Thursday, March 6, 2008



In the moment we are born, the spirit that we are before we enter into this world is split. I don't want to say that it is split into two. Because, it's not a matter of the one becoming a two, two symmetric halves, that might one day become again the one. As is spoken, for example, in the famous image from Plato's Symposium. In that scene, the reconciliation spoken of is one of love, and of a relation between two beings of the same kind. Here, instead, I mean that in order for us to take a living form, a form that is alive in this world, there is part of us that is clipped or cut, and sent away. I don't know where it goes to. I don't know if this part is sent to meet with the other parts that have been clipped from all those in the world, and if they know and commune with one another, in some phantom city never seen, erected on an Asian plain, or beneath the ocean's deepest doldrums, where furious currents have gone to die.

I know that there is a way to meet this split spirit again. Or maybe it is not a meeting face-to-face, maybe it is a way only to wear the face of this spirit, the way that one acts on a stage, or wears a festival mask. In the way that there are some things that live in this world as a mask, a disguise, a costume, and when the costume is laid down again on the bed, the spirit is gone.

Often this way involves visiting a foreign country. It can happen that while traveling abroad, this shadow lost before birth can be heard in a silent speech by one's innermost ear. No matter what, you will never see or touch this shadow, at most you will hear its wordless pronouncement: here, in this land, you and I may come to know about each other. And in all that you take in about this land, its foods and languages and music and so on, it is in a kind of mute and private acknowledgment, a recognition, a greeting.

So it is, I think, with Christina and Italy. Who for our all-too-brief trip seemed to be living the life of another, not one which is an escape from one's first life, but which makes the first seem to be an extended exile from the second. In some people, travel is a catharsis, a kind of necessary semi-regular exercise useful in purging built-up energies and tensions. In others, it cleaves the psyche in two for good, such that dynamic energies are sparked for eternity. It is not known whether in this case the soul becomes permanently restless, or turns to face for the first time the restlessness which has always haunted it.

On a trip for five days through Rome, in the ceaseless heat, on the stony earth, each day punctuated by the shot from the noon cannon. Those traveling days where everything bears a faint halo of mythic intensity. We spent three days on the island of Ischia, a volcanic island reachable by ferry from Napoli, and home to several thermal springs, one of which is cava scura, 'secret cave', and that lies at the end of a path one can take from the small beach of Maronti, where we took seafood pasta on the beach for lunch.

Not on purpose is the song structured into three parts. The song is so structured, in three parts which do not repeat in an A-B form, because this form is boring and constraining and I can't do it. Whatever inner daimon it is whose hand moves my creative impulses, it is one that seems to prefer the horizontal flows, tangents, contiguities, unfoldings, and so on, and all those other trappings of nomadic freedom.

(..As much as on the other hand there is another daimon, perhaps one who resents the first, one who craves the brutal cut, the unforgiving amputation, the diabolical reduction....)

No comments: