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The title, Soulographie, comes from a poem by Jacques Prevert: Song in the Blood (the beginning below, and a translation by Ferlinghetti)

 

“Where’s it all going all this spilled blood

is it the earth that drinks it and gets drunk

funny kind of drunkography then

so wise… so monotonous…

No, the earth doesn’t get drunk

never is it drunk

It turns, the earth

it turns with its trees… its gardens… its houses

it turns with its great pools of blood

and all living things turn with it and bleed…”

 

“Où s’en va-t-il tout ce sang répandu

Est-ce la terre qui le boit et qui se saoule

drôle de soulographie alors

si sage… si monotone…

Non la terre ne se soule pas

jamais elle n’est ivre

Elle tourne la terre

elle tourne avec ses arbres… ses jardins… ses maisons…

elle tourne avec ses grandes flaques de sang

et toutes les choses vivantes tournent avec elle et saignent…”

 

A dangerous meditation. One wants to enter into the full rage-at-nature that suffering inspires – one wants to see nature itself as the cause, wants to see us as victims (or collaborators with) natural callousness (not indifference, but – tactical insensitivity; planetary selfishness). And spiritually, if one believes God is the point around which all things turn, then God’s ongoing development is itself the source and cause of nature’s brutality. Geometrically, a point can’t turn – it has no dimension. But God, as the absolute paradox, is the still point that turns – is location and velocity, perfected and becoming. It is as expression moves away from God, freely developing, that possibility for imbalance, inadequate speech, the suffering-riot emerge. How to hate the suffering in the world without hating the cause of the world? This is like the question – how to address trauma without endorsing it? If one listens to testimony, and re-presents it, solely from hate and reverberant anger, solely from copied sorrow, one’s repetition offers no service to the testimony (and the art isn’t testimony – testimony is perfect; the art is in service to testimony, or is irrelevant to it, or is damaging to it). The stance we’re meant to imitate and advocate for: to look out on damage. and continue to be.

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