Melissa WolsakAn Heuristic Prolusion

Lissa Wolsak






An Heuristic Prolusion was first published simultaneously by three groups in Canada: the e-journal Alterran Poetry Assemblage, Raddle Moon, and Friends of Runcible Mountain, a not-for-profit publishing collective in Vancouver, founded in 1998. An Heuristic Prolusion is available through their Documents in Poetics series.


Why write, if not in the name of an impossible speech?                                 
    —Michel de Certeau


~ I speak as one silenced. Transhumance, as understood and utilized in late 12th C. early 13th C. France, was an agricultural motion or migration, a seasonal moving of livestock and the people who tend them, but transhumance also was a possible personal-social act of symmetry, reciprocity and redistribution. Co-mercy, the art of harmlessness, equivocating sexual/ theological, fiat, fiat lux,…to lay the supremely ambiguous, phantomatic faces…to let, to kneel, along the place of the abyss, to linger as long as possible…where the same relation may be observed throughout the whole universe, where significance “bleeds into an unconstrainable chain.”

What lies beneath my copy of eternity?

What coils up...in spoken space?



~ I question as if mine, separation, causation, otherness, placelessness, subjectivity, unconsciousness… proprioception, the generosity and violence of the entangled states, signature patterns of humans who are not explicitly acknowledged within the formalism of the everyday, in trans-anthropological mind-acts and their apartheids…



  ~ Latent in speaking, in language, are freedom and hope, erecting a figure for the moment in which they are propounded, as advocacy for originary experience and revolutionary space. Memory as we have clung to it can be newly conceived. It is not accidental that there are epidemic losses of memory, just as the computer-body has risen to receive it, perhaps placing us further within reach of intuition, and peri-verbal sensation. The intuitive faculty passes over visible causes, drawing inferences very quickly. Language explores itself, much beyond its own stiff hug, in want of a spring ~ dramatist-exemplar of Explicate and Implicate Orders, respectively, unfolder, enfolder.



~ Incarnations of the shaping spirit, with generous and agile hermeneutics, turn the flat surface of primary understanding to elicit infinitivity, even if in struggle with all the confusions of verbal theory. The way to the hidden or deeper meaning of the Torah is to take a passage out of context, to find, if not the conglomerates of the physical formations, then the conglomerates of divine formations. A fundamental methodological principle in connection with the interpretation of prophecy is the deliberate violation of context as a way of coming to appreciate the meaning of the text. Consciousness breaks with its own imaginative skeleton to exist inside and outside the manner of things and can enquire through matter, energy, space…time, in anti-totalitarian postulates to the impinging nakedness and origins. All dreams follow the mouth. To let…to culture…



~ The unconscious is the center of our mental life, or at least…nearer the divine, and posits multiple centres from which to say. An imaginative response is one in which distinction between the emotional and intellectual has disappeared, and in which, ordinary consciousness is only one of many conceivable psychic elements. No judgment, but interrogation into the quality of life, via text limits. Projecting outward and multiplying the visible appearances, the phosphorus of the mystery.



                             Covered it
         Came, came.
         Came a word, came,
         came through the night,
wanted to glow, wanted to glow.

                —Paul Celan, “Engfuhrung” (“The Narrowing”)



~ Writing is my way of listening and ventriloquising until I reach the place of speaking. Or, in order to perceive, I create distance, and re-situate my own epistemological ideas of causation, separation and otherness. To find axis, or, an orbital angular moment, in rejection of its own centrality, always already disturbing its own refinement. To equipoise opposing forces, in their moving equilibriums, their tableaux.



I wish you to write a book on the power of the words, and the processes by which the human feelings form affinities with them.
                     —Coleridge: Letter to Godwin, 1830



~ A thing is a phenomenological presentation, with a depth, a complexity, and a purpose in a world of relations, with memory, history, and also possesses subjectivity, appreciated in how it presents itself, speaking to the imagination....If a thing exists only insofar as another would agree, there is poverty of being...



~ Quantum physics engages the term ‘qualia,’ defined as, those temporary states flagging our ‘immediate’ reality...“no more than dispositions...things that can float free.” The “redness of red, the painfulness of pain.” The whatness,…that which gives things qualities. Qualia are the essential feature of consciousness.



~ “Humanity remains incapable of thinking,” said Heidegger, “as long as that which must be thought about withdraws. Once we are drawn into the withdrawal, we are, somewhat like migratory birds, but in an entirely different way, caught in the pull of what draws, attracts us by its withdrawal. And once we, being so attracted, are drawing toward what draws us, our essential being already bears the stamp of that ‘pull’.”

I am speaking…into this pull, into the imperatives of wilderness, wilderness temptations…



Réel: world of unmarked space and time that cannot be mediated by language or signs. (Lacan)



~ The Latin noun fás is defined as “the mystical foundation which is in the invisible world, and without which all forms of conduct that are enjoined or authorized by ius (human law) and more generally speaking all human conduct are doubtful, perilous and even fatal.”

Implicate order is the ground of perception, but also the process of thought.

Down etymological spillways, a sensual oral audio-optic fibre, reaches across time and space, to begin a weave, or a cross, the meta-religious image, par excellence…Standing inside the ancient echoes, the unconscious is the heart of language.

Crosspropositional, aestheological, ethicopolitical cloth ~ and sometime scathing political document.

A vision of presence via absence—hidden, because all language about divinity dissolves in paradox and ambiguity.



~ Language carries with it a sense of its own descriptive inadequacy and is inspired, when cleavage between active speech and reception of speech merge into unity, however momentary…



~ Soul is under erasure. I peer into the sacrificial machinery, to find an interpretive tool. Sign and signified in defeat/detente. Language (and silence), the site of resistance to denounce current economic hegemonies and—lay disarming alternatives to unambiguous genocides…To adulterate the g-forces in the sensation of defeat and cultural materiality of being, and to exonerate ourselves from limiting definitions of reality. Withdrawing authority, in re-assumption of autonomy…

In world-wide ideological deadlock each part of the planet, persisting terrorism, and urging war. Enervated surfaces, against an arras of overwhelming bathos, in everyday speech.

Capitalism’s everything and nothing…depthlessness, euphoric waves of consumption, mimetic desire…disillusions of autonomy, hunger and grasp… “left to the masses is that of grazing on the ration of simulacra the system distributes to each individual,” “what is audible, but far away, will thus be transformed into texts in conformity with the western desire to read its products.”

Prophetic utterance is magical in the sense of having the greatest possible penetrating power.



~ I take occasions of experience to be related to quantum events,...sudden and significant. Mind arises as an infinite expression, pan-experiential and permeated by proto-experiences. I want to work within or near consciousness-collapsing events.

What is to be thought, turns away from thought



~ And again, physics has an equivalence in its description that the very existence of an observer causes the collapse of the wave function. The wave function is a mathematical description of all the possibilities for an object. Could this not also be ‘self-consciousness’?



~ To respond, in making linguistic pavés, to exhilarate transformation, with an art of perceiving movement, within being, within language physiques. And question...can we dispense with our proclivity to sacrificial structures?

To subtend the map via fever-chart. To approach separation itself. An enactment of otherness. To exceed speech...language intensifies in retreat from its own nocturnal noise.

I proceed…by letting develop intuitive notions and experience of order, extending to fresh fields of trans-semiotic, a priori intimacy.

To be absorbed, and to wake. These are my methods.



There is no real production, only interdependence           —Buddha



~ Phenomenology, numinosity, discrete packets of light within words, family resemblance, synchronicity, appropriation, clinamen, imaginary acts, construction, animation, rhetoric, chance/non-chance maneuver, radical energy released at the boundaries of affinity and repulsion, at the gap between conceivable and presentable. Tribo-electricity, zizz, dispersion, anagnorosis (the critical moment of recognition or discovery, especially before peripeteia ~ sudden change or falling ~ a sudden turn of events or unexpected reversal), instinct, sound…as I found it, the culturing of surprise, leaning heavily at the mouth of my mouth, in a pointing toward that which withdraws.



~ Mandlebrotian, picture within a picture, or mise en abyme…knowing, knowing itself, via language…, breaking through surface narratives not merely to mirror meaninglessness but to bring forward revelatory depth and significance. For me, inner space is the frontier. I scarify hot-spots, with up-and-down octave listening. To honor the random, and to shift the sites of ownership…


as we have said, the prophets use in their speeches, equivocal words and words that are not intended to mean what they indicate, according to their first signification.

And with respect to things known unconsciously,

rather there will befall him when teaching another, that which he had undergone when learning himself. I mean to say that the subject matter will appear, flash, and then be hidden again. —The Guide for the Perplexed



~ I wish to question the vincula (connections) between grace and the abyss, Being in duplicity, apparency, things in their oppositeness, . not only as beneficence in a well of meaning, but as all that is falling, anomie...accidie, elengenesse.

Inquiry as a kind of seeking, must be guided beforehand by what is sought. So the meaning of Being must already be available to us in some way. As we have intimated, we always conduct our activities in an understanding of being.
                                             –Heidegger, Being and Time



~ An investigation of what is pre-sent, what ideational thorns. To cultivate an acceptance of the freedom of invention, as it is released…how might one speak, if verging on extinction. I challenge notions of human hierarchy and border, and simultaneously my own attachment-non-attachment to form. A snow leopard notes the paradoxes around a closed path. I want not to be metaphysically tone-deaf: the reedy vibration of sound..., the urgent affinities tell me so..., of authenticity of time and timelessness…



From Ruth Padel’s Inside and Outside the Mind, Hermes is

the lord of language, silence, lies, rhetoric, signs, revelation, trickery. He is Lord of the double edge, embodies metaphor’s movement from one place to another, alien place, and the enrichment and risk that move entails. Outside explains inside, and vice versa. The two-way connection between them is fluid, ambiguous, mercurial, transformative and divine. He embodies the double meaning, the dual possibilities of utterance. He is the god of the possibility that my meaning, may not be your meaning, though the words sound the same.

To defect…from the sobering circuit of...in a re-creation of subjective states, via scintilla. Words in their most ulterior natures, refusing centrifugal and centripetal social forces narrowing everyday exchange.

“Blindly kissing out,” Tom Beckett. A fractious climb up over the atmosphere.

“Pray undo this button”



~ I delimit my world through interoceptive (a receptor of the viscera responding to stimuli originating from within the body), proprioceptive techniques, assembling, phrasing multiplicities where the containment of all the possible meanings moves beyond its own oscillation, toward a relation to some or all of those juxtaposed but shifting magnitudes. Atomic reflection, in beyond sense.

I work with my own sense of speed and light, immanence, imminence, in the impossibility of self-prediction.

"And the unconscious is the universe flowing in, inside"
                                                             —C. Olson



~ By reading the disparate signs from the total phenomena in view, there is continual withdrawal from closed repetitive space and forms of social capture.

Stricto-sensu—opening circulations between high and low culture, disorder and exuberance, to escape its frame of even utopian longing and flights to idyllic pasts.

Beneath psy-chic, displacing social automaticity and servo-mechanisms of production and power…


Only when we have begun to rethink our desires can we be said to be thinking at all
                          —St. Augustine



To give
heat is within
the control of
every human being
—Lorine Niedecker



For me, the urgent question is...‘do we have a prayer?’

                                                                 — 7 March 1999



BIO: Lissa Wolsak is the author of the long poems THE GARCIA FAMILY CO-MERCY, Tsunami (1994), and PEN CHANTS or nth or 12 spirit-like Impermanences, Roof Books (1999). She works as a metalsmith in Vancouver, British Columbia.


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