Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The Object is not Accesible. Performance, Access, Lisette's Tenderness, Amy De'Ath.

Two of the worst performances we've done were both done in
a state of heavy intoxication, and because of that losing
the ability to read at all or to see the words on the paper or
to stop them wiggling about and to demand of an audience
that they just, you know, fuck off and die or that they kill
in a part of themselves that which is easily preventable. One
was in Cambridge and the other in the Concorde Two.

I'm not proud of moments like that; not from some moralistic viewpoint, not because it is unprofessional. Professionalism is shame. No, because they become points of no access in exactly the wrong way. Think about how poems are actually barricades of bliss stuck in alienation, capturing the pan-optic with the ability to look back, forward, inside, outside all at once. Then ruin it. That's what it feels like. The only useful thing I said was 'fuck all competition forever' which doesn't feel great in your mouth,, and saying 'fuck' something or other feels more and more tired and offensive. Offensive. Not tired. Everyday.


Being subject
to the whims
of the others
                       with their object-i-flatten
          reeling & stooped
in bad
           loops / revolting. 

           this feels
as if relayed
                     horrible; unjustly
so removing
the scud
the bee / i-bee,, this

removal, to this lucky
summer, swinging over hump
to tree
             to grass bed
         as if tragic
object-vee-used out
where sisterhood
                             sloped i-to
dream scrap,, & sit there
lapped & lucky, long
but shadowed
                        ochre,, rest if
needs be
            sister, travail
not not unconvinced
a shell in twist

* ********************************************************************************

Poetry for Boys

I've been re-reading Amy De'Ath's Erec & Enide (Salt) recently, especially the sequence Poetry for Boys. There's a collosal tenderness here. What do we mean by tenderness. Tenderness is a near-impossible revolutionary approach, impossible because it is very difficult to maintain. We require ourselves to constantly examine the material of subjectivity - to comprehend faithfully and to realise the total order / structure of relations at play in any interaction. When we are speaking to a 'this' we ask ourselves to disallow the language of categorisation - 'this' can no longer be our relational tendency. Poetry for Boys omits a tenderness like this. One that is troubled, romantic, pastoral, opposing and musical. Is intensity ever stable? "That the joy will soon come and make you suffer!" - an epigraph, a warning, a spell. The sequence is full of contradicting invocations 'lay low' but in language, in pastoral language, 'in the words of the wood', subtlety not naturally forming immunity. The first poem in the set is a musical anacrusis for the rest. These are poems that split your gender perfections up, drop them back into your throat. Vocalisations of worlds impossible, privileges uncatalogued: 'if I had the money to dip in being a boy / If I was Anna O., & fallen into autism or / steeped in prelingual glimpses of Lena's face, / I'd be living system: looped in my own elements. // A system closing talking only to itself.'

Seriously beautiful work isn't easy. I feel like perhaps it gets overlooked. Configuring identity is rarely simple despite beauty and fear - to ask oneself with tenderness to ones own subjectivity where your system is closing and who is it talking to - what elements does it loop in, and where do they stick to make the subject sitting here (there) now?

From Francesca Lisette:

'So, I’m interested in the genius of the space that hovers below identity, solidarity and ego. In reaching for an affective politics, I ask that we make ourselves sociologically weaker – that is, in the terms of Keston’s paper at Militant Poetics, MORE emotional, more supposedly FEMININE – and that everybody does this. I’m interested in intersubjectivity, in what we might mean or do to each other beyond our socially accrued markers, in the weirdness of being humans at this time now, in how we can be kinder to each other. I like to call this form of praxis ‘revolutionary tenderness’.'

- What I Want: A Manifesto for Revolutionary Tenderness. Francesca Lisette.

I'm still trying to work out how we make a revolutionary tenderness and even more how we maintain one. I worry about strategies. You know I do. And I think Francesca does too. I think her address of the new power structures built up by 'rightness' (in language etc) are essential. Identity politics like Anarchism and Marxism very quickly falls into this glut of assembly from disassembly. New workfares. New racisms. New social phobias. Academic. But perhaps we need to be tender towards that tendency too. As in understand it as the composition of subjects (us) desperate to struggle. Understand it and act on it in compassion and love. Work into our language structures ears as well as mouths and brains. More later. Your sister. 


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