Metaphor is the return of the repressed 1
I want to be haunted by the ghost of your precious love
Some weeks ago on Facebook I posted this:
“Breakthrough on the metaphor/materialism front. Stay tuned. The signifier yearns for its other, the long-buried signified. The Song of Songs…”
Signifier and signified, “soul” and what “soul” worships, that which is sacrificed (the lamb, the deer, the ram, the boy, the girl, the body) and that to which it is sacrificed (the prima causa, but of course if it needs sacrifice to function then isn’t the sacrifice itself the prima causa? about which more in a later post) call out to each other with images of flora and fauna; in the Song of Songs, language using non-language to cry out for reunion with whatever it is about processes of meaning-making that is not language, that exceeds and also lies below it. That’s why it’s the Song of Songs: it’s the song about songs, their gorgeous and abject inadequacy, their empty latticework of glyphs and sounds that ladder us to the Real. Songs/poems use metaphor in their diegetic content, and songs themselves are metaphors for union.
“I want to be haunted by the ghost of your precious love...” sez the body to the spirit, just as Shane MacGowan and Sinéad O’Connor, or Cáit O’Riordan and Debsey Wykes, sing it in the movie Sid and Nancy, for which MacGowan and co. wrote the music.
I want to take my time on Jacket2 to think through, or to record my thinking-through or writing-through, of this nexus of metaphor and materiality, that I’ve been worrying around the edges of for about a decade, seemingly without much intellectual progress, although I’ve made many textiles which are both material and metaphoric, and written a few texts. I think it’s a mis-en-abîme, an abysmal self-placement, a vanishing-point in thinking because it –the metaphor/materiality nexus –exceeds and precedes thinking. At least my thinking, which screams (like Augustine praying for respite from his life of sin) from the bottom of Plato’s oubliette, “Lemme out! Lemme out! but not just yet.”
How did this frenzied meteor of overheated insight lay me to waste? Walter Benjamin uses, with affectionate critique, the phrase “an intoxication of empathy” to describe the state of a thinker, or any kind of seeker in the non-materialistic sense, in the throes of what s/he imagines to be a moment of illumination, identifying with an object of perception. I feel outed, busted, by someone whose intoxications of empathy have so profoundly impressed me: who else would have noticed a politically significant pattern in the repeated proximity of military bands to Ferris wheels at state fairs? I don’t feel warned off from those states of intoxication. I want to go there. In the moment of experience, I felt such empathy for the poor, separated lovers, the signifier and its beloved referent, that I could have wept and almost did, on the G train.
How did this come about?
Stay (un)tuned, whatever your tune may be.
And if my offerings, dear Jacket, feel too raw,
I may need to, shyly and anon, withdraw.
Metaphor is the return of the repressed