Absurd Taxinomia

Will Self on his intention for writing his book Shark said he wanted to write Jaws without the Shark, which i took to mean using descriptive, prose to skirt around an object or situation in mind, somewhat like a riddle. If you coupled this with a bit of Phenomenology, Existentialism & the Preface to Foucault’s The Origin of Things, where he explains that the inception for the writing of

This book first arose out of a passage in Borges, 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 distinction between Same and the Other. This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camel hair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.’ In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that. (Foucault, The Origin of Things)

Foucault then spends the entirety of the book tracing the history (in fastidious detail, painstaking, like making a ship in an aspirin bottle), since the 16th Century, to how Economics, Biology & Linguistics came out of the Classical period’s use of representation as a mode for classification, which it is not my purpose to go into here. But what a Preface. To say, essentially, that in the fabrication, in the attempt to understand, to get closer to truth, we neglect something, which becomes a limit of our own imaginative & creative faculties, whilst pressing to get at the right answer.
i wasn’t immediately drawn to all these considerations in one foul swoop, but over a period of time, which began with my being intrigued by Marie Marshall’s poems, which attempt to enlist the reader into working out interpretation from their own subjective position so that for each reader the poem has a different meaning(s). i wanted to do something similar, but couldn’t find my angle; i envied her freedom. Linking the riddle like quality of Self’s intention, my reading of Husserl, Camus & Foucault & Marie, i think i’ve found my angle— to write my own amplituhedronic taxinomia, which if you are positioned just right seems to constitute our reality both actual & imagined. Welcome.

Absurd Taxinomia— People

i.

Those that gather toast crumbs
into small piles
& them
that make scatter graphs.

ii.

Tuts when he drops his keys
which is a tut at improbability.

iii.

After so much time
alone
seeks friendship,
the company of beasts.

iv.

Tallies the days
of endless experience,
their minutiae
alphabetized like genera.

v.

The delirious surgeons of events,
getting to the heart of a matter.

vi.

The famished discounters,
ribs on parade,
gaunt as a pickle
skin like moth wings.

vii.

The Absurd Man,
doing something ordinary,
out of context,
intentionally & very well,
so well, nobody notices
— what could be more absurd?

4 Comments Add yours

  1. kvennarad says:

    Firstly, thank you for putting me into the taxonomic bracket – “dudes who put me in this groove” – with Husserl, Camus & Foucault. It’s a good groove to be in. Secondly, I’m sure you realise that Borges’s ‘Chinese’ taxonomy was made up; but it sure as heck makes that very point!* Thirdly, I like this poem very much, especially the last stanza, which is spot on. Keep on doing what you’re doing, as long as you feel comfortable with it.

    *I used the same quotation in this little post back in 2014:
    https://mairibheag.com/2014/04/25/taxonomy-domine/

    1. Thank you for giving me something to think on. i think you fit snugly in that bracket.
      i had guessed Borges had made the Chinese taxonomy up, but it was Foucault’s response to it & what it made him do that bewildered me at first & then grew into a coalescing of influences into a new idea for a series.
      Taxonomy suits me as i always have to have a series in mind to be able to write, i like that categorization of my ideas so that i can go forward with creating. i have so many, some narrative, some developing on place & people, others abstract & some Conceptual, but it allows me to build & explore within a wide demarcation.
      Glad you like it. There’ll be another 7 people taxinomia tomorrow.
      Your article pretty much sums up how i’ve come to embrace the chaos of humanity & the ideas & ideologies on show through out us. i don’t believe anything but i admire it all for its being something at all. i think that’s the point, right?

      1. kvennarad says:

        Possibly. 🙂

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