Doing Undone

It would have to be fragmentary, partial

perhaps pointing, with hope,

like us, living things,

at any given moment:

 

saying things, not yet said,

ever in the midst of acts,

if there happens to be a real

it must be incomplete and full

of undoing and becoming,

of perhapses and oops

 

I had started out

at some point,

apparently ‘past,’

taking up this pen

and applying it to this

paper,

open screen, unknowable unknown,

had started out toward

an I

in order to write

“I had started out”

 

but all is different now

and now again,

again, again,

 

pointing hope

in fragments

assertions and insertions

of possible reals or facts,

some happenings of actuals

be-fore (in face of, in lieu)

words or some expression

 

impression

It stares out, staring in,

fractured and non-finished,

fetishized with objects

that stand for something else,

 

always something else

than what “is” or which has been,

unable otherwise,

simply is

-ing,

unfinished and hardly calculable,

impossible/compossible

and inexhaustibly exhaustible

perhaps

 

seemingly unfinished

and without beginning

(or we would ‘start’)

 

on a way then, in

midst of,

doing toward undone,

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Friends to Fall

Elf says “ripe.”

Martin responds, wondering.  Curious as to that which it applies, or whom, or what.  Contemplating reference.  Filled with questions.  Martin says, “yes,” almost under his breath.

Elf shrugs.  Elf walks on.

Martin follows, thinking, looking at leaves falling into blades of grass, alerted by the shushing and darting of squirrels, saddened at the amplified pffft of cars passing by.  Wishing for silence.  Wondering if Elf will speak a further word or two.  Sensing like a dowsing rod for meanings.

Walks on.  Shuffles.  Walks on.

Martin, too.

There’s a relative silence from the two of them – these humans wandering across a concreted trail.  Sure there’s the sound of their footfalls, scuffles, even some noise in the pause of it.  Or the noise of the absence of noise.  But you’d have to be different to hear the breathing, the heart pulse, the slide of muscles and blood.  As far as humans-in-environs go, the pair presents retraction.

Hard to say for soil.  The squares composing sidewalk must suffer pressure, absorbed by the earth beneath and shared out through verberations for miles.  Hard to say for air.  Full-grown males, plodding forth like prows along a rickety line-of-motion has to be pushing particles around, making waves.  Nothing gives report.

Elf stops and sighs.

Martin responds, slowing, looking out, looking forward, looking round.  Lets his hands limp his sides.

Elf crouches down.

Martin scans the street, examines bark, follows trunks and branches, admires leaves and colors and movements.  Birds.

Elf.

Martin.

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…

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.

Self-metaphor

“a writer has no proper existence”

-Maurice Blanchot-

“I can’t say I want to kill myself, but I can say I don’t want to appear”

-Catherine Malabou-

byron harmon_lake louise

Malabou – Retreat Metaphor

(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.

-Catherine Malabou-

The Absence of Center

“poetic language directs us not towards what gathers together but rather towards what disperses, not towards what connects but rather towards what disjoins, not towards work but rather towards the absence of work […], so that the central point towards which we seem to be pulled as we write is nothing but the absence of center, the lack of origin…”

-Francoise Collin on Blanchot

maurice-blanchot-4

http://research.uvu.edu/albrecht-crane/486R/Peter%20Pal%20Perbart.pdf

http://research.uvu.edu/albrecht-crane/486R/Peter%20Pal%20Perbart.pdf

http://research.uvu.edu/albrecht-crane/486R/Peter%20Pal%20Perbart.pdf

http://research.uvu.edu/albrecht-crane/486R/Peter%20Pal%20Perbart.pdf

The Dual Activity of the Properties of Erosion

Having traveled 2000 miles: Wichita – to – Carlsbad, NM – to – Guadalupe Mountains Nat’l Park – to – Presidio, TX – to – Big Bend National Park – to – Wichita in the past few days, I was privy to the glories of erosion.  What it builds, what it wears away.

My 10-year-old is studying erosion in 4th grade and reminds me that the current definition is simply the movement of material.  What dwindles somewhere accretes in another…

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and leaves or creates (absence or presence of absence?) some glorious ruins (or productions)…

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In an accidental synchrony, we traveled the paths of a favorite album of mine – This Will Destroy You – This Will Destroy You, and the following clip has long moved me, perhaps as much as any music ever has…

…ever reminding me of how I’d like my living dying to go…the movements and decaying – its constructions – the thickened gradual swelling of the deep good of being alive, punctuated by weighty whiles of thriving and ecstasy, momentous significants of loss or gain, as materials move and their relations alter / evolve / generate and decompose.  Its insistence and tocking inevitability.  The (hopefully) delta-like depositing of the full lot, spreading throughout, in its end…

Here’s to our living-dying onlyness…and wishes toward beautiful erosion.

 

The Living Dead: a Reflection

“Dad, are you living or dead..ing?” son asks at dinner (aged 9).

Characteristic pause…”Well, both,” I reply.

sad skeleton

How could it be otherwise?  I’ve stayed the course, exercised my body, prepared a meal, feeling fine, alone, aware…and comes the call:  “Living or dead..ing?”  Parental response – stop.  [Why is he asking?  What is he thinking?  How is he feeling?  Bodily signs?   Follow the language – “living or dead…dead..ing…dying.”  What is called for here?]  He thinks the living dead a lot,  so I respond directly:  “Well, both, and how could it be otherwise?  I couldn’t very well be dying if I wasn’t alive, no?  And the process of dying is constructed of living, yes?  So it’s all in one moment I s’pose.”

We move on.

But I don’t.  Not so much.  It’s a good question.

It reminds me why I’m a philosopher, a poet.  Why we tend toward the same, differently.  We watch for the shared, the communal in our experience, anywhere.  We work the same queries.  In a living ruled by science, by probabilities and hypothetical cause, by vague notions of what-might-happen-next given conditions and dynamically complex systems…philosophers, poets and artists tend to seek out what’s certain – what is nevertheless the case: we feel, we think, we live, we die, a world is there – the details change with the order of the day.  Or night.  The language or discipline.  The methods or culture, practice or beliefs.  Depending on the questions.  Who’s asking and how.

We happen – become – and unhappen.

Because my dad, almost 80, evinces this.  Because I’ll be half-90 in 48 hours.  What I asked for is called Cosmic Pessimism, which says something.  I happen…vary…and stop happening that way.  How that occurs, what and who and when and why change nearly as quickly as we do.  Should I say, what we think or believe occurs?  Rationalization of experience.

Reminds me of this, of the action of writing.

I still can’t do it “live.”  Can’t inscribe it as a “post” or a “tweet” or a “message.”  I’ve got to get some static.  IN-scribe is a physical act of scratching, digging, carving in clay.  ON-scribing is more what we do – laying down ink, pounding down letters, playing with light.  Writing with materials like paper and ink relatively makes something stay put for awhile.  So we can revise.  Perhaps that’s all Rilke meant – give yourself the opportunity to edit, erase, respond to your action before you present it.  Is revision revivification?  Stay something, pause.  Apply yourself to your living and choose an occurrence.  Does this wrinkle the union of living and dying?

At work I’m struggling with teaching the methods of multi-disciplinary research.  How to template a strategy of awareness to potentially everything?  We’re living and dying and attempting to know, understand, RATIONALIZE something about that.  Literally ANYthing applies, or may nourish, correct, influence or direct that essential inquiry (and DOES!).  How does one know where to look?  How does one know how to live it?  How does one know what one needs?  To synthesize rationalizations from multiple fields and methods and practices.  To compare all the answers or theories or thoughts?  To differentiate results and observations coming from various humans and schools and materials and tools and contexts and set-ups and the myriad messiness of living/dying organisms in relations beyond our control?

“You must revise your life” (Rainer Maria Rilke).

Revising your dying.  Is it possible to live moments in such a way that they outstrip the correlative dying?  To live more than die?  Once in awhile?  I think we have experiences, moments, in which we feel more alive than in others.  “Are you living or dead…ing” he asks.  Well, waking into a maze to traverse every day – cleaning and feeding and playing the roles (father, lover, employee, friend, son, writer, scholar, blogger, house-owner, house-keeper, cook, playmate, librarian, instructor, male, man, person, reader, and so on), shopping and feeding and listening and nourishing and working and running to tire – feels a bit more like “dead…ing.”  But there are moments!  Times.  “Events,” we call them (I guess).  Twistings and turnings and something like gathered occurrences, Being + Well-Being, Whitehead might say.  A more spectacular death I suppose.  Perhaps elevated experiences of living just heighten the jouissance of death?

I don’t know.

We happen – become/unbecome – and unhappen.

The marks left from that – our inscriptions, palimpsests and paths.  Veined.  Seared-in.  Scored.  In some cases, welded – some cases cancelled, erased, blotted out.  Living-dead…ing.  Vice versa?

To edit, revise, pause – is it possible?  What did he mean?  What might it mean?    Curving back doesn’t alter the time.  Going over is still going forth.  We wend and wind and whirl and reveal we are living and dying.