Lisa Robertson

"inside a designation there are people permanently startled to bear it, the
not-me against sociology"
                                                Denise Riley

"By representing a trait as mutual a coin certainly does lead us into debt,
but this coin, which the debtor accepts as existence, has been struck in
the likeness of one's soul by the indestructible Imperium."

My premise is simple. All method is a
demonstration of history.* All change
is substitution. "Yesterday was a
new day."

"We are enraptured," the stage-direction says.

And why should we not live near the beauti
ful streets, have and like the meaning of our
pleasure and its measurement? But let us
leave aside the question of the
material dream, not out of tact, not
from the need to figuratively dim
inish the little drama of sensitive
expenditure, but in order to get
familiar with the civic minimum.
Longueurs of desperate truancy
name an idea about the "un
governable" world. Yet here I am not
extending the maudlin phantasy of
limits. Sure, a person will have -- at their
own admission -- and penultimate
before the marvellous environment --
real material romance. Today I
want to address those of terrifying
enthusiasms and meaning's ordinary
jobs -- those for whom both origins and
limits repeatedly fail. Oh ardent
transgressors whose walls are also my own
what country, good friends, what forest, what
language, is not now smothered by our sobs?

Or I could pose the matter otherwise.
What are the terms of our complicity?
We cannot definitively know, for
reasons of faulty appearance and mis
managed debt. Our apparent sameness
leads elsewhere than to cause or origin.
Nor do we want to simply reverse the
narrative, placing a cultural
organ at an ethical height from which
"we" devolve, plying our giddy nostalgia
for the fragment. (I was thinking here of
certain aesthetics, but the remark could
apply equally to to the fetishized
archive or the lust for ruins.) Is it
(perhaps) necessary to substitute
for the causal genealogies
the more ductile span of rhetoric? Though
I am, after all, trained only in
the subtleties of management, and it's
as an administrator, no, an
administrative assistant, that I
offer to our community this nod
for all who are intertwined with centres
or the idea of "oneself."

I should be more precise. It is as if
history dilates the body, to pertain
to the audacity of some moral
oblation. "One, two, three, four, five, six."
Consider the idea of transgression:
its efficacy has been absorbed
by the feculent marketability
of the skin -- or should I say nostalgic
fantasies of the skin -- for who is not
irritated by the docile rotations
of memory and hope? The affective
passage of displacement sheds strata of
experiment, intensity and guilt.
This detritus functions as a govern
able material identity. The corpus 
itself, if I may risk such dis
cretion, remains technical rather than found
ational, and for this we can be glad.
Frankly, even our genders stutter and
choke. Please believe that I myself claim no
innocence from vigorous paroxysms
of excretion: I pine for the body's
nice parataxis, the heart's inestimable
syntax and the good grace of your gaze. But
here my enunciative platform borrows
a diction from judicial surfaces, which
are also points of rest.

I shall offer a short allegory:

Imagine that a symptom is consigned
to a little known region where it
acquires a fey materiality
with relations of obscurity,
habits of transgression, and half-effaced
myths of limitless frontier. The
symptom takes on the historical
function of a hero, who may purchase
for himself a plasticity imagined
as geography because it is
visible. Perhaps this geography
is accompanied by a people
to whom he makes the irreparable
gift of his unique sensation of
affective and political loss. Then
he feels compelled to move to the next
recognizable description, befriended
by his aura of destiny. Or he
may act differently. He may dovetail
with compromise, with all that is conserved
in interiority, all that is
simply plural, the suspect frailties
of lack, in order to be kind. He may
translate all that he cannot permit and
uncover arcane explanations for
his deferred relation to the present.
he may call these dreams -- of broken ramparts,
walls and limits -- romance or syntax or
rubble. And what difference?
Good citizens reproduce the traumas
of memory and trangression, thus
guaranteeing a futurity for
Rome's citation. I walk myself towards
the fantasy of the Imperium.
I call to my sensitive friends in the
streets: We're complicity's monuments
and the city is seriously quaint!
I believe that our complicity, like
paternity's absurd dream, regulates
the tacit expression of history's
absorbtive convulsions. It is a gate
in the ancient style, a node where two
spatial dispensations compete for
the iterability of an image
and its intent. We should pause at this gate
and research our emotive conventions
so that affect itself extroverts to
articulate the commerce in margins.
Otherwise the romance between primitive
outskirts and the Imperium stands
preserved by the formal spectres
of linguistic materiality,
fragmentation and doubt. As for the
nature of my loves -- I do not wish to
enter into that discussion.**

* To corroborate my use of the emptied term "history," I refer the reader
to Barscheit's stylesheet, "A Drifting Fable" --  in particular, item five:
"Style is history's diction; that is to say, style flaunts simultaneously
the syntax of futurity and history, leaning into the fast light of
obsolescence." (The Berkeley Horse, 1994) Certainly, in this instance, the
defining statement could be inverted to read: Diction is history's stylus."

** In this argument, repeatedly I refer to the binary topology of origins
and limits, where origins are partial, fragmented and traumatized
phantasies of personal and cultural loss, and limits are radical frontiers
of social and aesthetic risk, or heroic agency. Each of these two tropes
functions as an analogy of the other. The silent space internal, and
dynamic, to this mirroring structure, I call complicity. I consider how the
analogical relation of these two spatial dispensations defers the
appearance and analysis of their historical interdependancy. I would like
to work at the crux of this mutual refraction, in order to excavate the
rhetorical culture of complicity. That is, I want to write a poem that
could enact a shift in the site of materialist practice, a shift from the
mythically doubled parameters of outlawed frontiers and abjected origins,
to power's dank interior, the tacit imbrication of our affective
conventions with the imperium. Since I have accepted this platform, I feel
I should do no less.

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