By Amy Levine
The poetic hinge is the pivot of time’s singular moment in our minds: Events emerge only as they escape the gravitational force of a past, unfolding in a present moment. To emerge as an event is to unfold in highly separable ways from any ‘reality.’ There is no real event, just as there is no real memory, only the hallucinatory oscillation of two terms: “virtual and actual.”
Poetry’s fulcrum is our protest against time in language. It is only after passing through poetic time that events unfold and become re-presented to ourselves through our unconscious, a kind of cinematic medium: We await the commentary of poetry on life. Or, again, one might say of synchronic existence that it is near the body without organs, conceptually, as in the black hole where time comes near its “death-halt,” its event-horizon releasing minimal light, just enough that its birth-glares of gamma-radiation indicate the negentropy of an information-machine coming into existence.
We are a multitude of selves contracted in time to produce a simulacrum of singular identity. The body without organs (bwo) is not a corporeal or even an existential entity, instead, it is an event linked to time, a horizontal sign-flow as an event-horizon. Time rolls and unrolls the sheets of past to keep them intercalated, connected, but separated, and “to prevent the halt or fixity of the death-position.” This is not a corporeal death but absolute synchrony—a frozen section. Should we assume that synchronic existence lies conceptually near the crystal image, that image which “makes visible the hidden ground of time…its differentiation into two flows of “presents which pass and pasts preserved”—non-synchronic time—making the present flow and time preserve, simultaneously?
Thus, non-synchrony is the essence of time in itself—the bwo holding all events on its platform and is a formation of not-being—just as the crystal image is the infolding of two flows of present-past and present-future—fixing and giving rein to flow, its co-ordinate function. The crystal-image reveals time as the body without organs reveals existence. Otherwise stated, synchronic existence is near the body without organs, as the black hole’s rim tips time near its death-halt. And, the event-horizon radiates only gamma-rays to indicate the negentropy of an information-machine. Non-synchrony allows for the differentiation of “sheets of past,” preserving and flowing (98). Time is both one and multiple, oscillating and static, wave and particulate.
It is the mind’s perception of time’s eros-ion [degradation of eros] in which the unconscious rehearses in dream what we will enact in poetry: Desire’s victory arrives only through the disappearance of the object we seek. We search in a line-of-flight the back alleys of our desire as in Cocteau’s Orphic Trilogy, wandering unmoored in our memories. And memory is the shutter-click of corroborating evidence as in photodegredation—creating an image through a process of délire. Dé-lire: both hallucination and reading, the latter a process of hallucinating. It is only after passing through filmic (poetic) time that events’ meanings unfold and become re-presented to ourselves in language. We await the commentary of poetry on life to truly say we have lived an experience.
Life’s models and actors are lined up in dramatic time. In fact, one might say of 'identity' that it is an internal script: to say, the only one I could have arrived at.
For example, filmic time-experience, as in time-events, rolls and unfolds. Re-presenting itself to us through the cinematic medium, we await cinema’s commentary on life. Time is the measure of the social mean, and it creates these re-presentations. Time has a separate status and assumes the colors of the fold in which it is embedded. It passes and preserves with no prevailing identity. The plane of immanence, on which all events unfold, and the plane of consistency where an event marks a moment of transformation.
Dynamic change is war, capturing and deterritorializating in time; a war requiring the repetition of oppositions and their capture. Striation opposes stratificiation; molar opposing molecular. These unfoldings in time of new deterritorializations are built from diametric but co-equal oppositions, alternating in assemblages. As in genetic coding, new intensifications first homogenize and then separate out to form a new stratum (Manuel De Landa, A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History, 60-61). These differentiate into a meta-level of species dissemination as witnessed in the cut of a mountain, a painting or a musical score. It is a battle for and survival of meta-assemblages. Time presents itself to itself, but both the time-image and movement-image are required. Finally, time is out of joint not vis-a-vis our experiences of it, but rather out-of-joint with itself in its necessarily staggered condition (the one-two gesture of intensifications: molar-molecular)—time reterritorializing time.
1. Gilles Deleuze's two terms for the crystal image in his dual-volume work, Cinema 1, The Movement- Image and Cinema 2, The Time-Image, translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997).
2. Feelings are sheets of past, and thought is the non-localizable relations between these sheets. I draw from Deleuze's analysis of a transversal continuum between sheets from which we can extract a non-chronological time. An example of this that Deleuze does not cite is the filmmaker Robert Bresson, although his discussion of Robert Bresson does include the haptic (seizing) manual brushing of hands as in Pickpoket (1959) in which fragmented visual spaces are connected. Instead, I propose a related but different order of continuity that Bresson achieves through binding separate moments of affective intensity achieved by the communication of two beings in conflict, such as in The Diary of a Country Priest (1951), and the overlay and staggering of voice, text and visual images (and the resultant discontinuity between reading aloud, printing and enacting the text) that Bresson employs in these two films, bringing thought into communion with itself in a non-localizable space. Because of this immanent process (material touching, and enactment on these levels) Bresson arrives at a non-chronological time. It is a time that exceeds the beyond of a transcendence, lassoing time into a present-ness, as it depends on immanent, affective conflict demonstrated in aural, textual and visual images that operate in their very non-synchrony to weave them into new thought based on transversal communications (Deleuze, Cinema 2, 123).
3 These oppositions are variants of rigid as opposed to nomadic structures, according to Deleuze.
TWO POEMS BY AMY LEVINE
bel enfant shape
for belles femmes
for Arcadia castaways
for arc of night
peer raptor nesting swans
flung lead suspend celestial
focus cross-hairs, she
pins Melancholy under glass.
[Church South Face]
Hunched boy over promontory lake
Cinnabar sand sketch
A fish a fish a fish, like the Chinese Masters
Island church Easter fresco
Mother/child Bonded life
Akh! Tamar—your fire is out
Father, gone, mother-labor field
Plough and Song, stork bent a-ground
swoosh [gelatin-print]: Stabat Mater
starve enthrone passportage
Periwinkle icon mother/Son—elbow’s abyss
Photo a photo a photo—huge hands hug child
Divide against him
Studio a-flame—he escapes with
Wash away lullabye—Shadrach!
Turkish police night vigil
Aquatic luminous vacuole
Tulumba fish—haystack grass
Fallopian orange ochre
Pigment: yolk, crushed flower, pear juice peels
turn sheltering bone, Earth, now, scorch stone.
Amy Levine is a poet, psychotherapist and scholar working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has published poems in the journal Mizna: Prose Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America, and will be appearing in the Minnesota Artists’ What Light book series. In the past, Amy has contributed to journals on semiotics, Middle East literature, and the philosophy of science. She is completing a dissertation on film and psychoanalysis The Phantasmic Subject: Soundings from the Outside. Her project examines the role of hallucination in cinema. It demonstrates the twinning of psychoanalyst Melanie Klein’s partial object and philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s time-image. Recently, she has written a manuscript Erasure and Illumination, poem cycles and essays on artists, philosophers and the city of Istanbul.