Trans Verse (or, Traver’s Tranifesto)
by Traver Pam Dick
1 Then one moment it dawned on me, I turned into Traver.
2 Crossroads like of philosophy and lit. Poetry and fiction.
3 Prose poem qua transverse. Lines as stanzas, steps in weird proofs, notes. Traver got blue shoulders.
4 Forms are aspect shifts. Facing different directions. Two faces, hourglass. Duck-rabbit. Dick-Traver. Mode swings.
5 It’s too hot in here, have to remove my grey and blue ski sweater.
6 Bode got his first gold on the super combine doing downhill and slalom. He was crazy.
7 Fast, direct and bold, or agile, quick, reactive, with tight turns.
8 Combining lyric with metaphysics. By slanting through them.
9 Traverse means ski across a mountain or slope, especially at a diagonal.
10 The diagonal argument shows what’s left off the list. Writing as possibility, truth exceeding logic. Or else the logic’s deviant.
11 Traverse means pass, move over, along, through. It’s vital to keep going.
12 In a sequence of moods and views. As with Gustav’s music. Traver’s formal/spiritual axiom.
13 This café music’s bad. But I resist it. It’s good to have something to turn against.
14 Especially yourself. Whatever structure you’ve set up: bust it. That’s how to bring the writing back to life.
15 Ditto for narrative or argument: temptations to be wrestled with and defeated. Eye gets wounded, message blesses you.
16 Instead, musical features: improvisation, variation, repetition, rhythm, dynamics, timbre, etc. Guitar riffs.
17 My hair stuck up diagonally like a rock star. Thick like thicket. Dick, Dickicht, Dicks ich, Dichte, Dichter.
18 My German-English dictionary says dichterich means poetical. Then there’s an arrow meaning see and the word freiheit meaning freedom.
19 German, maybe Latin interpolations. Also logic, math. Impure idiolects.
20 Synthetic a priori unreason: freedom of association is creativity’s necessary right.
21 I could be with a girl, with a boy, be a girl, be a boy, l or g or b or t. Or q like queer, quest, question, query. Queer from quer: oblique, cross, adverse, transverse. Traverse aka Traver! I’ll take a BLT to G, i.e. to go, I have to keep moving. Don’t try to restrict me.
22 Poetic license! The given was a myth, I shouted. Creativity!
23 God of invention: Hermes aka Mercury. I don’t know the poetry classics or the queer ones.
24 I was going to strap myself into my Hermes Rocket and blast off. Rocket from rocca, i.e. distaff. Therefore phallic chick. But then I ran outside, left my manual typewriter behind. Took my pen.
25 A female could also be male, have a male in her and show it with a hand motion. Be a fruitful male that bares herself as young: a boychick.
26 Manifesto means shown view/intentionality. From manifest, detected in the act, flaunted, evident, from manus and infest, i.e. assail by hand. Like Ismael being hostile. Maybe to defend himself. Or doing some hand gesture only God could see or hear, since Ismael is an outcast. Exiled for playing with his brother and words, also for being a bastard child. Then he got good with arrows including his longing one. Ismael was a girl.
27 Pamphlet means unbound booklet. From Pamphilus or On Love, a 12th century love poem/comedy. Abbreviates to pam, which also stands for the black-haired Jack of Clubs, always 21 or under, whose other name was Ismael, who wandered in the wilderness, high on illegitimacy. Fighter or servant of some God. Myth of the given name, assigned.
28 Dick and dicht mean dense, thick, like a wood, traffic (say, in words) or hair or a wild hedge or a book with leaves. First Dick was German. Then Dick = dick and detective as in private dick, one who notes things. Stealth of the family name, inherited.
29 Traver = at or from the crossroad or tollgate. Toll meaning crazy in German, also it’s slang for excellent. So escape. Path of the first name, provisionally assumed.
30 As traverse, you could intersect two or more lines at an angle or be a city road that cuts through a park or a shortcut. The bum shouted, Hey Faggot! Boy George would like you! Before that, 8:00 AM rapture. Get it back.
31 Crossroad either a road that crosses or a point where roads cross, a crucial point, where a decision’s urgent. A line’s a point that is moving.
32 Transposing Franz: The true way is along a line that crosses the others. It’s designed not to steady you but to make you flip.
33 Writing should be urgent! Each instant an emergency, a matter of life or death. Too much, they shouted. Traver stuck his/her long tongue out.
34 Should I cut my hair short? But I like it bushy. But right now it’s bugging me like homework.
35 Traverse is swivel your head. Bangs fall into eyes. I wanna look like Apolo Anton Ohno sans bandana. He sees openings.
36 Way of writing = way of seeing/being. Seeing as is poetic ontology. It’s no idle speculation; you need to use your hands like this, use words like this, or you can’t breathe. Apolo makes himself yawn before he starts racing.
37 Verse a line or turning. Truth qua spontaneity. It says Rapid Transit on my girl’s medium pink t-shirt with the Plymouth auto on it. Think pilgrim!
38 We don’t know where to go. We know where to go. That’s playing in the café I am lying across. I never heard it before.
39 Nobody at my table.
40 You ran away to the world because you were lonely, afraid of the empty room, wanted to love others, have uninferable experiences. Tomorrow it could be different. Any solution transient.
41 I, Traver, traverse my dicktionary. You could have adventures there, too. Ski over meanings.
42 I already used snow is white, and mountains, and how the typewriter is from Switzerland, when I was Hildebrand and Mina. So forget that. But still there’s skiing across the page like the city or room: expressions roaming. Watch out for the gates, don’t wipe out and break your head. But be crazily close to them, take risks to be fastest.
43 Wound in the head a stapled booklet. The others’ suffering bleeds in like through a fontanel. Or is a transdermal.
44 Søren says, As much sorrow as comedy. He was Scandinavian, probably he wore ski sweaters.
45 No he didn’t. He wore fancy jackets and cravats, even when simply traveling around his room.
46 Traver says, Yeah, pathos/comedy. You cross them or they cross at you. Also awkwardness/artfulness, humility/grandiosity, simplicity/complexity, rigor/looseness, concreteness/abstraction.
47 To transport a new message, communication from one person or God to another. It could be oblique. Yet acute.
48 Eloquence, cunning, theft, invention. The knowledge that’s intuitive, a fleeting perception of the whole. Cf. some German Romantics.
49 Commerce, or trading together, or trading places. Interchange of goods i.e. the good, exchange of views, intellectual or spiritual intercourse, union, communion, sexual intercourse. Fast is slutty.
50 Bastardizations as crushed-out sex with other texts. Riffs on Ishmael, Isaac, Esau, Esther, Cain, Abel, the Prodigal Son, Jephthah’s Daughter. Sophocles. Spinoza, Kant, Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, Hölderlin, Trakl, Büchner, Dante, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Kafka.
51 Traver’s monotradition, which also includes Robert Walser, the Brothers Grimm, Rimbaud, Novalis, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Beckett, Bernhard, Bachmann, etc.
52 Transcription, commentary, trans lit. Forgery = transference.
53 But also trans lit could be expanded beyond intertextual adventures.
54 Do trans words here. O.k., check this out: transact transceiver transcend transcribe transdermal transducer transect transfer transfigure transfinite transfix transform transfuse transgender transgress transience transient transilient transistor transit transition transitive transitory translate transliterate translocate translucent transmigrate transmission transmit transmogrify transmute transparent transpersonal transpire transponder transport transpose transsexual transubstantiate transvalue transverse transvestite.
55 A poem cross-dressed as prose!
56 I put on his book jacket, it was too tight, philosophers are puny. Dick’s course or method: scrap, fragment, splinter, shred, remark, aphorism, meditation, confession, description of painting, parable, fairy tale, demo, incident, figment, prophecy, wordplay, soundplay. And list.
57 All linked in a longer form that’s shifty.
58 Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds back in her 9th year or whenever. One of first records given to her by her papa. Unless she took it from her mama. Songs, bands, albums as motifs.
59 The world is the collection of tracks. A rocking 45’s collection, so she could be the DJ. Spin wax.
60 The world is all that is the verse. Qua singular experience. The disorder of thoughts is the disorder of things. Thus spoke the first person.
61 Intuition of conditional truth vs. standard truth-conditional theory: I am the truth condition! Subjectivity. Susceptibility of veracity and reality. The truth is mortal. Paradox of the first-personal. Even with second- and third-person sentences. But don’t suspend yourself in uncertainty. One vocation is dueling aspects. Then the singular aspectual worlds fuse in an epiphany. Then they split.
62 Synthetic a posteriori unreason: freedom of dissociation, quitting the academic/analytic desert, its temptations, for a wood of truant truth trees. Jesus said, Be Ismaels. Aka Travers.
63 To traverse is also to deny formally, in a sui generis law of pleading. I.e. by idiomatic writing. Hermitry in closet of room. But Raskolnikov, Kurt Gödel, Karen Carpenter! But Kafka, Narnia, St. Antony.
64 To traverse is furthermore to look over, examine carefully. E.g. what does subjective mean?
65 Transilient is jumping from one thing or condition to another. Leaps of truth.
66 Temporary faith. Then doubt shoves you forward. Then you leap again. Then you land, but it’s fleeting.
67 Also personal: just room enough for your Pumas with the racing stripes like the wings on Mercury’s feet.
68 The verse comes before the chorus, it’s meant to be sung by a solo voice.
69 In here the music premise is better now. More dreamy, tender. Ditto Traver.
70 S/he’s mercurial. I think this got too manic, not exposed enough. Also sort of grandiose.
71 O.k., am I finished now?
72 Nothing’s finished, it’s only broken off. Maybe not forever. Incompleteness, imperfection. Glory of the A-! It’s rebellious. So’s the F.
73 But wait, I want to do more!
74 Sweat dripping down my ribby side. Am I nervous like a kid before a test?
75 Writing as juvenilia!
76 The kingdom belongs to the teen, aka the wild child/adult who keeps changing. Vulnerability, moodiness, tenderness, self-consciousness, emotionality, shifting identities, some faked.
77 Teens are ecstasy! Writing’s ecstatic, craves the excess or the minimal. Beautiful extremities!
78 Also it’s reflexive. With explicit attention to the act of writing. For sincerity, not irony. Or for irony that’s still sincere.
79 Interplay of protagonist, narrator, pseudonymous author. Personas. Writing fictionalizing the author. All experience transmuted into poetry, lived that way, so life is a book. Omnipresence of meanings.
80 A transceiver gets an alternative world via maximal sensitivity and maximal invention: Novalis. Possible as actual. Possible worlds as sets of sentences. With intensions, implications, interrelations. Truth the form, meaning the content.
81 Idiolect = language of a private person, i.e. one in a private station. I am my world: the idiocosm. I am my book.
82 That’s spiritual. But another wrestling. Writing as the locus where some sort of God might show, immanent or transcendent.
83 The poetic stage is the fourth one, Søren missed it. Make up, make believe, make something out or of yourself or of something, or make out with something. God?
84 It’s unreasonable, even though unreason could conjure the specter of the sanatorium. Robert, Friedrich, Friedrich. So write about that.
85 Transform mental weaknesses into poetical gifts: manic/depressive, obsessive/compulsive, passive/impulsive, solipsistic/impressionable, anxious/reckless. Character as fate, characters as fight.
86 Cyclothymic poetics = metaphysics. The world as whirl of oscillation. Life a pen winging it between mania and dolor.
87 All along the white paper or the black notebook. Or the black and white composition book of youth. With musical parts, some private as a diary, to express the whirl immediately. Scraps of tunes. Philosophical snatches. Cool title, think I’ll use it. Meanwhile Jimi’s soloing.
88 Uncomposed book to avoid decomposition. Writing is staying alive, without it you’re dead or want to be: ghost or corpse. Cf. some German Expressionists.
89 The guy has black curly hair, a grey ribbed wool sweater. Huge hole in the elbow, red and white striped shirt showing through. His satchel an orange leather swatch of infinity. He stares at me but doesn’t see me. I don’t mind that. I can be a pamphlet that isn’t manifest. The girl has a brown arm with a freckle near the elbow. Talks intently to her candy bar, says, No, I liked the other one.
90 Love the ones who might disdain you. Put yourself into them even though they’d reject you as a stranger. Be their brother or sister: writing as secret fraternization. Their words, gestures in with yours. Same with sibling writers.
91 But what if they do violence, want to hurt you? Like biblical brothers. Cain, Jacob, Esau. I don’t know.
92 Dana wrote a beautiful lyric about Julie Andrews losing her voice, they did violence to her, that distressed me also. Yesterday, dusk, sidewalk, a little girl sang Do a Deer to her papa, kids still watch that movie! Hills being alive or you alive on them!
93 Outside it’s dusk again.
94 I am starving, have to get food. Skiing makes you hungry. It’s cold, I put back on my sweater.
95 It’s tough to steer with so much momentum. I might’ve gone too far, taken my turns too wide.
96 Robert Redford looked really sexy in Downhill Racer. I wanted to fuck him or be him. In a dream once, I put my hand on his chest, pushed him back against the wall, kissed him. He liked it, then we made out.
97 Julie Andrews looked really shiny in The Sound of Music, I wanted her to fuck me or be my governess. In a dream once—
98 Never mind that, Traver. Have to break off this poem. Dark blue exhaustion.
99 Part and whole: Walser said all his pieces belonged to one huge, torn-apart book of himself. A set of writings could be one dispersed confessional treatise.
100 One and many: Schopenhauer said his huge tome expressed a single thought. A set of fragments could express a single question, e.g. how to be.
101 Life the ultimate poetic and metaphysical value. But that is freedom. From and for. You or writing resurrected by self-destruction. Those who lose their life, etc. I could turn into Gregoire, Stevie, Minna, Gunter. Next manifesto will be different. Should be subtler, this one’s too pointed like that guy’s elbow. Also it’s sort of lewd and demonstrative. Next one should be delicate.
102 The bald guy’s skull glowed with a Vermeer highlight. His jaw moved because he chewed gum. His back stayed still, broad and meaty.
103 This music is rock now. Traver Travers Travis. I chose Traver. Travis is a little bit country, I’m a lot more rock ’n roll. Actually, punk, vs. that sister and brother. But Marie’s son just committed suicide, jumped out a window, writing should admit that.
104 He left a final note for his only friend. I don’t know what to say now.
105 The final trans words in my dictionary are transverse and transvestite, they don’t help.
106 I zipped up the fly of my men’s trousers to hide my private dick, it was thick with love, although still skinny like a pamphlet, so it manifested itself anyway. Only now it was mournful.
107 Androgyny lit up the room.
108 I said, Next time could be different pants. Button-fly, also maybe what’s under. But the young man did not say that.
109 I, Traver, said, I dig my trouser role. Sung as mezzo. But the young man’s life was no opera.
110 Then Queen came on, with Freddie Mercury. A queer coincidence.
111 No it didn’t. Yeah it did: it came on in my head, I don’t know why, so I made it be real. It had some meanings. It’s the meanings that might save us.
112 The world is all that is trans verse. It’s translit. It lights up, then lights out. Lights up, out, etc. Trans iteration = living onward.
This manifesto was originally written for / presented at TENDENCIES: Poetics & Practice.
Traver Pam Dick (aka Mina Pam Dick, Hildebrand Pam Dick, Gregoire Pam Dick et al.) is a writer, translator, artist and philosopher living in New York City. A native New Yorker, she received a BA from Yale University and an MFA in Painting as well as an MA in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota. Her writing has appeared in Tantalum, BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, Try!, Aufgabe, Everyday Genius, and The Recluse, and is forthcoming in Fence Magazine and Mrs. Maybe. She has translations with Uljana Wolf in Dandelion and Telephone magazines, and of Uljana Wolf in Wolf’s book FALSE FRIENDS (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011). Her philosophical work has been included in a collection put out by the International Wittgenstein Symposium (Kirchberg am Wechsel, Austria). Her first book, DELINQUENT, was published by Futurepoem Books in 2009.