Liberté

“À tous les repas pris en commun, nous invitons la liberté à s’asseoir. La place demeure vide mais le couvert reste mis.” (131)

Feuillets d’Hypnos 1943-1944, p. 116 in ”Fureur et mystère”, René CHAR

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Pensées

« Aucune carrière n’est plus ingrate que celle des lettres. Cependant l’imposture exerce une telle emprise sur le monde qu’avec son secours les lettres elles-mêmes deviennent une bonne affaire. L’imposture est l’âme de la vie sociale, l’art sans lequel, si l’on considère leurs effets sur l’esprit humain, aucun art ni aucun talent ne sont véritablement complets. Si tu compares le sort de deux hommes dont l’un est doué d’un vrai mérite et dont l’autre jouit d’une fausse gloire, tu verras ce dernier plus heureux que son rival, et presque toujours plus riche. L’imposture excelle et triomphe dans le mensonge, mais sans l’imposture la vérité ne peut rien. Cela n’est pas dû, à mes yeux, à quelque mauvais penchant de notre espèce, mais au fait que la vérité est toujours trop simple et trop pauvre pour contenter les hommes, qui réclament pour se divertir ou s’émouvoir une part d’illusion et d’erreur : il faut qu’on leur promette plus et mieux qu’on ne pourra jamais leur donner. La nature est la première à nous abuser ainsi, car c’est essentiellement par l’illusion et le mensonge qu’elle nous rend la vie aimable ou tout au moins supportable. »

Giacomo Leopardi, Pensées, XXIX

Elsewhere – I

He, not worth explaining whom, enters a dimly lit scene via moth-grey curtains, entangled and hanging down off-stage. Itinerant wanderer, dressed as a careworn drifter; vagabond just won’t do. Even paced, left barnacle after right, his gait appears marred; every second footfall onto the left barnacle is marked, comes down belaboured, insular to gravity, his body rolling, the frame weighted-in under the idea of a limp, so heavy, the torso canter-levering through an axe to betroth visual evidence – of design, limpfen; if he himself, that is to say Lambert, is not merely rehearsing what has, by sheer doggedness, become a habit, or a facsimile of habit, his frame ploughing back in tow to his weight – femur-roll-on-stiff-left-hip-up-via-arc-top-downward-right-on-barnacle-drop – Lambert wheeling himself ponderously through the arc of his tread, the gait fashioned by the burden, one that he feels must be his to endure; here all reason retracts itself from cause, regardless, for there is none; understand that something offsets every third pace out of four. Artless, Lambert has made an entrance:  motion itself, designed in a limp.

Resolve stiff. Unrelenting body. Rectitude cast upon another day and into work, hushed labour, hence unrest. The manual toil of moving or affecting movement. Often met by an imperceptible pressure to exhale. Sigh. A dip into thought. Extended. Sigh. Oh to be done with it. Unspoken thought. Of a sudden, the urge for evening. Comes tardily, without effusion. Evening: gentleman of leisure; host of slaves. Ever so slowly, Lambert relinquishes the day, returns later from the post of toil. A vesper of thought chugging at his heels. Maligned and cheerless, his shoes tramp in after the shadows, the day extending into nightfall. Befallen. In tow, his shadow, only longer in coming to rest beneath him. Seated.

There and elsewhere each day met with harsh usage: dragged through pavements and trees; pulled over mounds; swept by leaves and twigs; to say nothing of the broken bottles and glass and puddles which the grey matter is chastened through. Bedraggled by the light. A life lived flat under headlines and wasted pages. Sliding over verges and the muck of the day that accumulates about its many edges, aback behind the curtains, those maddened, and sagging beneath the soles of his boots. Belatedly is never late.

Earlier arrives before the hand reaches the door. Lambert limps in second; beating only his evening lamplight twin. Sibling. The prefix of evening is befitting, an eclipse of night. An interlude of mesh runs through wax. Hard. Flame rushes. Soft light. Lambert begrudges not his limp, trotting, so and so, into its halo. It is design. Limpfen. Made in Deutchland. Das Limpfen. Auto-limpfen.

Not a word from his lips, though. Double-dealing barnacles, risen, and raised on high above his toes. Lambert’s mouth pursed in distaste to motion. The tongue disgusted by the conversant. The palette boisterously still, quiet, held above all aversions. Words licked like stamps, the tongue, deep carmine red. Still sticking to his teeth. We read nothing on his lips. Chalk and clockwork: an impress of silence in the throat. Agaze. Looking on. Fixed attention. Eyes cast solemn, cast still. Fasten and wait. The message is an expression of an old intention. Unrelenting. Unremitting. Indefatigable life. We wait. Lumbarisation: the shifty expedient of unchanging Lambert habits. The collapse of days. The task of entering the gate. Enter Lambert.

Ingress.

Exit.

… endless.

There is little else to pin on him. No histrionics. No tale of woe. Eternity seems too grave for contemplation. Too long to ponder into, about, never over or under. One wonders why. Wonder, always under the spell of. Though if one were to turn wonder over in a thought, sempiternal sawdust from the heavens would befall us, fall about us, we falling down. One would have to wander across a Sunday of Italian plazas, each replete with millboard and stiff-billed figurine smiles, bodies bathing in an abundance of plastic florescence, munificent yet distended, if not melting at the corners. Too long: would too long prove the wait, the gait forever entering, one ever crossing the threshold eternally.

To be lost in perpetual ingress. Consider: to be lost to motion. The horror – of entering in perpetuity! And what of the terror of eternal elation, with no peak or trough to up-end the unrelenting tedium of joy? Rather woe, for there would be no rest for the eyes if forced to thrill were to beset the musculature of the face. Orpheus sleeps. Styx is better. Indeed mud. For there, merely a perpetual farce to fix oneself into. To set oneself upon. Let us end the demonstration there.

Ever Lambert: he is an evidence of nothing too particular.

Himself: A written spectacle of waiting in under, weighted under, one-sided wellness. One not merely of his body: a receptacle, a vessel conversant with the day, light ranked with its elements and particles and principles of particles. Overt. Limpid. Pointless, and unsure where day aims day’s listless endeavours. Yes, it has none. Error. Is that not enough, sufficient to suffice? There is little else to pin on him. No histrionics. No history other than the story, his, one contained in the vessel.

If one glances at the visual world, sets out to really observe what an eye penetrates, then one can count on Lambert coming ‘round again, re-appearing on another leg. A man. No mischief in claiming what isn’t there. A mere man of chink and fibre. No point either in the prick – of pretending. One jabs at it. Hoping. One stabs at the truth. Amiss. All the same curtain of moth-grey, tugging, a curtain that one appears through, disappears into folds. Falls under. Clap. No point in dismissing it. Clap twice. Claim full view of a man dipping left through the third of four steps to his veering motion. Claim it. See. There you go. Molly. Claim and be done with claiming.

What’s there, question, beneath your barnacles, answer, what you see yourself standing on? (Lamberts always claim what Lamberts elect to see. But beneath their feet they perceive no signs of shifting shadow. Yet Lamberts’ feet aren’t blind. Lamberts pretext cecity. Far easier on the Lambert gaze.)

So: maintain your claim, Molly, look on and be done of it. There is nothing more, alas, nothing concealed or camouflaged by what is not out of sight. What you see casts a veil over the seamless world beneath your feet. Lambert is a spectacle of himself unseen. Undress the regard of Lambert. He is a man under the mantle of a simple trajectory. A man possessed of a limp, design, or of the idea of some or other lameness located elsewhere, a lameness that may cause the idea to limp, the result of which – both – meets the eye equivocally in the same wheeling – femur-roll-on-stiff-left-hip-up-via-arc-top-downward-right-on-barnacle-drop – action. For he who observes, claims to see what he himself has laid claim to having seen whilst observing: a man with a limp; this is Lambert. He, one not worth explaining whom, has entered. Any other claim would be just that: any other claim, one waiting to be made, vetted, vetoed. The point, listless, hangs elsewhere. The fifth letter, after the letter following D, is E for exit, for end, for the eventual eternal, the letter that never ends.

Halt.

Monday morning Lambert was seen on Short Street, near the lumber store. Johnson, the proprietor, claimed that Lambert came in near noon, wheeled himself up to the counter, halted, attempted to raise his shoulders, after his fashion, hoisted them in a dignified manner, so mechanically dignified, and coming to halt in mid elevation of the shoulder motion, which is a rotation, like clockwork, after which he brought his hands down to the counter in what appeared to be a willingly fashioned intention to secure his unsteady frame, and at that instant his head nodded, the forehead bobbed forward, (bobbing: as is sometimes witnessed by Lamberts in wordless greetings to other Lamberts). Nodding and bobbing: Lambert code for

– Hello.

– You there?

– Me too.

– How’re things?

Johnson is not sure whether this nodding was meant as a salutation or if it came in under its own weight, much like Lambert himself, that is to say as a bodily result of Lambert’s unsuccessful attempt to raise himself up into a dignified position from whence he might proffer a more clearly recognizable form of greeting. Bob-hello-bob-nod. Stop bob. Halt. Nod. Wait. Nonetheless Johnson responded, as custom would have it he bob to the cusp. Nod-greet-nod, nod-stop-nod or nod-a-word-nod-a-word halt. His head amiably tilted to the proprietor’s inclination. Though less mechanically inclined than Lambert’s wordless greeting had itself bobbed to. Then, done nodding, he felt this was the better action to adopt. To this reply, Lambert himself did not respond, which is a form of acquiescence, an effect via waiting; after which Lambert’s hand came up, fingers enclosed about an unfolded block-note piece of paper, square in shape, nine by nine inches, thin, a form of transport, of flat ideas stretched across the counter; it was a sheet, Johnson says, (and claims) upon which was etched a sketching of three pieces of wood, each piece of a precise measure, also a diagrammatic instruction suggesting how the trio may be joined, here and there, thus together, formed into one operative design, a distinct piece of mechanical evidence. Dovetail. Lambert did not proffer any further instructions. From the counter, and from Lambert, Johnson removed himself, block-note in hand, and went aback so as to carry out the required operation of selecting the timber. Johnson disappeared.

Of the measuring operation carried out by Johnson, Lambert saw nothing; circular, the saw cut across Lamberts earshot, into, and as the planks fell to the floor the sound of the saw cut further into Lamberts ears. Leaning on the counter, still, he groped about for the schematically represented evidence sketched on the square nine-by-nine block-note. Then he realized, somehow, in the now prevailing silence that Johnson had in his possession both plan and the evidence of the operative design plan. Plain possession. He felt this unfortunate. Felt awkward, regret too; both came chemically fused. Together. He felt himself to be to blame. Relented. Blame too. As memory would have it, he had none of the plan in store. Pocket. Nothing. But he saw no way to counter what was aback the shop with Johnson, the proprietor. Hence he waited on, the counterpoint, Lambert leaning, as if the counter were a perpetual resting place. There was no evidence to offset this. He felt the idea too odd to accept, and operative. So Lambert wondered off into that space of rest, motionless, at halt, attending, as if waiting were and had been and would ever be, never ending.

Waiting is an exit, he thought.

Lambert stood, shored-up against the counter, waiting on Johnson to exit with evidence cut in hand.

Exit Lambert.

Curtain falls.

Grey morning.

Johnson.

ingressus: transit, eclipse, (right of) going on.

Vie secrète

“Dès l’instant où l’individu trouve sa joie à se séparer de la société qui l’a vu naître et qu’il s’oppose à ses chaleurs et à ses effusions, aussitôt la réflexion devient singulière, personnelle, suspecte, authentique, persécutée, difficile, déroutante, et sans la moindre utilité collective.”

Pascal Quignard, Vie  secrète, p. 17

Emeraude en Adagio sostenuto

Je sors du lit comme un bouclier normand en temps de paix.

Ma ceinture et mes armes m’ont désertés, sous mes ordres.

L’injonction en érection, telle une épée bleue, dressée,

Contre personne, contre tout, érigée pour toi ;

Tamisée par la pénombre, par une lumière vague déferlante,

Domptée par l’odeur floue d’une camomille romaine, rêvée sous l’eau.

Hélas ! Je sors du lit, une mandoline sans main, sans escorte,

Sa chanson vibrante comme une corde, une voix de soie,

Les vêpres de dimanche sous une cordelière en ophite, les nœuds défaits,

La corde longuement limée par l’aubade, par une autre musique,

Habillée par les mains longues de violon, vêtue par le velours de nuit.

Mes mots de l’aube sont des oiseaux de proie, aveugles,

Lestes comme un sanglier répondant au gré du vent,

Chancelant, comme des feuillages d’automne, songeant.

Toi, tu fus comme le corps souple d’une feuille veineuse,

Convulsée du sang printanier et du plasma en ocre et mauve.

Oui, ces mots furent ionisés, ils sont d’une matière façonnée

Sur le lit de tes fleuves rougeâtre ; creusés des entrailles

D’une terre érubescente, rouge de rubis-sang, d’une forme filante,

D’une émotion honteuse avançant sur les lèvres d’une pivoine.

Encore, ils seront blancs, mes mots, tel tes cimes laiteuses,

Humides, ils graviront sur l’air du matin, vers un port du Levant.

Mes mots, qu’importe leur forgeage, ils sont pour toi, non pour autrui.

Ils sont païens comme mon nez, enrobés d’une chaire indolente pour

Ta seule consommation. Seule es-tu responsable de ces mots-ci,

Mots dressés sur l’îlot d’un temps ancien, désormais étayés sur les vestiges

D’une nuit ambulante, nuit errante et ancrée par son errance,

Des nuits moulées comme les colonnes noires parmi un peuple ébène,

De peau ruisselante, matte. S’appela-t-il multitude, ce peuple, ou pléthore ?

Mes mots recouvrent sa semence comme une chevelure de plumes,

Ils susurreront leur nom comme l’anche sur le hautbois de ton corps,

Ils ourdiront  leurs sacrements comme les folioles mi-roses de tes mamelons.

Mes mots sont un bouclier arraché des limbes de nuits, du sol ténébreux,

De la douce couche partagée avec toi, la jadéite, femme du blanc olivâtre.