In dream, a verse of a cheesy song I came up with on the toilet developed into a fugal exposition. Wherever I cry, flowers bloom––1Too many girls have misunderstood this. I only mean that I like to make art when feeling intensely. Well, maybe a little more…
Fugue is flight. Die Kunst der Fuge. Wouldn’t we all like to know? Flight from fear? Flight from pain? Flight––from itself! From a motif recurring with variation. Transposed, translated, dilated, reversed, permuted in every which way.
“How like life!” I exclaim with just enough irony to deflect the painful accusations of cliché I somehow fear. Fleeing… just fast enough, by a little variation.
A flight from self as if there was a self. A self-made self, made “self” by its recurrence (with variation). There it is, and there it is again, until it becomes something.
Shenxiu btfo! As if he was taking himself too seriously. As if he really wanted to be the sixth patriarch. An imagined self, made real enough by desire to feel the pain of not existing, or of being lost. “At all times we must strive to polish it; and must not let dust collect”––implying a teleology. And a teleology from desire is most wretched. To confound fate and fetish: “this must be destined because this is best.” As if blind to the subject who can only say “best” while wanting “what’s best.” The basis of delusion.
“Fundamentally there is not a single thing.” Perhaps we do not need to go so far. But at least then there is nowhere for dust to collect. Or, there is nothing to desire, and nothing to impose (on). Because the imposed image will fade. The yidam is only a symbol. Because to induce is to violate, but the inviolable cycles will overcome you yet. So induced joy is inauspicious.
引兑 (yin dui), ཡི་དམ (yidam), and induce. Like yada yada yada. Like the smallest letter, י (yod). As featured in the Gospel of Saint Matthew––”For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Iota (ι), a variation on yod. I, a variation on iota. 引兑，未光；来兑，凶––but, you’re kind of 凶 sometimes too… (🥺)
No, no. This is the stuff that really matters. It’s history! Much sturdier than nonsense. It is about tracing to a consensual reality. Because practically it is easier to agree on “this happened; this (event) is related to that; this is worth imitating; this is not,” than on a construction of abstractions on abstractions ad infinitum, where even relation is quite arbitrary, not to speak of value, or intent. At least the past is a better symbol of the present than whatever else.
To the girl who would always spin whenever I held her hand and said, “spin!”: thank you for always spinning. And to the girl who stopped talking to me forever more after I said, “it’s very painful to talk to you”: thank you for that too. How very simple! It is a sweet and savory ironic tension when I say something very reasonable but do not believe myself. I think they called it “narrative irony” in school, as long as I am supposed to be narrating. Well, here I am narrating after all. So there is your irony, s’il vous plaît.
Narrating as if something were writhing to be released. Yet, with restraint, subduing as if wrestling an animal with ropes. As if it’s bad to feel too much, or too intensely. To feel too good, and leave others behind. Or to feel too bad, as if teaching a child about insincerity. That kind of display.
Or wrestling as if narration were barbed wire, or something more dangerous yet. Because to be unskillful is to kill. Flight by following; to follow and vary, but not to destroy. To develop a theme without diluting or overpowering it, while effortfully maintaining an itself, so that there is something to follow. That kind of fugal accompaniment.
To exercise restraint, reminding us of why such lengths are taken about how the natural state is actually just right there. So much metaphor, about mistaking the moon pointed at for the finger pointing. Or a rope in the garden for a snake.
Is it really so difficult to let everything be just as it is? As if it were ugly to be the wrong thing. To be unprepared. As if we were always skillfully skirting around and avoiding a fundamentally ugly world. What are we afraid to show children, as if to profane them? Is it ugly to explode? Well, probably in fugue it would be. Yes, to the spectators, and especially to the performer who is familiar with past iterations in study and practice. So, we are performing…
Trying to put in a moral again. Trying to iterate on a theme. Trying to breach the ephemeral. To capture. To mean, as if meaning were not itself already a very restrictive intent. To accidentally make beauty subservient to theory and art. Even while playing, to show that we are at play.
Because to interpret already carries an intent that is too easy to project empathetically. Absurdity need not intend to be absurd. Nor need pattern intend its pattern. But a fugue is a fugue, and not everything is a fugue. Not everything flees from itself. Because we say so? Because we agree? But that “because” is an intent again; a theme too strong to ignore. A motif we cannot flee from. A formal constraint too strong.
No, I have not been reading James Joyce. No, not Ezra Pound either. Not any of them. Anyway, the original verse I came up with on the toilet:
... No more flight from pain, Cuz wherever I cry, flowers bloom. Oh the colors! And wherever I lie, signs of doom. Hopeless lovers...
But, of course it cannot be about love. At least it cannot be about love always. I flee.