“as lit x: the syntax of adoration”

by Susan Clark



as lit x
the syntax of adoration


an essay-
as poetics statement

for a small room
in downtown








that is,

as talk it's “about aloud,”
as essay, it's throwing itself,

experimentally, earnestly, experimentally
across a particular but exactly undefined and
uncertain or changeable space

as loosely gathered rope is flung
across open water in high seas from boat to boat

— will it make it?







will it make it

— a kind, or fainting, or stalwart affliction transcription? — viz:









  Emmanuel Levinas:

The relationship with alterity is the original case of this affliction of the present of consciousness with a past that it cannot render present, represent. The present is afflicted with a bond with something that comes to pass without being convertible into an initiative of the present, and that holds one, and in this hold distends one.









for as








I was fucked by you recently.

It made me think about modes of pronomial address.

And I pondered in that same eternity whether the syntatic mayhem I could guess there in the dark might collapse the false alterity mocked in the unmeasured space of bright adoration onto its flows.

... Go.








YOU — all caps, underlined, boldface :

YOU [pl.] all want to lose yourselves in sex. As if and didn't we invent ourselves for that we. That one, in language. I wish you all lose yourselves. ...  As spill, I — which am you — wish you — who are me — all lose yourselves.

But what if you — which am I? — wanted instead to lose me?

... As in, “Fuck you, Susan.” Sex as an act of forgetting the other, may be. It's this small room full of the last small room that's making me not forget myself like this, standing, unforgotten, beheld, here. ...

With nothing if I wanted — perhaps in response to your curse — to “lose myself” — not you — for language — or “forget myself” — (for you?) — in language — be — where you (/I) might have thought my fall'd be caught by some implicit palpable eternal — or other....

Try this as a writing practice after Levinas. ...  I did.
I — forgetting forgetting — did. ...


Happy days! I adore you and you fuck me and the same thing flows away from me. That I cannot dump but beyond me is only a matter of time. It takes just time and courage to love nothing, in it.

It’s adoration’s unacknowledged destination — adoration has no idea that it is headed for this eating of the flesh of that which has no flesh. ...








Petition: What is adored?
Repetition: Impossibility is that which is adored: the delicate machine which is meaning but can't produce it.

The same kind of empty hope any syntax gives us, freighted merely, light spilling from a flame, human. What happened to the night?

I mean, Levinas says language itself might be a “sovereign waiting and forgetting” opposed to ontology. I call this a temporal ecstasy after Lyotard. Were this sovereign waiting-forgetting adoration and what kind of belief not wasting in heavy gauds by a high window or low pew but properly doing nothing at all, ill-defined and brand new, a marvel? Absolute waiting might be absorptive, blissed, personless, unfinished. Where there is no possession, all wind, no constant light. Where nothing recognizes “us.”


Adoration is that which renders impossible; it’s its service side; just try to find an object. Adoration throws itself. No you, no I. It’s “passive,” “hopeless,” “overexcited,” inexhaustible. Lit which knows what's here, it; thanks. Adoration throws itself because it has to. But I wouldn't waste your pity on it. It's reminding itself of eternity this way. The, not the, sweet sink of many, every. Bidden; oh. Crept ontos.

Tense and sudden: elapsed always so that I can lean into it without any risk I recognize; what language structure am I? that makes this tautology vivid as presence.

It’s, too, the place where I pause; and pause. Aporia total, mind-jammed, complacent if stood, desperate at midnight, ouch divine; impossible chocked members, howling bliss. How can I say? Slows thinking; it slows thinking; as it slows its content.

... i.e., no harm. No, no necessary harm. And you’re there, all of you. ... I adore you. ... I am distended in you.








As lit x

As lit annihilates. Thank you! It, as its nothingness makes me fuckable in it, is a way of perfection in waiting-forgetting given time and courage for the decay of will. Nihilism is a common mistake in the understanding of emptiness say the Mahayanists.

So, [tu] as lit x, you have bed x, or [tu] as lit x, you've read x, in which abjection's just guessed itself only a socially polluted experience of the hallows. To have [infinitive] infinitely that bed which spells its own name, gouging, gouging, infinitely spelled, x, where it can in the heavy wooden beams of the frame over decades. Alas! Alas! Adoration has no time for time in these yet somehow still filthy sheets. ... It’s an eternity of absorption [see below] you can nearly buy, it’s so unreal.

It is here-not-here. A loud and spacious helplessness. A big and shamed transcendence which supplies without looking a deficiency. ... How can they jumping thoughtless their minds blank with joy from small aircraft into war zones or droughts with their arms full? ... See, there’s no locality; that’s just the radio on. The difference between self made in the other, distended in alterity and being fucked.








& & & &

abjection and adoration share the big, and stuck, ampersand, the lovely and generous and, like Lucretius cows in their “female super-abundance” all in vain; if theres any eternity at all, thats it

“you love” reveals its thing, and


... Come teach me, dear dread abjected, you ghoul of womanhood, curious, wretched, curious, unable apart from that which you can nearly see. For the hero of my possibility said the abjected, that is the jettisoned object, is radically excluded and draws me toward the place where meaning collapses. It’s a phantom where — sure — where adoration is that collapse of meaning.

And what, says the voice, is adored but what might be unthinkable, permanently — doesn't know we're alive, ought to pre-exist, get invisible, gone. As it is beyond our [unthinkable] recognition and our [unthinkable] memory, not just beyond them but beyond their very capacities, bulkless, desperate: just slightly, slightly beyond the greatest urgencies of our [unthinkable] attention.

... If I say “we,” you infer love. Adoration can remember nothing.

... It’s what belongs to it. Proper like a rose to itself.

And even if it still insists on something to look at, it's just a stage, dear.

It is use of the other as annihilation of the self. Distension,
as a beast has two backs,
always held in the mind. And to swallow
in the dark is syntax, willing
to mean its ruin. The ruin
of the mind it's made itself.

Now we are getting somewhere, relief floods where I have abandoned its pronoun.








The mind it’s made itself.

Lost, but enormous, that is to say, adoring, I threw myself, wowed, there at its feet. If there is always an Other in language, in, or after, Kristeva there's no I necessarily, and the more so the more likely the I was feminine [gramm.] and a minimal condition of language — the negative including and so exceeding in size/meaning what it negated is right there in the language. Not-apple more than apple, e.g. Which is why the self-destroying machine is called “my encyclopaedia,” written. Its poetic is straight praise, unspeakable — look at this mess! . . . Achiastics, wrecked, ma.

And its syntax must forever and forever be a syntax of adoration which throws itself and goes nowhere — passive, hopeless, overexcited, inexhaustible, self-reflexive and useless, of course — like the finest poem in Creation. It is what’s known. ...







Cramming eternity, cramming infinity, so

As lit the nomad, eaten at, a moving target.
No! no! no! (yelled).
To read what is written is to practise being held.

Uh, fat girl, what are you hungry for? St. Teresa, once embarked on her The Way of Perfection, finds she can’t write fast enough and wishes she could use both hands at once. I was writing Pandemonium all my life for you. ... cramming the void to make it show as nothing but the abundance it brought forth and it won’t hurt to eat again, surely? Those are different things.

But today I find I no longer want to be in this ghetto of immensity. I will teach myself a way to be — where? outside?

Dear panic belief, a mountain is in the air.
Dear panic belief, a fire is in the earth.

These are not abstractions but they're still a bit big. ...

Abstraction? ... Oh.
In this’s Plato’s all goods heaven, it is stored endlessly and beginninglessly abstraction.
It might-could fill up whatever; can't fill up whatever; can fill it. It has nor is no grammar.
As if no matter how enormous a creator-God's universe is, it is always filled by this bloodless and ahistorical praise, immortal, ah?

This is the space of “bad infinity.” A noun’s happy.

I guess it had to be here.






Modes of attention as forms of address

Dread of will — an avaricious one — at least — Descartes — an echo — thought an excess of wonder harmful, for “it freezes the individual in the face of objects... whose capacity to do good or evil has not yet been determined.” (What is he most frightened of?) And this is just what the syntax of adoration does — did do. Though I think slow thinking, which Augustine spoke of, the slowness that comes through the eyes of sense, and perhaps goes out from them, too, is part of the profound happiness (that's my guess, not his) of the morally frozen individual, marvelling — in a chiasmatic, dyadic bondage to an irreal countersubject, contrasubject — catalepsis is here, too.

(And if writing is listening — a distension — no less — and listening is waiting is the lag on the ground, let's say . . . if there's this much patience . . . and if its adoration-syntax is anyway a possibility relevant only to impossibility credo  it is what anyone can know, what is of use the thing that lies between.)








YOU, the marvellous, then:

As if lit, we or I or you are in a field and don't know where the field is.
We are waiting-forgetting; it's of thought like vision; plain and thorough sight you can walk in.
It's sweet here with the early bees. And it, and nothing, and here.
We're made to be here in this very palpable self-forgetting. In language — in touch — in sight — we're gone.
Eternalism is a common mistake in the understanding of emptiness say the Mahayanists.









A syntax takes the mind which must allow it.

Beatrice of Nazareth’s profounder delirium, guessing the god she wanted, her abject chora, in an embrace of the erotic and devotional path insania amoris, “love-craziness,” bent her will to drive herself literally “out of” her mind as a way of “following” — where? Her rave over the edge, available in the rupture of the mind-that-holds, the mind's proper impossible: its particular, its formative, impossible: limitless, relational and spatial: syntax.

But adoration — and I think we have it — lauded as a self-transcendence (even though my postman felt humiliated by it), gets realer when you ask whether such enthusiasm or possession isn't hidden in any activity, even in the originating activity of consciousness and language; whether a delirium more profound than thought does not support thought. ...

The irreconcilable, restless, mindless, essential erotic distance — dynamic, empty, blissed, inhuman — which puts an other somehow “beyond recognition” as the self — identical, a marvel —and self-same as if non-existent enclosing, indefining, projected, obliterating, infertile, repetitiousness which uses us beyond our understanding might be our most precious distance.

Like we can’t reach inside it and touch anything which touches us. No one knows how the mind understands a sentence [true] yet, say, Dickinson’s apparatuses enact impossibility and impossibility's necessity in us. All that time she spent sitting with the dying, watching. So, if adoration's mind only wishes to drive our mind beyond itself, its best hope is this syntax — a machine only the mind obeys, and exquisitely, to death.

Oh, I know that that “beyond itself” doesn't exist. How many times have you told me? ... And isn't the State — some dyad, a kind of mirror stage, made explicit, then denied — a model, too, of our amorous inauthentic indistinction, a place where 'beyond' doesn't exist?   [This, literally.] The polis had one word for it: not. I'm learning.

(NOTE: The idiotic — the idion of the Greek polis — she who is beyond recognition or syntax — politically — the idiotic of language — something thrown beyond city's limits, yet apparent inside it. That’s beyond. Like our language meets us most emphatically now daily as law. It says it’s from us to us. )








It-and, then

It, and the thing that lies between, it-and. No eternity in sight but this is.

But it's stripped so far down, gnawing on its own heels, it might love a fish, but it can't really tell. It is leisured, desperate, idiotic, hugely self-satisfied, held by nothing, its own new world, heathen and pure, stopped. (You can see what the female -and has added to it — glory, as my girl says.)

Nothing, for example, is given in Stein, but how many thanks there are while she tries to “rid herself of nouns” she's Arab. No given place, in which absorption or distension is what is being written, in a circling and hovering motion, is made to appear. That the past pours its recognition [of] our enslavement [as] its enslavement over the objects and conditions of the world we know and did wish to name. Or, we have adored whatever we have named: the other; co-temporaneous, distinguished; the author in poetry “devoid of interest but inalienable” embracing its other as an indifference I’m not really French enough to parse for you, yet “only in this way does love become impersonal” or the self actualize as citizen.








If we mention the State, we must mention passivity

Adoration does not recognize itself as passive but wows like damp wood, let’s say, in a space it conceives as passive. We were just thinking how crucial abstraction is to adoration the love of the self as unknown. As if time got through intransitive, felt, and about space or showed itself to itself there. Where adoration might imagine extreme distances — the past, eg and long to submit to what resembles it in no way like any good field, lying under its sky.

The long time in the round space. ... That's not bad. Anyway, “Nice To Be Able To Say Thanks To A Giant,” our virginity drama's subtitle/last line slick, kind and still damp with a heaven's dew, I write as one jealous of myself “You were made for this.”

Self-satisfied? Bring on the Enlightenment Man who'll do his own delirium using what he says he sees. (I want to be able to refer to my absorption I am in that aboriginal dark suckling all that is not he and the threat of theatricalization that dogs me.)

Diderot, to the contrary?:

I was at that point in my reveries, nonchalantly stretched out in an armchair, letting my mind wander freely — delicious state in which the soul is honest without reflecting, the mind exact and delicate without effort, in which ideas and feelings seem to be born in us of themselves as from some favourable soil. My eyes were fixed on an admirable landscape and I was saying `The abbe is right, our artists understand nothing, since the spectacle of their most beautiful productions has never made me feel the delirium I feel now, the pleasure of belonging to myself, the pleasure of knowing myself to be as good as I am, the pleasure of seeing myself and of pleasing myself, the even sweeter pleasure of forgetting myself. Where am I at this moment? What surrounds me? I do not know. I am not aware of it. What am I lacking? Nothing. What do I desire? Nothing. If there is a God, this is how he is, he takes pleasure in himself.








What is beheld

The subject who speaks does not situate the world in relation to himself, nor situate himself purely and simply at the heart of his own spectacle. Instead he is situated in relation to the Other. ... By offering a word, the subject, putting himself forward, lays himself open and, in a sense, prays.

— Levinas

You, there....

But we — since by “standing up” my face to your faces a blur here I have made us an institution — swallowing. (“Involve: to swallow.” “Who is she?”) But speech as rhetoric addresses who are beyond recognition. Mid-ocean on a raft palms extended but a horizon but the open as hunger every which-way; and this is perhaps one of them, this gap, across which you face me, absorbed, spectacularizing. I, you, we use the text as our occasion.

Where there is nowhere to be out of, my thoughts flounder as devotion and welcome as if to advance the cause of nature in what fallow — lost, but enormous, like Blanche Wittman, “Queen of the Hysterics,” going without information at the Salpetrière in Charcot's time. The “crédulité absolue,” he said, of her under hypnosis. This crazed posed nearly past aching woman benign misericorde that must not be touched. He is always on the move.

... You see that it's the beholding you're doing that's holding me in this exaggerated pose. If you weren't there, I’d wait-forget.

Where the beholder threatens to theatricalize what's beheld by an adoration, and where the refusal of that theatricalization by the beheld is a task or talent of her absorption which is a capacity of the love of nothing, in it — the beheld's own diffuse attention to which she abandons herself, given to herself and nothing, distended, sovereign — as syntax takes the mind which allows it.

Tautologous but ardent!

Adore then the exquisite, the sentence as Blanche as tautology as crédulité absolue — which does not recognize the uselessness which puts it beyond recognition — and is a saint as to purpose. There are times and places when such remarks are just. ... I said “I no longer want to be in this ghetto of immensity,” but the fecund desperation the mere mention of this condition arouses engages me like nothing else.

So, tautology pure meaning ’s a very rich, impossible condition occurring in the visual plane. It is repetition in the absence of space. Repetition in the claustrophobic space of the invisible of the sentence which is the no-perspective space of art where there is no room for the viewer to stand behind the deer and no reason the hunter can't stand on their heads at his distance. Which means it is a perfection, a mere repression of everything, which repression we might experience as boredom, or as the inhuman, as weighty, libidinal, limnal, or because unutterable, or mine, adoration.

Hail [praise], bent, but lingeringly celebrating the self-abnegation [see also], the abstraction [see also], absorption [see also], hysterical evagination/gag response [see also], the rapt attention, the poverty, chastity and obedience of adoration, which maybe never does but means to leave the/her cell to give itself as passage to what it does not know....









I wish I wouldn’t talk like this!



I know you all want to be free!


I understand that you are all free!


  I vow to save you all!

















What is the abstract

The other is always abstract, the self-same disappears. My breasts are two loaded revolvers pointed at my chest; or etc..

But yet the compounded nature of women means they ’re doomed. ... Take the body from the body and you have nothing but the body; “I fall in a faint” leaves the body alone; see the essay the woman on the floor; her consciousness outside her just as her passport is spilled from her ample pocket; the abject is necessarily and by this same system the unspeakable. What will not be discrete cannot be spoken. So

TECHNICALLY: My act of adoration as idiotic syntax — my facing your shining face as its light inherent — might be “we” in what was an “I am” — it’s not extra. And-but it is the case that the proto-ethical and instantiating situation of a being being faced counts not as plethora, indistinguishable, borderless; must not be beyond recognition.

No “we” at all, then, no sum. Not even the political, sexual, economic unit of “you” and “I,” ever, not quite. You face me and/but thought.

Like abstraction is the mother of abjection: it takes all cleanliness for its likeness. Viz: The female is inseparable from the corpse. She could eat herself but only so far wrecked on a desert island. She has eaten herself but cannot finish the job. Loss, being earth, cannot clean itself but as dirt.

Levinas admits that the feminine and death are alterity.
“Are” alterity? How is alterity doubled?

... I said I no longer want to be in this ghetto of immensity. Abstraction fails the bulk it needs to come to light. Dawdles in freedom, ahhm? A white horse sketched rapidly in chalk over the completed scene.








The glass hand

We are beyond the recognition of our adored, outside. Viz. when she died, her servant was with her; [2] my old lover looked right through me like a beggar on the street; [3] Huguenot missionaries attempting to freeze the moral imaginations of the Tupinamba in the Bay of Rio in about 1557 report:

Adapting ourselves to their crudeness, we would seize the occasion [of their intense fear of thunder] to say to them that this was the very God of whom we were speaking, who to show his grandeur and power made heaven and earth tremble; their resolution and response was that since he frightened them in that way, he was good for nothing.

Here is rhetoric's glass hand. It is smashed if you don't love fear. Syntax is inside. I'll give you what you gave me. And didn’t the syntax of adoration — empty simulacrum of agency — return us — we, who are here, on the streets, in our deathbeds, in our temporary local coherences — an eroticized violence? Batter my heart.








The impossible

Death, in Heidegger, says Levinas, is the possibility of impossibility. ... And is a syntax that ruptures the mind-that-holds a kind of impossibility of possibility? In the end, maybe, as he says, belief only may go after what’s too big for thought.








This book, for instance

This book — Bad Infinity — for instance — drinks time. It begins with a “scene” (is it a scene?) because it's hard, as Simone Weil says, to love nothing right away.

a TINGUELY machine made not
just to implode [explode]
but ceaselessly expand
reflexively, referentially
maybe evolutionarily (i.e. to fail almost every time)

The content exists to perfect the structure
as if debating whether presence or absence will prevail.

It is its unwieldiness, its unrepresentable extension, its infoldingness creating space. I want to depend enormity from no matter what. Nearly everything from nearly nothing, from as little as possible, humanly (which means no more than “capable of fatigue”).

The burden of it, the weight of nothing, is the thing I want most of all. So that it will clearly be too much. So that writing and thought may be seen to be too much — which they are.









I. The decay of will. The demolition of rhetoric by all that it may have despised.

1. METAPHOR: Woe to you who first dissed metaphor in my hearing! that move across what is a delirium of destabilization that feels like an abandonment inherent in language. I want to let the beauty of its doomed effort show. What are you afraid of? Its thrownness is yours. If “we” live like and as whatever whatever, that's toxic; leave metaphor out of it.

A syntax, e.g. of adoration, might largely extremely deny cause and effect. Instead there is faked tautology [metaphor], restlessness, the reflexive. It may feel like destruction (of language) (of thought) until you realize that language (thought) is what is driving it. “It” being whether presence or absence will prevail.

Metaphor, glorying in its own clumsiness. Its own clumsy toss across the chasm, its unworthiness, trad. squire, tells it as proof of the glory — nb — of the object it addresses why not?

2. TITLING: Depending anything from anything is a device of thinking; what depends from words without context is understood as their context. This is very strange. It's just a habit of course. It came from ways of making humans responsible for "their" pasts (when they went to V*** at the extreme north end of the island, and the cop asked all the women their names, the first fifty said, Woman; after a long while, he got it) and comes from metaphor's use in taxonomy. Content is possession; and possession is more than nine-tenths of epistemological law. What is contained is possessed by what contains it. Sometimes what is uncontained [abject] is unrecognizable [stateless]. The "constituitive inside." If the outside is ripe and the inside unknown, a title is a guess, an attractant, strangely unpromiscuous. The text walks. The title hovers. It's outside.

3. Repetition, to release the strangeness as much as welcome. The adorers' characteristic repetition of you — You You You You You You You You You You “because a ten-fold repetition is wont to please

4. When there is “no place,” anyone bursts into place hysterically.

5. BULK INCAPACITATING UNDERSTANDING: what is too much to hold in the mind is what ruptures the mind-that-holds. To make this show in language is all I want to do. Here is a description of the archangel Gabriel from the Muslim tradition : "He has 1600 wings, with saffron colored hairs (bright yellow gold), from head to foot, a sun between his eyes, each hair containing a separate sun and moon, and he enters the Sea of Light 370 times in one day and a million drops fall from each wing and from each drop God creates an angel in the form of Gabriel that glorifies God until the Day of Rising." ...

6. Endless interruption, another enterprise of syntax, ditto.

7. The faux-rigorous, relentless, structuring devices — nesting, indices, supplements, footnotes, tables of contents, cross-reference — are to counter the fact that every successful page or poem self-annihilates. They're the corpse of it. And I'm sorry but I think that all the earnest apparatus is just funny and a bit frightening. Like someone else's sex toys. Evolution?

8. BIO: Eden: nouns in crisis: first verb: to receive. This blowsy nothing — "my book" — a result. The agglomerative, endless, bulgy, insultingly, needlessly big, an actually [word count] tiny book, made and unmade as fast. Made to be for "everything" but not a container, much gooeyer than that. And, I offer Jean-Francois Lyotard a little machine that does, or may, suffer from the burden of its memory, as he wished.








Final Note:

Tinguely, who found that he was overcome with a dread sense of stasis even in the midst of his great kinetic beings.




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