On disjunction (II)

Disjunction often comes of suddenness—may be suddenness itself, given body, a form found.

Had my students working Tuesday on deep description. Pick one from this clump of grape leaves and describe it with sufficient devotion that another here, given this whole lot of leaves, hearing your account of yours, could pick that one out, unerringly.

They did and did and all good. The followup: Tune your antennae to beginning now and pick one phrase in your description that resonates beginningness. Write it at the top of a new page. Now tune to ending and pick one phrase that sings endingness. It goes at the bottom of that same page. Now, moving quickly, the first thought then the next first thought, write the paragraph that gets you from top to bottom. One restriction—can’t be about a leaf.

If each thing touches every thing (Indra’s Net) then disjunction is just in fun. No disruption except of our sense of disconnection. Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Not everything but every thing. Means there’s all the space to move.

Blake - MHH plate 27

The way I put it in a poem that never found a public home.

The ease with each part touches each adjacent part.
Apples in a wood crate on a foldout cardtable.

Oh god he’s quoting himself make it stop.

Thought, as they worked away, too easy to sustain a through-line here, need to shake it up. OKAY I said STOP. On whatever word, or mid-word, stop. Draw a big dash. (Drew an em-dash on the board.) Put a period after it. (On the board.)

The way it came to me in mountains once when I was struck dumb by the perfect of each altogether and entirely open stone. You have all the space you’ve ever needed and have always had. You have all the closeness you’ve ever needed and have always had.

Snagged in a language of one who regathers himself after invasions and evasions as dimly as fiercely remembered. And, the insight didn’t keep me from being a somewhat total asshole to the woman I was there with and did stick with me through it, a year more, then she didn’t any longer, so.

A period after it and now pick up in a new place. Some other new subject, whatever, anything. Just don’t go on saying what you were. Day by day make it new. Day by day? Word by word.

To start, each word, anew. Meant to get to Tender Buttons. Sounds good, for another night than this, rain flying at my windows all.

POSTSCRIPT. After a dissipated start my afternoon class spent ten minutes talking about one line break and without repeating ourselves! The line:


On disjunction (I)

A good, straight, clear, honest question this morning from one of our company. You keep praising, he said, approximately, work that’s weird, kooky, associative, fragmented, with no clear story or theme or argument to make. But what’s the difference between doing that and just spreading random garbage on the page?

And one came up after with another version of that question. You keep encouraging us, she said, to make big crazy associative leaps, but you wrote on my exercise, What’s the arc, where’s the through line? What gives with that? Which is it you want?

Just the questions I want to stir in them. I hope they know they’re doing great. Not sure how robust my answers in the moment were, so am thinking it through a bit more, here.

Will invite them to, and hope they feel moved to, read on.

A first thought. Three images, or words, or sentence fragments, say, can be at a great distance from each other and still make a pattern. In the same way that three stars, 10s or 1,000,000s of light years apart, can still belong to a constellation. In fact, they can’t not make a pattern—




—a triangle. In other words, even three bits of garbage, set out mindfully, make a shape. Could be slogan to the blog.

The triangle is from one vantage the perfect form. The number of points of contact by which a stool cannot not be steady.

And constellations are, besides, maps of human mind, not stars “in themselves.” Epsilon Pegasi has no sense of being part of a horsey.

An essay contrasting perfections of the circle (singular Platonic transcendental annihilatory) and the triangle (multiple immanent ecological). This from Creeley’s “Numbers,” in Pieces—


This time, this
place, this

As of a stick,
stone, some-

thing so
fixed it has

a head, walks,
talks, leads

a life.

Alongside this—


Here forms have possibility.

The first
triangle, of form,
of people,

sounded a
lonely occasion I

circle begins
here, intangible—
yet a birth.

His priority always the forms the multiple takes. The circle as not singular perfection of the point but rather multiplication to infinitude of the triangle. Creeley as Pythagorean shaman.

But I digress.

Oh yes I do. Not much here yet of use to my students I fear. But must turn to work on a job letter. So, to be continued, and in the continuance, I hope, these.

First words of Tender Buttons. Disjunction as narrative fatigue. As provocation & alarm. As faith in essential wholeness. And probly, cuz I’m going on my nerve, lots I ain’t thought of, yet, now, here.