Friday, April 21, 2006

"Do you despair?"

I write this very decidedly out of despair over my body and over a future with a body. When despair shows itself so definitely, it is so tied to its object, so pent up, as in a soldier who covers a retreat and thus lets himself be torn to pieces, then it is not true despair. True despair overreaches its goal immediately and always, (at this comma it became clear that only the first sentence was correct).

Do you despair?
Yes? You despair?
You run away? You want to hide?

- Franz Kafka, Diaries 1910

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cross n' Mix: Michael Cross among his Bachelors (Intro)*

It is circa 1974-76. Birth of Hip-Hop in South Bronx, NY. Young Blacks, Whites and Latinos are taking their parents’ Soul & Disco records and mixing them together to create what we might now call “sound collages” -- mixes, *bricolage*. The DJ and MC are still one function: bachelor machines opening and closing among their records, turntables, mixers, microphones, wires (those valves of communal sound systems). They will not split into separate functions for a few years. These origins two or so years before mine or Cross’s.

Primordial Hip-Hop and its continuous innovations into our present rely on shock effect. Torque or the tactics of surprising. We may say something similar of the three art forms that constitute Hip-Hop as an aesthetic - rapping, breakdancing, and aerosol art; that their effectiveness is in a perceptive lag-time. Recognitions come astonishingly, enjoyably, to those made to wait. In “Wild Style” graffiti, arrows lead the viewer’s eyes along tropes from legible tags. As in the three-card-monty, invisibilities -- visual losses which can lead to economic ones –- return us to presences: the nut under the shell, leitmotif cards. Likewise, in popping & locking, bodily expressions point away from events that may or may not occur; time flows in multiple directions. Favorite rap songs are ones that leave us in aural-syntactical gaps. Syntax presents and absents semantic values.

While much has been written about the connection between Jazz & Modern/New American Poetry, little has been said relating "innovative" poetry since the 70’s and Hip-Hop aesthetics (nor those of Post-Punk or Techno). With this acknowledged I would admit into the record that before Cross read, wrote, edited & printed poetry, he was of course well on his way to becoming a rapper – an MC not just in initials. This turn to poetry, so he has told me, was made so as to improve his rapping.

In his introduction to *Involuntary Vision*, a collection of poems written by various poets after Akira Kurosawa’s film, *Dreams*, Cross writes: “To a certain extent, these poems are examples of our most popular contemporary art form – the remix; they rework and distill Kurosawa’s originals so that certain elements are amplified, while others distort.” Like rap music and DJ culture, Cross’s *New Brutalism* may find tuition in radical remixings of language imagined and found. New Brutalists are for Cross similar geniuses of torqued reappropriation.

As I have approached it in our [unpublished] Rust Talk (, perhaps Michael’s affinities with re-mix artists accounts for the title of his short collection of poems after Kurosawa’s film, *gamut – for l.z.*. The “gamut” Cross’ title alludes to is of course that last poem L(ouis)Z(ukofsky) wrote for publication after his book of poems, *80 Flowers*, and that was to be first in his never completed (however projected0 collection, *90 Trees*. The title “Gamut” may be crucial as it would seem to reflect on the form of *80 Flowers*, and LZ’s late-poetics in general. As scholar Michelle Legott writes of the word gamut in the conclusion of her book, *Reading Louis Zukofsky’s 80 Flowers*:

A marriage of partners produces – a zygote; which, says the Century, is the same as a zygospore, from zygon (yoke) and spora (seed). Z-yoked gametes, in Zukofsky parlance? Did he see also the definition of a zygospore: “in botany, a spore formed in the process of reproduction in some algae and fungae by the union or conjugation of two similar gamates.” “Gamut,” encompassing the musical gamma-ut and the gamut of years which will take it into the twenty first century and the seventh millenium, may conceivably make the first step of that trajectory by alluding to gametes that find each other (they “meet” for a “gam” – endless talk?) in order then to “marry” and make of themselves a “z” yoke, a zygote, a zygosphere; the seed of things to come. Perhaps even a book of trees.

*80 Flowers*, along with *“A – 22”* and *“A – 23”* (the last two movements of *“A”* completed by Zukofsky), is considered by many to be the poet’s attainment of a linguistic-textual limit insofar as there inheres in the poems a maximum of sounded intellectual-torque between individual words and textual units. Where to go if a limit has been reached? Questions of limits lead me into the ways Cross may be interpreting the late Zukofsky thru his own *gamut*. Aren’t he and Zuk both acting as textual geneticists? In both poets, words and phrases are spliced not towards presupposed organic actualities, but for an eschatology revealing transcendent "natural" forms in cultural products. The 70’s Zuk. & Cross may both be Duchampian bachelor machines of language. Cyborgs of detritus and language shipwrecked by empire, decussated or molded to their ecstatic standstills. [Cross's debts to the "molds" of Matthew Barney, Peter Eisenman, and Rachael Whiteread should be the object of another essay].

I am to be innocent food
where there cant
like glacier
runs to the things
The Desolation Ruins
a kind of weepy brush
and so lurking
some embarrassed by
the martial life
stupid mankind-like-iceberg
I’m sorry for the nuclear
made night hurts
of a single horn.
--from "gamut -- for l.z."

During Barrett Watten’s talk on “Negativity” this past Fall, Michael was sitting beside me in the audience and at one point I glanced at his notebook. On the open page he had written: “Oakland – Detroit – Bflo: a connection?" Indeed a connection between these Second World American urban scapes, these places of ruined conveyance. And after a connection, what? A break, an arrow, a splice, a suture, a cut. An event.

*Given as an introduction to Cross's Spring 2004 reading, Another Reading series, Buffalo (curated by Barbara Cole, Gordon Hadfield, and Sasha Steensen).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Michael Haneke’s *Caché*: in the Event of Witness (Review)

But today Sinai is also, still in relation to the singular history of Israel, a name for modernity. Sinai, the Sinai: a metonymy for the border or frontier between Israel and other nations, a front and a frontier between war and peace, a provocation to think the passage between the ethical, the messianic, eschatology, *and* the political, at a moment in the history of humanity and of the Nation-State when the persecution of all these hostages – the foreigner, the immigrant (with or without papers), the exile, the refugee, those without a country, or a State, the displaced person or population (so many distinctions that call for careful analysis) – seems, on every continent, open to a cruelty without precedent.(64)
-- Jacques Derrida, from *Adieu, To Emmanuel Levinas*

Despite the revealing (however easy-to-miss) denouement of Michael Haneke’s *Caché*, the gaze of *Caché’s* camera remains a matter of mystery and concern for me. As an event of witness – of accusation surpassing accusation, alibi surpassing alibi and debt debt – it may be deserving of further consideration.

At a certain level we may read the gaze in terms of a work of psychoanalytic mourning: the working through of a historical trauma or return of a repressed content. At another we are no longer dealing with a trauma assignable among subjects: that, when he was 6, said character, George Laurent (played by Daniel Auteil), lied to his parents in order to prevent his family’s adoption of an Algerian boy (the character Majid) orphaned by the massacre of his parents and 200 other Algerians by French authorities in 1961. Certainly there is an all-too-understandable guilt in this childhood memory of Laurent’s, a guilt undoubtedly for the character to work through. And arguably, Laurent’s working through through memory-images (flashbacks) and transferential relationships with the other characters (the interviews with Laurent’s wife and mother being particularly poignant), is ostensibly what *Caché* is “about”. But does not *Caché* present another guilt, a guilt that we might call anarchic (being without beginning or cause) or primordial?

This second guilt could bring us back to certain key passages in Martin Heidegger’s *Being and Time*, where the philosopher discusses a guilt presupposing moral beings that grounds the factical subject and allows it to spring(-forth):

“Beings whose being is care cannot only burden themselves with factical guilt, but they *are* guilty in the ground of their being. This being guilty first gives the ontological condition for the fact that Da-sein can become guilty while factically existing. This essential being guilty is, equiprimordially, the existential condition of the possibility of the "morally" good and evil, that is, for morality in general and its possible factical forms. Primordial being guilty cannot be defined by morality because morality already presupposed it for itself.”

Likewise we may relate this guilt in Emmanuel Levinas’s work when he evokes “alibi” after Heidegger’s metaphysics in the initial pages of his 1961 opus, *Totality and Infinity*: “’The true life is absent.’ But we are in the world. Metaphysics arises and is maintained in this alibi.”

When Derrida eulogizes his master in his 1995 text for the philosopher, *Adieu, for Emmanuel Levinas*, he does so after this problem of guilt in terms of the relationship between politics and ethics, and specifically the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel. For Derrida, each intends this guilt at the limits of their generosity for the world: to welcome, to greet, to speak (and write) hospitably; to be, mainly, an endlessly inviting host for the foreign and homeless:

“That a people, as a people, “should accept those who come and settle among them – even though they are foreigners,” would be the proof [*gage*] of a popular and public commitment [*engagement*], a political *res publica* that cannot be reduced to a sort of “tolerance,” unless this tolerance requires the affirmation of a “love” without measure. Levinas specifies immediately thereafter that this duty of hospitality is not only essential to a “Jewish thought” of the relationships between Israel and the nations. It opens the way to the humanity of the human in general. There is here, then, a daunting logic of election and exemplarity operating between the assignation of a singular responsibility and human universality – today one might even say *humanitarian* universality insofar as it would at least try, despite all the difficulties and ambiguities, to remain, in the form, for example, of a non-governmental organization, beyond Nation States and their politics.”(*Adieu*)

Is *Caché*, then, not a kind of allegory, as well as a cinematic evocation, of the guilt of hospitality Derrida cites after Levinas as a work of mourning in the face of political-juridicial failures of hospitality? This particular onto-political problem of hospitality I believe *Caché* to enact, however inadvertently, through the dynamics of its dramatic content as well its formal particulars.

The opening shot of *Caché* presents a long take of a suburban row house during which a man gets into a car and drives off. It is soon revealed that this footage has been taken by someone (never identified explicitly by the film) “terrorizing” the man (Laurent), his wife Anne Laurent (played by Juliette Binoche), and their son, Pierrot. Upon receiving a video tape of this footage (the opening shot is actually being watched in the diegesis by the couple) and a childish rendering of what appears a child throwing-up blood, the couple discusses who could have sent them the tape and drawing. It is curious, during this interview, the image that briefly flashes-up. An image of a boy sitting at a windowsill coughing, his mouth and nightshirt stained with blood.

Later in the film we of course discover that this image is of the young Majib. Yet a problem persists about the status of this image. The boy of this image, as opposed to the boy of Laurent’s family farmhouse and yard later, sits in the windowsill of Laurent’s house in the present of the film, and appears uncanny or ghostly in this respect – like a “presence” invading the house. Unlike the images of Majib from when he and Laurent were boys (however “made-up” these images might also be, and may actually call into question the status of the imagination *in* and *of* the film), the first image is inconsistent with the film’s narrative “actuality,” and therefore should be privileged as a unique image in the film: an image neither a flashback or remembered, but moreover like that of a dream or revelry. A pure image, dream-image or hallucination inviting the foreign boy into the home, conjuring the couple’s bedroom as inner-sanctum indicative of the self “at-home,” interiorized as it substitutes the other for the self taking hostage the self in the imagination: “For in the most general form it has assumed in the history of thought it appears as a movement going forth from a world that is familiar to us, whatever be the yet unknown lands that bound it or that hides it from view, from an “at home” [“chez soi”] which we inhabit, toward an alien outside-of-oneself [*hors de soir*], toward a yonder.”(*Totality and Infinity*, trans. Lingis)

*Caché* bears out an important movement of interiority to become responsible in the *Face* (Levinas) of an exterior. This struggle begins in the interiority of the atomized, Bourgeois family isolated from each other and from a world outside, terrorized suddenly by a repressed or hidden exterior. It carries forth, as well, the larger allegory of a national interiority (an interiority perhaps of all nations), and the specific complicitness of France in the tragedies of Algeria, Iraq and elsewhere -- the drowning of 200 Algerian immigrants in 1961, more specifically. The inverse (and absolute) movement of these interiors is the hospitality of Majib himself who, embodying the *Face* of ethical responsibility, ceaselessly allows Laurent to enter his domicile, and who responds to Laurent’s threats only with patience. A patience of survivorship and affirmation in suffering.

Much against the violence of interiority, there are the non-violent “threats” of exteriors: the tapes that “terrorize” the Laurent household, and whose origin is not intimated until the final, enigmatic, scene of the film when Pierrot and Majib’s son exchange pleasantries on the steps of Pierrot’s school. Although this concluding image would seem to spoil the mystery of the video tapes, both of their origin and their omniscient positioning of the viewer, there remains the wonderful sense throughout a viewing of *Caché* that the gaze of the video camera that tapes the Laurent household(s), and eventually Laurent’s quarrels with Majib holds a gaze beyond the human. A gaze of pure witness in the sense not that we are bearing a specific sin or crime for which the subject (Laurent) should feel guilty, but a general sin of inhospitality presupposing particular ones: the cruel lies of a 6 year old and the adult imagination of such lies; the inability to speak with understanding to his wife and son, his justifiable fear that Majib is blackmailing him, and his petty threats following this suspicion.

The peculiarity of these acts of witness that do not distinguish between video tape and digesis, and obscure the position of the viewer-witness as such, are punctuated by what we may consider the culminating moment of the film, and the film’s devastating allegory: when Majib, in the presence of Laurent (and very possibly the gaze of the hidden camera) takes his own life by cutting his throat with a pocket knife. It is difficult to convey the shock of this scene to someone who has not seen the film: how, like “actual” emergencies and disasters, the scene seems to move too slowly for the consciousness. Certainly there were any number of us who gasped when I saw the film in a crowded theater. The extremity of Majib’s act as it is recorded by *Caché*’s stationary camera for a long duration constitutes what we may call an event of witness: the awful timelessness, the ecstasy (in the literal sense of *ek-stasis* or being beside one’s self), of seeing the unthinkable occur, and the aftermath in which we can’t help but identify with Laurent’s traumatized pacing around the feet of Majib’s corpse.

After *Caché*’s event of witness, let us then say, then, that there are two guilts: there is the guilt of surviving another, of having what he or she doesn’t (in the economic sense of having and not having), of having done them a wrong, of being responsible for their death or harm (however inadvertently); and there is a guilt that only this gaze seemingly without perspective (and transcendent in this respect) can record -- a gaze of the hidden, the veiled of the “holy of holies”:

“The meshes or links of this chain bear all their force toward this point of rupture or translation: “ethics,” the word “ethics,” is only an approximate equivalent, a makeshift Greek word for the Hebraic discourse on the holiness of the separated (kadosh). Which is not to be confused – especially not – with sacredness. But in what language is this possible? The welcome of the separated in welcoming when it becomes necessary to greet the infinite transcendence of a separated holiness, to say yes at the moment of a separation, indeed of a departure that is not the contrary of an arrival – is it not this deference that inspires the breath of an *à-Dieu?*”(*Adieu*)

It is this gaze that presupposes the first moral-economic one, and which brings us back to the bad conscience of the world: the facts of Algeria, of dress codes against “the Veil,” of the carnage in Iraq. This second guilt initiates the first, however does not precede or succeed it being beyond time, eschatological, vertical and diachronous. And it is this guilt Levinas recognized as ungraspable, and in being ungraspable to be the very ground of a factical ethical affirmation not based upon self-care, not grounded as such, but a care for what is other -- alien in its singularity. It is perhaps the perceptive failure to respond adequately to this first guilt constuitive of an event of witness that may be the privileged experience of *Caché*; an experience that may effectively bring its viewer into a world for others, and further important debate about universal responsibility in our present moment.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Michael Cross's "Sacred"*


Evental grace governs a multiplicity in excess of itself, one that is indescribable, superabundant relative to itself as well as with respect to the fixed distributions of the law.

Alain Badiou

For the abyss is the poet’s figure for the perpetual suspension of the right measure or law—that crisis, that “state of exception” in which, sent on our way by the gods, we are—for the time being—destined to live.

David Michael Kleinberg-Levin

What is called “grace” is the capacity of a postevental multiplicity to exceed its own limit, a limit that has a commandment of the law as its dead cipher. The opposition grace/law encompasses two doctrines of the multiple.

Alain Badiou

foregone for what’s wanting the bridge sez the size of the _quodlibet_

twenty-some casts (2001, 900 x 510 x 240 cm) according to gauge accordingly resin to gauge

scant forth attuned his plinth abut the Square, in-set coat disclose

the Tangerine dais as the _count-for-one_, then, thousands of mouths in the round,

black resin LAW in each slit has an animal upright, lash against the Ister, all

whilst warrant the monarch’s cairn, ‘his’ trestle (1765-1837) vantage for the pigeon

certainly bound by militant pitch certainly viscous amber

slag against the asphalt does to thinking for a turn involve

the militant wants the pass a bare right planar face

degrees from the flat while / transalpine coup as mare portraiture

circa 1848: a hand at degrees against the ribs—hock or tarsus, knee or stifle, brisket, feathering

this is a grid according to one’s planar order is a length and breadth mantled at degrees against the

opens out munitions piece—the flank I counter munitions in pantone grays, presumably liters

of blood wet the pavement, pierce Juliette Récamier, married to recline at the chaise

for François Gerard’s limit demands her bare pig’s kind of lawlessness or else the leap

from _condition_ to the morass of tempo-nodal captivation in terms of the eschatological

limits of lake-red-belts adjacent the starred asphalt lot’s blood and pencil pointing from Ashura,

sublimation once intoxication of interior / machete as the rite null set

two skulls slightly askant as the scale of communion and the police draped

summa (_whole_) crushed velvet, C, supremast, girder forms an intercessor for

what’s inside and what cant lead, obsessed with the shoulder and the lion

mouth full twined mail (entwined scales) or the face in repose of one slate,

here the joist immured of snakes and worms cant cede in lieu of bronzed

yoke wagging from the firth at croisillon nord / the corpses in fans

breast-width at the crest south and the west enforced walls of the thirteenth

century, the bodied knots of incisors against the barricades of the fifteenth,

these veils tear the eyes this sovereign paraclete, more LOW

inside, cerates both alum twice over / portage _purely formal void_ as anterior place holder,

cartouche, one margin slightly landed, Sovran—repose // serried ranks,

the “Hexe” moored higher if deterred this special rank the diagrammed grounds

once more hundreds by the ankles of a steel pylon, in other words, the lawlessness

I’ve swoll the fundament’s juridical torque so they won’t see the liter or the mote

or re- / enframed Peter Eisemen’s _House VI_ for the ENCLOSERS say a strophe,

from pewter’s repose’ve wandered / from one convex strophe to standstill

descendible: _the colonized future may be something like one of Veblan's “imponderables,”

as Zukofsky cites, and the blank becomes the only space from which to unsettle the habit of

its axiomatic power in the interest of an other future //_ grace this “sets” imponderable

a tympan is to sound between relief and its impression, the recessed face of a pediment

juridical sites of dissensus because on this one, the resin slightly elevated, it’s a room,

the _demos_, three elements of plastic and urethane foam (prolix plinths)

the second dual-monitor plaster in relief to _Breathless_

lake-fans asymmetry, lake-red symmetrical rivulets, alluvial fans one print in the window’s

an octagon in Algeria this one octagon _Kenya Boran_ (1974) removed to Houston

and finally Rice one’s back against the eight to view the rhombus (brown/shed/slake)

above the ziggurat and falls: grace in the _light_ of the rhombus—_Spirit’s watted filament_

in the hands in whose hands lie means, dope and cue of one’s own _dure_ // (chapter/verse)

_ochereous and lynx-barred in lengthening might; / Patience! and you shall reach the biding place! //

Here are lynxes Here are lynxes, / Is there a sound in the forest / of pard or of bassarid /

or crotale or of leaves moving //_

Sweaters of the corpuscle, twain labor, the lynx heads, a dazzle

red grace of sellotape and air paired next “folk” heads sleckit, cowrin

folk for the serotype of grace seemed lately to plait, agnate by a toxin

as many wolves as bird-roads red scotch such vast, timorous interface

sans surface dimension so to socius as “white eschatology” in Twombly’s coronation of seostis

his socle, frame, pedestal, seal an infinite sovereign efflux, fens drained, its waste Enclosure

arrived at Helpstone in 1809 to mount and did duration’s a quality chalk and charcoal matrices

held by condition of score—held to grooves and yet to flute the rim—held by abeyance of white, chariot

volant athwart the grass air held to—the chariot harbors calm, seven frames in bed when you age, a gilt

wink of art’s autonomy / sovereignty swoll on the general matrices aver to contact each

each nominal surface a face, each press and rivet face, tocsin, period of vibration off the tangerine ring of autonomy

horn’s portraits prolix matte bulbs for eyes how weather renders

the dome identically vacuous, carriage on the trunk brushed orange as a product of _policing_

some six by ten grills a jerk from the down-orange grip of plumule descending his neck

he’s radiating, this man, somatic folds of deep ontic orange limbic arcs

slacks sticking from the hedge mark a thin rim of dissensus Scalapino calls _event horizon_

yellow circle-concepts sitting on the thorax reading for corpses are a dozen balloons from the vantage

above the field of bodies painting Augustin Lesage’s sublime symbolic composition of the spiritual world

with tunneling lamp recurrent as the vortices of “Zodiac Houses” contra passione, contra mille acque, contra

fonte, contra voce, contra requiem, contra the fold’s lip the deep orange pleat its intimate orange fosse, I draw a circle

I draw a cluster of arcs from the circle labeled _monads_, I write _WORLD AND EARTH_

*Sacred was sent to me by Cross, April 2006. He has kindly allowed me to post it for eventual comment.

Hollywood Studios In a Salt Mine

wood studios
A salt mine."


Years on
An i

You decide.


Eternity And*

A day, frozen

In motion,


By the sea.
Such rocks are


This more of day.


The fire on their faces
In this great wide world

Talk to us the fire
Lighting their faces

The entire world
Being all we had

The fire
Of the entire world

Being all we had
The entire sea

What is there
To fear?


All is true and waiting for the true.

The words sounding beyond
His back.

The sea
As he also turns.

*composed Summer '05

Monday, April 17, 2006

"the trap of the assimilation ... committed by themselves"

"The mystery of the Cross of Light was the mystery of *Christus impatibilus*, saving his own through the love born of their common origin; it was this love of the heavenly angel that acted as a magnetism upon "His" terrestrial soul, *His* "member," to make it reascend toward him, to recall it to their common angelicity (here a homoousia as eschatological anticipation). The form of love thus lived and meditated upon was wholly different from that meditated upon and "realized" in the Divine Incarnation, in compassion with the sufferings of the God incarnate, with the death of the Redeemer who was "the true God and true man." But consciousness would fully "realize" the event that had taken place, and Nietzsche would cry out: "God is dead, he has died of his pity for men." That is to say, in the context of consciousness, God has died of this homoousia, of his consubstantiality, his identity with his Incarnation. But what *meaning* would Nietzsche's words have had for Gnostics who knew the true meaning of the epiphanies of the "One for the One," the meaning of the Angel? In the opposition between epiphanic Figure and Incarnation, *mazhar* and *hulul*, we can perceive, both in Gnostic Christology and in Ismailian Imamology, the same demand for Mystery and the same protest against the violence done to this mystery by a conception implying that the godhead can have suffered death. We are compelled to note that the facts of the problem are mutiliated if we content ourselves with opposing the Christian idea of the divine Incarnation and the strict transcendence of orthodox Islamic monotheism. Between the two there is a middle term, and this is the entire meaning of Shiite Islam, eminently of Iranisn Shiism, and most particularly of Ismailian Imamology. It is impressive that we should find here certain traits characteristic of a Christianity that has vanished from the historical scene, for this modifies the meaning of our encounter as men of the West with an Orient that is, to be sure, very different from the "modern" Orient. We perceive a kind of protest against a form which has become constitutive of our consciousness, which dominates our Christian theology of history as well as the secularized philosophies of a post-Christian era. And this protest, coming from the part of spiritual Islam in which Imamology assumed the features of an ancient Christology, also brings to our ears the voice of the vanished Christianity. It comes to us like a question, perhaps urgent and imperious, and at the same time it rises up as an answer, the answer of those who know the mystery of the Cross of Light and who reply to the "god is dead" with the protest uttered in the Koran verse: "No, they have not killed him, they have not crucified him! They have been caught in the trap of the assimilation (*tashbih*) committed by themselves."
--Henry Corbin

Sunday, April 16, 2006

"Beings whose being is care..."

Beings whose being is care can not only burden themselves with factical guilt, but they *are* guilty in the ground of their being. This being guilty first gives the ontological condition for the fact that Da-sein can become guilty while factically existing. This essential being guilty is, equiprimordially, the existential condition of the possibility of the "morally" good and evil, that is, for morality in general and its possible factical forms. Primordial being guilty cannot be defined by morality because morality already presupposed it for itself.

But what experience speaks for this primordial being-guilty of Da-sein? Nor may we forget the counter-question: "is" guilt "there" only if a consciousness of guilt is awakened, or does not the most primordial being guilty make itself known in the very fact that guilt "is sleeping"? The fact that this primordial being-guilty initially and for the most part remains undisclosed and is kept closed off by the entangled being of Dasein only *reveals* this nullity. *Being* guilty is more primordial than any *knowing* about it. And only because Da-sein is guilty in the ground of its being and closes itself off from itself as thrown and fallen prey, is conscience possible, if indeed the call basically gives us to understand *this being guilty*.

The call is the call of care. Being guilty constitutes the being that we call care. Da-sein stands primordially together with itself in uncanniness. Uncanniness brings this being face to face with its undisguised nullity, which belongs to the possibility of its ownmost potentiality-of-being. In that Da-sein as care is concerned about its being, it calls itself as a they that has factically fallen prey, and calls itself from its uncanniness to its potentiality-of-being. The summons calls back by calling forth: *forth to the possibility of taking over in existence the thrown being that it is, *back* to thrownness in order to understand it as the null ground that it has to take up in existence. The calling back in which conscience calls forth gives Da-sein to understand that Da-sein itself -- as the null ground of its null project, standing in the possibility of being -- must bring itself back to itself from its lostness in the they, and this means that it is *guilty*.

What Da-sein thus gives itself to understand would then, after all, be a knowledge about itself. And the hearing corresponding to that call would be a *taking notice* of the fact of being "guilty." But if the call is indeed to have the character of a summons, does not this interpretation of conscience lead to complete distortion of its function? Summoning to being-guilty, is that not a summoning to evil?
--Martin Heidegger

"an exigency of ones"

--after Michael Cross's "Sacred"

Monads from the sky and monads for the earth
Bird’s eye god’s of lucidity form quiddity open wide
Like the animal chewing we start from a system of ducts
And holes duets like the chirp of other worlds
Radically foreclosed, the box of your mouth
Not speaking in time, a prison disposes
One to this violence, the sudden appearance
Of neighbors made strange by these foreclosings
Each beholden to wear out his face the face
Of thought’s forfeiture, that a weapon is unlike.

We are this event, of conscience the sky
Opening to a stripe (*tsim tsum*) the vertical
Will a virtual zipper, making numerous the innumerable
Faces, the faces of other things, the sudden thunder
Above the lip of us, *Sinai* speaking the soft divide
Gathering the light to sing of whence we come
Holes folding holes, hands hands
The face burrowing slowly and suddenly
Emerging from under such images, thusly striking
Like fire illuminating an exigency of ones.

This series called grace, called sacred or divine.
The inhuman in men, another force, another falling.


What remains is a wound disembodied.
--Chris Marker

Lying full length
On the bed in the white room

Turns her eyes to me


--George Oppen

I am trying to remember clearly Edvard Munch’s paintings of “separation.” Scenes of a man and woman occupying a foreground together, but not facing or recognizing each other. Not embracing -- apart. Together only insofar as the woman’s strands of hair seem to reach out and entangle themselves around or in the man, or paint will blend their figures through obscuring (smudging) brushstrokes. Brushstrokes that confuse these bodies as though paint had become feeling itself and did not merely express it: a difference between presentation and representation, the immediacy of mediation. This apartness of eyes that will not look at each other (the tragic gaze of many of Munch’s family portraits) is also an apartness of separate beings turned and turning away from one another. Not so much alienated as essentially or spiritually withdrawn. Intimate only perhaps with their own deaths as the intimacy of death indicates the simultaneous appearance and disappearance of becoming a destination for multiple worlds. This necessity both an affirmation of sadness and a sadness of affirmation.

To be apart the world.

The world
a part of you.

Of me
these blobs are not
of the eyes

but of the shapelessness
of things to come.

And things that never arrive.

Feelings for this regard.


That grasp us.

It must be
a very cruel god.

Or merely
the light
of day.

Standing still over the sea.

A red god.

When all that feels is gone.

And only the feeling of gone remains.


These inseperable blobs.

Foci of emotional certainty,

circumstance an economics
of approaching
the hand.

And touching the hand


in its puzzling

Its blankness
like the blankness

of waiting to be together.

And bright
when we can not
be here.


Paint will erase it
and ink
and the sun itself.

We will go
down deep
inside our bodies.

Hapless vessels
of certainty and


The mood that certainty
was. We will find
voice in this. Discretion
of paint, to be the thing
paint was and wasn’t,
what paint expresses.

The time it was changing
then, from black to black.
Out the window of a
foreign brightness, sepa-
ration blacker, brighter
than “could be” could ever be.


Our second night
to ever utter
"Our" together.

To gather, to position
the voice our bodies might behold
above and below the printed
death, the portraiture of foreign
arms so beholden.

O 6th position,
O Paraclete altered.
The thing you almost were
but aren’t.


The differences between yourself
and yourself thickening
the bodies of others.

Voices you can not be
entirely separate from.

A he
of certainty and destroy.


A You. A Me.

Give me your hand.

Or something
as blank as
it is.

This this
imponderable as it is diseconomic.

Loving as we are
without love. The time
this takes not yet.

Then brightness no longer
belongs to brightness.

The alone neither
to the alone or the with.


To great proportions
we grow

and become
resemblance itself.

Being too certain
like time entagled

the whisps
twist and smudge

the beloved’s neck.
One of many

the numerous disconnect
smudge as spirit

form from its hinge.
Concave places

of scrap and giving.
Generous as

at once we were
really. Again,