screen, sound, spotlight, audience, risk,
Prepare for the closest of all readings
the reading where we crawl over the text
the intravenous reading
the leaky, intimate encounter with
a text that flows into and through,
gathering molecules, flavours, filters and frameworks
before story and myth surge out.
Prepare for the performance of words of intent,
of words of power, of things which slip into speech,
of where speech does things beyond gesture.
Here, I will endeavour to make something
that does not speak of enchantment but manifests enchantment.
Maybe we’ll find out what it means
to be enchanted through the doing of it.
Maybe we’ll free ourselves from enchantment by the doing of it.
Maybe we’ll re-enchant ourselves by the doing of it.
As though the word brings on the event
as though the fact of the word is the destiny
as if the act of swapping is meaning itself emerging
as if the swapping is the precondition.
Where does this activation take place?
In that neurological flicker that runs from brain to finger?
In reading, or re-reading, or re-writing
where words slip from tongue to lip,
from unsaid to spoken, from hiatus to realisation, from precursor to utterance, from nothing to something, from haunting to performance?
What then, is the relation between
ritual and performative utterance?
What is there to know of reading
through the performance of enchanted rewriting?
In this study of remains that cannot be read,
the forensic analyst finds the signs of self-awareness elusive.
When conviviality is gone, we are ceremonially impoverished,
sacrifice then is amorous persecution, something obsessive
a repeated insect buzz, a goad.
This is our foundational story:
mind and body are forced to acquiesce to power [divinity]
even when our
ceremonial conversation is blocked.
What is the difference between possessing and possession?
One is forever in process, one is the reification of the process.
It is always still happening and turning into the already-happened.
Two stories that call to each other, that book-end each other, that answer each other.
The same protagonist, and – it seems – the same protagonist.
A shadowy figure, little known beyond a name.
These stories, this noise, this veil-covering-silence,
each name simply another word for the same.
All the doublings, reappearances, coincidences,
always the same protagonists.
And if the names play allusive games,
reference the meaning of one another?
There’s no difference there either.
The perfect surface of the divine is striated, cracked,
its stories are released into the wild
until it is only about the stories.
The sacred text, the authority, is founded on word play –
a substitution is the spark.
Exchange looms over the sacred, looms over art
one for another [women, words, offerings] exchanged pairs.
Quarrels. Somewhere between unassailable uniqueness
and a substitution that is always and never,
flares a conflict.
There are lists of names of which we know no more than their syllables.
These names now haunt other names, current names
I am writing through, not writing on, I am reading straight to the page
honey, poppies, cypresses, the vertical divine, the hallucination of upwards
things caught between things, beasts caught between
GIFS and metamorphoses, ivory knots
in each knot a god, a fetish, a thing of agency and power
A story never exists alone, it always comes as part of a web
forming and reforming, towards and away from us.
[maybe there will be time to find what I mean by enchantment]
I know, and don’t know what I am doing here
I can’t imagine something into being.
I need something to push against. This.
Edge closer to it, shave off a scalpel-sliver
slip closer to the Real.
Expose, hide, re-conceal.
The text changes, the text changes, the text simply is change.
The work that still remains for me to do.
Is the edit live? Is it performative?
Is it the-thing-itself-in-action?
Force me to attend to the text. Another forcing.
A swift aside on this retelling: the importance of fidelity
and which text is owed – source or reading?
Say something of ourselves, say something of others
point back to what is hidden.
WE ARE SHIFTING REGISTER. IT IS TIME TO SPEAK.
Fast and hard and high in the gold light,
and the air with bites of ice (ice-bite air)
Our hair flutters like pennants (pennant hair)
Our hair and our feet take turns to be the hallucinatory vertical.
One day we will fall from the sky. But for now we swing.
If you can’t follow it doesn’t matter.
You do not have to understand.
You just have to read and meaning will make itself.
This is my evidence.
Another aside. About the text. This text of re-reading,
re-telling, this thinking-out-from-under an enchantment,
this digestion, this question, this capture,
this answer, this hole in the discourse of mythography’s masculine authority,
this insertion, this resistance to the academic, this insistence,
this interrogation of early semiotics, this turning over, this draft.
One day, I will have to say more but for now, on we go.
On we go with the text, deeper into our enchantment.
I am performing reading straight onto the page
close to the text, the closest of all readings
a paeon, a love letter to the text
to author, editor, translator
a postmodern mythology
stealing literature’s method
inserting myself into the text
The thing is, this reading, this closest of all readings,
this re-reading, this capture, this reification of reading,
well, this reading isn’t like my other readings.
It’s a fantasy of what a reading could be or should be.
My initial reading – impatient, skimming eyes on stalks
(for the things that get stuck in them) – a sliding, distraction of a reading,
builds an impregnable fortress
where inside is only me living through the text
(that conjuring trick where the text is held like a spell against intrusion).
It’s not my usual reading.
It was meant to be a secret.
It came into being for itself alone,
for extension of its dominion as an end in itself.
As an end unto itself. My guide shudders,
teases me with things which are dangerous,
where I always hear this phrase: money hoarding, dandyism, experimental research.
I like how they come together, defining for a moment what it is to be dangerous.
These are the incidental moments where the text is at its most alluring.
These are the tasty bits, the depth charges, the inconsequentialities
that mean everything.
Everything repeats returns [reality] [illusion]
comes back again [with a slight twist]
We enter the mythical when we enter the realm of risk.
Myth is the enchantment we generate in ourselves at such a moment.
A magical bond that we self-tighten, a spell the soul casts on itself.
This state I know. These are the myths.
Beyond belief, credence, superstition or electricity.
Myth escapes ritual like a genie escapes a bottle.
Ritual is tied to gesture and gesture is limited.
burn your offerings
pour your libations
grease yourself all over so you can’t stick
compete in races
If you don’t pass on your stories via priestly authority, they take on their own lives
proliferate in multitudes, mixed up and incomprehensible.
It’s normal. There’s no authority to turn to for confirmation.
The flights of myth from ritual divine incursions are unexpected overflowings of reality.
History is constantly overflowing leaving relics visible in its wake.
We have lost an understanding of that which is implicit in myth
without recourse to imagining distance.
We see the inconceivable light years but no longer read the myths against the sky,
picking up the echo of a figure of this god or that god, here or there.
We know the myths are connected like fragrant rind connects an orange.
We don’t understand how but we accept it is so.
Don’t worry about these losses: remember to notice absences, undecipherability.
We can still dress ourselves in these stories
this tattered Siren’s cloth
where neither Sirens nor Heavens are visible.
The myths aren’t waiting to be re-discovered or re-awakened.
They are there to wake us in order to be seen by us.
So. The relationship between myth and novel.
Myths are made up of actions that include their opposites, like blood flow.
Novels are narratives deprived of variants, trying to recover them through depth,
density [too much] in a single text.
The action of the novel moves towards its paradise, to the inclusion of its opposite.
The myth possesses that of right. [I’m not sure what this signifies]
Your mythographer (those before, and me)
lives in a perpetual state of chronological vertigo
– it’s true – which she pretends to want to resolve.
Of course, she is not present here,
I am forcing her into the tiny hairline cracks
that craze, fracture, fragment other’s arguments.
She is excluded until now.
She is on one hand organizing taxonomies
and dynasties and everything gets more and more minute,
as though looked at through a microscope.
On the other hand, oh dear gods,
the mess is inconceivable, all the threads, more and more muddled,
the aftermath of a cat dropped in a sewing basket.
No mythographer ever imposes order on her material,
though we all set out to try and in this we are faithful to myth.
Myth allows no system. The mythic gesture is a wave,
a wave that drags unvanquished complications in its undertow,
including the disorder from which the next mythical gesture is formed.
The myths were rewritten, refigured with omissions and additions,
unobtrusive new variants that built up and thinned out the body of stories.
So myth lives in literature.
We race swiftly from myth living in literature to art.
Some old quote on art and perfection
the kind of things that makes it impossible to divorce art from nature:
only then is art perfect
the history of metamorphosis, first one thing then
another, then another, constantly, never staying the same.
the operation of the veil of epiphany and the fatal nature of reality.
The isolated mythical event doesn’t exist,
they are always a repetition and revealed by a repetition.
There’s never just one.
Myth shows the skeleton of the system for a little while,
reveals the latent order covered in its seaweed
the stuff bred by its own self-obscurance.
As soon as you clutch at it, myth fans out into innumerable segments,
desire paths. Variant is the origin:
all the divergences are reflections.
Meaning is made by difference. All the stories have similar elements,
folds in the same cloth. We seek the hidden repetitions
because they are there, because that’s where the stuff is,
it’s where signification happens, veiled in shadows.
This is how we know the difference between a myth and a fiction:
a fiction contains only single gestures, only single movements;
a myth contains all versions of events all at once.
when we feel this inconstancy, inconsistency, slippage, multitude
that’s when we know we are in the dimension of myth.
My variant fates:
killed by an arrow as my lover watched.
I killed myself after being abandoned.
I’m shipwrecked and pregnant.
I die in child-birth.
I married a god
rose to a new life among the constellations.
I followed my god, fighting alongside his soldiers.
I was turned to stone,
and I remain.
All of these things am I
more deaths than any other character
I am all these things,
corpse, constellation, pinioned and stone.
So this is how it begins:
the characters, the actors change,
destiny and narrative fountain out.
It’s always the same, no matter who the protagonists
the swapping is the precondition of the story emerging.
all the rest is just slippery radiance
now Crown me with stars
and leave me there to shine out into the dark.