The Object in Community: a manifesto

  1. Collect objects, i.e. nouns.
  2. Construct sentences.
  3. Sentences obligate the objects
    to do something.
    In a given example of my own writing
    the objects “would” be doing something.
    I am therefore obligated to consider
    why they are not doing these things.
    Or perhaps I only obligate the reader
    to consider why they do not do these things.
  4. Likewise when an object “is” doing something
    one may be more likely
    to consider all that the object “is not” doing.
  5. If I am active in my not doing
    is that to say that I am
    thinking?
  6. Make a list of sentences
    in which an object
    or a collection of objects
    do or do not do things,
    commit or do not commit actions.
  7. Words are objects, i.e. individuals.
  8. Sentences are objects, i.e. individuals.
  9. Alphabetic letters are objects, i.e. individuals.
  10. Words and sentences both then
    are communities.
  11. Communities are collections
    of individuals.
  12. To what extent
    do we allow the individuals
    of our communities
    to be different from one another
    or to be the same.
  13. My own writing attempts
    to imitate the community of an individual
    using my own self as model.
  14. So we can say that a poem, or page
    is a community of sorts,
    a series of individuals existing in the same place.
    Or the page can be an individual, or a community
    within itself, made up of individuals
    each with their own identity.
  15. In this way, an individual becomes a collection
    of other individuals.
  16. This is not a picture of me
    or a story of me
    but let us say that it is.
  17. A close attention to dreaming
    has allowed me to make connections
    between separate things
    quite easily.
  18. Dreaming allows practice
    for making connections
    between objects, events, people, actions.
  19. This negates, I think, a tendency toward the law
    of cause and effect
    because one begins to see
    that one thing
    relates to any thing.
  20. And therefore, when two individuals find themselves
    to be in relationship, this relationship, although different
    is not unique
    for one finds oneself, eventually
    to be in relationship to each one, always.
  21. I must be living my life around the poem.
    Poems feel like parts of things or
    collections of things. A syllable feels heavy.
    I stop to breathe when one line doesn’t extend so far to the right
    as the next.
  22. Move syllables. Try to remember weight.
  23. “Just as a motion picture is actually a series of
    pictures, so a poem is a series of poems.”
    “Since sequences (even those we call syntax) imply
    consequences, they also provoke concern—they
    excite the sense that there is meaning or the desire
    to make meaning.” –Lyn Hejinian
  24. Anne Waldman says
    that you can read Kim’s work
    forward or backward
    and it will do the same thing.
  25. How arbitrary can a sequence be?
    We should note here
    that Anne’s observation does not consider
    the possibility of cut-up, i.e. sequence matters.
  26. One tends to be less concerned with the collection of individuals
    than with which individual stands next to which
    in a given collection.
  27. So let us assume
    that the poem will only be a list of sentences
    in which each sentence is an individual
    that will have necessary consequences
    upon its neighbor.
  28. To what extent
    do we allow the neighbors
    of our communities
    to be different from one another
    or to be the same.
  29. If the audience were always the same
    I could continue on with the next part of the story.
    But old friends walk away
    and sometimes never come back
    and therefore can never be entrusted
    to contain a story that would be me.
  30. This is not a picture of me
    or a story of me
    but we are saying that it is.
  31. And I can never be trusted to tell a single story
    as that to which I am speaking
    is not always the same.
  32. To what extent
    do we allow an individual
    of a given community
    to be different from itself
    or to be the same.
  33. The bulldogs of Harry Mathew’s Selected
    Declarations of Dependence make me laugh.
    Each right hand page contains the same bulldog.
    Shade varies but I am convinced
    that it is the same bulldog on each page.
  34. In this conviction I ignore the difference
    between the representation of the thing and
    the thing itself. That is
    assuming that this is the representation of
    a real bulldog.
    But perhaps it is only the representation
    of an idea of
    the universal bulldog.
  35. So we must assume that in repetition
    Matthew’s bulldogs
    become at once both representation of the thing
    and the thing itself.
  36. Gertrude Stein proposes by the example of “a rose
    is a rose is a rose is a rose” that it is on the fourth repetition
    that the rose becomes other
    than what one would normally take it to be.
  37. Gertrude Stein also owned a series of poodles
    and gave the name “Basket” to each.
  38. Thus repetition and variation.
    Each Basket is a new thing
    although it carries the same title.
  39. It takes awhile for repetition to become funny.
  40. Harry Mathews’ bulldogs make me laugh.
  41. It is a very heady laugh. Repetition is funny.
    To say that something is funny
    is to say that it has meaning.
  42. Repetition is a simple way
    of extending relationships
    beyond the one on one.
    We can see quite readily when repetition is present.
  43. Can story function on the level of form then?
  44. Bob Doto notices that seeing the event
    over and over again on the TV
    allows him a desire
    for the next disaster.
  45. A man in a coffee shop agrees.
    Says this is the natural progression
    of the human mind
    when you set it on a story line.
  46. To what extent
    do we expect the individuals
    of our communities
    to make stories
    of themselves.
  47. To what extent
    does the assumption of story
    require an individual
    of a given community
    to be different from itself
    or to be the same.
  48. To what extent
    does the telling of a story
    determine an individual’s
    movement
    through its community.
  49. What constraints does the story of a community
    impose upon its citizens?
  50. What can a single sentence do
    to change the story?
  51. The heated argument of Andy Warhol,
    as portrayed by David Bowie, in the film “Basquiat”:
    “It’s in New York.”
    “It’s in New Jersey.”
    “It’s in New York.”
    “It’s in New Jersey.”
    “It’s in New York.”
    To which Andy finally replies:
    “Oh, I didn’t know that,
    did you Bruno?”
  52. To suddenly reenter an argument as though
    you had never participated in the first place.
  53. How does one forget
    the momentum of the story?
  54. How does one remember the individual
    itself a collection of individuals
    that allows the movement through the story?
  55. A story is a succession of stories.
  56. Stories are told by communities
    and by individuals who are in themselves
    collections of individuals.
  57. Words tell stories.
  58. Sentences tell stories.
  59. The text has an opportunity
    at the end of every sentence
    at the end of every word
    at the end of every letter even
    to choose what it did not plan to choose.
  60. Change, then, happens
    on the level of the individual
    even when that individual
    is a collection of individuals.
  61. How can the individual remember itself in the telling
    of the story?
  62. Words on a page represent action
    where there is no action.
  63. When the citizens of the language
    hide themselves
    for the sake of the story then,
    does the text remain the terrain of the mind?
  64. The physical individuals
    existing within the text
    are the citizens of the language,
    i.e. words, sentences, alphabetic letters.
  65. Story is only an idea conveyed
    by these citizens.
  66. Story can only be held up by these citizens.
  67. How is the individual to know itself
    from that in which it moves?
  68. How is the individual
    to know its own borders
    without bumping up against
    something solid?
  69. This is not a picture of me
    or a story of me
    but we have said that it is
    so let us say it.

Here is a poem:

I would sit in the sun if there were some.
And there was some.
If there were some grass it would not be a lemon.
A lemon would be placed on a metal chair.
The metal would be not iron. Maybe.
And I would be chain smoking the snow.
The grass would be melting the sun.
And the lemon would be going slowly.
The universe would be this.
Every part moves slowly.
The sun would situate the trees.
The lemon would spread through the trees.
The lemon would spread.
And I would be not yellow.