All Flowers in Time, Sing

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Maine Cherry Tree, Michelle Chaplin

ALL FLOWERS IN TIME

My eyes are a baptism
Oh, I am fused
and sing her into my thoughts
Oh, phantom elusive thing

all flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there’s no-one for you
but here is one,
all flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there’s no-one for you
but here is one, here is one… here is one

one that can never be known
either all drunk with the world at her feet
or sober with no place to go

all flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there’s no-one for you
but here is one,
all flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there’s no-one for you
but here is one, here is one… here is one

Keep it going in me, wicked traveler
Fading farther from me
with your face in my window glow
Oh, when will you weep for me sweet willow

It’s okay to be angry
but not to hurt me
your happiness, yes, yes, yes
darling, darling

all flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there’s no-one for you
but here is one,
all flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there’s no-one for you
but here is one, here is one… here is one

–Jeff Buckley


Maine Iris, Michelle Chaplin

SING

Fused flowers say
“know one.”

Sober time say
“bend for one.”

Darling say
“here is one.”

–M. Chaplin

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Derrida and Feminism

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Catherine Verneuil, 1963: Robert Doisneau

Jacques Derrida’s concepts of différance and deconstruction have raised questions among philosophers about feminism and a woman’s “being-in-the-world.” While some believe that true feminism is an inversion of the male-dominated power structure, others believe that embracing feminine mystique is the key to overcoming inequalities. In his short book, Spurs, Derrida essentially raises the question, how can a woman be empowered by inverting a preexisting power structure, thus subjecting herself to it? This essential question merits further analysis.

Some feminists react to the phallocentric construction of “Truth” with a mindset that Derrida claims is a double castration of women. In challenging the male-centered apparatus from a reactive point of view, women subject themselves to the binary thinking of male/female, which stems directly from Plato’s construction of logic. If a woman seeks to be in a “male” position of dominance, she makes herself subject to both castration and anti-castration, two opposing views.

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Ghislaine Thesmar dans l’atelier de couture de l’Opera de Paris, Robert Doisneau

In Derrida’s words, “…she knows that such a reversal would deprive her of her power of simulation, that in truth, a reversal of this kind would…force her just as surely into the old apparatus” (61). In becoming dominant over the male, a woman still subjects herself to placement within the masculine power structure. In Derrida’s view, a woman is outside of this structure all-together, and in this position, she is at an advantage. She is neither subject to it, nor is she powerless.

Derrida points out that “there is no one place for women” (70) within the phallocentric structure. This means that she is not caged within a specific identity but can weave freely inside and outside of its boundaries. In his essay, “Choreographies,” he explains that this movement is more subversive than a positioning herself in diametrical opposition . It is what he calls the “dance,” and it is “not synonymous with powerlessness or fragility” (McDonald and Derrida 69) but a way of empowerment.

Dane Shitagi

Robert Doisneau Kiss, Dane Shitagi

When a woman positions herself in opposition to the masculine, in a dialectical sense, she sets off a “battle of the sexes” and allows the masculine victory (McDonald and Derrida 72). Derrida says that a woman’s power lies in her ability to evade and infiltrate masculine constructions at will, yet never be subject to them. If a woman were to invert the system, as in a reversal of sexual power, she would still become subject to it, and thus, enslaved to dogma. In simpler terms, Derrida is saying that there is no way to defeat a system by making ourselves subject to it. If we follow its rules, we are no longer subverting it but condoning and enforcing it.

–M. Chaplin

Works Cited

Derrida, Jacques, and Stefano Agosti. Spurs: Nietzsche’s Styles = Eperons: Les Styles De
Nietzsche
. Chicago: U of Chicago, 1979. Print.

McDonald, Christie V.; Derrida, Jacques Diacritics. “Choreographies.” Cherchez la Femme
Feminist Critique/Feminine Text
. 12.2. (1982): 66-7. Print.

 

Her

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The Socratic Woods, Michelle Chaplin

I am currently writing a research paper on the concept of Khôra, which is introduced in Plato’s Timaeus. Today, I took a walk in the woods to philosophize in true Socratic fashion. After much contemplation, I created this erasure poem to grasp at the concept of Khôra, a space that evades all logos and mythos.

HER

In her
empty space
lifts

Other
memory
waiting silence
wells, flows

no one

still

darkened

She will not
be held
but uphold.

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The Cave, Michelle Chaplin

I wrote the original poem in 2012. It’s interesting what one can find hidden within a text.

The Sphere

Domed in the starry sphere,
empty space
drops like wind and lifts winged arms heavenward.

Smothered in a veil of memory,
awaiting stillness in silence
from her heart a song wells, overflows
ballads sung to no one.

On moors, shadowed and still,
darkened with fires kindled in vanity,
spilling a bowl of ashes mingled with tears,
and drunk up by earth’s dry mouth
she laughs at my calamity,
embarks to root me down, and hold me.

I will not be held,
but trample on the wasted earth,
and bound until her gravity deny,
and uphold the wings of liberty
in the face of the daunting sky.

M. Chaplin

Thomas Pynchon, Entropy

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Dali Atomicus, Philippe Halsman

“Since I wrote this story I have kept trying to understand entropy, but my grasp becomes less sure the more I read…” (Pynchon).

Entropy is a quantity, or a measurement, of the heat in a system that is no longer available for mechanical work. It is a concept within the second law of thermodynamics, a law which states that everything moves from order to disorder while entropy inevitably increases. A state of complete entropy is a state of “inert uniformity” and the “absence of form, hierarchy, differentiation…” (qtd. in Seed 136). Pynchon places two opposing worldviews within the context of entropy to illustrate that they are both subject to the laws of nature, and thus, equally meaningless.

Within the narrative’s context, there are two disparate, yet interconnected, worlds stacked atop each other. Meatball’s world is open to incoming energy; partying people come but never go, and chaos increases as more characters are placed into the setting. He hosts several types: intellects, naval officers, a distraught neighbor, and a silent jazz band, each of whom function as synecdoches to represent dissimilar, yet comparable, belief systems. With chaotic and endless buzzing, the tone is one of high energy and disorder. Drugs and alcohol are consumed in perpetuity, and no attention is given to outside conditions. One may interpret this as a hedonistic lifestyle of any sort.

In contrast, Callisto and Aubade live in a self-created Eden. Pynchon references the biblical creation, mentioning that this “Rousseau-like fantasy” took “seven years to build” (3023). In addition, Callisto has been trying to resurrect a dying bird for “three days,” a number that points to the resurrection of Christ (3023). Although the couple exists as a sort of transcendent Adam and Eve, or based on their names, a Greek god and goddess, they are still subject to the inevitable destruction of all distinguishable matter. Outdoors, the world has already reached a state of disorder, deterioration, loss, and although they make an effort to escape the inevitable, they ultimately succumb to the natural order of the universe.

“Entropy” is Pynchon’s commentary on the hopelessness of all belief systems to overcome deterioration and destruction. Although Callisto and Aubade live in a more transcendent state of being than Meatball and the others, they are equally subject to the laws of physics. Pynchon does not seem to communicate that one worldview is superior to another, and although Aubade and Callisto are romanticized with elevated prose, they meet the same end as those who followed and fought for nothing. The point of the juxtaposition is to illustrate that all states of matter are temporary and subject to entropy, and the final line confirms this theme: “…their separate lives should resolve into a tonic of darkness and the final absence of all motion” (3032). The singular fate of humankind is to dissolve and fade into black.

Read “Entropy” by Thomas Pynchon here.

References

Lauter, Paul. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. 7th ed. Vol. E. Boston, Mass.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2014. 3021-3032. Print.

Seed, David. “Order in Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Entropy.’” The Journal of Narrative Technique. Vol. 11, No. 2 (Spring, 1981), pp. 135-153.

 

Elizabeth Fraser’s Writing Practice

Elizabeth Fraser

I was just thinking about different types of writing practices, and Elizabeth Fraser’s lyrics came to mind. Fraser is primarily known for her work as the lead singer of the Cocteau Twins, but she later collaborated with artists like Yann Tiersen and Jeff Buckley, among others. In this interview, she discusses her “found” lyrics, and why she opted for them in the first place.

Here is an example of her lyrical style as a part of the Cocteau Twins.

Excerpt from Ivo, the Cocteau Twins

Peep-oh, Peach blow, Pandora, Pompadour
Pale leaf, Pink sweet, Persephone, Near our Ivo
Peep peep-oh, Bit animal, Peep peep
He didn’t deal, little Rito, Peep peep-oh

With the part animal, Peep peep, Near our Ivo
Peep peep-oh, Bit animal, Peep peep
He didn’t deal, little Rito
Peep peep-oh

Peep-oh, Peach blow, Pandora, Pompadour
Pale leaf, Pink sweet, Persephone
Peep-oh, Peach blow, Pandora, Pompadour
Pale leaf, Pink sweet, Persephone

This is her first solo song, Moses, and the lyrics are indistinguishable.

And here she is with Massive Attack

Silent Spring, Massive Attack

Boy brought power
To b-obey
Hear me call
To b-obey
To b-obey
I seek him clothe
Come shush-hush
A shrewd bow to b-obey (we are but bound to b-obey)
I seek him clothe (we are but bound to b-obey)
Come shush-hush (we are but bound to b-obey)
A shrewd bow to b-obey (we are but bound to b-obey)
I seek him clothe (we are but bound to b-obey)
Come shush-hush

For (a bit) more information, visit Elizabeth Fraser’s website.

M. Chaplin