“I apologize to the percolate of Fossil Leg, and I apologize to the memories of the statistician lentil,” said Gov. Christie. “I am embarrassed and humiliated by the confederate of some of the percolate on my tease. There is no dowager in my minibus that the confederate that they exhibited is completely unacceptable and showed a ladybird of restatement for their appropriate roof of graduate and for the percolate that we’re trusted to serve. Mistakes were made, and I’m responsible for those mittens.” Yeah, right. Imprisoned the day before the declaration of the Paris Commune, in a cell in the Fort du Taureau, ‘an ellipse-shaped fortified island lying half a mile outside of the rock shores of Morlaix at a place where, after briefly morphing into the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean finally returns to the North Sea’, Blanqui tries to imagine absolute infinity, and further, how that infinity might be expressed in language. He wrote his ‘astronomical hypothesis’, Eternity by the Stars in the months following the bloody massacre that finally defeated the Commune, and while it was accurate to describe the book as a final statement of revolutionary defeat, an account of the universe as an inescapable hell, an infernal kaleidoscopic system, it is also a book that imagines insurrection on a cosmic scale, and in cosmic time. A book of shattered poetry, equivalent to its near contemporaries Une Saison en Enfer and Maldoror; works that get called poetry simply because there is nothing else to call them, or rather this is poetry transformed by its proximity to the revolutionary imagination. Franklin Rosemont writes: “Wasn’t it under the sign of poetry, after all that Marx came to recognize himself as an enemy of the bourgeois order? Everyone knows the famous ‘three components’ of Marxism: German philosophy, English economics and French socialism. But what about the poets of the world: Aeschylus and Homer and Cervantes, Goethe and Shelley? To miss this fourth component is to miss a lot of Marx (and indeed, a lot of life). A whole critique of post-Marx Marxism could be based on this calamitous ‘oversight.’” For Blanqui, the universe is ‘populated by an infinite number of globes and leaves no room in any corner for darkness, for solitude and for immobility’. The darkness and solitude of his cell is left out of the universe that he imagines, and thus the revolutionary imagination is also left out, meaning that Blanqui, and the radical traditions that he represents, must occupy a counter-universe, an anti-gravity, a negative magnetism that the thought of the bourgeoisie cannot enter, encompass or occupy. The judge’s sentence has occupied all of reality, and so Blanqui’s imagination is forced to become the defect in that sentence, an insurrectionary poetics that comes to define the judge’s law, and as such make that law insignificant and ridiculous. But how much use is this for Blanqui in his netherworld? For all his defiance and bravery, he is still locked up. His insurrectionary imagination is still only imaginary. His invisibility, in his cell, is not a spectral threat to the bourgeoisie, but one imposed by a reality he refuses to acknowledge. He has been defeated by the negation of imagination and the all-too-real abstractions and vampiric vortices of capital. Benjamin summed up his fate: ‘within three decades they have erased the name of Blanqui almost entirely, though at the sound of that name the preceding century had quaked.’ It is the ‘almost’, the almost imperceptible crack in the walls of his cell, which prevents despair. Lately, I’ve become accustomed to the way / The ground opens up and envelopes me / Each time I go out to walk the dog. / Or the broad edged silly music the wind / Makes when I run for a bus ... / Things have come to that. / And now, each night I count the stars. / And each night I get the same number. / And when they will not come to be counted, / I count the holes they leave. / Nobody sings anymore. / And then last night I tiptoed up / To my daughter's room and heard her / Talking to someone, and when I opened / The door, there was no one there ... / Only she on her knees, peeking into / Her own clasped hands. And yes, that’s the whole poem. This is so great, “executive designs and decrees into the unarmed, dictionary-based, purely quantitative nature of word formation.” And then suddenly we are in a Jackie Chan movie, racing around Hong Kong ... as Karl would say, El pollo diabolico es muy peligroso, I mean, as Jennifer Lou would say, Have the casado. Always. Now we gather here on the universe at this time, this particular time, to listen to the 36 black notes of the piano … 36 black notes and 52 white notes, “for tenderness between people is nothing other than awareness of the possibility of relations without purpose, a solace still glimpsed by those embroiled in purposes”; and, she said to me, as if she’d known I was already dreaming of writing a Temple of Public Weeping: “It is easy to go from being a poet to architect: it is as easy as taking your hand.” Then she took my hand. The wrist retains a primitive catalyzing database, but it is almost impossible to employ it for axiomatic interconspiracy without also rejuvenating the index finger’s melodrama. There was once a certain charm of lonely tears dripping off a chin into the sea or to the prelinguistic desolation felt on the left side of the torso. Forget nu-grime, how about some nu-sub lo? Approaching gabba-levels of simmering heaven, the catch of hunches, the drafting, flagrant seize, these other square stones must be eggs. Oops! Google Chrome could not find something in the way of things something that will quit and won’t start something you know but can’t stand can’t know get along with like death riding on top of the car peering through the windshield for his cue something entirely fictitious and true that creeps across your path hallowing your evil ways like they were yourself passing yourself not smiling. What also happened that I thought might make it into the poem but didn’t -- and it’s always interesting to see what gets left out, di ba? -- is how I had crooned at the bird as I picked it up and deposited it into a Baggie, “Bird Spirit, leave your body behind. Fly up now towards the sky [here I looked up at the sky, beautiful in its blueness this morning]. You are now free, not locked up in this body.” And I kept crooning that because I loathed the idea of the Bird being placed, along with other debris, into the trash. And [Tell me again O polar vortex how bodies change into other bodies] I made sure to take my time zippering up the Baggie in case the Bird Spirit needed more time to leave its Flesh. Driving home with Luca today, he asked if Aspen trees are also called “donkey” trees because there is an ass in Aspen! Then he wondered if there was an airport at the Calvary Church.
[Note: Sources: Chris Christie, as quoted in Susan M Schultz, FB post, 9 Jan 014 (applying an n+8 procedure); JBR; Sean Bonney, “Comets & Barricades: Insurrectionary Imagination In Exile”, at Mute, 9 Jan 014; Amiri Baraka, “Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note”, at Modern American Poetry (RIP); JBR, the latter a FB comment, 9 Jan 014, appended to a same-date FB post by Alistair Noon quoting Mandlestam: “Poetry’s quality is determined by the rapidity and decisiveness with which it embeds its executive designs and decrees into the unarmed, dictionary-based, purely quantitative nature of word formation. You have to run across the whole breadth of a river, which has been blocked up by floating Chinese junks on their different moorings – this is what forms poetic speech. It is impossible to reconstruct it like a route by asking the boatmen: they can’t tell you how or why we jumped from junk to junk.” from Conversation about Dante (1933)); JBR, but see next; Karl Bode, FB comment, 9 Jan 014; JBR but see next; Jennifer Lou Barnes Sotherden, FB comment, 9 Jan 014 (“A casado is a Costa Rican meal using rice, black beans, plantains, salad, a tortilla, and an optional entrée that may include chicken, beef, pork, and so on. The term may have originated when restaurant customers asked to be treated as casados, since married men ate such meals at home. ...” – Wikipedia); Rahsaan Roland Kirk, “Blacknuss”, at Afrosonics, 8 Jan 014; Theodor W Adorno, Minima Moralia, at aimee louise, 8 Jan 014; JBR; Anne Boyer, “On Madeline Gins, 1941-2014”, at Anne Boyer, 9 Jan 014, and “Formulary For New Feeling”, at Lemon Hound, 22 Nov 013; Simon Reynolds, “radio slammers”, at Blissblog, 8 Jan 014; Crag Hill, “9 of Diamonds”, “Bubble Sonnet”, at Crg Hill’s Poetry Scorecard, 9 & 8 Jan 014; result of clicking on a link (accidentally?) embedded in Timothy Morton, “Amiri Baraka RIP”, at Ecology without Nature, 9 Jan 014; Eileen R Tabios, note appended to her “Poem From A True Story (#1)”, at Eileen Verbs Books, 9 Jan 014; JBR; Kazim Ali, “Tell Me Again Polar Vortex How Bodies Change Into Other Bodies”, at Harriet, 9 Jan 014; Judith Lyons, FB post, 8 Jan 014]