Jessica Dismorr (1885–1939), Left: Related Forms,1937; Right: Superimposed Forms,1938

Magus Magnus

Topology of Books Unread, Thoughts Revisited

Specifically, The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison and The Great God Pan
by Arthur Machen, from a Dover catalog. Nor have I read
Knut Hamsun’s Pan, but will someday, especially in light of his Hunger, and the film
Hamsun starring Max von Sydow. Susceptible to that pull of some works
before they’re read, or even before they’re examined as to cover or excerpt. Something’s already
known about them. The wind in the chimes produces reminders
of discrepancy, slippage in the experience of day and sidewalk. A hitch of the coat
tighter around shoulders. Threadbare shoulders of an over-worn, once stylish, other-era coat.
It’s there, in collective memory, in the Akashic records, universal archives,
accessible to the individual—also, at a glance, on Amazon. Opened
up to any from anywhere. Everything written if written
from a certain level, plane, or depth is instantly written on the inside of our skulls.

Alive, the Worm Ouroboros and the Great God Pan, neither read
in their intentions, nor known in the reality-fracture of their archetypal urges,
break through our brainpans to world. But first it’s that etching into bone
that causes the cracks. Everything written if written epic-truthfully
etches into bone. Nihilism too can get to the depth of that plane,
smirk of negation at that certain level, and the human skull splits unto nothingness.
What shapes and landscapes are these?—blind surmise of topography, shadow and
darker shadow, darkness and darker darkness going black. Going farther,
then, some such best books don’t even need to be read. Absence is more akin
to erasure than to darkness, black of night. A space widened out for the imagined book
as colorful, vague, imprecise, and fluid as dreamscape, however presumptive or wrong.
But, back to facts, there are golden ratios in the way branches divide

blue skies into networks and nodes. Networks and nodes divide blue skies
into their geometric fancies, sinuous topological methods as a branch
of geometry, fundamental properties of space over measurement and number.
Is it a stretch to find topological methods as someone looks up
through a deliquescent tree, past either budding or withering?
Any seasonal change on those branches identifies new presence just as much by absence
of what once was, that erasure, as anything there. That widened out space

to place memory and imagination. Alive, Ouroboros stirs
as ominously as precursor winds of catastrophic storms, rated
by the hundred year. It twists, Ouroborus as a storm torus.

Twisted, Ouroborus is a Möbius strip. Coated a black so black
that it’s neither color nor anti-color, but an absence, an approach to absolute
invisibility. A black so black it’s dubbed superblack, an approach to absolute
black, and beats the government’s current standard of blackest black. The darkest
substance ever devised by science. A carbon nanotube mesh entraps
light like never before, and at the same time scatters it decisively,
maximizing absorption and minimizing reflection: light appears to shimmy backwards
in space, creating a negative space. To look into it is to look into nothingness
according to accounts of those who have gazed upon the paper-thin surface of the stuff.
A gaze into tarry vortex, giving sticky vertiginous sensation of maelstrom
and nothingness. Quite close now to the invention of a cloak of invisibility
for military applications, and more, were it not for shadows cast

behind any objects covered in this carbon nanotube coating; for it’s the shadows
that give away the stealth. For a black so black casts a shadow nonetheless—
same as darkness in the human heart, that principle of baseness
an intrinsic constituent of the universe, shadow-twists of baseness at every turn
of the spiral from microcosm to macrocosm, that sticky vertiginous maelstrom
and hellstorm, blackest badness, tarry vomitus of creation, darkest substance ever spewed.
The Human Being is a torus. The Human Being as a shape to be turned inside-out.

Topological methods have it that any torus-shaped object can be turned inside-out
and retain its fundamental properties. Any torus-shaped object can be turned, twisted,
to reveal its fundamental properties. Beyond numerical relationships, change
on the branch identifies not just presence but absence of what once was,
yet with a pattern like the daily walk taken by that one looking through the trees to sky
and feeling how it is to stand alone on Earth. Now brisk in pace
and temperature. This particular person is as good as any, for example.

Now brisk in pace, and heated, Pan chases a not-so-innocent nymph through a thick forest;
a warm tangled forest, humid and deep, and comparable in darkness—in effect on light—
to that carbon nanotube mesh abovementioned. Thick with trees. But Ouroboros shimmers
and weaves through symbol, through metaphoric—meteoric—torpor, encircling entropy
on a galactic scale. On the scale of universe and multiverse. To make an example
of that particular person, as good as any, who patterns a daily walk with looks
focused on sky-shapes broken out by branches, whether budding or withering, Pan uses
topological methods to get at his or her fundament.
Yet Ouroborus, less lewdly, understands fundamental properties.
Universe, multiverse, and Human Being: towards unity
an urgency impels movement, however concupiscent or serpentine. Still, to look
into it is to look into nothingness. Nevertheless, it always twists, it’s never still.

Ceaseless, Human Being is a torus, ever to be turned inside-out
and revealed. A twist of the flesh topologically, more than mythopoetically:
matho-poetically! Although most animals with digestive systems are tori,
there are exceptions. Flukes. Actually, there are creatures called flukes—
parasitic worms that lodge in human blood vessels and have mouths but do not have anuses
(without continuous passage and interconnectivity
of Outside and In, this is not the shape of a torus, this is not the image of God.

More strangeness of flukes: once thought hermaphroditic, these creatures go around
in attached gender pairs, the smaller female held in a slit midway in the male’s body).
The torus is an ontologically-privileged shape, universal
in its interconnectedness, Outside and In, microcosm itself is macrocosm,
inextricably intertwined. Has to do with that hole in the middle.
A torus is doughnut-shaped. In dynamism, it’s a cyclone.
But still, it’s doughnut-shaped, however elongated: digestive tunnel
with openings on each end for egesting and ingesting, there’s the hole.
Taken by topology from at its surface, not the hole, but the whole
system. Pulled at from the surface, that which can be turned inside-out at first imaginings.
To be sure, some squamous, for the squeamish—and some plain skin. Stretched, all that flesh
and emptiness, space and shape; that’s the space to define, slap a grid on it, map it out

with topology. Not with measurements and numbers, slap that flesh
with a grid, create networks and nodes to make it known—regions, points and lines,
intersections. Start with a mouth, pull up the lip, the inside of the cheek.
Not trying to be cheeky here, but try the other end as well; yes, turn the other cheek,
turn it all out. Turn it all inside-out. Certainly stretched. Consider a balloon. Consider
the universe, how it expands, stretches. Relations remain—nodes, regions.
Better explained by nuclear physicist George Gamow in One, Two, Three… Infinity,
a Dover book, in a section titled “Turning Space Inside Out.” My thoughts recurrently
return to a cartoon in there, Figure 20, illustration of body and universe
as one. It’s all one to turn the space—to turn space—inside-out, invert it.
Any torus-shaped surface and surroundings can be so deformed:
Distortion doesn’t foul up the fundamental properties, doesn’t foul

the fundament. That cartoon can take our example, the body in the cartoon can be
our example, our abovementioned, that person on a sidewalk
on the surface of the earth, our particularity. For torus—torturous, toro!
Bull in the labyrinth. Tora! Tora! Tora! Neither thunderbolt nor surprise attack
can make this any the less obscure, but allow understanding, sudden crack of lightning—
insight. Electric fork of plasma through superblack, heat and light through dark,
nothingness overcome by the principle of the real, the principle of baseness beaten
by that same power ever-shifting the all-encompassing shape,
the toroidal volume empty and full, that same power in dynamic stillness, in the light
invisible, in the silent sound of the spheres. It’s that something our example on the street,
that particular—exemplary—person observing the sky through a network of tree
branches, feels, intuits, remembers, grasps, and indeed knows, but cannot see.

That person taking a walk is the person in the cartoon, a torus,
a doughnut-shaped Human Being on Earth’s Surface in the Universe all revealed as one whole
when turned inside-out by topological methods: for stars, moon, planets, and galaxies
(the whole wizard’s hat) end up contained in the tube, the hole, the narrow channel of a cosmos
where skies and space are flesh, hung with constellations of one human’s organs—
liver, stomach, gall bladder, small and large intestines. Gory, how the flesh
of One is All-in-All, identical, that total system one and the same in space and shape.

That total system one and the same in space and shape, the same in fundamental properties
whether stretched or twisted—no matter. No, it is matter, it’s still plasma—
of a different kind than that most common phase of matter in the universe, the plasma
of lightning and stars. I’m referring to the body’s bloody plasma, just as—with a twist—
we have the whole universe inside one person’s intestines, the whole shitty universe,
cloaca black, black so black it’s black as universal badness,
viscous sticky blackest tarry baseness. Negative space in which the light
appears to go backwards in space; really, a disappearing light, an emptying-out shimmer.
Similar to how the mind can go back on itself, not insight exactly, but imagery
as of books unread, impressions and imagination out of excerpt or Amazon
review. How Eddison is known to me to be epic with art-valid archaisms
in order to speak of greatness and the battle between good and evil

and Machen is cosmic and pagan, subterraneously sexual,
supernatural and preternaturally forceful; thus, both
The Worm Ouroboros and The Great God Pan come alive with archetypal
urgency and crack through to world. From torus to toros, Möbius strip
and labyrinth—following the thread, fighting the bull—blowing it all out
again, playing with spaces and surfaces, twist the Möbius strip with another, twist two,
and what does it get you?—a Klein bottle (order from Acme!), another topological
space, another non-orientable object with only one side and—
unlike the one-sided single-edged Möbius strip—no edges.
It really does look like a bottle, some bizarre type of bottle,
and it actually can be ordered from Acme. It has one hole that, in turn, in a turn,
gives it one handle, its inside is its outside, and it contains itself.

Wile E. Coyote couldn’t be happier with his purchase on these concepts, shipped to fulfill
and foil his cartoon schemes, projected as promisingly iconic as Ouroboros
the Tail-Devourer, with that suspension-over-the-cliff suspicion of Pan as Panic.

Ouroboros Tail-Devourer snakes its way to renewal.
It sneaks up on itself, eats itself, and digests, itself the lump in the length of its form;
it holds the tip of its tail in its mouth and rolls, a serpent-wheel,
the serpent who cycles through death and rebirth, alive as Eternal Recurrence of the Same.
The cycles are ever alike, but the Cycles of cycles are ever the Same—exact Same
on the grandest scale of exactitude, most formidable meaning, most fearsome import.
Ouroboros the self-swallowing serpent is the Eternal Return.

Ouroboros, the self-reflexive, bites its tail; the serpent swallows its life to begin
anew. Self-reflexive, it comes back to itself, always circling—
it always ends up circling around itself, circling itself, encircled
by itself. Self-reflexive, it’s self-creative, first in self-destroying—self-swallowing
for new starts—and then in Eternal Renewal, constantly renewing itself like World,
the Self-Same World. It’s a unity. It’s solitary. It’s solipsistic, like the cartoon.
Like Pan and masturbation, as Diogenes had it. A Myth of Masturbating Gods.
Why ancient Greek shepherds were known for bucolic stroking out on the hills:
Pan taught them, as he was taught by his father Hermes. Solipsism, as omnipotent
as those Autoerotic Gods; for when sex is solitary
it’s nonetheless an action of one who is one with the universe, one-as-the-universe,
as in that person turned inside-out topologically. That’s when sex is one. When sex

is two, at best two become one for the while; anyways, if Pan
taught shepherds, he probably taught country maidens as well, instructing both
in the mechanics of jacking and jilling, lusciously. It didn’t mean he wasn’t after
the consummate act. In fact, Pan’s prowess was legendary, and he could go well beyond
the two that become one in the universe, but that’s another story—
of orgies and Maenads and multiplied selves. Not this story, in which one
or two-as-one—to the tune of Pan’s flute—twists with, in, and as the Cyclic Self-Same Universe.

That’s as if inside a twist to the Möbius strip, Ouroboros’ circle, Yin-Yang symbol
whirls light and dark, whirls the world out of the great worm, the worm as great as strands
of DNA spiral, as universal as wormholes spiraling shortcuts through space and time.
Ever-reinitiated dynamic one-upping of dark and light over the other.
Superblack on top. Baseness on top—and then, from the underneath, from beneath the shadows
Pan erupts into consciousness, erupts out of denial, the Great God Pan bursts forth and spurts
the supernatural—the subterranean—as white cosmic liquid light and heat, as life
urge itself in the universe, as demiurgic life urge. The Worm Ouroboros turns
for the light side of love and for the dark side of baseness, with each side casting its shadows;
so too, the dark side of sexuality urges towards love, union, and renewable
ever-reinitiated creation—for beyond all shadows there must be a light
source, because darkness isn’t absolute invisibility.

For it’s the light casting those shadows that gives away the stealth, that strips bare
the undeniable. Pan’s prowess was legendary and he could go
well beyond. Another non-orientable object with only one side and no edges.
Pan was known for his sexual powers, and is often depicted with an erect phallus.
Klein Bottle another topological shape, bottle-like indeed, and yet an endless hole
that turns in and around itself, inside-out always, thick and in, its inside is its outside—
it is the hermaphroditic shape par excellence, par specifying exuberance,
lingam and yoni symbol in one, the phallus and vagina
a unity, all-in-one genitalia. To the tune of Pan’s flute, which could sexualize
the innocent and willing, arouse lust, yet also all the while stimulate sublimation-
inspiration, and panic. Urgency going inside and outside while spiraling down
Ouroboros’ throat. And all the while orderable from Acme.

That cartoon includes the moon, that person beneath the trees on a sidewalk
on earth turned inside-out, that particular person and the universe as All-in-One:
sun, moon, and stars swallowed in a narrow digestive channel, then heart and brain for galaxies
heavenly hung as the up-above and all-around. The heart muscular, and bulging with blood
vessels. Internal organs a cosmos, crawling with cilia like worms.
There are eyeballs and eyestalks. Universal dynamism is writhing.
While Pan’s music could charm the savage bestiality, he had to hide

his form if he wanted to seduce divinity. With sheepskin. He hid hoof and fetlock,
and wrapped his hairy goatish self in lamb’s trappings to draw the moon
into the trees, to coax the moon goddess Selene to come down to meet him in the forest.
He had her. She came down from the sky into the forest, she descended through the branches
of trees, and he had her deliciously, delectably, beneath networks
and nodes of leaf-shivering, space-dividing, silver-tinged deliquescence.
Immodest pleasures of conquest, this shadowed mix of moonbeams and intent.

Magus Magnus

Magus Magnus’ work sources poetry and “the poetic” as central both to the extremes of interiority (thought, philosophy) and exteriority (performance, deed).

Books include The Re-echoes (Furniture Press Books, 2012), Idylls for a Bare Stage (twentythreebooks, 2011), Heraclitean Pride (Furniture Press Books, 2010), and Verb Sap (Narrow House, 2008). His Poets Theater work has been presented in Washington D.C., Alexandria, Baltimore, New Orleans, and New York – highlights include Boog City Poetry, Music, and Theater Festival 7.0 and 7.5, two years in a row at Sidney Harman Hall for The Shakespeare Company’s “Happenings at the Harman,” the Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival, and a “Must-See,” 5-Star, “Best of the Fringe”-rated run for the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival. Magnus was the Poets Theater curator for Boog City 8, summer 2014 in New York, and will be a panelist/presenter for the event “Poetics Theater: A Textual and Theatrical Performance and Discussion” at AWP, spring 2015 in Minneapolis.