1825: U.S. postal service creates a dead letter office
1825: Persistence of vision shown with the pre-cinematic Thaumatrope, a disk with an image on each side: bird, wings up on one side and down on the other.
eye, lids open on one side and closed on the other.
when rotated rapidly, the observer perceives
an eye opening and closing or, a bird in flight
the constants. sun shines over houses that were bombed in the night. mailman comes each day at same time with mail for you even though you no longer live here.
you are not a beloved sent to war that I've heard no word of, whose letter was inside of a blown up mail shipment bag or who has not written because he has been killed. perhaps my longing for your letters is self-indulgent luxury, a suffering your absence only possible because of the absence of war on my soil, in leisure of wars waged
written in invisible ink unseen here but appearing there
sent as emissaries, these words my nocturnal emissions
in this intermission,
missing, and missives, and missing missives
I miss: I yearn for. I miss: I fail to hit my target
missive: Of a weapon or engine of war. = MISSILE.
with you no longer living in our apartment at least now I can't be guilty of 'Overlooking'- gazing too long upon a coveted object, imposing the evil eye causing illness, poverty, injury, loss of love, death.
Facina: of the eyes, to stare.
Envy: evolved from the Latin verb, Invidere: to see into
envious of strangers that graze your hand while giving you change or gaze into the back of your neck while standing behind you in elevators; jealous of this page as you read it: in case a message can be infected or can transfer the evil eye I have enclosed an apotropaic charm of blue glass, resembling an eye, which mirrors back the blue of an invidious eye in order to confound it. such charms, common in the Middle East, are blue because the stranger who is feared for his envious gaze is blue-eyed: a Westerner
the Sicilian term for one who gives the evil eye is jettatura, from the same root-word as ejaculation and projection-
in ancient greek theories of vision corporeal effluences called species, emerge and project themselves from the surfaces of objects, impressing directly onto eyes when looked at:
corporeal images, simulacra, copies, films, material replicas
in this seeing as touch,
is it the object that yearns to be looked at and emanates its seeds eyeward,
or is it the desirous observer that must seduce the object into ejecting forth its species?
does each person or object have a finite amount of dischargable species that can be dispensed with, does one need to shroud oneself to save their being looked at, so as to not have their seeds used up?
maybe that is what death is: when a person or object's species have been used up and they cannot be seen anymore
advent of private letter:
1840 first postage stamp, 1849 first US patent for the envelope.
contents sealed: 19th century american anarchist mail bombings, the Unibomber, pipe bombs placed in mailboxes, a letter sent to american airlines president saying you will be receiving a book in the mail that will be of interest to you, followed three days later by a bomb that exploded when he opened the hollowed-out book it was hidden inside of
I'd like to trace the course of this letter through the mail system, interviewing each person that relays it, Hermes in disguise as ordinary mailman transferring microscopic particles of skin to and from you and I to mingle with those of each postal worker that touches it, do they affect what we write, do we seep into their fingers, do we take each other home, should they wear protective gloves
multiplicity of information: Hermes as fertility god
message encryption: Hermes as trickster stealing Apollo's cattle and obscuring the trail by making the herd walk backward