The SCRUTINIUM DEVICE may be encountered as a reactive model of a restricted anatomy of language. It is composed of several jointed parts:
Mirrors enclose the surface of the modeled word in images of itself. As an observer cooperates with a word, the word and its images will overwHte diemselves with each other. It may be difficult to determine where an image ends and the word begins.
The device is cooperated with by orbiting it with an observational apparatus or eye. The mirrors assist in communication as optic glasses by which the word enacts its distortions, contingencies, emergencies, folds and ruptures from within the optically permeable enclosure of this rectilinear tear.
Unspeakability is a common and self-canceling linguistic trope — it occurs most frequently where affect and description converge. Both very real, a resistant and intractable material, and very unreal, an odorless, invisible, intangible rot, speech fails a speaker confronting the covalent necessity and resistance of a feeling description. The speaker may orbit the subject, then lapse into despair: “speech cannot suffice…” Words bring nothing back from the dead.
From Latin: to make golden. A rhetorical device, aureation or aureate diction seeks to gild English with Latin coinage, to dilate the language with lavishness. It is a kind of linguistic horror vacui. Within the device, extravagant ornamentation stages a transformation of the modeled words into unspeakability, corruption-as-form, and the compound alterity of a thing that is outside itself, that is a self bathing in its own corrupt fluids or plucked from the toes of a fly. The dissolvent words modeled here are an aureate incantation. They enact an elaborate and overwrought decay; they emerge from themselves by ornamenting themselves into deliquescence.
Claire DeVoogd is a poet.