Poetry, Philosophy, Music

Nothing is constructed in a poem. It is a path under the sun where we seek our place. Philosophy is pure construction, or its blueprint. We build out of the perceptions we accrue from poetry. Music is the environment, the house as part of the landscape or its disintegration and return into the soil, as part of the new environment that will inspire more poetry.


Music makes the house. It is the wood, denatured; motion become matter in a moving world, slivering the spine of the construction and making it part of the one again, the one of motion and of music, which is many, many vibrations pushing us onto new paths of poetry for which we build shelters along the way.


The path should just keep on going, without stopping to build a tent. We should arise out of music, as motion, and become motion likewise. The philosophy makes us stop.


In Being and Event, Alain Badiou conceives this continuum in terms of set theory. Philosophy comes out of institutions, which, compounded, comprise the State. But the one is never one. It is always many, and the many can shift according to set. This gives us identity in the world, going back to Heidegger. We dwell in a world with an awareness of who we are, and that’s what makes us caring beings. But this is only a perception. Uniqueness inheres only in how we see things.


And so we break in the home, and it decays. The decay is another form of music, which we experience, and in the experience it becomes poetry again, and we stop it, gouging out the rot and renovating, building new structures. In the building there is a searching, an exploration of a new environment, opening up with each new component of the new structure.


We look for poetry in philosophy, just as we look for music in poetry. The philosophy coming out of music is the moment of crisis, and the moment of opportunity. This is all where the process eddies, and we long for what came before; and it is these recursions which make up the rhythms of the intellectual life, making the mind a house whose boards split in the woods, becoming the detritus and death of nature out of which we were created, making death a kind of poetry.


Is music mourning, then? It is the pageantry of the passing. It is light from a dead star, itself just another kind of light. It is the shells of clichés drying out like clams on the beach. It is a metaphor taken too far, an oyster crushed for the pearl inside.


Is philosophy thought? Philosophy is the world, which presents the illusion of thought, all that thought is, time turning into music turning into poetry.


And so I picked up the hammer, and banged in the nails…


Nails, extracted from ore, manufactured, which is a whole phenomenological surface that can be reduced to a dried form of culture, the ideas and exploration and discovery of an age compacted to trash out of which we can build an artificial environment, which we do, or pick through like a homeless person for the rags and tags of poetry. Philosophy shows us how to do this, with its substrata of tropes.


In “White Mythology”, Jacques Derrida shows us how these substrata extend through all of writing, of which speech is just another type. The substrata are language itself, which only constitutes a part or an element of how we communicate. In this way language is a part of poetry, not the other way around.


We can break the process down into builder, materials, instruments. This is the creation of the set, all part of the construction. But the instruments are built, and the structure is a tool we apply to our own bodies for a place to dwell, or live.


And the structure is a body, allocating and designating us as sets of functional purposes, orchestrating the tools in our hands into another set, the action of the world, which can be broken down again into the three elements, in another erasure and retracing of the paradigm.


What goes on in this retracing? Again, it is writing itself, that which we can dispose towards music or poetry or philosophy, shedding matter like the stem of a leaf sheds the leaf in fall, something to rake up and burn, or put to another use, enriching the soil at its best.


For it is good soil that puts forth good crops, enlightenment and ethical understanding. These are the aims of life.


Out of music, already a path, on which the mind moves as it negotiates the sound. And the structure, already being raised as the music builds its own image among the chosen paths.


There is no poetry, only poets. Wallace Stevens erred when he said in “The Man with the Blue Guitar” “Poetry is the subject of the poem.” The poet is the subject of the poem, his body as he draws philosophy out of music.


And so the ethics turn like tumbleweeds down the highway, the poet sucking on a cinnamon fireball at eight years old, buying a pack of baseball cards at the Five and Ten. The stats structure his mind. He’s going to bat 300 +. The world divided into statistics, this is philosophy, the mind giving them new meaning, new music, as it achieves its global positioning like a car, with its two headlights for eyes.



“It was like a new knowledge of reality”, Stevens writes in his last published poem, of the bird’s cry at the earliest ending of winter. This is the poem become world, the words disappeared, the fictive glistening of philosophy coating like gossamer the branches of the tree, implicating a whole new world of angels and insects that exist only as the roots and extensions of the language that enabled us to see the tree in its landscape. And so we travel to a new one, already exploding like the spider eggs ready to weave their own webs.


Again, Stevens, it’s the pleasure of merely circulating, but it’s life, and work, and it throws us into new orbits, orbits of nature, seasons pledged to new tasks, stopping us and making us scratch our heads, as if another insect had stung, and our whole brains stung, sorting out the materials of the palace to be built, the materials all of the technology of culture, out of which we can leave nothing to arrive at a truth, but which if we ever could build it, it would obstruct the perception of the very thing it is intended to expose.


In the final analysis it is a matter of leaving things out. Deflecting the motions of the armies of workers always ready to become part of the system devoted to new constructions of knowledge. The building goes on, one hand passes a thing on to another. It is when we impose a rest that the melody builds, a rest of the activity of the mind, which is all that justifies philosophy in the end rather than its constructions, as often as not building follies that Freud equated with delusions.


And poetry, the text, the legend of the furious flow and its swift stop. The breaking back and forth into stop and flow, the marriage of music and philosophy, the mind moving and the mind at rest, poetry the orchestration of the body, apart from the world, into music.


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