Pier Paolo Pasolini; A Desperate Vitality


(Draft, in a cursus in present-day jargon, of what has just transpired:
Fiumicino, the old castle, and a first real idea of death.)

As in a film by Godard: alone
in a car speeding down the motorways
of Latin neo-capitalism — returning from the airport —
[where Moravia stayed behind, a pure soul with his bags]
alone, „racing his Alfa Romeo“
in sunlight so heavenly it cannot be put
into rhymes not elegiac
— the finest sun we’ve had all year —
as in a film by Godard:
under a sun bleeding motionless
the canal of the port of Fiumicino
— a motorboat returning unnoticed
—Neapolitan sailors covered in woolen rags
— a car accident, a few onlookers gathered round …

— as in a film by Godard — romanticism
rediscovered in a time
of neocapitalist cynicism and cruelty —
behind the wheel
along the road from Fiumicino —
there’s the castle (what sweet
mystery for the French scriptwriter,
this papal colossus in the troubled, endless,
age-old sun, with its battlements
over hedges and plantation rows in an ugly landscape
of peasant serfs) …

— I am like a cat burnt alive
crushed by a tractor-trailer’s wheels,
hung by boys from a fig tree,

but with eight
of its nine lives still left,
like a snake reduced to a bloody pulp,
a half-eaten eel

— cheeks hollow under despondent eyes,
hair thinning frightfully at the crown,
arms now skinny as a child’s
— a cat that won’t croak, Belmondi
„at the wheel of his Alfa Romeo”
who in the narcissistic logic of the montage
steps outside of time and inserts
in images that have nothing do
with the boredom of hours on end …
or the afternoons’s slow resplendence unto death …

Death lies not
in not being able to communicate
but in no longer being understood.

And that papal colossus, not without
grace — memory
of land concessions from the nobles,
innocent gifts, as innocent
as the serfs’ submission —
in a sun that
over centuries
over thousands of noontides
was the only guest here,

that papal colossus, huddling
with its battlements amid coastal groves
of poplar, watermelon patches, dykes,

that papal colossus sheathed
in buttresses the sweet orange color
of Rome, crumbling
like a Roman or Etruscan structure,

is about to be no longer understood.



(In a jump-cut, without fade-in, I show myself enacting —
with no historical precedent — the „culture industry.”)

I, the voluntary martyr … and
she across from me, on the couch:
shot/reverse shot, in quick flashes,
„You” — I know what she’s thinking, looking at me —
then a homegrown Italian MS,
also à la Godard — „You’re a kind of Tennessee!”
this cobra in her little wool sweater
(a subordinate cobra,
slithering in magnesium silence).
Then aloud: „Could you tell me what you’re writing now?”

„Verse! I write verse! Verse!
(goddamned idiot,
verse you would never understand, since
you know nothing abour metrics! Verse!)

That’s the important part: no longer in tercets!
I’ve gone straight back to the magma!
Neocapitalism has won, and I’m
out on the street
as poet, ah [sob]
and as citizen [another sob].”

The cobra with the ballpoint:
„And the title of your work?” „I don’t know …
[He’s speaking softly now, as though intimidated, playing
the part the interview, which he accepted, has forced him
to play: how little it takes
to shrink
his snarl
to the sulk of a mama’s boy on death row]
— maybe … ‚Persecution‘
or … ‚A New Prehistory‘ (or just ‚Prehistory‘)

or …
[and here he bristles, recovering
the dignity of civic hatred]
‚Monologue on the Jews‘ …”
[The conversation
sags like a languid arsis
in a muddled octosyllable: magmatic!]
„And what’s it about?”
„Well, its about my … I mean your, death.
Which lies not in not being able to communicate [death],
but in not being understood …

(If the cobra only knew that this
is just some flimsy thought that came to me
on the way back from Fiumicino!)
They’re almost all lyric poems whose arrangement
of time and place
derives — how strange! — from a ride in a car …
meditations at forty to senventy miles per hour …
with quick pans and tracking shots
— before and after —
of important monuments or groups
of people, spurring
an objective love … in the citizen
(or motorist) …”
„Ha, ha” — [it’s the cobress with the ballpoint laughing] — „and
who is it that doesn’t understand?”
„Those who no longer belong to us.”


Continue reading „Pier Paolo Pasolini; A Desperate Vitality“

Jean-Marie Gleize; „Where do the dogs go?“

‘Où vont les chiens ? ’, ‘Where do the dogs go?’,1 this question is posed by Baudelaire in the last ‘prose’ poem (in Spleen de Paris) in order to evoke a kind of literature that would correspond with urban, modern life – a kind of poetry which is adapted to those ‘sinuous ravines’ of the cities where the ‘poor’ roaming dogs are, the famished dogs. This question is also relevant to poetry: ‘where does poetry go?’, ‘where do the poets go?’.

This question has troubled me for far too many years, and this is the reason why I cannot separate my poetic endeavours from a critical reflection on these. This critical reflection constitutes both the context and condition for my poetry (which for me constitutes the conditions of legibility).

It is in this spirit (of active questioning) that I recently published a book titled Sorties (Exits) which forms the third part of a project (begun more than twenty years ago), with which I intend:

  • To comment on a number of choices and tropisms concerning the part of literature called poetry – in sum why, for instance, I prefer this or that literary movement/praxis rather than another one: why this and not that Baudelaire, why les Petits Poèmes en Prose and not Les Fleurs du Mal; or Rimbaud and not Verlaine; Francis Ponge instead of René Char, or Saint John Perse, or André Breton; Denis Roche rather than Yves Bonnefoy or Philippe Jaccottet, and so forth.
  • To emphasise the contours of a space more or less defined by practical notions (methodological tools) which progressively emerge during contemplation or reflection (literalism, realness (réelisme), prose in prose, a post-poetic praxis…). Rather than having fixed definitions, these terms are continuously being tested in concrete analyses of texts.

Though elusive, these terms are consistent throughout my critical work, always susceptible to further modifications.

To describe the contours of this space is to find ways which enables one to intervene in this field and to situate this intervention. Not only to describe and demonstrate a fact, but, if it is possible, to modify the map of the landscape (through literature, but also through publications and joint collections, through magazines, and in teaching…).

I have mentioned the fact that Sortie is the third part of a larger project. Thus, two previous attempts exist.

The first book was titled Poésie et figuration, and was published in 1983 at the publishing company Seuil in the collection ‘Pierres Vives’ (which does not exist today, but which in my opinion had much power at that time because this was where the Essais critiques of Roland Barthes were published). Through a number of actual analyses from romanticism up to contemporary modernity, this critical essay endeavours to demonstrate the process of de-figuration, of progressive de-representation at work in the poetic text which makes it increasingly illegible, or legible in a different way. The purpose of this venture also was to draw attention to two different positions: 1.) the inventor of modern lyricism, the founder of a modern poetic language, profoundly de-conventionalised in his Méditations from 1820, Lamartine, and 2.) the ‘frantic’ poet or anti-poet, author of Mécrit (1972, the ‘Tel Quel’ collection at Seuil), Denis Roche, who with this ultimate work proclaimed the death of his own poetry and poetry as such (‘poetry is inadmissible; besides it does not exist’2 or that it no longer makes any sense or has any legitimacy).

The second book, titled A noir and with the subtitle ‘Poésie et littéralité’ (from 1992 and published at the same company, but this time in the collection ‘Fiction & Cie’, founded and directed by exactly the aforementioned poet Denis Roche) was much more free in its formal aspects and corresponds with the development of my conception of literary criticism: the word ‘fiction’ in the collection’s title may be understood in a broad way, as it exceeds the genre of the novel. Concerning ‘& Cie’ this term opened the doors to much theoretical ado in various ways, which was if not downright perverse, then at least polymorphous. A Noir is hence a book which I regard as an indirect manifesto (a manifesto for the literal literature, for a prose conversion) which intermingles texts of criticism, panorama texts, poetic, metapoetic, autobiographic and polemical texts without masking the heterogeneity of the work…

Sorties, the last part of the triptych picture, definitely emphasises and tightens the characteristics of A Noir. It is a book containing fifty texts, which may be regarded as different contributions to the understanding of contemporary poetry. They are both interior and exterior to the academic institution, and they often explicitly stress the context of the enunciation. They progress step by step dialectically through deliberate repetitions (foregrounding certain key texts through reformulations and re-descriptions, juxtaposing them with exemplary theoretical models, like for instance ‘La Mounine’ by Ponge in la Rage de l’expression or in the beginning of ‘Aprés le déluge’ in Illuminations by Rimbaud), which because they are not written at the same time produces a permanent montage – montage and re-montage. Therefore it is a matter of different versions, readjustments and possible contradictions of the same texts and themes; an approach that should be regarded as a continuing movement (cf. the fourth volume, where it says: ‘I don’t understand, still not: I continue’).

Continue reading „Jean-Marie Gleize; „Where do the dogs go?““

The Return of Artaud, The Mômo

The anchored spirit,
screwed into me
by the psycho-
lubricious thrust
of the sky
is the one who thinks
every temptation,
every desire,
every inhibition.

o dedi
o dada orzoura
o dou zoura
a dada skizi

o kaya
o kaya pontoura
o ponoura
a pena

It’s the penetral spider veil,
the female onor fur
of either or the sail,
the anal plate of anayor.

(You lift nothing from it, god,
because it’s me.
You never lifted anything of this order from me.
I’m writing it here for the first time,
I’m finding it for the first time.)

Not the membrane of the chasm,
nor the member omitted from this jism,
issued from a depredation,

but an old bag,
outside membrane,
outside of there where it’s hard or soft.

B’now passed through the hard and soft,
spread out this old bag in palm,
pulled, stretched like a palm
of hand
bloodless from keeping rigid,
black, violet
from stretching to soft.

But what then in the end, you, the madman?


This tongue between four gums,

this meat between two knees,

this piece of hole
for madmen.

Yet precisely not for madmen.
For respectable men,
whom a delirium to belch everywhere planes,

and who from this belch
made the leaf,

listen closely:
made the leaf
of the beginning of generations
in the palmate old bag of my holes,

Which holes, holes of what?

Of soul, of spirit, of me and of being;
but in the place where no one gives a shit,
father, mother, Atraud, artoo.

In the humus of the plot with wheels,
in the breathing humus of the plot
of this void,
between hard and soft.

Black, violet,
and that’s all

Which means that there is a bone,

sat down on the poet,
in order to sack the ingestion
of his lines,
like the head farts
that he wheedles out of him through his cunt,

that he would wheedle out of him from the bottom of the ages,
down to the bottom of his cunt hole,

and it’s not a cunt prank
that he plays on him in this way,
it’s the prank of the whole earth
against whoever has balls
in his cunt.

And if you don’t get the image
-and that’s what I hear you saying
in a circle,
that you don’t get the image
which is at the bottom
of my cunt hole,-

it’s because you don’t know the bottom,
not of things,
but of my cunt,
although since the bottom of the ages
you’ve all been lapping there in a circle
as if badmouthing an alienage,
plotting an incarnation to death.

                             ge re ghi
                             e reghena
                             a gegha

Between the ass and the shirt,
between the gism and the under-bet,
between the member and the let down,
between the membrane and the blade,
betweeen the slat and the ceiling,
between the sperm and the explosion,
‚tween the fishbone and ‚tween the slime,
between the ass and everyone’s
of the high-pressure trap
of an ejaculation death rattle
is neither a point
nor a stone

burst dead at the foot of a bound

nor the severed member of a soul
(the soul is no more than an old saw)
but the terrifying suspension
of a breath of alienation

raped, clipped, completely sucked off
by all the insolent riff-raff
of all the turd-buggered
who had no other grub
in order to live
than to gobble
there, where one can fuck sooner
than me
and the other get hard higher
than me
in myself
if he has taken care to put his head
on the curvature of that bone
located between anus and sex,

of that hoed bone that I say

in the filth
of a paradise
whose first dupe on earth
was not father nor mother
who diddled you in this den
screwed into my madness.

And what seized hold of me
that I too rolled my life there?
NOTHING, nothing.
Because I,
I am there,
I’m there
and it is life
that rolls its obscene palm there.

And afterward?

Afterward? Afterward?
The old Artaud
is buried

in the chimney hole
he owes to his cold gum
to the day when he was killed!

And afterward?
He is this unframed hole
that life wanted to frame.
Because he is not a hole
but a nose
that always knew all too well to sniff
the wind of the apocalyptic
which they suck on his clenched ass,
and that Artaud’s ass is good
for pimps in Miserere.

And you too you have your gum,
your right gum buried,

you too your gum is cold
for an infinity of years
since you sent me your innate ass
to see if I was going to be born
at last
since the time you were waiting for me
while scraping my absentee belly.

                             menendi anenbi
                             tarch inemptle
                             o marchti rombi
                             tarch paiolt
                             a tinemptle
                             orch pendui
                             o patendi
                             a merchit
                             orch torrpch
                             ta urchpt orchpt
                             ta tro taurch
                             ko ti aunch
                             a ti aunch

ANTONIN ARTAUD // Edited and Translated by Clayton Eshleman with Bernard Bador // Watchfiends & Rack Screams: Works from the Final Period ©Exact Change Press

Theater der Grausamkeiten [5] / Bemerkungen zur vorbereitenden Handlung

Artaud ist der Ernstfall. Er hat die Literatur der Polizei entrissen, das Theater der Medizin. Heiner Müller


als ich spät abends auf die Strasse trete wird mir schnell
klar dass ein Körper der in die Nacht eintaucht Chaos
hervorbringt / vor ein paar hell erleuchteten
Displays erkenne ich schemenhaft in sich verkeilte
Silhouetten / junge Paare verdrehen ihre Arme und
während es zu regnen beginnt ((ein schwarzer Regen zum
äussersten Glanz des Mondes)) tragen andere auf ihren
Schultern ein Klavier über die Alpen / vollkommene Maße
((kinematische Bewegungen und Tendenzen)) einer Migration

aufrecht im Wüten und der Langeweile ((den Schmähungen aus
Verbitterung)) der Öde der Kapitalzirkulationen / bewahren einige
immer noch ihr Wissen argwöhnisch unter ihren Fäkalien auf

dass die Bezeugungen von Vernunft und Ausgleich, freien Grenzen
und Bildung für alle bloss ein Fake waren & wir unendlich töricht
gewesen sein müssen jemals daran geglaubt zu haben / ich meine:
feige und schäbig; einen Widerspruch aufzulösen ist ein Verbrechen

das unablässige Ausschwitzen meines Zorns / ein inneres Feuer
das sich selbst verbrennt & einen beissenden Film hinterlässt,
einen Juckreiz wie eine Ansammlung roter Ameisen unter
der Haut / & schliesslich die Dringlichkeit unter dem Andrang
ihrer Reize leidet

jedes unserer eingespeichelten Worte wird von den Kadavern
einer financierten Rechtsprechung aufgezeichnet / entlang
eines ziemlich lästigen Quietschens dass sie für das Verglimmen
eines Zünders halten, dem Tatbestand einer vorbereitenden
Handlung / entlang dieser unheilvollen stets wiederkehrenden
schweinischen Dummheit

Theater der Grausamkeiten [2]

ich bin schwach, eine Schwäche / [scheißt auf mich]

Kennen Sie etwas Maßloseres als die Ideologen der Tabula rasa,
die Avantgardisten einer nachrevolutionären Doktrin / in einer
Welt in der tatsächlich niemand jemals geboren wurde / in einer
Zeit prokrastinierender Abstumpfung

man muss also die Polizei ihre Arbeit machen lassen sagen sie
(die mit Drogen vollgepumpt ist, mit Hass, tollwütig schäumend / in
Wahrheit verstehen sie sich darauf dir mit einer Eisenstange
die Wirbelsäule zu zerschlagen) –

Pawlenski hat ohne Komplizen auf eigene Faust gehandelt und nicht
gezögert die Banque de France in Brand zu setzen (und wir haben ihn im
Stich gelassen) – hat nicht schon Courbet aus weit weniger zwingenden
Gründen die Siegessäule auf der Place Vendôme abtragen lassen, einfach
weil ihn der Anblick ankotzte / die Kritik der Totalität ist nicht der Nullpunkt
des Schreibens (des Handelns) vielmehr seine Umkehrung: der Stil der Negation

sich das Herz herausreissen um nicht diesen kleinen Tod mitzusterben (es fällt
schwer den alltäglichen Horror zu erschüttern)
während eine Sekte denkender Idioten dich davon abzuhalten sucht, sehe ich
nicht ein bei etwas mitzumachen in das man erst initiiert werden müsste —

Theater der Grausamkeiten [1]

Nieder mit den Romantikern!” (Blanqui)

jedes Detail unserer Bewegungen kadriert
und in Nahaufnahme beweist / die Luft ist rot /
das Licht keine Halluzination

es ist nicht schwer zu erkennen, dass die neuen Kriege auf Ablenkung aus sind –
wirksame Methode; / die Aufrechten unter uns sind aber die Schlimmsten: ihre Prophezeiungen
des Unglücks, all die Beschränktheiten des Reichtums und der Liebe /
als hätte uns das nicht immer kalt gelassen / ein blödsinniger Tick, in etwa wie Armenspeisung

Richter:        Ich werde nicht zulassen, dass Sie in diesem Ton fortfahren.
Angeklagte: Ich bin fertig. Wenn Sie kein Feigling sind, töten Sie mich …

es gibt eine Logik der Revolte / eine Intelligenz
der Empörung /
es gibt ein Denken des Aufruhrs, es gibt die nieder-
gebrannten Wohnsilos / die fallenden Buchstaben
die entblössen / das Bild des Hooligans als virtuellen
es gibt die Austerität, die ideologischen Beihilfen /
es ergibt sich aus der beigelegten Anleitung
(Doktor Schäuble: Wir können nicht zulassen, dass Wahlen etwas ändern.)

diese paranoiden Einheiten die wir in unseren Delirien bilden
/ Monsieur Artaud Sie delirieren /
ohne jemals wirklich die Enden der Welt zu verknüpfen


Pierre Guyotat; Self-portrait

This self-portrait is dated March 1962. I had returned from a mission as radioman in the interior, in the Djurdjura, having received a warning from my comrades in the radio station. I already knew when I got out of the jeep that I was in for a bad quarter of an hour, a quarter of an hour that could last a whole lifetime. I came back, and saw a secret service or military police jeep. I immediately disappeared into our room. My buddies had already hidden my notes and a few of my things – soldier solidarity. I only had time, only had the reflex, to go to the barrack room mirror and take a photo of myself. It’s almost a kind of self-portrait of civilian death. I thought that I would disappear from civilian life and find myself in who knows what kind of a hell. Shortly afterwards I was arrested, arraigned, and incarcerated“. Pierre Guyotat