At Ghost Proposal, Naomi Washer and Joshua Young host a issue on “Hybrid Forms & the Post-Genre Approach,” featuring an appropriately genre-less text by yours truly, along with actual essays by friends Douglas A. Martin and Tarpaulin Sky Press author Joyelle McSweeney, among other other greats: Tyler Crumrine, T Clutch Fleischmann, Oliver de la Paz, and Hannah Brooks-Motl.
What follows is an excerpt from my tortured 5,000-word treatise on Bhanu Kapil, BISAC codes, Borges, Foucault, monstrosity, Netflix, Qabalah, Satanic Ritual Abuse, schizophrenia, Selah Saterstrom, “shitty art,” and trauma as initiation:
1) BELONGING TO THE EMPEROR
In a 1942 essay,9 Borges alleges the existence of an ancient Chinese encyclopedia, “The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge,” in which the taxonomy of animals comprises 14 categories:
(a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) suckling pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies
In the preface to The Order of Things,10 Foucault writes
This book first arose out of [Borges’ “Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge”], out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought — our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography — breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinctions between the Same and the Other.
At least three things interest me in the above texts:
1) The obvious: Borges’ taxonomy as a poke in the eye of capital-O Order, which delights as matter of principle, given that certain orders are in no danger from a good poking (the numerals 0-9, for example, will likely remain useful for a good long time) while others, such as the two-party political system, need a proper slash-and-burn.
2) Foucault’s text as poetry — which is inseparable from 3) Foucault’s laughter.
Not a chuckle, mind you, but a laugh that shatters:
shatters all the ordered surfaces and the planes where we seek to tame the wild profusion of existing things and our age-old distinctions between the Same and other
A laugh that hits the “reset” code: Ctrl + Alt + Delete.
The Big Zero. Via Nuit.
Or the Fool of the Tarot.
Or whatever blows your brains out. Whatever gets you to the other side.
Where there is no Thing —
about which nothing may be said —
there comes a thing
and the thing is One.
One being Kether, the “singularity” of the Big Bang, which in its naming is a second thing, and is also One again, and again, and again . . . everywhere, in all directions — including inward — at once: this is the Now.
Or, as Joyelle writes in “The ‘Future’ of ‘Poetry’”11
Poetry’s present tense rejects the future in favor of an inflorating and decaying omnipresence, festive and overblown as a funeral garland, flimsy and odiferous, generating excess without the orderliness of generations It rejects genre. It rejects “a” language. Rejects form for formlessness. It doesn’t exist in one state but is always making corrupt copies of itself.
READ THE REST AT GHOST PROPOSAL.