Dear Alain: Author's Note

Can love, thinking as two, be enough to bond poetry which thinks as "elsewhere" and philosophy which thinks in distinctions? Despite the dramatic metaphor, in the end there is not a mathematic answer to such a question. Each answers their own way. Love the union of singulars.

Now then, is this poetry? If Badiou's conditions are all redoubled here, poetry on philosophy, philosophy on poetry, etc. then is is too much of a Gödel trick to ask? (the Indians wrote their calculus in verse, you know.)

Either transcendental way, and I don't really mind as long as it's transcendental, what I want to say is I think the relationship between philosophy and poetry is like what happens at the real projective plane: various degrees of infinite, like a mobius strip. For when I think back on my own poetic departure, it happened when it happened, and why I'll never know (it wasn't really a choice), but it happened against all "reality" which had conditioned me in my life up until that point. And that was many things, including, fundamentally, definitions which all necessarily have philosophical underpinnings be they from texts or passed through the cultural conversation. That poetry, or writing, or art "reacts against" is true (and in this reaction often critiques!), but a reaction is also itself a relation. One cannot exist without the other. In this sense I think poetry is the fearlessness to depart from the position of the self in relation to all that is present in and up to that moment each poem is born - street wisdom or Alain Badiou of whatever. Poetry is also Robespierre's eyes. Or the sun's, or the moon's. 

Be it a description or logic, this is how I saw it at that moment when the songs began (I also saw it as a sortof affliction, but that's a past sentence, pun intended, and isn't it odd how sometimes the things we hate at first we love later the most?) Perhaps it's a proof, perhaps it's my poetic "elsewhere". I don't really care to designate it, it just is. To smile and laugh utterly naive to each moment's possible meanings whisping into the next moment's forgotten will always be more beautiful to me than the rigid lines of any conclusion. It's not that I (read we, if you prefer) can't, just that my preference is right now. As a way to perceive.

What I really want to say is that philosophy is not sovereign (thank you, Alain). And that poetry is quite good at defining itself! As it has been for thousands of years, regardless of whatever the philosophers have been saying. (What, what was that? Did you hear something?) And even, the practice of reading, interpreting, writing, and if you want to play that way, naming...philosophy?

“Something I always knew was it's all Aristotle's fault." -Bernadette Mayer


In some sense, poetry's and philosophy's irresistible urge to discuss each other for thousands of years is like the longest love affair in history since, well, Philosophy was born!

There is perhaps something in all of this of poetry's - and my - disdain for constraint or boundaries. Poetry, I think, is the undefined (and so, everything.) And as writing is different from language in that it is about sex, I'll talk about Badiou's "woman": one who thinks love is what ultimately centers and binds the conditions of us all. If this is the meaning of "woman", then I proudly stand to militantly defend such a view with all my soul.

Love, always,


Dear Alain

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