Under Cover of Night

-night as respite

-night as total/totality

-night as day

-night as relaxation

-night as reformation

-night as spark for the mind

-night as free association

-night as clear succession

-night as supernatural, divine

-night as terrestrial-night as repository

-night as inscrutable-night as empty

-night as philosophy

-night as imprint

-night as origin

-night as quizzical

-night as systemic

-night as within and without, cycled through everpresence

 

“night of sovereignty”

“night of ecstasy”

“night of proximity”

 

I read through Etel Adnan’s Night and came up with the above list of equivalencies for night. In the poem, night functions as a metaphor, a force, a materiality, a posture. It does not, however, seem to ever be fully defined, nor does it embody a single form to the exclusion of others. Night is night, and night is each and every one of it’s modalities – incommensurably and without conflict or resolution. From that perspective, night represents a sort of multivalent, fragmentary, whole that is both more and different from the sum of its parts. The grammatical structure of the phrases above, “night as ________” preserves and maintains that separation between night and it’s meaning or form, that fragmentation. Visually, ‘night’ enjoys a column exclusively unto itself. Grammatically, the word, ‘as,’ serves as a bridge between the two nouns in each line, and much like a bridge, reifies the mutual opposition, separateness – untouchability – between them. It also connotes a temporal contingency; I’m thinking of the way a theater program might list actors and their parts (e.g. Jane Doe as John Doe in Revenge of the Deer) as introduction to a fundamentally time-bound engagement. It seems that when something functions as something else, the two are not essentially the same, although they may share an intimate knowledge of the other. Ultimately, it’s hard, both from my poetic list and from Adnan’s piece, to parse out a concrete definition of night, especially if night itself is somehow fundamentally separate from its definitions. The only sure answer – night is night – is tautological. Although perhaps maybe a violation of logical standards is precisely the point.Regarding the list/poem itself: It started out as a purely functional list of themes that I intended to discuss fully in prose. By the third line, I realized that they were forming a poetic discussion of their own and decided to continue to catalog equivalencies from my reading. On page 32, Adnan offers her own relationships for night, although in her phrasing, the separation between night and definition discussed above is collapsed completely by the possessive use of “of.”Under Cover of Night-night as respite-night as total/totality-night as day-night as relaxation-night as reformation-night as spark for the mind-night as free association-night as clear succession-night as supernatural, divine-night as terrestrial-night as repository-night as inscrutable-night as empty-night as philosophy-night as imprint-night as origin-night as quizzical-night as systemic-night as within and without, cycled through everpresence“night of sovereignty”“night of ecstasy”“night of proximity”I read through Etel Adnan’s Night and came up with the above list of equivalencies for night. In the poem, night functions as a metaphor, a force, a materiality, a posture. It does not, however, seem to ever be fully defined, nor does it embody a single form to the exclusion of others. Night is night, and night is each and every one of it’s modalities – incommensurably and without conflict or resolution. From that perspective, night represents a sort of multivalent, fragmentary, whole that is both more and different from the sum of its parts. The grammatical structure of the phrases above, “night as ________” preserves and maintains that separation between night and it’s meaning or form, that fragmentation. Visually, ‘night’ enjoys a column exclusively unto itself. Grammatically, the word, ‘as,’ serves as a bridge between the two nouns in each line, and much like a bridge, reifies the mutual opposition, separateness – untouchability – between them. It also connotes a temporal contingency; I’m thinking of the way a theater program might list actors and their parts (e.g. Jane Doe as John Doe in Revenge of the Deer) as introduction to a fundamentally time-bound engagement. It seems that when something functions as something else, the two are not essentially the same, although they may share an intimate knowledge of the other. Ultimately, it’s hard, both from my poetic list and from Adnan’s piece, to parse out a concrete definition of night, especially if night itself is somehow fundamentally separate from its definitions. The only sure answer – night is night – is tautological. Although perhaps maybe a violation of logical standards is precisely the point.Regarding the list/poem itself: It started out as a purely functional list of themes that I intended to discuss fully in prose. By the third line, I realized that they were forming a poetic discussion of their own and decided to continue to catalog equivalencies from my reading. On page 32, Adnan offers her own relationships for night, although in her phrasing, the separation between night and definition discussed above is collapsed completely by the possessive use of “of.”

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