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Cronin's work online:

www.shearsman.com where her book beautiful, unfinished ~ PARABLE/SONG/
CANTO/POEM
is book of the month for August, along with some poems in the current issue

sidereality where she is the current issue's featured poet, along with poems, articles, an interview and a review of her book bestseller

mag where she's a featured poet with 25 poems

stylus where an interview with Cronin is archived under 'interviews')

a cross-genre essay “highlights of a career in surveillance: a colloquial memoir” at rhizomes

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MTC Cronin MTC Cronin


INTERROGATING THE HEART

(AN EXAMINATION, IN TWENTY BEATS, OF OUR DESIRE TO TALK & HOW WE TALK ABOUT DESIRE)


'If one takes, from various authors, a specific character, one that is easily recognizable, attractive, and charged with sense, and detaches it from both text and context, the word “heart” for example, no matter how far removed the brushstrokes might be from anything that might resemble a heart, the heart will, nonetheless, by its tracing, take on – with each calligrapher – a particular life of its own. One can readily see, among various calligraphers, how each time it is the same, and each time entirely different. One heart is generous, and another high-spirited. One heart would deceive while yet another would welcome: be good to live with. There is a heart at deep peace with itself, and a heart that is warm, well-disposed. Or the heart unruffled, that nothing troubles, that saves its own skin every time. Or one that is fickle, that settles nowhere, or another that is fearsome, and still another, submissive. There is a heart, too, that – at the drop of a hat – would take flight. Or the meddlesome heart, or the heart expectant, or venturous, or dry, or placid, or – to the contrary – the dauntless heart that nothing can stop. Or the entirely attentive, the perfect heart that even on a fibrous sheet of rice paper can last centuries and still manage to astonish.

To every calligrapher, the life, the proprietorship of the heart is offered. But not for the sake of originality, unless it be muted, unless he himself be scarcely suggested.'

Henri Michaux, Ideograms in China

1. SPEAKING FROM THE HEART

“… the voice within criticizes, intuits, witnesses and insists that this broken discourse we call culture is not ultimately human.”1

What is it we do when we speak? ~•~ It is upon losing what we have to say that we speak... We speak suggesting that something not being said is speaking: the loss of what we were to say...2 ~•~ Can you find it in your heart? ~•~ Have you lost heart? ~•~ What do we not do when we speak? ~•~ No words can express how inspired words spring out of silence.3 ~•~ 'All the words in the world don't explain laughter or tears.'4 ~•~ Laughter and tears: the hard evidence of our emotions? ~•~ When we feel what has been or what is to come, is this imagination? ~•~ Emotions have their origin in the paleopallium or intermediate (old mammalian) brain, comprising the structures of the limbic system, yet we refer to the heart as the 'seat of the emotions'. ~• ~ How to be an ancestor? ~•~ The brain is an organ of aggression, and there are many roads to this Rome of imagined conquests…5 ~•~ We imagine the heart to hold and express our affection, compassion and innermost desire. ~•~ A person is he, whose words or actions are considered, either as his own, or as representing the words or actions of an other man, or of any other thing to whom they are attributed, whether Truly or by Fiction…6 ~•~ The heart is the seat of feeling; the seat of love and affection; what we love with; vessel of intent, will, purpose, inclinations and desire; its 'quality' or 'strength' designates our character, temperament and disposition, our cowardice or bravery; it represents our moral sense and our conscience. ~•~ She speaks from the heart. ~•~ Honestly, if not truthfully, who we are? ~•~ When they are considered his own, then he is called a Naturall Person: And when they are considered as representing the words and actions of an other, then he is a Feigned or Artificiall person.7 ~•~ Thud. Thud-Thud. ~•~ What is 'at the heart of', scattering in pulses. ~•~ Can the human mass, which increases every day, exert control over a pulsation of this kind?8 ~•~ What is it we want to do when we speak? ~•~ I would have liked to write, so to speak, entirely in the present tense.9

2. THE LOVE CRY

“Such is the genesis of the theory of love: an accident, boredom, a desire to talk, or, if you will, a gossip lasting a little over a mile.”10

But desire is a journey. ~•~ The real object is not what he has obtained, but duration, persistence or perpetuation.11 ~•~ Why they draw the heart with wings. ~•~ Follow your heart. You don't have to believe what you feel. ~•~ Why we dream of flying. ~•~ …something which has not yet happened, but which the lover desires with all his strength to make exist or cause to happen.12 ~•~ On the wings of desire. ~•~ (Their hearts fluttered.) ~•~ Beyond. ~•~ The heart never fits the journey. Always one ends first.13 ~•~ (Their hearts sink.) ~•~ Bypass? ~•~ (Triple.) ~•~ A heart-bond: in masonry, a bond in which two headers meet in the middle of a wall and one header overlaps them. ~•~ Heart to heart? ~•~ Beyond two… ~•~ The lover, the lover and the symbol of their love. ~•~ …they saw instead that the form of a drama had a structure, a symbol or symbols, which defined how the scenery should relate to the costumes, the costumes to the light…14 ~•~ Heart Transplant? ~•~ The severed wings flew up / Out of the limetree in the heart / And tamed the dagger15 ~•~ 'He tore my heart out.' ~•~ Noble voice, gentle, wounded heart!16 ~•~ What says. What's said. ~•~ Heart murmur. ~•~ Learning to speak… ~•~ Everything they do and say sounds symbolic.17 ~•~ 'I love you'. ~•~ I Read Myself – ~•~ …young love's heartbreak… 18 ~•~ This could strip every word out of me. Nothing would be left but the images I would show was I not restricted to speech. ~•~ 'No more “I love you's” / Language is leaving me19 ' ~•~ ~•~ My heart is your home / and your heart is my orchard20 ~•~ My heart goes out to 'You'. ~•~ If I leave, I love you more, / if I stay, I love you just the same21 ~•~ My heart goes out to 'You'. ~•~ The figure refers not to the declaration of love, but to the repeated utterance of the love cry.22

3. SONNET OF 'YOU…'

“What the lover in this poem needs is to be able to face the beloved and yet not be destroyed…”23

You are my love like the blood's heroin, thick and trickling to the roots through a month of earth; tracing the seams to the mineral heart and finding in that sweet polished place my youthful soul all liquored-up and gaping, waiting for your bristling death to tear at the words with its nails: ~•~ Heart and hand, heart and soul… ~•~ …the first word, assumption, and it took me so long to erase because I wanted to keep my head from the ceiling; ~•~ …the body separates itself from thought, the individual breaks the boundary of his skin and occupies the other side of his senses.24 ~•~ criminally followed by initiation because all our conversations began with something I needed to say; ~•~ He feels himself becoming space, 'dark space where things cannot be put'.25 ~•~ and there is compulsion in this illicit sentence because the more you deny your part the closer I take you to the flesh of instance and soft betrayal... ~•~ He is similar, not similar to something, but just 'similar'. And he invents spaces of which he is the convulsive possession.26 ~•~ Is addiction desire? ~•~ Of a night now, trespassing death, you sleep even as I wake and between us is a child of silver, small and smooth resting deep in our rest, speaking lightly what we have spoken, dying carelessly and glint-skinned inside our skin – ~•~ Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. … My language trembles with desire.27 ~•~ I promise you love when it becomes quieter than I can bear and you burrow into me with the loudness of all the living world… ~•~ (desire ending my journey)28 ~•~ …and your own cold scream… ~•~ 'In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.'29

4. UTTER FINE MADNESS


“I wish there was someone here that I could love, but there is not.”30


Take heart. ~•~ Speaking is a fine madness; with it man dances over and above all things.31 ~•~ My heart lifts… ~•~ What do we think we are doing when we speak? ~•~ And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered. For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.32 ~•~ Beyond the single utterance? ~•~ The falcon drops upon his prey to then ascend, carrying animal blood to the sun. The man thinks that in death his heavy heart will similarly ascend offering its blood to the sun.33 ~•~ …the lover world rears up… ~•~ Heart of gold. ~•~ We metaphoricize the heart and in this 'error' enlarge our world. ~•~ Strange words simply puzzle us; ordinary words convey what we know already; it is from metaphor that we can get hold of something new & fresh.34 ~•~ The heart 'swells'… ~•~ It's as if we can feel it pressing against the walls of the chest. Individualistic. Pressing as red presses. Uncontainable. ~•~ 'My heart will burst…' ~•~ We can feel its dissatisfaction. Aches. It becomes full – with the phone-call, the letter, with the whole language – so full that there is no longer anywhere safe to go at night, there is no possible life in daylight. ~•~ Because, for us, something might appear in the heart of the day that would not be the day, something in an atmosphere of light and limpidity that would represent the shiver of fear out of which the day came.35 ~•~ It seems the heart can become engorged to the point of silence: Her heart was too full to speak. 36 ~•~ Joy? ~•~ Heartburn? ~•~ The betrayal of trust, the denial of love, the displacement of desire, the repudiation of selves… these are the 'inutterable woes' the governess inadvertently reveals when she sits down to record her virtue.37 ~•~ But light, fire and night are unforgettable… ~•~ I've burnt all the holy pages I used to carry / but poems flare in my heart38 ~•~ The heart yearns… ~•~ …metaphor causes the mind to experience itself in the act of making a mistake… 39 ~•~ And the heart breaks…? ~•~ Through feeling you can validly conquer the language which expresses it…40 ~•~ To write you must not believe in words. ~•~ A change of heart. ~•~ You must believe. ~•~ Heartfelt. ~•~ Through experiencing this oddness or wrongness, sense is reached as the mind turns to itself and says, in Aristotle's words, How true, and yet I mistook it! ~•~ For it goes on beating. ~•~ Life. Comprised of 'Infinite passion, and the pain of finite hearts that yearn.'41 ~•~ (So big-hearted! Open-hearted!) ~•~ Even broken.

5. THE BIRD THAT BEAT ITSELF TO DEATH AGAINST THE WINDOW

“Many animals react when they see themselves in a mirror. None, however, react to their likenesses in a drawing, in a piece of sculpture, or in a photograph.”42

This bird is like my heart when confronted with all that is necessary for you. Made up of two classes: what I deem necessary and what you decide you need. What you need neither of us knows. The bird has ideas different to everyone inside who can hardly bear watching which means they can't stop. Voyeurs are never in love. Those in love are those with their eyes averted or crying so much they cannot see. The ones really gone aren't even in the room but away on holidays fucking. (Wherever they are fucking is on holidays.) And this bird getting the soft head hasn't been seen around here before. Perhaps is from a destination. ~•~ Close to your heart? Holds that special place in your heart? ~•~ Although it seems clear to us that it is mistaken. ~•~ …in his next and final line, Keats cuts to the heart of the problem of truth…“that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”…43 ~•~ It has tiny leaves for feathers and a beak full of things which could not be offered without provoking a fear of death in the chosen recipient. This has to do with intention: I won't kill you but this love might. And that's how the end happens. With the feeling over. It is rare the glass breaks. My explanation is that secrets must be held together for there to be a tomorrow. The window is a secret the bird doesn't know. And the window doesn't know itself.

6. THE WORD, DESIRE, AS MATTER

“Yet when one is reading, one is reading 'some-thing'. For 'deconstruction,' however, 'the thing' that one is reading is the 'heart of the matter' allegorized in the text.”44

What might we know in order to know that we are mistaken in our desire? ~•~ Lie-detector? Pulse? ~•~ Scientists have found new evidence that people feel emotions like sadness or anger in much the same way they feel heartburn – by monitoring what's going on within their bodies. ~•~ The heart of the 'matter'. ~•~ The idea is that an emotion triggers changes in a person's body, including the brain, and that the brain in turn monitors these changes. That monitoring produces the sensation of feeling an emotion. ~•~ The body. The whole. ~•~ Heart's blood. ~•~ The heart is traditionally seen as the centre of vital functions, the vital part or principle, and, indeed, as equal to life. What is 'at the heart of', has a central position, is the core, contains the true meaning of. Wholeheartedly! ~•~ How could you believe that style alone – in the absence of what Rilke calls 'heart-work' – could create poetry?45 ~•~ What speaks? ~•~ The heart or the head? ~•~ … form and content are [not] identical, still less are they fused ... they must be different, distinguishable in order that their relations may be judged…46 ~•~ Whose heart is in the right place? ~•~ That art that matters to us – which moves the heart…or offers courage for living… – that work is received by us as a gift is received.47 ~•~ Have we not all withheld? ~•~ Our hearts? ~•~ Heartlands. ~•~ Landscapes. ~•~ Traversed by desire. ~•~ My heart in my boots. ~•~ I ask for directions. ~•~ Herzwerk. ~•~ Women have no wilderness in them, / They are provident instead / Content in the tight hot cell of/ their hearts / To eat dusty bread.48 ~•~ Have we not all been jealous with our maps? ~•~ The persistent link between law, image, and desire indicates the important synchronic or anthropological function of the relationship. The separation and binding between images, words, and things, the question of representation of self and other, lies at the heart of the constitution of subjectivity.49 ~•~ Distance. ~•~ Separation makes the heart grow fonder? ~•~ Coming upon the other we dig. ~•~ Excavate the heart.

7. WORD BECOME FLESH ~ CHEMICAL MARRIAGES

“If you/I hesitate to speak, isn't it because we are afraid of not speaking well?”50

Speaking in public my heart pounds. ~•~ Is speaking outside of good and evil? ~•~ 'Dialogue is an instrument of evil.'51 ~•~ In court they described him as someone 'who would use an innocent human for his own pleasure and then cruelly dispose of her'.52 ~•~ All kinds of people commit suicide. ~•~ They take it to heart. ~•~ The world. ~•~ The poets: Hart Crane, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, John Berryman and Paul Celan all killed themselves.53 ~•~ And as having thereby 'forfeited his place in the human community'.54 ~•~ Sick at heart. Heartsick.~•~ Weary with heartache, heavy hearted, desiring oblivion, peace? ~•~ All deaths are suicides? ~•~ A person newly dead, say, of a heart attack, anatomically is not much different from what he was like before he died. He still has five fingers per hand, a tongue in his mouth, a brain in his head, and heart in his breast.55 ~•~ Does the heart speak beyond death? ~•~ Disheartened. ~•~ There are hearts that burn, but never to ash. ~•~ The ancients, unconscious of the microcosmic fever of chemical marriages and divorces that we call metabolism, could see only one obvious difference: the lack of breath of the dead.56 ~•~ The hearts of Joan of Arc and the poet, Percy Shelley, would not burn. ~•~ Sacred Heart. ~•~ Cold-hearted? ~•~ Hear them in the radio, static, as if reminders of the privacy between reader and writer, speaker and listener. ~•~ Hearts held in the hands of God. ~•~ Near, in the arch of the aorta, in radiant blood: the radiant word.57 ~•~ And we speak from here. We speak from it. And what we speak from there is characterized by truth? ~•~ The ounce of truth in deep amaze, past it rolls the pans of the balance, as one, conversing, its campaign raised high as the heart, the law, son, overcomes.58 ~•~ What comes from the heart at least reveals the true nature, beliefs of the speaker? ~•~ We 'pour out our hearts'. ~•~ His Heart's his Mouth; What his Brest forges, that his Tongue must vent.59 What if it remains hidden in his heart? ~•~ …the place of concealment made possible by the visceral “inside”, where breath can be trapped…the interiorized place of inscription…writing received in this innermost sanctum of the…body…60 ~•~ With 'heart', the word becomes flesh.

8. IN CARO UNA

“…the human context that is the shadowy spirit to the carnal letter of every text.”61


slipped into you from the tips of whose fingers? ~•~ Ovid was a man skilled in the learned craft of poetry, and he possessed great wit and understanding in his work. However, he dissipated his body in every vanity and pleasure of the flesh, not just in one romance, but he abandoned himself to all the women he could…62 ~•~ …fox of leaves shivering in the soul-copse, ambush of myself I love with no-one's heart but with two versions in one flesh as you cease to say with your own tongue this name of mine… ~•~ The poetic process conceives of language as an animated universe traversed by a dual current of attraction and repulsion. ~•~ Arrhythmia. ~•~ 'The pain of love buries its phalanges of choler and hatred in your heart63 ' ~•~ How long does it take to get to the end of love when contradiction is permitted only in words? ~•~ In language, the unions and divisions, the love affairs and the separations of stars, cells, atoms, and men are reproduced.64 ~•~ in caro una ~•~ Near to the Wild Heart:65 speaking/writing that happens 'between the body and the world'.66 ~•~ No word succeeds like life. ~•~ You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?67 ~•~ Heart of hearts. ~•~ …prevented from dying by death itself…68 ~•~ No word bleeds like ghost?

9. A LOVE POEM IS NOT A GAME

“And if I, a simple reader, should pick up this poem and 'apply' it to the day I tore a thorn from my own heart, the poem irradiates me with suffering anew.”69

What do we do when we speak? ~•~ In speaking of the beauty of a woman I shall avoid referring to beauty in general.70 ~•~ Who hasn't written a love poem! ~•~ …a poem, even though it is composed in the language of information, is not used in the language game of giving information.71 ~•~ Desire cannot be untrue. ~•~ Love is the Reality, and poetry is the drum that calls us to that.72 ~•~ The heart beats. ~•~ Our gentle aggressions, the drive to be, prods us out of bed in the morning and draws us toward each other. And in each other we find what our aggressive brain desires: love.73 ~•~ What a warm-hearted soul! ~•~ You came, and I was longing for you; you cooled my heart which was burning with desire.74 ~•~ The heart melts. ~•~ In another translation: you came and I was crazy for you and you cooled my mind that burned with longing75 ~•~ Blowing hot and cold. ~•~ Why do women give their hearts away? ~•~ The flower in the heart's wallet…76 ~•~ Desire was not the lie, but love. ~•~ Why they draw the heart in two pieces. ~•~ The whole, to live as whole, must, in part, ignore that it is made of parts, yet paradoxically this may allow survival of difference. This survival may be found in listening as opposed to speaking. ~•~ with anger spreading in the chest to guard against a vainly barking tongue77 ~•~ Cross your heart and hope to die. ~•~ What poetry belabors is more important than what poetry says, for 'saying is not a game' and the names that we speak are no more our names than the words that enter our ears and flow through our veins, on loan from the past, interest due at the dawn of each day, though not to the Collector who claims to represent us in the court of public discourse but to the Collector we become when we start to collect what belongs to us by right of our care in and for the world. 78 ~•~ That we speak at all…

10. RELATIVE LANGUAGES

“The questioning of prisoners of war shall be carried out in a language which they understand.”79

A yellow heart means different things in different cultures? ~•~ 'Only if we assume that a poet constantly strives to liberate himself from borrowed styles in search of reality is he dangerous.'80 ~•~ What did the heart reply? ~•~ (Another) ~•~ From so often traveling in a region not charted in books I grew accustomed to stubborn lands where nobody asked me whether I like lettuces or if I prefer mint like the elephants devour. And from offering no answers, I have a yellow heart.81 ~•~ There is love and then all others are relative languages. ~•~ When we get over this idea that we can all speak to each other, I think it will be possible, as it always has been, to listen to one another, one at a time and in the various clusters that present themselves, or that we need to make.82 ~•~ Heart-to-heart. ~•~ When you love you should not say, 'God is in my heart,' but rather, 'I am in the heart of God.'83 ~•~ Who do we speak to? (And who is speaking and on whose behalf?) ~•~ To which one can easily reply… ~•~ Playing God? ~•~ A man after his own heart.84 ~•~ A heartist is a fencer who can pierce the heart. ~•~ It touched my heart. ~•~ Heartache: ~•~ Dr Mesurier transformed the modest room into a concert hall, playing recordings of pulmonary and coronary actions. Having tailored the practice of auscultation to specialise in the physical effects of grief, she compared the oceanic thud of a happy person's heartbeat with the laboured drone of someone in the throes of grief. She played the thrumming heart-and-lung chorus of someone in deep shock, and of another mired in a two year depression.85 ~•~ Desire is an acknowledgement of death. ~•~ Why they draw an arrow through the heart. ~•~ Aimed at the heart. ~•~ Heart condition. ~•~ 'She died of a broken heart?' ~•~ No, of originality.

11. EXTINCTION (OR HOW THE HEART COPES WITH SILENCE)

“The faculty of language, the ability to name, is in reality intimacy itself, the intimate differentiation of the being.”86

Origin. ~•~ I have read my name on a rock.87 ~•~ From the Greek, kardia. ~•~ (Heart) ~•~ There was an animal called a cardiosaurus, except that when it was it wasn't called a cardiosaurus. ~•~ …heart of the ages…88 ~•~ Following death, how long is it before we cease to say the name of the dead? ~•~ The presence of the body cures the error in the name…89 ~•~ There is the name you go by and the name which resides in your heart. ~•~ Between two names in the desert / the world of the living drew breath, / as blood flows from heartbeat to heartbeat90 ~•~ Name: seeming or pretension without reality; ~•~ And with a stroke of the pen I name myself Master of the World. Unlimited man.91 ~•~ assumed character…~•~ the truth of the name cures an error in the description.92 ~•~ How long before we rename? ~•~ Most of what happens – from the dinosaur extinction to the Holocaust, to the AIDS epidemic, to random killings, to brain tumours, to the lottery – are not part of any plan.93 ~•~ 'Cardiosaurus'. ~•~ 'there, in the book – whose names it bore before mine? – in that book the line written about a hope, today, in the coming word of a thinker, in the heart'94 ~•~ Heart: the centre of a cabbage. ~•~ 'woodland humus, unlevelled, orchis and orchis, scattered'95 ~•~ All that remains – clichι plus dust.

12. CAPTURING THE HEART – ESCAPING CLICHΙ

“The site of the heart is ours. Lonely, alone, only from the heart, with the aid of black night and deserted autumn, emerge our songs, the songs of the heart, as the hand strikes the breast.”96

Like tying a knot in a rat's tail so it shall not forget its wickedness, death has wrapped its fine skin-markings over me. As a child I played and for death it was a game – to miss the rope and hold the trunk of the tree as if it was my mother's body; to catch the bones and point the stick at my father's heart. ~•~ 'Home is where the heart is.' ~•~ (More than simple word-play) ~•~ What I feel, I do not put into action. What I put into action, I do not think. What I think, I do not feel. I am unaware of what I know. I am not unaware of what I feel. I do not understand myself yet behave as if I had no difficulty in doing so.97 ~•~ I have picked something I regret. ~•~ Apple of my heart. ~•~ The law of nations will no longer countenance the disorder of hearts.98 ~•~ 'Since when are apples bitter?'99 ~•~ Language, so unclear! ~•~ In dreams it is like murder but awake I have not been as unfortunate but more like most people. I had wanted, perhaps, a better knowledge of evil, an old age full with regrets. ~•~ …confined in cities of pure morality, where the law that should reign in all hearts was to be applied without compromise, without concession…100 ~•~ A final argument with those who think clichιs have earned their place? ~•~ 'Just imagine the power of human speech intervening in the midst of the terrible discipline of silence to speak to the heart, to the soul, to the human person…'101 ~•~ To the pure of heart… ~•~ And, draping the body with a black cloth to take a photo of myself – the two ends of a life which meet in just a flash. ~•~ Each narrator is thus narrated…102 ~•~ The snapshot. ~•~ The work of vision is done / Now do the work of the heart103 ~•~ Black and White. ~•~ 'Our heart is like all things on this earth. Full of new hope…'104 ~•~ (Heartening) ~•~ A bit of crime in the middle.

13. RED IS BLACK

“Surely in this there is a lesson for him who has a heart and who gives ear and is an eye-witness…”105

Desire is unreal. ~•~ The White Heart (inventing the West). ~•~ Thus if you ask him what red is, he says it is a 'colour'.106 ~•~ Heart-shaped. ~•~ Corpuscular. ~•~ When Homer mentions blood, blood is' black'.107 ~•~ So red's an adjective as if desire isn't and desire's a noun as if red isn't. ~•~ 'How did you reach your present heights of spiritual attainment?108 ' ~•~ Magic cuts a path straight to the heart. ~•~ 'Through making the heart white in celestial contemplation, not by making paper black with writing.'109 ~•~ The conventional representation of the human heart. ~•~ In the shape of a heart? ~•~ Sense never becomes clear, and for this reason it is always rending and heartrending.110 ~•~ Ginger Rogers was Roxy Heart? ~•~ Cor! ~•~ Your ear is a glue-pot. Please do not assemble my words as if their shattering was for you to make whole. ~•~ Bleeding heart! ~•~ Our small bodies may be expanded; we need not confine the blood. If we only open the heart with faith, we will be lifted to a greater circulation and the body that has been given up will be given back, reborn and freed from death.111 ~•~ With all my heart I wish, they say. For a nice afternoon nap following a long lunch or a day in the studio getting the harbour onto canvas. ~•~ …ancient wizards used to bind wrynecks to the wheels of ships, claiming that they drew men's hearts along with them and charmed them into obedience…112 ~•~ And so the law extracts its pound of flesh. ~•~ What's flesh-coloured? ~•~ Crayons work better in the hands of children. They draw hearts. You know, the drawn ones? ~•~ Red. ~•~ Red. Tongue. One's heart in one's mouth. ~•~ A colour like blood. ~•~ (Particular Deaths: Red) Who will hark back to approve of whom and banish the future of red as if cerise had never even tried? ~•~ Caught in the act. Red-handed. ~•~ Who can feel as intensely as a child the impact of the colour red? One child in his passion, in his lust for life, will spread great layers of red across the page, it delights him beyond words, it excites him. Red is trumps. He will never relinquish it, like nothing else it is a means of life and violence.113 ~•~ Revolutionary. ~•~ The first breakthrough, by drawing, which served to make signs, to situate, to point out, gives way now to ACTS OF MAGIC.114 ~•~ The limits of unreality?

14. HEARTFILM

“…when a poet or painter represents men with contrasting characters he is often obliged to contradict himself, and he does not know which of the opposing speeches contains the truth. But for the legislator, this is impossible: he must not let his laws say two different things on the same subject.”115

The heart is not as simple – nor as savage – as desire. ~•~ Not 'having the heart' – as in, 'I don't have the heart to kill him' – comes out of the heart; outrage and revenge do not. ~•~ if you had a desire for good or beautiful things and your tongue was not concocting some evil to say, shame would not hold down your eyes but rather you would speak about what is just116 ~•~ You said you loved me for my mind. ~•~ “Einstein's brain is a mythical object…”117 ~•~ Yet photographable! Definable? ~•~ Since pleasure is (by definition) perception of transition to greater perfection, and pain its opposite, this is equivalent to saying that we are motivated to pursue pleasure, and to avoid pain. ~•~ Is the mind any more ephemeral than the heart even when the heart is seen on film? ~•~ The germination and growth of plants, which remained hidden throughout the seasons, is now exhibited publicly in a minute, on film.118 ~•~ And our faces, my heart, brief as photos.119 ~•~ Again, the good is (by definition) what we desire, and the evil what we avoid; but since we desire and avoid different things, the terms 'good' and 'evil' have no objective or absolute meaning. ~•~ Good and evil reside in desire? ~•~ …the characteristics necessary in order to love or be loved can be trivialized and made contingent on historical or biographical coincidence.120 ~•~ Desire is outside of good and evil? ~•~ After one's own heart. ~•~ Distant sites of the most ancient cultures are shown on film as if they stood this very moment amidst today's street traffic.121 ~•~ Desire. Lack? ~•~ Art takes objects which are ugly, part of everyday life and not in themselves suited to artistic treatment, and makes them worth depicting in art.122 ~•~ How remote the heart, now seen on film, all distance abolished. ~•~ Law is no longer simply an elaboration and adaptation of what is by nature 'law', but includes everything which has been made Law by judicial processes.123 ~•~ Why the heart is a locket with opposing faces. ~•~ Desire. Becoming? ~•~ Unrestricted private pursuit of pleasure is anarchy; government 'at the pleasure' of rulers is tyranny. By contrast, Equity's chancellor indulges the pleasures of intuition, feeling, and empathy, the morality of the heart, in mitigation of the harsh rationalist rigor of rule-bound deductive legalism.124 ~•~ 'I did not believe his body.' ~•~ Doubt is the truth of our times…just as, according to relativism, the truth of every group is fashioned by its needs.125 ~•~ Contrary to popular opinion, evil cannot be eradicated. ~•~ pleasure pain are equal in a clear heart / no mountain hides the moon126

15. FOLLOWING THE HEART INTO BATTLE (OR 'GLASSING THEMSELVES')

“A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.”127

And so, Elizabeth B-B's Aurora Leigh knew the truth about love – imagined love – and investment and so the man I live with is usually a photo when I look at him and different each time as I'm entwined, like a netted animal, in ideas and so he has a face rousing like water or with that certain thing of stone of whose meaning I'm uncertain or levitating our history with a smile that makes the most of reproduction's trapped and deathless space and so I could go on – do I know him ~•~ To know oneself is to make a mistake…128 ~•~ or how young or the one picture chosen to lift each of the others out to all or nothing I can see that I can touch, images glassing themselves in the nerve-box of thought, crouching there like posed and romantic beasts and so it is not my love though black and white (not counting the professional green portrait of his eyes) and in the back of my brain I can't feel his ribcage penetrating my breasts or his cut-off hands ceasing to exist in the place where my shoulders meet the sky – I'd have to be pushed down on the bed for that, getting faded and so blurring in my thighs...

16. EXHAUSTING METAPHOR

“Language does not touch the one who lives in each of us.”129

Desire is shouting a secret. ~•~ This is why you wear your heart on your sleeve. ~•~ …the landlord is not interested in your book of translations the day the rent falls due.130 ~•~ Beware the hard-hearted! ~•~ (But the heart continued to harden.131 ) ~•~ What you hold in your heart, another Winter. ~•~ …the heart of the self-contained that defies reasons and seasons…132 ~•~ Desire keeps secret the shout. ~•~ 'You are the very likeness of the secret,' says Breton to a woman he loves.133 ~•~ 'Hear' is in heart. ~•~ This is to say that woman is poetry.134 ~•~ Can a heart sing? ~•~ (and he won the heart of a la-a-a-dy…) ~•~ The human heart is trying to exhaust metaphor… ~•~ …forcing the touch… ~•~ …to be more than a touch…135 ~•~ To your heart's content. ~•~ Desire is a form of knowledge. ~•~ Why they write a name in the heart. ~•~ To know by heart. ~•~ It seems to me that your heart can't memorize anything, therefore the phrase 'memorize by heart' makes little sense.136 ~•~ … the reason of all reasons is sentiment…137 ~•~ How might we know the heart's desire? ~•~ …Speak to us of Self-knowledge.138 ~•~ In love, you can't feel yourself. ~•~ Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights. But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge. You would know in words that which you have always known in thought. You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.139 ~•~ Say, 'I am the lover'. ~•~ This also clearly shows that love solves its own attendant communicative problems in a completely unique manner. To put it paradoxically, love is able to enhance communication by largely doing without communication.140 ~•~ [Silence affects the possibility of law.] ~•~ Oh heart you will not arrive at the solving of the riddle, … Make do here with wine and the cup of bliss…141 ~•~ Poetry is not talking. It is thinking (that speaks).

17. 'LISTENING TO YOUR OWN HEART' (BECOMING FIG)

“I began writing with no precise goal, animated chiefly by a desire to forget, at least for the time being, the things I can be or do personally.”142

A fragment of rock is in my heart. It fell from a place they once called heaven and was later overlaid with ivory and gold. It was once wood. It once bore all the marks of its origin and was broken in order to last. This small rock now grows like a flower that grows inside a fruit. It grows humbly. It grows with the dream of revelation but fills me with such grace that I am in dismay. ~•~ '…the thousand books into which our work is imprisoned exist only in the hearts of the disciples; but we can write them out for you here; and I have brought five hundred people to start the work immediately should you so desire it.'143 ~•~ I call tradespeople to work away at it. During their labour they have been learning how to share. Learning to take turns with items and to accept their lack of success because the rock has proved immovable. We have been involved in many discussions and they finally leave after telling me they think it would be easier to introduce new planets to the world than to remove the small sharp piece of stone that is the cause of all my beauty. One day after more time has passed I realize I have two very sharp teeth in my mouth and then only because they slice the words as they come out, thin and edgy like needles or darts. (These words are meant for unhappiness. Their purpose is to cut the flesh and expose the insides of those who had made my heart heavy. These words took many years to grow.) Upon discovering the teeth my idea was to bend my head down to my chest and chew through the breast until reaching the rock. ~•~ What would become of the strategist if he thought that each of his moves put night in a thousand homes and grief in three thousand hearts?…144 ~•~ But the fragment had been storing up kisses while it slept and the more I gnashed the wider it opened its bloom to my pain. The scent of disbelief rose like a barb to my face. I became irrational. Blessed and happy I pretended to fear an idea of god that came from the fragment's brutal and sensual mind. Firmer and firmer it embedded itself in the wind that rushed through the centre of me. My heart began to beat with the sound of small rips and tears. I know that if my heart is turned inside out the slice of rock will defy gravity, floating upwards to hell like a single rising star.

18. THE HEART OF A CLOUD

“Will you speak before I am gone? Will you prove already too late?”145

Quickly I have cleaned my body of the vernix that was causing me to sleep. ~•~ right now clouds flee across the moon my heart146 ~•~ Quickly of the enormity that now seems without reason. I have opened the skin boat in which I floated manned by woman. ~•~ He must show that he hears the cry…even if it shows only in the way he turns away.147 ~•~ Too softhearted! ~•~ To know desire, to know words, is…a matter of perceiving the edge between one entity and another. It is fashionable to say that this is true of any utterances.148 ~•~ Your words break on the woman's surface. ~•~ Are there boundaries of the heart? ~•~ The heart of a cloud. ~•~ …woman's heart must be of such a size and no larger, else it must be pressed small, like Chinese feet…149 ~•~ Where is the desire of the desirer found in the desired? ~•~ At the bottom of the heart of every human being, from earliest infancy until the tomb, there is something that goes on indomitably expecting, in the teeth of all experience of crimes committed, suffered, and witnessed, that good and not evil will be done to him. It is this above all that is sacred in every human being.150 ~•~ Things that might be forgotten.

19. CRAVING (MEAT)

“In my heart there lodged a passion thorn. I tore it out one day and felt my heart no more.”151

Craving. ~•~ To set the heart upon. ~•~ The other. The others. ~•~ …the stranger at the crowd's heart…152 ~•~ And their game was not real but stripped of its limitations and their pain the worst they could contrive for themselves. ~•~ It is the other who exposes me to 'unity,' causing me to believe in an irreplaceable singularity, for I feel I must not fail him; and at the same time he withdraws from me what would make me unique: I am not indispensable; in me anyone at all is called by the other – anyone at all as the one who owes him aid. The un-unique, always the substitute.153 ~•~ If what is social can speak, it is in community. ~•~ The other is, for his part too, always other, lending himself, however, to unity; he is neither this one nor that one, and nonetheless it is to him alone that, each time, I owe everything, including the loss of myself. The responsibility with which I am charged is not mine, and because of it I am no longer myself.154 ~•~ Who are we? ~•~ We are our intersections with others.155 ~•~ What connects us? ~•~ Heartstrings. ~•~ Tugging at our affections. Inclinations. The hyphen. Deep-rooted. Deep-set. ~•~ At heart. How to reach it? ~•~ The world waits on the threshold of the heart…156 ~•~ Heart-warming. Heart-rending. ~• ~ That a heart can be frozen. ~•~ Her family, including her children, were never able to thaw her heart…157 ~•~ Murderous. ~•~ …the blackest-hearted knave in Samarkand… 158 ~•~ Red-blooded. Stout-hearted. Heart of oak. ~•~ He found new heart. ~• The criminal. The rogue. Faint-hearted. Chicken-hearted. ~•~ Empty-hearted. ~•~ That's what misery is, Nothing to have at heart. 159 ~•~ No desire? ~•~ 'O sharp and golden thorn, if only I might feel you pierce my heart once more!'160 ~•~ That a heart can be broken. ~•~ Meat. ~•~ Dead, red, and open.161

20. THE BEATS OF THE HEART

“The Pulse of the dead / as interminably / constant as the silence / which pockets the thrush.”162

The heart after a lifetime of nine-to-five in the Truth Department. What positions it held! Power over the calf. The whore's hope. Privatizing things for a living! ~•~ 'And in that heart the stolen rose…'163 ~•~ The thief is what is necessary to fill this heart with the endurance of a life. Petals are called for. And withering. The bush is another thing entirely. Not knowing it was stripped. Gently growing another red flower to be pumped as borrowed blood. Even the thorns being by the by. And hiding behind the fence or tree simply useless as is beauty when compared to the ugliness and passion of survival. ~•~ The heart stands still.164 ~•~ History, suddenly, like a bolt of thought. Something imaginary piercing what is real, infusing what is real with what we should dread – the spirit, born to rush headlong for the bridge, the lie made solid. ~•~ Does the heart sink? ~•~ Does the crossing from one side to the other embody? ~•~ That sweet night: a secret. / Nobody saw me; / I did not see a thing. / No other light, no other guide / Than the one burning in my heart.165 ~•~ Is it only halfway – in the equidistance – that an image reproduces your eyes when it is they see forever, squinting into the golden light that outlasts even the day's foraging for sun? ~•~ 'The night flows on, black and silent. … Nothing concerns me, I need nothing and there is nowhere for me to go.' 166 ~•~ Here, the moment has come when so much time has passed. In it, hold on to the beats of your heart.

POSTSCRIPT: TWO HEARTS THAT BEAT AS ONE?

“Questions and answers depend on a game – a game that is at once pleasant and difficult – in which each of the two partners takes pains to use only the rights given him by the other and by the accepted form of the dialogue.”167

Sweetheart? So heartless. What is this anonymous? So possible, so impossible. Every day I have been telling my name to the rose bush by the hospital gate but today the roses are dead. When I question this, when I question the bush, the thorns remember me by the smell of my blood. I go my usual way in. Some people know me and some do not.

SPEAKERS

1. Robin West ~•~ 2. Maurice Blanchot ~•~ 3. Jeluluddin Rumi ~•~ 4. MTC Cronin ~•~ 5. Natalie Angier ~•~ 6. Thomas Hobbes ~•~ 7. Thomas Hobbes ~•~ 8. Jean Baudrillard ~•~ 9. Martin Harrison ~•~ 10. Roland Barthes ~•~ 11. Henry Corbin ~•~ 12. Henry Corbin ~•~ 13. Jack Gilbert ~•~ 14. Richard Sennett ~•~ 15. Vasko Poppa ~•~ 16. Pablo Neruda. ~•~ 17. Anne Carson ~•~ 18. Amjad Nasir ~•~ 19. Annie Lennox/D Freeman & J Hughes ~•~ 20. Federico Garcia Lorca ~•~ 21. Federico Garcia Lorca ~•~ 22. Roland Barthes ~•~ 23. Anne Carson ~•~ 24. Roger Callois ~•~ 25. Roger Callois ~•~ 26. Roger Callois ~•~ 27. Roland Barthes ~•~ 28. Salma Khadra Jayyusi ~•~ 29. Czeslaw Milosz ~•~ 30. Ellen Montgomery/Susan Warner ~•~ 31. Friedrich Nietzsche ~•~ 32. Kahlil Gibran ~•~ 33. Bika Reed ~•~ 34. Aristotle ~•~ 35. Friedrich Nietzsche ~•~ 36. Trollope ~•~ 37. Linda S Kauffman ~•~ 38. Ikkyu ~•~ 39. Anne Carson ~•~ 40. Eugenio Montejo ~•~ 41. Robert Browning ~•~ 42. Elizabeth Grosz ~•~ 43. John Keats ~•~ 44. Drucilla Cornell ~•~ 45. Peter Boyle ~•~ 46. Virginia Forrest-Thompson ~•~ 47. Lewis Hyde ~•~ 48. Louise Bogan ~•~ 49. Costas Douzinas ~•~ 50. Luce Irigiray ~•~ 51. Franz Kafka ~•~ 52. Austin Sarat ~•~ 53. Dan Kaufman ~•~ 54. Austin Sarat ~•~ 55. Frank R Zindler ~•~ 56. Frank R Zindler ~•~ 57. Paul Celan ~•~ 58. Paul Celan ~•~ 59. William Shakespeare ~•~ 60. Piyel Haldar ~•~ 61. Thomas C Grey ~•~ 62. Christine de Pizan ~•~ 63. Pablo Neruda ~•~ 64. Octavio Paz ~•~ 65. Clarise Lispector ~•~ 66. Helene Cixous ~•~ 67. Kahlil Gibran ~•~ 68. Maurice Blanchot ~•~ 69. Gaston Bachelard ~•~ 70. Georges Bataille ~•~ 71. Viriginia Forrest-Thompson ~•~ 72. Jelaluddin Rumi ~•~ 73. Natalie Angier ~•~ 74. Sappho ~•~ 75. Sappho ~•~ 76. John Berger ~•~ 77. Sappho ~•~ 78. Charles Bernstein ~•~ 79. 1949 Geneva Convention III ~•~ 80. Czeslaw Milosz ~•~ 81. Pablo Neruda ~•~ 82. Charles Bernstein ~•~ 83. Kahlil Gibran ~•~ 84. Samuel ~•~ 85. Mireille Juchau ~•~ 86. Pierre Albert-Bireau ~•~ 87. Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab ~•~ 88. Edmund Jabθs ~•~ 89. Bouvier ~•~ 90. Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab ~•~ 91. Pierre Albert-Bireau ~•~ 92. Bouvier ~•~ 93. Alan M Dershowitz ~•~ 94. Paul Celan ~•~ 95. Paul Celan ~•~ 96. Pablo Neruda ~•~ 97. Clarice Lispector ~•~ 98. Michel Foucault ~•~ 99. Fadwa Tuqan ~•~ 100. Michel Foucault ~•~ 101. Charles Lucas ~•~ 102. Margaret Davies ~•~ 103. Rainer Maria Rilke ~•~ 104. Mr Luo ~•~ 105. Henry Corbin ~•~ 106. Ezra Pound ~•~ 107. Anne Carson ~•~ 108. Idries Shah ~•~ 109. Idries Shah ~•~ 110. Jean-Luc Nancy ~•~ 111. Lewis Hyde ~•~ 112. Piyel Haldar ~•~ 113. Henri Michaux ~•~ 114. Henri Michaux ~•~ 115. Plato ~•~ 116. Sappho ~•~ 117. Roland Barthes ~•~ 118. Martin Heidegger ~•~ 119. John Berger ~•~ 120. Niklas Luhmann ~•~ 121. Martin Heidegger ~•~ 122. Niklas Luhmann ~•~ 123. Niklas Luhmann ~•~ 124. Thomas C Grey ~•~ 125. Felipe Fernandez-Armesto ~•~ 126. Ikkyu ~•~ 127. Jelaluddin Rumi ~•~ 128. Fernando Pessoa ~•~ 129. Jelaluddin Rumi ~•~ 130. Lewis Hyde ~•~ 131. Lewis Hyde ~•~ 132. Edmund Jabθs ~•~ 133. Andrι Breton ~•~ 134. Simone de Beauvoir ~•~ 135. Jean-Luc Nancy ~•~ 136. Stephen Jonke ~•~ 137. Ekaterina Yossifova ~•~ 138. Kahlil Gibran ~•~ 139. Kahlil Gibran ~•~ 140. Niklas Luhmann ~•~ 141. Omar Khayyam ~•~ 142. Georges Bataille ~•~ 143. Idries Shah ~•~ 144. Fernando Pessoa ~•~ 145. David Meltzer ~•~ 146. Ikkyu ~•~ 147. Raymond Gaita ~•~ 148. Anne Carson ~•~ 149. Princess Alcharisi/George Eliot ~•~ 150. Simone Weil ~•~ 151. Antonio Machado ~•~ 152. Salma Khadra Jayyusi ~•~ 153. Maurice Blanchot ~•~ 154. Maurice Blanchot ~•~ 155. Drucilla Cornell ~•~ 156. Vasko Popa ~•~ 157. Shoshana Felman/Dori Laub ~•~ 158. Idries Shah ~•~ 159. Wallace Stevens ~•~ 160. Antonio Machado ~•~ 161. Rainer Maria Rilke ~•~ 162. John Berger ~•~ 163. Vasko Popa ~•~ 164. Georges Bataille ~•~ 165. John de Yepes y Alvarez (St John of the Cross) ~•~ 166. Mikhail Bulgakov ~•~ 167. Michel Foucault

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MTC Cronin has had six books and three booklets of poetry published, the most recent being My Lover's Back ~ 79 Love Poems (UQP, 2002) and beautiful, unfinished ~ PARABLE/SONG/CANTO/POEM (Salt Publishing, Cambridge, UK, 2003). Her 2001 book, Talking to Neruda's Questions, is being translated into Spanish by the poet, Juan Garrido. She is currently working on her doctorate, The Law of Love Letters ~ Prose, Poems, Law & Desire, at the University of Technology, Sydney.