Things to do...
101 things to do in kauai
1,428 things to do in and around harlem
"The Viennese logicians worked out a system wherein everything is, as far as I understood it, a tautology, that is, a repetition of premises. In mathematics, it goes from a very simple theorem to a very complicated one, but it's all in the first theorem. So, metaphysics: tautology; religion: tautology: everything is tautology, except black coffee because the senses are in control!"
- Marcel Duchamp
I don't know who said it first or best but all appearance is a vacillation between establishment and abandonment. There is something else, but we cannot speak of it except to say books consist of everything that has been written in them, which includes everything that has not been written in them.
The works in "Street Mete" that fall under the aegis of the chronologic - "101 Things to do in Kauai" and "1,428 Things to Do in and Around Harlem" - are practical: They map an arc of crisis to recovery in a two-year span (2002-2004) of my life. Grossly, the Hawaii work marks a shuffled, shot, torn, perforated, fucked two-week period in my life visiting paradise; the Harlem passage frames a picking-up-the-pieces one. "101 Things to Do in Kauai" is the psychological keel of "Street Mete," and "1,428 Things to Do in and Around Harlem" its sails. Words are the hull - they sound hollow if you strike them. The hull does not move much, like an island. Islands are hollow too, like a bell: if you strike them, you discover, as Donne wrote, "No man is an island." But we seem safe in the hull to move around, sleep, mull, eat, copulate, compose sea chants, etc. We work on deck, where movements catch and propel the thing, opening vistas - though the sea itself is monotony. It's the life below deck that gives the monotony charm: That sense of underlying fray to which we may hold.
Four things distinguish these chronicles:
I.Individual entries represent observations: Things occurred to me, and I wrote them down. Not the general and constant barrage of phenomena I continuously field, the "occurred to me" has to do with those occurrences that registered in consciousness: This occurred and I felt it. Attention plus sensation equals presence. Observation as it yielded an entry preceded occurrence: There must be something there to feel. Or, I had to be there in order for an occurrence to take place: be "stated." When I was, it was an entry. What I wrote down falls into two categories:
A.Depiction: I describe what occurred. This was externally triggered.
B.Comment: I reflect on what occurred, with an occurrence sometimes implied. This is internally triggered.
1.That "internal" and "external" as they may relate to location are conveniences of language, or makeshifts, in order to point toward an "infrathin" (to borrow Duchamp's term) flicker in an entry's origin. As noted, presence antedates all entries. It is really something closer to sensually and in-sensually triggered occurrences to my vocabulary, or wordhoard, which is itself not I am. My wordhoard is actually closer to another organ analogous to though distinct from my mind. If anything, my wordhoard is another potential body, which I am building. Its shadows are my books. The method by which such builds is openness.
1a. Poetry just made of words is an undesirability, if not an impossibility.
2.Internality and externality are unverifiable because it is impossible to return to the point of origin without altering it: Namely, memory creates a new occurrence that can only compare, not be, original except to its own, renewed entry. It is possible to pose a "ternality" as from such building or growth there is no turning (in or out), internality/externality, unless we face the con implicit to language itself.
II.Entries are linked according to their order of occurrence, or one thing follows the next in time. This respects the fact that we actually live our lives according to the arrow of time, which moves in one direction, toward what we call futures. Markings in their various forms allows us to register order in time, and in this case I have used the simplest numerical form.
III.Each entry is written in the second-person singular, though the event on which each entry is based actually occurred to me (not you). At the same time (and this occurred to me more or less from the beginning, or in the entries that constitute "101 things to do in kauai"), the use of "you" was intended to include the observer or listener - the you to whom, implicitly, all affective communication is based (even allowing for the second-person plural, as in oratorical communication). That is a rhetorical trick to induce the entrance of pathos. At the same time, however, writing the entries from the standpoint of a "you" allowed me an objective address, which, while an impossible of experience actively, is a possibility of language and perhaps of the con implicit to it.
IV.Each begins with a verb. As Robert Creeley said, "You need the act in order to find the actual location." In the known, which is appearance, act is prior to things: Before the doer and the done, which are resolution, an act is. But just as the doer and the done cannot be (even located) with an act, so act absent these two is impossible. The doer and the done relate to pattern, which is possible to imply at the level of the triad, with the act. Perhaps one, two and three are all the numbers that act (and therefore we) needs, actively. Even in hortatory exclamation there is implied a doer and done as such occurs in a field of potential action. But what is important is a doer and done cannot be without an act, even of naming, as observation is itself one. But dignifying act prior to either doer or done, I am foregrounding flux as prior to pattern. Or, as Olson said in a Black Mountain lecture: "Or one gets the restoration of Heraclitus' flux translated, All things are vectors. Or put it, All that matters moves! And one is out into space of facts and forms as fresh as our own sense of our own existence."
A.In this we deal with appearance: In words, we can deal only in appearance, as noted: though, again, there is something else. But we cannot speak of it, though we say it may be tied to what is implied in the state of I am I am still trying to discover. This may be prior to language (which is appearance). That to which one may not point is between act (which is random until it is borne in mind) and its location (pattern), which may be in the mind.
The relative assignment of crisis and recovery differentiates the Kauai and Harlem chronicles: the Kauai chronicle holds to - is printed in - linear time, whereas the Harlem material is rendered asynchronously. One could say that in the former I am clinging to time as an organizing, rationalizing structure and direction (having perhaps relinquished an inner sense of location and direction); in the latter I am able to unwind time, allowing myself to investigate more organic weaves of experience. This more organic syntax is closer to my core interest in simultaneity (of self as located outside of time, as illogical as that sounds), or the vertical (harmonic) scale. The Harlem work includes a more fluid, intuitive sense of time, perceived and used as a fabric, say, on which events occur but which is capable of being folded to form new, asynchronous patterns according to instigations other than sequence or narrative building.