Lisa Robertson

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Michelangelo Pistoletto | Le trombe del giudizio (The Trumpets of Judgement), 1968

 

go Venus go vernal go turning go
darling by folding sky by buoyant kiss

by plenty (I lie in bed and read Marx)
by secret breezes twisting, contriving

by boulevards by cattle by springle
a springald a springet rise agile from

water, go down modern to the natal
turn by rapacious meetings by luminous

flowers – take with you the eagerness of
my submission to the proliferate

material discipline also
called speech as the political feeling

lusts for public light by engorged
rivers by populated foliage

by veering campus the cry of desire
a morning blackbird in the city entirely

secular and generative and I
can’t curtail my life.

 

 

 

Cognition in the room
felt like sensuous human activity
real sensuous activity as such
and natality’s ornate
quiescence tied to fear’s
superb circumference at
home in the dominant expressive
housekeeping of the street
a composition is set in motion.
Unmotivated by any bodily movement
Marx finds in Lucretius the defiant probability.

The I-speaker
on her silken rupture
spills into history.

 

 

 

Here is Marx’s big dilemma, the reason he goes to Lucretius:
practice arises from conditions
yet these are the conditions we must change.
With a cloth on her upraised right hand
Venus stands on a shell, hair windblown, torso twisted to dance
posture, more fluttering cloth draped over her arm.
As Lucretius writes, Rome is torn by civil strife.
Something of the murky tumult of his times shadows his verses.
In his boyhood began the civil wars.
The Goddess is stepping out of a shell in the midst of the sea.
The stress and turmoil of his times stand in the background.
Lucretius is a man of peace.
He keeps much aloof.
On the left are two winds flying across the waves and propelling
the Goddess towards land. Life-sized.
The text may have become politically disreputable.

 

 

 

Slow factory
bad pride
Aphrodite had tired
I lie in bed and read Marx
because an obscure object lives in me
so here I renounce my obedience.

This year I am sick of language
cut radiant gentle and frank
little angle of dissolved rhyme
who sires the flagrant exemplum
what if language is the suppression
of vitalist vocal co-movement
by the military-industrial complex?
What if language is the market?

 

 

 

Now their body gestures
now their body conducts
which isn’t changing the body itself
it’s only changing the activity of their body
but it’s also changing the body
like a sensitive shrub with eyes and blood
its act is precious form
otherwise known as rhyme
and it is no good and I continue leaning on trees for rest.

I call this the immaterial material.
Its cosmological fluttering, its infrared infinitude
refuses dumbed-down instrumentality.
Its scale is a world.

Fear – it’s because there are consequences.

 

 

 

FROM
LISA ROBERTSON | 3 SUMMERS
COACH HOUSE BOOKS 2016

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