Feb 6, 2008

1. The Dead Angel

A sea snake bit me last month. While wading at night in Mauna Lua Bay, I felt a hot charge of pain at my ankle that flared up my leg, banged through my heart and punched the bags under my eyes. I thought it was a moray. But it was a venomous snake. The next morning, my whole body vibrated like a freeway to the next world. I got myself to the ER and, waiting there, watched the lights go down in my head. I didn't expect to wake.

Now here I am, wholly recovered, living with the monstrous incongruity of being alive after having approached extinction. Many of you may have had similar experiences. The sentimental percussion of the heart seems provocative after near annihilation. We chew foolishly on our emotions, unable to digest the surpassing conception of life. The personal, the secret, the erotic intensify, unleashing dark power from the luckless event.

And writing? The chief instrument of the ambiguously self-referential, writing becomes a dead angel.

I want to go below speech. I want to penetrate silence. All that matters to me now is you. My personal catastrophe is so common, so recursive, it lacks philosophical force --- except that you recognize it. You alone can help me escape the prison yard of language.

And so, I've come here, to cyberspace, not to write about me but to meet you and to relate to you. I should be scattered ashes today; instead, I see more clearly than ever that reality is not things but events. And the supreme event of any consciousness is not 'me' (isolated and unseen) but you. Ephesians II, 14: "For he is at peace who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us … that he might create in himself of the two one new man."

We are emanations of death. We ray forth from the irrational as accomplished and sublime spirits. Our fingers move, our legs obey us, our eyes see and ears hear; yet, we have no volitional idea how. We are floating through the normative with strength and suppleness as if we will live forever. The voice of the mind sweeps us all together with a centrality, power and hierarchy that we call humanity.

In fact, there is no humanity. There are only individuals and the epistemic agreement we share. The voice of the mind is a refugee from the downfall of heaven. Time is an illusion. Space and time exist only in the Darwinian bubble of perception we call the psyche.

I've written about this in numerous entries of Dreadful Joy: Memoranda for the Yinsane and hope to investigate these ideas further in this weblog, which I'm calling Snakewalk. Where Dreadful Joy explored the implications in creative writing and language of our uncanny existence as irrational spirits, this weblog intends to record not only the anatomy of the dead angel (our narrative assertions, especially our propensity for fiction) but also our silence, our ineffable relationship with the world, and the distillations of mystery we call qualia (wordless sensations).

I would like to accomplish this through images, photographs that I'll post as I accompany you into the volcanic crater in my neighborhood: Kohelepelepe (Koko Crater), whose name translates as the Inner Lips of the Vagina. There resides a goddess. I would like you to meet Her.

By marrying language and image, I will attempt to resurrect with dark power the dead angel. What we must search for, and find, is the dark power. It is simultaneously artistic inspiration and the presence of death. It is visible mystery. We will locate it through the virtue of demonic desire in alliance with the spirit of the earth, in this case our spermatic journey into Kohelepelepe.

This is a deathward journey, and it is risky. Foremost, as with all mystical participation, we risk offending the voice of the mind, the prince of darkness, the reality principle (in Freud's term: Realitätsprinzip). Words raised out of time, lifted into the realm of image, have no discursive value and so approach poetry --- and foolishness.

Yet, if you accompany me, we will pass from this world to the next. We will forsake the ordinary for the extraordinary. On this snakewalk, we seek renewal by molting sense, peeling off common sense for the sense of things hidden, unlearned, the non-sense of the great and terrible: the absurd truth.

To say any more leads to enigma. We must make the journey. I must show you. Words alone will not suffice. As the sages say: "Truth comes empty-handed. In its poverty is its strength."

Let me conclude with a feather from the wing of a dead angel --- a passage I wrote shortly after my snakebite for my friend and fellow author, William Jones [ http://www.williamsramblings.blogspot.com/] in reply to his query: "Horror: What scares us, and why do we like it so much?"

Horror is a confrontation with truth. Life's wrenching, overwhelming and exhausting tragedy defeats our assertion that we are more than mere things. Without persistent repression of this truth, human existence would be unbearable. We find horrifying, in life and in fiction, anything that punctures our denial of the truth, anything that forces confrontation with the brutal fact of our mortality, our unconquerable ignorance or the truly frightening absurdity of our moral claims in a universe of violence and darkness, vast and secret beyond all imagining. Why do we like horror? Because one must face the truth to find meaning. Life's meaning is mediated by horror. And the treasure of horror is the discovery of meaning.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not as vast or secret as you presume.
Darkness and Violence of course.
What is visible/
What dose of salve for the mind
comes through the eye?


How far in time and Space did the
Sea Snake come for you?

Swimming in 51 Quadrillion acre feet of water..its portion..
Bourne along in that teardrop
of planted saltwater..

What will it take to awaken
you from your slumber?

A sofa of iron crashing between
the lips of that vagina!

Life(Zoe) and Wisdom(Sophia)
have the answer..
And it appears that a female
science-fantasy writer will
speak for the Living.

The male has not the ensanguining
sight or cry..
Therein lies the problem..
The part that guilt plays..
ALL outer directed..
Blood out-Blood in..

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Mario Olckers said...

I lost a dear friend to the ocean on Monday evening, rescuers have not recovered their bodies yet

i am not sure what I am supposed to be feeling, but reading of your ordeal and the fact that I got here now, synchronicity

i will make the journey along with you, hoping to learn, hoping to find a way to cope in the midst of sadness at loss

I once again, as the previous time when a friend passed on remenber the words of Jabolwan the sorcerer in Wyvern:
"rest, the wind knows your name now, it is part of the song it sings to the stars"

your brilliance is a beacon on my path, i am glad you get to be here longer to share your gift

radix and last legends of the earth are my all time favourites, although shadow eater and the dark shore also stirred

love and light from South Africa

dedicated to the memory of Chandré Escórcio

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The complexity of our words, the tongues desire for its true form, the mother reveals the child to the father, horror is attachment to our exostance, love and humanity truly embraced is the sweetest path to knowledge and the divinity of imagination

4:39 AM  

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