Intimate Spaces, Homes, Other Thoughts

by Viktor Pivovarov

W.C. Williams: “Though the eye / turns inward, the mind / has spread its embrace—in / a wind that / roughs the stiff petals—”

Dreaming. Daydreaming. Obscurity: My mind often harmoniously quakes at the thought of disappearing, re-appearing, in our own “intimate spaces” “the cosmos” of our physical spaces, the most intimate comfort zones like a house, an apartment; one’s “home.” I think that my photography has a comfort zone of its own, beyond the “audience” “viewer” “voyeur” “escapist” &c. It isn’t necessary for anyone to “understand” my photographs, as long as they are understood by me. (The same can be said for Poetics.) “Meaning” often gets lost amidst the “Act.” Should one attempt to Understand something solely by imagining that one has created it? The reader, as Wallace Stevens once framed, always reads poetry with one’s nerves. How correct he was to state that reading a poem should be an experience, like experiencing an act. Photography can be echoed in the same light. This brings me to the idea of how certain people only go places when something is on one’s mind, but in truth, “we” (the individual) are always at “some place,” whether physically or psychologically, and the daydreamer has no choice. I wrote a poem that is similar; the past, present, future (or the possibility of imagining the future, leaving it open for questioning) that (abstract or not) is a memory where I still ‘reside’ at in my mind, that goes like this:
Your face boiled
like a bright diamond
when we parted
with innocent weeping;
the glow, flaming
to a zenith.

Behind our heads,
each our own golden sky,
as strong as naked rejoicing.

You & I,
the glass of the window;
our Past,
once a sweet & gentle vision
that became our Future,
terrible & invisible,
wolves of our own domains.

And so, between us,
what we all relate:
The Villain of Parting,
nearly unearthly, on one leg
it limped,
do you not remember?

The physical appearance of an Imagination would be either catastrophic or enchanting.

Poems evoke various associations, hence reading a memory. Letters, words, sentences: the invisible spaces upon a page? Our “souls” and “spirits” are invisible. ‘We’ essentially live in a “shell,” which is our Body, which in essence is our “house.” Mary Oliver says that whatever a house is to the heart and a body of man—refuge, comfort, luxury—surely it is as much or more to the spirit. She concludes, “Think how often our dreams take place inside the houses of our imaginations!” The Physical, our bodies, are the only ‘truths’ of our existence to other human beings. The spirit, which is The Real Person, is invisible (the physical being temporal and the unseen being invisible). In the Hebrew, “house” בַּיִת refers to both the “dwelling habitation,” “shelter or abode of animals,” or an “abode of light and darkness” translates as what we refer to in a Physical sense. The same term, however, applied figuratively as “bodies,” and metaphorically as “inwards” (Inward Dwelling of the Holy Spirit). In Matthew 12:25, Jesus Christ said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or HOUSE divided against itself shall not stand…” If, as Mary Oliver says, our dreams take place inside the houses (more than one, in her view) of our imaginations, then if we, The Real Person (the spirit/soul) lives inside of our “house” (Body), then we, as Invisible Eternal creations, have houses within a house, which could therefore be consolidated down to “rooms.” Each room, our imaginations and memories exist; a combination like that of gail-force winds within the psyche’, dispersed as “floods of thought.” I sit and ‘probe’ the depths of my mind, “going in” as deeply as possible, yet what, if anything, brings forth the first memory that I ‘see’ and recall? The memory, as ungovernable, existing in its own fury. How poised, at times, is the Mind!

Jung used a multi-storied house as an analogy for the human psyche: “We have to describe and to explain a building, the upper story of which was erected in the nineteenth century; the ground-floor dates from the sixteenth century, and a careful examination of the masonry discloses the fact that it was reconstructed from a dwelling-tower of the eleventh century. In the cellar we discover Roman foundation walls, and under the cellar a filled-in cave, in the floor of which stone tools are found and remnants of glacial fauna in the layers below. That would be a sort of picture of our mental structure.” As Alton Conley notes: “Painted with a broad brush, this image opens our imagination to both the complexities of the human mind and the potentially rich associations of houses.”

In another essay Jung credits a dream, containing an image of a house, with one of his important psychoanalytic discoveries: “One [dream] in particular was important to me, for it led me for the first time to the concept of the collective unconscious . . . This was the dream. I was in a house I did not know, which had two stories. It was my house.” Our houses, in the physical sense, are as Conley again notes, “the protected environments that we dream in, and through our dreams find evidence of ourselves.” Bachelard said that “all really inhabited space bears the essence of the notion of home,” where the imagination “comfort[s] itself with the illusion of protection.”

In another section from Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, this is a perfect example of my own emotions/thoughts about former childhood homes:

“If we have retained an element of dream in our memories, if we have gone beyond merely assembling exact recollections, bit by bit the house that was lost in the mists of time will appear from out the shadow. We do nothing to reorganize it; with intimacy it recovers its entity, in the mellowness and imprecision of the inner life. It is as though something fluid had collected our memories and we ourselves were dissolved in this fluid of the past. Rilke, who experienced this intimacy of fusion, speaks of the fusion of being with the lost house: ‘I never saw this strange dwelling again. Indeed, as I see it now, the way it appeared to my child's eye, it is not a building, but is quite dissolved and distributed inside me: here one room, there another, and here a bit of corridor which, however, does not connect the two rooms, but is conserved in me in fragmentary form. Thus the whole thing is scattered about inside me, the rooms, the stairs that descended with such ceremonious slowness, others, narrow cages that mounted in a spiral movement, in the darkness of which we advanced like the blood in our veins.’”

The Body σμα (“soma”), again, is our “house” that we, as spirit beings, live in. The Physical. In Matthew 6:22, Christ says, “The light of the BODY is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” The eye-gates are important in what we ‘let in’ our bodies, which gets down into the spirit, which produces fruits, depending on what one has allowed to enter one’s eye-gates. The ear-gate has the same effect. Edmond Jabes once said that, at times, an individual is reduced to the ear and the eye, like one sitting in a theater watching a film. Or, “Through the ear, we shall enter the invisibility of things.” In a rebuttal, I say that the individual cannot be reduced to the ear and the eye, if one understands that The Real Person is living inside of a body (“house”), therefore to “reduce” an Individual would be to reduce Creation, which therefore would reduce God, the Ultimate Maestro.


Barthes: “I may know better a photograph I remember, than a photograph I am looking at, as if direct vision oriented its language wrongly, engaging it in an effort of description which will always miss its point of effect, the punctum. Ultimately—or at the limit—in order to see a photograph well, it is best to look away or close your eyes. 'The necessary condition for an image is sight,' Janouch told Kafka; and Kafka smiled and replied: 'We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds. My stories are a way of shutting my eyes.'”

I think that the photographer should have a brain in each eye.

 Deserving looks:


I heard the sleet outside of the window, and then a poem came:

Sleet falling, ticking
like a clock
on the crispy leaves.

Jean Echenoz: “A bird goes by . . . I follow it. This enables me to go wherever I like in the narrative.”

In a dream, the front door was rotting away (metamorphing/slowly disappearing?). The bottom half was all but gone, save for a few soft spots that clung by a thread. The door was large and had “insides.” I was looking through the door and could see the outside. I felt very worried. Thoughts of locking the door at night came rapidly. Even though the door would be locked at night, someone could easily reach upward and unlock the door, or easily break through and enter. I stood in front of the door, gazing at the door for a long period of time; many thoughts rushing through my head. Worried thoughts. The light on the outside was bright. I thought to myself that the door needed to be replaced. As I looked closer, I noticed that on the inside of the door at the bottom, there were many books perfectly placed, side-by-side, in similar fashion as they would be positioned on a shelf in a library.

In another dream, I was standing in a murderously bright white hospital, a fusillade of blinking whiteness, and in a specific room was an unspecified 3,000 year-old man, on his “death bed,” the final furrow. I was hovering around the room, as if like a guardian angel, floating/walking around the room and all about the hallways and spaces of the hospital, but all with no individuality of movement.


The eye/s in our dreams are like retinal circuses. Always the feeling of pre-sensations, pre-awareness, pre-knowingness--being told what is and what isn’t before coming to a conclusion, but running into them, truths, contradictions, a circular horizon, a feeling of unfeeling, but beyond feeling. The metaphor that “the body doesn’t do what the mind tells it to do” (this reference, often to an ageing body) is often what occurs in a dream, and at times vice-versa.

by Viktor Pivovarov


Keller said...

Your poetry,your ethic,your thought! Its wonderful, I had fun picking through your brain,listening to your opinions and hearing what you had to say. This is exquisitely wonderful and Im glad I took the time to read it. You can also read mine,if you want, but you are not obligated too

Vick said...

amazed by the sophisticated, extraordinary pictures from the posts