THE ENTIRE PROBLEM OF MY THINKING IS INVOLVED
by Jono Schneider
There's a fear that at the heart of the writing nothing exists, like Artaud writing to Riviére: "The entire problem of my thinking is involved. For me, it is no less a matter of knowing whether or not I have the right to continue thinking, whether in verse or prose." That nothing, however, is the nothing of continuous, repeated thought proven in writing. Thought is anxious and tense, but bright (the page burns the page).
The facticity of writing is essential - the verbal nature of language for me was destroyed long ago. This is not to say I don't read the work aloud, but rather that writing is the act of the physicality of language as it's apart from me, and the sentences push against the tongue and weigh it down because the words are heavy and fast as they enter the room, spinning the objects around in a daze, wherein the real is transmuted by what is said to it. Nothing is said about it - saying, as writing, is the "itself" of being "by posing the question of its own difference."
Hence that form of writing which is nothing but the question "what is writing?", or that sensibility which is nothing but the question "what is it to sense?", or that thought which asks "what does it mean to think?" These give rise to the greatest monotonies and the greatest weaknesses of a new-found common sense in the absence of the genius of the Idea, but also to the most powerful repetitions, the most prodigious inventions in the para-sense when the idea emerges in all its violence (Gilles Deleuze, Difference & Repetition).
The Idea. Violence. Writing. Sentences. My work consists of these four words as repetition, as reiteration. What I want is a void at the edge of language to appear, one that horrifies and invigorates. For writing is the silent night of thought as it appears in brightness, faster than standing before another person and testing words with speech. Thought is not only hotter than words, but antithetical to language, crystallized as the permanence where meaning ends - I write to unleash things I've never seen, objects displayed as disappearance. I want mystery without objects, clues, and methodologies. I want philosophy without the negation of psychology. I want writing that appears as only itself while awakening language to what it peoples. To write "is to confront an unknown face" (Edmond Jabés).
Narrative is heavy in here, within these written walls, and that's because stories are frozen in language and melted by thinking sentences across the screen of the page, where writing is seeing. I love the proposition - the postulation of an assertion that comes across as truth, the solution crossing the room to sit comfortably on the couch - because it reveals the desire for safety in saying "this is the entire world," which is never said, but instead pursued. Narrative is what the novel deploys while poetry escapes through the back door, all the while spying on how the sky is envisioned through the words that sculpt it into manageability. "No one was home," writes Bob Perelman in a.k.a., because all that exists is the materiality of words which make the hand of the writer (who doesn't know them) tremble. They come from everywhere, but art is not their appearance: "She went to her mother's grave, and saw another body swim up beside the statue. She felt small and smelled herself. Her head (marked case) rocked slowly and aggressively, her wrists trembled in elaborate delay. She writhed, unable to wear anything. She laid the dress on her mother's grave" (Perelman).
Here's a language of false modesty, of the even less-true story; the opportunity this affords the poet is the vision of the other body, the acknowlegement of the self, the death of the parent designating meaning. It's not that I want my writing to have "no meaning," but that the something I want to mean must elide and recede from my wanting it, remaining effervescent, a hovering crescent of moon chasing blue belittling the black inside it. I write no one's nothing as "if I wished to prove that purity is not obtained by silence, but by an exercise of language" (Francis Ponge) and readily take shape as what I never was [from my poems]:
these brittle distances desires wrench one into,
inching closer to ending without the difference in attendance as words.
. . .the evening is drawn as a conclusion in my writing.
("On My Way")
Writing tricks its own ambition - the fruit of writing is picked in being
spoken to, not speaking.
("Ridges of Parting")
JONO SCHNEIDER co-edits Untitled. His chapbook In the Room was released recently by a+bend Press.
a+bend Press publishes small books by poets including Lisa Lubasch, Lisa Jarnot, Fanny Howe, Standard Shaefer and Lytle Shaw.