Static Frenzy

By Flint Michigan, 3 July 2012
Image: Gherasim Luca, an example of his Cubomania technique, c. 1948

Flint Michigan on Self-Shadowing Prey by Ghérasim Luca


Luca: defender of a poetic rapprochement with non-being


Luca: tender distrait made nebulous by lexical alchemy


His poems are strangely condundrum-like

offering neither answer nor solution

They win nothing for the reader except the delirium of transitive word games

The being outstripped

by a pace of verbal contusion


It’s an appalling obscenity


This ‘oracle and doubt end to end’

This seeking after the echo of a shadow

that so unformed in a form

is a danger to the meretricious pretensions of consciousness!


The self becomes its own prey

critically projected self-cannibalisation

Or willed deterritorialisation of assumptive former selves!


The self becomes its own shadow

an adumbration of social material dramatised by Luca

as the bodily civil war

between marrow and nerves

Or a disappearance of the self before the lack of fit twixt affect and expression!


The toxins in these poems here take the dirigible-shape of the ‘unthought known’


An unthought known

A thought without knowledge that is maybe

at the liberatory hilt of any possible lotta poetica

Or as Luca has well expressed

at its murderous tip – self-exiling violence


An unthought known

a thought that’s an intensity of presence

a mood space

a being-led towards not being any longer itself because the reigns of escapading language are as frayed as nerves



So, Luca: a balancing act






give birth to one another


this birthing

internal to the line or the letters of the words themselves

is what adds a kind automatic propulsion

f e c u n i n u n d a t i o n


Just as an earth worm moves the lines extend almost out of themselves and

as Luca has it (or is had to say) – ‘poetry/without tongue/without anyone’


These latter lines are from a poem called General Strike




And here, as the translator notes, lies another conundrum

More than a puzzle or a palimpsest

Maybe a way of being or being to going to be

Something that takes us to the ‘rift within the limit’


Mary Ann Caws speaks of ‘language losses’

We could speak of ‘textual psychosis’


loss of body sense in a papalised language (‘Ox Nerve’)

lost language of the unthought known (‘Towards the Non Mental’)


Luca would want rid of the last shred of ‘programatism’




‘an occult cipher

drowned in the shoreless pool of a cabal

that no dream will ever manage to warm’


And so

what GENERAl sTRIKe (as it becomes)


is the ‘hanged man in the tree’

for this cessation of cessfull imagination

this loss of ‘generalised dream’

or ‘dream in general’

is surely not just a valiant albeit regretted mistranslation of the impossible

is maybe at the hanging-on limit

but a limit that h a r b o u g h s our own warded-off defeat


the dictatorship struggled with by Luca

disallows simultaneity

as we accept it as it is

as we make it fail to give even a slight breath to our ‘emotional ambivalence’



Anything more

it seems

is to leave both language and being behind

to transmute via rifts

via lexicull alchemi

and the unthought known

and tender distrait

and the ‘network of nervous strings’


he we was are hardly alone



‘We shall strike for more dreams’ – Peter Wood

‘ I am/ the prey/ of myself’ Abdellatif Laâbi






Ghérasim Luca, Self-Shadowing Prey, Mary Ann Caws (trans.),

Contra Mundum Press. ISBN: 978 0 983697213