Standing in the wards of an occult science, in the corridor of paradox, I attempt to isolate you from countless heteronyms and self-same biographies of virgin whim. Even the orthonym Fernando Pessoa will be ushered into the apparatus. In one way or another, what began before the discovery of the trunk is set to end here under the mercurial eclipse of a new moon.

Behold the glass contraption at my disposal. Designed to distill from your remains the ever-elusive prima materia, the apparatus consists of two chambers attached to one another, as if, in conversation. Each chamber holds within it a selection of raw matter. A flame lit beneath one chamber converts a crystallizing piece of matter into the materia, which is then cycled to the opposing chamber. Here again the flame forces matter to give in, the materia released and funneled to the initial chamber with a coursing dialogue now underway.

To fire matter surrenders all form and from formlessness the materia constellates. The distilled exchange between chambers begins slowly. It gradually accelerates toward a complete break down of matter and the coalescence, the unmistakable accumulation, of the mystery: born of itself like a universe of luminous chaos the prima materia emerges.

Though any piece of your remains contains all of your remains, two specimens were chosen for their oppositional qualities and have been circulating through the apparatus. Secured in their individual chambers were these original chunks of matter:

To write is to lose
myself, yes, but everyone
loses himself, because
everything gets lost.
None of the four corners
of the world is the one
that interests me and that I
can truly see; it’s the fifth
corner that I travel in,
and it belongs to me.


Cycling endlessly the words have been whittled as subjects to the flame. All that now exists in the left chamber is the fragment To write is to lose. The conversion in the right chamber has dwindled to corner that I travel in. The chambers beckon to one another in such successive rapidity there is no guarantee that the apparatus, the fragile necks of the retort, will escape bursting. I refuse to stop it, will chance destruction of the materia now concentrating in greater density.

I have never watched you burn apart, Fernando, in success of anything except charred cinders. My prior attempts were wrought with ill-placed intention. I had hope for an art whose gold is a black blacker than black. Let the cryptic riches be summarized this once: the obscure by the more obscure, the unknown by the more unknown.

Though I’ve combed you to death, in evidence this art requires the whole person. That is, my simultaneous descent into detritus alongside your ghost. Together we spiral toward confinement in living ambiguity. We are stewards of contradiction, each an opus of disquiet. Somehow we arrive in time for the tedium of these chrysanthemum hours, reliant upon a contraption that, in the end, perhaps is a conversation—this apparatus, a conversation seeking itself. And the whole person, a language destined to speak.

As the matter continues to break down, only seconds ago write is, that I, and now is, now I, the words fold on top of each other and inside themselves, the prima materia emerging with transparency, a robust essence synthesized on view: I am not me, I am not me, innocent of you.