To 2015, then

“Great changes in life are always a help…”

-Fyodor Dostoevsky-

A STEP AT A TIME

Now one eye daylight

and one not

there was a lifetime

before they flew

their true colors

but I must have known

the moment I was born

the pans of the balance

swinging along with me

always two poles

with the seasons rocking

between them

.

and the familiar the unexplored

the city the country

abroad almost at home

and home never quite there

just the way it was before

.

left foot right foot

on the same way

my own way

of finding and losing

and in my own time

coming to one

love one place

day and night

as they came to me

.

but the knowing and the rain

the dream and the morning

the wind the pain

the love the burning

.

it seems you must let them come

so you can let them go

you must let them go

so you let them come

- W. S. Merwin


OFFLINE

for a necessary while


(Parenthesis) : Swarm – Becomings

Reflection swarmIntelligence_swarm_1

(Parenthesis) : Swarm

developing concept, ideas, form

Confession:  for me the process involving humans crafting and innovating artifacts is (perhaps, nearly) as pleasurable and fascinating as the delight and enjoyment of the “accomplished” creation / artifact / best-of-my-ability result.

Today I plunged into a work I project for my future – a collection of poetic writings with a provisional cohesion designated by the titular nomenclature (Parenthesis) : Swarm.  I am offering the beginnings, inchoate guesswork, anticipatory effort, languaging hoping to find some concretion or sense – in case others too are fascinated by the ways in which we humans find forms, structures, outlets, mediums for the expression of our experience.

Poetry depends on its realization to activate and actualize its purposes.  I think that form and structure, metaphor and language rudiments all occur as potencies – possibilities, options, offerings – to both direct and elicit, open and enclose, what we are moved, determined, or curious to communicate.

Here lies (or rises) the inception of one of this year’s projects for me… for better or worse, I hope it provides instigation or inspiration in you concerning the prospects of concocting, explaining, depicting, describing, or mediating some forms of human experiencings of our living, our worlds.

(Parenthesis) : Swarm

assaying beginnings

(The blue was an empty sector of sky) :

before the ascending clamor of birds,

blackbirds, maybe.  Or wrens, sparrows, the murther of crows

at which point : (monochrome)

(Soundless activities = black / white) : an argument of colors.

(White page.  Blank.  Emptiness.  A void) : A chaos.

Sounds, ideas, emotions bum-rushing, flood-filling, desire-aching to mark up, cross out, cross-hatch, scribble-claim, create/destroy the unwanting, unwanted : (Blank page.  White.  Unlined.  Refusing).

(White noise.  A chaos.  A filler) : (A Parenthesis) : A Swarm.

Rising up or rising down?  Its violence, this freedom (this emptiness, bereavement) : this horde.

(If parenthesis sounds aside reflective calm) the lettered patterns are closing in, are pressing, encroaching (an erasured calm).

There are (Breath-gaps, Awareness) : while we survive.

Endure infinity, perception, experience : ALIVE (reflect. dream. prepare to become).

(Sleep-freedom) : surreality of anxious dreams.

(The “little deaths”) : vigorous and belabored, exhaustively lusted , our desires.

Like fires, like (Ash).  (A remains, an inchoate.

A beginning) : an actuality.

If triggering happens – within swarm – directions will alter towards (flow)

An isolation (becomes compatible).  (We thrive) or are disjointed.

Differentiation (in accord).

(This is how it ends) : in its beginnings.

You arrive – a great undoing – traumatic archive.  I retreat

(or receive, select the join).  Independence (community).

The surge : (the Swell).  We swarm – the two, no six, no twelve

(of Us).  The (love) : and discord.  (Arrangements) interrupted.

(Habitude) : and nuance.  (The Parenthesis) : The Swarm.

 


The bum-rush of living

entanglement

There are places we “escape to,” i.e. repair to for very specific reasons and purposes.  Maybe an acquaintance’s pad for hurried or feverish orgasms.  A park or patch of woods for perspective, silence or briefly encounters with “natural nature.”  A carrel in a library to prompt and focus our studies.  A basement stairwell for sustaining shots of liquor, bathroom window or fire escape for a stealthy cigarette.  Favored chair and lighting for reading, drawing, reverie…

Repair.

A therapist’s office wherein to be oblivious for a moment, anonymously honest, saved from (and toward) pressing responsibilities.  A café, a waiting room, a stoplight, a store.  Our furtive thievery of solitude.  Self-care.  Secrets.

A human is a strange animal indeed.  Tantalized by taboo.  Somehow more fully owner when the product is taken for oneself.  Somehow more strenuously truthful when maintaining a lie.  Somehow better at self-care when stealthy and artfully dodging.

Perhaps not all of us.

Who claims directly to know what they want?  What feels good to them?  What they obsessively desire?

“Pre-emptive strikes.”  We are wary.  We negotiate rather than demand or direct (what separates the “neurotic” from the “psychopath”?).

The time goes by.  Incrementally, unceasingly, dependably.  In leaps.  Life, again, moment after moment, wends and charges, plows and slips its certain way into death.

We hesitate, we detour, we “pit stop.”  We navigate, wander and avoid.  We indulge and punish, set out and swerve, ashame and repent.  Sort of.  Sneaking pleasures, performing roles and rites, detracting, desisting, compulsing, rewarding…

Remarkable at tricking and deceiving ourselves.

We are interesting characters, sincerely.

Operative on many contradictory planes.  Ridiculous, incredible, foolish, amazing…complex.

Woven into surrounds we continually seek to distinguish ourselves from, in, for.  Tremendously unstable, uncertain, tormented, delighted and undone.

Just try to piece it apart: what you WANT, and what you WANT.  What you DO and what you WISH.  Where you GO and where you ARE.  Who you APPEAR and why you BE.

What you want and what you want.  What you desire and what you mean.  What you do and what you say.  How.  How.  Why.  and What.

It is all quite twisted.  Very weird and strange and unusually usual for us, to BE.  The “high” and the “low.”  “Good” and “bad.”  “Productive” and “lazy.”  Health and unhealthy, partial and whole, fragment and phrase.

Complicated beings in intricate surrounds.  The regularity is what’s irregular, the constancy is changing, that which we’d love to consider paradox or mystery.  The off-putting put on.  The performance unmasked.

“How many out-of-character things did I need to do, I wondered, before the world rearranged itself around me?”

-Ben Lerner, 10:04-

Deceptive dialogues giving so much away.  Proper behaviors exposing our lies.

My son recently said he was a “walking contradiction” and I thought is that not the nature of humanity?

Confusion and contrast, contractions and deconstruct.

Wilder beasts – fearful and proud, generously scrooged, clinging as it slips our grasps.

Odd, misnomered things.  Smart here, dull there, sexy and unkind, popularly rejected, abnormally similar.  Attempts to be truthful mire us in espionage.

The bum rush of living – death’s inescapable quicksand


For (every?) New Year

Greetings all.  I realize something now.  I realize (today), I realize, sitting in the sun of a Winter in Kansas, on my porch, in a rocker, alone, a side-effect, a remnant, remainder, myself… I realize that I have long dreamt of leaving some legacy, of making some mark, of contributing to the world – the natural world – the world as made up of plants, animals, landscapes, elements, humans… the world dizzied with combinations of atoms and molecules… and yet… and yet… I realize it was all about love – all about being realized by being loved, and realizing meaning in loving – NOT leaving a literary legacy, NOT producing interesting and intriguing offspring, NOT making art or language or objects that would outlast me – NO, no, no…  Simply recognizing that I exist, existed, am existing in the world of another, and that the world exists, existed, will exist for me – by my affection and attention to its nuances, details, and differences – its specificity of my attention, attraction and resolve:  LOVE.

I found this entry in an old journal, a blue oversized Moleskine soft-covered journal, and found (years later) that it still seemed to speak for me… but as I typed and edited it I realized that it has been outdone, realized, accomplished, in the FACT of BEING LOVED and BEING ENABLED TO LOVE… and so all the hopes remain, all the purposes and visions, all the projected communications and connections… but in a context rearranged, reapportioned, reinvented – that of MEANING derived from LOVING and being LOVED.  Thanks to my vibrant partner and accomplice, inspiration and reward – for taking the grave gravity of production and transforming it into action… the pinched acuity of competition and accomplishment into offshoot, accumulation and extraneous luxury – that the hopes, dreams and ideas / ideals of a human existence might be translated into freedom, grace, and potential benefit or gift – possibility rather than necessity; offering rather than identity; potentiality rather than desperation – a giving in distinction from a grasping : so I might still possess similar hoping without the fear and trembling, without a sense of pointlessness, without a perception of failure.  LOVING – intricate maneuvers of helping and healing, intimate operations of interaction and reciprocation, finely detailed activities of acceptance and reception – the sigh, the breath, the pulse of BEING… change me.  Change and change and change me.  As a parent, a man, a partner, a person.  Thank you dear love – a wonder, a woman, an incredible human – a person: full and becoming, so generous, so tender, so affirmative and kind, so rich and creative, inventive and becoming, so new – I love you.  The world is different now.  Its meaning, its point, its aim, its occasion.

This old and rediscovered writing has distinct meaning… because you, and life, and love, and… an evolving and differentiated “I.”

Jacobsen - thought series

I am using the blue notebook with a blue pen to complement.  Why?  Because you asked.  You said “everyone wants to know.”

In other words, if it’s going to count for what matters, it has got to be specific and special – set apart, somehow more final, more complete.  I’ll use it for the whole – for photos, drawings and more – all the blue notebook in blue ink – for you.  Because apparently, “everyone wants to know.”

Mom and dad ask in their roundabout, passive-regressive surreptitiously accusatory way, as is their fashion – kindly and quiet, ever with a look of care and concern, yet secretly shouting their “what is wrong with you!?” “What is wrong with US, that you…” and on and on and blah blah blah…

My memory isn’t like that the first five years of life…that I pretend to remember.  But all is mostly smells and sounds and light from there.  Trees and grass and dirt, how brightness gleamed and glanced and filtered through, with times of wind and rain.

Not that you care… I’m fairly certain that’s not what is being asked for, not by you, by my sibling, children, or lifetime of “friends” and “family” – whoever, wherever they’ve become.

You’re the livewire – and perhaps the children – perhaps they will want to know, at some point, perhaps not.  Perhaps everyone’s already figured my story – diagnosed and prescribed me.  Perhaps.

Be that as it may, I’ve thought long and hard, reviewing what I thought I knew, how I felt I felt, what it seems I’ve seen, and so on, and decided, for you, for you, really, and maybe a little of a bit for myself (curiously) and a percentage for my kids should they ever seek to know or wonder, or have need of psychological freedom, or give a shit about who or why… I decided to use this damned blue notebook with matching pen and try to learn just what I think about it all, mostly because, as you put it, “everyone wants to know” – (and WHO might this “everyone” be?).

Should I start with the hands, the head, or the heart?  I suppose the limbs and loins will come into play as well – god knows the guts and the goiter.

I remember an opening.  A time I was touched, in the rain, and my suddenly skin, my obvious self-enclosure – as opening, margin, and veil – a fabric of me, and a screen.

I wanted to make a difference, you see.  Make something, I don’t know, construct an element everyone could hold on to.  Take in hand, heart and head.  Keep or repeat as needed.  Something like that.  I knew I wouldn’t last, none of this, none of anything.  “The center cannot hold” sort of deal.

I ought not begin there.  They’re all wound up together like knots – the head looking down, arms wrapped around, concealing and revealing the heart, the guts, the loins and moving limbs.  I can’t take a one without other, thinking and feeling about it, my actions, ideas, and sensations all.

Perhaps I’ll pretend.  (Just what you’ve all loved so well about me – to discover pretense – how I’ve molded myself to imagined desires).  I’ll pretend I’m an aged man seated on a stiff wooden chair, children / grandchildren gathered all about me – a specimen or model – something to be taken apart and examined.  I lift off my shirt and my body is read – questions asked – we all get somewhere in this way.

jacobsen - thought series1

Let’s see – here – along the shoulder – a self-portrait by Egon Schiele (self-tormented asylum brother) and a snake that is eating its tail.  “Le Ouroborous,” I  hack out – “don’t you know it?”  Sign of doctors, ingenuity, medicine and art – creation, destruction intertwined round and round.  Self-devouring while birthing its form as it alters.  The mastication and regurgitation of “I.”

A young one might say “what’s that? – the curlicues and elaborate spiel?”  Garcia Lorca I’d sigh.  Yes.  The grand leaping bugger of light.  He’s yellow and lemons, crickets and birds!  You know the stuff that sends you!  Portal moments of sight or song and ‘wham!’  all the crap pelted into your brain and body get shaken and stirred together like surrealist still life.  Incongruity making sense.  Opposites attracting, no, better – look at your aging mother and I – a juxtaposed spectrum, paradox and carnival!

They say that you wanted to know.

Yes there’s Kafka, Blanchot, Cixous and Lispector.  Jabes and Beckett now seeped in my veins.  Dostoevsky, Bakhtin, Rilke.  Gods and angels, drink and demons all carved in the skin of their names.  Nietzsche and ridiculous happiness.  Wittgenstein and the torment of words, of meanings, of none.  I’d be a working inscription, at surface.

The corridors – head, heart and hands.

Are you sure anyone wanted to know?

The sounds of piano?  Coaxing the keys in steady patterns – mimicking rain; or poems – yes, we forget Giacometti’s “Man Falling” – a perpetual stumble on the back of my hand, hoping neither knew what the other was up to.  But they did and they do – I see that now – all parts of same body, stretched with same skin.  Poems as stripped-down sculptures, some essential chants or song – just a gaze or a wisp of caress.  Droppings of blood.  Miracles that something remains after we’re through with our twisting and grasping.

Is this what you wanted?  Does it explain – anything?  I doubt it.  Hardly think so.

Read on.

Here at the ribs.  The cracked and the lumpen.  There was a time.  Times I thought maybe risking and danger – a reach at euphoria – some panicking life – might make one feel much more alive.  How do you think you all got here?  Desperate plungings into the unknown, oh dear ones, like mad scientists messing around in the lab!  The edges of cliffs, clinging to limbs, insecure at wits’ ends, going for broke.

And break we did.

But just look at you fertile seedlings, good eggs.  I never meant to be rough with you all.  To risk what is fragile in you.  Ribs, here – cave and cage for the heart.

I can still breathe you.  Charred and chortled, this was one great pleasure – to know I was breathing, in-spired.  I know you all despised it, and it caused me to smell stale and rotting, but the rush of smoke down this pipe here into the bellows of slimy flesh…that let me know I was taking it in, not an automaton or senseless machine – no, I was hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling – BEING – I could feel it in my ashen lungs.  Sometimes it hurt.  What we ingest.  But it really goes in and visibly comes out – everything – for good or ill.  I needed to know it tangibly.

Why? you ask, why?

Look at the cranium stooped and weighed down.  That sucker was a burden of liquid fire.  All curled over like that the entirety of my life – looking in, at, in.  What’s there?  How does it work?  For “whom”?  When?  Is there even a why?  Examining, dreaming, recording and imagining – listen – say it back, say it forth, combine and copulate, shake it and stir – use that heavy weight, whirr whirr chrrr and whirr.  Profile the shape of some jagged question mark, dotted where the heart must be.

And look at it now, nearly buried into the chest.  It happens.  Weather-systems, signsponge, it all will run its course.  It once was aimed upwards and outwards, into fantasies, hopes and abstractions, and for years I kept it aimed straight ahead – horizontal, seeking directions – but slowly and surely its drug down toward the heart, pulsing muscle, plug for the cords.  Everything up and away, everything out there or behind, it’s all happening here – in the mix, filtering through, circulating the circuitry of head, heart and hands – latching up or breaking down in the system.

What was it you wanted to know?  Limbs and loins, head and heart, I’m acknowledging and exposing, affording view – I’m aware description does not explain a thing – the wonderful views of science still unable to explain…

The waste gets processed below, legs running away now knobby and stiff.  But there, clinging in its corner like a core – my erratic, agitated, beating beast.  Entire web of inexplicable drives and energy, fears and misery, desires and dread – my heart.  Does this explain it?  Does this explain anything?  What anyone wanted to know?

Gasping there like the mouth of a landed fish, pulsing purplish like an aroused member – my heart.  If I poke and coax it, tear at it or wring it onto this blue notebook in blued blood – will it explain?

Here, whomever, look.  Here it lies, cheats, and steals.  Here it gives and it aches and breaks.  Here it prolongs and stops itself short.  Pulpy mass of living meat – humana – the am therefore am.  Take it, read it, test it – heal it if you wish or can.  I’m open.

Is this what you wanted?

What everyone wanted to know?

Black Blizzard


Another Rejected (albeit kindly!) fiction…

N Filbert:

Curious… I rarely remember things I’ve written… this is no exception… but stumbling across it I am pleased that this happened…

Originally posted on "The Whole Hurly Burly":

WHO THEN IS SPEAKING?

“the preliminary condition of any work of literature is that the person who is writing has to invent that first character – the author of the work… the author’s name and the various ‘I’s’ that go to make up the ‘I’ who is writing”

-Italo Calvino-

“’I’ can only be identified by the instance of speech which contains it, and by that alone”

-Emile Benveniste-

“Who, then, is speaking?”

-Maurice Blanchot-

who is speaking: 

I am the one, come to tell the story, the code of information and words, with    letters and gestures and some touches of inflection, but I mean to tell it straight and impartially, save the parts I must needs factor in.

who is writing:

And I am the one, come to present the speech in images – to sketch, doodle, scrawl and scribble – marks and…

View original 1,508 more words


Celldom, continued

cy_twombly_untitled_d5624727h

(click image for work-to-present)

I’ve fallen asleep to the written word spoken for many years now.  As when you allow your eyes to relax and the world doubles and then goes hazy, I find written language spoken, or sometimes even spontaneous monologues or conversational chattering to blend like the pitter-pattering of rain.  This young lady alternates between Fernando Pessoa, James Joyce and Macedonio Fernandez, occasionally inserting a poem by Rilke, myth from Borges, language of Sabato or Blanchot.  I’ve requested Laurence Sterne and Chuang-Tzu.

My statement on file is that “only great literature might help me sort out what it is that is asked of me,” and that the mind ‘they’ or ‘you’ are apparently concerned with will only remain attentive and communicable if constantly  nourished by music, language and the visual arts.  Otherwise I’ll be shutting it down, I said.

“How does that feel?” you, they, say again.  “It thinks,” I reply, “it thinks…perhaps it approaches an ‘idea-feeling,’ as the godfather of novels put it, or ‘intuition’ as used in the history of aesthetics…but ‘feel’ still confuses me,” I say.  I need to rest.

I’m beginning to believe I’m caught up in some laboratory system.  Led through corridors, slept in cell-like-hotel-room-type spaces, fed a steady array of the food groups, allowed brief walks out-of-doors (always accompanied, but not all in lab coats).  I have relatively kind courtiers, but I don’t bother with their names, they/you seem human enough, and we all run similar gamuts of experience, as I imagine it.

Yet I don’t really understand why I’m here, or anywhere, for that matter.  Seems an experiment of mind-observation.  One fellow (always accompanied by two or more others) regularly asks me questions about what and how I am doing, what I have done, what I think of doing, have thought about, dreamt, (asking ‘feeling’ questions less and less, as it always throws me off my game, resulting in bewildered wordlessness).  Today he mentioned ‘memory’ while flashing lights along a bar or tapping on the backs of my hands while they lay on my lap.  It’s an odd sort of world to end up in, after all.  I said I remembered a waterfall, a pleasantness, that it may have been Gaugin or Courbet, that they might take me through a museum or find some books about that…He dropped in the ‘how does it feel?’ query again, or ‘where in my body does that memory register?’  What to say to these people?  “In the mind!” I grumbled, “it is only all in the mind – perceptions, sensations, ideas, messages…all my skin, limbs, nerves and flesh send their impulses through there,” I stated, “let me lie down now.”  And thus I am.

They claim this day is my birthday.  That I am allowed to have it “off.”  I believe you, he said, and left me a genuinely glorious stack of books someone fetched from the library.  “We’d still love for you to record your experience,” they added, “if you’d like.”  Create my experience is more like it, I thought.  Fabulate it into these marks on a canvas lacking color or texture, I thought.  Sculpt a word or two in two dimensions, black, white, and yet I do suppose it passes the time (whatever ‘time’ it may be, is).  Who brought me here?

The stack on the table comprises a fifth of this weeks requests I write out when they ask me my needs.  “Weekly” is a term they use, for some reason I accept it.  Exhibition catalogs of Cy Twombly, R.B. Kitaj, Corot and Courbet, Susan Rothenberg, Emil Nolde, Clyfford Still, Millais, Thiebaud, Gwen John, Sam Gilliam, John Piper, always a new Giacometti, the journals of Rilke, writings by C.S. Peirce, Lessing, stories by Brecht, and some medical studies on optics.

It is quiet.  I had asked for music by Max Richter or Arvo Part for my “special day,” apparently this was too much, or none could be found.  They, or he, uses the term “melancholy” a lot in reference to my musical tastes.  And of course inquire (in increasingly subtle terminologies) how that makes me “feel.”  Phrases like “how does that occur to you;” “what do you consider regarding this?” “what impressions do these stir” and so on.  “Make” me feel, hmmmm.  I draw ovaled circles for them, if I’ve a pencil, I have taken to shading them in from time to time, altering lighter and darker passages.

I can’t conceive what their interest might be.  My suspicion grows that it’s simply their job.  What can they learn from a circle besides what they invent?  Maybe it’s their task to confabulate patterns or conclusions, narratives or hypotheses from observing or investigating me, as if I’m a text or a painting.  The world is a strange place to endure.  I think there are very many rooms in this building – have I been misplaced?  From time to time I’ve thought I’ve caught other shuffling souls (I think they planted that idea actually).  It is quiet today.

I get some nifty ideas of what to do with my pen from Twombly today (puts me in mind of Mark Tobey), so I clutter up a page with scribbles until it’s a balanced equation of masses and gaps, much like my daughter’s…”What’s that?!” he/you asks excitedly – “your daughter?!”  “I’ve always imagined I’ve a family” I replied – “children realize.”

I lie down.

I wake realizing I’d never read of Twombly’s life.  He at least had access to crayons if I’m to believe the reproductions in this book, as well as ample unlined paper.  But I also quickly recognize that much of it is simply in pencil, yet it provides me with an almost emblematic understanding…like the mapping of eye’s movements they’re so fond of here.  Perhaps Twombly inhabited a space such as this as well?  This is a touch shaming.  No, couldn’t be, I detect oils or gouache underneath some of these.  How I adore his busy little stories – like scratch papers of a physicist or schoolboy doodles, notes to the self, etcetera.  I’ll copy some as my written reports the next few days and see what you/they make of that!

I lie down.


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