The Word the Play Attaching at a Wide Interval

"Water bird" -- Washoe

Combination from a fixed palpable set given in advance: the word is composite, an object with parts from a small number of choices: syllable, phoneme, letter of the alphabet, the word is an assembly of sounds, of letters, a play of referenceless tokens into breathable sign object (q.v. Derrida): the familiar narrow interval. In composition by vocabulary the interval is wider: a fixed set of words, composed in advance of the poem where the word is atomic, a moveable catalysis object (sign stuff dissolved, a resonance token indivisible but with valence): the composite is wider than the word, words are brought together as a kind of super-word, phrase as self-mobile word molecule, divisible and yet acting only as the clump. The units shift up one notch in scale, phrase acting in syntax as the word does normally. Vocabulary, word-set: the pieces set out for play as beings are, whole, alive, not to be dismembered. A play at a wider interval: the word not as supplement-of but as activator of resonance: like the enzyme, it disappears having merely activated an energy reaction of presences one possesses already. The word is not a gift, is not an epiphany, only a bending of the resonance space nearby. The real stuff of poetry is still human lives, as it always has been, notwithstanding that the play occurs, screenwise, in a machine.

That the super-word holds, can chord-achieve its precipitation of the oracle key: the word is reencountered as a member of the word set with a chance present location: the word is new, new to this place, newer than the non-set "spontaneously voluntary" word we hardly touch: the external word, the word that originates externally. The word is always there before we get there, and yet for the poet, traditionally the word has always seemed to originate "inside". The links of words into super-word, that is what is now internal. But having been made, in the machine, the super-word can be made external as well: the flow in and out, like sodium channels that power the nerve force. The reaching for the word becomes nearly physical, as if pulling it from its place on a signboard. Make the word new by putting it outside, bringing it inside again as super-word, then putting it outside again: like breathing. How crystalline the word gets, there outside the mind, doing battle with erosion. Computer screen as crystal garden, part of the mind / not part of the mind.

Metamorphosis, migration, evolution, reassembly: substitution may occur at the play of super-words one for another, bonds broken and reattached elsewhere in the mixing of the atoms at higher energy, a fractally point-sharp force of surprise. The phrase rejected in editing becomes compost, food: components as nutrient put back for recombination in newly attached super-words, sampled and ordered by chance: the mixing, recombination -- as in life -- the source of energy, of diversity, a flow cycle reaction arena, a self-sustaining word process ...

Jim Rosenberg's home page o Poetics