Few Ideas for the "Book" and and a Finger's Painting and Wealthy Lethargy
by Robert Snyderman
I learned Trance through, "through" as in of-penetrating, a series of four paintings, once hung on walls of MOMA. And beyond the paintings themselves, since the room where they hung also served as the towering hollow of MOMA's structure - the center, the waiting room, the exchanging room - exchanging visitors into the opportunity to shuffle north, south, east, west - and one must choose - so, I say, "opportunity," and in the reality of the Towering Hollow, perhaps in this "opportunity" there, a force involved - perhaps I can say this room, "Towering Hollow," served/serves as a kind of heart to the building - And beyond the paintings themselves, there was force. The force of the room. The force to witness more, by way of leaving. One must leave the heart. One must continually penetrate.
Do not arrange Trance. Entrance. The body stops. What keeps?
Perhaps this series of paintings is titled, The Four Seasons. A few impressions: the year it was painted: 1996: very recent, for this museum (thus time is thought of, considered, and myself within it/a friendship), I thought; and the title itself. The seasons. For a poet, and I think at that time I was still in the violent-fog of an Arthur Rimbaud-era, I found "poetry" in the will to represent and re-present that quiet cycle - that cycle of the seasons that lasts in such a way that one wants to break it, but does not, through forgetfulness, the vastness of the cycle's lasting, one forgets one is within it - Is that the point weaving - where one's veins become one's noose? Dried leaves for dinner, dried leaves for dinner, then color-mist, and shaping of death, and a shaving of hats, until the hats are hairs, until the seasons are more like swimmers.
Then, the paintings themselves. I believe one's family - as in the lost family/I don't know what the lost family is/I know what the family is/By family I mean one's bloodline, ancestry, womb and seed, brother and brother.../As far as "lost family" perhaps I'm trying to get at, that scattering fragment of teachers one finds, searching in vain thus half-searching... I've met people who believe one's bloodline-family distracts one from searching, within and through the vanity. After all, one's vanity becomes a very tricky symptom to deal with when tumbling among the hands of one's bloodline.
I can say that, fearing many decayed processions, I have been introduced to, and now am engaged with a few full-bodied voices of, my Lost Family. The beginnings of such a finding have, in my experiences, started with sensations of brief and bearable pain - brief because painful. As if the methods of this relationship, when first introduced, introduce themselves with the fullness that one will grow into/"The world is gone. I must carry you." [Paul Celan]
At the time when The Four Seasons was displayed, one could not be in MOMA without passing it. Thus, I too passed it, along with the crowds who are now crowds and not faces, not to be walked around or smiled at or hated... But the crowd is important. The crowd, the Towering Hollow, and the painting itself are, for now, the important elements of the Trance I am burning towards.
I am having trouble knowing whether I should refer to The Four Seasons as "a painting" or as "paintings." I warn you. My feeling: I would not want to be introduced to the series dismembered, as in be shown only the winter painting, or only the summer painting.
That "feeling" adjusts me to the spine: The Book.
I will quote Edmond Jabes, from the first volume of his The Book of Questions,
"When, as a child, I wrote my name for the first time, I knew I was beginning a book."
My first experiences - my introduction to The Four Seasons - were of a passingness. I was with others. Accompanied by good friends. I now go to museums alone. Good friends are good friends. Museums need silence, need the echoes of loneliness. We would enter the museum. Ascend the first staircase. And there was the painting. And we'd walk toward it. And I had the feeling of time, not the feeling of timeliness. Perhaps I stood in front of the four pieces. But this Towering Hollow was no security. A nearly endlessness above, and no substantial walls to tell us that the pieces within the Towering Hollow were placed together. More like entering an office that had art-fragments for the sake of oxygen rather than displaying artwork in order for it to be displayed and witnessed.
The eyes of my body were swimmers. The Four Seasons was meaning to drown me. A certainty. A burst. A severe accident. I describe the painting now, to those who have not seen it, as "...Imagine a deaf and blind child - covered in paint/his fingers are claws as they are also words - is told to create the seasons of the earth."
After reading the title, the date, and the artist's name, I changed for the painting. I became ready to be a reader. I realized there was something of a rite involved in the production of the painting. If the art-piece is named The Four Seasons, then that art-piece is a proposition. The artist is proposing this work to something. Let us call this "representation" or let us call it a proposition. I will call it a proposition.
This specific proposition, Cy Twombly's The Four Seasons, proposes an incompleteness. Each section, from left to right: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter: through notions of stain, through sentences half readable and ascending into the exterior of canvas which holds it in, through movements of paint rampaging delicately down, across; all of those visual notions one might be forced to call abstract expressionism when in the context of wrapped-expression, when in the context of the swift unknown - through the realism of these notions, I consider a cycle of fragments. I was gaping with a new idea. That one could take an experience, and through the aggression of the will to propose a re-occurrence, can propose, to the world outside oneself, a meeting point of act and remembrance.
After this thought, when in the Towering Hollow, I would find myself unable to leave the Towering Hollow. Feeling as if I was being followed. Feeling as if the back of my neck was being spoken to. Perhaps I spent hours and hours in that room, gazing, attacking, whispering to The Four Seasons.
Let me return to my idea of the book. I am a poet. And for now, I think, I will always be a poet. What I understand about most poets, the poets I read etc., is that books contain poetry. Books are sold in bookstores. Books can be carried. In books, pages contain poems, and pages are connected - pages can be turned and new page will be revealed while the past and the future pages are concealed. There are covers. Author photographs, publishers, editors, etc. Multiple copies. Here take my book. I have more. Bookstores have more. Libraries have more. And to the book, there is more. Why, besides the containing of the object, is a book a book? I know there are folks reinventing the aesthetic presence of the book form. Wonderful. If the words need that. If the words are only themselves within that environment, then wonderful. But, I am not so much interested in focusing on the purpose of aesthetics. Perhaps my work might imply that. Perhaps my work might, to some, necessitate that. However, for now, the only concentration I am instigating unto the aesthetics of my work, is more or less accidental. For now, I begin with the text. Nearly in the mind of a graffiti artist. For now, I care about how a text can be a book. And I am interested in producing a book that is not one object. A book that can be in many different places. A book that is never together: A book that cannot be carried.
The current trends in my will to write involve a nature that depends on where I am and the means by which I can write, by what I can write on/what I find beautifully-destructively-birthingly-necessary to write on, whether it be by hand with a pen, with a typewriter on pages torn out of the Torah, whether I be amidst other poets or whether I be living on a dirty mattress next to a tribe of beggars in New Mexico, whether I be in small haunted Pennsylvania with my family, whether I be alone in a Museum, whether I be trying to make money to eat with "Poems for sale!" I find the event important. And more, I find the words important. And I find the delicacy of the craft of the words more honesting in an evidence of the environment I had to bear them. But I am interested in the book. And more than interest, I work in a serial manner. Memory is important. The evolution of evidence is important. My poetry must be understood as always a part of something that is whole. Perhaps in the case of a poem signifying that there is more behind and ahead of it, more diagonal to it, more breathing on it, more killing it, more breathing through it.