Phenomenology of Giving


Jose-Luis Moctezuma  &  Edgar Garcia



Distortion when it occurs, the exchange of shamanic power through reified intellection. Read this cosmic energy, can you? It is unavoidable that its excesses should be a limitless operation, a process without beginning. The first gift long preceded our arrival. Woe nonetheless to those who, to the very end, insist on regulating its movements. Henceforth, it shall be to them an accursed share. Whereas to those who have attributed their power to the act of giving itself, the things given will carry life within-where the event of giving, like a rock or mountain teeming with life and personhood, is likewise a living thing.

Here is song, created as a word-for-word exchange between José-Luis Moctezuma and Edgar Garcia over the first half of the year twenty twelve. Written according to the numerology of the Maya Tzolk'in and the Aztec Tonalpohualli calendars, each collaborated line follows the sacred law of fives in its five-word limit, doing so for thirteen lines in order to parallel the thirteen-day periods of these cosmological systems, which are each dedicated to and under the auspice of a different deity-animalism. Thus, with four seasonal stanzas of thirteen five-word lines, the total number of words in the poem is 260, completing the sacred vigesimal count of days that tracks the transit of Venus and is important for the cultivation of maize. Like the young maize that grows out of the earth in the mutual overflow of earth and sky, these songs of power are the product of a gift economy, a word-for-word back-and-forth wherein each word was offered in an attempt to outdo its predecessor.

The gift returns aggregated, revealing the mutual excess that always is and will be. Such exchange keeps the cultural object inalienable from its giver, in so far as each given word continues to be one writer's even as it is sent to the other for the other's use and pleasure, until it is (likewise) sent back, augmented. So grows the seed into a leafy green stalk, quite naturally redistributing cosmic energy. More than the libidinal, here is the principle of exponential animacy which is sometimes known as mana, the plasmatic continuum between economy and magic.

If it should be that we are accused of anthropoetics, then that shall be a portion of our accursed share. For us this exchange is a living thing; a certain amount of prodigality is unavoidable. We are already slightly overtaken.

worm breaks dermal pressure coil		
clefts I dilate mud stained
grass soaked blade recumbent of
heatsmell-head, the trunk murmurs
result deciduous issue sprung sustenance
localized but nutshelled who counts
cloud detritus-slice and pinch
fragmentary slap greenly rock-wedge
she surveys he heaps walks
made me redolent heart-awake
of mineral maguey piercing wash
rain now guttered how sunken
this house that speaks growth

*    *    *    *    *

lizard person perched attentive flexed
presence hovering readiness its rootedness
convolving lucidity and debunked chrysalis
whereby snaketongue-things assume and
bifurcate to paralyze speech patterns
they shed song-skin extension
or tone their terminus mutely
new in arised reeds, remediational
locus muciferous cavity crocus unbulbed
autumn announced baskets crosswoven I
thread saffron and colchicine in
vespertine oxide hides beneath heat
caimans window rasping asps a-slither

*    *    *    *    *

intrinsicate monkey tooth clinks glass
blade blink embossed retina retracted
replica sidereal harmonica exhale a
spherical andromeda braid drape its
thunder crooked cloud lateral come
the soaring accipitridae beetles upturned
unsheathed pinions of damascene haze
viscous impervious lurch limbs rigid
custody clawcuffed dendrology by division
warped crotch hair ends entwined
antlered headdress clambered uphill inspired
inhale sprigs of limb harvested
arm stretched harm burning warm

*    *    *    *    *

feldspar films flintspark err fatuus
blot obese of bush demiurgeous
godspeak hark what secerns root
rent canopy stole wineskinned it
bloodburst paired by effect decay
flares fanned remark of increase
contagion thru voice entities shed
spectacle crust quartz spade-shocked
and tektite thrown duration ridge
herein the heresy of splendid 
cleavage instant recall lost lengthwise
distinct diurnality puma-gazed delay
chronograph cut shard gash crystallize