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John Bloomberg-Rissman & Ernesto Priego

VOICE OF AN ANGEL: But this is implicitly to propose that the works of our cultural inheritance have no meaning or identity an sich- that their meanings are whatever we choose to make of them. It is to make a mere game of the acts of imagination. -Jerome McGann, 2001

[ And And

And And ] *

IS inscribes IS

the book of love’s own dream Later there was a great flood in which many gods were drowned We were poor, poor, poor, poor, poor when we came to this world through the poor place Can the beautiful be sad? Is beauty inseparable from the ephemeral

and hence from mourning? Flowers began to rain on the lake

And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years And the whole earth was of one language and one speech This could date back to an unresolved oedipal dilemma: immigrants moved into the East End, Cattle, sheep and most fish are permitted: The predictable nature of a music remaining close to its starting place was changing SHAKE

And the bold request which goes up the mountains of desire also asks this:

to enjoy the Beauty not in mirrors and reflections but face to face IS grants what is requested in what is denied

Drench your hands in basil to refresh me as if I read in your caresses … And as everywhere night sometimes falls yet (the same with love) a little light all by itself calls “me” “me” And the

secret chord that David played the fourth, the fifth the minor fall and the major lift continues to rain on the lake and the waters of the flood were upon the earth, and they walked slowly in the darkness by the side of the river, and the very depths of being tore their hearts and souls, and they started to create their rhythms using drum machines, and it continued raining on the lake

And the waters of the flood were upon the earth and we were the waters of the flood and the waters of the flood were the words we breathed And In 1981 when collecting folksongs in his home province Tan Dun

met the Stone Man practitioner of an ancient shamanistic ritual involving the striking of stones vocalizations and the use of the mouth as a resonator for the stones’ sounds He hoped to work with the man but when he returned in 1999 the Stone Man had died and the tradition was lost

“What is a drum? an opening into a spirit world covered with skin� Let us die, let us dance,

the drums plow up the silence, the waves are the colour of dawn, please don’t make your Oms too holy-holy, the blood passes from the heart and talks at the joints, the drums furrow the silence, beat out the rhythm of the sap, water and its thirst are One

[so much water, and not a drop to drink]

This is not madness This is such pain The face becomes swollen and livid, [but I am human and deserve to be loved] and The Beach Boys start singing “Wouldn't It Be Nice”; Jan starts picking up broken records, fade to black

---suddenly, an echo--a reverb a double bass, an achordeon too, “al ritmo de la lluvia, del fuego y del amor...” ¡cu cu cu cumbia! and the sap, water and its thirst and its hunger and its heart and the cumbia with that cumbia, hermana, hermano, that ritmo tropical,

I would have killed myself gladly because Winter is for women but fire, steel, then time is stopped because she dreaded getting lost no past no brothers (lost)

entre la lluvia de los veranos you and I are

One engaged in a dialectic of reflection and transparency

gray volumes [on a gray day] filled with somber ciphers a kind of crying without tears ~~~~~~~

tears without crying [on a gray day]

volumes gray volumes transparency and reflection ~~~~~~~

the improbable synthesis of void and transcendence ~~~~~~~

“What you see is what you see” You and I flesh written on glass ´´´´´´´´´´´´ [he stopped speaking only gulping down the risings of his throat] -music: To Build a Home, Breathe, Colours Fontella Bass has a sweet voice for a gray day: Carry me into the sea, The splendid immobility of the bay resting under his gaze with its grey spurs and shining indentations:

because these forms [the waves; the sea; the rain] know nothing

of passage of time herein lies the essentially epic quality of memory the improbable synthesis of You and I ´´´´´´´ Inheritance: birdsong (nest in the eaves) through an open window Inheritance:

(two skies)

… no other shield than the veil of one’s Goodness … “THE OLD BRONZE BELL RINGS and the spiderweb shimmers in morning sunlight” “THE HARD SOFT SCENTED SHAPED AND BREATHING SWEET ODOROUS GODDAMNED AND SINGING SILENT SOFT AIR AND … made perfect in this blessing HAH!” If the great ocean thought it was full enough The hundred rivers would flow backward Max Jacob “La Rue Ravignan”:

“‘You can’t bathe in the same river twice,’ said the philosopher Heraclitus. But here it’s always the same ones climbing the street. Happy or sad they go by at the same times. I’ve named all of you who walk down the rue Ravignan for famous dead people. Here’s Agamemnon. There’s Mme Hanska! Ulysses is the milkman! Patroclus lives down the street! Castor and Pollux are the ladies on the fifth floor. But you, old ragman, who come to take

the still-unspoiled scraps in the magic morning when I’m turning off my big good lamp, you that I don’t know, mysterious poor ragpicker, I’ve given you a celebrated name: I call you Dostoevsky!” [ And And

And And ] *

IS inscribes IS

"Stations of the Cross" would be the title of this dream of those we left behind And even


"all manner of things shall be well", fallen gods, and gods whose kingdom is not yet, become demons: (Julian knew this) love is a divine revelation and sickness is a divine gift How to be clear without losing dignity, that is the question:

The heroes of youth are guided by the gods and we can never stop wishing in the presence of the word (the wish) that never was

(and there is no other) Push Pause Get Up Walk Outside Gaze UP at the great rooted blossomer that “begins” in quantum entanglement and “ends” twirling its final flower in Mahakasyapa’s grinning face Mahakasyapa (“drinker of light”)


(in which the nothing that is all in all occurs)

…010101… … nothing something nothing something nothing something … … off on off on off on … It Doesn’t Matter Yes It Does

The thrust is thirst: The thrust

is thirst: desire blazes in the mind, it solidly opposes its command at times the urge intrudes uninvited we note the licence and disobedience of this member which thrusts itself so forward so inopportunely when we don't want to and

it so inopportunely lets us down when we most need it The thrust is thirst and

there's water here

but the tongue is dry “Drink deeply” what’s-his-name used to say “The well of living is you” Then he’d handle a silver ball without leaving a single print That was his crowning trick

In Bodies that Matter Butler further explores the possibilities for the phallus If as she notes Freud enumerates a set of analogies and substitutions that rhetorically affirm the fundamental transferability of the phallus from the penis elsewhere then any number of other things might come to stand in for the phallus …

Maybe E V E R Y L A S T O N E of the 10,000 things … Push Pause Get Up Walk Outside

The Unnameable isn’t dead

The Unnameable is drowsy from the smell of the sea And where you are how many days has it been pouring down rain? And it keeps raining but light blades cut through glass two days ago And today right now "as I write this" The Twilight Sad sing Last Year's Rain Didn't Fall Quite So Hard But it is grim up North or so they say and Glasgow gave us

rain but it's not Belfast innit (Van the Man) "give us another" A Brand New Day of rain

water streaming down the walls. It had rained for a week. The rain did not bother the dead: it bothered him. (The Unnameable is drowsy from the smell of the sea) And the smell of crab and deep fried cod damped the promenade and the arcade and the greasy spoons that marked the time everytime

a lighted window, small, very yellow, a dozen drunks, singing: "And where you are how many days has it been pouring down rain?" Here it’s all light blades My road is light blades

(“ … when lovers’ shadows move at the approach of dawn the poet’s tongue the tongue of wells and centuries is dry is rough and dry It has done so much service and disservice

has been so long exposed to the air to the noise to its own words that it has hardened glazed and crumbled After the road and before the road there are stones and ashes on scattered stones The book rises out of the fire … ”) The book rises out of the fire and out of the light blades That’s how many days it’s been pouring down rain

around here That’s how many days the lovers have been wandering the poet’s desert reading The Book of Questions and drowning in thirst

behind us inside us now I am as before a separation now I am going to turn on the light and you will see how the moon shimmers on the sea

and there are ships that want to be seen in order to sink in peace ~~~~~~~ (ellipsis)

To be human is to be intended toward the other "to come" for future generations is to be

in the deep flesh is to be

bound in the cords which bind the heart

To surrender to the other and this is the impossible it’s the easiest thing in the world

would amount to giving oneself over in going toward the other to coming toward the other but without crossing the threshold and to respecting to loving even the invisibility that keeps the other inaccessible (Inaccessible? Say What? Have you ever kissed a corpse? Say your mother’s corpse? Or your father’s?

Inaccessible, my ass JD Unless by inaccessible you mean exactly the same thing as R I G H T H E R E) ~~~~~~~

Now I am going to look out the window How the sun turns glass into blinding mirrors I see a man and a man and a man and a woman and a man and a woman that want to be

that want to be in order to in order to become

that impossible surrendering the easiest thing in the world [ And And

And And ]

I thought "if a day is forecast to be sunny with the possibility of a brief shower, then we will see a sunny or partly cloudy symbol rather than a rain cloud" so that was both a sad and a joyful time -all mixed together:

"the people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people" so faithfulness as passion and passion as a heritage: simply a confession of failures unless of course to love only once is to love continually

there’s no failure in that impossible surrendering Push Pause Get Up Walk Outside

the rain a music grown too heavy for sky to hold a minimalist one-movement hour-long symphony into coda now 8:15 am simultaneous adagio cadenzas instrumentation: leaves

and eaves “with occasional birds and freeway� call it

I-Have-Little-Left-To-Lie-With-Even-This-Heart-Is-OnlyOne-More-Thing in all the synaesthesias of the language of the world a long sentence dissolving within itself beyond yet into too [ And And

And And ]

an Arp-shaped biomorphic pockmarked boulder

a micron smaller now after the music two houses up I’ve never seen before how is this possible? Voice: Are you still talking about your heart? Voice: I don’t know To love only once is to love continually Push Pause Get Up

Walk Outside The Outside The orchid tree begins to scatter its pink across the sidewalk the Cheshire Cat smiles at least I think it’s the Cat from a Man Ray sky that is there without being here unless you mean right here and the Cat (because it is The Cat)

smiles and everything vanishes but the smile and the Cat comes here often and indeed his name is Cheshire even though I can hardly pronounce its name and the Cat remains inaccessible like the Other who never ever will again wake up and there I was, alone in the apartment where she had died,

looking at these pictures of my mother, one by one, under the lamp, moving back in time with her, looking for the truth of the face I had loved. And I found it: these pictures of you I almost believe they are real Mapplethorpe: desire without mediation emotions like the Cat's fur or the mystery of tears: only humans cry, cloudy signals of distress and then, please, I beg you, why do we feel better when we cry on our own?

Tears of rage … Tears of grief … To end up drinking the dissolved book … To drink the tear and wonder about the strangeness of its taste … the blurred and transparent testimony borne by this tear this small infinitely small tear This Book of the Salt / This Book of the Sand / This Book of the Tear

Reb Jacob also believed in eloquence. He compared it to a stone tearing up the surface of a lake and to its misleading rings. The wounded closes right up again. But the rings multiply and grow and bear witness – oh mockery – to the intensity of the pain I can’t tell you why we cry But I can repeat this hadith

from The Book of the Salt Sand Tear:

et tout le rest est littĂŠrature, the blind man quoteth in a dedication to his mother: "I want to leave behind a written confession", the son who left, everything he left as his will were his poems which he left to his dead mother after her death he left her only words like she gave him gifts on el dĂ­a de su santo when he thought he hadn't done nothing no thing to deserve them and so

the blind man's ars poetica was also Shakespeare's:

sentir que la vigilia es otro sue単o que sue単a no so単ar [SHAKE] yes, to dream to die perchance and inheritance is all about oppositions and conjunctions but ~~~~~~~

a veces en las tardes una cara nos mira desde el fondo de un espejo and (yes) sampling

is stealing is stealing and everything inherited is stolen even if unwillingly unwanted (... like Baudelaire Borges shared the letter of the Book and -alsodedicated his words to those who read ("perd贸neme el lector la descortes铆a de haberlo usurpado yo"


because no word is ever the first word is it the desert of the book or, The Book of Sand (maybe all the floods around here) water, water everywhere not a drop but plenty of salty tears ~~~~~~~ the Sands move and my hand tries to reach you and Hart Crane died waving, not drowning, after coming back from Mexico

and after all our nothings are not that different in the meanwhile between the gardens the Cat smiles til all that is left are teeth white spaces between the shapely shapes that breathing breathes onto the pagevoids that are not that different from the shapeless nothings where breathing

no longer B R E A T H E S ~~~~~~~ After my mother died I inherited a ring first worn by my father his wedding ring then after his death sized down and worn by my mother then finally resized for me

it’s gone now lost ~~~ ~~~~ I lost it Another hadith: No matter how long the ring’s been gone I still feel it on my finger (phantom ring syndrome) and everytime I look at myself in the mirror I smile at my father

and everytime I take off my shirt I see my father (... as a young man he was always slimmer ...)

If night nears your window In nakedness come out to him Another Hadith:

For matzot, as Passover drawed near I realized my inheritance was going to be my father's house his books the pillars the foundation

already falling apart my mother's beating heart always about to break in tears the flow and (yes) they also lost their rings (in a pawnshop perchance?) ~~~ ~~~~ and my father would recite: "with this ring I thee charm in the rite I thee charm thee forever" (... they do fuck you up your mom & dad ...) And yet ‌

And yet … Yesterday Dan and I were walking along the cliffs talking thin ‘n that when suddenly he stopped and said “Though we weren’t close I think it’s when my father died my life started to … drift …” We were standing near a sculpture wooden

ovoid The wood had been soaked and bent Dan rubbed the thing saying “He once made a door like this …” We walked on The park was full of dogs and homeless people and nearly naked 20-year-old women



The trees and the branches of the trees The few clouds flakes and the Pacific Ocean The journey along the rocks by the shores of heaven (…


The pale moon that wants to be round That wants to be round … (…


It’s working on it … droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost, And like a ghost she glimmers on to me. lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars, And all thy heart lies open unto me. Perhaps stepping away into the shadows the body radiates with borrowed warmth Perhaps the world seems a little darker a little more desolate

than before But some eyes blaze like meteors And it was in a church in Rome (in one of millions) that I read with tears in my eyes

a centuries-old inscription on cold ancient white stone That after darkness there comes light And it was in a book of poems (in one of millions) that I read that after light

al fin lleg贸 la noche con sus largos silencios (with its long silences)

con las h煤medas sombras que todo lo amortiguan (with its damp shadows that muffle everything) And it was in another book

(in one of millions) that I read

mis alas rotas en esquirlas de aire (oh those splinters of air)

Ya no tengo más fuego que el de esta ciega lámpara (this morning when I woke and stepped out the front door I saw the moon framed between the pines … like … why do I want to say [

And And

And And ]

para besar a mi mujer para morder una manzana darklightdarklightdark lightdark lidarli dar li (… WE ARE SO FRIGHTENED …) (…is inscribed …) (… in the cold white stone …) (… in the church of tears …) ( the bright blue sky ...)

( all of your angels ...) ( all your machines ...) (... in all of your dreams ...)

I have long grown used to being dead [ And And

And And ]

I want to send you this silence Like the inky-dark clouds split by lighting I am swooning into your childhood The second door opens to the future

Inheritance was composed by John BloombergRissman and Ernesto Priego via email between June and September 2007 using cut-up techniques and sampling previously published material. Our appreciation to the respective authors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Details of the conditions can be found here:

John blogs at Ernesto blogs at This is a Manzana Mรกs Press eBook London, 2008


A poem by John Bloomberg-Rissman & Ernesto Priego Sources:

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