By Brian George
"The Reichstag will again burn bright with dancing human UFOs”—B.G.
Hi CJ (Moore),
When I read your work, I sometimes feel that I have been picked up and transported through a mirror into the world of 1967; at the same time, I am very much aware that I am in a dream that a magician has conjured for my enjoyment, and that I might, at any time, wake up.
As I breathe in and out, and scan my psyche and my body to take note of my responses, I find that this experience brings with it a great sense of nostalgia—a kind of bittersweet nostalgia—which is very different from any kind of sentimental longing for the past. I use the word “nostalgia” in the way that it was used by de Chirico; it refers to a complex and multi-dimensional emotion, rooted in one’s perception of the infinite, which has to do with being seized by the vertigo of Time.
The vertigo of Time! As I say this, I think of those crude special-effect hypnotic spirals that you might find in a Hitchcock movie or in the opening of “The Twilight Zone.”
On the simplest level, there is the dizziness in the head and the sense of falling in the solar plexus that many of us feel when we think about lost youth. On the next level up and out, there is ache in the heart produced by loss of the “American Dream”—as embodied by the Golden Age of the 1950s—or by the sinking of the neo-Atlantis of the 1964-1972 version of the Counterculture. As we spiral out, there are even more expansive and almost incomprehensible levels, in which we feel that entire worlds and all records connected to them have been carried off.
You wrote, “We are learning to speak gibberish—this is no joke; the more we read everything under the sun, moon, stars, and galaxies, the more insane things appear…Speaking gibberish is not unlike speaking about history, or philosophy, or looking into the heart of ancient texts. Gnosis is total gibber-gabber, and the Gnostic is like a patient who has been let out of a mental institution, who then stands beside the highway, waving at cars…
“But there is a deeper dimension to this and I believe that this what Brian George is getting at; it's the lines between the lines of all this language that has been getting the better of us since the first word was projected into light, and then all the rest has been chaos masquerading as order…At the point where the gibberish begins to make some kind of sense, we will be speaking an alien tongue...Poetry is the opening of the way, or third eye, or 4th dimension…”
As you move from Lautreamont to Rimbaud to Breton to Bukowski to Lamantia, and then from the Beatles to the present to the Apocalypse and then back, I am escorted around each turn of the hypnotic spiral by your language—which must be regarded as the instrument of a perpetual revolution.
Your language is a foreign agent, only sometimes comprehensible; it is a stone against which no philosopher can argue. It is the telepathic charge of the Lingam at the Yoni, and of the happy couple against the critics that man the Out of Doors Museum, on whose barricades the couple has now volunteered to die. Your language is a map that is the same size as the city. It is the “negentropic” songbird that Dada hijacked from the cage of Babel.
Your language is not bigger than the Zero; it has cut the head from Goliath, the champion of the International Monetary Fund. It is a slight-of-hand more powerful than any weapon in the universe.
Your language testifies to the value of the “transvaluation of all values”; it is a mustache drawn by the Mona Lisa on Duchamp. It is the key to the centrifugal catastrophe of Surrealism, to the spiral that drives each transported genius mad, thus turning One against All. Your language is a kind of “free associative” wound, by means of which the dead are encouraged to be healthy. It is a flower sprung from the fallout of Chernobyl, the chant that will levitate the Pentagon, a Molotov cocktail thrown against the “glass house” of the technocrat, whose plumbing it will illuminate, and whose data banks it will flush.
In the same way that the failed revolutions of 1848 gave birth the European Avant-Garde, your writing transposes the visionary promise of the Counterculture into the realm of symbolic action.
(Illustration: Andre Masson, Meditation on an Oak Leaf)