Light, as a feather

Lee_Light Feather 2018
unfixed photographic print of a feather – gift from Summer Lee

How seeing depends… opacity, clarity… foggy horizons between tumultuous sea and sky…

Light, as a feather – the dawn in darkness, or the hoping carrying despair.

What is seen, then?  What fore- or back- grounds an image?  How?  In mist, in motion.  In a dream that waking brings.

In which direction, grounding?  And wherefore?  Lightness limning itself again, again, in midst of darker swells and slighter traces.

How seeing depends… on light, the eye, the stimmung – the stemming of mood – and graver swirls… beg-ins and sets-out from.  Within.  Without.  Finding curious concord.  Even when there’s barely there.  Either.

Deepens, depends, opens out, away, in deep ends, hollow holing, turbulent tunnels, seeing unseen, a groping for/in light where none.  Peering is something, as the closing of the eyes – telescopic blindfold.

Perhaps dawn is down, where despair is rising.  Hope precipitating beyond eithers, or… differences imperceptible save the seeing…

How seeing depends… and deepens with what is searched for, what wants, who opens,  what feels, within each where-when, becoming there-thens, seeing how.

It begins, then, all seeing, between.  Bounding back-forth in light and light and any weighted things, ever shifting seeing-sea and emptied sky, re-membering differences to seamlessness, with opaque clarity, as such your “I.”

Lee Letter 2018
Text included with photograph – Summer Lee 2018

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Last Days of the Year (12.31.2017)

after Helene Cixous’ First Days of the Year (all quotations from)

 

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“…writing doesn’t know the story…”

– Helene Cixous –

Writing had dissipated, eroded and erasured, “the stream, the slender silent stream with its singing arms,” dried, swallowed, scabbed to dusty ground, hardened wounds, simple soundless scarring – unmarked, unmapped, uninterpreted or deciphered.

“Writing, that link, that growth, that orientation” and mysterious connection in the veins – beneath earth, across times, that leaky, throbbing, flowing, trickling tickle in the fingers of the throat – evaporated to ether.

Space is full of voids again, the entire body is corpse.  It was air that was missing – oxygen and hydrogen – a liquid, invisible, fluid force and blazing trail – its quiet tireless effort coursing, a desert without shore.

“’It has been many years now,’… thought the author”…many years of dwindling, echoing thoughts…many years without solution or solvent, no bed, no pull, no sea or slope – an eviscerated wandering lacking movement, without promise or retreat, direction or return, rather something absent, lost, unknown.

Bedrest – a way to heal by falling fallow, running out, caesura and inaction.  Some old trace viewed from scale, an only remnant held by wind – a sentenced shrub, a stop of phrase.  Riverbedrest and desertduned unwinding – depiction’s dearth, branches clotstopping gravity’s swill or swirl, deadwooded filaments tumbling anywhere the green had been, the iron bled from vein.

“I am going to write,” he had thought at first… but I weigh 47 years and “writing is eternal [knowing] neither weight nor time,” it will not lift and carry me, breezing past as it always has every present unto present – ageless phantom, foreign phrase I am unable to pronounce.

Vanishing link between the bodies, submerged and buried and unspoken – “writing doesn’t know the story” – dumb and blind as memory’s ‘I.’  The lost and forgotten, what will not come to be.  “To me, this is a blow, a threat.”

“…the book we do not write.  There is a book.  That we do not write…” … wordless and disobeyed, unwritten extinction, disordered and undone.  Passage and passing of this now here.  This book that’s not here.  Irrelevant utopia.  A desiccated thread, a wilderness with imperceptible end, some perhaps forlorn and far-off song, long since warbled into stillness.  I “do not have what it takes to make a book,” long-lost imagining and fabricated dreams, suffered weeping for what-is-not, what-never-was, the known and haunting will-not-be, pains of life assigned to us.

Sightless, flightless bird without brain enough or claw for scribbles, vision canceled by the crossings-out and scratchings, greedy skimming scamper seeking recognizable seeds, some words less foreign or forgotten, that might crack in the craw and cackle a sigh, a chortle, some wheezy whisper… anything other than absence, the starving shame, the empty marrow, acrid arteries, and granulating groin.  Wretched rictus claw, blindly scraping at a pen, a page, a flesh-as-grass, a drop of dew, some ancient call –

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL

…and thank you

Marking My Way

What follows is exemplary of my tendency when I open a notebook and begin to write… digression… sigh…

“a man, however intelligent, is no better at maze-running than a rat, unless assisted by notes, whether these are remembered verbally or sketched out in a drawing”

– Michael Polanyi, The Study of Man –

artwork – Pamela Caughey

I am beginning this story with words, for I am writing, and writing has often occurred as the transformation of experience to perceivable mark for communicable purpose: programming code, impressions in sand, lines about the mouth and eye, numbers, letters, notations and visible strokes.

The mark I begin with is “I.”  To imaginative purpose.  Say we could coordinate belief around marks (which “we” already have, or “you” are unable to comprehend, co-perceive or mutually interpret anything of what “I” am scribbling).  Imagine with me that we can: foster markings and gestures, sounds and expressions, that stabilize over time toward agreement…

1, I; 2, we; 3, you; 4, with; 5, world; 6,… and so on… where marks come to re-present a sharing or relation toward – together we assemble at “tree(4)” or “word(4),” at “sign(4)” or “kingdom(7),” at “ours(4)” and “us(2)” and at “we(2)” or whatever(8).  All might be marked other ways, sounded or gestured – a squirrel’s flicking tail, a whale’s sonic wail, bird twitters, rock cracks and colors, cloud movements, sighs.  Images, letters, motions, or sounds.  Impressible, expressible movements.  Relations enacted, touches and probes, effects and affects across spaces and times, this is language in-scribed and con-scribed –communicability – glance of finger or toe or of eye, brush of hair or of death or of light… con-tact.  Tactility, touchability, WITH.

Imaginatively-agreed-illusory and often elusive – “Abstraction (11, or 10+1, or..)” – What-is-not becoming what-is.  “Creation(8 or eight or 11111111…).”  Coordinated occurrence of subjectless objects and objectified subjects and things among things among things “co-existing(10),” – or so “we” mark “it.”

I begin with a mark that is “i” or 1, or the slightest, least notable line.  “iota” in Greek, as Frost deftly inscribes – just a pass, accident, happenstance, hardly constructed and simple – a stick falls from a tree and leaves an “L” or a “Y” in the soil, but an “i”?

A mistake usually, a drip.

So “I” use it to refer to “just 1” = “what-is-not.”  No “one(1)” has yet known only one.  With “one(1)” there is nothing ‘to know’ – to attend to, perceive.  With 1 there is only the one – less than nothing.  1 counts the same in negation.  You have nothing or one, but once perceivable three – the 1, the 0, the difference.

We make marks.

The mark I began with is “I,” just the least, the inception, the start of a “we.”  A cry, a twitch, a tone or effect, a coloration, occurrence.  What’s the difference…

“I” could have made a sound.  Could have poked, puked, stomped, wriggled…simply gestured into wind…

ANYthing, EVERYthing can only happen as more-than-one.  More than meaningless mark (/) or vanishing point, it indicates RELATION.  If 1=nothing, we still get 1 + -1 = 0…all ways at least 3.  And if 1 is alone (“all-one”) there’d be no knowing, telling, perceiving, deciding without at least a “NONE(4, 0)” or “TWO(3, 2)” to proffer recognition – ALWAYS MORE THAN ONE for there “2B.”

I could not propose “I” without other or else (no-thing could be perceived without difference, and difference demands at least two + a relation, [even similarity – which always harbors difference] – therefore 3 at the least for a mark).  If “you” couldn’t tell a difference (perceive or experience something…how would you know some thing is?).  Identi(cal)ty would seem (necessarily) IM-perceptible.

1 NEVER EQUALS 1.  Such is my thesis.  If equality and sameness are possible no one could mark it, perceive it, proclaim it – 1=1 is not perceptible.  For 1(“I”) to be identifiable, not-1(not-I) is required, which demands a 3rd(third) that might distinguish or experience – whether relation-itself 1±1 or Otherness to “tell apart” or cleave.

Identification demands Other.  A mark, even the slenderest, simplest, accidental dash – to be perceptible, to matter – must be different from an other.  Therefore, always 2 have to be for a 1 to be, and for that to be perceptible a third(5, 3) must exist… 1≠1=3, and 1=1=3…

i.e. I begin with “I” to invoke/inscribe MANY.

I am beginning this story with words…

Signifying Writing – Figure 2

Sign-language

Figure 2

A relief in the unreality.  A kind of re-sign-ation and release…capitulation…to the impossible.

“how we find our way in the unknown by drawing on invisible maps of the invisible and by following…”

(Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal)

Sign-language.  Gesturing.  Ambivalent approximations.

At times unbearable.  At times a satisfaction of “all we have” and the effort of maximizing it.  At times re-solve (for x?).  At times a re-linguishing abandonment:  despair.

I study her, hair splitting and spreading, trailing inky-green over the vein-passages, delicately swollen, along the backs of her hands, superfluous and jewelry-like wrist-bones, concatenation and symphony of muscled, cartilage-limned lineations from thigh to knee-bend to calf, turning into sun-drenched marble of ankle, tendon, toes…painted, dusted, perfection…

The beauty will not hold to term.  Will never be contained.  It was impossible before it began.  Eventuated, erupted, but was not “meant” or realized for any capture.  It’s irreducible and indescribable, and I always already knew that – thus a torment, self-torture, a suicide term-inating – necessary failures I will elect to die trying: inconceivable, yet experienced; an incalculable worthless worth because unshared and uncommon.  Just perception, experience, singular…impossible.  Not factual.  Incommunicable.  HER.

To simply see (receive, perceive, conceive) – non-transferable, i.e. ‘unreal,’ unrepeatable, or ‘not the same’ as that.  Untranslatable.

Yes, it starts to map.  A conjecture of imaginary spaces, places, locations.  Lines drawn wobbly and around, surround, what mystery?  To dialogue and dream – hypothesize, surmise, polygraphy.  I.e. to fail.

Ends in its begins, becoming something ‘else,’ as self might with each other – between showing new unknowns.

Not sure its believed in any more: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

It goes on.

A trace, congesture, autography.

Experience.

Abysmal

A philosophical problem has the form: “I don’t know my way about.”

– Ludwig Wittgenstein –

“The silent spaces between words often speak louder than the words themselves”

-Gunnar Olsson – 

Signifying Writing, Figure 1

Opicinus De Canistris World Map
Figure 1

Opicinus De Canistris World Map

*

The map began as a scribble, a doodle.  Begins as a failure to write, to “compose.”

In lieu of a word there’s a wiggle of pen wandering aimless in search.  Cartography-graphology-psychology – a loitering for logos.

Begins this way – in hope of words, a sort of squiggle.  A body desiring a mind.  To show up, to take over, provoke or convince – to appear, make a meaning, disclose – to figure toward sign.  Some unconcealing.

The signal’s not there, so it moves: the hand, the instrument, the breath and the heart – are they tools?  And for what?  A cartographer’s dream.  Of no training, no knowledge, even reason is lacking.

A pen making marks on a page, mapping none.  Tracing nonsense.  It begins in this way, and it leads, so he hopes (it hopes, is hope, is desire).

The scrawl travels over the page – given borders and boundaries, arbitrary and set – 6”x9” and lined with a soft viscous grey.  He (it) slows down.  Just a hand and an arm and a shoulder – in motion – holding a technical device filled with fluid – black, yes, like bile, but less tacky, diluted – it flows, threading lines – it’s con-fusion – yet taking, biting, inscribed.  Something happens.  Drawings are locked to a medium stock.  Incomprehensibles stained on a page.

It crawls on.

*

This mapping begins in a loss.  He is lost.  It is lost.  Doesn’t “know.”  Just beginning, because – with desire.  It is driven, compelled, WRITER WANTS (for to write) with “nothing to write, and no means to write it” yet constrained to keep writing, to expunge merely SOMEthing, some THING.  Which is NO thing, no THING, but to mark.  It goes on.

Makes a map, a map-ping, tangled series of lines meaning nothing, no THING, but creating TO-WARD.  Ward off absence, off void, ward off death, this is to – .

It (he) is tired.  Is forlorn.  Is an absence and loss, a re-mission, re-cursion, re-morse.  And not even that clear.

Scribbles on.  NOT a map.  NOT directions.  For NO where to go – NOW here, now HERE, no-where.  Which begins all the longing, for “he’s” heard it said, found it written – in signs, in-scribed, sign-i-fied: but NOT HERE.  Not in him or this body.  NOT THIS.  No sense.  Non-sense.  “It’s” not “working.”

Trail dwindles along cross the page.  It’s a map.  Just of being.  NOW here.  Now.  HERE.  Looks like this – some electrocardiomusculoskeletalpsycognilinguadigital-gram.  From this angle, this tool, these techniques.  As a Ouija.  No meaning.  Saussurating.  Arbitrary.  Mediate.  Only markings.

It falters.

And so it begins – as a failure to write – as a scribble – an assay – a tribute to write – that cannot, that will not, that does not…quite occur.

 

Becoming What and Who

I would find it difficult to praise this work enough and urge you to engage it if you share a deep love of creating and participating in literature and works of art.

Toward a Reading of Forms – by Jean Rousset

rousset120

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.

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)