Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Odd constellation flung up into a sky coming undone. Cloud tatters nail’d to officious blue planking.

I trundled off (dogging the current crop of sublime—or coy—ironists) to find Friedrich Schlegel and encounter’d Arno Schmidt, Scenes from the Life of a Faun:
The moon’s bald Mongolian skull slowly shoved its way toward me. (The sole value of discussions is: all those good ideas that occur to you afterwards.)
Must one follow through on good intentions, or is it sufficient just to formulate them?!
Color blindness is rare: art blindness the rule . . . There is even an ancient Sanskrit proverb that says, most people give off sparks only when you land a fist in their eye!: and so, painter, paint! writer, write! with your fist! (For they have to be awakened someway or other, all those semi-people living on the other side of the boundary line: so go ahead and let yourselves be cursed as “ruffians” by the fainthearted; and as “arsonists” by the firemen; and let the sleepy-heads accuse you of “breaking in”: they should thank the appropriate gods that somebody has finally roused them!)

Faint accruals of Schlegelismus? Ja. Maybe. Poetic enthusiasm (making) versus ironic skepticism (destroying). Schlegel:
“The most intense passion is eager to wound itself, if only to act and to discharge its excessive power.”
This self-infliction is not inaptitude, but deliberate impetuousness, overflowing vitality, and often has a positive, stimulating effect, since illusion can never be fully destroyed. Intense agility must act, even destroy; if it does not find an external object, it reacts against a beloved one, against itself, its own creation. This agility then injures in order to provoke, not to destroy.”
Against irony: wit (see Dr. Johnson’s sketch: the “combination of dissimilar images, or discovery of occult resemblances in things apparently unlike,” or “the most heterogeneous ideas . . . yoked by violence together.” Schlegel calls wit “an explosion of the compound spirit.”) That dialectic / shudder / wobble: the attempt to thrust things together, to assert new formal pliabilities, to combine (inexhaustibly, abundantly) whilst irony disassembles, claims unattainability. Schlegel’s irony is “the only entirely involuntary and nevertheless completely conscious dissimulation. It is equally impossible to attain it artificially or to betray it. . . . It is a good sign if the harmonious dullards fail to understand this constant self-parody, if over and over again they believe and disbelieve until they become giddy and consider jest to be seriousness and seriousness to be jest.”

Which uncommon harrumphings somehow brought me (involuntary) to Rodrigo Toscano’s To Leveling Swerve (Krupskaya, 2004) A dervish in feldspar is something like “Axionometric Manhattenings.” Fits the Schlegel wit / irony mash-up to a T:
Somebody lost to endeavoring.

Jumped out in front.

Seriously unserious about it—everything.

Acute receptivity.

At the base of a scaffold elevator at the exterior of the beamwork perspective.

Site, terrifically gnarled spot-welding on the way up.

Beauty, achieved, leads to.

Aesthetic ideals.

Serious qualitative cloaca.

Somebody lost in endeavoring.

Somebody else rams smack into it.

That to the front (jumping) is to be more exposed than to the back (jumping).

Poetic practicality.

Unserious about core issues, a hyper-serious core heating up.

Lives that happen one by one that cling by twos and threes.

. . .
Enacts and illustrates (and, with it under the skin of one’s imaginary, is “about”) Schlegelismus. Ja-maybe.

Irony in the note that the ghost of Belle Starr that initiate’d the fandango, that brilliant post is gone, lasso’d neatly and haul’d down, strainlessly (only the musical “strain” is left behind).