His near stammering. With disconcerting promptness one word hid behind another. -- Maurice Blanchot, Le Dernier Homme Contact me: red3ad (at) yahoo (dot) com


give me a moment 

"The tic
in articulation."

-- Rae Armantrout, from "Framing"



Cutting through the park on the way to lunch; by the fountain, 31 paper clips scattered on the path. Made my day. Wch is, incidentally, Virginia Woolf's birthday. And that of this blog.


"Whiteness and Sediment" 

Note: Blogger doesn't respect indents, as near as I can figure out. I will post the following, as it relates to the previous post, but with some misgivings and a qualification. Qualification: Albiach's is a poetry of much space and sparseness; the white of the page sings through, the words & phrases seem to float. Most would be impossible to transcribe; they need the page of the book. Misgivings: "Whiteness and Sediment," wch follows, is fairly atypical of her work. It's a fine poem, if not an exemplar. (Along with Claude Royet-Journoud [some of their work refers back and forth], they are largely poets of the book; space and sequence play a huge part, and there really isn't a poem to make an "example" of. Wch makes me love them even more). Due to aforementioned problems with failing to get blogger to indent, I have "translated" the 7-space indentations into stanza breaks. I apologize for this violence to the poem.


"Whiteness and Sediment"

the voice distinct,
the voice mortal amidst sediment -- within
lapses of the voice a distant murmur persists.

Whiteness and rock support the ascent --
availability of the written: a word broken
takes place. In a waste of ground, the earth
labors on the page, is worked, multiplies
into a double or triple blindness.

So right in flashes: several
levels given to seeming repetition.

Minerals encompass uncertainty's response --
from the "it" which fades in order to reappear.

A curve takes on acquired words and
repeats a corporeal absence -- invocation
becomes matter, is revealed in a sudden

On the look-out for far-off forms, circum-
scribed or aleatory dazzle of relapse and the
atmosphere resplendent: mouth shut.

-- Anne-Marie Albiach, from Figured Image
(translation by Keith Waldrop)



Misread Spurious’ lines, “Two A.M. is a time of absolute youth. Absolute - separate - and burning unto itself like a star” as “Absolute - separate - and burning into itself like a star.” How a fleck on a photo-negative burns onto the print as glowing white spot.

she does not know herself, is dazzled by data
-- Anne-Marie Albiach, “Vertical Effort in White,” in Figured Image.

Thoughts, notes, posts on glaciation, glacial writing.
Desire to find wholeness, holiness in slowness. Things come in from outside. [An incremental slide, an incremental rise.]
And, on my desk, in a pile of books acquired for the new year, Albiach’s Figured Image. And what’s on the cover but... a photo of a glacier. Parallels, correspondences -- things so easy to miss becausethey’re right in front of one's face.

A walk at two A.M. “Looking for a Street that Rhymes with Four A.M.” sang Norma Tanega. It’s been a while since I’ve been out walking at two a.m., or four a.m., when the day is turning into tomorrow; nearing dawn, one occupies a strange space between tenses, between days -- “earlier today” becomes “yesterday,” but it is and is not.
Heraclitus’ river.

I’m writing in the strange, still space of a frozen world; branches limned and rimed with frost, streets grey with snow and ice. It’s very still; last night, very few cars out despite the weekend. The occasional taxicab, and the regular, slowheavy trundling of busses, lumbering and tentative.
I step outside for a cigarette: did I feel the form of the paper cylinder between my fingers, or have I become that detached from it, over-familiarized with the experience? I was conscious of my breath, and the wedges of cold, edging in. I think of this now, feeling the warmth, noting a few tangible objects around me: a candle holder, a ball of blue glass, a string of glass beads, my pen, my lighter. A spark, a flame and the candle comes to life. Flickering, drifting... The memory of a smile, or of the sound of friend’s voice. A touch - what unites these worlds. Alone in the room, a distant voice, or softly sung from the stereo. A slight echo; a slow-burn.
Then, something more, but I have forgotten the phrase.



With the freeze, the condensation has frozen in the crack in the window. Wiping it away, I can see that the crack is now lined with minute chips, and has, no doubt, proceeded further.



These glaciation notes, I think, could be honed and combined into a longer post, a "real" post, a sort of an essay. Then, I think, I'd have to condense it, make it to a single packed phrase, like the piece of blue glass that sits on my windowsill; or break it down into a few bright shards and debris. So let the entries, the repeats, rephrasings and omissions stand where they are, to be packed down into the archive of January 2007.


A rare snow fell last night, and the morning brought clear skies and a bracing stillness to the air. Worries and internal tensions were forgotten for a moment -- every tree branch outlined in white, the sunlight golden. I watched my condensed breath dissipate into the air & felt the surge, felt the word "distance" become meaningless, and thought, for a moment, everything is amazing. The god of slowness showed its hand.


accumulation and loss 

Condensation forms a grey screen on the glass of the window which obscures all the details of the day. I let my eyes go out of focus on this surface and I drift...
There's a sense of movement, or space; a condensation of vapor, or absence, that marks or suggests the passage of a thought.
And I look up and see where the pin-point beads of condensation (each one a tiny lens) have bonded and joined to create increasingly larger beads; one of these breaks the surface tension that adheres it to the glass, and it streaks downward through the field and reveals a ribbon of a clearer, variegated grey beyond. And what thoughts have collected and streaked down and away, a tear in the fabric of the day, in the space of this writing?


glacial [again: glacial] 

Diary (Film at 11)
The film in my 8mm camera is, I'm pretty sure, jammed up -- and has been so for a couple of years. What would the developed film reveal?-- A diary of clouds. Streetlights. There was a snowfall, and I think I filmed a page of a book immediately after that. More clouds. And then, edge flare and whiteness: some staining to and flickering around the margins.
"Additive decay." Burn at the center: light marks, destroys everything it touches.


workless: projection

The film has jumped its rails; one can feel the tension in the camera, the film fails to advance. With no mind, intent on the project, one continues. The accretion of light slowly destroys any image.


Slipped up by language, or one slips into the crevasses of its use; the phrase "the surge" comes to me for one reason and the papers write of a "surge" of troops into Baghdad; death upon death.
"Glacial writing" reverses, unfolds itself; the metaphor doesn't hold: actual glaciers everywhere are receding, not building. Perhaps that is the lesson of a "glacial" writing -- it reverses upon itself; cleaves to / cleaves from. Ravels.


The Surge 

a. In all of Godard’s later work, JLG/JLG on, there is a pervasive quality of mourning. The camera, always referential, both focuses and opens up. The voice of Godard has often been present in his films, but here, in addressing himself, a doubling takes place -- reference and reflection, self and Other, age and “the age”; histoire as history, as story. An autumnal thread runs through it: the mourning of art at the expense of culture.

b. The photograph at the head of Spurious: this veiled, this left-handed woman possesses an expression I cannot read; it quietly demands and provokes the question: “Who are you really?” And that line, that question - from JLG/JLG? The gaze, reflected back: Who are you really?

c. I’m out back, having a cigarette. A train whistle sounds in the distance, across the city. I look at the sky and think that, given the hour, it should be lighter by now. It may be the coffee or the nicotine, the contact of two thoughts or the sundering of one, or a sort of echo: one thought reflecting itself, doubling itself. Difference in repetition. A gathering and quickening of light, or the heart -- a thought broken off... only a phrase, the surge, hanging there...


The Closing of the Archive 

Occasionally, of its own weight, or due to some unknown or unseen stress, a piece breaks off and drifts away. The point of breakage, the exposed face -- the fresh scar soon folds into the random, broken pattern of the wall. In time, more is calved off; one disappears into the white space; new crevasses form.
The glacier: constant, incremental movement; constant erosion.


I’m amazed by the diligence of two friends who maintain a daily process of writing. Process, not so much as project. Part diary, part digressions -- they speak of it only lightly, occasionally in passing. It continues, I know, and whether the process is a sort of foundation or a purgative, I can’t say -- but the presence of these journals or exercise books, these day or “waste books,” if you will, is heartening.
Their allure to me is not in their mystery (part of one was photocopied and included in/as a letter) - but in their possibility. So much the sweeter is that this work proceeds without grandeur; there are others who seem to produce each day with no end but to publish; writing as if they didn’t own a wastebasket.
What I write of is a quiet, slow, daily writing that I somehow I feel I betray by making it public, even in so slight and oblique a way as this - as this writing draws no attention to itself. “Why had no one invented a god of slowness?” asks Peter Handke’s narrator in The Afternoon of a Writer.
Slowness and quiet: I imagine a glacial writing, of a weight but so incremental in its flow that its cessation would pass without notice.

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