nill (nl)v. nilled, nill·ing, nills Obsoletev.tr.Not to will; not to wish.v.intr.To be unwilling; will not.
[Middle English nilen, from Old English nyllan : ne, not; see ne in Indo-European roots + willan, to desire; see wel-1 in Indo-European roots.]
I recently learned to my great surprise that I have a “transitional vertebra,” which has likely been contributing, for decades, perhaps, to my spinal discomfort. It’s a relatively rare birth defect that connects me to our homo erectus ancestors, who had six vertebrae in their lower spines, whereas normal contempo-humans have five; what I have is something inbetween, neither lumbar nor sacral. According to this website, it may indicate that I am a “starseed.” A starseed!
The worst thing I can say about Nillingis that its cover is a beautiful off-white card stock that doesn’t fare well in one’s purse over several weeks, which is something of a pity since it is a book that should be lovingly carried around in order to read it in different places. The first place I read it was in my co-op garden amongst the bleeding hearts and ferns, and the coral roses blooming on the bower. The day was humid like the prose. I read it as I was waiting for the gold spray paint to dry on some cheap frames I’d bought to frame some antique French postcards of roses.
It was in the garden that the cover acquired its first fingerprints, and despite some discomfort – the stickiness of the weather and attendant mosquitoes, the feeling that something sharp was poking through my left buttock, the gold spraypaint that had stuck toxically to the thumb and forefinger of my right hand – I felt myself hypnotically inducted into the whirling galaxy of this book, one of whose foci, indeed, is the mechanism (although that is too cold a word) – the miracle, really – of reading:
“…I fall into the lace of the text, the vellum; caught there, I contemplate my masters.” (p. 22)“As I read my self-consciousness is not only suspended, but temporarily abolished by the vertigo of another’s language. I am simply its conduit, its gutter. This is a pleasure.” (p.26)
“Melancholy is the experiential quota of frictive change.”“Seeing is also inexperienced. The optical threads begin to entwine, embroider[!]. Melancholy gets detailed, intricate. By ‘the social,’ I mean also the gestural ornament, which is for sight. Everything appears for other eyes. Being leans into recogntion. The lens is a social ornament.”“The melancholic eye expects discomfort.”“In dark space, pictorial depth is guaranteed or twinned by the sensed or introjected interiority of the subject. This interiority could be characterized as an inconsistent system of metamorpheses – spatial extention inwards from the locus of doubt or uncertainty, towards something not the same as the present. Inconsistent because it’s not smooth extension. In melancholia extension stutters, braids, lurches, fucks, shuns, strokes, and snags in contingency.”“…ornament perceives.”
Nilling is not literary criticism, exactly – it’s more like philosophy – and at moments it is the sort of philosophy in which this melancholic soul at least finds consolation even beyond the sheer literary/aesthetic rapture at the beauty of her language – she helps me remember why indeed it is that I am compelled to do what I do when (willy-nilly) (as it were) I find myself making poems (sorry, I’ve left off page numbers, but all quotes that follow are from the final “Untitled Essay”):
“Language, the historical mode of collective relationships, is also the aptitude by which humans innovate one another as subjects.”“Through the poem we receive rhythm, or the specificity of continuance as a disposition, a momentary form, and we receive the urgent call to always renew our vernaculars, to set them melodically adrift in the civis, in the domus, among bodies.”“…the poem, with its provisional distributions and tentative relationships,its chaotic caesura, temporarily gathers a received and spoken reciprocity, where the I and the you create one another for the pleasure of a shapely co-recognition.”