The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


Begin from Last Principles

End from First Principles.

Begin with music: what I am capable of doing, i.e.
the fingerboard or instrument as a sonic _field._
It's possible to be safe here: within the field.
It's possible to be alive: i.e. the recording of
the fact that _I am still alive._ That I am weaving
what no one else can, that this is _my song,_ and
for me alone to pass on, i.e. the recording. That
the same is true for a text that _is not a response
to an other_ but proceeds from within, a territory
that internally coheres. It is _here_ that I am
comfortable. That the order of letters is mine and
mine alone, _during the production of the order._
What occurs later is of less consequence.

Still, there is the desire for acknowledgment:
_This_ is the music you have created? How wonderful!
This text - it changed my life! Vistas opened! And
within, I think it should always be this way. And
without, it never is: without, it is alien, vacuum,
unresponsive. Therefore I continue, turn inward
farther, if that were possible, create and recreate
my little worlds, present them - and the cycle
continues, endlessly without grace.

The Last Principles are those surrounding despair
and death, the curtain, the barrier, rendering
everything else useless, blank, emptied
demarcation. They can be anything you want, I want;
they make no difference, except for a ritual I
might call the Scattering of Marks. It's nothing
more than a momentary thing; in the scheme _of
things,_ it is not a thing nor a scheme. The Last
Principles might be the glance once sees as one
is dying, the glance between two of the living,
before one, or slightly to the side, so that the
seeing is, eternally, incomplete. But in the
scheme of things, this is as before; the Last
Principles might as well be the first or the
middle; logic has no place - no foundation - in
its incompleteness. I would call you unto me, but
can no longer speak; I would speak, but can no
longer murmur; I would whisper, but the barrier is
that which refuses, itself, burial, but comes for
one and all, an enclave or particulation better
left for better poets than myself.

So I will do music and I will hear music, and
within it are incredible structures, novelty,
something new sounding for the first and last
time as well. And this is surrounding by the
beginning and ending of the recording, by the
placing and tuning of the instrument with me, and
its release and releasement within the sonic,
within the realm of being-in-process, the file
only something, thing or scheme, to be raked,
articulated according to the proper signatures
of time and codecs, and as proper, as possible,
however considered, the feedback of the sound for
this moment, into another place and another time,
such as might be heard, the slight exfoliation of
a world when I have gone from it, leaving this
trace, this holograph or signature, this check-
mate and chiasmus where appearance conceivably
rises, only to fall, collapse again, and the
cycle continues, endlessly without grace.

Of First Principles, nothing can be said, after
the fact or scheme, the emptying of the word,
the sign.

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