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From The Ancient Use of Stone
January 8 Music is restricted to anecdote. “Might as well be walking on the sun.” An intimate reticence, to be recorded and later read aloud. No evidence—a system owned—like a by-product.
Original time, believe the projection—watch the
fissure spin. I tell you there’s light
Engaged in constructing
A series of events:
The scheme from which
The rock is abridged
The inexorable merge missing the membrane of responsibility. “I don’t know,” he said to the cat. [Only partially visible, 4 PM.]
Hangs from the shoulder. The outcome is exposure, standing doubt, outside the frame. Still, engaged. Thrown.
Take what’s under there out. Nothing misdirected inside the voice. The struggle of alternation. Penetrated or destroyed?
Written over again [no change between] written
over again. The wall [the brick] the
January 21 [Sic loquitor equus] Vendetta = comes the debt—
—in libro etymologico—
This friend of a friend . . . tell him for me: “Omnem volve lapidum.”
What do we have for memory?
Not merely these remaining words.
Contradiction to contradiction to contradiction, held in suspension at right angles to one another. He asked for depth and received grid upon grid variously angled.
That, and breath found at the back of the throat.
Hiddenness placed in an arrangement. On its behalf: the focus just another place
Whose corners for entropy? Prodigious form?
Mine—or possibly mine.
12:30 AM—A tarantula-sized asterisk and a dog in the hall.
Because of the lifebook they are paving the jungle road ever deeper.
Resolution: Behold the circuit, as wide as the wrist.
Resolution: An extraction.
Andantino: The reminder carefully tapped close to the ear, admirably attentive to a threadbare topic. Ta tata tatatata ta—
January 28 Follow the vein. Dig, clear, and stope it out.
Without story or program notes.
The record written in moumia,
a mix of wax and tallow, on a parchment of
The same said and the terms of the saying: hie, kotan, karabi— cold, icy beauty, simplicity, & austere, monochromatic dryness.
‘He seldom speaks; he loathes conversation, he spurns news of any kind, he shrinks from strangers . . .’ [Beckford, Alcobaça & Batalha]
Souvenirs or splinters, accumulations of data, selected prejudices—gathering at the core. My route from Kaf to Kaf.
To be entered sideways, but still facing
East. How does it look from in
Grapes, olives, and figs.
Acorns, dried fish, and pomegranates.
What part of the past the series dictates writ small?
Descriptive, momentary variables—ko [ ] tan
The contents of the frame turned to a right angle against the horizon spadework.
The contents of the frame turned at a right
angle across the horizon—each according to
An auditor who never made more than a very brief visit to the systematic—no such thing as an excellent summary—that being their words—
January 30 Ruminative, something very fine to murmur,
but not explain. An aptitude
. . . age-old nomadic customs . . . [their] objects and associated rituals.
Wrapped in felt.
Allocutions. Tales of traders. The cryptic mention of attributes. The thread turned and pulled. Not without reason. Adjacent strategies. Hallucinatory and skeptical. Some unravelled, some detachable part.
February 11 What counts is what’s written down—nothing
to be said until then.
They hunt for sentiments to fit into their vocabulary. [EP]
For there are more letters in all languages not communicated
For there are some that have the power of sentences. O rare
thirteenth of March 1761.
For St Paul was caught up into the third heavens.
For there he heard certain words which it was not possible for him
For they were constructed by uncommunicated letters.
For they are signs of speech too precious to be communicated for ever.
FOREST AND CAVE
The book is an album
not a final set of solutions
The real discoveries
Are to be found elsewhere
What the book exhibits
Are the ways to them
[i] In consideration. In despite.
[502. “What sentence?”]
Grammar & physics
Totality: a selection from all the intervals.
Infinity: the time to make a selection.
What might eventually be arrived at? [Via x to x.]
Only particular parts, concentric.
[Apropos January Zero]:
69. Isn’t it like this: a phenomenon (specious present) contains time, but isn’t in time.
It’s form is time, but it has no place in time.
Whereas language unwinds in time.
Codex—a map of auspicious places—its array
Gateway to gateway.
Unentered—earning what it says. And abandons.
How far does the writ extend in order to establish a pattern?
The length and width of the vein: though misled by analogies—
Undetermined variations scaling the dial—
A continuous transition difficult to negotiate
—The reach obtrudes
Any part of the straight line that establishes the curve
The mark that distinguishes the materials
From the preferred solutions—
Launching and overtaking the first context
A ligature established and sustained beyond any formula
Something dislodged and turned upside down
February 12 Not veneer—heartwood. Descriptive signatures. The purely descriptive spoken at the demonstrable. Sayable, therefore of secondary importance. An exclusionary perspective shaped by what has been brought about and turned to.
Savoring a lack of emphasis, while
misunderstanding any progressing aspect of a possibility. Misdirection. As discoverable by . . .
Beyond assent. This will be set
out by what has been set upon. The
aggressions of form. Beyond suggestion
In a crude box of stone. Ostensives. Bones.
The materials: an observable legacy.
The simplest and the most problematic.
A portion of distance the water embossed.
Appraisal of validity—and with of.
Affirmed only within a portion of its fullness—an aspect that would enlarge upon what is only partially knowable—then protracted and retracted throughout what-ever theoretical bias has been established.
Once again, not the thought but the thinking, lost with the sphinx’s tail.
Hypothesizing primary losses and gains
Postulating primary losses and gains
“I discovered and ventured divers answers; I
distinguished between ages, peoples, degrees of rank among individuals; I
departmentalized my problem; out of my answers there grew new questions,
inquiries, conjectures, probabilities—until at length I had a country of my
own, a soil of my own, an entire discrete, thriving, flourishing world, like
-On the Genealogy of Morals
“Poems should echo and reecho against each other. They should create resonances. They cannot live alone any more than we can.”
“Things fit together. We knew that—it is the principle of magic. Two inconsequential things can combine together to become a consequence. This is true of poems too. A poem is never to be judged by itself alone. A poem is never by itself alone.”
Put back on the way down the hall
—Thus, thus, and so
The point of this last remark, etc
So many, and several others
The same traps
February 16 Alternative drafts, partial erasures, repetitions, and additions—No final form. What remains is approximate and mutually exclusive. There should ever be only two copies.
Dry, cold, moist, or hot—
Sanguine, hot and moist, Air
Choleric, hot and dry, Fire
Melancholy, cold and dry, Earth
Phlegmatic, cold and moist, Water
[. . . a learned store of ethical precept culled from many ancient authorities.]
Let Nepheg rejoice with Cenchris which is the spotted serpent.
For I bless God in the libraries of the learned and for all the booksellers in the world.
-Jubilate Agno, Fragment B
Sentimental, ill-tempered, and enormous
And this distinction—
The distractions of great bones, gleaming blackness, and enormous frowns
A permission for death and nothing ornamental
February 17 “Leave no widows.” He was the most honest man I ever met; in consequence of which he was of no use to anyone. [“Vedi, Albero . . .]
By “frame” he meant his body— Ankles, all ankles. Wise and silent, the coldblooded starts here. Pathetic and bronze, something to walk past on the way to lunch. Motioning from deep within a mysterious and noiseless endurance, it remains a showpiece blocking the aisle no matter where it’s placed.
The ms. was lost and pieces were scattered
everywhere. The search for original
pages goes on to this day. Soothing
iotas—something that can be built only from what has been left behind. That degree of intelligence usually missing
from anything rhapsodic.
Veritas etched on the bi-focal
in 7 point type
The weed in the dogma
Supports the late harvest
Menial vigor kept moving
To emerge from the smoke
With clods of frozen sand
February 18 Edge, the only unity. Turned out to stare at the broken
Ten or fifteen words organized around two or three marks of punctuation.
Else—the other side
Else—a point, a large hole
Sentences in ink
Sentences in light
Red wheels beneath the track across the mirror
At the edge of the field
In which a system of touch is
Suspended in copies of yellow
A little more of the distance
Shadow across shadow
What is not in its place
What is missing
The fidelity of a
THE ROBOT & THE NAKED MAN [25 Years Later]
A more aggressive neutrality is expected
From the mechanical marvel standing in the corner
Wrapped in white and left on the stairs
Everything analyzed by sound
Its particle nature in fine amounts named gathered and hidden
Captions on a spool in conversation with and more receptive to
An undetermined science and whatever else might lie just ahead
A symmetry of shadows extends through the ones it casts
Unclear what was lost clear where the loss took place
February 19 “Oaths are the fossils of piety.” -Santayana
In an attempt to transcend my limitations I have
thought to create an expressive
‘I have not brought
the message. I came
with the message.
I am a part of what
is said to have
Pauses or deletions in the text: ainos (story) & ainigma
“. . . an abstract unity . . .” [Baudelaire]:
and the unapproachable distance.
“All research on the labyrinth ought properly to begin with the dance.” [Kerenyi]
An inevitable order in the world
Not an outcome but a simulacrum
Of its rhythm
Divisions by folio
increment is shrugged into convention
Stock still and lacking the immediate
it stretches through the inconspicuous until
the undifferentiated and meditative appear
Supple and resistant and as attentive as unheard
amark on the erasable floor
What thought would you give
to the thought you would give—
non plus modes under foot
in ruling out the perfected space around anything attached—
divining the obstinate and axial
Blindfolded and consoled
he stood beside the blackened cabinet
where the monument had occurred—the moon,
barbed wire, buttons of limestone, dirt, and ice—
succinct and equidistant
Another cigarette another whiskey in extremis
explained the private leagues and fathoms of dent—
Amnesia and a footprint over the sigh
co-opt the nightly report
invite concern for a spotless record
Had it been colder, had it been thicker
it might have worked better
February 23 L’autre jour, facing the rectangle painted in red and silver . . . During the course of the day a man arrived from X—bringing with him several small clay tablets, papyri, and inscribed parchments. These he had wrapped in linen and hidden among his undergarments. Some months later I heard he contracted fever and died at Aleppo. As I seem to remember.
now the upheavals of the Thirty Years War continue to drive me from place to
place. But these journeys provide many
documents; and their fame spreads through
fifth edition (I have no way of knowing whether it is the most recent) has
icon’s enormous gaze fits into a small silver spoon. Eyes, forehead, cheekbones, and the mouth. All distinctly gathered within the bowl of a
[Here the manuscript breaks off.] As I seem to remember.
March 10 Home life with tea leaves and a dog. Where bowls of blossoms and stacks of books meet the blue and green mountains and every conversation begins “I’ve been meaning to tell you.” A fragile, ingratiating life. Its occulted goal a minor achievement.
Interests at the center of any enterprise invariably concern privilege, not the elimination of contradictions. Lithe in its effort.. The of that departs from the or. Latent and retractable it motions, prompted by depth, to become a vacant symmetry. Black, timid, and sour. The stinking breath of a welcoming conscience confirms a morose expertise. Any apprehending rules and contradictions dissolve in a carpet of vapors.
Recording a disaffection with self-surveillance
on a semantic level it functions in the same way again and again
As expression it lacks any other strategic primacy
March 14 [Maze and frieze motifs]
Before the river tributaries
and before the backroads that ran along them were formed
Where powerful alliances were made
and uncertain transitions
The wind stops
15 centuries old
A shadow hiding us
with increasing reluctance
from the moonlight
Scoured, iconic, and unduly gracious
I must return to all these developments
and not to the familiarity of a shelter hidden
just beyond the stand of trees—
a single room lit with an oil lamp and furnished
with a wooden chair and a zinc-top table
With the assumption of this stance
it has become difficult to miss the deceptiveness of the source
and the changes that have emerged
as readily as photographic evidence
Singled out, fallen short of the realities,
the question has arisen of how this happens—
its ontology realized only in terms of detachment
metamorphosis emerges only in contradiction—
regret, nostalgia, or loss become a gesture for that limit
At a right angle
to the heaped boundary
As far forward as the strategy
and the light will allow
This is the tongue of the weave
of movements dissolving in aptitude—
errata usurping any call of judgement
Larger than further away
smaller than nearer at hand
The execution of the circle
The mark refuses the ambiguity of its own grace
Shrewdly intricate it relinquishes
the signs and numbers of mishap and abiding calm
Cherished asperities and undisturbed counterfeits
Four black keys and three white
for the edge aside and the divagations of the thaw
Eye-deep in a record to be set straight
the custom of strong opinion is mistaken for a warning
An axis untangles no roots
A mirage in the distance for emphasis
April 3 All the texts of pilgrimage maintained the valid designations. A self-interrupting apologia comprising brief exclamations and anonymous voices full of responsibility and foreboding—inserted and over-inked, minus the mysteries of exposure. The almost perfect answer, heard farthest from.
ISLAND LIFE: DAY TO DAY
The sun’s a floating stone. No?
Sepia pre-lit, ochre lit—off on—on off—
Probative work, where the light opens on the edge of the rain.
Right foot down, left foot still in the air—where is the boundary?
Zu Fuß, still advancing still unraveling how many years the river has been flowing
Across the realigned fragments of territory.
Horse and bird, grass, food, and pearls all for transaction,
My little darkening flock has its day set aside in the Almanac Joie,
Badly printed on cheap paper—white, almost at the risk of transparency.
Exhausted by anticipation, I took out a knife,
A cutting board, and the remains of a ten day old loaf of bread.
I was going to make something for the birds.
April 5 [Notes for THE RAVINE]
Carried at the point of balance
Nullified by the weight of the book
The diagonal moon
Shapes touching the glass
Poison under the floor
The tiles one by one
All the expected places
With a 3 hour head start
Secrecy as a solution to the problem
A bowl full of nails
Curious beyond intimacy
Working in silence
No longer limited to extorting
The plain of the marginal
Surveillance and its spectators
Minimal equivalence attaining solution
Delivery not conversion
Isolations and system drift
Working forward of the light
Across the corners
Blunting the anticipation of the angle
Compelled by knots and waves
A duplicate direction without repeating
This next is the dead and this prime is the end
A reed and an oblong stone
Else unedited unelse read
April 10 Only at the solstice would they tell us what they believe they can leave behind; not as a justification but as a way of saying—adding that though now dissociated, all is meant to be found again in the same versions at a much later date; however, in quite different contexts and produced exactly as they had been 400 years ago, but whose original models had been hidden at least a further 300 hundred years prior.
To move about is to define
Things to do generating things to say
generating things to be done
Convictions to be extricated and identified
As though the measured were no longer among the discarded
Or return confused with about to enter
Where were the words that left a certain smell on the hands
That made the ears sensitive and eased
The pressure on the eyes
Blank glass scrolls
Their scratches filled with ink
A music of smoke and anise
The stolen name fills an entire page
A compendium of assimilated errors
Rounded by calm
Enumerations of a mongrel detachment
Copyright ©2006 by Ray DiPalma
Ray DiPalma is the author of numerous books of poetry and art, including Numbers and Tempers: Selected Early Poems, Raik, Provocations, The Jukebox of Memnon, Observatory Gardens. He lives in New York City, where he also teaches.