The Proverbs of Ashendōn. gnOme, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1544126326. 96pp. $6.00.
The litany of a parallel, venomous wisdom, The Proverbs of Ashendōn veer from the broken narrative of their initial occlusion, to the lucidity of theologico-literary madness as a new topography of knowledge. As an inverted deity, “Ashendōn comes bearing gifts.”
“Each page herein has a pair of proverbs, each pair apparently procreating further pairs—further proverbial couplings—unto and until the very last one, which understandably stands as a symbol not only of the whole endeavor (The Proverbs of Ashendōn) but also, and all the more so, of these ‘Proverbs’ as ashen ‘Postverbs’: Postmortem/Post«mot» ‘Proverbs’. The Proverbs of Ashendōn are in hindsight—looking back from their last page (Spolier Alert!)—spelled-out, spilled-forth and spoiled to the point of putrefaction, petrification, and pulverized carbonation: a return to, and/or turn into ash. In the end, to quote Beckett’s Endon (morphic mirror of Beckett’s Murphy) or better yet—worse still—to quote the unnamed/unnameable Endon of Beckett’s Endgame, all that the reader will have seen in proceeding through The Proverbs will have been ashes, naught but ashes. In the end, in Ashendōn, nothing but ash: ashen grey, deathly white; the final symbol uniting the (w)hole is the ‘debased cornucopia’ (Ashendōn’s words) of a fitting funereal urn, ‘symbol of the age’. What appeared to be couplings—procreative pairings—were in fact only the ongoing onanism (‘onanistic…repetitive patterns as a kind of fuel’: an ongoing funereal fire) of one already expired, already post-pyre. … On the last page, Godot-like (Note here, now, that there is no need for Spoiler Alerts, since everything is already spoiled), the sole proverb states at last that ‘Ashendōn is coming’—ya viene Ashendōn—but at this point, in this pointed proverb (this singular one following page after page of pairings), it is evident that everything which could have come has already/onanistically come. All is here/herewith Ashendone.” — Dan Mellamphy
“There is a story of an old wise man who, on a trip to Mount Shasta, wandered into Pluto Cave, a giant lava tube that extends over a mile below ground. He walked deep into the cave, gingerly gliding his fingers against its ashen walls of andesitic lava, his left hand not knowing what his right hand was doing. In a moment of pure perplexity, he soon discovered the small, raised remnants of what felt like braille against his fingers. Upon further inspection, he noticed that they were inverted carvings (like the ones lovers might etch into a tree) from someone writing from the other side of the wall, that is, from inside the ancient rock. The wise man could not read it, so he put his nose up to it and smelled it. It whispered back: ‘205.’ ~ Is that not an odd story? I don’t understand it at all.” — Liesl Ketum, Humbert Divinity School
“The direction of human philosophical development has, for the past thousands of years, mostly been against systems and behaviors that pose an immediate threat to our self-indulgence, both physical and mental. The world from which The Proverbs of Ashendōn arises is a darkly surreal mirror of the world we recognize and live in, in which a fulfillment-seeking human species is snared spider-web like between socialization and total individuation, fastidious materialism and occult speculation, mechanical movement and conscious spirit. In it, humankind is now crossing the dark psychological terrain between every representation of these two poles, taking its writings with it. Ashendōn is the Charon of this crossing. The pages of these Proverbs reverberate with hypomnemata cum anathemata, vague undercurrents, and void-echoed self-suggestions that the current timeline of history is one in which certain eventual discoveries about the human species will reveal some ultimate, true nature or aspect of reality, or some reason or purpose for the existence of everything, an unnamed key to life itself that is given to all humans to understand; but a key that takes the form of a door, to a vast, cryptal librarium of portmanteau coinages and oscillating meanings, of luxuriously worded juxtapositions where the gothic mind and hell-spawned modern thoughts mix, of poetic musings and chaotically pointing typographic arrows. Dually displaying total presence of mind and oracular dementia, The Proverbs of Ashendōn manifests as a backwards/oblivionwards book of hypomnemata, one that implicitly recognizes-slash-solemnizes the protean realities of language, symbols, pictures, and their lost origins in early human history. At the same time, objectivity, cynicism and language all triangulate into words and symbols that are hostilely left to the reader to impart meaning to. All categories, all states of human behavior, sciences, sociolinguistics, events both historic and prehistoric, religions, beliefs, and origins, all are subjects here, as are absence and void. The Proverbs of Ashendōn leaves no stone unshattered.” – oudeís