CONJUNCTIONS:21 Fall 1993
THE TINY COLLAGE, measuring no more than 8l/2 x 11", found under what
appears to be a sort of paper compost--drafts of poems, postcards from
Vermont, assorted photos of children and old persons, some dust jackets and
bits of torn wallpaper, torn and much underscored Xeroxes, invitations to
exhibitions, student essays--depicts the Goddess, Credo, sitting on a
dilapidated garden chair with a book on her lap. A bird of
prey-- an owl or a hawk--sits on her right shoulder, its wings
outstretched. The Goddess holds in her left hand a scroll, which
falls across her torso and down into the foreground, where it becomes a
river. The river is opaque in parts, translucent in others; in its currents
are partial glimpses of scenes from histories, novels, plays, films,
documentaries, and so forth. To the left of the seated figure is an immense
urn-shaped vase in which a great bouquet of flowers flourishes,
while to her right, a second vase lies broken in bright shards, its
contents strewn. The sky behind Credo is of an indefinite hue, a haunted
mauve, suggesting either early dawn or late dusk, depending on your point
of view On the other hand, this odd glow could be that of a distant
city, an artificial luminosity emanating from a great metropolis. In
the middle distance, a mirrored globe hangs suspended from an
A dictionary. Foundation of her inquiry, redemptive source, labyrinth of gnosis to steady her agitated and propulsive stammer naming formulates desire's possessive code, eases thing to idea, feeling to thought, unconceals ephemeral being. Her most cherished possession, given by Hermes, messenger, interpreter and herald; giver of increase to herds; guardian of boundaries and roads; god of science and invention; of eloquence, luck and treasure-trove. Of youth and exercise. (cf. hermeneutic)
Vigilant seer, untrammeled instinctive Will, Fate's agent, necessity's coeval, poised to ensue. Her warning against intransigence, certitude, zeal. That which is immobile is prey; that which is single-minded (exclusive) preys on all that differs, is weaker, does not fit.
An ineluctable estrangement.
Gap and silence between is and is not.
Parenthesis. "(fit is like an infinite murmur--haunting, enclosing the silence of figures, investing it, mastering it, extricating the silence from itself, and finally reversing it within the domain of things that can be named.)" (Foucault)
Motto inscribed at the top of her scroll: Doubt, Curiosity, Revision.
Her futurity: to aspire to the consequences of what she desires.
Old temporal trope,
Beauty ordains arrangement (context), from which meanings derive as episodes of choice. Value is the result and condition of care: what she chooses to include is what she cares for; what she cares for is what she values.
Her bearing: to acknowledge the temporary, approximate, incommensurate, unfixed, used; to invest in dalliance, insecurity, periphery, hunch. A giddy undoing.
A city ingathers terror and wonder to the psyche's terrain; the temporal and spatial collide, dissolve: language is place, the active matrix of response. Leave a message, that I may meet you there. From which we construct our stories as if they were dwellings. "And the dwelling of the work is built only from this passage from awakening to the inscription of the awakening. And this passage itself does not cease to pass. And there is no roof where, at the end, the awakening will be over, where we will be awake, and the inscription will cease to inscribe. There is no domus as the rhyme of time, that is so. But nostalgia for the lost domus is what awakens and our domain nowadays is the inscription of that awakening. So only transit, transfer, translation and difference. It is not the house passing away, like a mobile home or the shepherd's hut, it is in the passing that we dwell." (JeanFrancois Lyotard, "Domus and the Megalopolis")
"What is mirrored in language we cannot use language to express" (Wittgenstein). It is us.
She is still and blind; you who are gazing at her gaze are moving and can see.
Desire alights on the open palm, and luck.
Color of turning; lunar, mutable. A slow urgency (taxi!), as in patience; where listening is. Easily tarnished, corrupted, made banal. Its frail transparency: to see through, into, and beyond.
The body is slit open, something is removed. Love's labor, or the hairy toothed homunculus, barren and flawed? Mark left when new tissue replaces that which is injured; the wound's stigma. Tattoo of individuation and of belonging: Odysseus returns.
Virtual reality is the glove's revenge. Touch the grass, feel the cool water on skin, smell the air. As in the first place, where the caption has not yet been written.
Everything she owns is borrowed, but these become her attributes, like the winged sandals and cap of Hermes. She gathers to her what suits her nature, toward which she is always inclined, pursuing an alignment.
"Nothing is perfect but the hope of it." (Emerson)
The threshold of her humanity.