Issue 22




from the blanchot variations


Colin Campbell Robinson




Let us share eternity

make it transitory

         —Maurice Blanchot




These variations are part of a longer piece based on my reading of Maurice Blanchot’s The Writing of the Disaster.  The passages in italics are Blanchot’s own words. 




1. Say nothing, speak in order to say nothing; fail without fail, count on disarray, play; out play.


2. detached from


including detachment


3. Excluding himself from creation he creates, but not as God.


4. Always poised at the point of abandonment or, rather, at the trembling edge.


5. be patient

a simple motto

very demanding


6. A foreign night: live a time without present.


7. the silent rupture of the fragmentary


8. Is there passivity beyond disquietude?


9. Juggle the even with the uneven.


10. to speak the unknown


11. At table, illuminated by screens, all in another world not on this rain filled night.


12. Passivity interrupts reason and speech. Ask; what remains of experience?


13. Here not there, wherever there is or isn’t. The place where everything is recorded for-ever, the eternity of the not-now, the ersatz now.


14. Giving up, abandoned, destroyed by ‘preferring not to’.


15. A formless obsession with form; what comes into the mouth not what comes out. Lips massaged, satisfied by the final ashen taste.


16. speech that speaks

without exercising

any form of power


17. The impending catastrophe, surely not, prefer not to.


18. Faithless




19. Beauty: can it be said or only paid for?


20. Is the show convincing and on what level?


21. Are all stories available but forgotten?


22. Live a sabbatical existence, said Levinas.  Pause, break from use or being used, or using. This is creation's rest.


23. Among the igneous out thrown, cooled by endless flows, the Celtic Sea calls.


24. Crystal suspension prays before the darkened horizon.


25. what remains

without remains


26. Those who have gone are still here, standing in the wings,

waiting for a cue.


27. Sadness can only be observed slowly.


28. For otherness is but the feeling of otherness rendered intuitive, or alterity visually represented, as Coleridge said all those romantic years ago.


29. All the bodies, all the expectations allowing those to serve the itch, the bite, always the right size, always purchase but no grip.


30. saying

is no game


31. Looking at time, a diversion via the camp, unease spread.

Even so, some giggled.


32. the interruption

of the incessant


33. Future, past, both without present: destroyed, without destruction, invisible when seen, speaking the other voice, out of reach.


34. Why wound, exhaust, hound, spaniel at heel?


35. Exiled from experience, rescued from benign waves.


36. can the disaster

be interrogated










Colin Campbell Robinson is an Australian writer currently resident in the Celtic extremity of Kernow.  He has been published in numerous journals around the world, most recently in BlazeVox 15, Stylus and Ink Sweat and Tears.  His book, Blue Solitude a self portrait in six scenarios is a forthcoming publication from Knives Forks and Spoons Press.