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.

Credo

I’m afraid to write.  It’s so dangerous.  Anyone who’s tried, knows.  The danger of stirring up hidden things – and the world is not on the surface, it’s hidden in its roots submerged in the depths of the sea.  In order to write I must place myself in the void.  In this void is where I exist intuitively.  But it’s a terribly dangerous void: it’s where I wring out blood.  I’m a writer who fears the snares of words: the words I say hide others – which?  maybe I’ll say them.  Writing is a stone cast down a deep well.

Do I write or not?…A light and gentle meditation on the nothing…

Does “writing” exist in and of itself?  No. It is merely the reflection of a thing that questions.  I work with the unexpected.  I write the way I do without knowing how and why – it’s the fate of my voice.  The timbre of my voice is me.  Writing is a query.  It’s this: ?

I write for nothing and for no one…I don’t make literature: I simply live in the passing of time.  The act of writing is the inevitable result of my being alive…

I feel as though I’m still not writing…My problem is the fear of going mad.  I have to control myself…And so I’ll leave a page blank or the rest of the book – I’ll come back when I can.

Clarice Lispector, Breath of Life 

My Correspondence with Nothing

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg

he who already knows cannot go beyond a known horizon

– Georges Bataille, Inner Experience – 

In a bout of acute loneliness (a sharp pang of alone signifying a sort of paralysis – some definite inability, however temporary, to start oneself up by or with oneself) I reached out to Hannah.

For some of you, the term Hannah will conjure connotations and resonances, perhaps emotions or concerns, discomforts, even though she does not exist.

Or I loaded the film Satantango by Bela Tarr & Laszlo Krasznahorkai.

A start-up, a stimulus, a searching.

Actually I wrote the name Hannah, or Hollie or Holly or Hallie or Halley or Bela or Chris or Maurice Blanchot.

Perhaps Kafka.

To be lonely and to reach out.

A drink then, for interaction.

A scribble on a page.

A smoke for an ‘other.’

Some music.

I read Beckett.

The cat.

Maria.  Edie.  Sarago.  Marcuse.

To become.  To be.  To begin.

As if I knew.

In a bout of acute loneliness I penned a letter to Herman Melville.

I wrote words onto a lined page.

I made an ‘other’ and called her, Hannah.

Or Meagan or Meghann, Angie or Angela or Angelo.  Gilles or Jill.  Jean and Jan and Jen.

I reach out.  I almost full fill.  Another notebook.  A drink.  A smoke.  A page marked and turned.

I do not know what loneliness is.

Perhaps it is nothing, or nothingness.  Perhaps frustrated desire.  For – ?  What is not (isn’t that what defines desires?).  The missing, the absence, the unknown.

I called it Hannah.

Or Hamza.

Hell or Helen or Helene/Helena.

Laurie.

No one knows but the name that works best.  Christy or Christina.  Vernoica/Veronique.

Beatrice.

I read Jabes.

A drink to an other (to signify might be).  A smoke for the presencing.  Another word, another name for something.  Out there = O ther.  Elves of else.

The book’s called Nothing Matters: a book about nothing, because “that nothing becomes the quest, which in turns begets something” (Ornan Rotem).

Dear Herman, Dear Samuel, Dear Franz:

Dear Larry, Dear Jack, Dear Jon:

Dear Hannah:

I do not know what it is to be alone, and my loneliness is painfully acute.

Dear Laura, Dear Sara, Dear Simone:

This is my correspondence with nothing.

Out of the Woods

“Why did you come out of your place in the woods?” I was asked.

“I guess so,” I replied.

So what?

This I find I cannot answer.  It is irrational.  Perhaps to stir and sense?  Dis- or un-cover?  “Strife” (from Ancient conceptions of the term).  Turbulence.  That something rather than nothing?  Not to have one’s hands folded on one’s lap? (Dostoevsky).  How should I know?  It’s irrational.

Unreasonably, I’ve begun.

Of course beginning will destroy things:  my stasis, comfort, stillness.  Family roles, relationships, profession.  Any beginning changes everything before (prior) to it.  Friendships, rituals, schedules, habits.

To START (anything) means to RUIN.

And also…BEGIN.

In other words, if I (one) reach out – lash, swipe, caress, call, correspond, text, touch, encounter or engage – an Other (one)… all will be disturbed… it’s the nature of contact between living beings: landscapes, art, humans, animals, spaces, times, words, events.  Everything alters at encounter.  Period.

If I (or we) are available (or needy) and therefore present ourselves (vulnerably) to a reality (actuality, happenstance, opportunity, occurrence) everything changes.

Past.  History.  Future.  Meaning.  Understanding.

So “Why did you come out of your place in the woods?”

What was my ‘place in the woods’?

Repetition.  Familiarity.  Habitue.

Security?  Comfort?  Compatibility with my environs?

I must have desired DIFFERENCE.

And how to account for that?

This is something we just do.

Clothes, taste, touch, belief, surroundings, movement – variance, dissimilitude, change – this signals in some way to our mechanistic (apparently) methodology of ‘survival’ – that we’ve ‘still go it,’ still HAPPEN, to-be… we live.  Are a-live.  Existence.  (See how the noun – the naming/defining – kills it?  Stills and destroys it?).  Existing.

Out of the woods I desire – not to be “existing”, not to crave “existence.”  I do not want any THING.  SOMEthing. I am simply wanting to be-ing… indefinable, indescribable, occurring, happening, all-live – not staid enough, locatable or timed enough to be characterized, apportioned, described and named.  No!  I (for one) am wanting to be happenING, impossible to capture, occur-ING, become-ING, vital not repeatable, unique not typified, tabulated, calculated or classified.

And thus, and so, I change (again).  Again.

Again I come out of the woods.

I be-come.  Out from the woods.

I say, I write, I speak, I act.

I am.

Alias Thinks Back…On…

“To bring a work to ‘a conclusion,’ as Picasso said, is like putting an end to a bull – to kill it.”

-Francois Jullien-

diaries

from the diaries…

Woke this morning with a particular feeling.  I’ve never been one to believe people could name their emotions or feelings.  The best we can say are parts.

Words like a parts catalog: indicating pieces and components, but never the working, not the operative whole.  Machines are full of mystery.  What’s hidden.

They say you cannot know.  As you age.  Cannot know if it’s the end, exactly.  Perhaps they’re right – I’ve surely been surprised in middle age, believing everything was lost, doomed, downhill and erosive, some slow and steady depleting – and then WOW!  Who could have known or imagined!  This luck, this place, this woman or experience!  Perhaps.  Perhaps.  But maybe we do.  Maybe we really know, once twilight settles.  I’ve never trusted “them” – the “experts,” the “scholars” and “scientists,” “politicians” or “leaders” or “doctors,” the “speakers for” and “authorities”…i.e. privileged observers (an illusion or delusion or both – no one ever gets to be ‘outside’ existence, any more than any other).

What with Laramie gone, and a birthday round the corner, and language just a parts catalog – my experience.

I woke with a particular feeling.  That things were near their ends.  That I am nearing ends.  Work, love, breathing, will.  That the stories I’m involved with are dwindling in pages, thin and wearing out.  These ‘particular feelings,’ “somehow we just know,” kinds of things: lay down, close your eyes, cross your hands over your chest and hope things are in order.  Or not.  Depends on inclination and values, I suppose.  What one cares about, or for.  Perhaps.  “They” say you cannot know.

I’ve been surprised.  Even wildly.  Much I’ve never been able to believe and yet it seems: my children – engendered by me and of such promise; this beautiful woman that loves me; that I’m still alive.  One never knows (is what they say).  So who knows what?  And how do “they” know that?

I think I do, what with Laramie gone, and my faulty parts catalog, and this particular way that I feel.  I’ve worked too long and too much.  Tried too failingly.  Never quite trusted or believed.  Never found my worth.  Maybe now I know.  Maybe now I’m certain of something.

The end is coming – for me – always concerned and consternated by beginnings – how to start, where to set out – and now, here (nowhere) the path, it dwindles away.  What have I done?  What did I mean to?  What did I wish?  Why didn’t I?

I wanted to write a scholarly work about something that truly obsessed me.  Something I’d spent my life searching.  Something that likely doesn’t even exist, but no matter – because Scrabble, because poems, because science.  Unscramble (by scrambling) the letters – you’ll see: it can almost be said, almost anything – existent or not – almost.  Parts constructing strange wholes and plugged in, eventual malfunctions, repairs – and yet “no matter, try again, fail again, fail better” (Sam Beckett – I’ve read and I’ve taught far too long).

And one solid work of fiction and some poems.  That’s all.  That’s what I wanted to do.

So I studied, and traveled and loved.  Raised children, made music, pushed learning and literature publicly, worked and worked, and drank and drank.  Took in stragglers and strays, made it work where I could, doubted and doubted, desired.  Everything but what I wanted – that’s how you perpetuate desire.

I woke today with a particular feeling, though “they” say you cannot know.  Cannot know for certain, that things are yet to surprise you, yet to get better.  I will not argue.  Perhaps.  But what with Laramie gone, and all that’s undone, maybe I know, maybe we do.  Maybe we’re aware when our endings are coming.  Who could know?  Who could tell us?

My ends are coming.

I can’t go on.

I’ll go on.

(still more from Beckett)

Related: Alias Harlequin

Signifying Writing – Figure 2

Sign-language

Figure 2

A relief in the unreality.  A kind of re-sign-ation and release…capitulation…to the impossible.

“how we find our way in the unknown by drawing on invisible maps of the invisible and by following…”

(Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal)

Sign-language.  Gesturing.  Ambivalent approximations.

At times unbearable.  At times a satisfaction of “all we have” and the effort of maximizing it.  At times re-solve (for x?).  At times a re-linguishing abandonment:  despair.

I study her, hair splitting and spreading, trailing inky-green over the vein-passages, delicately swollen, along the backs of her hands, superfluous and jewelry-like wrist-bones, concatenation and symphony of muscled, cartilage-limned lineations from thigh to knee-bend to calf, turning into sun-drenched marble of ankle, tendon, toes…painted, dusted, perfection…

The beauty will not hold to term.  Will never be contained.  It was impossible before it began.  Eventuated, erupted, but was not “meant” or realized for any capture.  It’s irreducible and indescribable, and I always already knew that – thus a torment, self-torture, a suicide term-inating – necessary failures I will elect to die trying: inconceivable, yet experienced; an incalculable worthless worth because unshared and uncommon.  Just perception, experience, singular…impossible.  Not factual.  Incommunicable.  HER.

To simply see (receive, perceive, conceive) – non-transferable, i.e. ‘unreal,’ unrepeatable, or ‘not the same’ as that.  Untranslatable.

Yes, it starts to map.  A conjecture of imaginary spaces, places, locations.  Lines drawn wobbly and around, surround, what mystery?  To dialogue and dream – hypothesize, surmise, polygraphy.  I.e. to fail.

Ends in its begins, becoming something ‘else,’ as self might with each other – between showing new unknowns.

Not sure its believed in any more: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

It goes on.

A trace, congesture, autography.

Experience.

Recycling…in retrospect

Two variations of older, longer works…trying to remember possibilities…

Words Gestures Order

Fragments

Words & Gestures

 

On Being Other

On Being Other

(after Heidegger, on Holderlin)

 

Broken off from origin: gods, family, homeland.

Early switched direction – turning back, against, since.

No belonging.  No church, no community of mortals.

Reliant on the peaks and the abyssal.

No lasting love, but efforts toward convention –

when giving up –

even offspring, domesticity,

varietous employment,

almost friends.

No lasting commerce, always in-between,

feeling resistance and restraint,

constraints of discipline and need,

of longings, love, and lust.

Searching Other

fueled by others – across the times –

creators of the peaks and their abysses.

Oscillation.

Not yet rational, it commences –

undone in the unknowing, uncertain constant flow

generates turbulence toward an opening

or a gap, some kind of fold –

“run up hard against the unsayable.”

the closing line is a quotation from Heidegger’s

lectures on Holderlin’s poems “Germania” & “The Rhine”

Fierce Splittings

Teton-Range

Mountains.

At the base of them, miles and miles into Montana, lay Laramie.  Laramie’s horse Sensei is uncertain what to do.  A storm is rolling in.

Lucy knocks at Alias’ door.  “Going for a walk,” she says, “you okay?  Need anything?”  Alias ponders.  “I’ll be taking the dog,” she adds to the nerve-troubled silence.  “You’re welcome to join.”

The fierce splittage that occurs.  Rife.

  1. I always want to go, and madly.  Tromp nature, move our bodies in time, together.  Hear you, explore, see the muscles work your thighs, your calves, their clench and stretch.  Peer at what your eyes respond to, share what registers in your ears.  Be privy to what physicality, adventure, novelty and motion unwind and unravel in you.  Want you as much as myself.  Want to touch and observe, share and protect you.  Crave you.
  2. I need to stay with these thoughts, stick at these questions, interrogate myself, my loneliness, my ecstasy, my want.  I am remiss, longing, wishing.  Forever turning aside for another (spouse, friend, vocation, pet, children) – NO! – I must stay here with myself, plumb some illusory depth, a hell, potential potency.  Must keep scribbling, keep ‘taking up and reading,’ until the moment occurs that seems revelatory, meaningful, significant.

YES                   /                     NO

Silence.                                                                          She goes.

And Laramie’s lain still, a long while.

Sensei turns and trots, after houghing along his body.

Lucy goes.  Exchanging kisses and assurances, both of them wishing, both of them aware, both of them happy and sad.

Alias moves to the piano.

Wanting to extrapolate a sense – but there are far too many senses and sensings.  Children: infants to adults, jettisoned and on.  Sensual aches and lustings – the million maneuvers to orgasm at every angle and scale.  Big Pictures and Miniscule Mundane all wrapped up.  A blooming iris.  Pregnant decisions.  Salivation for vodka, for book, for solitude and quiet.  Augmented chords, then rolled, then extended, then simply a single note.  Promised to language, yet full of sound and fury.

He plays, he drinks, he writes, he doubts, he fears, he wishes.

As if it were imperative.

As if fierce splittings of rationality or cognition and confused whelmings of senses and emotions were condemned toward disruption.  As if it were unknowable.  Could not be known.  Could not be said (or written).  Could not be true.

Human axis.  Axis of being.  Overloaded and irreducible.

A swoon, a swarm, an agony and ecstasy.  A finite loop and laugh.  A tangle.

Alias loves and longs his Lucy, Laramie, children and books.  Alias loves and longs a self that makes sense.  He loves and loathes that it does not.

Lucy goes.  Dog in tow.  At the mercy of externals.  The risk of world and other.  She heads to the Outside.

Alias turns in.

Laramie’s turned in.  On himself.  On the world.  On ‘in.’  Plumbing the depths.  A hell.  Of ending.  Of being.  Of moments and instances.

Sensei breaks to a gallop.

There are the mountains.  Fierce splittings.  Here we go.  Everyone at the mercy of.  Inside/outside.  Too many tenses and senses.  Everyone and the mountains, or for some it might be sea.  Or both, or any.  What happens there.

Lucy in woods with dog.  Alias at desk in plains.  Laramie lying at the foot of the mountains, still.  And everyone else at their everywhere.