Theoretical Objects

by Φ

Excerpts from Theoretical Objects, by Nick Piombino

Naming Never Knew

A kind of freedom in erasing whatever I say. In this way the writing becomes my world, nobody else’s But that is not possible. I would rather write about the word “evening.” Consider, if you will the beauty of the world. And beyond this, it can be felt & then just erased. To save or not to save? Postpone for 15 minutes? The whole world, my entire life, not to speak of everyone else’s, and I am here deciding to save or not to save these words that I write just to write. In a few minutes I will be deciding. But is this or is this not, literally “too silly for words?”
Silly words, how could you have ever thought you were recording this silly world you thought you were recording. There never was any world. But everybody knows the “no-world” argument would never hold water for long. The brave thing to do would be to “delete.” Have the courage to just say “ciao.”
Then again wouldn’t it be nice to remember how it felt at the very beginning to deal with the save/no save option? The very thing that drives you towards the computer becomes the very thing that makes the computer useless. Now you can save every useless thing & not have it take any room in your room. Boxes & boxes, files & more files of thousands of letters, thousands of documents all falling under the impersonal sway of the alphabet, in a memory bank without end, forever available according to its place in the new alphabetical aristocracy. No more random places to rummage around in, no more associations to a particular texture of paper. Soon to be forgotten. No, soon to give way to this most joyful of things: universal access in a universe at your fingertips. The whole world concentrated in your fingertips, the dream of the master pianist of words.
You need a talisman to guide you. You consult your oracle to tell you the way.
Naming never knew. There is nothing anybody ever really experienced that needed one.
There is a beautiful cage in the empty sound where the name would have been, but you would have to stay around long enough to hear it. This, of all things, is definitely worth saving, and it will not require any fraction of a kilobyte of memory. The sound is what makes memory.
Still, you might have to spend some time compiling some physical content. The only way to get that started is to go back again & again to the beginning.
The fraud story, the one about the way an entire group of people get taken in by a huckster. This huckster has something mean to sell. He can convince them to do it because as a result everyone is going to be rich & in paradise. But haven’t we been told this before?
The picture is painted with various details. I get completely bored thinking of all the details. But isn’t this very thing that I am really afraid of, to immerse myself in the unfolding drama just the way you would in real life. No holding on to yourself so you have a comfortable environment that you are familiar with. And then this comfortable, familiar self, that you already know every nook & cranny of, becomes the whole point. This is much easier than completely going into the imaginary experience. There, you do not know exactly what is going to happen, in the linguistic sense where nothing more threatening happens than can happen between you & the words. But there’s always you, you, you! What about the huckster himself, the one who enters into the confidence of a good friend of yours. He meets this friend, all the time having his eye on you. He meets this friend, of course, at a poetry reading. The guy is introduced to you as an interesting poet that has just moved here from San Francisco. The reading that day was a pretty good one. The reader was there on a visit from San Francisco, nobody had seen her in long time, the work was very good, she had brought along a publisher who was interested in everybody’s work so everybody was in a good mood. This is frequently a time when I might be particularly on my guard. But this publisher had walked right up to me & asked me for some poems for his magazine. At that point you could have probably introduced me to my worst enemy & I would have squeezed out a smile.
We all know instinctively that when someone is destructive it is because there there something very sad inside the person, something so disappointed & angry that it has to be expressed towards other people in a way they can feel & will remember. The huckster is just such a person. Only he expressed this terrible feeling by charming & drawing us in order to tyrannize us, ultimately.

The Writing On the Wall is Off the Wall

It seems to me that I am constantly spending too much time either decreasing my excitement (or anxiety) enough to do something—or increasing my excitement (or inspiration) enough to do something.

Is this what Buddhists mean by “no desire”? The more you rev up the engine, the more work you have to do to provide the gas.

If you enter the future the very tiny bit you can, you can also feel it here in the present as a kind of undertow, in almost the same way you can feel the past always as an undertow in the present. If I arrange for this I can feel it & even hear it in the sounds of life at this moment. No wonder if such presences take the form of sounds—we can usually hear much further than we can see, even with the widest vista.

Look at the empty chair. Something in it seems to be listening.

We rarely give our hearts to those who might deserve it, yet how quickly & easily it flies to one who really wants it.

We are able to express only a small part of what we experience—& we are able to experience only a small part of what we express.

Creation, no matter how many times we witness it, must remain partly clothes in the deepest form of obscurity.

But most of all I like being senseless.

There’s no time? There’s only time.

The best part of living is the freedom to dream. Thus the most enslaved people are those whose pace forbids them to dream.

The genius knows when to pass the ball to someone else.

The specific learns to conceal.

Imagining is a mode of ascertainment of things by means of internal touchings.

Everything has an exchange rate into another system of values. That is what we call “price.” Price the “conscience” of capitalism?

Using music as a background—chart a poem in the dark, & then transcribe it—

The space between thoughts is “insanity.”
Who said that?

Define = confine.

Remember that a circle encloses.

You know what I want to say? That is determined by what you won’t let me say.

Feelings are limitations when they won’t let something happen.

There is usually a relatively small-but completely necessary—bit of destructiveness in all creation: “The truth hurts.”

Writing begins with a wish to say what you mean & ends with a wish to mean what you say.


What begin a day by thinking about, you will end a day by doing.

Everything takes time & time takes everything.

If you don’t listen to everything you don’t hear anything.

What you didn’t say is what you want me to think about.

To know when to pause & when to seize—that is real power.

The more you forget how long it takes the faster you get there.

After the first step, you forget the steps.

Things are neither as close to us nor as far away as we think they are.

The greatest pleasure (of thought) is to discover a system in what appeared only disconnected insights.

The only thing that is still shocking is that now nothing is shocking. And soon even that won’t be shocking.

What we think is going on  is what was going on or what will be going on, but is rarely what is going on.

When once humankind’s greatest craving was to be soothed now it is to be understood.

One day you catch yourself realizing that something which for a long time preoccupied you no longer does. And you let out a deep breath—as if you’ve been placed on the ground by a giant.

The solution to an idea is a feeling; the answer to a feeling is a thought.

Actions make things happen but patience makes them smile.

Let your affections be your guide.