“‘Word work,’ Toni Morrison said in Stockholm, ‘is sublime because it is generative,’ its felicity in its reach toward the ineffable. ‘We die,’ she said. ‘That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.'”
Even a blank page
can be beautiful, asking:
Who goes there? What? Where?
The month of March, in Kansas, can be almost anything, like most of the other months of the year, almost. Tonight it is moisty, breezy, there is wetness hovering like a redolent air, nearly a fog. I am killing myself. You are feeding me. I sharpen your knives in the kitchen. From the top of my throat toward deep in my belly is an acidic ruin caused by far too many liters of hard alcohol in far too much volume, too often, for too many hours of too many days over too many years to not be transforming my internal landscape into a ravaged terrain of destruction. So though I’m unable to breathe, speak, lie down, or work without unignorable hurt, I am still useful. I am sharpening your knives in your modest kitchen. I am reading and writing sentences. I am trying to keep myself from you. You are preparing a meal for us, and I find it so difficult to stay away from you – to not breathe at your ear, kiss or nibble your neck, grasp at your bottom, finger your elbows, hover, caress, overwhelm.
Boundaries are reduced in mist and wind. In motion it can be hard to tell where the lines that mark objects begin or end. In cloaks of obscurity finding shapes or sounds, edges or entries, can be, well, con-fusing (over-mixed, blended, woven)… as perhaps any “thing” we try to think apart ‘in fact’ always is… “inscrutable,” “indivisible,” “unclear.”
If you extricate the ginger from the garlic from the cabbage from the chicken from the oil, the rice, the salt, the pepper, the lime and ancho, the butter, the liquids and oxygens, thicknesses and scents… where is the meal? If you separate “me” out from “world,” relations, surround (like a theory, a concept, a logic…) how might I then live, or “be” what you presume me to be? I will not, cannot, am not (removed from my surround) and so it goes… limbs and flesh and organs… dissect… to cells and fluids, molecules and motions, viscosity and energy… to atoms… to subatomic ‘particles’ and/or ‘waves’ – and at each dismantle you will have lost the entity you proposed or pursued.
Division does not equal.
You’ve quoted out of context – neither copied, reproduced, nor plagiarized. Simply failed. Missed. Lost.
The burning rot, corrosive erosion of my body by the maladies of my preferences, pleasures, and habits…
…erasure of letters, terms, phrases, meanings…
…excision and surgery, atopic autopsying of…
…are things already dead, deceased once de-cised, as ‘identifiable portions or pieces, ‘things'”?
These written marks with definable shapes and spaces… yet if disjoined… no sense can be had…
What might “it,” “I,” be… apart-from?
I lay on a ground I cannot stand up without, cannot jump, move, fly or float away without…
I address you – impossibly – unless we’re inseparable… otherwise address and interaction cannot…
The gesture recognizes the necessary collusion as a dream of a fictive repartee, a figurative gap which – if there really were a break or breach – would have no effect or recognition – no reach, no contact…
Relation is repetition of conjoinment, actions without function if connectedness is not always already…
…as if drawing attention toward redundancy.
And so we kiss, we eat, we call out, we listen, as repercussions of contact… reassurances of inseparability. You reach for your phone, I fall to sleep, unable to be undone or we would not be able to know
Someday maybe, someone will say of me that I “tore up language,” made it useless.
Maybe, someday, someone will “feel” that. That I destroyed something precious. Something necessary. Like oxygen, or water: something we could not live without. And I ruined it. Like meaning.
That would be something. Something I could do, with nothing.
Simple undoing. To sequester and burn. Try or experiment. Atomic bombing atoms. Untangle into knots – vacuum emptiness, so to (un)speak. Rather ask than say. Rather ponder or wonder than postulate or state. To query, not question. Change, not challenge.
Disorder and dismember as an alternative to reordering and remembering. Dissolute versus dissolve. “Me.”
How significant that would be! How real and present I might become! How impossible to ignore! Then ‘I’ might come, be-come, cum-cum… be undone, finally.
De-ranger opposing A-rRanger. The chaos, disturbance, tremor and volatility… the tension pulling on the only bottom we can conceive… the bottomless. Topless. Beautiful that way. Exposed. Denuded. Open. Available. A fresh take. Lake. Like. Lack. Unknowable. Perhaps deep or infinite. Perhaps uncontained.
Let’s say “language.” Let’s say molecules, atoms, cells. Let’s say “space” or “time.” Let’s say “let us say.” (i.e. let’s assume something).
Like hallucinogenetic drugs without purpose. Instrumentalization. Meaning. Like feeling too cold or too warm. Like grief or ecstasy – any of these experiences we don’t understand.
Disjunctive dysfunction. The uncanny. Morphology. K would call it (maybe) “infinite possibilities of infinities without numeration – perhaps most of which are empty” – and how would we know (or be able to know) what that means? Like this here = that.
Suppose you could “see” it (imagine – image-in) – I use language. I’d use language. I would. To “see” it. To image-in, to imagine the impossible…compossible.
To love. To be. To live. To try.
Apparently (according to K) that doesn’t “do” anything – doesn’t instrumentalize or operationalize the unknown potential, even though I compare it with sound or dance or computers or nuclear war – as physical.
Whatever. (Exactly!). The vague potential of supposed infinite possibilities we cannot possibly comprehend, uncover, dis-cover, realize (as far as we know, at our scale of experiencing) – but how is it not part of these possibilities? Actualized, instrumented (pen / paper / sign), operated-in or upon or with or for…
Here is your possible result: an 100th Monkey.
Water moved all over me – a bath, a shower, the rain… I broke my skin stumbling on a curb, and bled… a knife, a table… Ha! I have a body. Yes, there it is. Maybe I’ll make love – what will be discovered then? Yes, “we.” I have a porous body.
Another reason writing is an instrumentalized “reason.” Eat this. Peace among worlds. Going on a manhunt for a woman. A particular ‘one.’ Watch me (if you want).
I can pull at the hair on my face. I just gathered my child in an embrace (a ‘hug’ we called it). Ha! I have a body, it is porous. Operationalized by “desire” (we call it).
Part II: Language (we call it).
Floor (feet feel). Hair (hands hold, harry, hank). Skin (sentences slit, suckle, sense, susurrate, sing). Grass (gander, gaze, grab, grackle). Oh the things you can do! Meaningless, morbid possibilities.
To prove – ? What? – “I” hear? “I” touch? “I” see? Taste? Feel? Encounter? Interrupt? Intrude? Act with and upon? To what purpose?
Proof of possibility? Infinite (unknown) potentials? What do “I,” am “I,” wanting?
“Desire” I wrote (instrumentalized) earlier. Ha. A word. An action. [I have a porous body]. “I” (what I call) “love.”
In other words, this was the day K hobbled away. You wouldn’t understand. [meanings].
I’ve written other words, even what might be called “assemblages” (markings in accord with other ‘possibilities’…infinitely (?) variable).
In other words… the spread of the tree. This one sends its branches this way into the world… (porous)… this one yearns vertically… these at certain angles… sentences… reactions…
I am thankful for Kansas… for sex… for her… for elsewhere…
For Pakistan. Where she first appeared… from California… I “love.”
It’s, she’s, notable. Noteworthy. I mark them.
The refrain: I love. I have loved. I will. [“desire”]
“I” say “yes”
Yes, M. Yes D. Yes A, T, H, H, J, M, T, J, M, J, S, R, R, R… yes almost anyone almost anywhere… yes.
Let us try this out: language. Touch. “Yesterday.”
And something becomes. The unknown (unknkowable?) – K’s infinities paralleled and interwoven. What is liminal.
The liquid between every book on my shelves, every line, the air and its waves, the light and hard matter. [porous].
G, D, K, M, Lispector… what do we see? Le spectre. The specter. What we see. What can (not) be seen.
The visible and the touchable – “the Prose of this World.”
Trees sprout branches slantwise.
And there… the name “Steiner.” A Viking. A Spartan. A Cherokee. And there is “rain” (we call it). And I: love. And that can be its own end. The German. The Thai. The Nubian. Each native as The World Goes On in The Physics of Sorrow… selected, selected, selected…
A gold, glaring like sunlight, like foil paper,
glints out of the hands, gathered to plead,
like tears with their measure of salt, gleaming
an eye, like the viscous reflecting residue
of pleasure – piss, blood, the living sweats
and leaks, we run, we water the dying.
You there. You. There.
Far cries (moans, wails, echoes) from here.
You here. You. Here.
Murmurs, whispers, gasps, and laughter.
Breath upon an ear.
Blue radiance from the heart, red running out the vein.
The wheeze that squelches exhale.
Stuttered stumble – each mistake…the trial being
to sketch, to trace, erase.
Once we waved at one another.
Each goodbye a beckon.
And all digress.
Too often, once more… for Thucydides…
Feathers, flowers, for Filbert,
little donkey he must be,
ass-braying poems – silt and muck of muddle,
collecting stones and eyes and sunsets,
almost any gaze. Almost an acknowledgment.
To be. For. Anyonething. Anywhere.
Once necessary. Once.
And then more…
It was funny how she, how I, refused, declining enticing invitations of love. Once.
Then again. Or not.
Still, it happens, rejected or otherwise. Naysaying, that is.
Strange relations. Using yes for no, and their returns and variations.
She says no though. I did.
It eventuates, seemingly regardless of our answers.
Check boxes. Lists. Identities. Likert-scales of experiencing.
Mouths inclining. Decline. A trajectory of eyes. Reclining seduction.
I decided not to go along. (Where do we go instead? Who goes? When?). Each denial an assent.
What did the trees refuse? What was the grass fighting, then? The clouds? I watched… she observed birds.
The dancers’ bodies. A dismissal of space. The removal of sound. Absent silences.
Where was she? I?
We said no.
Do words incline or recline for us? What of the ear, the eye?
Still I smelled her.
“I love,” I thought, “I cannot love. I can not.” She declines.
These are the ways of naysaying, all our doubled negatives, equaling… what, exactly?
I love her. I can not. She won’t. Will not. Negativity in a vacuum. Apparatus.
The squirrel upside down, above the lawn, on the long tree limb. What is it denying? And where is the use of speech?
We cried out, decrying. (What could that mean? That seems always in question).
I asked Beckett and Blanchot. They each said that she said “no.”
Apparently, she says “no.” “I’d really like to, but can not, must not,” i.e. “no.”
It rings out, like bells – so radiant, so silent, such dissipation. Such temporal hazard and warning.
Something refuses the air.
I remember. She traces back. What means “over”?
Sound refusing silence. The first. The second. The next.
What is “last”?
She says no.
I recall dreams from time to time. Unable.
Something may have been said.
This Autumn has found very little time for sustained reading and writing, resulting therefore in meager offerings here. But I am finding jottings, thoughts, and notations in scattered journals that have somehow happened anyway. Please accept these little offerings as efforts to remain in dialogue…
Why do we (at least some percentage of us) take such pleasure (or at least seem to relish) in dark and heavy sorrow, like longing? Grief, hopelessness – is it finitude and mortality that cause us to feel so at home in it? Our drowning womb, begun from a watery coffin?
The sweet, rebellious, anarchy of loving, passion, writing, painting, music…sex – whatever it is we do that works our death deeper in us, through ecstatic bursts that we respond to like life.
We all ways dying…from that first launch…that initial spark of convergence – our long elimination.
Praise for the Name what Remains
By the light of the last thing decaying,
Erosion, they call it,
a painful dwindling away
Inception that won’t return
Sand, soil, snow, wind,
some sort of passage
It is called.
Loss, we name it.
If time is an arrow
even in some infinite
loop and swerving traffic
I’m not. Nor are we.
The finite and fragile
Affected in the midst
And never remade.
(alas, the notebooks keep filling…but the time to type does not avail)
If I. If something stirred, was stirring. The dying. Any of us. Were something stirring. For me. If I. The lonely. Any of us. The longing. The longing lonely. Were something stirring. Were I. If I.
If only. Could be any. If one. If only. If I. For me. An other. Any of us. A stirring. I, only dying lonely longing one. If. A stirring. An other. Someone to speak “we.” To say “you.” A whispered “us.” For me.
What would I (if I, if other) say, if something stirred, if stirring an other, some other who, who might say “you,” “we,” whisper “us,” something stirring then, what would I say. If I. If you or we, I whisper “us,” stirring still, what would I say?
When might a story begin? Who could start the unknown? Only language. Perhaps only language knows what can’t be said. What is yet to exist. Or may not. Ever. What is that to me? If I. If indeed that is what I do.
Touching other to make us. If I. If other. Then a voice, a touch, an extra, an excess, we. If you. If I. What is story to that? How so?
From anywhere: impermanence. If an other. If I. Some story’s beginning, how begun. If there were a sound, as it were, so to speak.
Macedonio Fernandez shrewdly intimated that among the difficulties of communicable perfection (language or literary wholeness, completeness) were the problems writers have, in that, among other things:
“2) They don’t know how to render the ‘unsayable’ with ‘ineffable’ style” (Museum of Eterna’s Novel, p. 11)
As if imagination must copulate with impossibility; creativity found within the non-existent; wayfinding nothing. Perhaps.
“I” (a good example of the above) often worship the symbol: ? “I’d” like to place it everywhere, upon everything, anything imaginable OR conceivable – even the unknown – as well as any compendium of ‘facts’ or apparently common-sensical / self-evident elements of being-living. As if… to draw attention or recognition (‘to render’) human limitation, finitude, fragility – PART-‘I’-CIPATION – in world (+ whatever falls beyond such an impression). A kind of belief as a participating occurrence that whatever might be indicated by such terms as “truth,” “love,” or “existence,” (or “you” or “I”) are best translated by = ?
This nettling evocation is (perhaps) a personal ‘creed’ in a singular (obviously impregnated) mark: ?
Something I might ‘live’ and ‘die’ for.
Am I trying to communicate? What am ‘I’ doing in relation to language, to shared understandings, to concepts, and so-called knowledge or knowing? Am ‘I’(s) capable of relating to anything (or nothing) beyond these indications? Unmediated ways and forms of experiencing given to ‘me’?
Experience (seeing-peering WITH outside-of) is one set of possible parameters in living-being (limitations, capacities, informed possibilities, finitudes & fragilities – necessitudes of part-‘I’-cipation).
What might we ‘name’ alternate – those in excess of experience; those far diminished via enforced-informed; ‘other’ impossibilities of ex-perience? (Bataille’s ‘Inner Experience’ – inperience?: without outer? might be an exploration) ‘mysticism’? spirituality? mystery? simply Impossibles? Unsayables? Unknowables? ANYthing beyond-limit, we might ‘say.’
Excess. Perpetual. Eternal. Infinite. Incomprehensible. Indeterminate. All ex-perceptions that would demand or require ‘ineffable’ style to be en-gaged. Out beyond (or in-beyond) outsides or othering that might be accounted for, perceived, en-countered, or ex-perienced: impossibles that must most likely (it would seem given our minimal, limited, finite, participatory living-being IN AS PART OF ‘world’ or whatever our most expansive imagining) occur. Perhaps even non-ex-is-tences, nothing and never.
These might be the description of fields or planes where I in-tend and pre-fer to operate or inquire (under the sign of ?) and therefore, lacking or failing in ‘ineffable style’ whereby to render ‘unsayables’ – simply can not.
Thus please forgive my erratic forays into production here – communication, conversation, even imaging-in (imagining) – ‘I’ simply can not. I am mostly unable to ineffably style unsayables.
I beg your forgiveness and again fall silent.
“But could I forget my ignorance for a moment? Forget that I am lost in the corridor of a cave?”
– Georges Bataille –
to occupy us
as an open question
who (yet) knows
what language means?
I love/d you.
What more is wanted
With all of its not
mattering, like changing
going on. A hawk
(or owl) shrieks
We ask again
at the canyon,
the peak, the abyss,
And I say simply
‘You are beautiful,
therefore I love you.’
but some report,
some expression –
This is why I’m alive.
Possessives and plurals,
the mysteries remain.