On Proliferation, a third helping (or, the pleasure of the search and the gesture)

by on Aug.12, 2011

Mole Hand

Maybe (and I’m sure it has been said before) poetry proliferates exactly because of and in spite of its interaction with silences, boundaries not really there except they are drawn by some hand or eye or ear, by perceived absence. I always think poetry describes absence by the presence of the missing, the chalkline often referenced in this webspace. Poetry exists alongside silence, the differences between persons, the necessity to communicate, the inability to speak, to know ahead of time what one means to say, to elaborate after the time has passed or in absence/death.

The communication gap is hurdled by the thumbed nose, the here and then there that imply movement, the inside and the outside of the womb and/or coffin, gestures and their accompanying verbalizations, the gesture too often lost, of history’s rubble, the verbalization too often enshrined, of fetishized canon.

Eastern Mole

Poetry births arms and legs and other engines of locomotion. It uses tracks and makes paths and inroads and tunnels and cave-ins despite and because of itself. Poetry, the mole making tracks beneath/across my lawn, collapsible passageways, little digging limbs, hidden yet revealed intentions to eat up my garden vegetation.

For some poets, perhaps, the breaking of line/stanza/poem/book builds up towers, while for others, breaks send down roots, send out shoots and further digressions (see Joris’s A Nomad Poetics and his poetics of the rhizome); pages turn new branches, limbs, necessary and unnecessary literary prosthetics (I sometimes find myself walking with my father’s limp, a motorcycle accident I learned to carry with me).

Star-Nosed Mole

A book is forgotten (maybe mine), left behind in the search for its sister, a new plant growing in a place not looked for. (Genre switch? Denial of the prior in search of the present?) A voice in the night dies away and is answered only by the entire world humming, by riots, earthquakes, snores, other voices but none of them conversing, no one hearing anyone else, or maybe this is just the perception that prompts the poet to leave town. Thus, a new attempt, multiplied attempts, always the pressure and the pleasure of the search (after James’ thought — scroll down to the comments — on Foucault’s preference of pleasure over desire, on the primacy of play).

This action builds up over time, time itself builds up, becomes the rubble we wade through, the history we travel walking backwards with a hand mirror pointed over the shoulder to see behind/ahead the rubble piling up, the news, the internet, innumerable books “no one reads,” littered theories (cf. Benjamin’s “Angel of History” for one).

Poetry, thus littered, is an imperfect cloner of new embryos, accidental evolutions. It births Whitmans and bequeaths a Stein. It allows an Elliot and searches for Ginsbergs wherever they may be found. It finds only one, or maybe that is the trick of the moment, of “modernity.” Who knows how many Ginsbergs there may be, past or future, and when was Ginsberg ever Ginsberg?

Which modernity is this one? Which postmodernity? When is the poet truly poet? When writing? When reading? (If so, then is the reader the only poet?) When breathing? When dead? In other words, and surely said before on this blog, rather than the poet’s eternally enshrined words, is the poem the precursor of the poet’s demise, a promise to end? Epic fail recorded not forever but only so long as eyes keep scanning the page/website/streaming electrons? The gesture of reading and being read, of dying, or more than?

Mole Trap

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