Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002
Subject: ADDENDUM: Absorption


(Did Charles Bernstein's essay "Artifice of Absorption" mean
anything to Daniel Davidson?)

That strange concept of repetition of self or others
("I am repeated") is only one of several inscrutable,
private concepts that fuel Culture. I do not mean
to portray his philosophical side as the popular
caricature of philosophizing as a cold intellectual
pursuit; Laura Riding Jackson said about herself that,
if W.H. Auden was a poet of history, she would be one of
philosophy, and Davidson, when his poetry is strong,
also meets ideas from the standpoint of the
philosopher-poet, picturesquely, leaving them in
their mystery (there is a weak streak to some of his
writing, though, where the poetry drains out of his
attempt at art totally, as in the Jenny Holzer-isms in
the .pdf file). Its meaning eludes me, but another
arcane principle that his personal universe operates
on is absorption.

Absorption is not an aspect of the possible or real,
though: when the thing undergoing absorption is not
itself another abstraction, such as measurement or
time ("questions imagine its opposite absorbing the
lengths of encounter" [53]; "stray of a quiet stare
absorbing moments" [54]), then it simply defies
reality and involves an other-than-human surrealism
("Buildings that animals absorb / penetrate anyone"
[29]). A world of absorption would be a literally
fluid one. In both cases, then, it is a property of
the central philosophical imagination that drives him:
absorption is a Davidsonian fantasy that is carried
out by thought, and that is carried out upon various
mannequin-like figures missing people left behind
("she approximates a statue that thinking absorbs and
/ disgorges" [58]; "Those brilliant figures track to
the left, absorbed" [98]).

Enigmatic usages of his like those may not be able to
be resolved. He may have been a person (poet) capable
of pivoting on unknowns.