For (every?) New Year

Greetings all.  I realize something now.  I realize (today), I realize, sitting in the sun of a Winter in Kansas, on my porch, in a rocker, alone, a side-effect, a remnant, remainder, myself… I realize that I have long dreamt of leaving some legacy, of making some mark, of contributing to the world – the natural world – the world as made up of plants, animals, landscapes, elements, humans… the world dizzied with combinations of atoms and molecules… and yet… and yet… I realize it was all about love – all about being realized by being loved, and realizing meaning in loving – NOT leaving a literary legacy, NOT producing interesting and intriguing offspring, NOT making art or language or objects that would outlast me – NO, no, no…  Simply recognizing that I exist, existed, am existing in the world of another, and that the world exists, existed, will exist for me – by my affection and attention to its nuances, details, and differences – its specificity of my attention, attraction and resolve:  LOVE.

I found this entry in an old journal, a blue oversized Moleskine soft-covered journal, and found (years later) that it still seemed to speak for me… but as I typed and edited it I realized that it has been outdone, realized, accomplished, in the FACT of BEING LOVED and BEING ENABLED TO LOVE… and so all the hopes remain, all the purposes and visions, all the projected communications and connections… but in a context rearranged, reapportioned, reinvented – that of MEANING derived from LOVING and being LOVED.  Thanks to my vibrant partner and accomplice, inspiration and reward – for taking the grave gravity of production and transforming it into action… the pinched acuity of competition and accomplishment into offshoot, accumulation and extraneous luxury – that the hopes, dreams and ideas / ideals of a human existence might be translated into freedom, grace, and potential benefit or gift – possibility rather than necessity; offering rather than identity; potentiality rather than desperation – a giving in distinction from a grasping : so I might still possess similar hoping without the fear and trembling, without a sense of pointlessness, without a perception of failure.  LOVING – intricate maneuvers of helping and healing, intimate operations of interaction and reciprocation, finely detailed activities of acceptance and reception – the sigh, the breath, the pulse of BEING… change me.  Change and change and change me.  As a parent, a man, a partner, a person.  Thank you dear love – a wonder, a woman, an incredible human – a person: full and becoming, so generous, so tender, so affirmative and kind, so rich and creative, inventive and becoming, so new – I love you.  The world is different now.  Its meaning, its point, its aim, its occasion.

This old and rediscovered writing has distinct meaning… because you, and life, and love, and… an evolving and differentiated “I.”

Jacobsen - thought series

I am using the blue notebook with a blue pen to complement.  Why?  Because you asked.  You said “everyone wants to know.”

In other words, if it’s going to count for what matters, it has got to be specific and special – set apart, somehow more final, more complete.  I’ll use it for the whole – for photos, drawings and more – all the blue notebook in blue ink – for you.  Because apparently, “everyone wants to know.”

Mom and dad ask in their roundabout, passive-regressive surreptitiously accusatory way, as is their fashion – kindly and quiet, ever with a look of care and concern, yet secretly shouting their “what is wrong with you!?” “What is wrong with US, that you…” and on and on and blah blah blah…

My memory isn’t like that the first five years of life…that I pretend to remember.  But all is mostly smells and sounds and light from there.  Trees and grass and dirt, how brightness gleamed and glanced and filtered through, with times of wind and rain.

Not that you care… I’m fairly certain that’s not what is being asked for, not by you, by my sibling, children, or lifetime of “friends” and “family” – whoever, wherever they’ve become.

You’re the livewire – and perhaps the children – perhaps they will want to know, at some point, perhaps not.  Perhaps everyone’s already figured my story – diagnosed and prescribed me.  Perhaps.

Be that as it may, I’ve thought long and hard, reviewing what I thought I knew, how I felt I felt, what it seems I’ve seen, and so on, and decided, for you, for you, really, and maybe a little of a bit for myself (curiously) and a percentage for my kids should they ever seek to know or wonder, or have need of psychological freedom, or give a shit about who or why… I decided to use this damned blue notebook with matching pen and try to learn just what I think about it all, mostly because, as you put it, “everyone wants to know” – (and WHO might this “everyone” be?).

Should I start with the hands, the head, or the heart?  I suppose the limbs and loins will come into play as well – god knows the guts and the goiter.

I remember an opening.  A time I was touched, in the rain, and my suddenly skin, my obvious self-enclosure – as opening, margin, and veil – a fabric of me, and a screen.

I wanted to make a difference, you see.  Make something, I don’t know, construct an element everyone could hold on to.  Take in hand, heart and head.  Keep or repeat as needed.  Something like that.  I knew I wouldn’t last, none of this, none of anything.  “The center cannot hold” sort of deal.

I ought not begin there.  They’re all wound up together like knots – the head looking down, arms wrapped around, concealing and revealing the heart, the guts, the loins and moving limbs.  I can’t take a one without other, thinking and feeling about it, my actions, ideas, and sensations all.

Perhaps I’ll pretend.  (Just what you’ve all loved so well about me – to discover pretense – how I’ve molded myself to imagined desires).  I’ll pretend I’m an aged man seated on a stiff wooden chair, children / grandchildren gathered all about me – a specimen or model – something to be taken apart and examined.  I lift off my shirt and my body is read – questions asked – we all get somewhere in this way.

jacobsen - thought series1

Let’s see – here – along the shoulder – a self-portrait by Egon Schiele (self-tormented asylum brother) and a snake that is eating its tail.  “Le Ouroborous,” I  hack out – “don’t you know it?”  Sign of doctors, ingenuity, medicine and art – creation, destruction intertwined round and round.  Self-devouring while birthing its form as it alters.  The mastication and regurgitation of “I.”

A young one might say “what’s that? – the curlicues and elaborate spiel?”  Garcia Lorca I’d sigh.  Yes.  The grand leaping bugger of light.  He’s yellow and lemons, crickets and birds!  You know the stuff that sends you!  Portal moments of sight or song and ‘wham!’  all the crap pelted into your brain and body get shaken and stirred together like surrealist still life.  Incongruity making sense.  Opposites attracting, no, better – look at your aging mother and I – a juxtaposed spectrum, paradox and carnival!

They say that you wanted to know.

Yes there’s Kafka, Blanchot, Cixous and Lispector.  Jabes and Beckett now seeped in my veins.  Dostoevsky, Bakhtin, Rilke.  Gods and angels, drink and demons all carved in the skin of their names.  Nietzsche and ridiculous happiness.  Wittgenstein and the torment of words, of meanings, of none.  I’d be a working inscription, at surface.

The corridors – head, heart and hands.

Are you sure anyone wanted to know?

The sounds of piano?  Coaxing the keys in steady patterns – mimicking rain; or poems – yes, we forget Giacometti’s “Man Falling” – a perpetual stumble on the back of my hand, hoping neither knew what the other was up to.  But they did and they do – I see that now – all parts of same body, stretched with same skin.  Poems as stripped-down sculptures, some essential chants or song – just a gaze or a wisp of caress.  Droppings of blood.  Miracles that something remains after we’re through with our twisting and grasping.

Is this what you wanted?  Does it explain – anything?  I doubt it.  Hardly think so.

Read on.

Here at the ribs.  The cracked and the lumpen.  There was a time.  Times I thought maybe risking and danger – a reach at euphoria – some panicking life – might make one feel much more alive.  How do you think you all got here?  Desperate plungings into the unknown, oh dear ones, like mad scientists messing around in the lab!  The edges of cliffs, clinging to limbs, insecure at wits’ ends, going for broke.

And break we did.

But just look at you fertile seedlings, good eggs.  I never meant to be rough with you all.  To risk what is fragile in you.  Ribs, here – cave and cage for the heart.

I can still breathe you.  Charred and chortled, this was one great pleasure – to know I was breathing, in-spired.  I know you all despised it, and it caused me to smell stale and rotting, but the rush of smoke down this pipe here into the bellows of slimy flesh…that let me know I was taking it in, not an automaton or senseless machine – no, I was hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling – BEING – I could feel it in my ashen lungs.  Sometimes it hurt.  What we ingest.  But it really goes in and visibly comes out – everything – for good or ill.  I needed to know it tangibly.

Why? you ask, why?

Look at the cranium stooped and weighed down.  That sucker was a burden of liquid fire.  All curled over like that the entirety of my life – looking in, at, in.  What’s there?  How does it work?  For “whom”?  When?  Is there even a why?  Examining, dreaming, recording and imagining – listen – say it back, say it forth, combine and copulate, shake it and stir – use that heavy weight, whirr whirr chrrr and whirr.  Profile the shape of some jagged question mark, dotted where the heart must be.

And look at it now, nearly buried into the chest.  It happens.  Weather-systems, signsponge, it all will run its course.  It once was aimed upwards and outwards, into fantasies, hopes and abstractions, and for years I kept it aimed straight ahead – horizontal, seeking directions – but slowly and surely its drug down toward the heart, pulsing muscle, plug for the cords.  Everything up and away, everything out there or behind, it’s all happening here – in the mix, filtering through, circulating the circuitry of head, heart and hands – latching up or breaking down in the system.

What was it you wanted to know?  Limbs and loins, head and heart, I’m acknowledging and exposing, affording view – I’m aware description does not explain a thing – the wonderful views of science still unable to explain…

The waste gets processed below, legs running away now knobby and stiff.  But there, clinging in its corner like a core – my erratic, agitated, beating beast.  Entire web of inexplicable drives and energy, fears and misery, desires and dread – my heart.  Does this explain it?  Does this explain anything?  What anyone wanted to know?

Gasping there like the mouth of a landed fish, pulsing purplish like an aroused member – my heart.  If I poke and coax it, tear at it or wring it onto this blue notebook in blued blood – will it explain?

Here, whomever, look.  Here it lies, cheats, and steals.  Here it gives and it aches and breaks.  Here it prolongs and stops itself short.  Pulpy mass of living meat – humana – the am therefore am.  Take it, read it, test it – heal it if you wish or can.  I’m open.

Is this what you wanted?

What everyone wanted to know?

Black Blizzard

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Invisible Man Narratives – version 2

Here are the beginnings of a sort of alternate telling of the past 6 months of life around these parts….

 

 

 Invisible Man Narratives

Six months ago, things was different.  That’s how he says it, he says “things was different then.”  He says about Kansas, he says, “…see ‘cause in Kansas they’s got exemplary seasonal cycles,” he says.  He says “in Kansas they depend on them cycles and they is distinct and prominent,” he says.  He says “you get yer harsh and bitter subzero Winters replete with blistering blizzards and crackin’ pipes…” he says that – he says “replete” – would you believe it?  “And hell-hot dry and blowing Summers with readings oft above 100,” he says, “an’ then ya got  yer gradual, colorful clear and moisty Autumns where things fall apart and die, fall apart and die,” he says.  “And then them explosive Springs – redolent, verdant and blowin’ up and apart,” he says – and he truly do say “redolent” and “verdant” just you believe me – I’ll be sayin’ to ya just like he says it, that’s my job – I’m just Mr. Dudtnitz’ tangible voice, as you might have it – I listen and repeat it, sometimes askin’ clarification, sometimes just writin’ it down, but always – always – I swear it, just likin’ he says it.

I asks him, I asks – “how was it different six months ago, Mr. Dudtnitz?” I says.  And he starts talkin’ ‘bout them seasons and Kansas and how landscapes set up the visible shape of any man’s life and outlook and how all those seasons changing so “drastically” and them all dependin’ on them for “crops and cash, cows and copin’”, and his own life fittin’ right into them seasons: “six months ago I was deep in a drizzlin’ fog, a drizzlin’ fog of grief” he says, “stuck in a rainy Spring and things warmin’ up and me all set to hibernate where I was,” he says, “but that Spring don’t care, them Kansas seasons don’t stop fer shit,” he says, “so here I am,” he says, “hunkerin’ into Spring, delightin’ in a wet and frigid Winter and fixin’ to stay there – lost my love, no work, found myself in foreign lands, failin’ at everything I got goin’- my kids, my marriage, my thinkin’, and it feels real good in a bad way – y’know?  Like I’s right where I’s doomed to be – stuck in a drizzling cold, cain’t see fer shit, just swirlin’ like dirty snow, blusterin’ and stickin’ and meltin’ away in some grey fuggy existence.”  (He uses them terms, he do, this Mr. Dudtnitz.  He’s native Midwestern, but he done a penis-ton of travelin’ and learnin’ and spices up them stories he tells with education he took in around the globe – I swear I never add a term or tale to the things he tell me).

Tell me more about that, I asks him – tell me more about what the seasons – er, y’know – about your seasons the past six months, I says to him, Mr. Dudtnitz.

“Well, hell,” he says, he says “I lost me the love of my life, one I been pinin’ for for near twenty years or more, one I wooed and got to come here to the Midlands from the plush piney Northwest, one full of learnin’ and paintin’ and a whole kitter of arts and sciences, she was,” he says.  “I somehow finds her here in the Midlands, the Plains, straight out from mountains and forests and rain,” he says, “and here she is paintin’ on my porch, therapizing myself and my children, learnin’ us emotions and dreams and feelin’s and such,” he says, “and I start back to school to learn some more, to be a scholar, to be ‘of refined mind,’ pursuin’ my philosophy and science, humanities and arts,” he says, “and we set up places in the ol’ home to read and write and paint and study,” he says, “to mix and match, blend and blur all the things it is that we love to do,” he says, “and we drop out and hone in on what we love,” he says, “together we fix ourselves on each other, on learnin’ and makin’ and bein’ and relatin’,” Mr. Dudtnitz explains.  “And it was a helluva thing,” he says, “a helluva thing indeed.”

What happened next? I asks Mr. Dudtnitz – a bearded, dusty, unkempt man with smart-looking glasses like from over the sea somewheres, some strange mix of Earthman and Philosopher-Poet with them four kids trailin’ around him wherever he goes – what happens next? I asks him.  And he carries on with a tale about love and satisfactions, nerves and energy, landscapes and comfort zones until he gets to the business about when that Nor’wester takes off to visit her kin and writes to him that she ain’t comin’ back, that she don’t like the way he thinks and acts about life and morals, don’t trust him, cain’t trust him, won’t trust him, and lessin’ he alter his ways inside to out, she’s gotta go her own ways.  Well Mr. Dudtnitz had been thinkin’ he had altered his ways, altered them a great deal in fact, quittin’ on the bottle, quittin’ on the smokes, quittin’ on seducing whatever caught his imagination, intelligence, antiquities and fancies – Mr. Dudtnitz thought he done about changed whatever a man could change to be alright with a girl, so, as he tells it, the bottoms simply gave out, a “kind of perpetual Fall – falling apart, drifting along, swirling in Winter, in cold, in the way of things dyin’,” he says.

But the seasons ain’t ever over, is the thing, he explained to me.  They keep cyclin’ around, circlin’ in a way, but spiralin’ more, he says to me, pushin’ and changin’ and changin’ things in a similar way all around and within.  And you don’t even need seasons, Mr. Dudtnitz says, “no, it’s simply the ways of things,” he says, “they change and change and never quit doin’ that,” Dudtnitz says to me.  So “all stuck in that grey veil of a cosmos,” trying to keep and raise his kids, trying to find work to find a way to do that, tryin’ to keep up with his learnin’ he was midway on further in to, tryin’ to keep a house, a home, a “self or two” and some sanity, Mr. Dudtnitz plugged ahead, “robotin’ it through the fog,” he says, “just breathin’ and thinkin’ and breathin’ through the thinkin’,” in order to survive one thing or another, is how he tells it to me.  And I believes him.  I believes him, ‘cause he never say bad about the shit goin’ on, what peoples do, what befalls him, what shakes up the seasons in naturally unnatural ways – he just says what happens the ways he feels it and tries to tell me how them changes and “fluctuations” and “undoings and revisions,” is simply “the way things get along,” the “ways they function to bewilder us,” he says, “the ways they remind us that we ain’t prepared, that they ain’t no way to be prepared, that we just swirlin’ in the seasons like the rest of things,” he says to me, and I believes him, that wily Mr. Dudtnitz with the finaglin’ brain or mind or body, he kinda mixes it all together when he talks to ya, you see, kinda hard to follow, yet strangely compelling and convincing, even when he ain’t tryin’ to convince you of anythin’.

When Mr. Dudtnitz agreed to tell me his story, he said I had to visit Kansas in every season before he would disclose his own personal path.  Late July through August, mid to late October, January and the end of March into April were the times he specified.  Dudtnitz explained that his narrative wouldn’t make any sense to someone like me unless I had seen Kansas at all times of the year.  “There’s times Kansas looks for all the world like it gone completely dead,” Mr. Dudtnitz explained, “and days later smells like it has always been green.”  “This is what I’m a-tryin’ to get at,” Dudtnitz carried on, “it took a very long time for me to understand the life in things ain’t in the rain or the sun, not the soil or sky or seed – it’s fixed right into the mix of it all, the changin’ and the this-doing-this-with-that-with-this-and-that-and-the-other all churnin’, stewin’, blendin’ and actin’ with each others,” he says.  “I had it in me that my life was tied to the presence or absence of the right season, optimal conditions, fortuity and such,” he says, “but I learnt finally, or maybe some little bit, that the sky, the soil, the season, the man, the woman, the child and animal all got it in ‘em all of the time, it jus’ rises and falls, goes dormant then blooms, burns off, drowns out, sprouts up, all given them activity-conditions of everything ‘round about,” he says.

“So here I was thinkin’ I was done and dead, curlin’ away in a dampy dark cave, face to the stale like a miner goin’ down while coughin’ up blood,” he says.  “I determined to give on up on love, on relatin’ intimate-like, on adult partnerships,” he conveys, “and bolstered myself like some old Westward expansion man – a job to do, a body to do it with, a mind to still – like that,” he says.  “And I moved on in to Spring tryin’ to calm my kiddos, keep ‘em safe and close, tell ‘em everything’ll be alright, we’ve been through all this before, weepin’ in my bedroom, drivin’ my car, whenever alone with myself, seekin’ professional help, breathin’, breathin’, breathin’, and thinkin’ kinda thoughts like what pays attention to what’s good.”

“I done applies for 362 jobs with all the learnin’ I got,” he says, “and get back nothin’ but a few interviews and a lot of ‘nice to meet ya’s’ and mostly just nuthin’,” Dudtnitz relays.  “Then one day I get a job for the U.S. Postal Service – drivin’ mail way out in the countryside to them folk that live miles away from each other tendin’ farms – and I takes it.”  “I figger it’ll give me time to think on things, I’m doin’ somethin’ I always thought important and admired, and if’n I can get enough days work, I can make it go on the house and children.”  “At near the same time I gets a message that someone wants my mind and language for a project that might even bring in a little cash, and at this point I says yes to everything, anything that might feed the little ones and keep us housed.”

He explains that now we’re talking about late March to April in my calender’d visits.  Something swells in the air and land, he says, everything is blowing and stirring, and you better believe it – it won’t be long before something pops real big – change like destruction sweeps the place, he explains to me.  “And sure enough,” he says, “I walks into this kitchen on this lovely quiet farm where this artist fellow works, in order to meet the artist lady I’m hired to construct some response to with my mind and language, and I steps nervous-like – this is the first time I’ve willingly stepped out to meet people, be around people since that frozen January to February of the deadening of things, and I peeks my head round the corner into that kitchen and my breath drops like hail, like a punching bag down toward my loins, like the first rain in Spring, like dead land getting plugged in…there’s this young lady, midriff showin’, hesitant smile, long full head of hair, a touch awkward with folks and a helluva lot breathtaking as I attempted to mention before, and I walked right through and outta that house and into the land – a boom had landed in me and was shaking everything up and around – I wasn’t ready to notice anything, to feel anything, to see anything – I high-tailed it to the fields, the ruins, corn rows and dirt roads, high grasses, anything to get away from that twister, danger, tornado of life Spring rips into a Kansas Winter-ravaged destitution.”

At this point I just let Dudtnitz ramble on – no prodding to the story – we was walking out along a creek and Dudtnitz would kick rocks, pick up bugs, point out wildlife and critters, all the while spinning this yarn of seasonal change and landscape taking charge of our bodies and minds, or somesuch similar.  Listen on…

“I never spoke with her, though I was wishin’ to,” Dudtnitz says, “I spent a lotta time talkin’ to her beau though, checkin’ out his thinkin’, seein’ how he cared for that beauty walkin’ ‘round with him.”  “Turns out she was hired as well to respond to this visiting artist lady, and a week later or so I was sittin’ in to my first period of training for the USPS, when – what the hell!? – this very same breath-mangling lady was comin’ there too!”

 

And so on….(to be continued)…