Path and Road

Date: Tue, 2 May 1995 23:18:25
From: Alan Sondheim

Path and Road

From Jabes, The Book of Dialogue:

  A young man went to see his Teacher and said: "May I talk to you?"
  The Teacher answered: "Come back tomorrow. Then we'll talk."
  The day after, the young man came back and said: "May I talk to you?"
  As on the day before, the Teacher answered: "Come back tomorrow. Then 
we'll talk."
  "I came yesterday and asked you this same question," replied the young 
man, disappointed. "Do you refuse to talk to me?"
  "We have been in dialogue since yesterday," replied the Teacher, 
smiling. "Whose fault if we have bad ears?"
From Jabes, The Ineffaceable  The Unperceived:
THE PRE-EXISTENCE OF THE LAST BOOK

    The last book is the book of God, a book which would have been 
  man's first had he been able to write it.

    Then there would be books and books all claiming to be the last.

    We shall never know the last book; perhaps because we have always, 
  dimly, known it?
    Likewise God.

    You do not write what you know, but what you are unaware you know and 
  then discover, without surprise, you have always known.
    As one knows that death is the end or that in a few hours it will be 
  day. 
    As if you were, in short, exploring a past diverted from the course 
  of your memory, but originally yours.
From Jabes, The Book of Resemblances:
  The book leans on the void.
From Jabes, The Book of Resemblances:
  Any book is but a dim likeness of the lost book.

  "In each of us," he said, "there is a book that transforms us into 
words, as blood forms in the blood.
  "To each utterance each word, corresponds a heartbeat.
  "The book's price is the price of an alliance."

(translation, Rosmarie Waldrop)
The uncanny (dis)ordering of the book, book and Book, letters fluttered 
against the desert like sand unto sand, the ordering is implicate, 
folded, folds upon folds, the skin of the body turned, sloughed in the 
sun of the desert, glowing in the midst of sand melted into translucent 
glass. O the book is singularity, encompassing trace, paths of glass 
sheeting, discourse of continuity, utterance upon utterance beneath the 
burning wires of the sun, O the book writes itself upon us, inscribes us 
one to another, the gainsaying of death, lost voice dying out before 
writing brings us to ourselves, Jabes, "No book is complete." Jabes, "The 
world is exiled in the name. Within it there is the book of the world." 
Jabes, "I am a man's wanderings, path and road." We are your wandering.


Notes


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