Monday, January 18, 2010

Bin Ramke - Theory of Mind

from Rover Verbs - Bin Ramke

This poem, one of the new poems from Bin Ramke’s Theory of Mind: New & Selected Poems seems to me a good example of what Craig Morgan Teicher is talking about in the current Boston Review. Imagine the poem, perhaps, without the quoted material, as one way in, and then consider it with the quoted material, as all parts of a different whole. Or don't imagine that. Or possibly imagine the above visual art piece by Ramke. I wanted to put up a different onel but I couldn't get it converted. (You can find several of his visual art pieces in the downloadable online journal PARCEL, No 2 [])

Bin Ramke

in the next room with
a balloon above her head—
a dotted-line balloon—
a non-Euclidean space
which contains her
dream, which is
—I wish it were—

the balloon is empty, or,
her dream lies
around her,
an empty thought-balloon
to indicate the past,
its pure O of elegance.

How to make balloones, also the Morter Peece to discharge them . . .
Into this Balloone you may put Rockets,
Serpents, Starres, Fiends, Petards.
Bate, Mysteries of Nature & Art, 1634

Any bursting a violence.
Inclined this way, the head is balloon-shaped
tightly filled with memory.

I was terrified a balloon would burst
at my lips, the sound would deafen me;
the concussion a rage released . . .

after the party, little deflated splashes
of color on the floor, also cake crumbs
and the sticky remains,
the breath of the mother decorating the day.

Symmetry is the chance to return
to initial conditions . . . not nostalgia,
just home; not home but humility,

the humiliation of symmetry plain and
periodic agony not agony but a ghostly monotony

behind the arras a mother not uncle, standing
breast forward awaiting a blade and a piercing peaceful

as desperation in a phone booth
when phone booths were soundproof
when there were phone booths and the desperate would
make calls from there late in life or at night home
hoping Mom would answer, Dad already asleep.

106. Suppose some adult had told a child that he had been on the moon. The child tells me the story, and I say it was only a joke, the man hadn’t been on the moon; no one has ever been on the moon; the moon is along way off and it is impossible to climb up there or fly there.—If now the child insists, saying perhaps there is a way of getting there which I don’t know, etc. what reply could I make to him? What reply could I make to the adults of a tribe who believe that people sometimes go to the moon (perhaps that is how they interpret their dreams), and who indeed grant that there are no ordinary means of climbing up to it or flying there?—But a child will not ordinarily stick to such a belief and will soon be convinced by what we tell him seriously.

121. Can one say: “Where there is no doubt there is no knowledge either”?

160. The child learns by believing the adult. Doubt comes after belief.
—Wittgenstein, On Certainty


At 1/18/2010 9:03 AM, Blogger Philip Metres said...

what Teicher's essay called?

At 1/18/2010 10:07 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Apologies, I should have included that. I talked about it a bit on my blog post from yesterday (in the second half of the post), but the actual title of the essay is "Lord, Hear My Voice: Bin Ramke's Theory of Mind."

It should be online at the BR site. If not, it will be soon. They're very good about archiving quickly.


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