Sunday, October 22, 2017

Brunch With Nietzsche - A Dream With Mimosas & Twilight




In a dream 10 years ago Nietzsche spoke to me over Sunday brunch where we drank mimosas which he thought were an "absolute delight," absolute as in "I spent my entire life in search of the Absolute without much luck but for the pursuit as an adventure of mind. A century later, a mimosa will do indeed." With several already quaffed he sparkled as did the drinks and without warning or asking he proceeded to make a long confession to me, "not you, well, yah, you but also to your century and this new one just born" and so he told me many personal things, joys, sorrows, sins most severe, and sheer moments of ecstasy in and out of the body...his heart always broken over the Death of God, the Western, Judeo-Christian one, THAT Twilight, its Star setting on the world horizon. And there was his suffering too for ancestral German gods demise, cue music off friend and enemy Richard Wagner. He also mourned for Dionysus whom he revered most of all, whose very name means "born again" - dio = twice, nysos = birth), his, Dio, being ripped/torn apart at the height of epiphany and of youthful beauty flush with passion and Eros (that cousin to Dionysus), "Little did I know that I too would be twained, my vanity too large to contain for I became identified with Dio and the Other deities and so such hubris needed to be broken and so it was I entered a broken world inner and outer and became, or was perceived to be, only a shouter, a town cryer, that "The End is near." And I was right, am right still, but what brain can sustain orientation in the face of that FACT?" 
He grew silent, held the champagne flute in his hand, gazed at it, then out of a sunken but kind self said,
"History and an inaccurate interpretation of my exaggerated, sometimes effusive bombastic style of thought and writing in my work has made me sound like I was a terrible man incapable of linear logical thought and exposition, and of bad temper and arrogance but that's not true. Irreverent, yes. And bluster. Bluster counts here as disguise for I was (long pause as if struggling for the right word, then) pretty. Not handsome. Prettiness counts for much in youth, in older age it is (sadly) sacrificed for Beauty.. A necessary assault in order to grow wise. Wisdom comes from loss and blood, always of the Moon.. Even gorgeous buds must go. Nature says it so. And we can and should protest their going but in older age one loses energy to fight so gives in to what is "just so." In sorrow sore, in broken mendicant hearts, having touched tenderly and tasted the binding buds, wisdom is born."
Thus I have loved Nietzsche the man, marvel at the archetype he was and has become but his life was one of tremendous suffering in the grip not only of a personal daemon but that one of an entire aeon, it's final centuries 19th and 20th and, yes, this new one here. He was, as was Mani, Socrates, Plato, Jesus, Buddha, others, an epochal man. All these men and women who turn the wheel of a culture, an epoch, an aeon, suffer. But let us not forget Nietzche's book, Beyond Tragedy, and the gist of his oevre as a whole, this being a sketch of our table talk over brunch, his talk, rather, me the glad partaker of the grand expansive intellectual/spiritual meal being fed me; there is little of contraction in Nietzche unless it is to step one foot backward in order to leap ahead on the other, an effort catch up to the torrents flooding up from the unconscious into emotions into mind, thought, words to be quickly captured in sensation and feeling laced/infused aphorisms. 
Whether sickly Nietzsche, nervous Nietzsche, or whichever symptomatic Nietzches was the ubermensch/overman, or none of these, he was certainly uber in perspective which was projective, far seeing into the next century (or three) ahead, of floods of blood and war, conflicts of mind and nations swelling up from depth into massive tidal waves of destruction and devastation. Such are not unheard of, are synchronous as the central value of a civilization and aeon begins to wane and die, in order to renew/transform into the new central value as yet unseen but showing up as hints, portentions, in dreams, hallucinations, free-floating anxiety and mania (as in the United States of Mania) via imagination via arts all kinds and, yes, harvests of mad men and women gripped by what is unseen but felt, what is building and fragmenting within fragile sensitive egos which preceed the destruction of nation, perhaps world. 
Thus spake Nietzsche, a kind of scarer/thruster in the face of the culture of what he had powerfully felt and intuited spewing forth, spouting, proclaiming only to be merely dismissed and interpreted as a pathetic sad man defamer of Gods, of inflated calcified society and so-called Almighty Reason (all in their twilight before a new light can begin to dimly rim the Eastern horizon though Nietzsche was a part of that unwanted/rejected prescient light) - Wisdom seeks continual birth and rebirth, always new articulation, fabrication, artifice, expression, culture, beauty all kinds, to meet the tempering hammers of present mind and fashion that we humans may be satisfied with existence, with life. Or life-enough, finally foregoing demi-urges of egoic inflation and projection, anthrocentrism overruling ontic participation with all beings known and unknown.
Nietzsche spoke of fashion and fashion sense but only in the sense and tension of making, shaping, morphing thought, the language of thought, the cultural productions therefrom in order to convey some new force(s) which might bring sustained attention to what is born of creative conflict, clash, the concentration of effort to bring out the right meaning, and with such rightness, as in finding the right fit, the fit image, concept, action, expression, all the right productions of human effort, 
that we humans might transcend or, if not transcend, transform enough into greater enough beings than we already are "but still, still we remain so very far from the actualization of the new man, the new woman I have clearly seen rising out of penitential fires, and by fires I mean PASSION fires which have driven, drive still, fires of mind for, what, 3000 productive years and more...yes, we have "reaped the Whirlwind" but that only reveals how far we have come from flint sparks and scratches/scrawls on torch illuminated cave walls. 
Now Whirlwind is the challenge of this age and it may very well be the end of the homo sapiens Experiment, all the sound and fury from primal ancestral grunts and shouts to shofars to later symphonies; but for lack or loss of simple human sympathy for all creatures great and small we people may conclude as brutes after all. Magnificent brutes, yes. But to bring ourselves and everything else to ruin.........(shrugs)..."
Nietzsche tsk tsk tsks quietly, a pained look, a hint of anger too, "What a species we are." He slams his hand loudly upon the table, the cutlery and plates jumping, the flute glasses swaying and ringing, 
"What a species!....Humility....if nothing else, humility may be our salvation. Perhaps I was a bit overwrought when I wrote of the ubermensch, the over or super man. It is precisely HE that has brought the Whirlwind into all our lapse, pun intended. And it is precisely HE who must confess that tired but persistent and violent sin of hubris, Satanic indeed. For that majestic Angel most sublime, dark and powerful wanted to run the whole show, go for broke and be God Almighty. He does so still. So down he flew, thrown down. And so here we all flounder, magnificently, makers all, such great things of power, might, sound and sight, but we must kneel here at the near end, bend the knee and take our penitient place and...and justly pathetic, confess to having too much fire for our own good, all force with little or no goal or plan but for immediate gain which when desired becomes the only absolute in town.
Have, or can, we finally understand that what we can do, what we can create is indeed innately good when adequately understood and known? So good. But we undo it by our self-obsession with transcendence for its own sake for we mistake such transcendence for power.
Whom have we served from the beginning to now (which may be the end or near) after all? 
Only our sad and presumptuous selves. 
We must take the knee, plead our case before Existence Itself and hopefully be successful enough in turning the inexorable Wheel, Its great momentum, of the Whirlwind another way, slow it, perhaps harnass it, whatever it may take to tame it, turn it as ourselves to the better for once and all. It is the heart, the human heart, that may do this if enough are broken open in the face, the grind, of what is overwhelming the globe."
Raising his his glass to me, gulping down the last few swallows of his mimosa, he smiled, eyes sad, kind, but then a flash of mischievousness,
"Well," he said, "let's get on with it, empty another glass and then let's you and me be all about this Ecce Homo-Ecce Whirlwind business, shall we?"
He winked at the handsome young waiter whom he fancied who seemed to magically apear at the "shall we?"

"Another last round, dear...hmmm....Adagio. Shall I call you Adagio?"
"Yes," chuckled the joven, "why, yes you can." He casually strolls away swinging his arms side to side as the ballet dancer that he is should, to the bar for our final mimosas.
Nietzsche's eyes remain upon the youth. 
He says softly, but to whom, me? himself? "Ahhh-dagio...more mimosas...more...more Adagios.....of sunlight....Adagios of sunlight. Yes. That the right thing for now."
He shakes his head to break the revery, says to me, 
"They" (the mimosas, Adagio), go quite well with twilight, yes?"

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Nietzsche's musical compositions may be heard here:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Genet By Accident - Faithful As A Pigeon: Of Divine, Her Mythopoesis, A Tribute To Jean Genet & "Our Lady Of The Flowers"

"He may go far away, but he is as faithful as a pigeon." - Jean Genet

ENANTIODROMIA. . .best definition, or one of them, this by Jean Genet: "Her perfume is violent and vulgar. From it we can already tell that she is fond of vulgarity. Divine has sure taste, good taste, and it is most upsetting that life always puts someone so delicate into vulgar positions, into contact with all kinds of filth. She cherishes vulgarity because her greatest love was for a dark skinned gypsy. On him, under him, when with his mouth pressed to hers he sang to her gypsy songs that pierced her body, she learned to submit to the charm of such vulgar cloths as silk and gold braid which are becoming to immodest persons.”
Of Divne, such mythopoeisis: "Let her consent to be the frozen statue. But I know that the poor Demiurge is forced to make his creature in his own image and that he did not invent Lucifer. In my cell, little by little, I shall have to give my thrills to the granite. I shall be alone with it for a long long time, and I shall make it live with my breath and the smell of my farts, both the solemn and the mild ones. It will take me an entire book before I draw her from her petrifaction and little by little impart to her my suffering, little by little deliver her from evil, and, holding her by the hand, lead her to saintliness."
Searching for a passage from Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers (having left the worn out novel at home) a-googling I will go (sung in my best Elmer Fudd voice heh-eh-eh-ehhh), I stumble upon this too too short marvel with said quote, not the full passage I want but will do...of desire there is much to say, and more say than do though do is a fit for another shoe (I'm hunting wabbits Heh-eh-eh-ehhhhh) having been bred a fundamentalist fool from Bayou Evangeline moss to barnacled Baptist pier-ology dour deity, all toxin and lace such is Protestant grace poisoned with too much imagination-for-evil everywhere-in-everything, to convince a child of this so early on is such profanity, unforgiveable....
...when at 18 I came across Genet by accident, a freshman in a Christian college, Our Lady of the Flowers, non-virginal this Our Lady, the pox within broke out as did, some years later, with good analysis, I break down and into Genet-ian cadences, unbathed though sprinkled (not dunked but dipped in good Presbyterian fashion shallow baptismal fountain, a silver bowl is all it wuz-y) (comes eventually unsought "was found blind but now I ssss..."
Jean Genet's deep pool inundation of feeling and evocation "a cadence of veils and sweet cakes"...I came to forgive King David his Bathsheba moment for he once in his youth had but lost his heart and soul to Jonathan, loved him, even exchanged his underwear with him, it's in the Bible true, passion will out so David who murdered a Giant murdered one of his own, ended his best general for what the promise of vision of Bathsheba portended)...what is repentence for - grace all the more - robed in bodies, wants, desires from which we'll all expire while turning such to prayer and dare to live, exchange underwear and more - breath and the heart, the human heart, to teach that divine one there's more to heart than aerie light [makes no sense...just a fun thing to say..such is wabbit hunting].
Sketch of Warren by Paul Brahms from some years ago
...Jean's a saint in my world inner and outer, hiding out in my tower dorm room, the sleep room (such is dormition sleeping) secret communing and whispers, fogs engulfing the tower for weeks at a time, odd in Tennessee wind howl and, again, airee whistle as I moan shut in, enclosed on purpose behind bedsheets and shower curtain, between Holy Bible and Our Lady of the Flowers)(and Graham Green's The Power and the Glory but that's another story to come)...
...an angel visited my little carcair (monk cell) a month ago, palpable beside me as I slept/wept on the pallet on the floor. I could only see the filthy hem of the heavenly once was white robe now gray and stained making me marvel and love all the more...never one for silk and such my desire tucked away till the day of my glad marry to come, had been, had been a thief indeed (Genet's Thief Journal), me, until undone by Christ and Buddha, warriors and wheelturners (chakravartins) both, ensuing for me a redemption of desire and the "dirty world upon my shoulders [and more] (Basho haiku)" -
body full bore to Manhattan then I came, Spanish Harlem replete with Roses, Florida Water, Siete Machos (men's colognes found in Latin America) and more, Puerto Rican/Domincan park bench dominos I would bike by down by the Hudson 3 am bound for Wall Street and Staten Island Ferry some kind of quiet, not mountain quiet that I had in Carolina, but that of early a.m. NYC streets, me tracking graffiti scripture on every train and station wall. I needed what I got, but did not know it too soon but never soon enough, I needed Catholic Imagination, that of extremes, of heaven, of hell, even limbo where one's toes and more are singed but aroma of Roses, Our Lady, tinge noses, infringe upon our all too human suffering for re-evaluation. I found it soon enough in Harlem, in personal estrangement, the city kind, countering the country boy kind, which holds/contains/frames all estrangement, all extremes, a Catholicity most necessary where not only I am redeemed but by poetry and urban/machine sound and rhythm God is redeemed and enters, visionary company at last, once again, tracing, tracing (Hart Crane) into the broken world.
Catholicity and France and human gore produced Genet, the give-away grace, the reframe of guilt, blame, small favors of mourning, and such adoration as only parted persons, divided ones, can give. I was "not in Kansas anymore" unless it was a god and flesh storm tornadic with a froo froo instinct, little Toto, in the basket tucked, my anima/myself sucked up and away too into an Oz-y-man-dias such is an occassion for worship (worth-ship, what it means).
A black pentecostal church just next door to my basement room beneath West 142nd Street, the glad shouts, the sad earnest prayers, the tamborine and hand clap intertwine Latin beats, car horns, conga drums alive up the street on stoops all night, breaking bottles, tapping bottle caps on concrete sits young and old men bare-chested, sweating, cigarettes between drumming fingers or loose lips hand play/pound escape from day heat to river cooled darkness...new saturation/inundation for me, no longer the Christhaunted South or nation for that matter but a passionate parenthesis
of so much flesh, perspiration, desire, ejaculation, celebration in-the-face of large Orange Sky, the all night comidas place lively with taxi drivers, orange rice, pork all kinds and cafe con leche only 40 cents a cup...a place to escape one's self p.r.n., all that grease and men....
Enough evocation 1980 Bway and West 142nd and near...the cadence of Genet 1971 in my hand straight to heart, then/now, and now still inwardly wear him, angelic robe all tatters, stains - "I would be a monk but for the dust of the world on my shoulders (Basho)."
“Her perfume is violent and vulgar. From it we can already tell that she is fond of vulgarity. Divine has sure taste, good taste, and it is most upsetting that life always puts someone so delicate into vulgar positions, into contact with all kinds of filth. She cherishes vulgarity because her greatest love was for a dark skinned gypsy. On him, under him, when with his mouth pressed to hers he sang to her gypsy songs that pierced her body, she learned to submit to the charm of such vulgar cloths as silk and gold braid which are becoming to immodest persons.”
"Do you know some poison−poem that would burst my cell into a spray of myosotis? A weapon that would kill the perfect young man who inhabits me and makes me give asylum to a whole agglomeration of animals?. . .Swallows nest under his arms. They have masoned a nest there of dry earth.
Snuff−colored velvet caterpillars mingle with the curls of his hair. Beneath his feet, a hive of bees, and broods of asps behind his eyes. Nothing moves him. Nothing disturbs him, save little girls taking first communion who stick out their tongues at the priest as they clasp their hands and lower their eyes. He is cold as snow. I know he's sly. Gold makes him smile faintly, but if he does smile, he has the grace of angels. What gypsy would be quick enough to rid me of him with an inevitable dagger? It takes promptness, a good eye and a fine indifference. And... the murderer would take his place. He got back this morning from a round of the dives. He had sailors and whores, and one of the tarts has left the trace of a bloody hand on his cheek. He may go far away, but he is as faithful as a pigeon. The other night, an old actress left her camellia in his button−hole. I wanted to crumple it; the petals fell on the rug (but what rug? my cell is paved with flat stones) in big, warm transparent drops of water. I hardly dare look at him now, for my eyes go through his crystal flesh, and all those hard angles make so many rainbows there that that's why I cry. The end.
It doesn't seem like much to you, but yet this poem has relieved me."