language arrives

The internal sense speaks at last and for the fist time. The tent is printed with burning tongues and crowned with writing. Language arrives.

Solitary belonging, devoted to itself, no longer devotes itself to what is given, except to what languge gives us—to what is said or dictated.

I am nostalgic for a lost world, a lost paradise, an island between two seas, where the senses sparkle like a lake of gemstones. I speak now and shelter in the tent of language or writing. The tabernacle closes, its flaps are lowered. I live now in the prison of my language and the jewel-box closes. …the beauty of the five senses lies in the black box while we sleep under the blue hangings engraved with fire.


This is the first sentence, the originary, primary proposition, as original as the fault committed in the past by a girl on a paradise-island, as original and permanent. These are the first words uttered by the body when it becomes an interiority endowed with a voice, and is enveloped in flames and imprinted with signs, when the skin-tapestry or the skin-pavilion no longer bears on itself lilacs or cheetahs but geometry and letters. This is the sentence that causes the world to flee and the necklets to be abandoned, that excludes rabbits and goats and that chased us from paradise, these are the words which cause the senses to withdraw into a black box. Our only desire is that it be reopened.

The woman-summation bids farewell to the world, takes the veil beneath the tent of language.

This is the first cogito, more deeply buried althought more visible than the thinking cogito. I feel, I have felt; I have seen, heard, tasted, smelt; I have touched; I touch, I enclose myself in my pavilion of skin; it burns with languages, I speak; I speak about myself, about my loneliness and the nostalgia of lost senses, I mourn the lost paradise, I regret the loss of that to which I was giving myself or of what was given to me. Since that phrase was written, I desire, and the world absents itself.

This is the first, self-contained proposition, literally circular, the first stable unitary philosophy of identity. My desire identifies with writing. I exist only in language.

Serres, Michel. The Five Senses: A philosophy of mingled bodies. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008. 57-8.

self is made of music derived

In the early 60s, there were two synchronous movements in poetic technique: one was the intellectual reaching, symbolized for me by Jackson Mac Low (who, even so, was a composer and always conscious of the sonics in his poetry): the other was the sensual reaching, symbolized by the Beats, in both San Francisco and NY coffeehouses. I read poetry aloud with the jazz of California musicians and Charlie Mingus in New York back then. I was then and still am interested in syncopation, dissonance and assonance, and the correspondence of words to the body which produces them. To me, there’s no separation of mind and body – both equal self, and self is made of music derived from pulse and motion.

Carol Bergé

Feinstein, Sascha and Yusef Komunyakaa, eds. The Jazz Poetry Anthology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991. [contributor’s notes]