Sunday, April 22, 2012

Perfumes and Tumefactions

If space is identical to the mind, can dreams and ruminations solve the problem of larkspur? I believe it is possible to write a sentence that will keep warm by inhabiting a reader’s eyeballs. But this would have to be a live reader with a functioning brain. This species of reader became extinct in June, 1968, following the murder of Mortimer Snerd.

Much has been said regarding the relationship between capitalism and poetry. One is a system for building profit, and the other is concerned with the interior life of the slide trombone. The two systems are linked by space and gravity. Crime and Punishment. Silly diversions. Universal Mind. A job in a warehouse driving a forklift.

For example, T.S. Eliot was a banker. Here we find the relationship between poetry and money intimate as skin in the angelic anguish of monetary ambition.

Einstein believed in the God of Spinoza. The long soft nerve of the universe embedded in the good moist dirt of consciousness like a participle seething with nitroglycerin. The mind is more than a bouillabaisse of velvet crabs and monkfish. It is also replete with sockets, twigs, and adjectives.

Spinoza lived quietly, first at Amsterdam then at the Hague, making his living by polishing lenses. His wants were few and simple and he showed a rare indifference to money throughout his life.

Negation exists only from the point of view of finite creatures. Everything endeavors to persevere in its own being. Hence arise love and hate and strife. “Self-preservation is the fundamental motive of the passions, according to Spinoza; but self-preservation alters its character when we realize that what is real and positive in us is what unites us to the whole, and not what preserves the appearance of separateness.”

Poetry is diplomatic. The poem is an ambassador. Though naturally, when I say poetry, I mean something abstract, an instrument like a credit derivative which can be used to deceive someone’s attention, garner their interest, or seduce them into reading my blog. You can sweat steel, open an umbrella when it rains, or flirt with suicide, but sooner or later you’re going to have to face the reality of shoes.

Writing, too, is linked to space. This is where the mind climbs into its throne in the skull and delivers its many edicts and judgments. Each sentence is a rung on the ladder. The smell of sulfur penetrates the nose. A dragon of intellect hatches from an egg of paregoric. The sky is fat and pewter. Syllables are strewn on the ground. Some collapse into molten fire. Some congeal into words. Each word affirms on origin of blood and violence and crystals of music.

In Marseille, bouillabaisse is rarely made for fewer than ten persons; the more people who share the meal, and the more different fish that are included, the better the bouillabaisse. What better metaphor than this for the social contract? For poetry? For humanity? For perfumes and tumefactions?
The perfumes and tumefactions of writing, which are manifestations of a deep, interior pain, the wound of existence, the inflammations of a soul chafing against the parameters of a harsh and predatory capitalism.
The other night we watched Steve Martin’s Shopgirl. This movie is such a brilliant allegory for the new millenium. Ray Porter’s suave vacuity. Mirabelle’s sexy naiveté. Jeremy’s slacker charm. Capitalism is the true character of this movie, however, slithering in the shadows of Martin’s estates like a fat, pre-Raphaelite boa feeding on the smooth contours of innocent desire.
Everything which exists, exists either in itself or in something else. How might this pertain to free market neo-liberal capitalism?
I’d pay you a $100 dollars to read my poem. Alas, all I have in my wallet right now is eight dollars. And yet I feel that you and I have something vital in common. More common than money, or language, which are two sides to the same proverbial coin. What shall we call it, this thing between us? This understanding, this sympathy, this odor. Let’s call it a miracle, and leave it at that.


eula_w said...

I love reading your page! It is always so interesting. :)

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John Olson said...

Thank you, Eula, I appreciate hearing that.