What happens is parting…
The incommensurable does not lie outside of language. It is language.
– Werner Hamacher, Minima Philologica –
“Off” bothered Alias. It aggravates Alias that Laramie only and simply, states and declares the term “off.”
Strikes him as unfair. Short-shrift. Foregone. An easy conclusion. A self-imposed or autocratic EXIT. Cheap escape.
Conversation (that day) silenced (muted) and dulled. It soured. When participants elect not to speak their minds or piece, peace or conflict, new tensions are introduced. Silence [chosen, selected, fought for (or against), willed] intentional silence effects scenarios like speech. Withdrawal.
Alias tells him; ‘Refusal to speak equals a sort of speaking. We are both ‘in it.’”
“Off.” Laramie repeated, simply, only, just “off.” And, “the switch can be binary, non-complex, Alias, simply a choice – ‘I love you,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘I would prefer not to,’ – ‘no,’ – OFF – please allow me that. I am tired. You are my friend. All is well. It is good. Life is hard. Love is pain…OFF.”
The large, long, horizony cosmic swath of atmosphere containing and surrounding human interaction (in this case, in any case) snaps. It fractures. The environment (in this case, with the pronunciation of ‘OFF’) simply breaks.
There is quiet (as in) silent (as in) absence of sound, stillness of action, stasis of communion, of commerce, connection –
VACUUM. REFUSAL. A plea and a begging to STOP. QUIT. CEASE. To not continue, to NOT go on. A demanding request for an end.
Laramie states, speaks, invokes, complains, retorts, confesses, professes, declares and pleads and laments, quite simply, to his dearest, nearest and closest confidante, companion, friend and interlocutor – “OFF.”
Alias wants to honor…
grieves, requests, rescinds,
evoking ambiguity, anonymity, fiction and untruth.
The finch and bluejay and weasel.
Deer, cow, pasture, thistle.
Friends and morning-glories.
The sun, the air; clouds and mid-day.
We say that we “wake up depressed” wonder why and conjure up reasons. What is this “hollow” or “indentation” in relation to? Depression versus delusion?
Squirming up out of dream or slumber into wakefulness, awareness – illusions and solipsism scattered by light of day, by alertness – what would be the “norm” ‘depression’ dips under?
Say we consider “normal” as the state or condition of being aligned with what is. The only certain trajectory of living is dying. Dying the condition of life. The only permanent outcome of breathing, saying, doing, being…are their cessation. In confirmation or conformation to this “reality” – what should be the normal living response? Depression, I should say, full awareness and wakeful understanding that my promise, potential, outcome and fortune are to end.
Decay, departure and death are the certain “norms” ruling human existence. What occurs, forgets; what merges, diverges; what events, unravels; what happens, undoes; what is made, erodes. Assuredly, they are strange loops, ambiguous and temporal – more wave/particled than 0/1 – and yet as “fate” or “doom” would have it (definite futures) we know of no other.
Therefore it should seem “depression” would be the normal human state of life, and all forms of happiness or joy come about due to some compromise or delusion – an abnormality – some neuroses or failure to accord or conform to what is. How might we have come to classify conformity to what is as a “disorder” or diagnosable swerve?
“Certifiable depression” is marked as a disability, a failure to thrive, a condition incapacitating function. Yet does that not most assuredly accord with the certitude of demise, destitution, eradication? To terminate activity, halt health, conclude creativity, finish folly and destroy delight would all seem to indisputably align with the necessary phenomenon of obliteration.
Thoroughgoing comprehension of what is – that birth has a single objective – that all roads lead to one – that all effort leads to naught – that entropy – is not lunatic, demented, deranged or unhinged – but rather most enlightened and balanced, intelligent and lucid, perspicacious and well-advised.
Being pressed down, a lowering of quality, vigour or amount, feelings of severe despondency and dejection are surely the most accurately normal experiences – regulated, coordinated and adjusted to what is versus what is imagined or desired – indications of astute apprehension and capacities of apperception to the real.
Do not be flummoxed by “waking depressed” – do not seek for treatments or reasonings ‘why’! – do not be baffled that a heaviness descends, or a ‘pressing down’ is felt or occurs – we emerge into life and descend into matter…the cradle and grave a continuous process.
I am not certain why stories sicken me so. By “sicken” perhaps I mean something closer to depletion or boredom, gluttedness or exhaustion. By stories I mean shaped texts of language – narrative fictions, philosophical arguments, journals and declarations and ads.
“I don’t know why I told this story. I could just as well have told another. Perhaps some other time I’ll be able to tell another. Living souls, you will see how alike they are.”
– Samuel Beckett, The Expelled
It has something to do with that. My own writings sicken me faster than others, but all writings, once entangled in plots, developing characters, or pursuing a narrative…tend me toward disgust.
The motion of “progress,” falsity of construction, illusion of meaning begins to fray as language gets “handled” or forced into order. The squeezing and pressure and molding of shaped texts, especially as they develop into sections, seem bound to conform to the size of the creator. Many texts start out wildly, with chaotic promise, almost infinite exploding potentials – but threads develop, and lines, sentences form, and shapes, causes and results, actions and repercussions, and ever so surely the mass is twisted to the size of a snake. And then I’m tired, exhausted by “how alike they are.” We are. It is.
Language imploding and exploding. This is what I want. Language available like elements. Language operative in a chaotic surround, like experiencing. Language that doesn’t know next. Language becoming, not necessarily or even especially something – just becoming within/without human.
So I read words, less to learn or be entertained, less to follow or empathize, less to argue or understand, and more to exist in a sea of potential communication and commerce, to respond, to be open and closed by each term and their relations, to go on.
As if language were oxygen, blood, water. As if language were soil. As if language were all these mystifying, crazy, strange, different and unknown others surrounding us everywhere. As if language were environment. Context. Medium. Not tool. Not machinic. Not discipline. Not function. Not at our service or in our control.
We know that it’s not. It does indeed possess others – carries and transfers multitudes – times, cultures, histories, humans, vagaries of meanings. It is untamed and unpredictable, available and unsolvable, like ourselves. But we often use it for us rather than in or with us. We often torment it into cages and patterns, (I’m doing it now) – forced representation, desiccated potentials – marks of expression or intention or persuasion or telling.
I declare. I unravel. I investigate. I express. I guess. I wonder. I commit a sound to form. It leads. I resist. I say. I listen. It leads (each of us in particular ways). I resist. I ponder. It takes shape. Incites. I want. I resist. I query.
Doing and undoing language becomes the only way to use it and avoid strangling it down to my size. Persisting and resisting, experimenting and erasing, canceling / canceling-out, backwards, forwards, at the angular. Listening to others. Throwing in, throwing away. Desist. Insist. Consist. And delete. Chaos and pattern. Detangle, knot up. Fracture. Fragment. Avoid. A void. Void and null and emergent. Perhaps. Perhaps. The attempt to leave open. It suffers to form.
Laramie and Alias followed the tree-lined road into the woods ostensibly seeking a lost calf trapped at the stream. Lost and trapped. Deciduous acres. They shuffled the gravel in silence, which evolved to branches and leaves – a crackle and whisper.
Considering age and death, feeling lost and trapped – Alias. Laramie pursuing a calf, something young.
“Sorrow is sorrow,” Alias vocalized in his head or his chest, his throat or his gut – wherever we hear ourselves. “Aging – decay. Watching one’s world erode. Losing and trapped in the stream.”
Luckily alive after all of these years, Laramie felt hale and sturdy. And the bluejays, the owls, finches and starlings. The titmice.
Alias thought he might keep living each day “if I could think of at least one reason, event, thought or experience that justified enduring that day.”
“That’s unfortunate,” Laramie contributed, aware of Alias’ delimiting logic, “for you’re the only sanctioned arbiter in that case – fixing yourself to a very strange loop indeed.”
The trail of the calf, sunken hoofprints. Age faltering for beauty, youth, and strength. “someone refers to this as ‘an attachment to loss itself – a condition otherwise known as melancholy,” Alias intoned.
“For fuck’s sake Alias – is this how it’s gonna be? The ‘apophatic’ way? Via negativa? Only what isn’t there, what ya haven’t got – jabs at the pure potential?”
Fox, weevil, deer, cow. “You’re only 54,” L declares. “In a culture worshipping youth and perpetual childhood – the nubile and ageless and free – augmented and cyborg,” Alias retorts. “Not me.”
“I told ya I choose ‘OFF’” Laramie chokes.
“I demand or command or beg of it,” he continued…”OFF.”
Alias the Conjurer
I drill and devour.
A storm, a tornado.
A human with language.
Writers and speakers and singers and parents. Wise men and theorists, children and fools.
DEATH (finitude) & LANGUAGE (infinite abstraction)
Grandiose and meaningless at one go
(not to overreach nor undersell).
It might matter
It might not
(we don’t know)
A bone. A tomahawk.
Human creativity as, is, a war against death.
Fizzles & sparks.
Last ditch. Activity.
In the main…
– to act, to do, to create –
Laramie rides. OFF.
Alias goes further, deeper, further…on…(in)…
INSISTS PERSISTS CONSISTS
I, as human, consist as what I persist in insisting on.
= a composite “I.”
I drill. I devour.
Kafka, Blanchot, Derrida, Bartleby. Pessoa, Nietzsche, Jabes, Beckett.
Into the absence of hope.
I drill and I devour.
I try to think my end(s).
I want to get there.
I would like to make it to the end.
I would like to make the end.
I think. I serve. I love. I ask.
I care. I touch. I say. I listen.
I am not fulfilling.
I am never quite what is wanted.
I have never been “right” for a situation.
I am a person who tries very hard to be what is wanted.
I am a person who tries very hard to offer what is “good”.
How would I know?
– what is wanted?
– what is good?
I do not.
I am incapable.
But I DO know:
I AM NOT THAT.
(do not) BE HERE NOW.
simply : do not.
“I would prefer not to.”
“I will not”
We are just humans.
Still we go on
Still we keep on
(he said, said Laramie to Alias. “OFF.” He said, said Laramie to Alias. And then he was gone. Really. Gone.)
Sometimes it happens this way.
[Often, in my case and experience. They come, they go. There is a rush of blood to the brain and the loins. There is something I assume the others refer to as “hope,” – some reason to live, to go on, to pertain. Then OFF. Binary. Digital. Technology. Culture. Beings-in-relation. ON/OFF. Lights. ON/OFF. Progress. ON/OFF. Will. ON/OFF. Love. ON/OFF. Value. ON/OFF. Need. ON/OFF. Mood. ON/OFF. Everything binary. Irrational. Abstract. Illogical. Happenings, events, occurrences. ON/OFF. ON/OFF. Life. ON/OFF. Life. ON/OFF. Life. ON/OFF.
We are coming to an end.
I am coming to end.
We each come, to end.
You think twice. You plan. I do these things.
Finally incapable of mind over matter. The capacity of drunkenness. Full experience.
The body. The lust and wanting. The work to let it alone. To surpass or supersede.
Supplant desire with will.
Language works with, on and in the body. Larynx, lung, tongue and movement. Gut, brain and blood.
Without satiating muscle. Without exhausting the possibilities. Without terminating lust.
I think twice. I plan. You do these things.
Intention. Commitment. Decision.
“I will transcend the body. I will overcome desire. I will compensate and supplant urges with verbs. Consonants will become my flesh’s contact and content. Interoperation with world will equate to traversing its languages. To write will be my sexuality. Language my intimate other.”
I will compose my satiation. I will think my end. I will language my undoing and completion. I will create what I need.
Still the body rises. Erects itself. Rushes and longs. Aches.
I rub language all over it. Stroke it with breath and sounds. Caress every part with a term. Toy and pleasure each hollow and tense with tongued noise.
It wants. It desires. I want. I desire. I long for what it says without diction.
Charles Baudelaire, 1821 – 1867
You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.
But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”
Language. Alcohol. Language. Alcohol. To void and satiate the body. To provide full experience. Pair satiating self. Ache and desire. Want and sensation. As a whole – the desire to be drunk – to fulfill – saturation of pleasure and knowledge – perception/sensation and abstraction/thought – TO RESPOND. Shower the body, challenge the mind. Work the muscles. Lingua the self. Tickle with letters and edges; heat, fill, temper and calm salve and sensitize the skin and organs – flood the whole: language and alcohol. Avoid depending on kind, species, occasion. Avoiding dependency.
How might an human organism satiate itself?
I dreamt language. I imagined correspondence, intelligence, sexuality, the wide-openness of commerce between one human and another. Particularity, difference, biology, culture, knowledge, capacity undoes this. Incapacitates convergence. Ruins union.
Intimacy with other = impossible.
Intimacy with self-system = ?
Language. Alcohol. Immaterial / Matter. Body-mind. Embodied mind. Enminded body. How solve desire? Lust, want, biology, sociology, anthropology (and so on) – the logoi of BEING HUMAN.
Be wild and crazy and drunk with Love,
if you are too careful, Love will not find you.
Love depends on Other. Love depends on converging, connection, call / response / return. Love is impossible. Cohesive mingling.
To say the unsayable. The reach beyond. The experiment, invention, imagine. Commerce with species and kind, taking it in (language), absorbing and transforming seeds, spewing it out (language). Giving / Giving Back. Receiving / Offering. Language – perfect intimacy seed. Perfect contact and context differentiating and responding each to each, body to body, mind to mind… sans orgasm, sans drunkenness, sans satiety… regardless of ecstatic fullness.
This is the disaster.
This is the disaster.
“a writer has no proper existence”
“I can’t say I want to kill myself, but I can say I don’t want to appear”
(click link to read the lecture)
simply, naively, if I decide to retreat from others, to look from some seclusion, or solitude, or shelter, and if retreat has retreated from the distinction between its proper and its metaphorical meaning, what can I reach where and when I retreat? Nothing proper, no authenticity, I can’t obtain any truth, any essential way of being, because the difference between the proper and the figurative, between authenticity and inauthenticity, between truth and falsity, between what is essential and what is not have withdrawn.
Laramie liked to think himself a poet. One attuned, natural, native to his world(s). He liked to think he had unique feelings, perhaps an “insight,” an acute attention – that maybe he saw just a little bit more than others saw. And was able to say so.
A farmer-cowboy type from the upper Midwest, he played a lot of sports and performed muscled labor – at times enjoying the solitude of pasture rides and the company of large mammals. He felt a “care,” not sure for what, suspect he’d call it a kind of “connection” – with crop growth, animals, the waters and the skies. And felt he could say so. And he could sing. Musician, farmer, cowboy, son. Husband, scientist, laboring man. Father, friend, and “poet” (he might say). Laramie James Backstagger, dearly known to Alias.
“When you’re making it – forming words or music – do you feel somehow that you’re ‘getting it’?” Alias might ask, as they ambled the fields chopping at thistles, remedying fence. “Do words add to experience or just chop it up? Diminish? Reduce?” Alias chimed.
Laramie would go silent, plodding along, smelling and listening. Looking.
At times they’d play basketball, tennis (this was all in their youth, Alias having blown out his knees at the pigskin). And careful.
They both went on to cities: education, enlightenment, the ‘experience’ of cultural promises. They still had their debts to pay.
“I mean, when you ‘see’ it, or ‘hear’ it, are immersed – it’s not seeing or hearing or sensing – am I right? It’s just being – and then – ?” Alias prodded, “and then – what happens?” “You hear language, or find it or forge it, dream times or ‘intuit,’ you consider ways you’d be able to MARK it – note it down (letters or score) – recount or recreate it – even extend or rescind it – and that all seems like media to me: communication: expression or history or talk…but reduced. Reduced to what YOU can comprise or compose – not the ‘same’ as the moments, trembling in the web, and borrowing, borrowing, borrowing – from the wind and the trees, weather and bees, family and learning, working and friends – and our culture! – all funneled and cored to some desiccated fraction of bone – eviscerated – ‘HERE LIES LARAMIE’S TAKE’: some words or an etude or painting. Even action. Even sowing or reaping or pruning or care…’HERE LIES LARAMIE’S TAKE’ – wow! Really?! Amazing! One moment made this?! AND WHAT CARES? WHAT MATTERS? WHAT PURPOSE OR POINT, BENEFIT OR CONSEQUENCE…the next ‘now’?!”
Alias could go on and on like this. Often doing what he’d just described or decried.
And Laramie’d slow, maybe stop, often sit, and stare out. Have a smoke (he didn’t smoke, but pretended – his children and wife didn’t like it). And Alias would drink and get wiser. A little calmer and sad. And all might go quiet, save the world always humming.
Laramie Backstagger sighed.
“Well? Whadda ya think?” challenged Alias – “how is it for you when you speak, feel or sing?”
And how would he know, ailing Laramie? Been too many years of conflicting events and results and mixed feelings. Too many miles that worked out without working, or failed for the working too much. “I’m uncertain,” he said, “I’m uncertain.” “But you’re pushing at something in me.”
By now Alias was off on his own like a mammal, had concocted a scent for to trail. Maybe the ache was for sharing the thing they were sharing: agreement. Maybe to get through the whole business at once, simultaneously. Maybe to not be divided and different or just pieces of things – to be doubled or tripled or multiple? Harlequin – pieceworked and patched, back then and now and some future. An assemblage, a collage wanting melding.
“All uncertain,” Laramie said. “I can’t know, just I do it and feelings will follow. New ones. Pains from smashed understandings, joys from promising starts, aches at the poorness I lend them – but something goes on, carries forth – it don’t end with the birds and the breeze. The words have it too, and the voices. The shapes and the meanings and lines. Even tones. It goes on, both the good and the ill, and I’m part, or it seems such.”
“How ‘bout you?” Laramie wants to know. “Why do you carry on and keep blabbing,” he taunts.
“Just to borrow,” Harlequin murmurs. “Just to steal.” “To have something to say. To keep silent. To wish that it might carry on.” “It’s what we’ve got, all these things. Try as I might, I don’t know what else to do, and at times feel compelled, god dammit. Like Foucault or Blanchot or Spinoza. Or Buddha or Christ, Kafka or little Jane,” (little Jane was the crazy old lady – lived two miles from the Backstagger’s farm – she’d sparkle to company no matter the cause and just cackle and croon – mixing nonsense and stories, opinions and facts, just talking and talking and talking. No one knew if it ceased when they left, it never stopped within range of the hearing).
“I hear you” said Laramie, “I see.” To which Alias always replied “But you don’t – I don’t know that. Have no method of saying it’s true.” And they’d keep walking on…toward night.
Alias “boyfriend,” alias “daddy,” alias “instructor,” alias “friend.” Alias “person.” Alias “student,” alias “son;” alias “scholar,” alias “man.”
Alias “Alias.” Always additional roles (or functions, behaviors, responses, and on…)
I.e. disciplines: philosophy, sociology, science. Alias “arts” and “humanities” and “lover” and “partner” and “parent.” Alias “human.” Alias everyone. I.e. no one.
Alias Ignatius Evgeny Harlequin, a simple human pattern, sample, example, i.e. so-far-survivor. It’s nothing, really, but something enough to write.
“His” body distinct in the way of all bodies, but matching no cultural icon. “His” mind above average – no matter. Mattered/matters little, just a human. Related to others in lieu of dependencies – that “human” is not a species that can live on its own. Therefore at least elements of an immediate surround are, well, ALWAYS, essential. Genuinely. Utterly. Whether air or land or water; people, chemicals, fuel. No human exists without others. Simply.
Therefore (i.e.) even the meaningless, unnoticeable Alias Harlequin could not survive without a surround. But might his “surround” survive without him? On this query, Alias’ presence (and present) is hung.