / boy presents a primordial movement from Imamology / Angelology, the stairs presenting degrees of being: the higher being the subtlest / least sensual and thus more perfect, the lower the most sensual, and therefore most demonic-animalistic… The shock of Lynch’s false generationalities is heightened by a kiss shared by grandmother and grandson, as well as by a high-pitched whistling sound produced by the grandmother reminiscent of the sirens from Lynch’s first film, *Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times)*, and premonitory of his first feature-length film, *Eraserhead*, in whose soundtrack many have claimed to hear super- or sub-audible (paradisical? imaginal?) pitches.

That animated / extra-diegetic film techniques redouble *The Grandmother*’s contents (seed conception of a / "the" grandmother by her / "the" grandson) may finally provide a key to later Lynch films, especially his most recent ones (*Lost Highway*, *Mulholland Drive*, and *Rabbits*) in which one encounters countless conundrums of narrative temporality… How, for instance, the protagonists of both *Lost Highway* and *Mulholland* are bifurcated by identities indicative of multiple temporal universes (and Toufic seems to get to this idea through his concept of *radical closure*); likewise how the "rabbits" of *Rabbits* occupy the same “space” / set however speak “distantly” (as though from different points in time) the lines of a mock (and most Beckett-like) situation comedy. That they are rabbits, those uncannily prolific creatures, who constitute the ostensible subject of one of Lynch’s most recent films, points to the ongoing problematic of generationality in his work. Generations uncanny, false, “unnatural”.