Even a blank page
can be beautiful, asking:
Who goes there? What? Where?
Even a blank page
can be beautiful, asking:
Who goes there? What? Where?
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.
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.
inspiration from Lynda Barry
Sickened and soothed by symbols, I set out.
Signals come and I perceive, I respond.
The I forms to the action.
With enough exercise, tissues tighten:
there are knots and strains and sprains
that need unraveling, massage.
I turn to music
buried deep within the signs
a way to loosen and undo
the stressing strands.
and gain relief
spread out through many pathways,
allowed to wander their own ways
beginning at the edges of their ends,
N Filbert 2012
The Forest of Marriage
(Happy Anniversary Holly Suzanne!)
I’ve never felt sexy or young, my memory is chained like an old growth forest accumulating decay. Remains tough to destroy. Why would I want to? Perhaps for you – so lovely to me – youthful, vital, your non-submissive and consistent new growth. Your winding ways, nubile bends – how do you regenerate yourself?
I’ve no doubt my dying fertilizes and enriches, our scent expands. Some wreckage crumbles beautifully, overgrown and softened by corruption. But it’s not the same as planting seeds, a puppy’s not a dog.
Steep. A word for danger and infusion. Calamity filters through.
Seed. It is not uncommon for your resources to sprout fresh things in me. Renewal, come in. I am fertile in layers.
I’ve aged tall and long and twisted, hoary with moss and tangled by vine. Formidable, while spongy in places. Your green shoots pierce me, exposing my slowness and rot, my muffling stance. You crack me open, engender new soil. I collapse and give way, I adapt. It’s a marriage.
I wouldn’t say “handsome,” thought at times picturesque – in a rugged way, and worn – tendriled with you growing green. The occasional strength to bloom: I mushroom, you flower. I fungus, you shine. Together we develop our wonder. Some stop and look, others stay awhile, everyone traveling through. The coupling is not unfortunate – providing nourishment and shelter. There’s always damage. Having endured, still I am fragile, and you, with your gentle, tenacious roots, ever purposeful and true, yet transplanted and remaking, storms can threaten with uprooting.
We are called by one name and belong – a vast generality for incalculable kinds. We don’t mind. Old or new it’s still growth; what dies and what’s born construct a joined density. I lean on you while providing shade, you straighten me as you fight for necessary light. We are one seething thing, steamy if un-sexy, cross-generative and moist.
When the fire burns, it destroys and begins. Gaining as much as we lose. It takes time – symbiotic – establishing roots we combine and recover, shed and absorb, co-create and depend. Relying on the same in our differencing.
Reaching again in each instant’s climate.
(I love you beloved wife – happy anniversary – and here’s to continual renewal and the sustenance of old growth)
In Summer’s Heat I Can Hardly Think What To Do
so I made this picture
What is fiction, what isn’t? William Gass…and self-apparent words…
“that words and sentences should refer less to an outside, signified reality, and more to themselves – whether in their individual physical sounds, or in the train of associations they build within the sentence or paragraph…In this case fiction is the lovely woman Babs (the text), who is made love to (shaped into a novel) by a series of clumsy unappreciative lovers (writers who fail to realize the richly self-apparent potential of language in their hands)…the earlier philosophical work (Blue) is more qualitatively fictional than the second…in each case, the meandering associations are conceptual, triggered by words of course which are first of all there for their self-apparent sense…but which for action depend upon intellectual content, which takes us back (and forth) from fictional self-apparency into philosophical debate…Gass’ theory…is his fiction itself…” -Jerome Klinkowitz
and Gass himself: “well, it’s really what I’m running into all my inks about, so I had better mention it: the use of language like a lover…not the language of love, but the love of language, not matter, but meaning, not what the tongue touches, but what it forms, not lips and nipples, but nouns and verbs.” (Wm Gass, On Being Blue)
Information hygiene for the Covid-19 infodemic
Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar. Wayfarer, there is no way. You make a way as you go. (Antonio Machado)
all that inspires, shocks and makes me purr
Freyja Howls is a writer, performer and activist who would have been a style icon and comedian a century ago.
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