Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Endarkenment of Social-Life: As Enlightenment Beyond State-Normalcy

by Maxwell Clark

The normalization of capitalistic modes of production have heretofore forever been essential to the poesy of state-power over society. "Prior" to when the now cancerously global metastasis of industrial technology calculatively rationalized the everyday behaviors of society -- and precisely unto their representation as the affective (even also unconscious) norms of state governance---prior to this, this ideational mechanization placing society under an (inconsistent) complexus of governmental norms, this arrogation of the voice's ethical wisdom by hand-eye planes of coordination, there is no otherwise more original world "prior" to this except this world itself expressed more and more (((and...))) elementally primal. The pure future of this pre-original normalcy, further, is utterly unforeseeable, or perhaps even "without future" -- as it were, in as the future itself presents an absolute alterity to and apart the present. Insofar as postindustrial modes of technical behavior are already present in society, however, another renovation of state normalcy is perhaps rather discretely culminating even now.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Holiness of Authority

By Maxwell Clark

"Oblivion is not to be hired: The greater part must be content to be as though they had not been, to be found in the Register of God, not in the record of man."

—Sir Thomas Browne


The author is God.
God’s authority expresses the Text of Our World.
Each is of God, is under His or Her divine authority.
Each life is a novel of God’s authorship.
God is the Infinity of Our Finitude, is the Authority of Our Text.
Our Text is of God authored and authorized.

Amen, let it be so, amen.

Text and Voice

by Maxwell Clark

The postindustrial ultra-capitalist megalopolitan/exurban SPECTACLE (as also that most rancorous maw of its wanton identity politics) flourishes alone in its ownmost self-perpetuating, as a “permanent state of emergency”, or WAR. The spectacle is the self-perpetuation of social life. The spectacle is the cybernetic auto-preservation of almost necessarily the social world’s worst events in their dissemination as memorial datastreams. And the set of all known spectacular traces, analyzed in their each unique case, must each time present the timing and spacing of at least Two or MORE “faces”, that is, the communalized public objectivity of many private societal individuals, an activity co-phenomenalized habitat, a human lifeworld. Society is performed spectacularly, as such, or it is already erased (extinguished, extinct).

                Emergency, however, also means the newest face of socio-ontological revelation, or “emergence”. The spectacle is the emergence of our private war into our public conscience. The spectacle is the voice, or voicing, of the social text. Or, contrariwise, it is the spectacle that is the textual transcription of society’s voice. Either case is inconsistent with the spectacle’s truer actuality, of course, insofar as the spectacle both textualizes and vocalizes both textual and vocal aspects of society. Maybe, then, the trick is to see that the voice is a type of text, or texting—whereas the text is more than merely a voice, or its voicing. This, in brusque, is my best acceptation of the undeconstructible privilege of the text.

Friday, December 19, 2014

To Learn the Otherness of a Rock: Meditations Facing CA Conrad, di Batty Don-Gorgon

by Maxwell Clark

Ecodeviance: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness
By CA Conrad
Wave Books, 2014
160pp, $22.00

[original painting]

“[…] each several stone,
With wit well blazoned, smiled or made some moan.”
—W. Shakespeare, A Lover’s Complaint

“Underlying the tyranny of convention is the tyranny of nature.”
—S. Cavell, The Claims of Reason


Who responds when you talk to a rock?
Isn’t it then just your own echo? (((As always?)))
Poesy is the condition of all Science.
Capitals dignify, ELEVATE.
THEY even suggest somewhat of an inferiority complex: “LISTEN!!!”
Please hear me when I trace out my most silent speech, especially
When even locking my typographical behaviors into a solely lower-case mode
Is never nearly as quiet enough.
You would never believe the static, the interferences,
The signal loss, the material erasures, in all of the more indirect genres of faciality—
Such like literature, unless
You just heard me name them so for you.
So you're welcome. I would be Socrates
And ask no fee for these my services too.
I am so cute—let’s flirt sometime.
I flirt with unique persons alone.
And such is my sexuated identity: a uniqueness, a unicity.
Thus also a “non-identity” or refusal of the identarian
My most proximate regional science now is Urbanism.
Imagine a non-Marxist social geographer who borrows heavily from
Marx. As too well-read in Marx, thus also no Marxist. This, I further
Believe, is how Marx himself behaved contra his influences,
Consciously and otherwise—he never identified
With even his most glorious heroes,
Never took on their names as his own,
Perhaps as too ruthlessly ambitious and grandiose
To not judge anyone’s ideologies elsewise than his as
Unclean, i.e. to be Denunciated, Abused, Murdered.
Marx, in my abnormally rigorous reading of his addictively
Apocalyptic, and so also Paradise-mongering
Rhodomontadist Rhetorics—of denkverboten (“mind-crime”), and
Its paranoiacally restless exclusivity of micro-herd
Totalizations, or Utopias.
Finitude is the actualization of an infinite grace.
Finitude murders the face of the Other: as the Other is
An ambiguously restless and irrational facing of
The absolute enigma
Of her absence in his presence.


The otherness of a rock
Is that its each aspect is to us
As delineated by our society of language.
Madness is a language of one, is freedom, power.
Psychotic expressions thematically derail often bc.
Of certain characteristic neurological mutations of our
Most novel and delicately abstracted frontal
Schizophrenia is NEURAL EVOLUTION....?
“Yo, fuck y’all—everybody!” —O.D.B. (rip)
Aggressivity and trauma are part of our ancestry as wild
Mammalions and vertebrae and
Chordate life-systems.
Death-Trauma cannot forever be suppressed or else
Psychosexual repressions inculcate cancer into sexuated populations?
A loveliest doubiousness to suspend, this.
I believe because belief permits me the non-formal logics necessary
To overcome the psycholinguistic oppression of
Principles of Reality, or “Phenomenological Norms”, aka the
Heavily-Inhibited Perceptiveness of a Banalized Lifeworld.


My teachings emanate from the anarchy of Infinity.
A rock cannot respond to me when I name it,
Unless I also use my hands.
Ambiguity’s terror is such that any critique reflexively criticizes
Itself foremost, in an inescapable conflation of itself with its critical
Learning who someone else is is perfectly impossible,
But the sentences of justice are maximally judicious, never judgmental.
Insert quote from Henry James preface on mannerisms as
The novelistic analogue of methods.
Books of poesy are good if also novels of
Their author’s own protagonism.
A fictional novel is insincere data
Until it is the face of social Authority,
Or reverts into an essentialist speculation upon itself.
Rocks are voodoo dolls, except of friends or lovers,
In the panpsychologistic totalitarianism
Of we earth bones.


If rocks don’t dance, how can they be a
I chuck pebbles into the ocean’s languorous maw;
Observe their many trajectories.
Each of them is a one-way return forward from
The One;
                                —Their late plunking into the seas
                                Is merely exemplary.

I've never assimilated myself into these rainbow-ostrich territories before.
Science opens the book of Nature
By closing the book of God
                                —Although as written into a holy canon
                                Science alone abides—and grows of its own
                                Fecundity in decomposition.

Geopsychologism is a symptom of deviance, that is,
Of oppositional defiances to a very narrow set of norms
Surrounding the status of inanimate objects
And the claims of ideology on creation.

Creation itself may well be but the retrojection of
An ideation, but the question for this primordial ideation is then
How much it actually believes in itself? Enough to
Uphold the ultramaterial pre-originality of its creation?


Dancing is
Bodily intelligence.
                                C’mon let’s boogie.
                                Now let’s preen.
                                Now let’s preen.
                                Now let’s boogie,
                                And preen,
                                And boogie,
                                And preen,
                                And boogie-preen,
Expressivity as the criterion of intelligence—or eloquence, lucidity.
I cherish no nemesis with my Other.
Infinity is a cruel frailty and a sublime terrorism.
Conditions produce ideas that organize new conditions.
Apocalypse is never now.

The nonsense of measuring infinity
Is somehow responsible for our essential showing forth
As a built environment.
Even animals act civilized when set safely within the bounds of their habitual life.
I am that greater glory of our infinite confederation of nations.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

// a S O Rt Of DIS jO I NT’d A Ne C D O Te // TXT 4 CA // of Once Meeting His Eminence //

by Maxwell Clark

CA Conrad recently visited Yale University. I was in attendance for his one free and public reading of the stay—an event opened (I must add) with a most massively illustrious appearance from Stephen Krewson, a promising Flarf poet, as it were, and friend (i.e., creative collaborator) of mine. I also attended [to] the “informal” conversation at a local “gay” bar (said "gay" as such if only because it was a little moreso masculine a space than “queer” would rightly suggest) with CA and Stephen which followed their readings. Stephen’s public presence, I too much protest, on this highly peculiar night was arguably by far the more immediately risible in its slaying irony and, as such, also the more entertaining performance—as his renditions of his (Boolean?) keyword search amalgams were very verily exuded with such a vital smoothness – if not joyous assurance – such as one rarely encounters in everyday slum life (as I experience it in the “9-Square Zoo” surrounding Yale’s campus), much less in the U.S.’s mass media spectacle, etc. and so on – yada yadaif only as it were. CA, almost needless to affirm, nowise failed in any respect to affect himself upon me so very fully in the veritable gorgeousness of his hippy-shamanism (that I so adore)—it was, if only perhaps, simply that he too was too-long lingering in a hypnotic admiration for Krewson’s exceptional and exceptionally new performance just before him that night. But the most urgent and living teachings of CA’s uttermost exuberance (a unique signal of his genius) were not to be expressed to his public audience, per se, but rather to those audience members who privately elected themselves into his coterie by following him to said “gay-bro” bar.
                Myself, being at first seated on the opposite end of the bar's long bench where-at CA had already before sat, this bench being also crowded in between each of us two with said private-class self-elects of his reading’s formerly public audience members, I was inspired to undergo an immensely protracted series of discussions with these others (none of whom were CA). Although these chats were mostly stimulating, if not highly civilizing, in character (at least for me), I found that, as more than a few spirited hours of such fizzy discursiveness wore on, the number of "interpolators" seated between myself and CA steadily dwindled back mostly into their dorms and otherwise shared apartments (but excuse if this sounds a wanton or pejorative generalization). At long last, I was able to address CA. And how soon, very wondrously to me, how soon after I had made said address of myself to him (by my name, or “personally”), did he then excavate his most favored “gemstones” (as it were?) from his jacket’s pockets slip-slide out on top of the bench’s most elevated table-area. I, for my part, recall distinctly how I said I thought these "rocks" were “sexy” (especially the sparkly black and oblong one) and that they were “dancing for us tonight”. I also gave him and the remaining others notice of my recent opening of the most archaic but properly novelistic form of textuality I know, Cao Xueqin’s The Story of the Stone, wherein certain mythologically valenced gemstones are already in an opening scene assigned emotions and voices and other such sentient characteristics, etc., etc. Somewhere in all of this I also recalled to voice another (then-also-present) colleagues’ (aka, Kevin Holden’s) exceedingly "panpsychologistic" (i.e., plain-vanilla Idealistic) phrase: “everything is sentient”—which he (Kevin), as I reminisce on hearing him speak his loving bouquets of his cheerfully idealistic poesy once before, I believe attributed to an author (or mythical hero?) of very ancient Greece, likely perhaps a Pythagorean of some relation (although an absolute respect for the sentience of "all things" is more in keeping with our Buddhist inheritances)?
                But why am I so attentive to CA’s “rocks” and not his letters on his pages of his books, or at least to describing my memories of his voice, its delivery, etc. —public or otherwise? (His voice is very unique to him—very, quite nasal – even unreally so, almost cartoonish or faux-childlike as such—except also too, too much tragedy-inflected, sometimes thus almost of a “bleating” tone, and so also indeed a somewhat (also very figuratively) “butchered” sonority then—and all of this just before said in its most endearing senses to his venerable reputation alone). Why? Because I am obligated to share with you, even may hap to persuade you, convince you, of how nakedly expressive a gesture was this his sharing of his rocks. He exposed himself to such a palpable extreme when his own "rocks" (as I alone affectionately have dubbed them herein) tumbled and slid and clanked across the metal bench before me—if only each intersubjective face of infinity’s “society” (aka, Creation) were so adamantly sincere and “forthright” and expressive and intimate and trusting and denuded and forward in their respect of me.
                And, so, you see: ta-ta for now (“ttfn”).

p.s. CA Conrad loves me, and I love him. Quoth (the entirety of a private email he once sent me): 

"I love you Maxwell,


I anxiously pre-apologize to him most of anyone for this "disjointed" anecdote being so brusquely abortive a preemption thusly—
it's just like a way I have 
about writing what is written 
in my more prosaic 
and essayistic texts.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Proximity for Poesy

by Maxwell Clark


As Frank O’Hara once so languorously (as also very sloshily?) and off-handedly instructed in his still too minorly attended and loose ideological assemblage or lazily-formulated genre of Personism: having a conversation with someone or other on the phone and writing that very same person a poemsy are not very essentially divergent forms of behavior. A poemsy, as such, appears almost just as a prettily deferred and so more ornately perfected phone call, or face-to-face conversation. Except, and this is the most apparently brutal inequity of very most of each and any traditionally solitary behavior of poemsy writing:

                                                                  "Why do I tell you these things?
                                                                    You are not even here." (John Ashbery, ‘This Room’)

An affable yes to these lines of Ashbery, of course, must be and are afforded herein, out of respect for their very concretely felt phenomenological near-certitude or, more like, highly persuasive rigor, if just by myself (perhaps alone?). Only except for this truth: a poet’s beloved muses (“affections”, “inspirations”) are more or less directly or indirectly influential to their poet’s corporeal-phenomenological face (and so also then into their grasp, as then the means of inscribing their poetical composition) from over any spatio-corporeal remoteness—as otherness itself is actually a non-spatial, and rather absolute or metaphysical, relation. I, as poet, only ever serve as witness to the Other and testify to her glories in a way transcendant of, or beyond, spatial distance or extension into “the afar”. Each and anyone that is, is also so already just thereby proximate to me, as a poet, and inspires me in their proximity to express their face (or its voice) out through the impress, imprint of my poesy. My poesies are the trace of my others, if only as they uniquely burden me, more or less. Proximity is also never to be comprehended in any way as any form of contiguity, nor continuity, nor connection, nor coherence, etc., etc., further. It presupposes much instead an absolute ethical separation or unbridgeable face-to-face “infinitesmal sheerness” (mayhaps sometimes also, as such, fluid asymmetries or crooked parallaxes – if likely only in specially climactic events).


“To communicate is indeed to open oneself, but the openness is not complete if it is on the watch for recognition. It is complete not in opening to the spectacle of or the recognition of the other, but in becoming a responsibility for him.” (Levinas, Otherwise than Being)

The proximity of others, a.k.a. of muses, to a poet (or each and anyone) may be said to observe the structure of a non-spatial or absolute separation of each their “faces” (or corporeal phenomenologies), somehow also non-indifferent to each other and also thus at least potentially respectful. The poetic (or otherwise) Other yet also asymmetrically towers over its poet, as the Other is its reckoner and giver of its commandments—as though divine, if only in its outgrown but ineradicable theological residues or vestiges.
                The poet, as such, is, in a perhaps too easily integrated or misrecognized imagery, a “conduit” or “modem” for the wireless external “current” or “connectivity” of the Other. Although the poet, in the always formally unique signatures of their creations, is always alone responsible for these their creations (on so many registers), it is paradoxically or non-formally also true that the same poet who gives their sign to and for whatever work contributed absolutely nothing properly of themselves to the driving impetus of the exteriorities productive of the work they properly and privately own at their birth. Each and any unique creation (aesthetic or otherwise) is only a concretization of the infinitely intricate and hyper-complexly detailed influence paths of infinity, of the interminable unbinding or deconstruction of creation itself.


The non-formal separation-proximity of the Other’s absolutely exterior influence commands my poetic expressions inexorably, inescapably. I alone and nonetheless am responsible for the uniquely reified things which this influence presses (expresses) out of the mould of my unique corporeality. Thus each and any poemsy expresses a unique permutation of infinity’s (creation’s) influence and command over its poet creator, and also the uniquely corporeal or subjective characteristics of its passively receptive poet.

                                             “In my unconscious it is others who I hear” (A. Artaud, 1946)


If the canonical arrays of poetry are indeed, as Poe taught (except for him much more exclusively in the singular), (many) thrones, atop which only one sovereign poet may reside at any one time, then I do verily propose that the most just scales upon which to rank its sundry contenders are this: the gradient of their sacrificial relaxment or dilation to whatever exterior climate of their infinities’ proximities, plus the otherwise autonomously manifested intensity of these exteriorities’ then reigning force. Thus, a superlatively beyond hyper-vigilant and supremely over-open poet’s poesy may suffer dully from extreme lulls in the turbulence of his exterior climate whilst an otherwise almost utterly insensate or ultra-narrowed poet may be sufficiently overblessed with a rippingly turbulent vortex of their infinite climatology to outrank his so unfortunately cursed former exemplar of this sentence.


Poesy, as the influence of creation’s infinite sway over and through the corporeality of each and any poet, is thus also, if not utterly and hopelessly unteachable or unaffected by teaching, is also in no way ranked very centrally or essentially upon the bare energetic expenditure of any poet upon their studies, much less those of their cultural ancestral lines which they more than less also inherit as privileges, and so on. The rank of any poet or their poemsies, or even more, their poesy (or life behavior itself), is, again and again, most strictly and decisively determined by (1) their dilation or openness to an infinitely exterior inspiration; (2) the potency or force of the infinite exteriority they are influenced by.

                To end, then, if these hastily adumbrated schemas prove inconsistent, untenable, or whatsoever have you in time, then forget what exactly the specific phraseological content is of what was written herein and try to reaccess the feeling or feel of the author who witnessed its testimony write itself before him. Amen, and deuces.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Urban Form and Ashbery’s Pyrography

by Maxwell Clark


Excuse, of course, how I sometimes (and/or more near the beginning) misname and/or mis-number a few lines as "sentences" in what follows. It really is a matter of little concern insofar as my commentary on these lines may still be pleasantly, if not rapturously (gloriously, etc.), read as such anywhoooo.

1.       Methodology: Or, Numbering

In what follows I will be numbering up each sentence and stanza with an “x.y” notation wherein “x = stanza” and “y = sentence”.

2.       Sentence-by- Sentence Analysis

1.1   “Out here on Cottage Grove it matters.”

As it stands today, or as of 07/07/2013 in the newsite, Cottage Grove, Minnesota  is actually losing residents to commuting from even more exurban locations. Exurbanization is actually a tendency or flow more than it is any particular location over any duration of time. Exurbanization is a deterritorializing reterritorialization, or conversely, or chiasmatically perhaps even, of course. In a crucial chapter of his The Urban Revolution, early Marxist urban-geographer Henri Lefebvre tries to adumbrate definitions of “urban form”. We read from it: “The fact that any point can become central is the meaning of urban space-time.” Consider thus the exurbs as the foremost fringe or frontier (front) of the financial bourgeoisie of the Americas and even, or especially, globally. Marxist analysis is actually very lovely and acute when divorced of its messianic apocalypticism.

1.2   “The galloping/ Wind balks at its shadow”

This is a typical  Ashberyian twisting apart of (imperialist-capitalist) norms of subject-object relations in English grammar, or sentence formation. Because what the fuck is the shadow of a galloping wind? Truly, simply, verily: nonsense. Except that it also discloses an affective tone, or note of character or personality, of itself, in my misreading. For affect is always misread.

1.3   “The carriages/ Are drawn forward under a sky of fumed oak.”

This is a typical “mise en scene” (“staging”) effect used by most conservative or romantic (same difference) poets, actually. It just depicts the scene of times centuries antecedent to the present of its writing and ours. The one minor difference from most other poets, however, being how Ashbery breaks the line. Or, this used be a unique feature of the Ashberyian canon, until every other modern-minded poet in the world adopted it.

1.4   “This is America calling:”

Although I considered cheating at this point in the writing and including multiple sentences together in citation, I now won’t do so anymore. If my readers are interested, they will read me. It is more important for me to have thought (ethically) and so behaved differently than it is for me to write these words, which are but lesser means to the end of the good of life. Words do things, respect them.
The “longing for national form” in the U.S.A. is only a sin of particularity. We just happened to be born in or moved to this imperial center of the known world. We address “America” (pronounced: “’Murica”) only with the heaviest guilt in our hearts and lips. It is heartbreaking to profit off the misery of others, is it not? But how bathetic, how utterly bathetic of me, whatever this queer term actually means. And so, also, again see how even the mention of America, the Americas even, and the globe, pinpoints me in my place as an imperial citizen.

1.5   “The mirroring of state to state,”

This is a very strange line, as mirrors are always strange and somewhat unavoidable, to say the least, in any thinking of consciousness after Lacan. The mirror is the silent language of the thing, perhaps? Or the only way to cut the knot of pure sensuous immanence without world is language, particularly naming. For naming is the primal form of language? Everything in our grammar arrays out behind the primal name or naming. Naming is objectification and subjectification at the same time. It is the cut of consciousness, its duality, its twoness.

1.6   “Of voice to voice on the wires,”

This is actually a very interesting line because it brings up the dual question or conceptuality of humanity and technology, or humanism and technics. Is a voice heard on a wire different from a voice heard “face-to-face”? If so, how? By being on a wire? Then also not different than the “face-to-face” in terms of expressivity and its trace in others?

1.7   “The force of colloquial greetings like golden/ Pollen sinking on the afternoon breeze.”

This is another very fine line, moreso in its own prime, because of the exquisite enjambment that is so characteristically abnormal as in Ashbery throughout. And again, colloquial greetings and breezy pollen really have nothing to do with each other, are in fact brought together within a sentence only by means of the most super-subtle “derailment”, or thematic discontinuity, i.e. madness. Madness, you must understand, not like Foucault understands modern madness (nowise to his discredit however, only owing to the historical epoch he studies), but rather as Plato understood madness, as a divine inspiration of the muses. I even daresay Ashbery’s main rhetorical gesture are these super-subtly hid formations of derailment. X (subject) goes to y (object) without x being thematically, pragmatically, habitually related to y. X is estranged from y, as in Brechtian alienation or Levinasianism. There are absolute binaries in my world at least, or so I console myself and command others.

1.8   “In service stairs the sweet corruption thrives;/ The page of dusk turns like a creaking revolving stage in/ Warren, Ohio.”

Is this political? I think it must be, a critique of political corruption in hotel like spaces. Hotels pretty much alone have service stairs now that I think of it. My father is a hotel industry corporate leader. I too know the exurbs. Except mine are in Maine, close enough to where the Bush dynasty vacations. The exurbs are the center of decision-making power in the global presently. Storm not the capitol, you vicious abolishers of capitalism, but the capital.

2.1   “If this is the way it is let’s leave,/ They agree, and soon the slow boxcar journey begins,/ Gradually accelerating until the gyrating fans of suburbs/ Enfolding the darkness of cities are remembered/ Only as a recurring tic.”

Here is where one would think the tempo increases a fair bit, owing to the long-windedness of the sentence if nothing else. But, as one quickly enough learns from good formalist-Marxist Percy Shelley criticism[1], reading the romantics slowly and sweetly is best. But Ashbery doesn’t sing, does he? Isn’t that a pity? I love to sing, to bring merriment to things. Or, is not joy perfection, and the good not indeed very good at times?

2.2   “And midway/ We meet the disappointed, returning ones, without its/ Being able to stop us in the headlong night/ Toward the nothing of the coast.”

The “disappointed, returning ones” to the inner city, in a retrogressive flow back into the urban center, not as a form of financial uber-empowerment, but of lowliness and abasement, as in my madness and insanity and institutionalization within the murder-city of New Haven. Note how criticism is really never about the critiqued for itself, but about how the critiqued makes her or his critic think, feel, act, believe, affect, trace, or whatevs. Criticism is the critiqued-for-the-critic, not the critiqued-of-itself. I.e., everyone only misinterprets in criticism, and narcissitically appropriates the critiqued for the critics own purposes.

2.3   “At Bolinas/ The houses doze and seem to wonder why through the/ Pacific haze, and the dreams alternately glow and grow dull.”

This is a classic Ashberyian laze of a long sentence. So lazy and metallically rusted. Patinated.

2.4   “Why be hanging on here?”

Because you are an exurban capitalist, you can afford it.

2.5   “Like kites, circling,/ Slipping on a ramp of air, but always circling?”

Ashbery doesn’t want to be a romantic. But he is. And he even seems very indirectly aware of this aporetic paradox in his thinking. He simultaneously, or in phases, both is and is not a romantic, then, perhaps even assuming different parallaxed positions in this mirror-play at distinct instants, to be final.

2.6   “But the variable cloudiness is pouring it on,/ Flooding back to you like the meaning of a joke,/ The land wasn’t immediately appealing; we built it/ Partly over with fake ruins, in the image of ourselves:/ An arch that terminates in mid-keystone, a crumbling stone/ pier/ For laundresses, an open-air theater, never completed/ And only partially designed.”

This, of course, is a highly “elephantine” sentence formation, one might also say “elegantine” if possible. Reminiscences of reading Henry James’ so densely airless and light Ambassadors come to my mind. Sometimes long sentences are the most architecturally fascinating. They almost form a purer aesthetic mode of perception than that of misinterpreting, in the eldest way, the (highly conditionally stated) “signified content” of signifiers. That is, by “signified content” I mean my own criticism; so that the signifiers come before their signified content, which is only another set of signifiers attached or glued onto the original text as a prosthesis or supplementary organ of its body.

2.7   “How are we to inhabit/ This space from which the fourth wall is invariably missing,/ As in a stage-set or dollhouse, except by staying as we are,/ In lost profile, facing the stars, with dozens of as yet/ Unrealized projects, and a strict sense/ Of time running out, of evening presenting/ The tactfully folded-over bill?”

Where are “we” again? I think Ashbery should speak for himself here. I don’t live in the previous sentence’s “fake ruins” (Yale) of my city, I access them briefly on occasion, but my world is not majorly of the ivory panopticon. Saying: “[h]ow are we to inhabit/ [t]his space”; is like saying how I am to be mostly otherwise than myself? And this is perhaps the foundational stump of my critique of Ashbery, he doesn’t frequent the ghettoes. But then, as such, it’s not really a critique at all, so much as a profound difference or distinction of geographies of perception and literary production. I live in the minoritarian world of peri-uncivilized madness; Ashbery, in the world of ultra-civilized exurbia. We’re bound and even willfully sworn to speak unalike.

2.8   “And we fit/ Rather too easily into it, become transparent,/ Almost ghosts.”

Royal “we” again. How magesterial. How communistic. A “spectral” communism indeed, or rather, the bath-salts of the intellectuals?

2.9   “One day/ The birds and animals in the pasture have absorbed/ The color, the density of the surroundings,/ The leaves are alive, and too heavy with life.”

One day might be made any day when Ashbery is involved. Never did a fountain of inspiration pour forth more constantly since verily the likes of Shakespeare or Dante or Plato. Ashbery is the best poet of American English after Gertrude Stein—as American English poesy has flowered (of) late. Incidentally, Melville is my variously more close-held societies of language best prose stylist (at, or in, the present condition I am in as this before I wrote), then Henry James—these were, obviously, of an earlier wave of life in the American English world, a world that needed more prose proficiency apparently and enigmatically.
Whatever is the cause of the earlier profusion of prosaic glory in American English—which even, to be sure, if also detour, perhaps can liably be said to “begin around” the inception of my very great-grandfather John Woolman’s Journals of Quaker abolitionism; A.N. Whitehead would later entitle him “the prophet of human freedom” in the West—whatever the cause of this utterly fabulous and “totes ridicxz” glory, we can be experientially certain, that is, reasonably uncertain that American English may be at the final-most fruiting of its later, latest wave of poesy.
In Stein there was the industrious bud, in Ashbery the delicate blossom, and in, I dare the knowing delusional grandeur and precariously fallible quixotism of this assertion mind you, the third phase is myself, Maxwell Clark, he who is the wholesome fruit. I neither play (Stein) nor pretty-up play (Ashbery), I feed you the prettiness of play; you few (or more) alone devour (or nibble, or spit out) all of my only bread deep down into your abyssal gullies, each although carved of the marriage between the blasted crags of Mt. Zion and Mt. Olympus, except plus the great Pyramids (which have, apparently, grown most of all up the Nile from Kemet, one of the many (or very few?) ur-urbs or self-inauguralizing geographic consolidations and complexifications of definable archaeological measurements in history—but history as in it is an eulogization of the dead and gone, but yet somehow vaguely proximate in trace, alone), which are, for me, some of the purest revelations (or sphinxes?) of the divine import of spiritual height and authority in human spatiality, its creation in poesy (a knowing tautology, which yet contains a terminological difference, or differance, as it were, which even suggests a sense of sequential motion [or restlessness] to its ideational sameness, ontological being, and any otherwise likewise frame it may register on, or has already registered in, etc.), and the utterly nihilistic temporal morbidity of those (its?) weakest relations.
The real is nihilistic, is an impossible to experience nothingness purely as itself and unto it itself—or so it is in my language game about it, but yet somehow there is also, despite this devastatingly abyssal void of doubt (i.e. reason), also light, and life, as an open or clearing in the sway of being (as being, being primarily alone unto herself or himself—difficult question of the gendering of being raised here, merely noted...), a belief in the nothingness of the real that is self-created, utopically – auto-enclosing, membraneous, and defined in its finitude by the negativity, or pure morbidity, that it juts or bursts forth from. Light comes into itself from opening the darkness of creation, is a cutting down of the shade-giving forms of darkness and exposing the even more pre-original hearthstone—whose anteriority, cardinality, etc., are its authority, if misleadingly (mystically, psychotically) only revealed afterwards. The beginning comes after the nothingness, as it creates itself from the making nothing (“cutting down”) of the nothing. This whirligig (of nihilism and creation) could be spun seventeen ways to sunny-sunny sunniest happy-go-phuckeryiest sun-up, but I suspect it is not very much novel eco-onto-theologically (see: “ex nihilo”, among the few Latin phrases retaining the universality of the catholicism its world strove for, for starters).

3.1 “A long period of adjustment followed.”

                Tangentially, or as entirely juxtaposed (thus also separated) out alongside its original context, this one-clause sentence could also signal the long-period of adjustment required for the dissemination of any poet, or multi-subject historical assemblage-organism of poesy (such as that in the linguistic globality or cosmography of the word[-light] in which I presently abide), to culminate in power. Thus again, if only while doing my best “rueful countenance” (or quixotism), the supremacy of ME, mi others (seet dem?), and the Otherwise itself (other than itself, i.e. restless). I, Maxwell Clark, wish to believe myself, despite all the unforgiving sufferation (of envy, i.e. hatred [–Spinoza]; also phallologocentrism, perhaps, if not also “phallusy” – but this cannot be properly developed here) it risks, that I am the latest, most matured “messiah” (“anointed”, or specially marked-off from the herd) of my current naming-word and its world.
                This is not blasphemous, I will even somewhat pathetically swear this to you, nor even unwise, except in the machinic functionality or gesture of its impossible bet or dare, as a sophistically misleading idiocy and yet only thus post-legitimated sincerity or candor. Impossible, because unforeseeable, unreasonable, ungraspable, unknown, but (important and emphatic “but”) also deeply sensed, i.e. “universally apperceived a priori” (which is Kantian for the neurology of the spinal cord, or even perhaps rather particularly the thalamus – anything but the DMT-laden nutshell of the pineal gland, whose only function is to catalyze a hyper-psychedelic surge of spirituality or, as it were, power prior to both the final farewell to life and its inaugural separation into separated and ethical being with the severance of the umbilical cord). I can be wrong, and will maybe be wrong for most of you, even for 10,000 years, when my very great-granddaughter (I distinctly augur she will be a female, or feminine—which are not the same thing?) finally salvages my own glory and height at their full height and supremest rank, under her.
                Thus is my prophecy, thus I am saying to you my face most beautifully, effeminately, and perhaps truthfully so as such. Or, isn’t the truth rather a copulation? an active matrix or complexly punctuated series of sexuated jointures? My word is the egg of a beautiful lady and the sperm of a gorgeous male comingling, as complexly as in our best models of genetics plus “ever + ever” beyond.
                But, to return to my critiqued “under-text”:

3.2 “In the cities at the turn of the century they knew about it/ But were careful not to let on as the iceman and the milkman/ Disappeared down the block and the postman shouted/ His daily rounds.”

                This is a symbolically-charged (“iceman and ... milkman”) depiction redolent of more generic form(s) of normalcy, or as like oblong-spirals indirectly around normativity “itself”, I presume. To describe something as “itself” is, of course, a merely magical sleight of smoke and mirrors. Yet it feeds our metaphysical need of ontological-discursive nourishment, I also presume, in a somewhat weakly formulation of this presumed need. We need the “itself” as a tropological additive to otherwise words in this language I am currently caressing out of “myself” (the personal form of “itself”?) because...? Because we are “ourselves” – “are” ourselves, whichever; the itself personalizes and privatizes being into a utopian subjective or objective enclosure, into a self or thing. Thus also its extreme ethical guilt when transferred over “the other”, or you; I cannot and do not wish to say who you are yourself, even though the grammar of this language game allows me to form such a sentence (“you are yourself really cool and pleasant”). This most minor formality or nicety is indulged, however, only as it arises out from a most infinite debt of otherness or absolutely linguistically-separated inaccessibility of “you”, in “yourself”, to myself (as or in “myself”).
                We may feel or sense or fear we are identified, as a herd, but mine and others language games intervene in order to quell this threat of an ultimately massive massacre. Mass and massacre are very homophonic cognates not without a certain berzerkly terroristic and sublime intimacy. Everywhere we mass too intensely, we tend to massacre each other, perhaps? As our mass aggregate of narcissisms, or population (of more or less unique and/or co-subjective assemblies) thrash murderously at our own echoey reflections in the formless watery surfaces of the world (aka, “well”).
                The word “well” itself, as it were, insofar as it signifies a deeply dug out hole of or for accessing underground water-tables, but also as tangentially referential as in the second syllable of my name (Max-well), and as an elder synonym, or rather slurring, of the term “will” (as in “will-power”, etc.—but especially in the Schopenhauerian ontotheological tradition of its usage), seems at its deepest available “olde Englisha” rooting, or perhaps hyphae rather, or at least archaelogically “deeper”, thus more distant, semantic networking, to mean “source from which anything is drawn”. The world is thus a well, or welling up, of itself, aka “me” (you).
                And so on, onto and unto to the most ultimately rad and gnarly discovery that the first syllable of my first name (“Max”), which is also its colloquially shortened version, counts among its etymologies the following etymological cognate of “maxim”, or:

"precept, principle," early 15c., from Middle French maxime, from Late Latin maxima, shortened from phrases such as maxima propositio, maxima sententarium "axiom," literally "greatest premise, greatest among propositions" (one which is general and absolute), from fem. of maximus "greatest" (see maximum). []

“Maxwell”, as such, can be, if only within my perspective on the world and for the benefit of its own conditions (of life), paleologically back-translated roughly in the following manners: “axiom of Being”, “pre-original givenness-without-giver”, and so on—my name itself ushers in forms of an eco-onto-theological force for its own interpretation.
                But something about “milkmen”, I believe....

3.3. “The children under the trees knew it/ But all the fathers returning home/ On streetcars after a satisfying day at the office undid it:/ The climate was still floral and all the wallpaper/ In a million homes all over the land conspired to hide it.”

A notice of the key distinction to be made between home and office, after the more original style of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project. The home wells forth in history (or “historicity”, if we must distinguish between them...?) as a private (“thresholded”) feminine destination in the evolution of civilization; the office, or workplace, i.e. “public” world, welling forth conversely as masculine or male in its dominant or major character. The deconstruction of this minor “historical” binarism of sexuated dwelling (female) and poesy (male), its liability to be unbuilt and perish, for its trace to be erased in the present, even at the expense of conserving its actual memory, this in no way a sign of the permanent and absolute untenability or weakness-unto-death of all binary structures of our word-world. In fact, we highly and passionately desire many binaries. We well forth as (or in) binary ourselves, as it were. There is always two—two or more. (??)

3.4 “One day we thought of painted furniture, of how/ It just slightly changes everything in the room/ And in the yard outside, and how, if we were going/ To be able to write the history of our time, starting with/ today,/ It would be necessary to mode all these unimportant details/ So as to be able to include them; otherwise the narrative/ Would have that flat, sandpapered look the sky gets/ Out in the middle west toward the end of summer,/ The look of wanting to back out before the argument/ Has been resolved, and at the same time to save appearances/ So that tomorrow will be pure.”

                What a complex sentence, I must idiotically just state that first I guess. So long and containing so many thematic derailments that it might appear to me “to mean nothing”, and so also nothing else to anyone at all. But, as Levinas teaches me, and to paraphrase: the rankest nonsense for me always has a sense for someone else. I could then dissect the different elemental combinations or atomic measurements of this sentence, I suppose, but that is always being done herein, just not as directly or with as forcefully distinct a rigor as is perhaps fully possible. Ah well, suffice in your faith in me, as I am the bearer of good tidings and welling life.

3.5 “Therefore, since we to/ do our business/ In spite of things, why not make it in spite of everything?”

What does “doing business” “in spite of everything” mean to me? It means welling forth from an always-afterwards “retrojected” void without any reasonable cause or even origin, as a being in and of itself, carelessly loved into existence, so that I know never why I am so loved, as a miracle. It also means loving the world in spite of its hatefully nihilistic charade of “selfhood” or “thingdom” as nothingness. The very “–ness postfixed onto this root of “nothing–” gave away its temporality already, if only more or less, long ago (for me).
Doing business in spite of everything means to me quixotism, or “belief in what is already doubtful”, not as Don Quixote believed himself a knight-errant, but as Sancho Panza did—as an amusing folly, worth risking harm for, even to be defended to the death, or at least near-death, perhaps. Not really anything like “quixotism”, then, but rathermore a Panzism. (This insight alone might easily turn into a very good book of its own, however.)

3.6 “That way, maybe the feeble lakes and swamps/ Of the back country will get plugged into the circuit/ And not just the major events but the whole incredible/ Mass of everything happening simultaneously and pairing/ off,/ Channeling itself into history, will unroll/ As carefully and as casually as a conversation in the next/ room,/ And the purity of today will invest us like a breeze,/ Onlybe hard, spare, ironical: something one can/ Tip one’s hat to and still get some use out of.”

                So much to say, so little energetic resources to say it. Note only the then-utopic but now-prophetic technological phrases. Also, the tempo-shift into high gear if and you are one to believe longer passages must be read more quickly (which, indeed, they shouldn’t—but there’s definitely a “turning-up” of the energetics in longer sentences, def.).

4.1 “The parade is turning into our street.”

                I have no idea. As if I needed one to write, but anywho....

4.2 “My stars, the burnished uniforms and prismatic/ Features of this instant belong here.”

                Another weirdo enjambment of a sentence. Merely an eloquent observation, so far as I can misread it. Ashbery also may have been losing steam by this point in a theoretically, or even probably (?), continuous feat of writing endurance.

4.3 “The land/ Is pulling away from the magic, glittering coastal towns/ To an aforementioned rendezvous with August and/ December.”

                This is the most silly nonsense to me; trust, I love it, but will fail to comment much on what barely is perceptible as the “picture of a world” (in Wittgensteinian) to me.

4.4 “The hunch is it will always be this way,/ The look, the way things first scared you/ In the night light, and later turned out to be,/ Yet still capable, all the same, of a narrow fidelity/ To what you and they wanted to become:/ No sighs like Russian music, only a vast unravelling/ Out toward the junctions and to the darkness beyond/ To these bare fields, built at today’s expense.”

                There is no known way to regulate the discourse of John Ashbery successfully. Others have perhaps not widely ventured the panzism of sentence-by-sentence analysis of single exemplaries of his poems. This is so funny because someone once vehemently held that Ashbery was not even quotable, and was understandable only the level of purely generic analysis. I think I have already demonstrated how quixotic that series of assertions is or was. Ashbery still will not be regulated, no sir, and I leave you with great guilt in my heart about this. Aloha.

[1] I’ve forgotten now the name of the title and author of an excellent work considering the formal aspects of Percy Shelley’s writings in general written by a once avowed Marxist and comrade of mine in the International Socialist Organism.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Boorishly Fashionable Regression, aka Neo-Conceptualism

Review of Notes on Conceptualisms by Vanessa Place and Robert Fitterman (Ugly Duckling Presse)
By Maxwell Clark

'Topographical Map', by Maxwell Clark (acrylic on canvass)

I can barely bring myself to read this mucky tome of yet such slimness. What either is being induced or deduced rigorously or affectively in this work? I cannot really tell. It’s a very weak piece of writing.

                “Words are objects.” (pg. 14)

Ok. Words are also expressions, aka the intercourse between subjective “faces” or unique individuals, i.e. non-objective, or even the ground of all posterior objectivity.

                “All conceptual writing is allegorical writing.” (pg. 15)

Ok. Is that an allegorical sentence? Is its secret, hidden meaning actually that its authors are weak and unpersuasive rhetoricians? Why bring in allegory in such a cursory and disjointed, much less strongly argued in some salient sense, kind of way?

                I will not further bore and mistreat my audience with quotations from this work (and please forgive the venom of that remark, although I refuse to erase it). Nor will I bore them with any more of my justly spilt bile. Please forgive, excuse, my apologies. Adios. Selah.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

prayerful meditations for Cixous, my would-be masteress [a shameful email]

hello, i would have very likely studied under you as a graduate student (my parents are both Cornell alumni) if not for a psychotic break i had during in my undergraduate years at UVM. Richard Sugarman (UVM) had inspired me to Emmanuel Levinas already in those years, however. And so I also undertook to begin reading Derrida (Writing and Difference, Of Grammatology, Positions, and very few others), mostly in order to cull for critiques of Levinas, my "master" Sugarman's favored hero or master-thinker. i have since, thank the sway of Infinity, remodeled my approach to both Levinas and Derrida, significantly, and even in interminably more and more concrete and more hyper-determinate fashion. i sooooo miss the opportunity to have studied with you, you genii-haunted vessel, you. your translations into English are some of my most favorite readings ever after modernized American English translations of Don Quixote. hahaha. i am an animal that is defined by laughing at itself. [

“Sexuality is amenable to ethical considerations only to the extent that it involves someone or something else beyond the individual: other people, or a principle. Liberal ethics are typically expressed in terms of other people; conservative ethics in terms of principles. Thus a liberal will typically disapprove of sexual actions if they hurt another, a conservative if they contravene an impersonal principle. Very social organizations, such as the military, resist anything that lessens control over its members. Sex, which is tantalizingly close to the social and involves other people in individual ways, seems a provocation to highly social organizations that impose constant attention upon their members.”

—Brian Fleming, ‘Discussion Please, Not Coercion: On repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, New Haven Review (winter 2012)


"Coherent discourse is one. A universal thought dispenses with communication. A reason cannot be other for a reason. [...] Reason speaking in the first person is not addressed to the other, conducts a monologue. And, conversely, it would attain to veritable personality, would recover the sovereignty characteristic of the autonomous person, only by becoming universal. [...] The function of language would amount to suppressing 'the other,' who breaks this coherence and is hence essentially irrational. A curious result: language would consist in suppressing the other, in making the other agree with the same!"


—Levinas, *Totality and Infinity*, B., 5. (pp. 72-3, Lingis translation, Duquesne)


Sex and ethics, the appurtenances of their interfolding become apparent in military studies, for me, here and now (then and there). Sexuality is ethical, as Levinas also teaches (in famous passages of ‘The Phenomenology of Eros’, see also: Totality and Infinity), as opposed to the totalitarianism of “the third”, or centralized-hierarchized, formally rational and logical discursive communities – such as, again, the army (also the anti-capitalist revolutionary party, though, as well). ]

again, i so miss your company, books do not make you "present" enough for me, perhaps. i do feel as though i've somehow participated in the unrolling of your ego-formations, in an asynchronous temporicity of textuality, however. (((haha, how erotically ornamental a turning a phrase that was, though, hihihihihiiii))). [

A highly salient gesture of my Infinitism at present is apologetics. Imagine my clasped hands tremoring to merely indicate you, the aggrieved. Aggrieved, because if Infinitism is the absolute and total genre, or pure (cardinal) genus of creation, as I believe it to be so, how to explain the failure of others, like more than one among you already, to acknowledge this faith as I do? But already my avenues of justification are so wonderfully simple, and so variously eloquent, I hazard only the following “core-sample” in reply: the fact of non-belief, or otherness, to Infinitism is a fact upon which Infinitism hinges itself --- otherness, wherever it appears, being among the most potent marks for encountering Infinity more fully. So that insofar as Infinitism is a genre, or generically limited element of my world, and thus not itself Infinity, or the Infini-ting (a somewhat queer neologism, which mixes noun and verb in a singular grammatical case, or even grammatical element, namely the post-fixed patois [Jamaican] note of “-ting”, and thus “thingness”, or noun, but also “-ing”, as in the English verb-ending --- but perhaps more on this etymology later), Infinitism is otherwise than itself. There is no proper definition of Infinitism, no final destiny for its meaning, no foreclosure of its transcendental historicity --- Infinitism, whatever mass-cultural cache it may ever acquire, might also be stricken from all linguistic usage, “as such”, and its truths would remain, would inexorably be included under new generic forms. For Infinitism is a form transcended over from content, or is a form only insofar as itforms the form of this transcendence itself --- thus also, when properly observed as always-already transcendent of its content, and thuslywithin itself, it proves to be only beyond itself, or a totally generic process of reformulation, a pure mutability. That affirmed, I also must affirm the following phrases, however periconsistent (my neologism) or juxtapository (my neologism): the unique invariant, or immutable, of this mutability, or its identifying element or atomic name, is itself subject to the transcendence that is only inadequately, inconsistently--as incompletely--observed conditioning it, and so beyond any final expression. (As the term “relative permanence” [Whitehead] very neatly suggested before this, even the principle of change is itself subject to change.) There is also no possible annihilation of the invariably varying condition, or transcendental content, of Infinitism, least of all by resentful and avaricious texts of critique. Perhaps at most there will be the forgetting, by erasure, by misreading, or even by excessive popularity, etc., of its name, or nominal form. Grounded in being cut-off from its content, thus welcomed as infinitely separate, as arriving only in transcending us, the Infinitist poets, as it were, or each of those who is (forgive), as a “former” of the world, cannot be otherwise than to be otherwise than this. This is why I apologize, I am never “right” with what is infinite, my words, in any of their senses, are never the same as infinity’s sense. Only apologize. Only apology respects the paradoxes of separation, of otherness, of absolute transcendence, by which Infinity is directly faced and addressed.


Reconciliation, or forgiveness? is a somewhat different (but now massively interesting to me) question, more later.

Thank you so much for blessing me with your blessedness, you blessedly lovely blessed-one, you. O! the blessedness! It is too blessed. Out-blessed and over-blessed and hyper-blessed, O! --max.

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