Eunoia Eye to Eye: A Sestina

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

The wheelmen, when wet, wrest the wheel.
~ Christian Bök

Eunoia, this is not a new aesthetic or epistemology about beauty, what ends
undergird Wittgenstein’s wit, pronouncements of logic, any subject under
Novalis and this noonday sky, of the theory of symbolism trumping names,
of the theory of types being categorical squares, pointy corners overlapping,
inward spiral into an nth number of trapezoids colliding, more intoned inside,
artifice as objects seen sub specie aeternitatis, happy despite eulogies and

euphemisms, or toasting revisioned lives, what possibility got shored up and
unraveled, red mountain of origami tigers dissolved in acid rain, timed to end
November, feast days from St. Martin’s to the long road home, warm inside
over Rudolf Stingel’s oil and enamel, forever untitled, clean, pristine under
Isaac and flammable evergreens, and fathers simplifying things, hands over
an old hangar where theory died, muted mirrors of the same, buoyed names

easing into veins, a new tractate, of artists talking to artists, about renaming
us as Orsini did, as if tapping Austen on her rough crinoline, lily skin and
naked shoulders to shimmer her politics, scabs hidden, layered hem over
oval pouches, old coins strapped to the shin, knobs for knees, tassels ending
in a ring around her ankles, tattoos of rock pigeons peeping through, under
Ancona’s bridge of dreams, where Angelo Ferretti sits forlorn, waits inside

empty-handed, pensive, open to meet halfway, across twin stairwells inside,
undercroft covered in linen, soft folds, each floral motif inscribed, named,
never pointing somewhere else, like our lost hours, or puzzled faces under
orange whorls, of No. 2, Pollock redrawing its setting sun, million bulbs and
intensely, light of coals from kilns, length of the Cardo finding a dead end
as if it needed to rest, Gerhard Richter’s Antelio glass as definitive, over

everybody’s outstretched arms, big palms beckoning or begging for leftover
Ungers and Unwin blueprints, their umbrella vault, Indic relics housed inside,
numinous in their backlit shapes, awkward form, edges, shards, sharp ends,
overhang of raw emotion, like Luy Tuymans’ pink ballroom reddening, and
in relief, a dollhouse and a fortalice falling into Noguchi’s garden of names,
an allegorical portrait, Alessandro Allori as Mercury slaying Argus under

eleven of Jupiter’s orbits, his hundred oracular eyes a sea of blue under
unused panels of basswood and sheet metal, on which we stand, hover over
Narcissus, himself over a loveless lake, an opaque pond by his side, and
our prayers too, that no one is left behind, to die, limits and regret inside,
in a labyrinth of rivers, the closing of our eyes to forget history, as named
as every mural and painting here, like Juno surrounded and alone, the end

like backdrops dropped in, under Wittgenstein’s solidity, doors bookending
our afternoon, where faith and hope sit side by side, over us returning and
wondering what being in love looks like, inside this sun terrace unnamed.

* The epigraph to this acrostic sestina is an excerpt from the poem “Chapter E” by Christian Bök. The author’s 2001 book, Eunoia, is a “univocal lipogram, in which each chapter restricts itself to the use of a single vowel”, the title itself being the shortest word in English to include all five vowels. Eunoia means “beautiful thinking”. Within Wittgenstein’s philosophy are indications of an aesthetic theory, with the idea that “ethics and aesthetics are one”. The Latin phrase “sub specie aeternitatis” translates as “under the aspect of eternity”.

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