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…

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Alias Alive at the Ends

Always too late.  This is the message of disaster.  We are too late to the scene, and undone.

Even thinking and emotion.  Even love, can’t keep pace with disaster, with entropy, with chaos.

Death always outruns us.  World and chance incessantly out-maneuver.  We are small.  Very small.  Infinitessimal, as it were, in our finitude.

Thus begins our own story of destruction: we are born.  Perhaps conceived (of).  Perhaps even further back, before developing.  Prior to evolution.  The brokenness.  The cracks.  The destitution.

Arising of accidents.  Formed of the fractures.  We become.

In other words – doomed from the start.  Our ends preceding beginnings – the beginning began at the end.

At the point of ‘exist’ – our last chapter.”

This would be Alias, grieving his friend, in two colors.  The living, the dead, the to and the from.

Laramie dies, and is absent (if memory serves).

Alias keeps after his death – loving Lucy, and children, performing labor and sin and its necessary too much – in his office with paper and pen.

He pauses and looks to the window.  Birdsong, stray cats, and the leaves.

L. is gone, but he’s not. Just inevitable.

*

He perceives it as some kind of race – but death always the tortoise that outruns the hare – and is needed.

No more.

Lucy calls.

No more.

Hears the children.

No more.

Senses purpose –

*

The pen stays on – marking the book.

Alias.  Alias alive.

Laramie.  Laramie ceased.

Spiders and sunlight and dust – all alone.  All all-one.  All “the Same” in some mystical way, called the Real.  The Real that repeatedly ends – its beginning.  The Ends, then.  The end.

We are. Are we not.

knottyhands

Beginning this way, I have jettisoned my goal.

No one is able to say precisely when it will rain, until it is raining.  Not this one.  Nor…

At times it is raining.

 

When will I be here? Or, better, perhaps – When am I here?  (Already?  Again?)  How?

Am I when and where I love you?  And how?  Forego why, too complicated.

 

Say “I am this one who loves you” now and now and now again.  As if a presence on repeat, differently again.  Registers and tones; layers, levels, circumstance; sense/nonsense and the liquid continuum between.

Who are you?

Say “you are the one this one loves.”  Or the many.  Or the one this one loves in relation to I.  Or the other-than-one loving other-than-one, here, now, again, again, differently.

When is this love?  And how?  Dropping why in the craggy abyss, as it dissipatively floats, up and away.  Where is this love?

I begin.  It is raining.  Say that you are.  If I say that you are, or how, when, or why, I have failed what I set to inscribe (you).  Say now.  I just missed it.  Say love, saying what?

I’m aware of your absence with pain I can’t tell.  I say “love.”  I say “miss.”  I say “yearn.”  Goal discarded.

Please say that you are.  I will be that relation.  Will not.  And I am.

It is raining.  What it?  Say I am and you are.  Less than one and still more, it’s becoming.  Undone.  The suture begins in the cut.  We are we.  We might be, when we are.  Now and now, say now, and is differently.

We’re unfound in this you and this I inter-change.  Inter-change-able as we.  And we’re not.  Either you or an I as these two, but not quite, there’s an extra: BETWEEN.

Which is nothing, like water in air, molecules known by connections.  Re-cognized.  Understanding might pull them apart, separate, while reason(s) constructs some assemblage.

Say I love you, as this one to this.  Say it’s so, without knowing, ‘cause with.  In between, together; understanding, a part; reasoning a sort of equation.

Where am I?  I appear in this with.  Who are you?  This one forming between.  When now comes it is raining, again, again different.  Some of the notion we are.

Laramie, still

Teton-Range

Marc hasn’t approached such things in a very long time, having left ranches for cities decades ago.  He’s never perceived his father this way – a sodden, curled lump, a heavy heap of human – laying not far from a dissolving and evaporating campsite.  Still.

Alias ponders “still as stasis or persistence or both/and?” in his notebook in his study.  “Most often I use ‘still’ with some indication of both – stubborn, persistent, continual, unmoving – obstacles.”

Son standing over his father.  Father, fallen, humped, underfoot of son.  A stubborn statue, status, state.  Something resilient, resolute, apparently ineradicable and permanent – as far as permanence goes.

“Sons stumped by their fathers.  Fathers blocking their sons.” Alias wrote as Lucy re-entered their provisional home (what “home” is not?).

Laramie lay still, sopping, weighing more than any many should, it seemed to Marc.  Now fathering the labor of his unfortunate offspring, hovering over it/him like a bent tree, not quite as strong, but still stuck and rooted.

“The child is father to the man…still,” Alias jotted, telling Lucy that he’s stuck in the awful muddling middle of things, still wanting several things to be possible at once, believing they ought appropriately have right to be – including (but not limited to) both of their happinesses and satisfaction… fulfillments… but unable to see quite how, and for some strange reason thinking acutely of Laramie, wondering about him today – where he is and how – and all of their good, promising, talented grown children, and why they all increasingly feel alone, distant, farther from one another with age, in spite or in direct conflict with his feeling of the relative, mandatory, even necessary import and significance of these very few – very few consistent, momentous, continual and crucial relations – one another, their some sort of shared offspring or circumstanced charges, numbered friends, one another… handful of humans they ‘trust’ ‘still’ – and the vagaried ambiguity of all of these terms.

Marc stares:  his father: a persistent stasis: there, still.  His mother.  What now?  Himself?  His wife, sister, the children?  And there… here… Laramie Paul Backstagger… still.  Present.  Here.  Present.  Still.

Lucy, in annoyed concern – Alias inebriated, anxious, composing, fantastical, undone – suggests they simply call Anna or Marc, Maribel or Laramie his own self, and check in if he’s so concerned, so (“apparently”) troubled and unsettled about them.  But Alias, of course, of matter-of-course, of persistent stubborn stasis, replies, sighing: “Whatever.  I’m overwhelmed.  Over-reacting, under-developed, undone… Forget about it.  Sorry.  How was your walk – your outsiding?”

Marc prods the body with his boot.  His father weighs too much.  Too heavy.  Too absent.  Too still.  Sensei had startled his mother Maribel, returning to the ranch stables alone.  Who startled his sister Anna, startling Marc via telephone, still.  And now here, miles from anywhere, hating, prodding, regretting, wishing this sodden, sullen lump of heavy matter wasn’t his lifeless father, Laramie, his mother’s errant husband, his sister’s rugged hero, the persistent stasis of his dad.

Tension reigns, still.  Vitality.  Forces working upon and with forces.  Matter and space and energy and time, perhaps.  At the very least a conflicted Alias in tangled tango with his beloved antagonist Lucy, unaware, intuitive, confused and undone, while Marc is shoving his inert father, Maribel quivers, Anna waits, and Lucy huffs down the hall.  Life keeps pressing on and stopping, still.

Everything Trying

Peter-Trevelyan-10_incompleteness

Kurt Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems

Everything Trying: Practical Philosophy

I’ve been thinking a lot this weekend about a kind of “credo,” or some sort of explicatory description regarding foundational experiencing that informs my perspective on being / world / living.  I.e., what have I experienced in 45 years of surviving as a human organism – as a bookseller, musician, philosopher, father, academic librarian, various conventional-cultural-relationally-roled son / spouse / sibling / friend / coworker / writer; student of multiple disciplines – that comes so close to a similarity or repetition, a near-consistency, that it evinces as near as I can imagine to a belief or pattern, a compiling evidence or seeming-steadiness, structuring a framework for my perception and navigation of being a living thing.

As a bookseller, librarian, and philosopher (“professionally” for nearly two decades) – I find I operate with a kind of conviction (yet to be foiled) – that ANYthing ANYone can concoct or intuit as a query, theory, illusion or idea, dream / hope / fantasy or wondering, can be uncovered pre-existing SOMEwhere in the recorded history of homo sapiens.  I interpret this as indicating boundaries and borders of our specific kind of organism – albeit changing, adapting, extending and diminishing over and throughout time – limits or inherent finitude to our capacities, contextual whelmings, procedural experiencings of being human kind.

Conceptual development, creative expression, technological or theoretical “advance” or novel efforts or elucidations, all seem to come about as recombinations, complex reformulations, convergences or collaborative emergences and collusions of ever-present conundrums.  The sphere of human being bubbles at mysteries and limits, “realities” intrinsic to our kind of existing.  We seem to design and develop varieties of “tools” with which to supposedly plumb and plunder the ever-expanding cosmos of unknowing, but also seem to be simply drilling differing holes into an amorphous void – conjuring observations and explanations, combining fanciful analyses and results – constrained and directed by our “tools” of inquiry (whether conceptual hypotheses, technological apparatus, socio-political experiments, mythico-religious imaginings, practical experiences, and so on).

We are limited beings, with (to our aspect) unlimited potential.  Over millennia, this would not seem to be the ‘case” of the world.  We are limited at every angle and turn – another being alongside many other sorts of beings and organisms, each restrained by our compositions and abilities, our frailties and affordances.

(Apparently) potentially endlessly individuated differings and nuances of activity-in-the-world / also (apparently) insuperably restricted frontiers to our possible activities-with-the-world.  Like any other species (given our “ways-of-inquiry” or “points-of-view/sensing”) we arise or arrive via incredibly (and genuinely unknown) complex processes and will likely desist and depart via incredibly (and genuinely unknown) complex processes.

Given the limitations of our kind of being – with ALL things composing our surround and withins – it would appear:

  1. There is an inherent IRREDUCIBILITY to our existing and its conditions
  2. There is an apparent INEXHAUSTIBILITY to its potential recombinations, convergences, deformations and in-formations, and
  3. These things are essentially UNSAYABLE / INEFFABLE – non-computable, sayable, expressible, conceivable – to the kinds of being we happen to occur as.

Principles we only (it seems to me) slightly comprehend – incompleteness, complexity, irreducibility, relativity, and so forth – whatever these ideas’ standing might be in relation to anything we might posit as “reality” – (only ever from our miniscule, or relatively very limited sphere-of-experiencing) – combine to intimate that:

  1. We are “of the stuff” that any/every-thing else is, and therefore (in the conjectural “scheme-of-things”) are likely to appear and vanish in similar fashion…with any consistency / repetition (or “universal”) occurring as something we might term CHANGE, and…
  2. We are faced with options on a scale of AFFIRMATION / MEANING / SIGNIFICATION or PASSIVISM / NIHILISM / SURVIVALISM / ENDURANCE in regard to our occurrence and election/selection of guiding behaviors, traditions, emotions, sensations, intentions and interpretations of existing.

Innately, as it were, we elect/select these recursions and available gamut-of-human-existing ideas, processes, habits and practices (beliefs, behaviors, relations, stances) – all funded and founded on arbitrary groundings in individuated recombinations and experiencings suited to an effort at survival, that might be characterized (scalarly) on a wave-patterned range of “living” – each variable individuating occurrence (“self”) may characterize from “more-thriving” to “more-surviving” – or roughly resembling individuated differentiations of what we might interpret as experiencings of “pleasure” or “pain” and ever-changing self-selecting imaginings of ends or goals (telos).

For some of us, the very play and experimentation of extending and investigating limits and grounds, via the widest variety of human endeavor and activities we can surmise or imagine (currently) is a sort of curious “thriving” in itself.  I would call this something along the general web of “philosophizing” – but finds its application and practice in ANY human capability.  Whether adventurers, scientists, artists, inventors, warriors, parents, killers, children or politicians – ANY human might be experimenting and investigating, attempting to extend and elucidate (for their particularized occurring) their limits and grounds… what distinguishes what we might think of as philosophy or conceptual-knowledge involves a notable self-illusion-conviction of “reflection” or “recursive inquiry” (something variously nominated “awareness,” “thought,” “wisdom,” “faith,” or “fantasy”).

With the caveat (doubling as a confession of faith) – that the “whole ball of wax” as we are able to conjecture it – is ALWAYS BECOMING – with never a moment of stasis or rest.  There is never a moment to pin down or set grounds or fundamentals on – multi-relational interactive complexities never cease BECOMING other.  So even this “credo” is in flux…and will alter without notice.  Exactly as the living…

Compulsion, I suppose…

par example: https://creativisticphilosophy.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/formalizability-in-the-english-language/

Discursive Tangles

SighForSignificance-1

Increasingly I find myself filled with the desire of simply saying what I think about.  To some generative effect.

“We live.  We die.  We wish the living mattered.”

But “that’s too simple,” you say.  “Everyone knows that.”

And you’re right, again, and it’s the best that I can do.

Not that I don’t do other things, in living.  I hold jobs and work for pay (at nearly ANYthing) to keep a home, feed and educate my children, and attempt to convince them to try to try.

And then there’s the dynamo of desire.  Urges and drives, lusts and obsessions simply to have someone who will allow me to be close to them – to touch them and smell, listen and taste, copulate and serve and talk back and forth.  I don’t expect them to love me.  I’ve long given up being wanted or desired.  Can’t imagine I’ve ever considered myself necessary to someone or something.  For connection – to world, to literature and art, to thoughts and conversations, to knowledge and nature.

“No matter,” He says, “Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better,” He says.

I cannot.  Oh I try.  I try.  I try again.  But never imagine proximity of others not involving pity, and my failure seem ever further from their marks.  Not better.  I’m 45 now!  Or 80!  No matter.

No matter, indeed.

No matter, at all.  Perhaps.  I know this, that, some other stuff.  No matter. So I crave and wish and hope.  Failing further, and worse, never better.

Long hours of days pleasing others (or trying).  No matter.  Family and employers, students and friends.  No matter.  Perhaps?

But to say something simply.  How that?  I feel caught in a tangle of discourses.  What language to say in?  What field?  How to be heard, perhaps evaluated, to “count” or to “matter.”  I read something years ago by Nathalie Sarraute comparing the dreams or demands of Dostoevsky and Kafka to be recognized…no, acknowledged  (“From Dostoevsky to Kafka” in The Age of Suspicion). To matter.  Appear.  Have a voice.

Said simply:

“We live.  We die.  We wish the living mattered.”

Selah.

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.

 

The Want for a Story : Texts for Nothing

Beckett_TextQuote

The want for a story.  For a ‘reason’ to be.  A far place, an illusion, the stomach knows its illegitimacy, its fantasy, irreality…yet the brain (mind?) dying toward, for, craving, starving after it.

A thread in a narrative…a plotline…a characterization – some momentary identity.  To be witnessed, accounted-for, counted, taken note of, recognized.  The mad dream of anOther aware of me, acknowledging my presence, sidling out of my way.  “Made way”…I exist.

The madness of atoms.  Nonsensical.  Not “to be” – a sort of fact as it goes – but “to be in awareness” – and not only, but much more – “to be in An-Other’s awareness!”  Too much!  Pure delusion.

We infect alt-awareness only via disturbance and/or unavoidability – interruptions, intrusions, sign or accident/event – a scream, a tragedy, an obstacle.  Interference.  No one selects for intrusion…it is managed and dealth with, endured or survived.  We (humans) don’t “mean to,” don’t “seek out” inconvenience.  (Or maybe we do?).  But no matter.  Not our ‘purpose,’ ‘intent.’ Not our ‘drive’ (to survive).

Others become aware of “me” when (and ONLY when?) I get in their way.  “Intrude.”  Otherwise – sans dependence, accident, harm, or some assumed respons-ability (‘obligation’) – I find it hard to imagine drawing the care of attention of an/other.

We spread too thin.  Period.  Once we engage/respond/encounter/experience, it is blatantly evident: WE ARE NOT ENOUGH.  Perhaps nothing is.  Perhaps learning, relating, experiencing, engaging, life…NOTHING is.  Perhaps this differentiates us as a species – UNSATISFIABLE : UNMET.

And…perhaps this is a synonym for “Life/Living” – some ‘thing’ ever striving ‘further’ or ‘beyond’ itself…

Is the ‘definition’ of “Life” simply WANTING FOR MORE?

i.e. – entities remaining alive, period – according to DESIRE?

The want for a story.  A ‘reason’ to be.  To be meaning.  To signal.  To call & respond.  To exist.

But all those are “more-than.”

The Myth in the Verse

The River of Bees

BY W. S. MERWIN

In a dream I returned to the river of bees

Five orange trees by the bridge and

Beside two mills my house

Into whose courtyard a blindman followed

The goats and stood singing

Of what was older

.

Soon it will be fifteen years

.

He was old he will have fallen into his eyes

.

I took my eyes

A long way to the calendars

Room after room asking how shall I live

.

One of the ends is made of streets

One man processions carry through it

Empty bottles their

Image of hope

It was offered to me by name

.

Once once and once

In the same city I was born

Asking what shall I say

.

He will have fallen into his mouth

Men think they are better than grass

.

I return to his voice rising like a forkful of hay

.

He was old he is not real nothing is real

Nor the noise of death drawing water

.

We are the echo of the future

.

On the door it says what to do to survive

But we were not born to survive

Only to live

  1. S. Merwin, “The River of Bees” from The Second Four Books of Poems(Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by W. S. Merwin. Reprinted with the permission of The Wylie Agency, Inc.

 

Not-Belonging, Chapters

I feel somewhat apologetic, but here is one more selection from my archives.  Another that when I re-read I am unable to see how I might do better, or how I ever got it done at all, yet all my work un-published or rejected, so I know it is not “good enough” per whatever the current cultural milieu would prefer.  “No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.”  Perhaps.  In any case, it circles around for me like the tail-eating snake I am, in hopes it might engender something new, no, in hopes it might be put to rest.  For any who read it, I would be hard pressed to metaphor my astonishment, humility, gratitude and begging-of-patience, including a sheer and sharp ache of deep appreciation for your life’s time and likely unwarranted, gracious, attention.

does-not-belong-worksheet-worksheet

Chapters That Don’t Belong

(please click image or title for text)

many thanks

from Archives – Family: A Fiction

wandering through my own writings, and stumbling on things that surprise me.  This seems (to me) to be some of the best writing I’ve ever done, something I can’t imagine being able to do, something I’m not sure I ever did – the bewilderments – something I can’t imagine doing again.  Thought I’d share…I wonder who/what I might be.

Family

Family: A Fiction – NW Filbert (2012?)