The Lion's Face

by Tim Van Dyke & Brian Howe

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"LIGHT ON THE LION’S FACE" is Tim Van Dyke's poetic interpretation of Baudrillard’s "Seduction," available for free at Argotist Ebooks.

"The Lion's Face" is Brian Howe's musical interpretation of Tim Van Dyke.

The lyrics of the album (see bonus materials) sometimes differ from the words of Tim's book, which is here:

"The Lion's Face" cover image: Grant Miller; untitled (67)
Acrylic, mixed media on Aluminum Panel 77 x 96 in. (diptych)


released November 10, 2012

Words & voice: Tim Van Dyke
Music: Brian Howe
Cover image: Grant Miller



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Glossolalia North Carolina

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Track Name: Daylight as a Psalm
Everything that wishes to speak
in that place where meaning should be
where sex should occur
where words point to
and where others think it to be – there is nothing—
Seduction flows beneath the obscenity of speech
the lion’s face flows in the daylight as a psalm
and in the night as a deaf mountain—
the void— that hole burned out by the return of the flame
beneath the golden onslaught of cities piled on top of each other
The lion’s face is raised up above and below, at all points
the solar visibility of a singular hatred drifting in the forests of Hades
the visible love of an insanity borne by a vertiginous absence
inscribed in stone or the sky, or in one's heart
It is what touches us first, before the sentences
arrive, in the time it takes for them to fall away
It is a power of attraction and distraction
It is a power of absorption and fascination
a power of defiance
an escalation of violence and grace
a black Cash fucking the modem menses chorus
The lion’s face—The lion’s face—The lion’s face—The lion’s face
at the foot of stammering
that mythic scent
simply the epicenter
of death
The lion’s face from which subtle fragrances emerge
in an instantaneous passion that exhausts itself in the dead
The lion’s face crossbreeding germs of an ardent song
tipped in the sickness of flesh the color of granite
The lion’s face a “refusal to accept the single, individuated body”—
so we seduce and are seduced by our deaths,
by our vulnerability, with the void that haunts us—
we are “spokesmen of oblivion knotting and unknotting”
we are circle jerks, gene defoliators, dervish sticks whirling
in a stream of furious piling tumors and appalling dreams—
we are reliquaries for the siren song hissing out of every aperture
and snapping at the boundaries of desire
for the dead are only dead when there are no longer any echoes
to seduce them, and no longer any rites to challenge them to exist
Track Name: Seduction
The Lion’s Face with a Limp Gesture
Turns Corrosive and Erotic—
a body is worked by artifice
a body seduced, a body
to be seduced, a body in its passion
separated from its truth
a body delivered to appearances
as a principle of uncertainty
The lion’s face seems so beautiful
as it appears
so completely put on
The lion’s face walking choking down childhoods
Take me to your room and fuck me
With tree limbs and lye, with magma
with harsh antiseptics poured into my asshole
with lilies, with meat cleavers, flay me with bullwhips
fuck me with a statement
that emanates something more than beauty
something more sublime, a different seduction—
a one-eyed doe eating grass out the window
is a totemic gesture of innocence and violence
a rapist skull-fucking a deer is part of a pantomime
at both ends the sign is fragility
the doe is fragile in its new environment
the rapist refuses to be seduced
and there is deception in all pantomime
whether it be “flutes and feathered fans” or “shields and axes”
The lion’s face both a drag queen and a real woman
The lion’s face like deer children
fresh out of their placenta, laid on white linen
in hospitals, who gouge a home into my stomach for fun
and devour my body, much the same
as when a voyeur devotes himself to a body to be devouring
a body’s gaping voracity
The lion’s face a throng of yellow and red stars
The lion’s face of heart-shaped guts
The lion’s face smelling like rotten mangoes, bug-eaten from the inside out
forms transversal to every power, the secret, virulent forms
that make everything speak, everything babble, everything climax—
Track Name: Mirror
The Real is Relinquished
by the Very Excess of its Appearances—
Everything is artifact
mere extras displaced from the scene
fruits, meats, or flowers—
the intractable opacity of Presence—
of an appearance prior to reality
(this mysterious light without origin)
something other than the sun shines on them
a brighter star, without atmosphere, without refraction
their shadows do not move with the sun
they do not grow with the evening
they appear as an inevitable edging
without movement
they suggest a black sun that appears as hallucinated Death
a seizure of scene and space—
Death illuminates these things—
in its privileged position the gaze turns on transgression
The lion’s face is a kingly prerogative
a logos-thanatos object
a fragment like a nucleus of an ephemeral language destiny
The lion’s face is a fatal particle
that shines an instant and disappears
a convergence of every point of view
an expansion of intervals, of pulsations—
The lion’s face is the darkest zones of the sky
as Death’s gaze is an exaltation of one’s own image—
the equal of that of the suicide motels—
where I woke up today, my corpse beside me,
and the mirror showed an ideal mirage of resemblance—
The lion’s face is letter-vomiting
drunk on the entrails of its own body
its own illusion – which is perhaps the illusion of its own death—
enchanted, I take on its desire
I come under the same lion and hunt for vestiginous blue orbs of the sun
I come as a suppliant to the knees of a fire-raked pool
I come to seduce the sea, to make it die, and reconstitute its illusion
as some milk soaked orifice of my dead sister
as anointment on the constellations of my father’s wounds
as animal-psalm, the hands beating the ground like un-tethered hooves—
what comes from their not having a place in the sky
Track Name: Completely Be Safe
We are living amongst pure forms
in a radical obscenity
in the visible obscenity of figures
that were once secret and discrete—
the theoretical hallucination of desire
with its diffuse libido—
it is no longer a matter of seduction as passion
but of a demand for seduction
of an invocation of desire
its realization taking the place of the faltering meditations
on power and knowledge that inhere in love—
What remains of the enchantment
of that labyrinthine structure
within which one could lose oneself?
That universe where gods and men sought to please each other
even by the violent seduction of sacrifice?
The degenerated metalanguage of seduction
combined with the degenerated metalanguage
of politics is everywhere operative
and we can no longer speak of that form of absorption
of potential engulfment
that fateful distraction
from which no one can ever be completely safe
nor even of the corruption of innocence or virtue
for there is no longer any morality or perversion to speak of—
we are no longer speaking about a violence
committed against meaning and its silent extermination
but about what is left to language
when it no longer has anything to say—
a discursive libidinal striptease—
no longer a vertiginous loss
but the minimalist form of mutual gratification
two beings can give each other
which is neither attractive nor dangerous
this specter of seduction that haunts our circuits
without secrets, our phantasies
without affect, our contact networks
without contacts
that this is its pure form
the seductive shadow that hovers over the desert of power itself—
the lion’s face above the temple door
guardian monstrous mouth blackened with sacrificial teeth
O lion, light-breath of amber, do not seek to leave us
Track Name: Dizzy
"I Come from a Dizzy Land…..”
The Rule functions as the parodic simulacrum of the Law—
The lion’s face has turned its entire edifice upside down,
and echoed those cultures where ludic and sumptuary
practices generated the essential forms of an all pervasive exchange
in order to turn them into a song for the ideal indeterminacy—
an ideal desire composed of endless occurrences
so violently attracted to each other
they no longer leave any room for meaning
they no longer live by the potential of a return
the eternal return of a ritual form—
that a ritual is the enactment of a myth
and myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche—
but in truth our unconscious is found
in our incomprehension
before the vertiginous indetermination
that rules the sacred disorder of things—
for Desire may well be the Law of the universe
but the eternal return is its Rule;
the Law is a prisoner of a recurring series of events
ululating disaster in every space,
a phantasy wheel emblazoned with the adipose
of a preternatural resurrection—
The lion’s face as every repetitive figure of meaning
The lion’s face as a figure of Death
that disregards the assumptions of affect or representation
as easily as it releases pleasure borne of a meaningless recurrence
one that proceeds from neither
a conscious order nor an unconscious disorder—
this other vision being tragic
the willed reconstitution of an arbitrary configuration
where each sign seeks out the next relentlessly,
as in the course of a ceremonial—
and when Fate raises its bid
when Fate itself throws a challenge to the order of things
when Fate enters into a frenzy of ritual vertigo:
then the passions are unleashed
then the spirits are seized by a truly deadly fascination
then the spirits are given liberty to speak
Track Name: Ludic
Behind the screen of an ecstatic refraction
there is no longer any play—
no stakes, illusions, no representations
simply a matter of modulating the code
playing with it as one plays
with the tonalities and timbres of a stereo system—
No more Transgression, no more Transcendence—
Seduction in its radical sense: as dual, ritual, agonistic,
replaced by the seduction of an ambience,
the playful eroticism of a world without stakes
the cybernetic absorption of play into the Ludic
the polemic that organizes the space of the Law
the digitality of the signal, the polarity of the sign—
that we are living in a supple, curved universe
that no longer has any vanishing points—
The lion’s face outside the domain of pointless science
The lion’s face swallowing islands like pennies
The lion’s face formed of the play of a ritual
The lion’s face formed of that past, cruel order,
where the risks were never ending and the stakes absolute—
The Ludic formed of sheer aimlessness
The Ludic formed of the play of the Model
against the demand for the Game—
but even as transgression, spontaneity, or aesthetic distance,
play remains only a sublimated form of the old pedagogy
that gives it a meaning, assigns it an end,
and thereby purges it of its power to seduce—
one can no longer speak of a sphere of enchantment
one no longer speaks of seduction
instead, an era of fascination begins—
The lion’s face an amnesiac
the amnesia consummated
in retrogressive fashion
raised to mass dimensions
The lion’s face of forgetfulness, liquidation,
an annihilation of memory and history,
the same recessive irradiation, the same
echoless absorption, the same black hole
as Auschwitz—
an extermination that would then be deployed,
dissuaded by death, dissuaded unto death—
The lion’s face a postmortem emotion
a tactile shudder that will enable them
to let the catastrophe slip into oblivion
Track Name: Corpse
“Anything Without Anything is a Corpse in the Mouth”
The body itself is operated by remote control
no more than its own terminal connection
has no other concern than the optimal
self-management of its memory banks—
A corpse is seduced and eroticized
by the instantaneous report it has of itself
not simply to speak of it as a mere screen or form
but as a myth, something that still resembles
a double, a mirror, a fantasy, a dream—
For it is in the extortion of speech
that a cold seduction governs the spheres—
The lion’s face is a peculiar form of “You”
“you beasts hissing over the face of a dead woman”
you lisping the forms of a marvelous rite
over the sediment sucking at non-functioning mouths
jammed with coteries whose residue
resides in an edible Heaven—
That is to say the lion’s face is the advent of good news—
The news invaded by a phantom content, a transplant, a walking dream—
A circular construction where one presents
a corpse with what it wants: the integration of labile meanings
though the corpse remains unaware of the immense energies spent
maintaining it, to avoid the brutal dissimulation that occurs
when the reality of a radical loss becomes evident—
“Anything without anything is a corpse in the mouth”—
Anything arrests. Anything arrests anything.
The lion’s face is a fake, a fraud
that invokes the same fascination as if there
were an image with which to seduce it
a terminal circuit that would open of itself—
And such seduction has no more meaning than anything else
seduction as only a kind of ludic adhesion
to accumulated simulation
a kind of tactile attraction maintained by models of speech:
“One plays at speaking and listening” “If it speaks, then it speaks”
But in effect it no longer speaks
And that discovery is a symptom of the need
to speak tirelessly in order to render language possible
to take a desperate situation and make it wondrous
“Contact for contact's sake” turning the empty form
with which language seduces itself
into a terminal beauty raised up
in a position of mass extermination
Track Name: The Collector
Everything obeys the rule that dictates the sacrificial
between men and their gods
cultures of cruelty, relations of recognition
and dispensation of unlimited violence
entirely given over to an ephemeral but total credibility
as if bidding with themselves
leaving only the ultimatum of conversion
the absolute need to be believed, to disperse all other belief
in an hysterical combination of passion and assimilation —
The hysteric has no intimacy, emotion, no secrecy—
The lion’s face succeeds in making its own body a barrier
a seductress paralyzed
who seeks to petrify others in turn—
That which would make us believe, make us speak,
make us come to things by dissuasion,
by suicide, turning suicide into a theatre of the Mind—
What remains immortal in this spectacular domain:
signs without faith, without affect or history,
signs terrified just as the hysterical is terror—
It invokes a passion for an abstraction that defies every moral law
To be deprived of seduction is the only true form of castration
The lion’s face is a mirror that has been turned against the wall
by effacing the seductiveness of its own body—
The lion’s face that draws our attention to Death
not in its organic and accidental form
but as something necessary and rigorous
the inevitable consequence of a rite that is violent
as the rules of a game are violent—
To seek one’s rights over that dead object
with which one appeases a fetishist passion—
Reclusion and confinement, a collection unto one’s self
The Collector is possessive
and is not distracted from His madness
His love, the amorous stratagems with which He surrounds it
that which emanates from Him, the dead sex object,
as beautiful as a butterfly with florescent wings
immortal and indestructible, as in every perversion—
The Collector has enclosed Himself within an insoluble logic
One can then only reward it with death
like the sun refracted by different layers of the horizon
crushed by its own mass, no longer obeying its own law
Track Name: Eyes Close
It is Night, But Within It is Luminous Day—
Within the heated imagination of an inflamed desire—
a vision of God—
the trophy in some intimate and devastating plot,
the object of a spiritual abduction—
that the highest conceivable enjoyment lies in being loved—
to have death taste like bread and earth and the sea
to have one’s sex be inscribed in the spurt of blood
anarchistically hailed by a barrage of poisonous vipers
encircling the face of a superficial pock
To poetize oneself into a young girl again
as an indirect reverberation will poetize a hypnosis,
a psychic mirror in which one is reflected
without awareness, under a different gaze—
Eyes close, and it is night; but within it is luminous day—
Within, the obliquity of a dream
one that traverses the universe in a single diagonal,
in order to touch the unknown blind spot,
the secret that lies sealed, the enigma
that constitutes the gaze, even unto itself—
a gaze that is marked out, that shall be run down—
To keep one's distance from it, to put off, to disenchant and deceive—
The lion’s face engages a fate that must be completely free
as the girl must also be completely free
and in their freedom must reach out toward their own fall—
“to the zenith, dust of milk, a noon is with me”
and a strict sky of lawlessness hunches over
the electric divinations of children mired
beneath the supreme archways crisscrossing vaginal abysses
still mute with murderous energies trampling the thick of the land—
That the girl’s fascination is exorcised, of a mythical figure,
an enigmatic partner, a protagonist in the liturgy,
for seduction proceeds by absence; it invents a curved space
where the signs are deflected from their trajectory, their destination—
in this the lion’s face lives without understanding, deprived
of every reaction, muzzled, circumvented
as a nothingness, as emptiness—
the final moment before passion's illumination—
for it is here, in nullity, in the absence,
in the mirror's face, that its triumph is assured—
that stroke that ties a movement
of the soul to its destiny and its unmarked grave
Track Name: War to Extinction
For Extravagance has Passed into Things
the curvature of things
the way things try to disappear
in a screen of ecstatic refraction
the lion’s face suddenly hidden by a cloud
the sun bearing down the moisture
my air is also glottal
no same note
but a release of tension
as when a lover straddles my neck
isthmus music plays
splayed words within a fish jaw
the suddenness of entry into another way
what dissolves truth and illusion
the lion’s face, painted black, radios code to the hymnal
and, so doing, learns how to inhabit what is sung
manifold are the durations one becomes
the lion’s face, of that which pertains to its moment,
fires, tilts, blasts, pounds, stabs, strafes, kills
death’s little rattle
could I but taste the joy
cowboys riding an atom bomb
huffing syphylline letters, the lion’s face,
This is war to extinction
cipher, work over the illusion
make it unreadable as a lion
makes of itself an erasure of its body
a false transparency
the lion’s face shifts, cuts, it vibrates
the lion’s face violates
breaks through rooms, letters falling in dense smoke
the lion’s face calls to open fire, to spread terror at a stroke
of an end imperceptible, of having no end
the lion’s face appears, an appearing
that emerges from nothing
what protects us from being
and disappearing
it protects us from death
all that is determined is condemned to be exterminated
lion’s face like a virus let loose in the city
like a leper wrapped in parachutes
Sound and Cerement of the body
what relinquishes itself
and unravels, revealing each wound—