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?
How seeing depends… opacity, clarity… foggy horizons between tumultuous sea and sky…
Light, as a feather – the dawn in darkness, or the hoping carrying despair.
What is seen, then? What fore- or back- grounds an image? How? In mist, in motion. In a dream that waking brings.
In which direction, grounding? And wherefore? Lightness limning itself again, again, in midst of darker swells and slighter traces.
How seeing depends… on light, the eye, the stimmung – the stemming of mood – and graver swirls… beg-ins and sets-out from. Within. Without. Finding curious concord. Even when there’s barely there. Either.
Deepens, depends, opens out, away, in deep ends, hollow holing, turbulent tunnels, seeing unseen, a groping for/in light where none. Peering is something, as the closing of the eyes – telescopic blindfold.
Perhaps dawn is down, where despair is rising. Hope precipitating beyond eithers, or… differences imperceptible save the seeing…
How seeing depends… and deepens with what is searched for, what wants, who opens, what feels, within each where-when, becoming there-thens, seeing how.
It begins, then, all seeing, between. Bounding back-forth in light and light and any weighted things, ever shifting seeing-sea and emptied sky, re-membering differences to seamlessness, with opaque clarity, as such your “I.”
“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.”
The mountain(s): “Maybe. May Be.”
The cabin: “Us. Here. We. With. Hold.”
Phrases of my children:
Addresses to my children and loved ones:
Thank you mountains, rocks, growing things, streams….
To swirl. There. He said it, stated intention, directly. To be lost, languishing (anguish is in there), full of lose and seeking, squirming, rutting, snuffling about. Scent search of what? Or not what quite, but how, now? The unknowable, uncertain, which lies beyond perhaps, inaccessible, indeterminate, resistant to decipher, discretion, or decode. He plies. Ruin of movement, beyond conceit and loosely bound, tearing terror of graspage. An infinity of words, or if not, many disordered magnitudes more compossibly complex than he –wrecked in kind with troubles of time, reductions of selection. What means, all knotted in already-known. A scumble then, without, arms treading, legs a-flutter, cognition confused in the mass, mess, unaccommodated, arranged re-arranging, affective and effecting, assaying never fully, nor enough, insufficient temporals and scope, shortfall of finitude, unbecoming, irrealized, incomputable surround. To swirl or swoon perhaps – intends eccentric excentricity, without with-in, within outside and othering. Immersed, submerged, tumbling almost-struggle, almost-drift, thoroughfare and passaging, limning swaths of runnels, channels, margins. Copiously coping, how would he go? What are the motions lesser than stir and more absorptive? And what of the when? Who now, where now, how when? Confusion, then – confusion, swooning and swirl. A wriggling receipt, some commingling transference transmitting, attention intending undoing, origins ever receding, irremediable in rot and excess, dismembered invention – begin – excise and evince, glide of erasure and uncover, indiscernible activity of process, waving particles, particular waves, currents and tropes, passively permeable patterning passageways [not that!] imperceptible part-i-cipatory breakage and shatter, dispersion deconstructing refusal. He ruins, inevitably. That stands – there. Unworking integration every angle or approach, from inside, decay, a desiccate and undone doing. Mismade by allowance, a scribbling palimpsest or correction – be cognized, be written, be spoken, transcribed – he wails into unruly, disruptive, erupting fluid floodings of voiding, of nothing. Not afloat, asail, aswim. Neither drowning nor submerged. Nearly saturate with swallow and exhale, a lineament on empty, some faulty trace.
-John Berger, Another Way of Telling –
HERE. Abandoned places fall apart. Decay to exposure. We, bereft. We, grieving. In the absence of care… Upkeep. Keeping up. Often when significant change occurs, we do not bother “keeping up.” Rather things, people, places, seem to hold on as long as possible to what is familial / familiar / to what seems known, as long as they can. Perhaps this marks some difference between survival and thriving. Maintenance versus development. Preservation versus advance. Enclosing versus opening.
But time. Molecules move and shake around; synapses shift, come undone, frackle, rewire…adjust. Adapt. There are new conditions. The movement of beings, of the world, continuously alters our context, alters ourselves. When they left, or something seemed lost, other inhabitants, presences, qualities, realities fill the perceptive interoperable surround…some constraints are increased, some loosened, restraints, license, “competition”: wind, rodents, weather, routine… The primary structuring relationships morph. Continually.
Now wife. Now wife and children. Now certain finances. Now no finances. Now surety, stability, now uncertainty, hazard, CHANGE. CHANGE (never not occurring) ALWAYS EQUALS OPPORTUNITY (for living things), ALWAYS EQUALS DIFFERENCE.
Now no wife. Now children. Now no job. Now scrapping for sustenance. Now certain friendships. Now the absence of certain friends.
Now different care.
What will the winds do? The rain, the sun, the heat, the ice? Critters? What new sounds will my structure make – interactions – given the changes in conditions, in surround? WHAT ARE WE NOW? The same. Structurally – a form made for interaction, a part of the world, interlocked and interwoven, a bundle of functions and processes, intentions and conditions – exposed by happening in a world.
“Things fall apart, the center cannot hold”
(Great! How else…life?)
And how beautiful the potencies of change. How messy. How easy to attribute – “good” “bad” “difficult” “help” “harm” “ease”…
But is what’s happening to the homestead, the barn now – in lieu of human use and care – less easy? Less beautiful? Does not every context surrounding and composing a structure of forms – both help and harm of a sort?
Would it be false to say this erosion, this abandonment to other interests and types of care, this shifting of primary interactions, reciprocating attachments, looks like loss? With all that light pouring through? All the redolent air and wheezing whistling and rattle? Has the new (ever-altering) context of comings-and-goings helped or harmed this structure…or, perhaps mostly…BOTH? Just like the previous and every future one?
We. I. You. Crafted ever-so-intricately in contexts we are unable to adequately identify (comprehensively) or evaluate – for they ARE the context that is co-creating (in-forming) our identifications and evaluations. We interpret – according to the context we are enmeshed in/with.
CHANGE CONTEXT – CHANGE PERCEPTION, INTERPRETATION, IDENTIFICATIONS, EVALUATIONS…change even what we look for…
A breaking, a leaving, an abandonment, some loss…(simply, really, change) – do they not equal a kind of damage, a kind of harm, so full of openings, exposure, new perspectives granted the initializing structures that we truly DO NOT KNOW what living is for? But this? – TO LIVE?!
The rent places let the outside in in novel ways, creating coevally novel openings for the inside to emerge. The wear co-creates other structural stresses and reliefs, new releases and new enclosures, novel shapes and textures, colors perhaps we never knew were possible to begin with. Never a potential until the context came that facilitates and allows, enacts and enables.
Always interacting, we change. Always changing (along with our entire surround) defines INTER-ACTION. Barn: Enter, Action. Always.
Experiences confoundingly rendered with these sound contexts:
Between you and me, of myriad conduits, the others. We set out. Toward. Send messages made of signs and symbols, ripples, waves – our gestures. We move. Where we are. It resonates. When you touch down and look in my direction, molecules dither, there is some concord. Generation. Gravitation. I do not believe in “flow,” or that everything is One. You set out, we are in relation. Things pull, things press. Hearing dribbles in the brain and puddles. Echoes something else. I am here. I will be. I set out. Between the myriad conduits and air, water, fire. We breathe. We become a ground. We register.
N Filbert 2013
To my dearest and most beloved : Holly Suzanne – I confess, profess, announce, sing, display, proclaim that my life is altered, changed, extended, enhanced, enriched and “reciprocally molded” by yours! Thank you! I love you! Words really do not do justice to what I yearn to express in this matter. So – Happy Birthday!
And what joy to have your lifelong twin, your originary “reciprocal molder” with us on this day! Happy Birthday (of course!) to you too – Heidi! Thank you so much for journeying to be with us in Kansas this year – and to both of you for allowing the nation to celebrate your wonderful existences with such pomp and blast!
Twinning. It boggles my mind to consider an Other with whom all one’s existing moments have been shared in some genetic and psycho-somatic physio-biological manner. We all arise from “families of origin” – known or unknown. Sets of DNA/RNA, environments, contexts, socio-political realities all conjoin to formulate and tweak, morph and develop us along our passing journeys of existence. With that come difficulties and joys. Traumas and opportunities. Constraints and affordances. Over decades so much of our environment embeds in us it can be hard to discover/uncover/observe/revise the functions and effects of it all. But this is also a great freedom we have. The difficult work of digging and awareness, discovery and revision – “unworking” patterns and pains, “automatic” responses and flinches to the world that have been threaded into us from our own “time immemorials.”
Not having composed this song, all the words surely don’t belong – but the tone, and sister-sentiment – “the story goes…” – and the urging to excise and unpack the “demons,” afflictions, griefs, traumas and so forth – that you two have shared from fertilization and beyond – is my wish for you – together and individually (is that possible with twinning?) …
how glad I am that they entwine with mine!
research education, academic writing, public engagement, funding, other eccentricities.
Essays & Criticism of Contemporary Poetry and Literary Fiction
teacher, edu-nerd, learner
Decolonization in Theory & Practice
"La seule vie qui soit passionnante est la vie imaginaire." Virginia Woolf
"As for me I reduce everything to a tumult of words" - Clarice Lispector
On attachment, detaching, and ordinary life.