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Tractatus Clima

Nicholas O'Donnell

from Fata Morgana, directed by Werner Herzog (1971)

1. The world is everything that is the case

1.1 A subset of which can be represented graphically

1.11 For example, carbon dioxide; the ocean violently blooming; a hurried fish

1.12 But not the thimble of blood caught in your throat

1.2 Graph: instrument for recording

1.2.1 graphikos: of or for writing, belonging to drawing

1.2.2 graphein: to write, to represent by lines drawn

1.3 A poem is a graph, and thus our closest outpost to knowledge

1.3.1 However, the graphic is not the exclusive domain of truth

1.4 The mathematician Emily Dickinson works furiously in her room

2. The case that was is still a case after it is not

2.1 Her poems burned a lush orange

2.1.1 “if a tree falls”

2.2 Two possibilities emerge

2.2.1 First, Bishop Berkeley arrives on horseback: whither the viewer, what does

the charred page see? Or “The draftsman and page enter a dialogue. The lines on the page are

the residue of this process. The viewer of the lines can see only lines on a page. They are meaningless. This is poetry.”

2.2.2 The other: the orange is not orange but amber A fossil the size of a planet hurling in time An event that happened and almost-always occurs again The second possibility is possibility itself

3 To be a case which is no longer the case is to be an artist in four degrees

3.1 An archive is built inside a climate

3.1.1 a library without doors

3.1.2 containing all canons extant and extinct

3.2 It is the critics’ ideal

3.2.1 no authors

3.2.2 no readers

3.2.3 only triumphant text

3.3 :: art in the minutes before the end of the world

4. The case is still the case when not perceived, but ceases to be the case when the library is burned

4.0.1 and burn it inevitably does

4.1 “All expression is to be classed as language” – Benjamin

4.1.1 Thus, the ash and the ether of the library are our final language

4.1.2 Though not language that can be represented by a graph a language beyond the graphic

4.1.3 perhaps this is what Dickinson had in mind

4.2 How easy this language could be personified as a scream

5 That which is no longer the case speaks into the future

5.1 the case is no longer the future

5.2 speak longer the future

5.3 no longer case is the future

5.3.1 which is no that speaks

5.3.2 that future that is into the case

5.4 the case is no case

5.4.1 container

5.4.2 enclosure home or divider

5.4.3 impression of instrument with broken string

5.4.4 puzzle to be solved by a Messianic detective carrying a case flask of gin during the night rounds as he graphs a solution to Dickinson’s name

5.4.5 bullet casing fired in desperation shooting at fire on the burning library staircase

6 If this is the case, its silence is oppressive

6.1 the negative space belies horror

6.1.1 of forgetting

6.1.2 it is too cool

6.2 It must be the case, we say, that the case is the future case

6.3 We insist on our perception

6.3.1 our personal language

6.4 The question of the case is the language of the archive

6.5 At last, we grasp at the edges of the library

6.5.1 waiting

7 Where one cannot speak, one must be silent

Nick O'Donnell is a poet based in Chicago, Illinois. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Version (9) Magazine, BlazeVox, Basset Hound Press, and others. 

He can be found on Twitter/X as @no_donnel


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