Two Parts of a Parallax Gap¹

By Bradley Fest. Posted in Issue Two and Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

i. After the Dance

Extreme:                                               Extreme:                                              Extreme:

Desert.                                                    Ocean.                                                 Desert.

2                                                                                  3                                                                            4

(The Universe Had to reConstruct Itself Out of the Most Available
Elements, and New Physical Laws Had to be Instituted to Prevent

singular unity, originary or not.)

Observation of all subjects had to cease and our authorship
was compr(om)ised. 5 6 It was a [time] that form could only coalesce
into broken and fragmented train tracks. We 7 were known
to rest comfortably sipping drinks on the edge of that
galactic deep; we continued to tell ourselves not to
access faith in a Great Narrator. The background music
made this difficult. Stereo- had given way to mono-phonics8.

“Perceiving a train traveling south through the mountsins,”9
was the only chanting lyric accompanying this primeval scene
contained in the ash of cigarettes. This had to be the work of the pure
multiple. The work of collecting some sets together.

Could we feel a beginning? Was it like reading someone else’s
children poetry?10 And yet some things were about to coalesce. . . .

There were various sections, myths, and anthologies
seemingly springing from an oceanic depth11. There,
where consciousness12 and its leapings were absconding
by the [infinite-minute], we observed. Eight things
were defining their own utterances against this background,
eight moments from that deepness in the sky.13 (Or was it seven. . . ?)

After the dance, the party was the thing. That which
could suffer attachments, entrances and exits, and
it was rumored to be fun. Things were happening.
Yes, we all agreed as we sauntered around the punchbowl,
“something had gone horribly wrong.” Conferring,
we realized there was nothing to be done, not even to wait.
But the horizon was beginning to define itself; we
were mistaken into thinking this illusory-temporal-boundedness
was something like an investigation. It wasn’t a problem
that we were wrong, and that this misreading created
voices. It was enough to inhabit an interval, a gap
between this and that, between this recombinant theater
and a Conversation Among the Ruins.14

ii. The15 Apocalypse Archive

It is the narrator’s task to. . . charged by. . . to watch. . . .
No, there is simply an endnote of collection.16
No, not even that.17 Why, asked tomorrow,
the invocation? there is still quite a bit here.
Isn’t there? (So much pessimism. . . .)18

We can grant a few things as approaching veracity:

1) The circuits of the archive are analogous to what appear
as threads of a tapestry.19 2) The tapestry is not complete.
3) The tapestry belies incompleteness.20 4) It “is” not a tapestry
at all. 5) Each thread can be collected, though not
in a mode of frayed-edge-destruction.21 6) “Two” threads
symbolize railroad tracks.22 7) Others do not. 8 ) Beginning
w/ these, raveling and unraveling will occur. 9) We collect
these threads. 10) We have no use for these threads.
11) The fabric is one of melting. 12) The circuits do not
resemble a tapestry. 13) Totalization can be expressed
not as will. 14) Circuitry is another way of saying “landscape.”
15) Desire is ambiguous here. 16) The hyperarchive is
an expression of the end. 17) The hyperarchive is an expression
of a beginning. 18) The hyperarchive: is never
aware of itself; is always aware of itself; is found in nature.
19) What follows subjects itself to whatever can be aforesaid.
20) Someone was wrong.23 21) Things have no place here.
22) The desert is growing more palpable everyday;
vision is desired, but avoidance culpable—do not judge.
23) Diabolism is a manner of coping w/ the ocean.
24) Transgression cannot be symptomatic if not liminal.
25) Totality and fragmentation copulate into the evening
until circuitry dissolves and we are bathed in water
for watching what has taken place and what is avoided:
the accumulating dread and joy of unfolding and veiling—
what is and is not revealed by curtailment and outflowing.24 25

1 Galactic Being and Prisoner of Alcatraz
2 H
3 O
4 H
5 of a small library, an old teletype-laptop, and as many augmentations, legal or otherwise, that were available.
6 Another note on methodology (warning: this does not assume that there is any such thing as a unitary subjectivity/authorship available and/or offered in this disclaimer, nor is this some kind of false pretense/play with which to criticize and/or complicate exactly what is going on [a la Nabokov’s Pale Fire]. No, this is something else): As note b discusses (see page 117), there is a haziness, a finicky indeterminacy regarding the general question of methodology at work in the present moment. The infinite substitution, the hermēneús of naming, of objectifying that which absolutely resists this type of work is a concern, a methodology here. But in introducing this type of “rolling up,” there exists a necessity, or at least an urge/drive/object-of-desire, for dialectical play, but dialectical in the sense of locating the parallax gap (thus the title and placement of the above)—basically, to pose the opposite type of work/methodology against the katamari with the understanding that it is merely another way of looking at the same thing, the other side of the coin (but the same coin). What this opposite action is, need not be stated in detail, since, if it is the same action only viewed through another lens, then it wouldn’t make any sense to look at it as opposite at all. No, what is of interest here is that which resists this methodology. And in danger of becoming a methodology in-and-of-itself, even the act of resisting must be resisted. So this need be stated with some amount of precision, clarity, or at least a level of self-awareness, and comes at a moment when this statement can now finally be made, since the gambit, the opening, the initial essai has occurred. Waffling no longer available, certain things now “written in stone” (as much as anything can be in this electronic medium. . .), the dice having been definitively rolled, reason (as in: “I” am not trying to give a “reason” for what is appearing) is exiting slowly, but being retained, like the film left over on one’s skin after a shower where the lather was not rinsed off (warning: beware the cleansing/redemptive aspect of this metaphor—danger lies ahead in doing so), and what is occurring is the proliferation of a different kind of “logic.”
To be clear. When She transcended/destroyed, what was enacted by the constellation which comes under the heading “Bardo Parté” was the fantasy-play of phantasmagoric imagination fulfilled, the object-cause of desire fully explicated—i.e. the über-“Grand Narrative,” the Angel of History taking stock, the messianic push redrawn in a hyperarchivable, twenty-first-century-grammatological terms, enacted itself. This standard narrative had to occur so that it could be upset, and it had to occur as complete simulacra. It had to create itself, not having a common (or any) referent other than its own act of creation: parthenogenesis. “Had,” however, is of course problematic. It assumes a ground, and more importantly, a ground of/by/for necessity, which has no veracity—but there must be something at stake here (again, possibly only itself, which is merely the smuggling in of a desire for Ø to do mimetic work). This is all to say, that the Event was a death, the death of the inhabitant of the Rocking Chair, but this event is two-fold. The second part of this initiatory Event (which is not an origin), is its own coming into veracity by the faithful act of telling a narrative so that it need not be told again. This narrative, which is always simultaneously its own dissipation, enacting its own nullity, happening only to not happen, “has to happen” b/c “The One” must be dealt with, on its own terms, in its own realm(s), so that the multiple can come into play, the multiple which this whole thing is, the poetic multiple: “the poem cleans[ing] language from within by slicing off the agency of loss and return. That is because we have lost nothing and nothing returns. . . . Committed to the triple destitution of the gods, we, inhabitants of the Earth’s infinite sojourn, can assert that everything is here, always here, and that thought’s reserve lies in the thoroughly informed and firmly declared egalitarian platitude of what befalls upon us here. Here is the place where truths come to be. Here we are infinite. Here nothing is promised to us, only to be faithful to what befalls upon us” (Badiou, Alain. Briefings on Existence: A Short Treatise on Transitory Ontology. Trans. ed. Norman Madarasz. Albany: SUNY Press, 2006. 31). To take a cue from the scrivener (who is “the distinctive living infinity arranged under the phrase [‘Bartleby’]” [ibid., 25]), the narrative, even w/in its own coming into being, veracity, and faith, is ultimately a statement of “I’d prefer not to.” “Freedom,” or what falls under the infinite multiple the term designates, the ability to let the multiplicity of utterances become in-and-of-themselves outside the myth of originary unity, will(/choice/agency), and now something loosely assembled under the heading “creation”—these are the attentive, faithful results and causes of loosing the constraints of the dominating discourse of the One and the narrative it implies (thus an expunging and simultaneous embrace of the infinite substitution and/of naming)—this is the opening/closing of dealing with a certain “philosophy of history.” And having thus occurred, something like vision or proliferation happens/becomes available.
Lastly, what need be noted here, is precisely where “we” are. The vision offered is one in which the infinity of the void is the only vision. Or to be more precise, apocalyptics be. This is not metaphysical apocalypse. This is not religious apocalypse. This is not a “third way,” “middle way,” or synthesis. This is the gap: that which does not come under the heading of apocalypse, but is merely a manner of stepping outside itself. This is the vision which will now allow multiplicity, proliferation, rhizomatic effluvia, the “personal” or “individual”; this is that which will allow the investigation of time under a distinctive heading to occur and go-forth; this is the opening onto the play of the diabolic, the investigation of the index, the immersion in the ocean, the desert, and ultimately, the construction of railroad tracks to allow this journey to continue on whatever paths, linear or not, it wishes to—which is all that is available. The summer is waiting for our sinking and travel, our outpouring.
7 who had become to be known by a name familiar in the penny-dreadfuls as: The Watchers.
8 propagated by rhizomatic vision.
9 Powers, Richard. Galatea 2.2. New York: Picador, 1995.
10 We are not in a position to answer these questions, we are only able to tell you what we know of this [time], and we must delve deep into the hyperarchive to accomplish this. Things have gotten a little confused.
11 Oceanic II

Your faith. . . is striated. Like porcelain wine.
When I’m counting amethysts, accidentally,
your faith becomes centripetal movement
betimes a lasting Colander Grill, in the night
your faith is becalmed upon a soft-petaled requiem.
And I read between the misers. This fickle fidelity
tends toward the smashing-and-grabbing kind
of haunches we are enlimbered by. Perhaps a Notting
bug. Christine Christine. Your make-out parties
were quite short of pristine, Christine. We shot the animals
there w/ human tranquilizers, full of lead-paint and diarrhetic.
My faith is “my dead grandmother clambering up a wall
with an [insert] in her mouth.” This was merely the fireman’s
ball pre-melee voluntarism taken to task. “Take out the pins,”
your book said to you, and We complied, miss sass, the—
dadgummit—motion crept along the sides of the sea.
Faith didn’t drown but was washed along.
A catapult for tomorrow’s orgies in the sea.
12 not yet committed to phenomenological entertainments, epistemic violence, or pataphysical, retrograde retribution, the stars, see, they looked like stations on this flow chart of becoming, places we could see some about to arrive, and depart for destinations unknown, even to the archival outflowing itself. Could we sense what was gathering? Not really, but there was a singular voice coming across what might be called the highlands, something along the lines of individuation, and experiential discourse. . . something like an “I.” Something, however, not laced with what had gone before, but coming out of the void left by the story we had observed.
13 Deep logic, deep interface, deep connections, deep structure. There was A Fire Upon the Deep and there were some diving into orthographematics.
14 St. Paul:      . . . I don’t think you understand. I am nothing more
than a coffin waiting patiently on a divan, for
the wisdom of the wise—

Oprah Winfrey: Is nothing more than the equation of this salon!
To host. . . the Hanford Village Annual BBQ. . .
what sublime treats must be waiting for me
in the quarantined afterlife to warrant such
opulent and radiant. . . .

Warren G. Harding: The studs in my arms are gleaming shoehorns of change:
whittled and mottled dark angioplasty in the corpse-den of tomorrow.
Lament gross and incomparable (need, not heroics, but libertinage; nostrums passing by
the way to normalcy and revolution coming unhinged by this filial restoration; not
agitation, but adjustment; surgery and serenity! dispassionate experiments on equitable
mindscapes, but equipoise and submergence in internationality sustains a triumphant
nationality. . .).

St. John the Apostle: “Imagine! Two dozen sales clerks valiantly                             holding off the barbarian hordes! I hope
those poor children don’t get hurt.”

St. Clare of Assisi: The picto-jumping box, I saw it all! The heads
and horns, the cuneiform skywriting! My patronage
has outgrown its own. . . auto-pontifications! From Where?
From what grand opera house does this ball-shriveling
light come from?

Retarded Baby Jesus: From my crown. From my future wounds. What of it
he for whom Marlowe. . . .

Marlon Brando: No! Stop the cutting gibe of your own mistakes.
Look into the sky. Look. Forever upward the light
takes its falling inconsistencies—

Kurt Gödel: Nigh incompleteness—

René Magritte: No, an apple and a room—

Marlon Brando: to the drifting house of mafia and sex

If you let the worms get inside you.
15 . . . always incomplete . . .
16 Chronicles of Riddick, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Organs of Megadeth, The Road, The Annotated Chronicles and Legends, Koyaanisqatsi, Infinite Jest, eXistenZ, The Matrix, Train Song I, The Broom of the System, The Terminator, Children of Men, Blindness and Seeing, Endgame, CNN, The Book of Dave, Just a Couple of Days, End Time, Accelerando, Dhalgren, Childhood’s End, House of Leaves, Specimen Days, White Noise, American Idol, The Earth Abides, Alas, Babylon, Counter-Clock World, The Name of the Rose, Katamari Damacy, Lucifer’s Hammer, The Stand, The Illusion of the End, “Europe,” Calculating God, Most of the Time We Get Off the Planet Alive, Terra Nostra, Misappropriated Nukes, ARGs, Carpenter’s Gothic, Left Behind, On the Beach, Armageddon, Deep Impact, Independence Day, The World Without Us, War of the Worlds, Last and First Men, The Last Man, Mars Attacks, Eschatology of the One and the Multiple, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Resident Evil, Agent Zero, World War Z, Escape From New York, Pale Rider, High Plains Drifter, Dogville, Category 7, Reign of Fire, Mad Max, Jericho, Ruins: A Space Opera, Battlestar Galactica, The Age of Apocalypse, The Day After Tomorrow, God of War III, The World Doesn’t End, “The Wasteland,” the descent of ALEtTE, The New World, The Shadow Train, Angel Dust Apocalypse, Ridley Walker, The Wheel of Time, Nomads, Planet of the Apes, Star Road, The Lathe of Heaven, Final Fantasy, Southland Tales, The Age of Deterrence, Lost, Apocalypto, 2012, Wikipedia, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Parable of the Sower, Oryx and Crake, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dr. Strangelove; or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Travels in the Scriptorium, The Wild Shore, LA’s Destiny, Atlas Shrugged, The Beginning and the End, Red Dawn, Gravity’s Rainbow, “Last World,” Dancing on the Ashes of Tomorrow, The FeMale mAN, We, Logan’s Run, Möbius Visions, Hitler, ein Film aus Deutschland, Solaris, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Wild Blue Yonder, La Jetée, 12 Monkeys, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Nuclear Attack!: A Game of Strategy, Fun, and Survival, Dark City, Akira, News from Nowhere, Time’s Railroad, The Inferno, On a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Amazon.com, America, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, My Love Story in the Hyperarchive, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Le temps du loups, Wall-E, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Happening, Doomsday, Until the End of the World, I am Legend, Apocalypse Now, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Stalker, The Sacrifice, Idiocracy, Sunshine, The Omen, The Falls, Anathem, Watchmen, Foundation, Blood Music, Farnham’s Freehold, Drakengard, Fallout 3, The Dark Phoenix Saga, Satanic Verses, Revelations, The (Dis)Union Pacific, etc., etc.
17 Yet Another Destroyer and the Tale of that Destruction (In the First Person)

Somewhere there may be a bit of commotion
flanked along its backside by a burning castration.
An expansive empire of strange galactic symmetry,
mainlined into and feeding on angel blood—somewhere
there is not the slightest fiction of its demise but of its
coming to pass.

It has been far easier for me to divorce my own fraternity
so as to escape amongst the gaping cosmic infinities rather than
ease this body into citizenry. “Canada, oh Canada
I’ve never been your son.” I am a celestial, surfing
the regions inaccessible to my kind. I am no ambassador
or herald. Galactacus holds no sway in this consciousness.

“I left on a stormy, balmy day in August from one of the many suburban regions in western Pennsylvania. The day had started off like most others, but by the time I got to work, I was irradiated, glowing, and threatening to lay waste to the land from Chicago to the Eastern Seaboard. Turning off my car, I collected myself, hoping to end the hallucination which was allowing me to see my bones through my own skin, to simply make it into the mill to continue yet another punch-in-punch-out (rent was a month late). The next thing I knew I was soaring past stars, navigating the universe as if it were memory, consuming suns and worlds with less compunction than ease.”

From whence did I rise? And was it foretold in any
of the many annals and archives dotting the known
and unknown Universe?

There is no need to tell my tale, for there
are none to hear who would believe, at least among
the living, so I can go very quickly
with no need to pause upon any significant detail,
and yet. . . here I am, still no end in sight, though
sprung from one of the few races
who will probably destroy themselves before leaving.

No, yet another cosmic accident, another purposeless sublimity
and transcendence. And in the blink of an eye, terra is gone.
Someone called “I” continues.
18 The prison house of the dictionary.
19Taylor, John. The Apocalypse Tapestries. Riverside: Xenos Books, 2004.
20 and standing reserve.
21(What was the tale again? Did the hero triumph?)
We were set to watch, but have now become involved.
What we have observed will not follow, but traverses
the sea-bed. There is nothing to do but catalogue.
And we would like to introduce someone. He may
(or may not) have anything to communicate, but he
cannot help but intrude between stations—a conductor
(if you will) with buttons to signal the “all aboard!”
With each oscillation between himself
and us (and others), another entry is deleted from this log.

To introduce a voice over the loudspeaker during intermission
as a brief rendezvous in the yard was not our intended way
of indicating that this is all part of a cover-up; that, in fact,
the jig was up long ago; that we are merely collecting the fragments
of the end; that we are all eschatologists, tenured, fat, and happy,
while we do favors for cartons of cigarettes and write a certain horizon’s
eulogy. We need no intention when it comes to the perfectly obvious.
22 “All along I had known what buttons to press, but don’t
you see, I had to experiment, not that my life depended on it,
but as a corrective to taking the train to find out where it wanted to go.”
—Ashbery, John. Flow Chart. New York: The Noonday Press, 1998. 123.
23 Pythagoras.
24 This rocking chair.
25 Mere collection cannot exist in a narrative mode.

● ● ●

Bradley J. Fest received his MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh, where he is now a PhD candidate studying 19th- through 21st- century American literature, with a focus on literary representations of the apocalypse. He is currently working on his dissertation, “The Apocalypse Archive: American Literature and the Nuclear Bomb.” His poems have appeared in Spork, Open Thread, and BathHouse; his reviews have appeared in Critical Quarterly and Hot Metal Bridge. His other interests include the postmodern long poem, the posthuman, new media, and critical theory. He blogs at The Hyperarchival Parallax.

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3 Responses to “Two Parts of a Parallax Gap¹”

  1. Pingback: “Two Parts of a Parallax Gap” « The Hyperarchival Parallax

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  3. Bowman says:

    My God, it’s full of stars.

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