“I could go on
this way until the end of the page, even though
what I have in mind isn’t the thing
itself, but the category of belief that sees the thing
as a shelter for what is beneath it.
There is no shelter. You cannot put a tarp over
a wave. You cannot put a tarp
over a war. You cannot put a tarp over the broken
oil well miles under the ocean.
There is no tarp for that raging figure in the mind
that sits in a corner and shreds receipts
and newspapers. There is no tarp for dread,
whose only recourse is language
so approximate it hardly means what it means”
Rick Barot, from “Tarp”
“What is at stake in the current war are forms-of-life, which is to say, for Empire, the selection, management, and attenuation of the same. Empire’s stranglehold over the public articulation of desires, the biopolitical monopoly on all medical know-how, the constraint of all deviance by an army ever better equipped with psychiatrists, coaches, and other benevolent ‘facilitators,’ the aesthetico-detective filing of each individual according to her/his biological determinations, to the ever more imperative and detailed surveillance of behavior, the proscription against ‘violence’ in the plebiscite, all this enters into the anthropological project, or rather the anthropotechnical project of Empire. It is a matter of profiling its citizens.”
Tiqqun, from “Preliminary Materials for the Theory of the Young-Girl” tr. Ariana Reines
“I’m thinking that whistling far off in the distance
Is something to hum along with. It’s history’s
And we hum its one note as long as we can breathe
It through, don’t we…
And when the whistling stops,
There’s no city of fire, no blackened grass,
Curved around and through the village’s last and useless horse.
There’s only a story, the truest one, that no one
tells or can.
So, go on, drop
the landscape into tidily shattered lines that drop
Then, look up
at clouds that neither gather nor hover,
But simply are, are scattering from smoke,
are almost celebrating
Their invisible, inevitable dissolution,
As the planes go on bestriding each other,
And the glass, the girders, the horse, the village
Of themselves, and why not? I’m thinking…
Ecstasy, a loss
of breath, a hovering, some alley
In a corner of Baghdad where two teenagers
Feel each other up, and the whistles multiply and amplify,
As a little fire
spreads from home to home, and why
Not have the boy strike a match, which makes the girl
To light his cigarette, for this is the custom of adults…
I’m thinking he calls her Oh Donna and Runaround Sue, and he
And hums and breathes the smoke into her,
where every thought
Is permissible and rebellious, and hums along,
Goodbye goodbye goodbye…”
— Alexander Long, “Ode to Bombs”
“The discovery of the sea is a precious experience that bears thought. Seeing the oceanic horizon is indeed anything but a secondary experience; it is in fact an event of underestimated consequences.
I have forgotten none of the sequences of this finding in the course of a summer when recovering peace and access to the beach were one and the same event. With the barriers removed, you were henceforth free to explore the liquid continent; the occupants had returned to their native hinterland, leaving behind, along with the work site, their tools and arms. The waterfront villas were empty, everything within the casemates’ firing range had been blown up, the beaches were mined, and the artificers were busy here and there rendering access to the sea.
The clearest feeling was still one of absence; the immense beach of La Baule was deserted, there were less than a dozen of us on the loop of blond sand, not a vehicle was to be seen on the streets; this had been a frontier that an army had just abandoned, and the meaning of this oceanic immensity was intertwined with this aspect of the deserted battlefield.
…The rail car I was on, and in which I had been imagining the sea, was moving slowly through the Briere Plains… [The sea’s] color was disappointing, compared to the sky’s luminescence, but the expanse of the oceanic horizon was truly surprising: could such a vast space be void of the slightest clutter? Here was the real surprise: in length, breadth, and depth the oceanic landscape had been wiped clean. Even the sky was as divided up by clouds, but the sea seemed empty in contrast. From such a distance there was no way of determining anything like foam movement. My loss of bearings was proof that I had entered a new element; the sea had become a desert, and the August heat made that all the more evident - this was a white-hot space in which sun and ocean had become a magnifying glass scorching away every relief and contrast. Trees, pines, etched-out dark spots; the square in front of the station was at once white and void - the particular emptiness you feel in recently abandoned places.”
-Paul Virilio, on Bunker Archaeology
It is an old story now. It was an old story then,
full of gods and beasts and the inevitable
points of no return each age must learn…
History is a cloudy mirror made of dirt
and bone and ruin. And love? Loss? Immortality?
These are the questions we must answer again
by war and famine and pestilence, and again
by touch and kiss, for each age must learn
This is the path of the sun’s journey by night.