Coleman Edward Dues


[untitled excerpt from THE EKSTATIKON PAR EXCELLENCE]

Lisa Robertson says Caroline Bergvall says space is doubt. Gillian Welch says time is the revelator. Yasin says time is innocent time is innocent. Gertrude Stein says it takes 100 years to change anything. 100 years makes a grandfather a grandmother to a grandson or a granddaughter. About 100 years for things to cease to have the same meaning that they did before. But and Stein’s century is impossible on her account of narration. On her account of narration beginning middle end is arbitrary. To be literary for a moment take for example this sentence. That sentence has a beginning a middle an end, but to what end. Although a line of poetry resembles a line of geometry the analogy is provisional at best. That we read it left to right is coincidental. But and as syntax relates to time the same issue, coincidence. Stein’s sentence is complete in and of itself which means to her that it has no beginning middle and end because those terms are relative. Beginning middle and end are only possible with relation to. A line in a vacuum has no beginning middle end and all lines are vacuous. But and archeology teleology eschatology enter via Stein’s paragraph. Sentences which are complete in and of themselves are thrust in a trelliswork and narrative meaning EMERGES. Lines bolster lines and we read across their bridges. But lines are just lines the way seconds are just seconds minutes are just minutes hours hours centuries centuries. Paragraphs centuries. But if the paragraph if the century is narratological by way of arbitrary relationships between constituent parts then why doesn’t this apply to the words in the sentence such as “words” “in” “the” and “sentence.” Supposedly because there is no proper directionality to a sentence but and this exposes the broadest sense of narrative which is not direction but organization in general. Everything has a story the insides of wristwatches clocktowers. But EMERGENCE. The wristwatch emerges from its gears, screws, springs, pinions and levers. The sentence from the words, the paragraph from the sentences, the centuries from the nanoseconds. The atomic from the subatomic from the subsubatomic. Zeno’s arrow is affixed to the clockface and Stein’s century is impossible. Time cannot pass because units of time are infinitely divisible. TIME PASSES BUT NOT SECONDS. SECONDS PASS WITHOUT TIME. PASSAGE WITHOUT PASSAGES.

                                                                         THE ARTIST HIDES IN A JUNGLE OF WRECKED CLOCKS.

                                                                                     GERTRUDE STEIN AND THE CLOCK WITHOUT TIME.

                                                                                                     For Stein progress has emotional meaning but and for Stein succession is truer than progression. From the advent of logos many structures scaffolds springs pinions and levers. Progress is succession that can measure its successions. For Stein the English have come to regard the measure over the measured while Americans have extricated the English language from its Englishness. Stein may have some kind of American Exceptionalism in mind but perhaps America is exceptionally post-, drastically post-this or acutely post-that for better or for worse. In the words of Derrida America is deconstruction. She refers to ad copy and roadsigns admires their compression and lauds their energics (ignoring their inscription upon an economic surface). She says They began to detach themselves from the solidity of anything, they began to excitedly feel themselves as if they were anywhere or anything, or Words left alone more and more feel that they are moving. The leftunaloneness of words is their crowding by scaffolds of time, beginning middle end. Take this for example, What is the difference between right away and a pearl there is this difference between right away and a pearl a pearl is milk white and right away is at once. This is indeed an explanation. Where is the time in that tell me. I’ll tell you where the time is in that. First consider that for Stein prose is about telling but and poetry is about calling upon the names of things or in other words poetry is knowing and prose is telling what is known or in other words prose is the communication of what is known and poetry is the knowing, the knowing upon the page. Prose depends upon narratological structures to communicate through the relative movement of words but poetry is absolute movement. Remembering and knowing not beginning and ending. Knowing and nowing. Stein’s century is impossible but her writing inhabits the eternal present. Her writing is nowing. Her knowledge is atemporal because to know something is to know it continuously in a timebold manner. Christian time is discontinuous, Genesis through Revelations is the sum of time, terminal time. Other times are cyclical. But there is no beginning middle end in Stein’s writing and there is no eternal recurrence of the same in Stein’s writing, not without tilting your head and squinting. Yet the words move. We speak of the passage of time which is borrowed from space so that objects move in time. Stein is after a pure movement, an ideal movement, a movement in time without (the space of) time. To think of space—: what is movement without space. Has Stein escaped time or is she moving horizontally in time, effecting change without entropy, in supertime. Her timelessness is timefulness. That is where the time is in that.


Coleman Edward Dues is the Donald Everett Axinn Fellow at the Academy of American Poets, where he helps to facilitate both the Poem-a-Day series and American Poets. He received an honorable mention for the Paul Violi Prize at The New School, where he also serves as an editorial assistant for LIT Magazine. His most recent work can be found in Blazing Stadium, E·ratio and petrichor.
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