A Conversation of Humanity

A man stumbles into a bar… (perhaps you’ve heard this one before)… truly more of a sauntering in seeming need of assistance… must be no stranger here, his drinks await him wherever he finds or chooses or results in sitting: a something-with-vodka, large glass of water, and occasionally a cup filled with coffee.

“You’re the one that always has books,” some say, “you some kind of writer or something?”

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” he mumbles.  “I’m always tired, I feel ugly and old, I don’t like my body but don’t desire doing anything about it, perhaps I should, I’m sure to lose it someday…” (he isn’t talking to anyone).  “Thank you, always, you’re ever so kind,” he says.

He says “My children seem to remember me,” shifting in his chair as if to leave, or relocate tables, “my children they seem to remember, and they hurt me, they have hurt me, my body hurts, mostly in sport, and what they do and don’t remember.”  He opens a book, looks as if he’s reading, another round of drinks appears.

He writes and marks in many colors.  He is dirty.  He wears overalls and moccasins.  He never seems cold.  It is cold.

“I decided to shower today,” he mutters.  “Some ladies still talk to me,” something-and-vodka drips through his beard, “some will even hug or hold me yet, even this way” (patting his belly, grimacing) “I guess I didn’t like my smell or simply thought it might change me, it’s awful hard to be alone with my body.”  He moves, his drinks are waiting at another table, both fresh fills and half-drunks, and a sandwich of some kind.  The cook passes and pats him on the shoulder, smiles, asks of how he’s doing.  They hug.  The man praises him and his eyes are moist.  The man isn’t anyone in particular.  He isn’t anyone.

“What you doing with all those books?” she asks, he thinks.  Pretends that someone’s interested.  “Not the young ones much anymore,” he says, “they are needing something else, they can tell I’m aged and tired, carrying the trouble of experiences, but a few, a few older ones will let me hug them, touch, perhaps a kiss, perhaps an accidental overnight, that strange collapse.”

“I have them to read,” he replies, “there’s always more to read,” he whimpers, “so much, so many, to read,” he sighs and smiles like a boy receiving toys, “if only people, my children, if, if they felt read this way by me, some women, some wonderful women, if I could delve, could attend, if others felt read this way, these books, I love them, I love and need them, their words, I love and need and want them…if others felt that way, I’d like to feel that way – loved, wanted, needed… sometimes my children…”

“Another?” she says so warmly with her tight and fast-moving body, lithe and breasted, friendly with its clothes.  She has a fresh vodka-with-something, he says “no I shouldn’t, but sure, I guess, you’re so kind to me, why  not?  I will, yes” (wanting, loving, needing.. books scattered over the tabletop, all closed).  He drinks.

“My children, my friends – so smart, so beautiful, with verve… so helpful… I did shower today,” he thinks, “maybe I’ll be useful to one or some of them, but probably not, what could they need or want of me,” he drinks.  “Not the young ones, though, not anymore,” he thinks, “what could I offer – these worn experiences, these words and doubts, these lacks of memories, confusions, waking dreams, these wonders.”

“You’ll need to go soon,” she chides, “you can’t be staying here.”  “But he’s the writer,” a boisterous drinker shouts, “he oughta tell a story, oughta earn his keep!”  Drunk old friendly at two in the morning (bar time – it’s actually 1:35).

“Tell us something,” they gather, they prompt.  “Say some of those words,” they prod.

So he opens his notebook and begins to write…

 

 

“…the contradiction which awaits the writer is great.  There is no mission, he cannot undertake it and nobody has sent him on it, that is to say he will have to become nobody to accept it; a contradiction which he cannot survive.  That is why no writer can hope to preserve his life’s freedom for the benefit of the work… everything takes place between the artist and himself; no one else can do anything about it; it is a mystery like love that no extraneous authority may judge or understand.”

– Maurice Blanchot-

Advertisements

Guilty: or, How Things End Beginning

(this is the last thing I find I’ve had time to attempt in writing for many weeks…)

after Bataille, Of Montreal

It began.  It begins.

Damage.

What opens what humans call ‘the heart.’

.

Who is the author?

Where?

.

In the loss.  Lessness.

What is…always expressed / exposed by what

CAN be taken…

What is stripped back, laid bare, stolen,

raped…

.

Then you know.

Both ‘you’ and a very strange sort of ‘knowing.’

.

THAT POINT:

[the werewolf]

that place, space, moment, experience:

HATE.

LOVE.

(=)

(equals)

.

The expansion.

Additive.

Infinite.

A mad undoing.

A ‘one’ coupled by LOVE-HATE (possible ferocities)

– angry peace –

– gentle tearing –

.

Avarice.  Grace.  Hunger.  Gifts.

.

We get born.

We most certainly die.

(even if we never learn what ‘being born’ or ‘to die’ might be / mean)

.

Damage: how we…die with/it

: how we…end in it

.

We most certainly die.

.

This we know [somehow] without experiencing it.

Or even being able…

.

Death.

Always next.

Always next.

Always next.

(Regardless – truly regard-less)

of anything IN-between

I AM ALL WAYS DYING MY DEATH

(what might ‘living one’s life’ seem?)

I happen to be singing imagined limits

(All I do not know)

.

Questions and conundrums

NOTHING.

Ends and means:

DEATH.

-easily a kind of glory…

…inevitable

…insatiable

DECAY.

.

Guilty.

BIRTH (whatever could be meant by that) = DEATH. DECAY.

(It began.  It begins).

-What opens, happens, what humans call ‘the heart.’

We most certainly die.

  • Hello cancer
  • Hello age
  • Hello war and disease
  • Welcome other
  • ‘Time’
  • Fact, fiction
  • Truth, theory
  • “Hello, human!”

DEATH.

(Most certain)

(The wonder : : : : something is born)

always

                                                      all ways

                                                                 in order to…

…DIE.

Irascible, inevitable, indivisible, ineradicable ends.

Cheers Death

‘you’ (nothing)

always win.

If ‘winning’ could ever look like that, this…

…end(s).

once its begun, it began, it begins…

…endings, ends, the end.

– always already there –

always                                                 already                                                here

“between appear and disappear”

 

Hers

“Weren’t there any words that she accepted more willingly?  Any that diverged less from what she was thinking?”

-Maurice Blanchot, Awaiting Oblivion

There have been many hers,

some promise of connectivity

or commerce

(perhaps promise is too much,

perhaps desiring is more

accurate).

In other words, and

many of the same

from time to time

over time

the process equals =

it is hers –

my strands cannot reach,

meaning cannot knot,

meeting grown unable…

Ellipses…

continuance and breakage

characterizing in-between;

a trailing-off, a dwindling,

leaning toward the open –

deletions and erasures, a clearing of a space.

 

Again

and

Again

and Again

Again…

 

“perhaps because the first words

say everything / He decided

to begin

again

from there” (Blanchot).

 

We can know

the first word is

“Here.”

[After-words?]

 

Again

and

Again

and Again

Again

“Begin.”

 

He thinks that

it belongs

to her,

it is hers,

all of them;

 

In other words

are there any words

that diverge less…

that would not

initiate ellipses…

-the crossing

-the forking

of roads-

 

Here.

Again.

Begin.

– each eviscerating concoction…

clarifying conundrum,

each undone doing…

[doing undone].

 

Not quite correction,

no improvement, evolution,

no repeat and never same,

inceptive destruction…

 

He names it “failure”

“recurrence”

He says it is the “here”

of meeting

inducing the there of separation,

of potential gain

and irreparable loss.

“Here” is where it begins

Again…

and ends,

alwaystime…

 

It is hers.

Colluded

and conspired.

She is never wrong

to say

it is his.

This Here.

Again

and

Again.

Begin…

 

…until finally…

Cabin Reflections

IMG_2623[1]

“Penelope remembers having read that of all the liquids and fluids produced by the human body – sweat, semen, vaginal fluid, saliva – tears are the only one without any trace of DNA… Impossible to identify someone from their tears, we’re all identical when we weep despite the many different reasons we have for weeping, something like that.  Unlike unhappiness, tears don’t set us apart, they make us the same.”

Rodrigo Fresan, “The Invented Part”

Last week I spent with my four offspring at a cabin on the Pikes Peak Massif in Colorado.  Mostly I register grief and loss in my experience of living… but interestingly enough, the first entry of my vacation journal begins with the simple sentence “I’m happy.”  Unqualified, that’s it – myself + my offspring + a rich world reeking of “no service” and untellable beauty… “I’m happy.”  Here are some notes I made throughout the week:

Simple things innerheard during cabin stay:

The stars: “We can’t tell the difference: between light or dark, death or what remains.”

The streams: “Where have we come from, where are we going? / Where we have come from, where we are going.”

Growing things (grass, moss, wildflowers, mushrooms, wild berries, etc…): “Not yet, not yet.  Who knows?”

The rocks, the boulders: “Once upon a time.  Now.”

IMG_2613[1]

The mountain(s): “Maybe.  May Be.”

The cabin:  “Us.  Here.  We.  With.  Hold.”

Phrases of my children:

  • “It’s good to live this way once in awhile.”
  • “Why do we leave here, ever?  I never want to.  What is have to?”
  • “Dad, everything here is your ‘favorite‘.

And me:

  • “Nothing is like this.  Nothing… Belonging, I belong.  Time changes, it’s different here.  As if there isn’t.  THIS PLACE IS ‘BEAUTY’ TO ME.  THIS PLACE IS WORTH MY LIFE.”
  • on climbing: “I’m a dad: we ALL make it, or none of us really do.”
  • on love: “If I say ‘I love you’ – please don’t hear it as worship, as inordinate.  In love we see the ‘too much‘ of the other – that which is always beyond our own reach, the ‘too much’ in each of us we struggle with, and seem to be unable to assimilate or observe in mirrors of our own.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons the conundrum we call ‘love’ exists?

Addresses to my children and loved ones:

  • To T: “Always beware of logic – our fabricated things.  What we may wish toward but doesn’t make matter.”
  • To A: “Recall.  There are differences.  Beware.  There are openings for more life.”
  • To I: “You have it.  You carry your own water.  Your own dreams.  Your own beginnings.”
  • To O: “Heroes also may shrink you, diminish, contain.  You are deeply your own.”
  • To H: “Never mind.  I am not the one who can conquer it in you.  I believe someone will.”
  • To ?: “I love you.  Like literature: the possible of life.  Impossible.”

IMG_2605[1]

Thank you mountains, rocks, growing things, streams….

3 Short Poems

for the weekend…

ARE YOU

I don’t think I have a question;

yet I seem to be

an asking

.

This one?  This one?

Is it here?

Are you?

.

The breeze is not silent

as many things

that are not

.

Still I do not understand –

Are you here?

Am I?

.

It goes unanswered

along with the riddle

I am

.

Are we here?

Are you?

 

READY FOR SADNESS

I’m often ready to be sad.

Why is this?

What holes are excavated by living?

What sifts through?  Falls out?  Runs away?

.

It goes nowhere

Or anywhere,

Everywhere.

Still it goes

.

where I am not

welcoming

through all these openings

a peeking-back

 

[addendum]

Instead I seal them shut

I try to stuff them

full of rags

that reek of sin and toxic

.

What can I do –

will I –

in this cell

that seems my own?

 

AGING

What does one do?

Reducing teeth

or sight

or hearing

.

How does one choose

what’s worth

repair

when all is failing,

.

ailing,

come undone?

he asks his father –

buys a car

.

replacing failure:

another thing

that’s bound

to fail.

notes

Why not call it magic, this unsettling alloy of grief and anger we experience when shunted by anxiety, disappointment, depression, or loss?

We cannot deny that we crave!  That we are struck through – bolted with fervent desire (all that which we experience as, well, unsettlingly – disturbingly – vital, ALIVE, active, possessive, in us) – when we are crushed, smushed, squelched, or helpless, hopeless, dismayed – how else could we be?

Without the vital, fierce passions – the damage is to no effect/affect.  Depression must press against something.  Must be pressing something down.

“Am I at the right house?” the internet-technology-installer asked from my gate.

“How can I know?” I responded, “it would depend on the future.”

He checked the numbers and moved away.

Now how will we ever know?

Isn’t this what every human encounter re/presents?

So de-pression presses something down in us.  Anxiety stirs.  Sorrow re-cognizes meanings.  No negative without its positive charge.  To be noticeable.  And what is it that is noticeable?  (able-to-be-noticed)?  ONLY DIFFERENCE.  Only time and space and whatever it is those veil, uncover, hide, or displace.

O-ppressed, DE-pressed, what are these SU-ppressing?  Accentuating?  Calling to attention, to activity, awareness, task?

Grief, loss, de-tachment and longing: what do these expose in order to occur? 

Is anything ever lost?

She passes by with a friendly, perhaps even loving and happy wave.  What reality is evoked in the pain of the passed-by, passed-over, un-preferred?  What does it render actually present?

Is it possible that in the “missing” nothing is lost?  Some present is heightened?  Something even added to the present?

In losing a struggle don’t we gain what the effort was for?  Clearly?

Does surrender underscore the sub-ject, the value, the relational ob-ject-ive given over?  Adding acknowledging import?

Difference demonstrates value.  Matter(s).  Sign-if-i-can-ce.  Without difference nothing would know.  Indistinguishable = pure repetition.  (Doesn’t matter).

Passed-over, passed-by, passed-on.  De-pressed, su-ppressed, o-ppressed.  Lost, lossed, re-moved, de-tached, re-apportioned.  ALL LOSS ACCENTUATES HAVE.  ALL DIS-POSSESSION EXPOSES POSSESS.

Difference de-scribes=in-scribes OURSELVES.  What we are constructed from, contain, proffer, offer, obsess, possess, ARE.  What we ARE (have and do).

Our com-position, con-stitution, con-struction are most clearly expressed in difference, ex-posure, de-struction, de-pression, o-ppression, loss.

In de-composition, we know and learn what composes us.

The question beggars: what have we to lose?  What can we lose that in losing its learning is not gained?  What have we to lose?  And how do we know without losing?

 

Alas, Alias

kitty-litter

“Cat litter,” the last thing said, and something about that abandoned bicycle, a child’s bike, deep red, repainted, left askew on their lawn for days.

Those were the last things.  The last things she said.  And so he’d begun to move about much more carefully.  Timidly some might say, an amalgam of caution and care.  Ever tender, aware that things break, or tear, spill, or fall apart.  End.

But then Laramie, his sister, mother, the kids – some entities seem to persist, so few and so stubborn, inexplicably, threatening almost, as if an accumulating disaster, an heavier withdrawal.  He doesn’t know what to make of it.

Abandonment crushes all scales and statistics – but pebbles and dust, foundations and roots still remain.  Persistent.  Resilient.  Irrational.

Like a sloth he repaired to his desk, as delicate and slow.  He took up a pen with his head in his hand.  He was lonely, alone but for quiet, sweet silence, and branches and birdsong and wind, autos and dogs.  Not quite quiet.  Not quite alone.  But abandoned, far as he could surmise.

He wrote.  Rather drew.  Looping lines that were shaky on paper.  Tried to make his operation more smooth.  It failed.  He shakes now, does Alias, from drinking and smoking, aging and grief.  From perspective.  His perspective.

A rattling undone, an erosion.  He sighs.

A bike, and “cat litter,” then gone.  Others had left for much more and much less.  Litanies of reasons of wrongs are so easy with humans involved, never mind the ‘weight of the good.’  Can’t compete.  Won’t compute. There are mistakes, and effort involved – both are failures, no matter the theories or talk, no matter their universality.  He was wrong and a failure, which equals abandon no matter the words they produced.

Alas, Alias.  A depression.  An outlook that colors the field, but it’s charcoal.  No matter the ‘whom’ it will bleed, run them dry, and disfigure.  No one’s withstood it for long, for all of his kindness and passion (devised to distract from the swallowing dark, or the primer – his base coat is death).  He’s alone.

Not a Laramie, mother, or kin.  Without doubt there’s no lover, no friend.  Just a man and his books and incessant grey thoughts, and a pen.

He begins, looping lines…forming “Cat litter,” the last thing she said…

Bike

Needing the Other

Ghandi - Interdependence

Sometimes we weep, “I need you so much.”

 

Do we grieve from the weight of the need?

Or the needing of differing things?

Do we weep that our need’s not provided?

 

We need.

And need differing things.

And need other than can be provided.

 

As long as the grief is not shame.

For what harm in need?

Like anything else,

we depend

-in truth-

on a world

made of so many

things –

to exist, to alive,

to continue.

 

And why not one another?

 

I am and you are

Without which we are not

 

That is need,

that is all,

that is fact.

 

Without air, food or water

the body declines.

Without commerce,

event,

the mind will not thrive.

Without you

what is I

will diminish.

 

That is nature.

 

There’s no shame in the needing.

No recall in the fail.

The “meeting” is all –

the approach and response,

the expression of need

and its answer.

 

Insufficient and varied,

incomplete and alloyed,

is never the fault of the need –

only moment.

 

“I need you,” I weep,

and I do, it is true,

and the you that is current

needs me.

That is all.

It is fact.

It’s the case.

We can change it, okay.

We can do.

 

But the need will remain,

because that’s how we are

dependent by nature

on nature, on world,

on persons and places and things –

on each other.

 

We’re human, you see?

Altogether because

We BE from the CAUSE

of each other.

Old Ruled Writing Pad

Old Ruled Writing pad

today, searching for paper to make notes on for work…I grabbed a used “ruled writing tablet” of mine, last written in in 2014…and read…

“I am an educated writer who loves a lot of things.  I love language, I love learning, I love relationships – to partners, children, nature, arts, literature, and ideas – to “world.”  I love to study.

By “love” I mean that I choose and enjoy expending my available energy on these things.

I like very much to reflect and consider, experiment with and actualize what seems meaningful for living as a human individual.

That is what I know of myself, besides the facts which are unruly, shifting and so very difficult to capture or recount with accuracy.  All the terms (‘born,’ ‘lived,’ ‘married,’ ‘completed,’ ‘received,’ ‘produced,’ ’employment,’ ‘accomplishments,’ ‘age,’) and their explications are far to vague to be useful here.”

Impromptu

Death.

Abundance.

Extravagant generosity of depletion.

Lust with which the world gives way.

And life.

Things.

Prominence.

.

I have entered a world

in which I am

saddened

begladdened

nostalgic

and eaten away

.

It is “Today”

this world –

the realm, the sphere, the moment:

Now.

A time that’s never,

only almost

and a just-was.

.

Each beginning

what equals

another end.

That time.

What was.

What will be.

What I remember

and predict.

.

The first day

once again;

each possibly

the last

.

It is like this –

each time –

it is the present:

that attachment

that letting go.

Incessant welcome,

and its goodbye.