BATAILLE

sketch by Mark Kerstetter

formless (ness)
my conceit
my lie
(form is unavoidable)
dare I say of my spit any more than of the universe it lacks form?
—is only to ask why I avoid the rhythm of my blood (it beats in time, I have listened, I know, as Mozart, as a child, knew)
I blind myself to it
see my blood only in a sunburst
when it is spilt
I am spent
(or it spends me, I don’t know which)
lolling off the legless lap I stand
ACCUSED
of lateral moves
(as if on a grid, filling holes like a gravedigger or a man tallying up stock prices, as if in doing
I am anything but undone)
outside the lines
(surely there is something there—in there)
out there
anywhere but don’t say “here”
(it would be a lie)
only truth unsaid
only True is said
as God in time
and undoing, as a knot that ties and unties
ITSELF
not me, another
always another (never me) until I can’t tell one from the other (which me and which other)
UNTIL THE JOKE IS SAID
the funniest part—
it isn’t funny

sketch by Mark Kerstetter

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5 Responses to BATAILLE

  1. brian miller says:

    smiles…you present an interesting riddle in this mark…the question of form…it is the rhythm of the blood and the denial or understanding of it…the music in it that strikes me most…its nature, our nature…and spilt i am spent or it spends me…the lateral moves in intriguing as well…to say i understand it all in one read…i dont but it deserves more…smiles.

  2. angela says:

    Mark -so glad that you linked to your 2010 post – i now have added Bataille to my next used book shop visit. You never cease to amaze me with your breadth of knowledge and talent – in awe.

  3. hedgewitch says:

    This is my third reading–and of course I come to the table completely ignorant of Bataille(and have not read your link yet, as I wanted to get the poem down straight first.) My early impression are less of emotions or ideas than of spaces and shapes, which somehow take their places.
    ‘..as if in doing I am anything but undone..’
    is a leveler, not to mention the autonomous knot, and the end lines, almost nihilist. I’m still working on the capitalization–so pointedly selective, and the various skilled surface arrangements, but I feel really strongly in agreement with the idea of being constantly one with that of which we are also unconscious, of so much that is purposeful in ourselves, in the outside universe…but it seems somehow a cold comfort to have it without knowing it. Forgive me if I’ve misread, or misunderstood–I am always having to get out extra brain cells for your fine work, Mark.

    • Thanks for giving this so much attention. I’ve been in somewhat more of a reading mode than a writing mode lately (although, strangely, I haven’t been writing about the things I’m reading, but about things I’ve read in the past). This poem is a certain reading of Bataille (as the last two poems I posted were readings of Kafka and Wittgenstein). It’s a kind of persona poem, in that the “I” of the poem is Bataille the writer, as I understand him. Perhaps we can “have” or “know” something without being able to articulate this experience in words, at least in a definitive or satisfying way. Your word “space” is interesting, because I think of Bataille as someone who articulated certain spaces in which to think. Nothing is defined once and for all in these spaces, but the reader is welcome to go in there and explore. There are also certain textual spaces he explored, such as the word “eye” in his most famous novel….

  4. Susan Scheid says:

    I wish I knew something of Bataille. Your poem makes me want to. As it is, I can only stand on the outside looking in to this marvelous poetic space you’ve created, and hold on to the edge with this: “Bataille’s words convey the same kind of wonder that the images themselves do, and like Anne Carson’s poetry, cause the ancient world to quiver with contemporary relevance.” This is a gorgeous, insightful comment, not to mention one I wholly endorse.

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