[from Robin Blaser's “The Stadium of the Mirror” in The Fire: Collected Essays of Robin Blaser, University of California, 2006]
The movement back of the great poets is not to a tradition — a golden time or wisdom behind us that places thought in the past and kills it — but it is toward a reopening of words — toward the violence and dynamism of Language — the work of it is in Pound’s return to Homer, Egypt, Na-Khi and in Olson’s ultimate return to Pleistocene, — his curriculum. A beginning again with everything. This reopening of words lets us see their solidifications — the crystals FORMing in the work — (a crust, akin to cruror — blood, Kryos — icy-cold, a coagulation that is the “external expression of a definite internal structure.” An open language is not a wise-doom. I have come to know how unpleasant it is to reveal the limitations and necessities of a practice in language where one is used to seeing . . . the expression of genius and freedom in all its transparency (Foucault). I would not take it away from you, if it had not become the mirror of our deadness. Half under its breath, amid the murmuring of things, all experience is interiorized language. I (we) lose the words because the structure of what I (we) thought closed. There is nonetheless a speaking that lodges within my own speech. I would not give you the malicious grace of an esprit libre, if the interior life were not an interiorized language (Lacan). The mind is only the body’s invisibility (Merleau-Ponty). The language regards the guilty man as he who it was (Curtius). . . .
Through the arrangement of words (parataxis), there is a speech alongside my speech, which allows a double speech. A placement. The Other is present and primary to our speaking. There is no public realm without such polarity of language. The operation of its duplicity is the poetic job. A peril and an ecstasy. The traffic around a heart that is heartless. The characters do not speak only of themselves, since they are images of an action. Transcendence is not a position somewhere else, but the manner of our being to any other (Merleau-Ponty). A co-existence
So, an operational Language — just where I (we) had thought to find the stable forms, the recognition that it is only ourselves. These closed words stop and become empty. They are then, where we were thinking, unstable and invaded, as if the known and thought had by a metamorphosis become the unknown and unthought. Just there, the visibility of men died. Against this, the operational Language begins again — allowing very little anthropomorphism. There where he does not think he is thinking. The astonishment of these reopened shapes in lives and poems. But then I (we) move back, for I (we) have been taught there is no operation in language. The poetic language is said to be apart — a wisdom — transcendent to it and not its composing intelligence. Is it in order to protect our eyes from some terrible finitude that has already happened? Or is it simply a mistake that takes on the proportions of the species? — as it is true to say that the buffalo still doesn’t know what a gun is. And I (we) have been taught always to translate the field of Language into a highwire — creative, transcendent, fictive to the terror the culture has been speaking. It is comforting to love nitrogen balloons. A discourse must return without transparency, but it cannot compose itself of closed words — the “spatial capture” of our words — in the stadium of the mirror (Lacan’s le stade du miroir, translated for the metaphor). . . .
The last syllable, silent and golden, always belongs to another poet. The duplicity of my (our) language blends a child’s thought with the risks of the “perilous act” thought is — and permits no luxurious ownership of language or of a consequent knowledge. All true language is thought and so reverses into experience. A breath-boundary, where it is a natural art. The dictation is natural. Things and words are not separate. Such language is not representational of a meaning backward or forward, occulted, lost or unfound, secret to a beginning of an end. It is not a manipulation of words, as in discourse, to refer transparently to a real significance. The operational language reposes the profound kinship of language with the world (Foucault). The dissolution of that binding and entangling has turned out to be ourselves and our discourse. The poetic left to an ideality or transcendence is not a poetic at all — but merely a substitute for the limitation my (our) thought has become. The operational language is conjunctive and reties the heart. The retied heart is an Other Heart. Who is speaking? — (Nietzsche’s profound and original question, asked again by Foucault) — reopens the language into its natural speech, — a double voice of a projective real whose harmony and disharmony are my (our) job. The Other Language.