Old Home Day, and the Old, Old Home
I've been thinking about one of my comments that, left on the cutting room floor, perhaps deserves some mention here and then elaboration. In our discussion of the actuality of 10 & A (the recurring theme of the reality or absurdity of using poems as maps has been a theme throughout this blog), I had mentioned the importance of 10 & A--allegorically and actually--as at the edge of Alphabet City. There is a sense of the primal quality of being on the edge of speakability/calculability, with the number 10 and the letter A signifying, respectively, the base 10 number system and the alphabet itself. We can also think of the history of gentrification, and this particular locus as a borderline, which indeed is impacted by the presence and presencing of poets. But this poem also engages with the mystical consciousness that goes beyond the place where number intersects with letter, the democratic systems that writers such as Poe railed against in their preference for visionary consciousness over systemic politicized rationality.
I'm rereading today a translation by Charles Doria of the "Secret Book of Moses on the Great Name, A Book About Everything, In Which Is Contained The Name of the One Who Ordains Everything That Is," a book that twists the name of God into all possible combinations until it is exhausted and the performer hence becomes God (in a lovely Arthur C. Clarke short story about a computer in a Himalayan monastery that sets out to do this, the results are less, let's say "hubristic.") In his intro to the "Secret Book," (printed in Kostelanetz's Text-Sound Texts anthology) one is "reminded"--perhaps from some great archaic echo--that this Tetragrammatic remix, written in Greek, is not based off of the Hebrew YHWH, but rather the Greek iota, alpha, omega, which transliterates as I-A-O. Is it a stretch to posit 10 & A, as I-A-O, with Notley riffing on the names of God? These lines from the old poem seem apt: "I want You alive/all the time of this My life here/make for Me all My soul desires/for You are Me and I am You/something if I say it has to be/for I possess Your Name/in the phylactery of My heart/and all flesh moved against Me/shall not hold Me back . . ./for I am Named You Your Name is in My Soul."
As if to seal the deal, the Horus eye, which I noted appears on the facade of the cafe at the northeast corner of 10 & A, appears as an image (mere doodle or mystic oogle?) in the original papyrus of this Egyptian text (home continues to evade us). Some intersection!