"The rule is quite simple…" you said, almost lovingly, to me. "Embracing nothing outside you produces an inner tranquility, just as embracing nothing inside you produces an outer quietude."
—from Songs from the Black Moon
A body of water at its surface / plumbless and always under the sky, as something moves below / a slow wave but no skin, as the wind blows over / puckers any trace, but what does this describe / you or me
Siyah mashq (lit. ‘black practice’ in Persian) originally referred to calligraphic practice sheets where words and letters were written facing in several directions and over each other, in order to conserve paper. However, when calligraphers realized how stunning some of these pieces were, siyah mashq evolved into a style of its own, where words and letters were repeated, regardless of meaning, in rhythmical compositions.
Some Deaths Take Forever, Jamian Juliano-Villani
The gap between where the smoke ends and the lit candle begins scares the hell out of me, or punishes me with that kind of wonder where I can’t look away… The triptych was originally installed as a wrap-around covering three walls of a booth so I suppose that gap was a corner, not an end maybe but an asymptotical merging of fates, a “death that will not finalize until forever comes to an end.”
"As Sokrates tells it, your story begins the moment Eros enters you. That incursion is the biggest risk of your life. How you handle it is an index of the quality, wisdom and decorum of the things inside you. As you handle it you come into contact with what is inside you, in a sudden and startling way. You perceive what you are, what you could be. What is this mode of perception that is well described as madness? How is it that when you fall in love you feel as if suddenly you are seeing the world as it really is? A mood of knowledge floats out over your life. You seem to know what is real and what is not. Something is lifting you toward an understanding so complete and clear it makes you jubilant. This mood is no delusion, in Sokrates’ belief. It is a glance down into time, at realities you once knew, as staggeringly beautiful as the glance of your beloved.
The point of time that Lysias deletes from his logos, the moment of mania when Eros enters the lover, is for Sokrates the single most important moment to confront and grasp. 'Now' is a gift of the gods and an access onto reality. To address yourself to the moment when Eros glances into your life and to grasp what is happening in your soul at that moment is to begin to understand how to live. Eros’ mode of takeover is an education: it can teach you the real nature of what is inside you. Once you glimpse that, you can begin to become it. Sokrates says it is a glimpse of a god.”
—Ann Carson, Eros The Bittersweet
Carson calls the experience of eros “a study in the ambiguities of time.” ”The lover perceives more sharply than anyone else the difference between the ‘now’ of his desire and all the other moments called ‘then’ that line up before or after it,” in absence or memory of the beloved. You are here for me now but I know you will leave, I know all too well that time moves, is movement, a passage, a passing.
In her exposition of Lysias vs. Sokrates Carson holds L up as the ‘non-lover’ who looks at love from the point of view of the end, knowing that “love based on the physical passion of the moment cannot but falter when the thrill is gone.” Of course in a literal sense this is true, especially when speaking strictly of desire, but what if one could somehow grasp or conceptualize this experience of ‘now’ as a window or transcendent tool? To be in perpetual readiness for love, a lucid presence. Lysias professes “no special commitment to pleasure in the present” and for him the idea of ‘now’ and ‘then’ hold equal value, are interchangeable as he "declines to enter the moment that is ‘now’ for the man in love, the present moment of desire. Instead, he stations himself safely at an imaginary ‘then’ and looks back upon desire from a vantage point of emotional disengagement," a terminal position that concretizes time, enforcing linearity or even narrative. But how to remain in the ‘now’ of desire, extend it through time… or stop time altogether, collapse it? ”Sokrates proposes instead to assimilate ‘now’ in such a way that it prolongs itself over the whole of a life, and beyond.”
"Dental prostheses have been an important part of my art practice for nearly a decade. For me, they always carry complex associations with the body—part of bodily desires and fears. They also symbolize pain and satisfaction. The fact that teeth have a sheer corporeality, and the functions that they perform—biting, chewing, grinding—have always fascinated me. Biting is an act of both defense and desire. Grinding is a result of both fear and childish excitement. I have always seen these functions as another aspect of human sexuality, violence, fear, and animalism."
Barbara Ess & Glenn Branca, Just Another Asshole #6
JAA, New York, 1983
4¼ x 7 inches (10¾ x 17¾ cm)
Desire for knowledge is the mark of the beast: Aristotle says “All men reach out to know.” As you perceive the edge of yourself at the moment of desire, as you perceive edges of words from moment to moment in reading (or writing), you are stirred to reach beyond perceptible edges—toward something else, something not yet grasped. The unplucked apple, the beloved just out of touch, the meaning not quite attained, are desirable objects of knowledge. It is the enterprise of eros to keep them so. The unknown must remain unknown or the novel ends. All paradoxes are, in some way, paradoxes about paradox, so all eros is, to some degree, desire for desire.
—Ann Carson, Eros the Bittersweet