To start with, I needed to take up what's been said in Anticlimax, that would also be the scheme to end the entire poem.
I then had the idea of a mathematical twist. So Act one came into being: it would be the core piece, the actual treatise on the sublime. It would need a sub-structure in itself, I decided for a three-part structure with a prologue and epilogue and an in-between. The central idea was to create a mathematical matrix with the determinant being zero, alas an ironic play on the content: Even though there are many, many words uttered, the result is empty. (Though it may seem tempting, even though I name the act Matrix, it has nothing to do with the movie as such, the mathematical component has been the key motivator.)
I wanted the elements of the matrix within a column to rhyme, and ten was the maximum of rhymes I thought bearable. The Greek numbering even allowed for the first column (Haze, Maze &c) to rhyme with its title (heis=one). I only wanted half a matrix: it was sufficient to prove my point with the determinant, and why work myself to death, also, I liked the graphical component of decreasing intensity. So the matrix itself would form steps, a play on the title of the poem, creating a climactic (or anticlimactic) structure. If the order (taxis) of the matrix is anticlimactic, the prologue (protaxis then) was to be climactic, and it, too, had to climb up ten stairs (ten metric feet to be achieved by the end). The epitaxis could have used a similar logic, but that would have meant outdoing it, it would have been too predictable, so I did a "normal" stanza, returning to the stairs only in the middle of act two, and again at the end of act four. (That's because the five-act structure was not planned in advance, so I've been pretty much lying to you beforehand: "In Dreams" originally was a stand-alone piece, and I incorporated it only after I recognized it to be the perfect conclusion to Klimax, as in the end, I had absolutely no idea of how to end it. So the original structure has the Protaxis in the beginning and end, and loosely in the middle (as act three is so short). The thematic background for the entire treatise will partly follow Burke's essay "A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful".
The matrix itself is now executed in following parts, with two of them standing out; 1.10/Days, which will stay empty to make the calculation work out; and 5.2/Be, which is a rather erratic piece of biological terms put together, underlining the physicality, the rawness of being, the part of the sublime we carry within. The final part, 10.10/Rise, starts with resuming the "wake / and make" formula that will now be a central part of the story arch throughout my following poems. The epilogue, epitaxis, is less a closer than something pushing forward, again, returning to "wake / and make", and leading further.
The first interlude, Clues, explains the mathematical principle behind the Matrix, and expands on the issue of nothingness. Its reductionist approach is illustrated by its decreasing structure: the first stanza has 16 lines and 8 feet (foreshadowing the coming hexameter in the next act), the second 8, the third 4, the fourth only 2, the fifth 1, and in order to reduce further, the feet are reduced in the following, from 8 to 4 to 2 to 1.
This half-hearted reduction is reversed in the next act by a full climax towards an hexameter in the form of · · - · · - · · - · · - · · - · · - , that means 6 anapests, equaling a total of 18 feet in the end. Each stanza will grow both in width (feet) and height (number of lines), forming a matrix starting with 1*1 leading up to 18*18; and this time, there's no empty element. Furthermore, all stanzas will have the same end rhyme. The end rhyme of each stanza is cited in the penultimate feet of the first line of the next stanza, thus providing an element of continuity (e.g., Fall - All will; And kill - And fill out). The additional feet of the meter are added to the front: - // · - / · - // · · - &c. The dots in the beginning of a triplet of stanzas signify the number of "finished" anapests. The structure is broken up in the middle by an interlude repeating the "wake / and make" paradigm (which will also return in Broken Down in a latin translation, "excita / et face").
When I'm using archaic forms anyway, why not go there directly in terms of language. I've always wanted to do something in Latin, played around with it a bit in Breakdown, created a free-association-kind of translation of the Latin Requiem, so now it had to be, something directly written in Latin. Actually, I had gone archaic before already, citing Plato's Apology in the Matrix part, and also writing two smaller sections in Greek. But a whole part in Latin (and, were it not in the direct context of Klimax, a whole poem in itself) would be something entirely different. But why do it at all? The why is answered in the how: Language is at the center of poetry, and different languages can express different things differently. If you look closely at the second interlude, you will see that certain associations are possible in Latin more than they are in English (like "cades/cecidis/caecatus es"; cf. also Eventum Quartum from Fuga with its play on inaniter/inanimus/animal; which also resumes the "sci/audi/vide" paradigm established in Klimax). Thus the desired content in a way dictates the form; with all the connotations accompanying it. --- As form is all-important in the entire poem, the interlude has a framed structure, framing the content by the words audire/videre (the senses, especially hearing and seeing being in the center of the effects of the sublime).
The next act, Descent, is basically content-driven, resuming my (till then) almost canonical six-stanza rule, though breaking up rhyme and meter when necessary: Formal elements not having an importance in themselves, they have to be motivated; once such motivation can only be artificial, it should fall.
Limbo, the third interlude, is just what is implied by the title, resuming the tone of Taxis 5.2/Be and Epitaxis. The motto of the phase, Chaos Kai Nomos / Chaos and Order ("order" in the "nomos" sense of political, normative order; thus juxtaposing natural self-ordering (chaos) with culturally imposed order (nomos)), is mentioned directly, followed by a direct attack upon received hierarchical thinking in religious canons. That may appear surprising after my more conservative-looking utterances in Requiem and Group 4, but it isn't really; those are all creative counterpoints; I despise dogma, and once I cite it, it's always a citation waiting for a counter-argument.
As said before, the form is waiting for a counter-argument; so the relation between Interlude Four and Act Four looks rather odd size-wise; the interlude having gained in relation to the act itself. --- In a motion in favor of categorial unity, a double-line from Boustrophêdon is taken up and varied (B: "not the slightest doubt gets lost here / not the slightest piece is mine dear" K: "Not the slightest piece gets lost here"), thus turning a more pessimistic tone into a more optimistic one. --- Thematically, Act Four closes the treatise as such, and the Interlude becomes more of a conclusion; retaking previous arguments and bringing them to an end, therefore also being termed a remix.
How to conclude? Structurally, thematically, and phase-wise, Klimax is the real break with Phase Two. This needs to be made clear in a more obvious way, so I need to refer back to the past and create a motion towards the present. The cornerstone of Phase Two is the Ennealogy Thread, so this is what needs to be cited. Thus the Remix ends with citing the catch-phrases of said thread: "Dreams Deep Down", "Fire Walks With Me" (in itself quoting David Lynch's "Fire, Walk With Me" phrase from Twin Peaks), "Light and Shadow" (with is also meant as a strong allusion to Babylon 5) and "Neverwhere", here cited indirectly by quoting Poe's "Nevermore" from his Raven. And as the mysteries associated with the dream are the epitome of the sublime, the final act is called "In Dreams". And so, we begin in the diction of the Ennealogy, but rapidly breaking the form by breaking both rhyme and meter. That process of dissolution is assisted by two plays on form again, in stanza V the first six lines are broken in two (the first half always being "In dreams it is", the second half having no connection to the first and thus starting anew with a capital letter), and in stanza VI, again in the beginning, reducing the phrase further ("In dreams it is" / "In dreams it" / "In dreams" / "In") while otherwise staying within the formal surroundings of the Ennealogy (4 iambic meters and 10 rhyming couplets). Stanza V directly refers to the previous content, taking up the motif of "Blood" from Taxis 5.2/Be , referencing to madness (and the Raven) with "Raving" and, finally, with the obligatory "Wake!" back to the Protaxis. Stanza VI now delivers some sort of transcendental harmony at the end.
The Postludium is the second return of Anticlimax, again resuming the mathematical impetus behind the matrix (that of emptiness) and ends with quoting "Fade to Black", the final mentioning of the Ennealogy. So it is a return back to the point of departure; the poem is forming a circle, a kind of ouroboros even, a snake eating its own tail.
July 21st, 2003