Laramie & Alias & possible ways to end

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“Just find a way through to an end,” Laramie thinks, fallen there, and hurting.

“the void is waiting for vocabulary,” Alias reads, and ponders alone what the void might be comprised of.  “Perhaps the void is composed of perhapses,” he writes, “combined with some organization of relations we are incapable of imagining, cannot begin to fathom.  Awaiting and constraining possibilities, likelihoods and unforeseens in a kind of complex and chaotic equation or balance.”  Irreducible, inexhaustible, and unsayable, he marks on the wall-sized whiteboard in his office.

“If I figure how to end…make it to an end,” Laramie whispers, hoarsely, internally, excruciatingly, silently.  He cannot sense his horse, nor smell the fire.  It will begin to rain.

“Perhaps,” Alias cursives at his desk, dire, lonely, remiss.  “Perhaps each motion, feeling, thought…perhaps the shaping of an ‘a’ instead of an ‘I,’ perhaps this particular curve or flutter of line, this pen rather than another, the way it sits in my hand, perhaps the letter-to-word conjured depends on so much more than I can conceive or dream: smoke rising to atmosphere in some African desert; a precise selection of neurons inhibited and allowed in my body; the varying flow of blood and calculus of cells active in my thighs, my ankles; the trajectory of wind – its velocity.  Perhaps what registered itself in my synapses and muscles 17 years ago is playing out in curves versus straight; what she said; or his coughs in the night.  The amount and location of sperm; exact army and height of each dandelion stem; the president’s breath; engine ignition in China; the current temperature of Jupiter.  Perhaps.”

Laramie works to focus on his breathing, attempts to concentrate his eyes.  Seeks localization and diagnostics of injury.  His vision is “impaired.”  His legs have gone numb.  Some liquid burn fires through chest-shoulder-arm.  He cannot wriggle his fingers.

“Perhaps every ‘moment’ or movement, influence, decision, activity, intention, expression truly depends on everything else – EVERYTHING…since ANYthing occurred – however that may have become.  And the motion of my arm, its difficulties, my emotions and thinkings, what I am able to perceive, just as much participates in the perhapses and perchances as EVERYthing else – directs them accordingly while equally or ratio-reciprocally affected and determined by.  Some inexhaustible, irreducible, assemblage – unsayable from my specified and fluctuate limitations – my finitude, but imaginatively infinite (perhaps not) in chances-are,” Alias furiously scribbles.

Attempts to roll over.  Effort towards sky.  Finds himself clutching left arm, his legs akimbo but working into a ball.  Breath harsh and labored.  Sight unseen.  Somewhere far, separate, Laramie is suffering.  Finding a way to an end.

“Perhaps,” Alias drones.  “Perhaps deaths and births, seedings and desiccations, galactics and atomic behaviors, cheetah-screech and egg-breaks, politics and business transactions, theories and documents and artifacts, particular weights of the world and all of their unformed-formings gather every instant to become again, particularly.  Planar, scalar, interactive and recursive, never still, never stable, not quite patterned – ever potent, ever determined, ever possible, ever realized – EVERYWHERE + HOW + WHY + WHO + WHAT – always possible and continually actual – without possible worlds – just IS.  Just IS.  Just IS, again.”  Alias slumps.  Decides again to drink.  Looks at porn.  Longs for intimacy, for desire – to be craved, wanted and longed-for.  To be satisfying, satiating.  To be some whacky, untellable, sort of “enough.”  Wishes and wishes – 15,000 things.

Nothing now but distress, pang, shards, fire.  Something like the neigh or whinny of a horse.  A coyote yelp or yip.  Dying insects, a squashed ant.  Sparks fizzled in mist and wind.  Harsh, hard, and consuming.  Consumptive.  Agony.  Laramie unable to locate his body, his voice…himself.

data-rot
data-rot

Meaning-Making in Living Systems, or, 15,000 Things

subatomic

is a phrase and a theory I have queried, contemplated, spelunked and pursued for the past few decades of my “living.”  Since (apparently) before I can remember, I’ve been addicted to a kind of figuring-out – some offspring of “understanding,” any concept / idea / or belief-faith – that might elucidate to me my (experienced) compulsion to “meaning” or “significance” – to matter as matter-in-relation.

I’ve encountered many gurus (preachers, priests, philosophers, psychologists, scientists, mathematicians and artists, farmers and engineers, poets = “people”) along the way who have sent, directed, swerved, commanded, troubled, commended, interrogated, suggested and questioned this impulse of mine.  From sarcasm to scholarship I’ve been told I will not find that which I seek.  Or recommended resolutions that don’t withstand my particular scrutiny and skepticism.

It is sunny and light, Spring-y and gentle in Kansas today.  I took my lunch, after a walk, at a table among trees.  Birds were active, dogs ambling by, flowers in bloom, and a breeze.

For the most part I “eat” cause I’ve believed that otherwise I would fail (as a being) and die.  I like to enjoy food, but most often it’s presumed “preparation” falls to me, and therefore becomes a complication of time I would prefer not to.

So I sat and I drank (so much easier).  Water & coffee & other things to my pleasure.  And “pondered,” I guess – what I do, when (apparently) no one requires immediate need of me.

I was alone, in a way.

And thinking of “meaning-making,” and “knowledge,” “belief” and “desire” – human shit.  (It’s what I do – that compulsion).

*** As I was contesting people’s behaviors and language recently in my home, my unanticipated fortune of something like a life-partner offered the response “there are 15,000 things it could be.”  Which struck hold and has become something of a cliché in short order in our home.  Imponderables, indefinables, indescribabilities.  For any action any thing might perform – there are nigh infinite possible “reasons” (most likely irrational) – these courses are taken.  “Personal knowledge” is not something we have.  Systems do what they do – what is done is what’s done – and the likelihood of our assessments being correct is near null.*** [that’s all an aside]

I can be critical.

And quite gracious and kind.

“Depending.”

On what?

15,000 things.

I am rambling.  And have decided to do so.  Readers, you must know, I don’t write because I have something to say.  (15,000 things).  I have drives to express (inexplicably) – and most often what I write is precisely a declaration of what I don’t know.

“The more we know, the more exposed we are to our ignorance, and the more we know to ask”

– Marcelo Gleiser, The Island of Knowledge

Well that’s a positivist view.

When I write, I expose all my ignorance.  Compose hunches and urges, fascinations and fears.  Ache to pull my ineffables toward tongues.  Talking’s the same.  I don’t know what I’m saying – just hoping experience finds text.  Immaterial materializing.  We might get “something to work with.”  I don’t understand any of it.

Sitting then, in the sweet Kansas day, 20/30 years of my life gained a traction.  “Meaning-making,” to make meaning, was obscuring infinite unknowns.  Underlying such a contention – that meaning is made – swum its absence = there’s no meaning “there.”

“Person-hood” aptly decreed – “person” a “hood” that we wear.  “Person-ality” – some ability we possess to appear as in situations.  “Meaning” – a something we might craft to suit our unaccountable occurrences.  I don’t mean anything, significance is made.  If I’m lucky the people around me choose to do so with my existence.  Otherwise it’s matter of course.  We’re Matter…of course.  But who knows?  Also the problem of “knowledge” – the only “knowledge” we have is our own and some idiosyncratic communal bastardization of what our Species has MADE.

Not quite nihilism.  Just meaninglessness.

I like the idea of “meaning-making” – finding it in the relation of atoms, of stars, of humans and beasts.  Of dreams and delusions, of science.  I like “knowledge” – created cultural artifacts and residue, flotsam & jetsam, structures and practical theories.  AND it would seem it obscures what surrounds.  For every academic discipline that drills its way into a world we experience (as humans) and stacks up hypotheses and –pedias…there’s still the wide world there from every other perspective and experience – the ant, paramecium, subatomic particle, sky.  Your spouse or your child, parent or friend, or the foreign, the stranger, the Other, the “them.”

Myopia.  Perception.  The experience of meaning.  Attribution of significance.  What matters in matter to ME.  IF matter – for even matter’s a human contribution to what seems to be.

Perhaps it comes down to particularized –“hoods” and “-abilities” – “each one’s” momentary personhood and personality – whether experience is an occasion to “make meaning” or glide on in its unnecessary meaninglessness.  I don’t know.

What remains is my deranged and crazy compulsion – my “hood” I guess, and ability.

So many words come to mind.

Alias and the World of Ten Thousand Things

The basics of their story are as follows:

  • there was a wedding
  • nearly a year later, a honeymoon
  • followed by her father’s swift, surprising death
  • succeeded by the loss of a child

and the presence of a curious cat.

The basics of his story are as follows:

  • there is a woman
  • he has many sorrows and passions
  • there are children involved
  • he is poor
  • from a distance his life’s deemed “ideal”

the cat’s name is “Fractal” or “Luna,” a.k.a “Predicate Isabitch.”

His sorrow lay in the pace of things.  Both what there is, and what there is not.

No matter the fortunate outcomes, or happy resolutions, his reckoning turns it to grief [perhaps in the manner of Werther] – a “bent,” a “perception,” or “filter.”

Turns to literature and texts of all kinds, from the dead – in near religious belief [nigh Fundamentalist fashion] that they bring joy or consistent melancholy satisfactions.

Alias Harlequin is sick and he’s dying – he knows it.

He lies at the end of his rope.  STOP.

Impression alters there.  Import and significances warp.

Some things that seem pressing, dissolve.  Don’t matter the same, at the ends.

Will occur, and pass by, to negligible consequence.  Comparatively.

Other happenings seem to reveal profound differance.

True import (such an intimate, idiosyncratic affair).  Nothing true, yet perhaps only.

Alias sits at his perch on his porch, calculating.

What’s the matter (for the head, and the hand, and the heart)?

While Laramie stumbles at camp on a rock.  And he falls.

We don’t (always) know what we need when we’re down…but (sometimes) we know what we don’t…

Ouroboros, or Autophagia

Ouroboros

I often feel that I’m dying.  Killing myself with disease. Killing myself via the activities of my “mind.”  Killing myself with alcohol.  Killing myself by over-extension, -exertion, lack of self-regard.    Worry.  Anxiety.  Perfectionism.  Wishes.  Desires.  Dying from the absence of sex (and yet orgasm is also a breathless ‘little death’).  Dying from lack of joy.  Dying of disuse, depletion, or disregard.  Dying of my own engulfing life.

Which only emphasizes the insistent FACT.  One thing we know, perhaps the ONLY certainty we’ve understood in the thousands or millions or billions of years we’ve been species-al (spec-ial) and aware of such information…is that we are dying.  Constantly.  Continuously.  Unstoppably.  Irrefutably and inescapably.  Inevitably.

Whether we do it to ourselves – amplify or expedite its course – or are at the mercies and whims of some enormous cosmic complex entanglement; whether our cells turn against “us,” or we turn our “selves” against our cells; excruciating or peaceful, ecstatic or terrifying – WE DIE.  ARE DYING.  WILL DIE.

For some, this undeniable evidence and unstoppable knowledge instigates a kind of “dead-already” worldview or perspective…a nihilism for some.  A not-ness.  A foregoing of LIVING, a preemptive attack, or some strange passion of alignment with the TRUTH – some subversion of the FACT (at the same time true, and as certain) – that a DYING thing MUST be LIVING.

An “it doesn’t matter.”  Usually tacked on with an “ultimately.”  Meaninglessness.  Pointlessness.  Purposelessness.  Something some supposed “scientist” (devoted to “objective” observable “truths”) like a psychologist, biologist or physicist; doctor or therapist or mathematician – might call “depression,” “skepticism,” “cynicism,” – when in FACT it is adherence to one of the ONLY FACTs we’ve described or descried that has held TRUE while all of our tools, technologies, expansions of knowledges and theories, inventions, medicines and so on carry on their wars against it.  A veritable CERTAINTY (indeed, perhaps the only occurrence in which a human being accords with reality).

DYING.  From there – who knows?  “At one’s own hand/operations” or “at the mercy of” environments, situations, circumstances, world… who knows?  No one.  Uncertainty.  The process of being-alive to being-dead is fraught with everything else we are able to imagine.  And almost entirely UNCERTAIN.

It happens.  Living.  Then Dead.  Each one.  Every one.  “Me,” “You,” “I’s,” “They’s,” “We’s,” “Those” and “These.”  Whatever begins…ends (in some form).  Whatever emerges, converges and devolves.  Whatever occurs…deceases.  Ceases “to Be.”

And so what do we do…what do “I” do…with this LIVING?  In full awareness of the synonymity – LIVING/DYING – why is the awareness of dying and depletion of a potency that oft outstrips its necessary , indeed indubitable counterfactual?  LIVING.  LIVING.  LIVING…

Who now, what now, where and for why?

reading dead profile

The Want for a Story : Texts for Nothing

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The want for a story.  For a ‘reason’ to be.  A far place, an illusion, the stomach knows its illegitimacy, its fantasy, irreality…yet the brain (mind?) dying toward, for, craving, starving after it.

A thread in a narrative…a plotline…a characterization – some momentary identity.  To be witnessed, accounted-for, counted, taken note of, recognized.  The mad dream of anOther aware of me, acknowledging my presence, sidling out of my way.  “Made way”…I exist.

The madness of atoms.  Nonsensical.  Not “to be” – a sort of fact as it goes – but “to be in awareness” – and not only, but much more – “to be in An-Other’s awareness!”  Too much!  Pure delusion.

We infect alt-awareness only via disturbance and/or unavoidability – interruptions, intrusions, sign or accident/event – a scream, a tragedy, an obstacle.  Interference.  No one selects for intrusion…it is managed and dealth with, endured or survived.  We (humans) don’t “mean to,” don’t “seek out” inconvenience.  (Or maybe we do?).  But no matter.  Not our ‘purpose,’ ‘intent.’ Not our ‘drive’ (to survive).

Others become aware of “me” when (and ONLY when?) I get in their way.  “Intrude.”  Otherwise – sans dependence, accident, harm, or some assumed respons-ability (‘obligation’) – I find it hard to imagine drawing the care of attention of an/other.

We spread too thin.  Period.  Once we engage/respond/encounter/experience, it is blatantly evident: WE ARE NOT ENOUGH.  Perhaps nothing is.  Perhaps learning, relating, experiencing, engaging, life…NOTHING is.  Perhaps this differentiates us as a species – UNSATISFIABLE : UNMET.

And…perhaps this is a synonym for “Life/Living” – some ‘thing’ ever striving ‘further’ or ‘beyond’ itself…

Is the ‘definition’ of “Life” simply WANTING FOR MORE?

i.e. – entities remaining alive, period – according to DESIRE?

The want for a story.  A ‘reason’ to be.  To be meaning.  To signal.  To call & respond.  To exist.

But all those are “more-than.”

The Myth in the Verse

The River of Bees

BY W. S. MERWIN

In a dream I returned to the river of bees

Five orange trees by the bridge and

Beside two mills my house

Into whose courtyard a blindman followed

The goats and stood singing

Of what was older

.

Soon it will be fifteen years

.

He was old he will have fallen into his eyes

.

I took my eyes

A long way to the calendars

Room after room asking how shall I live

.

One of the ends is made of streets

One man processions carry through it

Empty bottles their

Image of hope

It was offered to me by name

.

Once once and once

In the same city I was born

Asking what shall I say

.

He will have fallen into his mouth

Men think they are better than grass

.

I return to his voice rising like a forkful of hay

.

He was old he is not real nothing is real

Nor the noise of death drawing water

.

We are the echo of the future

.

On the door it says what to do to survive

But we were not born to survive

Only to live

  1. S. Merwin, “The River of Bees” from The Second Four Books of Poems(Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by W. S. Merwin. Reprinted with the permission of The Wylie Agency, Inc.

 

Not-Belonging, Chapters

I feel somewhat apologetic, but here is one more selection from my archives.  Another that when I re-read I am unable to see how I might do better, or how I ever got it done at all, yet all my work un-published or rejected, so I know it is not “good enough” per whatever the current cultural milieu would prefer.  “No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.”  Perhaps.  In any case, it circles around for me like the tail-eating snake I am, in hopes it might engender something new, no, in hopes it might be put to rest.  For any who read it, I would be hard pressed to metaphor my astonishment, humility, gratitude and begging-of-patience, including a sheer and sharp ache of deep appreciation for your life’s time and likely unwarranted, gracious, attention.

does-not-belong-worksheet-worksheet

Chapters That Don’t Belong

(please click image or title for text)

many thanks

from Archives – Family: A Fiction

wandering through my own writings, and stumbling on things that surprise me.  This seems (to me) to be some of the best writing I’ve ever done, something I can’t imagine being able to do, something I’m not sure I ever did – the bewilderments – something I can’t imagine doing again.  Thought I’d share…I wonder who/what I might be.

Family

Family: A Fiction – NW Filbert (2012?)

Let Me Get This Out of Your Way

Intriguing stumble-upon.  Clearing an old flash drive for my daughter I ran across this – texts from my first and only public reading – featuring art by George Ferrandi and Laura Barbuto, which occurred in an interactive reading space with many assistants and much assistance a couple years ago.  Seemed like it belonged in this space.

space_ferrandi

  1. Sitting at table amid a narrative hum. No one speaks.

“Getting it Out of the Way: A Response”

(texts by Nathan Filbert; art/images Laura Barbuto/George Ferrandi)

 

Alias Ouroboros; or, Alias and [the Philosophy of] the Process of Elimination

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Looks, stares, gazes.  Alias, alone (with ants).  In bathroom.  Facing mirror.

Is reminded (from whence and where?) “My way of not being the same is, by definition, the most singular part of what I am.”  Remembers Foucault wrote that (how? why?).

Contemplates.  Scrutinizes.  Reflects.  Adorno: “To make things of which we do not know what they are.”  Wherefore?  Examines his old face for repetition.  For resemblance.

What ever did he suppose the “self” was?  Leans closer.  12 years old, exploring raggedy woods surround childhood farm in the Kansas countryside with a crooked clumsy stick (a settler’s gun).  Who did he posit “others” to be?

Laramie, somewhere far.  Laramie: OFF.  Sister.  Sometime “friends.”  Lucy (before that H____, before that T_____, and prior A______, D_______, J_____, and so on).  Had he come to approximate “himself” at all?  And who and what and where determined that?  Where is the Observer?

What constitutes the subject in its relations to the true, to rules, to itself?” (Foucault had queried) – the “I” in a sentence – and why had he ever read that stuff?  Why did he feel himself “drawn” to it?  Magnetized to self-reflection, chaotic perspective gyroscope?

Can almost see the swallowing snake.  How long he’s longed (like Laramie) to shed obligations and self-evolving charges (children, lovers, homes and labor)…and how lonely alone turns out to be.

Leans back.  The hair, the shoulders, the wrinkles and beard.  Sheer size alone an entirely variant specimen from 12, shape of 20, motility of 3, vim of 47.

But the naming remains: Harlequin – spanning centuries, derived from ancestor’s medieval roles.  “Ignatius” and “Evgeny” – monikers pilfered from grandfathers – representing both (or some) genetic “sides” – the mother’s and the father’s.  Then Alias, alas – selected purely for sound and almost a joke – “let him make his own name” his dad was supposed to have said – “make a name for himself.”  Alias i. e. Harlequin – an identity of shifters.  Contentless, versatile signs.  This or that, also known as, patchwork jester.  Volatile collage.

Multi-colored robes of Joseph – Alias certain he’s never led anything out of bondage – let alone himself.  A joker then?  Entertainer with a deathly fear to perform.  Chameleon, hodgepodge, bum.  Rag-tag coddle of experiences, interests and events: people, places, actions and things.  Jumbled potpourri of knowledge sans expertise.  “Who is this what that I am?” he thinks, unattended, gaping at the bathroom mirror.  “How?”

Sways toward.  Yellowed teeth, crudded sockets.  Webs stringing out from the eyes indexing smiles – from when?

Drinks.  Diarrhea.  Trembles.

Considers process of elimination.  Engages, ingests, transforms…and turns it all to shit.

Precisely!  If we could do without metaphor!  “The real,” “the rules,” “itself” and “other” hacked, torn and blundered, mulched and mushed, pulped and extracted…some to nourish, some to harm, random keeps and passes…What if “itself” were able to masticate, dissolve and disperse, digest and diarrhea itself?  If thinking passed like food and water?

Crush the judgments, statements, words and perceptions. Struggle to swallow.  Swill the pains and fears – chug through the gullet – expel from the sex.  Crap the hopes, the dreams.  Piss prejudice and myth.  Ingurgitate logical systems, impressions and lust.  Eliminate ruin and waste like a transitioning, dynamic…eroding, decrepit, diminishing body.

Examines physique – misshapen shapeshifting slush.  Deliberates learning.  Vocations.  Training.  Behaviors and “talents.”  Successes.

Swallows again, more of a choking or gulp.  Peers closer.  Slurps and gobbles, wriggling it down – acids and micro-solutions…expel, eject, devour.  Autosarcophagy, necrotizing fasciitis, auto-immune (how did he know these things?) parasiting himself – is it possible to empty?  To void?  And where’s Laramie?  Lucy?  The children?

The trots again.  He starts to gag.