A N N E X   P R E S S    2 0 1 6 

M O N A D O L O G Y              by  DONALD WELLMAN

 

Invoking cells and colonies, the architect considered

the cathedral’s structural integrity,

an apocalyptic framing of solar scales.[1]

Temples are monads, monads temples

where oversized houseflies awaken the first day of summer.

“The Capilla del Altillo is a rhomboid,

its roof, a hyperbolic paraboloid. Arcs

intersect angles that spill over sun-bright

plazas, precisely indicated

shadows, enormous clocks, radial arms,

define solar scales.” (Prolog Pages 94).

Subatomic particles follow all paths simultaneously.

 

The monad “uncurled from its cradle, or artichoke

globe.” [2] Swimming monads abrupt

on oceans that were skies, skies oceans.

Maria Zambrano wrote about vegetables.[3]





[1] I came upon these images by chance over time and marked them as beacons for my navigation. The first lines reference architectural studies undertaken by López Carmona in order to balance the crumbling facades of the Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de la Santísima Virgen María a los cielos before the stones inevitable plunge into the crypt of the Aztec Templo Mayor  upon which they stand. In Prolog Pages I wrote, the lines that follow (Chiba-Ken, 2009). I have correct the phrase “hyperbolic parabola” to read “hyperbolic paraboloid.”

[2] José-Luis Moctezuma, Spring Tlaloc Séance (Chicago : Projective Industries, n.d.) 11.

 


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My mind slips into prelapsarian sludge.

By means of incorporation, the writer explores beastliness.

The experience of sex loses generic markers.

Aquamarine fish and arachnid presences,

a mucilaginous body, made of the polysaccharide carrageenan

populates a plane of consistency.

Beauty is the poet’s bane.




[3] The vegetable dreams; its life is sleep. In it reality and dream are one, as in fantasy, for it dreams itself. And also because it sleeps permanently and what it dreams is what is. The plant is the shape of its dream. In the animal bad dreams begin; the dream that is different from its own being, the nightmare. Nightmare is the dream opposed to life. The dream that bears down on consciousness or the hint of consciousness and that has to originate in the necessity for movement. The quiet vegetable, ecstatic, is immersed in its sleep and in not moving does not distinguish, between outside and inside. And so does not need to have consciousness. Consciousness has risen from movement and the movement in turn makes it feel and creates the sensation of a rift in its reality, divides it into my “outside” and my “inside.” Movement is necessary for the animal, it is the generic form of its life, because its necessity is without limits. And because it must go far in search of its satisfaction and this too is its power. Without movement it has no power. And so the root of its necessity and the root of its power equally oblige it to move. For the plant all must be felt inside, only gently may it feel the outside and not as such, but as a brush, as a wound in the worst case. The tree, the plant live their dream within, not only feeling the earth where its roots are buried, but all of space, the dome of the sky. For these are born not in going out from itself, but in a budding; a passing from darkness to light, and the air that continues to cover them as before the earth did the seed, but without oppression; an inside very spacious and light where its being unfolds and enters through subtle relations with “the other,” “the others,” as with the animal. “The other” which is the origin of “the enemy.” The feeling for other bodies will present itself to them in different forms of relation without struggle, or antagonism; corresponding perhaps to moments of contemplation of the beautiful in human life.. The beautiful, even happiness devolves for man from the world where the vegetable has continued to live, since they bring it to the interior without boundaries. To a spacious “inside” where it is not imprisoned or exiled. To live outside is to wander in amazement and in struggle; to live inside is to be bound and isolated. This manner of vegetal  living and that which man enjoys when he feels beauty or is happy, is neither outside nor inside; participation in the life of the whole, without going to find it; is the presence not pursued; the being without boundaries that senses the richness of the universe unfolded. Meanwhile in human life one seeks the whole of that which “the other” [el otro] and “the other” [lo otro] enclose within themselves, pursuing it, conquering it among the avatars of the necessity to possess what refuses us all the same, the quietude of living within and the freedom of living without. Tr. Donald Wellman.

 

Maria Zambrano, “El vegetal,” Roma 1954, Algunas lugares de la pintura, Madrid 1991 (Reprinted in Cuba secreta,ed. Jorge Luis Arcos, Colección ensayo, no. 90. Madrid, 1996: 148-49.)




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He wanted to “stay in the dream arena.”[4]

In a time before time that is not time,

alligators and lobsters, embedded in a tree,

weep a heavenly milk, possibly latex,

on which ants feed. Scurrying feet swamp creation,

a red dye, acidic, ascetic to taste buds.

 

Every substance is an entire world and mirror of God.[5]

Precarity, implicit activism of music.[6] Perception,

a mode of causal efficacy (Whitehead).

Not a few have stepped on my shoulders in their ascent.

I am foam in the wake of the barque.

It’s an incessant dream of desperate poverty,

I drag two children over the pavement

away from the police who inventory our belongings.

The yellow tape of no-return follows eviction.

 

“It is not a flat plane hung before the painter’s eye

like a window but a glass float from a Japanese fishing net”[7]

 





[4] Micah Ballard, Afterlives (Oakland: Bootstrap  Press 2016) 83.

[5] Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics and the Monadology. Tr. George R. Montgomery (NY: Prometheus, 1992) 15.

[6] Nathaniel Mackey, Plenary Address, Poetics: (The Next) 25 Years, Buffalo NY, April 10, 2016.

[7] Cole Swensen. Ours (Berkeley: U. Cal. P, 2008) 26.



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Monads are incorporeal automatons (18)[8]

We fought over books. I chased the author over unstable crates swathed in orange fabric that served as bridge or floating dock. Shades of Cristo!

Milk, soap, milksop, as in a shopping list.

Of the bellybutton, my Roberto wrote,

of a bouncing dot with a bay and fierce blizzards that stung the swaddled face,

“si mónada por rebote un punto más chico abandona para volver a rebotar.”

Spinning within spinning within blinding vortices,

subsumes space and vision.[9]





[8] Leibniz “Monodology” in Montgomery op. cit. The numbers are Leibniz’s paragraph numbers.

[9] Roberto Echavarren, The Espresso Between Sleep and Wakefulness. Tr. Donald Wellman and Roberto Echavarren (Cardboard House, 2016): 18, 19 and58, 59).


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Before nominating her father for the highest office in the land,

she depilated her vulva,

nervous lest she be exposed

as was my grandmother who in the end could only manage soft and mushy food.

The vulva is a monad.

 

A soul cannot all at once open all its folds because they extend to infinity (81).

The death of the minotaur occurred within the cement gray walls of the cellar.

Sackcloth covered the door,

“los sacos cubren la entrada del día”

There were no windows.

Sprinkles of blood decorate the chamber.

“Calmo el toro moribundo sosteniendo el sol bemol bala entre

acoplados corchetes de la incomunicable forma de su destrucción.”[10]

Meat hooks.

In Raul Zurita’s Inri. From within a sphere

whose dimensions vary precipitously,

are heard sky and sunlight within the waves.

The monad is an eye that listens.

Sea and sky are tombs. Fish devour sky.[11]






[10] Antonio Ochoa. “¿cuando tú estabas en el sótano, yo estaba muerto?” Él toro de Hiroshima. (Mexico: Mangos de Hacha, 2016): 28

[11] Inri (Madrid: Visor 2004) 29.



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Horizons subsumed within monads.

Roses spring from crowns of thorns

and blind the basins of the eyes.

The eye is a monad.

 

Every simple substance expresses all others (55).

“Sea like sky falls into sky like ocean” in Bergval’s Drift (58).

A monad within the shaking of the spheres

“coursing light packed ice melts

each passing monad”

Folded fabric, folded spheres.

“Layers if branches rub against one another.”

Inside is only the irritation of not seeing

You push aside the branches

Shadows stick to your fingers.

“Quickly darkened your bite holds the trace”[12]

 

To tranquilize the black rhino

is now my theme

so it may be transported by helicopter

across the savannah.




[12] Farad Showghi, End of the City Map. Tr. Rosmarie Waldrop (Providence: Burning Deck, 2003).




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Living bodies are machines in their smallest parts (64).

In empty rooms of dissonant thought, thought of feeling beside what you might be, of work, of unabsented being. Being small again. Everything is cold and strange except you. You and your echo.[13] The pineal gland is a walnut that focuses perception in Descartes measured world. Paul Klee wrote, “I reflect on the innermost heart. I write the words on the forehead and round the corners of the mouth. … If I were to paint a really truthful self-portrait, you would see an odd shell. … Inside it would be myself, like the kernel in a nut.”[14] Symbols signify absences as if we were all blind. Within the interior spaces of the monad, shadows are the time signature of the Brownian motion of the soul.

 

There is therefore, nothing uncultivated, or sterile or dead … no chaos, no confusion, save in appearances; somewhat as a pond would appear at a distance when we could see in it a confused movement, and so to speak, a swarming of the fish, without, however, discerning the fish themselves (69).





[13] Adapted without registering line endings from John Beer’s Lucinda: A Poem (Ann Arbor: Canarium, 2016) 188.
[14] Paul Klee. Notebooks, Vol. 1, The Thinking Eye (20). https://monoskop.org/images/1/15/Paul_Klee_Notebooks_Vol_1_The_Thinking_Eye.pdf.


                                                                            
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How were we to know that the translucent filaments were other than wrinkles in a watery world. Graminaceous entelechies with wheels as proposed by Max Ernst.  Did the conjoined monsters with several heads, spewing literature and other substances gory and fiery, as proposed by Sir Edmund Spenser, obey the laws of good and evil?[15] Greater and lesser, the trajectories of the visible planets aligned in accord with projective meditation and deduction, as Descartes proposed with respect to honor an mutability. We ourselves were defined by our own doubts and these must be purged argued Edmund Husserl. “What is specifically peculiar to me as ego, my concrete being as monad, purely in myself and for myself with an exclusive owness, includes <my> every intention.”[16]

 

By transcendental reduction to discover

the immanent laws that they obey,

animals and gods who populate

the vegetable gardens and jungles

of the of the cosmic sphere. Dare I rest here

when to contemplate the night sky

causes me to wobble on my feet.



[15]              
Her vomit full of bookes and papers was,

With loathly frogs and toades, which eyes did lacke,

and creeping sought way in the weedy gras:

Her filthie parbreake all the place defiled has.            The Faerie Queene, Canto I, XX.

[16] Edmund Husserl. Cartesian Meditation. Tr. Dorion Cairns (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1960.


 
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My music is Monadnock where I heard a haunting Cymbeline. Percussive tones from drums and bagpipe in shrill harmony that shattered the ancient meeting house on the banks of the Piscataquog. Phoebus, “His steeds to water at those springs” (II. iii. 22). Shakespeare likens tuning to penetration, testing the seductive force of “horsehairs and calves-guts.”[17]

 

Self or monad, by computation, solipsistic scales

“Putting on a rubber it is easier if you are rigid

but the routine can become autistic repetition”[18]

Confirm by this, I came to song, by copying phrases

from the various sources that lay at hand, feeling my way

by both random accident and immanent coherence

as form began to manifest itself and dissolve..

 



[17] So argued Charles Fussell before the performance of his Cymbeline by the Monadnock Music Sinfonietta, dir. Gil Rose, Franceston, NH, Old Meeting House, July 28, 2016.

[18] Misha Pam Dick. This is the Fugitive” (Essay Press, 2016) 15.