This is another post I made during Advent four years ago, which bears repeating. I have read this sermon by St. John Chrysostom (late fourth century …St. John Chrysostom: Homily on Christmas Morning
Again, that uncanny occurs. Someone stumbles upon some old composition or effort. Someone comments insightfully, provocatively, and I come into a new relation to what I had let into the world a decade ago. Thank you. Today, reviewing, I was struck by this piece from some other me some time past, and it felt resonant again, much later, as continuing me…
From my longer work, 2012, I, For Instants, (https://manoftheword.com/experimenctes/i-for-instants/), the brief section “I the Question”https://manoftheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/i-the-question.pdf
Again, thank you readers for bringing new readings…
[or, grass in pavement; beyond black holes?; “boundaries are made to pound against” (Hejinian); after Celan, after Knausgaard) “you have to dream new ways of thinking”]
We praise the dead (remember?)
and the Mother holds them,
…beyond the black hole,
again and again and again…
The world is radiant!
Continuous fomentations out
of undifferentiable chaos –
Look! Look again!
It is here. (mysteriously)
…beyond the black holes,
again and again, not yet…
Where are you, real-ly,
becoming and formative,
nearly gone. To where?
Look! Look again!
Call it listening,
attention. The smallest detail
You are there, also!
But where? you ask –
and can’t be found…
…just there, now,
which is – where? –
No longer. Linger.
It occurs, what might
Cheers to the wonder,
unknown! – what
is. Like being
before there’s a there.
…beyond the strange darkness –
horizon-event, that complains,
and becomes as it passes
in strife, in the Mother,
the dying, remembering
“language cannot cope with its relation with the world”
– Giorgio Agamben –
“language is a part of our organism and no less complicated than it”
– Ludwig Wittgenstein –
Sometimes it seems that words might do anything! Connecting things and people; defining, describing, explaining and exclaiming; naming, inventing, questioning… arguing, fomenting, discovering; seducing, displacing, and singing. Very little experiencing of the human kind comes unaccompanied by terms. – Is that so?
There are dreams – like signs and billboards of liqueous or exaggerated perceivings… “the sign – is the quietest razor of darkness” (A. Dragomoshchenko)… and slit it does. We bleed.
And breathing, heart’s-pulse, sleeping along with the intake of food, its output as waste, our birthing and walking, working and running… and dying. All our play. Intercourse, of course. Do moans and groans, grunts and cries and sighs, lisps and complaints (our myriad utterances) – mean words? mean language? What of our relative silence? The thrumming body of the speechless and deaf? Eye-gaze dumb, its blindness?
The skin has been rubbed off my fingers.
Wordlessly, soundlessly, lust and desire screech on…shrill in body and bone – both where the starving exudes and toward its petulant prey.
What of the growth of grasses? Is language there? In rhythmic patterning of rain? A sense of sunlight?
Sometimes wind whispers.
A cat moves. Silently.
And a “sign – is the quietest razor of darkness” – darkness visible, darkness speaks – (it has been claimed – via words, the verbal).
Sweet and troubling confluence: activity and languaging (the same): the “verbal.” Of sound and motion. Our noise. Moving sound around in and with our bodies – in speech or dance, in strain and the clamor of being.
What falls (or grows, blooms, disappears) outside the devouring knife – that which segments and shrivels the fluid songs of experience and reverie? Of presence. The Slicer-Dicer we’ve composed, posing together to cut from faultless fabric?
As utterance, inscription fondles its way, brushingly and blade-like, sensually surreptitious. Caressing and crafty, rapaciously blessing its praying and braying of names – who can counter its reduction, repression, its blame or silvery shame?
Ye without words, cast the first stone.
As if genesis were language and time: space to create with.
The world overgrown. At least any accessible sector. I’ve heard tale of open, of empty, of spacious, of dearth. Not where I approach. Even my own body – its in- or out-sides, its wherewithal. Always where-with-all.
Tangled, almost briny, in some instances. If able to determine a surround wherewith or whenwith to take a stance in. Even thinking, even breath, even a pulse of bloodbeat. Any sound we form toward music. Any making-sensible. For us. Our kind. Those within the overgrown – the untamable, reckless warp and weft.
To hunch there, immediately becomes here. How different – if imagined? To gather, to pre-tend. To suppose a disposition, a presence somehow differentiated. How-some? To curl in, therefore (perchance? per theory?) “to find,” to be able to, to call, to be-in-g? Yet how? Or why? Where is the for? And what might the hole be suspected to fill?
Where is the gap between this and the other? Between you and me, he or she, this-that-the-other, between…any/thing? Something wishes to know, apparently… and this wishing/motion/decision/desire/activity/drive (whatever “ “) begins by implicating violence… bi-lining a world with borders, invented barriers, perceived traces, intuited splits, cuts and hacks that are not there until. How un-till this supposed “soil” from which to distinguish, fabricate, or function? From which to “operate.” Surgeon-species.
What knowledge is expected by destroying? Deconstructing (or constructing) – both requiring joints? By suture and slice? By taking life? Prone to decompose. What a trajectory.
What options? Compelled…to con-fuse…confess…to communicate, express, enjoy, enjoin (what we find ourselves joined to) still even to de-scribe, in-scribe, in-voke, ex-tol, inter-act or en-gage provokes difference, demands separations, dismemberment. To cleave.
To try to body. To try to mind. Attend. Acknowledge. Distortion. To twist and torture an other, as the one or…alteration. De-pict.
Impossible connection already seems to be. Each, every add-ition a disconnecting, a cutting, a stitching seam according to a pattern. Whose? Whats?
Over, under, whelmed. Where is the open, the undifferentiated, the is? Always already be-fore. All ways, all ready, be-for. In other words…not possibly worded. Prior to word. Involving act (including language) but unincorporated (already corporal), defying design-ation (surprisingly? one would think ‘it’ [not] is at the end of de- or un-signing/signifying), erasure of description, all palimpsests equaling… perhaps (per-happening) – infinite, certainly uncountable, incalculable, without ordination, order, ordaining, without with-in or –out. Only WITH, inconceivable, imperceptible (perception cuts), irretrievable (the rejection of any re-), disabused, disturbed perturb, a dreaming dreamed turbulence = a happen to be.
Still this thinks with. Language. Lost already, displaced and falsified by a tiny thread, an whole fabric, a world-veil at least whilst continuing as world…
Think again. Dream. Confuse. Imagine. Invent. Art ducts (vents) for breath… further re-moves, com-pli-cations, furthering within, for fun? A dance, a play, a re-morse (cryptic codification, surreptitious and additional) some native complicity to immeasurable complexity. As is. As if. And so on…
We followed the arc of the diver, losing it in the fog, wishing to make it out clear. I might have said this meant “philosophy.”
“Poetry,” he said, “is utilizing known language to invoke the unknown.” Or certaintly uncertainty, or something like that, which I liked, and indicated by asking what is not uncertain?
Your hands, the music. My desire, a naming for them. I think of your waist as a séance.
What is it to be crippled? I keep trying to use words.
Another asked about the “arc of the diver.” How should I know? All of my sentences should be read as questions. I wonder how divergent questions or commands might be… as statements.
She said, “it falls between. It has to go somewhere.” I guess we pressed it there… were poietic… since we couldn’t find a name. “Dis-appearance” might be one. Like a guess that can’t be falsified.
We all hold a paper marker printed “You are here.” Perhaps paper is too substantial. But it still seems like an invitation I wish we had.
Maybe this is why Albahari inscribed “Words are something else.” We leave it at that. And are flummoxed as to what “that” refers to.
Still we look.
You move like flocks of birds that wheel. I’ve never comprehended “swarm.” Mathematics doesn’t cut it, though it certainly uncertainly tries.
The telephone Pictionary of ear-mouth-brain when we issue sound or gaze. Don’t foibles equal actions? Parts of us experience this as violence, as valence.
Relation as a struggle to balance victimhood and perpetration. Uncertainly.
When or where does this infiltrate unknown?
He went on to say…
I thought (imagined?) your ankles, knees, elbows and knuckles as adroit sworls in swift mountain streams.
So also losing it in the fog, hoping to remember where the trees were. Philosophy. Or was it the forest?
Poetry as ocean surface between “known”/unknown? So wavy, so heaving. No one said that.
The richest respect he gave was his readiness to call me “Nobody.” Or “Anybody.” Carte blanche.
I can hardly perceive what’s in your head now. Potentia? An horizon of waves. A place where words press images press events, the banal. Perhaps. Uncertain sphere of unknowing? They say learning happens there. Like a cell in a culture, animal in terrain. Cacophony of dreams.
Each time we encounter.
How stories are written.
They are experienced. They are felt, intimated, intuited and interpreted.
Sometimes spoken through or about.
They become body.
They are lived – if only imaginatively – they are invented (always).
If inescapable or unavoidable, the only way to “pass” them – find them, become in relation to them (i.e. ‘go on’) – is to expel, express them… put them outside the body, psyche, person: MAKE them, forge them, create with them…
“ex” (out-of) “term” (language) “in” (-scribe or –voke) “ate” (devourable form) them.
Stories are composed, inscribed, evoked, in order to ex-term-in-ate them. To live on – through and past – to survive what marks/marked the person who must process and be rid of them in order to… go on experiencing (live).
Search those tales that traverse your body – its space, and over time.
Watch what arises again and again – a trope, a chorus, a theme, a complaint.
Though memory (creative narrative), perhaps it holds a not-forgotten, an almost-permanence. That which seems to stay with you, in you, may be of you – there’s story there. Don’t worry truth. Truth never worries. And no stories are about it. And constructs of “facts” – or, agreement of observations and perceptions – hardly tells as well. Stories – good, real stories – lie in differences.
Perhaps difference is kind of true.
Practice synesthesia with what you uncover / discover: hear what you see; taste the sounds; feel what you smell; look deeply at all you touch; be something like a being – an organism whose senses are always combined in the perceiving and experiencing. That you are is a thing unto itself, and can not be exhausted as long as.
And so to write, to exscribe. In the beginning was… the true fact that you are, however doubting and unknowable. This too is experiencing. To be experiencing is to live. Prepositions and propositions notwithstanding.
And so it is said, a kind of exscription, a thinking-out-with. As breath surges sound or even whispers. To follow – not following – the forms of the objects (obstacles) – lungs and throat and palate, tongue and teeth and lips, not to mention faces and the movements of limbs and digits. The lineation of terms and letters, vocables and consonants – exscription-with, even air, atmosphere. And should the context change (and it is changing as you say, think, exscribe) – you write, you sound, you scribble, going-on-with…
Thus it is written.
And so it becomes.
Stories are an history of mortality. Where it begins in first awareness that it ends. And so memories, so comparisons – lessness and mostness and the little by little of forgetting. How it’s made through its undoing, to the last. We story only as we die.
What is it that was said? You say?
Dusk becomes, and a sort of lost.
The first way in, being out.
The forth is all. Experiencing.
Letting it air out. This seems important though many might advise that writing is a matter of devotion, dedication, discipline. Maybe it is? What have I written in way of stories? Much time is involved in the shaping of rivers’ courseways… and chance… and the continuous involvement of the with-out.
Re-membering that the activity and activist (one doing the activity – actor/actress?) are entirely muddled in the ‘between’ that equals: “Here.” Forging or forcing ex-scription tends to falsify the act and turn it towards an in-scription of something – report or epitaph, confession, statement, fable, style, form. But storying and writing, like living and all activity, are between formless and formed – taking form, forming. We are not producing or conveying information, we are in formation through the activity of writing. To assume a stance, a stasis, a point-of-view or position or stake… authorial authority or control – is to leave the messiness of “here” and arbitrate a “there.” No longer the presence-between sayer-and-saying, thinker-and-language, writing-and-written, imagining-and-inventing, feeler-and-feeling, etc… but reduced to a repetition of forms, ideas, concepts – borrowed, received, believed, or accepted (“in-formed”). Composed verses composing; produced versus producing; almost a copyist versus a compositor (with com-posing and com-positing referring to making-with, viewing-with, creating-with complex multiplicities).
Con-, com-, con-. With, with with- (these are the fields of ‘between’ where we are). Ever, always, only – between – experiencing through exscribing – this stays on, vibrating in the lettering, arcs and tones of the writing…as activity going-on. Experiencing. Energy. The forthness of creativity is its unknowable, indecipherable, inextricable withness. Perhaps.
Authorial authority or control a sort of repetition of law, convention, acceded power, regime(n). An attempt to step aside from the stream of experiencing and treat the activity of writing (or exscribing) not as an activity of being – alongside thinking, loving, believing, feeling, working, etc., – but something mechanical, technical, somehow outside the confluence of being, the flow of experiencing. Feigning objectivity, knowledge, pre-cluded rather than preludic (decided-before versus approaching the play or dance or swim of activity in complexity). Told versus happening. Production versus process. Untrue, or less or more than actual. Mortality – dead letter – versus verbal occurring…as-is.
To return to ending – the beginning of story – our limits, death, and finitude – that which forces us to forge – to attempt memories, notate change as loss or gain, seek patterns, learn, sing, exscribe, act… imagine… dream… craft and create – the knowing, the reality, that experiencing is not endless. Attend: it ends.
And so we story.
Exscribing…experiencing…what there is, while there is, along many modes of action. What is perceived as happening and runnels through the body, swirling currents of memory, the staining of refrains… and the activity of exscribing it – of moving it out-with-in-to relation of world as compositing – not copying, stating, reporting – but ever keeping in mind that the activity of writing is also a live, indeterminate, and infinitely complex way of being-with-world… we are hardly machines translating experience, or computers spitting out data… everything we do so long as we’re living, is living – alive and uncertain, conformation-with everything that surrounds and drowns us. Participation. Being.
Exscribing as a process of being alive.
pregnant with fore and aft –
a jumbled detritus
of flotsam and jetsam
But where is the body
in what chances,
for whom –
all the whens,
all the wheres,
but thought and a world;
what is: being some feeling of –
circumstance – small bubble,
same as there.
take your rest
you cannot leave it.
And then you do.
…and so we think. I do not say we must think, for I do not think that is so – it is simply a kind of capacity we have, apparently related to external pressures and a possible pleasure, or unknown effects involving desire – a torsion, disturbance, a stirring unsettling perhaps necessary to our living continuance, like pain, like lust.
An activity we call by many names and nuances – reflection, perception, analysis, intuition, sensation, theorizing, dream… but all uncanny practices of turbulence as if trying out invisible options on our world, imagining alternatives, inventing holding frames for experiencing that must constantly and continuously alter and adapt and reorient as living never stills. Like language, like longing, like living. Such things show no signs of resolving, their solutions are their ongoing instrumentalization, their habitude.
- Writing, kissing, and walking are synonyms.