Happy Mid-February

Mirror Theory
Lucia LoTempio

with a wolf head
in it: magic

says rub
tooth to your gum, sleep
with cheek
matted to your

sweat—first you
must kill it.

a letter of carved
wood that sings
like howl.

What happens after
the cast—where
to dispose
of used up

fur coil
and red.

Kept saying
new when I had

looked for nothing.
There’s a whole

word for wind
in France,
northeast and dry;

I have not been
given one
to say how

canvas cuts
a tree’s bottom
and top
with grey poplars.

My stretch of cells
still repeating.

The nuns
made my body
a holy cathedral,

a temple is a widest
entrance; place
of herded into.

Still have
a wolf and it’s still
breathing. From its mouth
crawls another.

Then from that,
it happens again; throat
combed by teeth.

It became
we and I was

a portrait
with many hearts in it.


snowcrash notes

274  archangelic alphabet   eye writing-letters composed of lines and small circles, 1s and 0s, binary code

Some Kabbalists divided up letters of the alphabet according to where they were produced inside the mouth…drawing a connection between the printed letter on the page and the neural connections that had to be invoked in order to pronounce it…By analyzing the spelling of various words, they were able to draw what they thought were profound conclusions about their true, inner meaning and significance…the fact that languages tend to diverge (Babel)

363 with words of pidgin thrown in



Notes on Abram’s “Spell of the Sensuous”

p. 9  the traditional magician cultivates an ability to shift out of his or her common state of consciousness precisely in order to make contact with the other organic forms of sensitivity and awareness with which human existence is entwined. only by temporarily shedding the accepted perceptual logic of his culture can the sorcerer hope to enter into relation with other species on their own terms; only by altering the common organization of his senses will he be able to enter into a rapport with the multiple nonhuman sensibilities that animate the local landscape.  it is this, we might say, that defines a shaman:  the ability to readily slip out of the perceptual boundaries that demarcate his or her particular culture- boundaries reinforced by social customs, taboos, and most importantly, the common speech or language-in order to make contact with, and learn from, the other powers in the land.

24 om mani padme hum   o the jewel in the lotus

38 husserl-phenomenology-intersubjectivity    Lebenswelt=’life-world’ (exformation)  1934 notes on conception of ‘space’ overthrow of the copernican theory-the Ark does not move, the earth is ‘the ark of the world’

45 merleau-ponty rejects notion of transcendental floating ‘ego’

52 perception in m-p’s work, is precisely this reciprocity, the ongoing interchange between my body and the entities that surround it.  silent conversation that i carry on with things…

58 the magician induces us to assist in the metamorphosis of his objects, and then startles us with what we ourselves have created.  it is when the magician lets himself be captured by the magic that his audience will be most willing to join him.

68 we can experience things-can touch, hear, and taste things-only because, as bodies, we ourselves are entirely a part of the sensible world that we perceive.  we might as well say that we are organs of this world, flesh of its flesh, and that the world is perceiving itself through us.  m-p’s notion of the flesh of the world, along with his related discoveries regarding the reciprocity of perception, bring his work into startling consonance with the world views of many indigenous, oral cultures.

to touch is also to feel oneself being touched, to see is to also feel oneself seen

74 although it confounds the causal logic that we attempt to impose upon it, perceptual experience has its own coherent structure; it seems to embody an open-ended logos that we enact from within rather than the abstract logic we deploy from without.

77  at a time when meaning has become impoverished (demands no effort of expression or comprehension)

82 saussure la langue, la parole

83 by describing any particular language as a system of differences, saussure indicated that meaning is found not in the words themselves, but in the intervals, the contrasts, the participation between the terms

the weblike nature of language ensures that the whole of the system is implicitly present in every sentence, in every phrase

96 wen, chinese word for writing, signifies a conglomeration of marks  (rabbit tracks, deer tracks/what do we know).

98 sumerian life arrow ti

99 semitic aleph-beth  22 letters, breath sound (what would be vowels) chosen through context by the individual speaker

105 rhapsodian ‘to stitch song together’

109 socratic dialect-asking speaker to explain what he has said-Havelock suggests this was primarily a method for disrupting the mimetic thought patterns of oral culture, (separate yourself from your own words)  small wonder that some Athenians complained that Socrates’ conversation had the numbing effect of a stingray’s electric shock

in every case Socrates attempts to induce a reflection upon the quality as it exists in itself, independent of particular circumstances.  the specific embodiments of ‘justice’ that we may encounter in the material world are necessarily variable and fleeting; genuine knowledge, claims Socrates, must be of what is eternal and unchanging. (only once written down=fixed form independent of both speakers and situations) not so in Chinese ideograph, Greek alphabet first writing system to render almost any utterance into a fixed and lasting form

112 alphabetic writing deflects our attention from its visible aspect, effectively vanishing behind the current of human speech that it provokes….the process of learning to read and to write with the alphabet engenders a new, profoundly reflexive sense of self.

psyche-psychein-to breathe or to blow- Socratic-Platonic psyche=the literate intellect, that part of the self born and strengthened in relation to written letters

113 phaedrus:  Egyptian king Thamus approached by Thoth, he refuses  (see derrida and plato notes here, also ref cortazar notes)

123 impact of phonetic writing on human experience of wider natural world

126 divergent parts of myself are drawn together by the object, and i thus meet up with myself over there

127 last chapter of m-p’s last unfinished work is “The Intertwining – The Chiasm” derived from ancient Greek word meaning “crisscross” optic chiasm in neurobiology is only common use today

128 vision and hearing are the 2 distance senses

130 There is an expectancy to the ears, a kind of patient receptivity that they lend to the other senses whenever we place ourselves in the mode of listening

Direct, prereflexive perception is inherently synaesthetic, participatory, and animistic, disclosing the things and elements that surround us not as inert objects but as expressive subjects, entities, power, potencies

131 the animating interplay of the senses has been transferred to another medium (written text)

132 talking leaves (written pages)

148-150 bird language

hermit thrush speak Koyukon words sook’ eeyis deeyo:  it is a fine evening; nahutl-eeyh, literally:  “a sign of the spirit is perceived”  The thrush first uttered these words in the Distant Time, when it sensed a ghost nearby, and even today the call may be heard as a warning.  (Nelson, Make Prayers to the Raven)

the lesser yellowlegs, a shorebird, sometimes flies straight up, then utters a piercing call as it descends: “Siyeets, siyeets, siyeets,” which means “My breath, my breath, my breath.”

preeminent prophet or seer among birds is the great horned owl, mmmm mmmm lil growl is stormy weather coming, etc.

150 “Even the birds are changing.  The robins don’t say their song plainly anymore-they only say it halfway, like a kid would when it’s learning.”

151 Distant Time stories told are told only during the late Fall and the first half of the long Northern winter.  Indeed, scholars of native lore have found this to be an almost continentwide rule:  throughout North America, at least prior to 1900, native communities listened to their most sacred stories only at night and only during the winter.

Women, because they have an excess of spiritual power, must avoid calling the otter by its real name, lest they frighten it, and so refer to the animal only indirectly as biziya-“shiny black.”

153 No event for the Koyukon is ever wholly accident or chance, but neither is any event entirely predetermined.  Rather like the trickster, Raven, who first gave it its current form, the sensuous world is a spontaneous, playful, and dangerous mystery in which we participate, an animate and articulate field of powers ever responsive to human actions and spoken words.

155 Apache man told Basso that he often “talked names” to himself  “I like to” he told the anthropologist “I ride that way in my mind.”  Another Apache told Basso that his people like to pronounce place names “because those names are good to say.”

156 the land is always stalking people

158 someone was working with words on his mind

159 i know that place.  it stalks me every day ‘agodzaahi

167 spirit children decide which stanzas

170 with words of pidgin thrown in

217 the inside of things and the other side of things

221 uvatiarru = long ago/in the future (Inuit of Baffin Island)

231 we started existing where Darknesses, lying on one another, occurred.

232 when the baby is born, the Navajo say that the wind within it “unfolds him” and it is then, when the infant commences breathing that another, surrounding wind enters into the child


light is the left hand of darkness, and darkness the right hand of light

my old notes on The Left Hand of Darkness, one of my favorites by Ursula K. LeGuin:

called them time dividers, which may mean schizophrenics p. 63

I felt, whether I wished or not, the connection, the communication that ran, wordless, inarticulate, through Faxe, and which Faxe was trying to pattern and control, for he was the center, the Weaver.  …

I tried to keep out of contact with the minds of the Foretellers.  I was made very uneasy by that silent electric tension, by the sense of being drawn in, of becoming a point or figure in the pattern, in the web.  But when I set up a barrier, it was worse:  I felt obsessed by hallucinations of sight and touch, a stew of wild images and notions, abrupt visions and sensations all sexually charged and grotesquely violent, a red and black seething of erotic rage. p.65

the Zanies, the frailest ones, the fuse-points p. 66

“I serve as the filament,” Faxe said to me a day or two after the Foretelling.  “The energy builds up and builds up in us, always sent back and back, redoubling the impulse every time, until it breaks through and the light is in me, around me, I am the light…The Old Man of Arbin Fastness once said that if the Weaver could be put in a vacuum at the moment of the answer, he’d go on burning for years. p. 67

“You are a Listener, Faxe, a natural empath; and probably a powerful natural telepath as well.  That’s why you’re the Weaver, the one who can keep the tensions and responses of the group running in a self-augmenting pattern until the strain breaks the pattern itself and you reach through for your answer.” p. 68

we come here to the Fastnesses mostly to learn what questions not to ask. …

To exhibit the perfect uselessness of knowing the answer to the wrong question. p. 70

The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty:  not knowing what comes next. p. 71

to oppose something is to maintain it.  …

to be an atheist is to maintain God.  his existence or his nonexistence, it amounts to much the same, on the plane of proof.  thus proof is a word not often used among the Handdarata, who have chosen not to treat God as a fact, subject either to proof or to belief: and they have broken the circle, and go free.

To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness. p. 153

one’s magnetic and directional subsenses are all wrong on other planets; when the intellect won’t or can’t compensate for that wrongness, the result is a profound bewilderment, a feeling that everything, literally, has come loose. p. 168

i never had a gift but one, to know when the great wheel gives to a touch, to know and act. p. 189

unwilling to believe in the fact that i believe in you.  p. 199

fire and fear, good servants, bad lords.  p. 228

Light is the left hand of darkness

and darkness the right hand of light.

Two are one, life and death, lying

together like lovers in kemmer,

like hands joined together,

like the end and the way.   p. 233

the significance of the extraconceptual

From An Anthology of Mysticism and Mystical Philosophy:

For Wordsworth, as Easterlin notes regarding “Tintern Abbey” especially, the essence of transcendent experience in nature lies beyond language’s ability to communicate that experience because “language is by nature approximate and human” and “inadequate to the description of the extraconceptual,” although “it is only through language that the significance of the extraconceptual can be recognized and, in some way, known.” Easterlin observes, for instance, that Wordsworth’s use of denotatively inappropriate modifiers in “Tintern Abbey,” as in “round ocean” and “living air” convey an impression of language short-circuiting under the strain of describing the infinity of God infused into finite physical nature.

I adore this short circuit language, the way that it breaks little holes through the walls of any small cell you may find yourself standing in.

You can see some examples of this in my lil “Black Cloud,” forthcoming from an anthology by Truth Serum Publishing.

republic of mercy

Radial Scent by Sharon Wang

My body tauter, poised to carry.
When I pitch forward
I tumble inside.
Each time I try,
an algal bloom
replaces language’s surface.
Ruby-red & unmoored,
waves over laminate surfaces…
Everything alive aching
for more aliveness.
I love the world,
push it away reflexively.
Make songs like
negated charges on a circuit.
Syntax arches towards
the back of
a neck. Inside emotion:
a corralling of emotion.
Love in the larval stage:
terror of surrender.
Unraveling, a path.
Words were not made for us.
They are above, we submit.
We are like the rock beneath
the water,
even if we created the water.


as it does under water

Surprised by Evening

There is unknown dust that is near us
Waves breaking on shores just over the hill
Trees full of birds that we have never seen
Nets drawn with dark fish.
The evening arrives; we look up and it is there
It has come through the nets of the stars
Through the tissues of the grass
Walking quietly over the asylums of the waters.
The day shall never end we think:
We have hair that seemed born for the daylight;
But at last the quiet waters of the night will rise
And our skin shall see far off as it does under water.
-Robert Bly

journals of sylvia plath

p. 245 the ghost of the unborn novel is a medusa-head. (in horror of it, frozen by it..)

p. 256 fox possession, fave dishes of magical foxes, from  possession: demoniacal and other: oesterreich p. 94  on a certain day at four o’clock there were to be placed in a temple sacred to foxes and situated twelve kilometers away two vessels…

p. 270 writing is a religious act:  it is an ordering, a reforming, a relearning and reloving of people and the world as they are and as they might be…it feels to intensify living:  you give more, probe, ask, look, learn and shape this: you get more: monsters, answers, color and form, knowledge.  you do it for itself first.  (italics mine)

p. 272 god’s luminous fingernail, a shut angel’s eyelid (of the new moon on its back)