Freud in London in the Rain
… I thither went
With inexperienced thought and laid me down
On the green bank to look into the clear
Smooth lake that to me seemed another sky.
John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV
Too late now to reconsider our departures. It is too late.
The way the mind of man proposed to us a pond, appeared
a pond beset with swans, or a pond’s reflection in the sky.
But we must carefully reconsider our mistakes. The way
we trolled for catfish in the mud, for the specific creature
busying the powdery floor, far beneath the pale reflections.
When the Unconscious world made its first disappearance,
we dreamed we thought we saw it diving into dark domains.
A lifetime’s listening showed us otherwise, that the secrecies
all shine brightly in the common air, and flash and vanish,
and were never really here, these never-wounds that creatures bear,
the injuries of absence everywhere, asking only to be borne,
that must, in some small way, be recognized and even loved,
a kind of gravity we all possess but cannot share, that speaks
in all we do and what we flee and everything we fear.
I think that I could start again now from a different spot,
watching through the spattered window panes a rain-soaked street,
and somehow try to redirect the misconceptions of our art,
this unread knowledge of the known and knowable world
that lives outside the fiery symbols, outside the fiery mind itself,
this dispossessing atmosphere where life and thought take place.
But I am old. And just perhaps the work we’ve done
will one day surface in another sky, an altogether other space
where all my too-familiar words have shed their common sense
and all the loyal acolytes, so quick to parse and paraphrase,
give way to these my hard-earned laws of life and quiet science,
of a world we can’t deny, consigned so long to silence.
Die Welt ohne Eigenschaften
All there is is number. Number is in everything.
Number is in the individual. Inebriation is a number.
When number held your perverse flesh
suspended in the womb-warmth
of your incompletion
in that time before your loud becoming
it was then you knew the meaning
of each pulsing systole of belonging
each diastolic throb of grief.
We harbor in the upright world
the vestige logic of an amniotic sea
where sense arises in sensation
and intensities insist upon the skin
where meaning means significance
the urgency of something pulsing
in the stark immediacy of distance
in a world before quality
in a place without location
in a time more intimate than memory
where in quantity alone we’re held afloat
devoid of messages and numerals
but made of number.