The Bar(r)e(n) God
Maybe I write to keep the source open, even if I can’t find the opening. What I call speech is nothing more than the harmonics of a right accord, as harmonious as possible. It isn’t in order to speak that I write, but to listen, or rather, to be able to listen. I greet, in its painful nudity, what has neither name nor shape. Between us there is no bond, but a connection which ought not exist, and yet which does: even that which refuses to appear is nevertheless the origin of manifestation in its totality. The gift must accept the gift and silence must thank speech, silence which is thanked in kind.
My words would love to be utterly confident. For my words encounter this unheard moment where the unknown turns around in the vivid transparency of a subtle contact. That which produces things, the world, and which is not of this world, and yet which isn’t outside of it, that which I feel as both presence and absence, creates the plenitude of a transparent visible which takes root in the invisible. And yet I can never say that I have encountered it. The encounter is always impossible, problematic, uncertain. Nevertheless I know that it wouldn’t happen if I didn’t write. I write while attempting to listen to the murmur of the unknown. What I write depends on this tenuous relation with an invisible someone who waits and begs. So what I write makes the encounter possible, the diaphanous saying of alterity. I write, and what I write doesn’t lead anywhere. The words are bereft, white, transparent. Perhaps they are a silent irradiation of emptiness. But it is in this way that I approach the unknown god.
I write on the horizon of his plenary distance. Dilacerating confidence. He always returns to his silence, to the silence of the irreducible nameless. Can these words become the fragile sensitive antennae of his impregnable silence.
I have heard his white silence. I have seen the absolute light.
I wait. Perhaps I can wait no longer. Perhaps knowing how to no longer wait is true perfection. I conserve my passivity, I want to conserve it in the very act of writing. I want to be able to receive it, in a state of patience, modesty, subtlety, even tenderness…
The one who says nothing has opened the ground, has opened a mouth, his mouth in the ground.
A surface in all points similar to itself. A circle of white earth, a pregnant void. It is pure expectation, perfect availability… Imponderable organ which becomes sensitive to the most delicate zones of silence. Edifying and demolishing the architecture of a greeting which is nothing other than destitution, work of emptiness, reduction to an essential simplicity.
I wait and I no longer wait. Extreme delicacy of attention which knows nothing, which listens and perhaps hears nothing other than the wait itself, the vacuity of the wait. There is no obstacle, the labyrinths appear fluid, everything becomes light and flexible. I remain vigilant. Will it be possible to reach transparency, the absolute uninhabitable nudity? Transparency never denies itself. There is, in spite of everything, a constant irradiation of something which I am in relation to. I now write in the white complicity of a pure orientation which strips me… Is this the truth? The Other’s nature is twofold: he approaches and withdraws. But is he not subjected, in this alternation, to the elementary pulsation of an immutably simple nature? It is necessary to meet him in accordance with his own rhythm.
Someone waits for me, someone who is thirsty and who cries out. Cries out in silence. He reveals no secret, but it is as if he had told me: write. This fragile, impossible being inspires a kind of compassion and intense tenderness within me. He is the one who calls me in his impregnable silence, but am I myself not the one who summons me in his name? I write, sure, but the modesty with which I write is henceforth sovereign. There is a fundamental discretion in all that I have to say. My voice must be of the most tenuous, the most delicate, faithful to this “next to nothing” which is that inalienable and irreducible part of me.
The images become scattered. Nothing has taken their place. My breathing is henceforth subtle and delicate. Nothing has changed, nothing has happened. And nothing will happen. I get drunk on a water that I will never drink. The event will always be purely to come or already past. Absence will be the purest form, because nonexistent, of Presence. White consumption of several thin flexible words, so that the dark heart can, every so often, become the actual pulse of clarity.
I am not waiting for him. I will never arrive, I will never be, he will never speak. I would love to give voice to his unnamable misfortune, his impossible silence. I would love to welcome him in his nudity, in his silence. There is no doubt he waits for me in his immeasurable poverty, poor mute unprotected god, of an infinite misery. What I write, what I will write will be the offering upon meeting him. But there will be no encounter if he doesn’t breathe in the unhoped-for transparency of a white language. I wouldn’t be able to offer anything if words didn’t constitute this intimate alliance which is the very mystery of language.
I am alone and will continue to be alone, in the arid avid ambling of these pathless words. Throbbing, endless truce. Here now is never. I thought that I could establish a serene and trusting relation but I still haven’t heard any appeal. I am inside of a burnt circle.
The words start to vibrate. The void speaks, silence comes to life. Perhaps he is nearby, in the murmur of distance. I feel the welcome of the visible. What is happening? I can’t hear the god of anguish and misery, but his absence draws almost close and his silence is perhaps a manifestation of trust, of welcoming reserve. Even so what I write is still not the gift of pure trust. My language doesn’t have the transparency of a silent thanks. I write however because writing is the condition required for the encounter to occur. Perhaps he awaits me in the whiteness that I traverse.
It is to him, to this mute insignificant god, that I belong. This liaison, which in a certain way is not one, because he never reveals himself, and never grants, always fleeing, his desired presence. Isn’t finding oneself with him not sensing that the most absent Absence and the infinite whiteness of white are even more empty and nonexistent? He is the solitary empty being of an irreparable exile. A white wall erected between me and him. And yet, how could I write without him? Even absent, he is the possibility of speech, the imminence of the encounter.
Perhaps I hear him, solitary and bereft, in his empty circle. I hear him when the words are pronounced above me by a mouth full of stones, and already by the sea. Something breaks up and a new purity appears to erect a subtle certainty – but of what? White symbols open the circle at the same time as the moans of buried nights are heard. Clarity is that of the broad expanse. Every so often I feel that someone lives inside of me. Transparency reigns in the emptiness of an abandoned temple. I see, I am a kind of firmament of white solidity. I have never come upon anything more passionately clear and simple. At this moment, it becomes pure passion, burning space, white incandescence…
From Silence to Silence
I am searching for the deepest chamber where all is unknown. In the tranquillity of a mysterious abandon, its other side with the secret in its inexpugnable and silent nudity …
When will the one who sows the paths of delight come? The true body, the body which knows how to breathe with what we are lacking, the one who dies so that everything can at last be said. Marvel of fate, murmur of all murmurs, imponderable refuge, lightness of a pure delicate breast. It emerges from the depths of time with branches spread.
Now words crackle like a wild, subterranean summer. A white fire in an abandoned body. Song and moan mingle in a liquid flame, in a golden circle. There where the mouth was buried, the lips which are close to the living enigma are found. Hair quivers transparent, delicate. The gaze is wholly silence, wholly light.
His face is a luminous, liberated, recognized space …
A lost place where every paradise vanishes. Distance and abandon. Ruins. Mouths are parched. Previously, here, the dark echoing vaults of open halls, round rooms, watchtowers. Now the slow still movement confirms the greyness, the blind victory of the fire. Small white commotions are heard. The wind scatters space, blows across the cool water of night. Maybe here, the place of the inauguration which doesn’t begin. Shadows stir and quiver on the stones. No centre, no beginning …
An unknown mouth which vanishes into the obscurity of a language forever lost…
I am a text which wants both to rise and remain in the depths. Days, soil, spaces. Iridescent echoes. I write as if wanting to draw a balanced, composed line. The hand, or the hand’s shadow, caresses a slow dark hair. In the anonymous roar, of the silence within silence, I find the delicate plenitude of joy, of totalities blurred by shadows, ocean spray, voices and incandescent aromas. I penetrate a fluid matter among hopeless fragments. I get lost in the sand of names, I linger on the patient stones near-by. Here the water flows clear and light between one’s own fingers. Perhaps someone has lost a very simple colour, or the blood of a dream.
Voices rise from the waters, laugh, sing a song of spinning wheels. But no one calls me, no one waits for me, no love responds to my desire.
I write with ravaged hands …
I descend with the shadow’s sand …
The splendour of a righteous place. And an awakened earth, pure abandon …
The moving page fills up with white walls and lights of nameless countries. Something wants to speak, something inhabits the silence, something rises and vanishes among scattered fragments.
The ground, circular horizon, without blemish, is the smooth transparent surface of an unknown country.
No one in the underground chamber. Utter silence …
The movement freezes in a moment of buoyant placid awareness …
Sun, saliva, shadow. Words – dangerously secret, dangerously pure. But equally immaterial gold, ocean blue. Time shimmers, clarity murmurs. Branches and fruits, leaves, a silent flame. Every name hopes to rest upon your full lips. Shoulders, hips, stones, joy …
a few fragile glimmers. Apparent insects or tiny arbitrary lamps. Each line could be an exact furrow. The thin blind finger perhaps draws a secret iris. Silence of a shimmering foliage, extreme simplicity of a wavering star.
The delicate trees. Dazzling shadows. Sinuous and inhabited, voice of a crisp clear water, a sleeping head, drifts by without breathing. Names sleep in an unviolated altitude, desire culminates in the music of pure space. The body lives in the innocence of the sea’s effervescence, neither calls nor burns, among limpid stones, among white lips.
A field of calm and abandon.
Plenitude of the shadow without lips, without echo, imminent, immanent, maternal. Implacable gentleness. Awareness lit in the shadow’s blue.
The fragile doors, open between the trees.
Where? Here, on the page which stumbles over the corners and murmurs…
Bee or rose in clarity’s silence? Where the terrace sleeps, delicate branches spread, rounded volumes, shimmering shadows …
Visible, indivisible, subtle, ardent, the body of space breathing …
Writing in calm flexibility. Almost a flame, almost forgetting …
In the desolation without foliage, without the lucid dust of silence …
And almost a slow effervescence, almost a vegetable wind.
Writing, inventing a flexible exactitude, suggesting the air’s skin. Skin, earth, air, conjunction of immanence at the very moment when the silence is the plenary and freed mouth.
Sometimes, here, the lips of waters teeming with devotion.
Or rather the moon, high and pale…
Shadows, lips, radiance, the secret and clamour, tiny proofs, nudity utterly free in the expanse.
Free of greed, in an airy enchantment, drawing the passionately exact word.
The silence fades from one mouth to another.
In the earth’s flanks the inanimate shimmers.
One by one, words fade away in the open intimacy of distance. Or in the mountain’s sleep. Or under the air’s eyelids.
I will speak of the vision of eyelids, child who doesn’t realize that unknowing is understanding. I will express dance and tree, the wheel’s red, the movement of burnt walls. No images, fibres, seeds, secret lamps. The splendour of revealed proofs. Dividing in order to advance, to return to white, to the depth of the unuttered. The hand’s silence, lungs, soil’s breathing. Seeing the world of the dark transparency, the space of silent words, the lucidity of the place between saying and being.
A transparent sleeping head. Earth, stones, interstices, fertile inertia of several opaque lips. I wander, I write without writing. At one with the coolness, with the air’s rapidity, global, I stroll across a field without tracks, I obey the silent words of day. I write the air’s fruits, the great living sleep of walls and animals.
I write without writing.
The fire’s muscles burst out in song. Happy dispersion. The god of eloquence gone silent.
Bodies breathe the great liberated vault in the darkness. Mouths know the water’s words, the flame’s groin.
You say tree and stone and silence. In order to begin, so that the signs will be wind and corolla, dispersion and renewal. So that they will be this country, this water, this loving body. In the dilacerating coolness, in the water’s vivacity. The word vanishes, disappears into an opening, into a fault. It’s a breeze which expresses, more than anything, thirst, emptiness, oblivion.
I obstinately seek to understand. I listen, I touch, but where are the vague weapons?
Between clay and sun, I want to draw the gesture which spies on me and controls me.
A lost colour, a quivering of syllables.
Someone builds a temple in the islands’ lungs.
Utter poverty, charred lamp.
Walls of water
limpid sleep of
I love, I feel the trembling of its trees, its skins, its feathers.
I love this body of a body. Of blood and shadow, of ash and light.
Swift wonder, blue centre and purple, green undulation.
I love this dark solar body, stirred by the waters like a rose, ripe and similar to wine. On its skin I hear the whiteness, the blue effervescence of nostalgia. I drink its fugitive waves, the quivering of its shadow, its rain-coloured bird’s face. I touch the absolute silence in your light.
I feel the trembling of its trees.
Antonio Ramos Rosa
Le dieu nu(l), Lettres Vives, 1990