George Quasha

Five new preverbs from 'Lightning Strikes from Below' with accompanying commentary

Photograph by Susan Quasha from 'Lightning Strikes from Below'
Photograph by Susan Quasha from 'Lightning Strikes from Below.'

1                                                                                              site in play


The view self-calibrates for use with shredded user’s manual.

Pre-Pre-Socratic Sayings of Ontononymous the Particular


Language keeps forgetting me.

Poetry appears to be asking me to take this personally.

And the message reads: We are all one and now for the other ones.


The strong image flexes its hold in the long look.

We can’t stop seeing through our separations.

We’re on our own here as the preverbial carpet is in the air.


The claim is a disclaimer that has become unanchored on point.

Framed ignorance is a support for singular permissions.

The nothing coming my way instantiates my still not listening.


We’re talking cause and reflect laying itself on the line.

The fall of the poem is on the page.

The hit is plosive as correct is fit with fl(o)(a)w.


The fit image rescans for a new mind screen.

In the time it takes to say still seeing our way through is mutually unknowing.

What just happened? No doubt a blip in the light implosion now occurring.


The image is a glaring hole in the viewscape.

Linguality awakes by estranging in step.

Thinking learns talking never not seeing through to.


The scene knows you seeing it.

I’m sensing being imagined.



2                                                                                                          tree viewing


a lived-dream containing me containing it

Carolee Schneemann 


All night I was peeling the mother tongue with an eye to the under.

The scene offers the instance of its being you show through.


Defenselessness is a mode of being.

The mood takes practice.


The mind has wounds from looking over its shoulder.

Settled view is safe to fall through.


We have no agreements here while lightstruck. 

Trust nothing is optional on the face of it.


The hold is the hole in the appearance.

Horizon has burnthrough.


We own the limits by their heat.

Talk to me has the desperate edge of the long unheard.


Climate panics — news abuse stays abuse.

We throw up hands as woods throw up flames.


Our heat limits in owning.

The extra creaturely defines us by our dark.


A sacred view talks to your heart over your head.



3                                                          double vision’s last verdict first


The world is what we see in all-encompassing glimpses while looking away.

We can’t stop putting death on trial.


Shallow diversities and the sexual schism taint.

Trust no one is optional on the face of it.


Hail fateful alien, meet my companion slaves of consensus.

The disappearing body is facing you down.


Elemental mix is hard to shake.

Guilty as aestheticized.


My head keeps turning away and back proving it’s attached to ambivalence.

I’m mirroring all remnants of my former not me.


Now to borrow your presence for this anesthetic quilt.

A sacred text talks over your head fixing on your heart high.


Gender rises to its multiplicity through swamp gas.

We can only bottom out to keep an eye on earth.


The doubly revolted philosopher envisions her inner centipede 100 eye feel.

The deeper the sex the more raggedly various.


Dead center is the mind’s whirlpool.

The words swirl to dizzy the surface back to life.


The thrill is the cut so close your soul feel swells in passing.



4                                                          lightning strike from below


This writing on the world is where understanding fails to understand itself.

I dig deepest where the surface won’t give.

The hard view confirms the no yielding of subtle sense.


Art in the no comfort zone convinces no one.

Daimon or demon is the false split truly evidential.

A devil that speaks to you is a devil worth speaking with, a saying for my panic.


The singular image says no before the possible yes.

If the pineal gland is the lightning rod of the soul our split can get hot in a new     way.

There’s violence in how our colors meet.


Nature talks back to nature.

Soul is alien to the landing.

Like turns its back on like in like language.


Same-side sidewalk is where fearless you don’t step on the cracks out of respect.

Freak fracture bespeaks the tracked likeness.

Who knew the local god fucked up making the world unnamable.


My world is your world on the outs.

I spear your green heart for art’s sake our savior.

Will I reach you in time to interpret the red slime before higher meaning strikes?


There’s the goddess in the male name for the godly retreat in our further violence.

Gender syntax confuses out of self-respect enabling its rise into complexity.

Get human says the green world in the heart crack talking to you like no other.



5                      today’s configurative ontology: mind weather taking heat  


take it or believe it




A life worth living is a life worth failing to represent.

All pictures are one in that there’s this one like no other one ever.


Resist catching fire is today’s poietic imperative.

Now I see me now I don’t.


Equinoctial Hades is dark on dark igniting equal payback.

Trying to model picture and text is DOA in fire.


Indigenous ambiguity is lingual conjure space.

Consider this an instantiation of flicker knowing.


The poetics du jour allows for metabolic ontology and burning desire.

Science disenchants the world re-enchanting it flattening our igneous globe.


I’m feeling welcomed in undertime only accessible in this unsynced timely way.

This must be our surprise arrival in the bardo of expectation.


My daimon is your daimon said the daimon to the daimon.

Not that the daimon has a sense of humor but is the sense of humor now incurring.


In a sky like that there’s no referring and no referrals.

The psychonaut’s preparing for strikes from below as we speak.


Imagine the world with no further indications.

The unimaginable entities resist our believing against all wishes.





Despite twenty years of work in preverbs/axial poetics, I am never successful at saying what a preverb is or how axial poetics works. But I try anew when new publication opportunities arise. Each of the five published volumes to date makes an effort to say it. Here’s what comes up on this occasion:


Whereas a proverb is a kind of condensed-language poiesis sharing wisdom about Reality, a preverb engages the wisdom impulse at the level of natural language complexity. This means that no statement claims to be “true” as representing the Real. Instead, a self-true verbal gesture plays itself out mindful of the oscillating contrary possibilities emergent in language itself. A line is a matrix of singular realizations only possible in following through on an actual impulse to speak truly. Poiesis in axial language practice makes no reality claims but inhabits an emergent state of linguality — that is, a psychonautics following a path aware that language generates realities and is endlessly consequential. A line begins at zero point and ending returns to zero — no momentum, no accumulation, no progress, no resolution.


“Lightning Strikes from Below” is a series of thirty-four poems (completed April 2019), of which the first five appear here, and is the second of seven series comprising the book Hilaritas Sublime (the thirteenth book of preverbs completed to date). For nearly two years now, preverbs have been written in collaboration with Susan Quasha’s photography. Optimally the poems in this series should appear on facing pages with the photos, yet the poems and photos, of course, do not require each other. The single photo appearing above goes with the fourth poem.


The practice is basically that she sends me a photo of her choosing, more or less daily, without discussing it with me. Her pictures may have been taken at any previous point in time or the same day she chooses the photo. I open the photo, usually in the evening, and it sits on one screen while I do the final composition on another screen, working with lines that have either been written previously (usually earlier the same day) or in variable relation to the presence of the image. There are no rules about how much preverbs happen in direct response to her images or her subsequent images respond to preverbs. They stand in undefined, but strong, complex, coperformative relation to each other, while retaining an essential independence. We’re currently completing the tenth series of thirty-four poems/photos.


June 22, 2020, Barrytown, NY