14 June 2010

Deep Eco Pré

I’ve been reading and re-reading Tina Darragh and Marcella Durand’s crucial collaborative work Deep Eco Pré this week; my own purposefully “ineffectual” stand in the face of the ongoing and unprecedented environmental disaster(s) around us. We’ve heard over and over this month that British Petroleum’s spill is the largest of its kind in our waters, but the emphasis on scale keeps drawing my attention to the molecular and myriad ways in which insidious (and invisible) toxins, chemicals, and cancers enter our bodies every day. Carcinogens in shampoo, bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastic bottles, epoxy liners in tin cans, pharmaceutical testing on all forms of life…one’s immediate ecology as an endless spill of plastic toxins.

Deep Eco Pré attends to the immediacy of the subject’s impossible extension into toxic ecology in situ, and each draft or riff in this space attests to a provisional subjectivity held hostage by the “exterior world” that is nothing but the byproduct of our endless collective desires. Taking Francis Ponge’s The Making of the Pré as a kind of permission to write a provisional (draft) subject in which “center shifts to pré as center of U.S. shifts to pré after pré after pré…Tilled and irrigated grain as disaster crop, growing in disturbed soil” (35), the pré-subject finds herself so deeply imbricated in her own destruction (and that of her personal ecology) that environmentally appropriate response simply can’t exist; just as BP’s every move threatens to open new doors we won’t be able to close because we can’t yet imagine they exist (i.e. seafloor nuclear detonation!), the singular subject faces a bankrupt humanism where every attempt to occupy becoming is immediately drawn back into the oily muck of collective disaster. Deep Eco Pré highlights how deeply entrenched we find ourselves when every mode of response is immediately foreclosed as non-decision; and yet, the poem struggles to mean regardless, and this is precisely why it is able to respond.

Take this pairing, in which lyric persists despite the voice disintegrating in the midst of untold toxic loads (the long lines will certainly not publish correctly, so please reference the original):

eived bursts when pack ice splits

eived bursts when pack ice splits paints sky water dark
like my letter to be quiet? a giant T divides sky as bird
a thin timbre or nothing tents with “a trace” as days move
wegian to crisis as if a meadow had been perfect acute stems
eart, a timbre, arth, h, a giant H, enjoying statistics, against
with speech rather thin to those finding tedious-nature-delicate-brief

about it don’t you understand? passed away as we have been ready
“Today I am thinking again about that harpsichord” only just seen it,
or foreseen or wanted to do it, don’t you understand?
bursts like my letter to be quiet—but it was too late, eiving
why would this be right? of varied notes, a little like music
last minute corrections: 7/27/64 at 4:30 P.M. the orage original
a longuement parlé—

edious, less melodious than organ or strings,
the human voice: hurried or slow, with the same rhythm
as breakage of pack ice, dark, watery and low,
the lips (mouthed), not from the heart, nor from the body,
resembling a compte rendu, experience scientific, in all the details,
with a luxurious precision, divine the parks oily underneath,
and each tree oily, for those creatures appear disinherited,
reject of idealism, subjectivity, and anthropocentrism,
had the original storm not raged in us at such length,
It was brief and acute and eives us signification.

Here are the laws of the pré, presque and almost,
nearly there, field of our repose, prepared, close,
and we have participated, X, T and H, a DEP,
We came to the literal wildnerness from ego-centered
stupidity to regenerative perception, a longuement parle,
to serve as pack ice, if you will, brief, biolin,
their first sojourn in surrendering the ego, for
sunny vineyards, according to I know not 27 years,
accumulation of past days and principle of today’s day
as snow accumulates and turns into ice, as ice covers
poles and birds on which watched as evidence.

March 27, 2002

eived bursts when pack ice splits

bursts like my letter     self-sufficient splits     water dark as days move
like my strings      bursts when pack ice to be sky     sky paints quiet divides as bird
a thin timbre     or     nothing tents with “a trace”
wegian to crisis     or foreseen     or wanted     as if a meadow had been
eart, a little like original, arth, h, a giant H, enjoying statistics, against
perfect acute stems with speech rather thin to those finding tedious-orage-brief

a longuement parle     about it don’t you     away as we have been ready
“Today I am thinking...”     “... again I came eiving”
or foreseen or hurried or slow - the political import?
bursts like my letter to be quiet—but it was too late, repose deglared
why would this be human voice?     o   f     varied notes, a little like orage-brief
last minute corrections: 7/27/64 at 4:30 P.M. the orage original
a longuement parle     the human body as other than animal     why would this be human voice?

edious, less melodious     resembling a compte organ or strings,
the animal voice breakage of pack ice
the lips (mouthed)     not from resembling a serve
scientific in such length     with a luxurious original storm     divine the parks appear disinherited,
and each tree reject of idealism     had the original not brief and acute and eives
the respect of hosts     comparisons turbing end up
Here are the laws of the pré, presque and almost,
nearly field of our repose     unlimited cravings shake “useful”
and we have participated     X     T     and H, a DEP,
ego-centered surrender to serve
pack ice will                      brief, biolin, accumulation of past
poles and birds                  dark accordings
sunny ice moves                 days past and principle accumulation
days past today’s past        snow accumulates and turns
poles and birds     o   n       wristwatch evidence.

April 1, 2002

Deep Eco Pré offers a difficult but crucial take on how we might continue to stand despite the weight we collectively bear. You can download the entire text here

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