What Presence

Originally posted on Spoondeep:

hell, it’s a love poem.

What Presence

You write “Her,”

and mean Everything

mean the meaning in things

beyond the skills for to say.

Mean “snow” – its ubiquity,

and “world” – the how-life

you never understand,

meaning “unaccountable.”

Your children.

Each day, and then breath,

and then seeing.

 .

You write “She,”

or write “Hallie.”

Write her name and her flesh

(if you could).

Write her presence

again and again and again,

as your parent, your birthplace,

your burden.

You write wishing and ache

meaning “dream” and “desire,”

meaning meaning.

Meaning yes.  Meaning hope.

Meaning “here.”

 .

But write “Her”

and mean “living.”

Meaning “friendship”

And “good-in-the-world.”

Meaning fire.

Meaning purpose

with music

and “love.”

 .

Just writer “Her”

and mean”Being.”

N Filbert 2014

View original


The 44th Turn

You ache.

You are older,

and beautiful,

in the way piles of gravel

surprise you

along the turnpike.

 

Those gathered around you

are increasingly less –

less in years, less in words,

and less in common -

saving the uncommon

tastes and thoughts and talents.

 

You still have books

and a dimming light

and more than enough love.

You eat, you drink, and make merry.

Some things you remember together,

almost

 

almost the necessary ones,

say a child, a lover, a poem.

There are gifts, a few -

those given you yourself

and to others –

“the allowance” -

 

allowing

care and celebration,

some sweet welcoming,

some join.

 

It’s alright,

she is here, beside you,

they are sleeping in their beds,

are scattered to the days,

are bleeding, are breathing

 

so much talk of labor

in our culture -

piles of effort

for finding peaceful paths,

to the country,

the cabin,

toward some freedom

to live.

 

We live.

Our days adding up

while counting down,

in strange measures -

now in years,

by the hours,

in moments.


IN THE MIDST

Moments: The reality of accrual and depletion, growth and diminishment

chicken-or-the-egg-550x550

“It is of the essence of life that it does not begin here or end there, or connect a point of origin with a final destination, but rather that it keeps on going, finding a way through the myriad things that form, persist and break up in its currents.”

Tim Ingold – Being Alive: Essays on knowledge, movement and description

            In the reading journal I keep, I record what I read each day in entries numbered according to my years.  For instance, today is Day 364 of 43.  Each day counts UP the days I have lived, simultaneously counting DOWN the days I have left.

If our weight in the world is conspired via our capacity for object-making, “perception,” – how we collate and identify active collective of particles, lending them shape and color, space and duration – in effect: “organize them according to our own purposes and facilities” – co-creating manageable entities with which we might interact and navigate life “sensibly” (body-minded)

then the “lightness” of vitality/movement/being comes from the constant (relatively frenetic) buzz and action of the unseen particles composing and constituting the scales we are able to perceive and conceive.

Does this sound workable?  I trust that I am a hive of vibrating, exchanging, bounding, colliding and connecting atoms/molecules/whatever, and that to certain interlinked bundles of material interactivities this can appear, be sensed, perceived, interacted with, as an apparently distinct “organism/being/organization of activities” constructing (or being constructed/perceived AS) almost a form, a differance, an “object.”

And likewise, and vice-versa.

Particles, drilled down or zoomed out in their interactivities and motion form ever-varying “wholes” (temporarily composed perceptible forms or variable entities).  Thus poets and scientists, thus Ovid and religions, philosophers…HUMANS…METAPHOR.  Taking various realities for another and one another, or, ALWAYS – in relation to.

Crossing and dipping, perceiving/conceiving, we are able to invent scenarios and subjects, conduits and concretions, whereby we are also able to communicate, invent, share, cognize imaginative possibilities for our temporary coagulates (or “life-forms,” ever active and morphing).  The tinier particles simply continue their trajectories and behaviors while their collaborated forms appear to be “born” (or formulated, occurring) and die (or dissolve, dismember, separate to join in other alignments, reactions and compounds).

Thinking is a lucky pleasure of our particular combo-formulations, as love, emotion, felt embodiment, enmindedness, entanglements…

I am grateful for all of it: lovely purposeful accidents to sense, perceive, grow, change, become, decease, connect and disconnect…attach and release…combine and unravel.

IN THE MIDST of which…and this is where the trembling, shifting, unstable, particularly and elaborately conditioned partial perception “I” initially chose (in languaging) to begin…”in the midst of…”

but then I realized that MIDST might beggar a belief-explanation (theory) as to what I was beginning in the midst of…ALWAYS…this strange living process…and so I diverted through the above contingent caveat.

i.e. EVERYTHING DEPENDS.  On context, formulations, occasions, circumstances, surroundings, kind, type, species, conditions composing NOW.

There is some longevity to “sticking together” (successfully? Symbiotically? Interactively linked or bonded for some formal survivable persistence) but it’s all quite temporary (the place-time from which an opinion is held or conceived, promulgated…changes slightly with each moment, more in an hour, a day, each “year,” each…occurrence).

To say: all is active and contingent.  I.e. DEPENDS – on multitudes of very specific things, unseen tiny things, enormous systemic things, situations, arrangements being…”the case.”

A Hal Hartley film or a novel by Dostoevsky, the face of my child or the sound waves of song; the body and voice of my beloved…won’t have any “effect” “meaning” “sense” when my particles realign and this particular arrangement is “dead,” “decayed,” “reorganized.”

Activity is a curious thing.

Although we experience “age,” “knowledge,” “experience,” as a kind of “growth” or accretion, it isn’t very long at all in our formulating as a human before we become profoundly aware that our “growth” is an indicator of cessation, “progress” a sign of our undoing…dismantling, shifting, and changing.

This central comprehension of human systems – paradoxical tension, momentary accretion/diminishment – likely fuels much of the emotion, trauma, passion, energy, delight, grief, disturbances and elations of our particular species instinctual cognitively embodied behaviors.

Angst, joy, terror, hope – perhaps all of these reside in this mysterious yin-yang of coming together / coming apart AT ONCE and ALWAYS.  Each addition is a removal, each connection another breakage, each revelation a forgetting.  Each next accrues a last and never.

NOW – the pivot point of addition/subtraction – for human living.

I crave, delight, wonder, rejoice, and find my survival with each NEXT while grieving, losing, aching, suffering, and ceasing with each movement as well.

There is no choice in the matter (that I can see) – it happens.  Everything we do effects and disaffects inherently.

Rising indeed IS falling.  Growing IS diminishing.  Living truly IS dying, while our dying is yet living for something else…Reciprocal, ongoing, continuous realignments.  Any departure is a novel thing joined.

And thus, simply process, simply going-on.  Not “us” but it.  Not you, I, we, but the particles and universal systems, arrangements.

And we, in the midst.

Perhaps.  That’s how I’m thinking it today.

As I count up and down the days.

ouroboros


Scripture : Roots

Scripturient

“In the beginning was the word…”

“…and the word was god.”

Enigma.

My youth was spent immersed in a form of neo-fundamentalist, conservative, evangelical Christianity.  It would be difficult for me to estimate the number of bible readings, passages memorized, commentaries consumed, and sermons received during my first twenty-some years of life.

Twenty-some years later, libraries of world literature later, this particular phrase, passage, verbal construction remains like a haunting, a rule, a resonance and reverberation of the deepest sort – a kind of First Sentence that rises and echoes in me whenever I turn myself to writing.  A statement some whole of me attached to in presumptive belief and passion that constitutes, in its way, the work of my adult life.

In what “beginning” was the word?  And what was that word, are we to read this word as, literally, “god”?  Or are words themselves divine, godlike in their creativity and actionable functions?  In the full passage we read that the word is both “with” god and itself god…a quintessential meta-statement from whatever interpretive stance one selects.

In the beginning was the word [in beginnings words become?  In words become beginnings?],

and the word was with god [words that are with] and the word was god [words that are].”

            Religiously:  when humans spoke “god,” gods became.  Conception creating realities.  Referentiality – a term is attached to an object, idea, relation…and the object, idea, relation begins to become that term (and vice-versa, through public practice).

Words epitomize co-creation, collusion.  I am a tiny human organism, an infant birthed into a community of persons.  This community attaches a term to me: “Nathan.”  I grow into that name, define and fill it with characteristics, behaviors, activities, experiences…and, for my communities (the others I relate to) that word “Nathan” comes to mean my specific organism in the world.

Words are beginnings, are like relational diagrams, invisible cross-hatchings and webbing throughout lived experience as humans – inceptions of internal and external possibilities and limitations via their activity as connective linkages, as references and realities.  Every term is metaphor – symbol, signal, object – requiring its interpretant.  The multi-sided act: language.

So what began with language?  Language that joins with and is?

I suggest meaning.  Conscious participation, co-mmunication, reflective relating.

Religiously:  posit Supreme Being and it posits world.  Speak reality and reality speaks.  All a matter of relating, relation…communication…language.

World becomes via collaboration, interaction – made possible through efforts of mutuality and distinction: gestures, intelligible utterances, multilogues, dialogues – communication.

Possible interpretation: A god languages “god” into being.  “Unicorn,” “fairy,” “truth,” “quark,” “molecule,” “consciousness,” – invisible, imperceptible “realities” language (WITH) and then become (ARE).  Subsequently the commerce and exchange of the universe alters…

Each utterance brings new relations and thereby new “things/realities” into concourse.

I can believe that what begins in language (or, communication/relation/collusion) is MEANING (such a word as “god” itself).

I find, trundling through countless notebooks, pages, typescripts, letters and journals, that at the head of any larger work or endeavor I attempt is inscribed this personally indelible takeaway from my youth’s indoctrination:

In the beginning is the word

a thing that creates in being constructed

always co-constructed WITH something else/Other

and becoming something else/Other in its utterance and collusion

organism + environment = meaning

all reality resides in relation

all of these also words, beginnings, possibilities

In beginnings are words

and in words begins begins begins

ever forging relations into realities into relations

tying things one to another to another to another

in concourse

en route as route


(IF) I am a storm. (IF) I am a blizzard.

FROM MY OLD NOTEBOOKS

It is beginning to appear that this Autumn-Winter season will not afford me many, if any, chances to compose writings or work beyond those necessary for school and work.  Gradually facing this fact – with reluctance and resistance – yet not wanting this forum simply to cease, I have decided to grab notebooks and loose pages stacked and scattered about my now-dusty attic writing cavern and cull them for writings I don’t feel ashamed of, and which would otherwise most likely never find opportunity to be engaged, read, criticized or perhaps even enjoyed.  As always, for what it’s worth… writings…

Dust-Bowl1-532x382

(IF) I AM A BLIZZARD

He/I/Writer hadn’t mentioned her (you/it/women) before, she had not factored in the memory because the hole was so deep there.  Like being from Kansas and not mentioning that you live on the planet Earth.  Constituent context.

His four-year-old used words like “conundrum” and “paradox;” said “I’m a particular kind of guy and I need my space.”

Literature, music and art invented Writer.

When snowing it had a way of being everywhere at once.

An infinity of points-of-view.  The angles of things.

 

Language like flakes, like droplets, ice forming on dust, on grains of sand.  Memories.  When they come back, as they came back, a fuzziness and quiet formed on everything.  Accrual of haze.  At times difficult to see through.  Uncertain.  Otherwise unknown.  Like prefacing everything with “I am finite and everywhere,” like mentioning (aside) that you are alive on planet Earth.

Like evaporation.  What seemed to be there just moments ago.

Concocting one way, then another.

Possible to build with what appear to be concrete blocks, distinct and limited, occupying a space with heft and hardness.  Or the voices of birds cawing out over air.  Vibrating, in motion, unlocatable like the dark, or “love,” or “fear,” or “joy.”

 

If I am a blizzard I occur over and across.  I extend and then fall (Winter might think).  (How “Writer” mimics “Winter”).

A “bird,” a “plane,” a dolphin leaping.  (Can/does anything really “leap” without legs?).

“Whiteout.”  Dust storm.  Memory.  History.

Writers’ progeny and progenitors.

Has anything ever really happened?  “Occurred”?

The Mimicking Birds are a Message to Bears.

So what (if anything) is known?

 

First thing, third thing, ninth.

 

Building a world from “facts” (shape, color, sound, size).  What the senses misrepresent or make guesses with: blowing wind.  Emotion.

 

In the midst of the blizzard.  What expulsions massive ambiguity.  As if blown from a mouth the size of a sun.  As if an arrangement that would craft The Great Depression and give birth to someone’s father.

As if Kansas, on planet Earth.

As if the word “me” ever even made a kind of sense.

 

The dark vacuum of “she,” “her,” “It,” “Other.”

Always an unsolved equation.  What holds pursuant consideration.  What moving from absence to presence might be like.  Things to consider and observe.  To take in.  Ruminate.  Decide.  Finitude and consequence (such fearsome things).

 

How a spoken word thuds a gargantuan typewriting arm onto air.  Like thunder.  How you are stuck with your language.  You open your mouth (Writer thinks) you are shoveling a grave.  The chink and thock of it.  The bite, the thrust, the throwaway.

 

The unlocking and the liftaway that sound and sense tend to be.  Spoonfuls of soil.

These are very small things.  Bitesize or microscopic.  Amino acids, molecules.

But we also possess imagination – webs and blankets.  Musics from spheres.  Scintillating overlays of networks and digitalia.  (What the mind can imagine! thinks Writer).

Let’s invent some All-Encompassing.  A Universal Meteor Shower, a Snow, a God.

((IF) I am a blizzard).

At times the word “love” feels this way.

Grandiose and miniscule.

 

  • Does it matter if we hasten our deaths – ?

 

Silly play of interaction.  Every single movement that person + person might be (is).

 

Writer lost in invention: what the mind is capable of: dream, memory, imagination, logic.

 

Spread it out.  Fly away.  Expand.  Contract.  Escape.  (Writer tells himself: “let go,” “set it/them free”).

Parachutes and sparrows.

 

There are scars on Writer’s hands.

And what of scars?

Below her ankle, beneath the eye, down the chest between her breasts, across the hip and back and thigh.  The hollows punched into the backs of knees (science must have named it),

How evaluate the residue of wounds?

 

If I forcibly spread her beautiful nakedest body out over this dining room table, askew and akimbo, that I might insert myself passionately inside her or press and pound into – (what does “physicality” mean?).

 

Flitting thoughts, mimicking birds, back and forth, to and fro – snow.

 

**** Interruption.  Interference.  Intrusion. ****

 

            A blizzard means static.  Windstorm.  Mindstorm.  Deletion and chaos.

 

Expectation.  Writer awaiting.  Awaiting letters in mail.  Music and language, experience.  To breathe is expectancy, anticipation.  Another child en route.

Something to live for.

A seven-mile-journey.

 

In the hopes that someone might read (some fine day) that someone might care, or, after encountering find that they “needed” (or something like it) to continue.  Art for the Writer:  discovery or uncovering of met needs never known until fulfilled and then absent = Art.

Things human people can give.

A blizzard (words, tones, and touches).

 

Blizzard – that we are, can be, may

 

  • an inherent isolation

“Person,” Writer thinks.

Person as inherent isolation (or Death again – the Unmattering – the Opposition to meaning).  The Void.

What haunts as forever, but actually is “never,” an End.

 

So go with it.  Flow.  And then die.

This brief burst of being.

With inevitable conclusion.

Children / Ideas / Actions / Creations / Labor / Life

What is: “Masterpiece” (Absence. Void. Boundary).

An insufficient multiplication.  An equation that will not figure.  We came.  We saw.  Deleted.  The system crash an accident.  Fini.  Sweet promise of tomorrow.

 

This is the arabesque, the frivolous gift.  The Enormance – beginning and end.  The all that in-between.  What is NOW.

All that “then” that is “now.”

 

Absorbency of blizzard.  Precipitate Earth.  6 billion lives falling like snow.  Beliefs and experiences, experiments, emotion, hatreds and loves.  Veritable shit storm with strange little gusts.  Enormity.

A blizzard.  A torrent.  A wind and a whiteout.

            A “blank.”

 

An ever-approaching storm…of void…

Finitude.  Fact.

Limitation.

 

To begin.

((IF) I am a storm.  (IF) I am a blizzard).

 07/09/2010

Black Blizzard

 


Invisible Man Chronicles, cont’d

Click HERE for parts 1 and 2

2-xray handshake

III.

 

            Rattling bones, deep-falling diaphragm – through continuous sightings and encounters with “H” (“her”) these consistently occur – even over hours, days, and months.

            I might say that what characterizes our particular version of intimacy are curiosity and wonder and the ecstasy of discovery and finding – imbuing apparently abandoned spaces with vitality and imagination.

 

            A week later was a potluck for the visiting artist.  Small-talking with “her” in the kitchen – I felt inadequate to be occupying her time and “let her go” to mingle with the many I was certain were desirous of her indomitable and imaginative company.  I spoke with her partner, the farm-inhabiting-best-friend-artist-lady, and H sidled in.  There was much laughter (their minds are contagious and entertaining – as if the structures of adulthood and professional culture never quite ‘took’ or corralled possibilities)…around “her” my breath dissipates.  We’d both been hired as rural mail carrier associates with joint training to occur the week following; both commissioned to respond to this artist’s intimately relational performance work; both in love with abandoned places and their loss and decay – both committed to discovering lost or overlooked things. 

            There we were.

            I in poverty. 

            Day one of training sat us next to one another, her length and beauty, doodles and read-alouds from the training manual enthralling.  I worked to breathe and lived through my peripheral perception – registering her movements, hair, wrist, knee, hands, mouth pronouncing acronyms, quirky nervous habits, footwear, scent and clothing…

            She suggested (did she?) lunch together.  I’m quite certain that converged through a clumsy stumbling and fragmented semblance of conversation.  I had planned only banana and peanut butter on my budget – yet each day we went – for that amazing hour – somewhere I’d never been before in a city I’d spent over three decades in and around.  An abandoned hotel, a nature trail, small chain restaurants, of which one, perhaps, constituted a first “date,” as, after placing our orders, she removed to the restroom and I was left to pay the bill!  (Delightful things like that).

 

            Blessings.  I was gaining practice in “soaking in the good” – a strategy instructed through my therapy, and H was much better than I ever imagined, a remarkable alchemy of behaviors and body parts – co-constituting an unknown ‘ideal’ to my mind, sensations, experience and history.  I was dumbstruck, amazed, bewildered, befuddled – in other words – alive and in hope.

 

            I’d been asking her coterie of creator-friends to visit my home for fire or food or an art-making party – to no response or avail.  Everyone taking a read.  She agreed, then doubted, then declared she thought she might appear via an internet message.  Thus she arrived, of a Sunday afternoon in April, to my home.

             We parlayed and exchanged – art, family, friends, lives, plans, hopes, strategies, likes and dislikes, ideas and tears, meanings and lies and other truths.  I ached toward her – finding romance and desire and a periscope of loving peeking out, looking round, checking for safety.  It isn’t safe.  It’s unlikely, bizarre, fantastical : sixteen years between us and four marriages – her blossoming while I fade to grey, her popping with –larity, my struggling for place.  She asked me to sit next to her.

            The sides of our arms.  Legs.  Eventually fingers becoming entangled.  We talked staring straight ahead, caught in some astronaut training module machine, no gravity, no reference, dizzied and desirous, disbelieving and desirous, frightened and desirous, with just the right amount of belonging and estrangement, novelty to craft courage and excitement throughout our neural nets.

             We concocted funnel cakes of cinnamon and sugar, mustard, jalapenos and sausage.  They flopped and sickened, we laughed and she left.  I think perhaps we loved, even then, that day.  She left behind a bevy of hands from a book she created, by extraction.  Our hands were open, our minds and hearts, a letting-go, with patterns and a freeing, a dance: in common, in Kansas, in history, in hope, in commitments, in fears and neuroses.

             Letting-go.

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Invisible Man Chronicles, continued

These consist of my attempts to account (to myself mostly) for the past 6 months of my somewhat turbulent season…

Read part 1 HERE

Kansas Ruins

 

II.

 

“Dying seeds split towards open…”

 

            “I was about to ask you to speak to me stories of how we met,” she murmured as we waited for sleep, “I never tire of them, how they change as we go, all our perspectives…”

            And we begin.

            “How was it for you when I entered that kitchen?” I ask, for what occurred in me I am still – four months later – unable to give voice to, just as I was unable then.

            What I can say is that I entered anxious, uncertain, afraid and filled with grief – but knowing I must begin somewhere, try, introduce, extend myself, my life, beyond the coil I’d created of children, survival, and pain.

             An old yellow farmhouse replete with water pump, out-buildings, repurposed windmill-like sculptures, abandoned well, mannequin-legs lined windows, rust, piles of parts, cats and kittens, bunnies and snakes.  The home of two lively artists, the wife soon to be known to me as “her” best friend.  Corn and wheat fields with their fences and rows, tall prairie grasses, birds of prey, and heat and wind is what I stepped out of my car toward this April Kansas day.

            I carried a backpack of notebooks, pens and books, a small cooler with two wrapped bratwurst, a liter of vodka and TexSun grapefruit juice cans (my armory against strangers and surprises, perhaps against myself) toward the homestead’s screened-in porch.

            Opened the door to a greeting androgynous mannequin and a doorway to the kitchen.

             I turned the latch with an apologetic and nervous smile as if to express “None of you will know me and will probably wonder why I turned up here in your home.”  The lady of the house greeted me and quickly introduced me to a workspace full of smoking hams, tossing salads, and baking grains.  At the island stood…and here I blank out.

             My torso, from lowest throat through loin-bottom, floods with feeling, with absence, with amazement and hunger.  The first sheer drop of a roller coaster.  Catching air off the road.  Losing your hold on the side of a mountain.  What seemed so certain – a mountain of absence and grief, a path of sorrow, loss and regret, misplaced footing, and fright like a life-ending fall… or life-fulfilling…

             All I remember was a brain flushed with “who IS that creature?” – large glasses, Dukes of Hazard or Wild Western clothes – a button shirt tied just under the breasts, long and limby body, mass of hair the color of ripe dusty wheat – long like the Kansas horizon.  I nodded politely to each, walked through three rooms and out the front door into air.  I had lost all my breath for that journey.

             Confused and baffled by the overthrow of my reason and will to be a severe and grieving abandoned invisible man, I set off to examine the property, to photograph remnants, to see as far as I could see and let the wind blow this internal combustion away.

             Part of me knew I’d survived.  What undid me was turning out not to be mortal.  Perhaps I maintained the resilience and adaptation of a child with a little less flexibility and imagination, but the floods and droughts had not burned me fallow.  It frightened me.

             Eventually I conversed most of the evening away with “her” young, thoughtful boyfriend, engaged the generous and open artist-in-residence and made more plans to enjoy this group of hopeful, resourceful humans… while “she” moved about like the grass and the wind, the trees bending, swaying – each too large to comprehend, each farther than the eye knew how to see.

             One learns a landscape by living in and with it over time…

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