A Letter in Employ

I am performing a task for my employer.  I am writing a professional letter.  I am letting you know that I labor.  I am here to be useful, and used.  I submit.  My actions indicate that I accept structure and system as representative of survival.  I will do what you ask.  I recognize organization as power.  In fact, any kind of organizing indicates a position of imaginative power and control.  To differentiate, to specify, to label, name, assign – all are a fiat of power and authority or authorship – a claiming of superiority over things named, situated, recognized.  Supposedly if I comply dutifully – bow and behave in ways that signify structure as something larger (or more important) than me – I will have internet access, some food, air-conditioning, coverings, a car, and someplace to live (in certain mountainous areas, none of these are beneficial).  “Teamwork” is misnomer.

My philosophy is simple:

  • The mind or brain is an intermittent trickle of the rivers of the body which are hardly discernible in the waves of the world.
  • “I” am No one, Nowhere, which is to say Everyone, right Here. A poet wrote of presenting his face as a smashed window baring open sky – I thought that was me – No one Nowhere = Everyone right Here (whenever/wherever that happens to be).
  • Experience is what happens. What happens is what is.  If criticized as “for us” (whichever ‘experiencer’) I ask – what else could it be?
  • Knowing limits. If “for-this” is all my experience can be, then those are my limits.  Once I sense my limits I can attempt to challenge, question, and extend them, for alternate experiencing.
  • Ideas/Thoughts/Concepts/Theories [abstractions/imaginings] (like structure, perception, systems, organization, self, number, truth, etc.) are compelling because the limits of their effects are unknown to us. Ideas (ideologies) allow us to ‘experience’ power and control and compliance of the world around us (apparently), even though the dripping-trickle-stream-river-ocean of our limited participation in world flows always and is unalterably changing and miniscule.  Bodies die.  Each every/no-one where/when-ever.
  • The propensity or lust for belief – in ‘observation,’ ‘experiment,’ ‘objectivity,’ ‘analysis,’ ‘deduction,’ ‘ideas,’ numbers or language or effects of imagined power and control (technicity) – are wishes against the body, against dying, against limitation, against what happens, anyway.
  • Thoughts and effects do not make experience longer.
  • Experience is living, is limited.
  • Living is the extremely limited experience of dying.

Admitting or confessing that I exist to meet needs, that this is my employment, may be a Credo of Little Import.  A submission of insignificance in accepting others’ systems, structures, and arbitrary claims to power.  Compliance.  Resignation.  Complaisance.  Dependence. [Co-dependence – opting out of experience/living exits the submission-religion].

My voice dribbles, a hardly perceptible microorganism in the ocean of world.  My experience a parenthetical waving particle.  My living its effective dying.

In a beginning that never began, the ending already comes.

World is an intermittent trickle of the rivers of living, barely and scarcely discerned.

We are Here Now, how would we like our fleet experiencing of dying to be?

Meaning

…still seems

to occupy us

as an open question

 

who (yet) knows

what language means?

 

I love/d you.

What more is wanted

ever?

 

With all of its not

mattering, like changing

seasons, world

 

going on.  A hawk

(or owl) shrieks

‘beauty’

 

We ask again

at the canyon,

the peak, the abyss,

 

And I say simply

‘You are beautiful,

Thank you…

 

therefore I love you.’

 

Nothing meaning

but some report,

some expression –

 

Elementary assignment:

This is why I’m alive.

Possessives and plurals,

the mysteries remain.

http://www.schirn-peace.org/en/post/marcus-steinweg-notizen-zur-liebe/

Hers

“Weren’t there any words that she accepted more willingly?  Any that diverged less from what she was thinking?”

-Maurice Blanchot, Awaiting Oblivion

There have been many hers,

some promise of connectivity

or commerce

(perhaps promise is too much,

perhaps desiring is more

accurate).

In other words, and

many of the same

from time to time

over time

the process equals =

it is hers –

my strands cannot reach,

meaning cannot knot,

meeting grown unable…

Ellipses…

continuance and breakage

characterizing in-between;

a trailing-off, a dwindling,

leaning toward the open –

deletions and erasures, a clearing of a space.

 

Again

and

Again

and Again

Again…

 

“perhaps because the first words

say everything / He decided

to begin

again

from there” (Blanchot).

 

We can know

the first word is

“Here.”

[After-words?]

 

Again

and

Again

and Again

Again

“Begin.”

 

He thinks that

it belongs

to her,

it is hers,

all of them;

 

In other words

are there any words

that diverge less…

that would not

initiate ellipses…

-the crossing

-the forking

of roads-

 

Here.

Again.

Begin.

– each eviscerating concoction…

clarifying conundrum,

each undone doing…

[doing undone].

 

Not quite correction,

no improvement, evolution,

no repeat and never same,

inceptive destruction…

 

He names it “failure”

“recurrence”

He says it is the “here”

of meeting

inducing the there of separation,

of potential gain

and irreparable loss.

“Here” is where it begins

Again…

and ends,

alwaystime…

 

It is hers.

Colluded

and conspired.

She is never wrong

to say

it is his.

This Here.

Again

and

Again.

Begin…

 

…until finally…

Cabin Reflections

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“Penelope remembers having read that of all the liquids and fluids produced by the human body – sweat, semen, vaginal fluid, saliva – tears are the only one without any trace of DNA… Impossible to identify someone from their tears, we’re all identical when we weep despite the many different reasons we have for weeping, something like that.  Unlike unhappiness, tears don’t set us apart, they make us the same.”

Rodrigo Fresan, “The Invented Part”

Last week I spent with my four offspring at a cabin on the Pikes Peak Massif in Colorado.  Mostly I register grief and loss in my experience of living… but interestingly enough, the first entry of my vacation journal begins with the simple sentence “I’m happy.”  Unqualified, that’s it – myself + my offspring + a rich world reeking of “no service” and untellable beauty… “I’m happy.”  Here are some notes I made throughout the week:

Simple things innerheard during cabin stay:

The stars: “We can’t tell the difference: between light or dark, death or what remains.”

The streams: “Where have we come from, where are we going? / Where we have come from, where we are going.”

Growing things (grass, moss, wildflowers, mushrooms, wild berries, etc…): “Not yet, not yet.  Who knows?”

The rocks, the boulders: “Once upon a time.  Now.”

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The mountain(s): “Maybe.  May Be.”

The cabin:  “Us.  Here.  We.  With.  Hold.”

Phrases of my children:

  • “It’s good to live this way once in awhile.”
  • “Why do we leave here, ever?  I never want to.  What is have to?”
  • “Dad, everything here is your ‘favorite‘.

And me:

  • “Nothing is like this.  Nothing… Belonging, I belong.  Time changes, it’s different here.  As if there isn’t.  THIS PLACE IS ‘BEAUTY’ TO ME.  THIS PLACE IS WORTH MY LIFE.”
  • on climbing: “I’m a dad: we ALL make it, or none of us really do.”
  • on love: “If I say ‘I love you’ – please don’t hear it as worship, as inordinate.  In love we see the ‘too much‘ of the other – that which is always beyond our own reach, the ‘too much’ in each of us we struggle with, and seem to be unable to assimilate or observe in mirrors of our own.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons the conundrum we call ‘love’ exists?

Addresses to my children and loved ones:

  • To T: “Always beware of logic – our fabricated things.  What we may wish toward but doesn’t make matter.”
  • To A: “Recall.  There are differences.  Beware.  There are openings for more life.”
  • To I: “You have it.  You carry your own water.  Your own dreams.  Your own beginnings.”
  • To O: “Heroes also may shrink you, diminish, contain.  You are deeply your own.”
  • To H: “Never mind.  I am not the one who can conquer it in you.  I believe someone will.”
  • To ?: “I love you.  Like literature: the possible of life.  Impossible.”

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Thank you mountains, rocks, growing things, streams….

3 Short Poems

for the weekend…

ARE YOU

I don’t think I have a question;

yet I seem to be

an asking

.

This one?  This one?

Is it here?

Are you?

.

The breeze is not silent

as many things

that are not

.

Still I do not understand –

Are you here?

Am I?

.

It goes unanswered

along with the riddle

I am

.

Are we here?

Are you?

 

READY FOR SADNESS

I’m often ready to be sad.

Why is this?

What holes are excavated by living?

What sifts through?  Falls out?  Runs away?

.

It goes nowhere

Or anywhere,

Everywhere.

Still it goes

.

where I am not

welcoming

through all these openings

a peeking-back

 

[addendum]

Instead I seal them shut

I try to stuff them

full of rags

that reek of sin and toxic

.

What can I do –

will I –

in this cell

that seems my own?

 

AGING

What does one do?

Reducing teeth

or sight

or hearing

.

How does one choose

what’s worth

repair

when all is failing,

.

ailing,

come undone?

he asks his father –

buys a car

.

replacing failure:

another thing

that’s bound

to fail.

Credo

I’m afraid to write.  It’s so dangerous.  Anyone who’s tried, knows.  The danger of stirring up hidden things – and the world is not on the surface, it’s hidden in its roots submerged in the depths of the sea.  In order to write I must place myself in the void.  In this void is where I exist intuitively.  But it’s a terribly dangerous void: it’s where I wring out blood.  I’m a writer who fears the snares of words: the words I say hide others – which?  maybe I’ll say them.  Writing is a stone cast down a deep well.

Do I write or not?…A light and gentle meditation on the nothing…

Does “writing” exist in and of itself?  No. It is merely the reflection of a thing that questions.  I work with the unexpected.  I write the way I do without knowing how and why – it’s the fate of my voice.  The timbre of my voice is me.  Writing is a query.  It’s this: ?

I write for nothing and for no one…I don’t make literature: I simply live in the passing of time.  The act of writing is the inevitable result of my being alive…

I feel as though I’m still not writing…My problem is the fear of going mad.  I have to control myself…And so I’ll leave a page blank or the rest of the book – I’ll come back when I can.

Clarice Lispector, Breath of Life 

Any Story

AnyStory

Don’t start reading.  The writing always stops when there’s something to read.

There’s always something to read.

Somethings you really, really want to read.

Avoiding frustration.

Urges.

You want, gutturally – in the stomach of your heart – she’s ill, she’s suffering, the phone, to text, just text, “still love you”, like that, she must need care, she must (perhaps not, perhaps she’s been more than cared for, is ecstatically happy, relieved, content, unbothered – it was she who chose to leave, who left, after all).

Divert.

Text someone else, another, one who maybe wants you to love her, who misses.  Avoid frustration.

No.  Write it.  Write about the urges, the diversion, the avoidance.  Read a little first, get a taste, a feel for what letters, what language, might do…

Avoid frustration.

Write.

Take a drink (an attempt to frustrate frustration, avoiding satisfactions, short-circuiting risks with another), no texting, follow your fears, note your diversions, attend your avoidance, but act elsewhere.  Write.

Fear.

Could start anywhere, and none a satisfaction, only inscriptions or actions of frustration – to read, to write, to love the one who doesn’t want it, who’s trying to get away (has gotten away, but also wants to leave it behind), to contact one who might or who does want to hear from you (but you don’t, don’t know, just want love, some response) – want to write…

…for ANYone, any SOMEone, perhaps yourself, perhaps all the opportunities lying about you wanting to be read – no, you want to read them…

Avoid frustration, settle for imagined response, even address, to be called – the words in the books rarely fail in calling you, addressing you, which for you feels like response, like being wanted, almost needed, like a text from ANYone, any SOMEone, who invites your love.

Take a drink, frustrate frustration, move into fear, toward satisfaction (or one of its bastard offspring).

Just write.

Don’t check that phone.  Don’t even touch it.  Leave it in another room.  Turn it off, power it down.

See the words come easy when you simply write them out instead of fracturing them, spreading them thin through a network, splaying them across pages and phones and emails and…

Write.

I read.

I drink.

It floods.

Another day.

Any story.

Working Around the Void

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve whittled away at my brain toward a poem…  I’m not sure that’s what this is, but it’s fresh effort:

Working Around the Void

How can we have

such clear impressions

of what is not?

 

Absence

Silence

Nothing

 

maybe God,

Santa Claus,

or meaning.

 

Things

lacking evidence,

experience

 

I believe I dream

and vice-versa,

as a doubt-drenched thinker

 

As long as we’re using language

for these –

what is our perception of love?

 

Imagination?

Is it?

Time?

 

Between appear and disappear.

Articulate desire.

 

Learning-With, Working In-Between

I found the following paper when cleaning up our dining room table to prepare for dinner:

Ida_Blog

What I learn from the inscriptions of my freshly teenaged/screenaged daughter is this:  POWERFUL WRITING CAN BE ABOUT ANYTHING.  Which inspires me, and supports a potent hunch I’ve been harboring over recent years and studies: that writing that works on or in us, that gnaws at us, strikes or challenges us, perhaps even changes or ‘enlightens’ us, nourishes or crushes us (as the human species we happen to be – capable of participating, communicating, coordinating variously fabricated scales of signification from the organismal, cell-based to communal (‘personal,’ ‘social,’ ‘political’-based) tends to be concocted up out from textures and materials of authentic self-report and confusion or lack [wonder? – our ability to ‘put-into-question’?].

That we make effort, perhaps progress, are sustained or contained, constrained or extended by core curiosity (query, investigation, inquiry, desire) around perceived conundrums, or LACK.

“This in-between feeling”: self-report (authentic within constrained conventions, perception, culture) + confusion, curiosity, a questioning, experimentation, conundrum = an access to the uncertain, the open, the unknown.

“If it is true that there is (in the Chinese language) a written character that means both ‘man’ and ‘two,’ it is easy to recognize in man he who is always himself and the other, the happy duality of dialogue and the possibility of communication. But it is less easy, more important perhaps, to think ‘man,’ that is to say, also ‘two,’ as separation that lacks unity, the leap from 0 to duality, the 1 thus giving itself as the forbidden, the between-the-two [l’entre-deux]”

– Maurice Blanchot, The Step Not Beyond

 

Human scientists, when they’re ‘successful,’ or ‘good’ combine observation / passion / desire / perception (experiment + experience) as authentic self-reports in a conventionalized constraint PLUS putting the conundrum or confusion (joining-with beyond-certainty) into question… open… ‘What Is…?’ ‘What If…?’ WHAT MIGHT MY HUNCHES, TROUBLES, EXPERIENCE, SENSES, DESIRES indicate?  Anything?  No-thing?

The litterateur, artist, therapist, musician – what COM-PELS us (pushes us forward-with-world, with-being) seems to be a kind and variation, repetition and difference of this experience + experiment – attempt at authentic self-report wedded to curiosity/wonder/or the putting-into-question of it.

Some empty set.

So Cantor’s infinity.  Einstein’s relativity.  Godel and undecidability.  Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger’s existentialism or phenomenology, Wittgenstein’s language and forms of life, Beckett, Joyce, Blanchot, Wallace proliferating or desiccating sentences – all seem to be appropriately tied, threaded and submerged in Experience + Lack, Perception + Desire, what we do not, perhaps can not, know.

When William James delivers a cumulative, culminative authentic and conventionalized self-report, a curious address called “Is Life Worth Living?”, or Socrates-Augustine-Leibniz-Nietzsche-Shakespeare-Kierkegaard [substitute names at will – Dante, Darwin, Dostoevsky, Proust, Sartre, Peirce, Melville, Dickens…] inquire “Why is there something rather than nothing?” or “Why is there anything at all?”… Why this!? We’re hovering about a lack – of understanding, apparent meaning, dissatisfaction, perhaps frustration, an emptiness, a hole in things we’re troubling, questioning.

‘Scientists,’ ‘psychologists,’ ‘poets,’ ‘lovers,’ ‘activists,’ ‘parents,’ and ‘priests’ are all pushed forward in these questions… core-conundrums, felt-vacuums, hitches, indications of LACK.

Resulting in remarkable attempts at authentic self-report coupled to curiosity / questioning / doubt.

Inquiry is effort.

In-between: knowing/experiencing and unknowing/confusion – experience and experiment.

“The center…[does] not hold”

Lacks.

We are not-yet-one (self-sufficient) and less-than-two (self and other).  Not an observer or experiencer without something observed/experienced.  Not a language or emotion without a group or felt-with or in-relation-to.  Not a happening without a happening-in, a happening-here, a happening-to.  Not a sound without a hearing.  A cell without surround, a border and environment.  No self without an other and all incomplete, undecidable, in flux and underdetermined.

ALWAYS IN-BETWEEN AND UNCERTAIN

An adolescent is able to capture and confess this…that alone tells me nothing together might do.

No “what if?” without something to work with.  No awareness without awareness-of.

And so “I,” her progenitor-father, study NOTHING.  The “what if nots?”  Incomprehensible, inexistent, perhaps inconceivable questions… indeterminable, indecipherable, perhaps unexperiencable and irrational.

At breakfast we speak of it.  Curiously, we authentically self-report our wonder, confusion and conundrums – our LACK – of understanding, of method, of language, of expression, experience… our limitations we might call ‘impossibility…’

That nothing is only possible when nothing is NOT.  That if we are able in relation to nothing… ‘we’ can not be there, or ‘be’ at all.  Nothing not even itself, not even an absence… to speak or think of it is to rush it away…

These are things I learn from my children – that our questions go unanswered, are (perhaps) unanswerable, that attempting authentic reportage (communicating) experience coupled to wonder, and putting-it-to-question, with humility, then, in doubt… perhaps drives our systems, our logics, our literatures, arts, sciences, and love… LACK that we do not know, can not (perhaps) know, are participants-at-scale – finite and fragile – and have our limits, open and undecided…

Without which…nothing?

Thank you dear children.

I am comforted almost to imagine you might be driven on…

…by your lack, your honest confusion, unsettledness, and authenticity.

Funny enough, the following short piece arrived in my email the same day…

Buechner_blog