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.

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Chapters That Don’t Belong

(please click image or title for text)

many thanks

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Alias Ouroboros; or, Alias and [the Philosophy of] the Process of Elimination

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Looks, stares, gazes.  Alias, alone (with ants).  In bathroom.  Facing mirror.

Is reminded (from whence and where?) “My way of not being the same is, by definition, the most singular part of what I am.”  Remembers Foucault wrote that (how? why?).

Contemplates.  Scrutinizes.  Reflects.  Adorno: “To make things of which we do not know what they are.”  Wherefore?  Examines his old face for repetition.  For resemblance.

What ever did he suppose the “self” was?  Leans closer.  12 years old, exploring raggedy woods surround childhood farm in the Kansas countryside with a crooked clumsy stick (a settler’s gun).  Who did he posit “others” to be?

Laramie, somewhere far.  Laramie: OFF.  Sister.  Sometime “friends.”  Lucy (before that H____, before that T_____, and prior A______, D_______, J_____, and so on).  Had he come to approximate “himself” at all?  And who and what and where determined that?  Where is the Observer?

What constitutes the subject in its relations to the true, to rules, to itself?” (Foucault had queried) – the “I” in a sentence – and why had he ever read that stuff?  Why did he feel himself “drawn” to it?  Magnetized to self-reflection, chaotic perspective gyroscope?

Can almost see the swallowing snake.  How long he’s longed (like Laramie) to shed obligations and self-evolving charges (children, lovers, homes and labor)…and how lonely alone turns out to be.

Leans back.  The hair, the shoulders, the wrinkles and beard.  Sheer size alone an entirely variant specimen from 12, shape of 20, motility of 3, vim of 47.

But the naming remains: Harlequin – spanning centuries, derived from ancestor’s medieval roles.  “Ignatius” and “Evgeny” – monikers pilfered from grandfathers – representing both (or some) genetic “sides” – the mother’s and the father’s.  Then Alias, alas – selected purely for sound and almost a joke – “let him make his own name” his dad was supposed to have said – “make a name for himself.”  Alias i. e. Harlequin – an identity of shifters.  Contentless, versatile signs.  This or that, also known as, patchwork jester.  Volatile collage.

Multi-colored robes of Joseph – Alias certain he’s never led anything out of bondage – let alone himself.  A joker then?  Entertainer with a deathly fear to perform.  Chameleon, hodgepodge, bum.  Rag-tag coddle of experiences, interests and events: people, places, actions and things.  Jumbled potpourri of knowledge sans expertise.  “Who is this what that I am?” he thinks, unattended, gaping at the bathroom mirror.  “How?”

Sways toward.  Yellowed teeth, crudded sockets.  Webs stringing out from the eyes indexing smiles – from when?

Drinks.  Diarrhea.  Trembles.

Considers process of elimination.  Engages, ingests, transforms…and turns it all to shit.

Precisely!  If we could do without metaphor!  “The real,” “the rules,” “itself” and “other” hacked, torn and blundered, mulched and mushed, pulped and extracted…some to nourish, some to harm, random keeps and passes…What if “itself” were able to masticate, dissolve and disperse, digest and diarrhea itself?  If thinking passed like food and water?

Crush the judgments, statements, words and perceptions. Struggle to swallow.  Swill the pains and fears – chug through the gullet – expel from the sex.  Crap the hopes, the dreams.  Piss prejudice and myth.  Ingurgitate logical systems, impressions and lust.  Eliminate ruin and waste like a transitioning, dynamic…eroding, decrepit, diminishing body.

Examines physique – misshapen shapeshifting slush.  Deliberates learning.  Vocations.  Training.  Behaviors and “talents.”  Successes.

Swallows again, more of a choking or gulp.  Peers closer.  Slurps and gobbles, wriggling it down – acids and micro-solutions…expel, eject, devour.  Autosarcophagy, necrotizing fasciitis, auto-immune (how did he know these things?) parasiting himself – is it possible to empty?  To void?  And where’s Laramie?  Lucy?  The children?

The trots again.  He starts to gag.

from the Ruled Writing Tablet

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Interstice

I told her that I would have told her, had I known.

-“Known what, exactly?” she said, “Really!?” she said.

Yes, I said, yes, I would have explained what I felt I understood – about the “interstice” – what I felt I understood, I would have said.

As usual, the sighs, the diverted glances, the “I-don’t-knows.”

It’s alright.  I’m pretty used to it, not that it no longer hurts, or squashes some part of me, but familiarity breeds…and it’s not contempt, at least for me.  More like resolve, or, well, I don’t know.

Still I would have conversed about the “interstice.”  Or its plural.  No one can know what we’re talking about (in my opinion) – that’s why we talk (in my opinion).  But I do like to look at her.  And sometimes keep talking so that I can look at her longer.

Thus I would have explained – or attempted to – about the “interstice”… had I known, I tell her.

– “Known what, exactly?” she asked, “Really!?”

It’s ok.  I’m pretty used to it – exasperation.  It’s a sort of fatigue that settles on my interlocutors – my family, my friends, my lovers, my children – as I triple/quadruple/undendingly (exponentially?) second (meaningless term in this context) guess whatever it is (emotion, idea, memory, event) I attempt to convey.

I find I do not trust a thing as long as it might be questioned, and I have yet to discover something unquestionable.  I like inventing titles though.

She’s looking at me – softly, sadly, gently.  Sometimes she strokes my hair and lets me rest my head (the physical part).  It helps.  But the rest doesn’t rest.

Fair enough, for the most part, I’m used to it.  It’s “me” (as we are wont to say) – what I’m accustomed to.  It doesn’t matter, or does in unquantifiable ways, but I keep at it.  Anyway.  I can’t help it.  Well, some things do – vodka, sex, sleep – but only temporarily.

Things are only temporary.

That’s the sort of idea that keeps me alive.  Temporarily.  And second-(exponentially)-guessing.

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She’s still there, here, though.  Hence the interstice.  I try to explain.

*

As if “interstice” possessed a meaning, a definition, beyond the moment I activated or utilized it.  As if it indicated.  Meant – convergence-point (limitless above and below and around) of time and space conventions in a realm that felt (seemed) shared.  Held in common.  Nothing is “held,” or only temporarily.  Changed with its containment.  It seems.  I don’t know.  It’s certainly questionable – is it, ‘certainly’?

I don’t know.  Which I thought, or think, is the entry to wisdom, but even that – I don’t know.

She’s still here.  And I question – Who is it?  Who is still here?  And what for?  How? Why?

And where is the vibrating “here”?  And what for, how &/or why?  I can wonder.

– “Wonder what, exactly?” she inquires.

I don’t know.  I’m a human.  An odd conundrum of pieces and parts that correspond or reciprocate in hold-together activities for a while…call it “organism,” there’s that, it would seem, but seem only, digging in it is hard to convince or confirm – a location, identity, consistency, avocation or being.  It’s just so – apparently – temporarily.

Exasperation.  You see?  You dig?  What I mean!?  That’s what we’re after (together, I think) what it means.  But what that means is uncertain, I think or surmise.  We don’t know, it would seem, we’re uncertain.

We ask.

I-Native Writing: Attempt at a Self-Portrait

Ouroboros

Things one realizes about oneself when one is “partnered” or loved well.  That seems to be the theme for me of late.  The differences between “automatic” self-recrimination when the Other speaks of an annoyance or a threat to useful relating vs. a kind of awareness and curiosity about one’s own behaviors that opens up understanding and attention related to the same habitual practices…

For instance.  For years, the only tattoo I got that was not an author or artist’s name / signature / or self-portrait, was a whim of “…and then there’s me…”: and I had a simple Ouroboros inked into my shoulder.  The snake eating its own tail.  Sign of health, sign of destruction.  Sign of…

What’s in a “sign?”  A fundamental query ruling the bulk of my waking hours, and carried over from my sleep.

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THIS NIGHT.  Reading others’ words it dawns on me…”My biography is my catalog.  But the man who was there before I decided to become a reader is missing.  I, in short, am missing.” [Vila-Matas – Dublinesque]

I, in short, am missing.  So long accustomed to defining and describing myself in relation to world, others, children, parents, education, travels, experiences, friends…roles, behaviors, actions, theories, ideas, feelings…and so on…

Each scenario, event, surround, circumstance, company : co-creating WHO / WHAT I am – with no idea what “I” might be stripped of literature, philosophy, family, knowledge, accomplishments, relationships, language, interpretations, and so on…

I had marked myself with “signs” of who I “am” for my children postmortem.  OTHERS.  Read these people, look at these artists, think about these things…and you will have some idea of who your father “was” – Nathan Filbert – a bibliography.

Infinite Ouroboros

Hmmmm.

I AM what I am related to.  Never being able to come to the end of it…I do not know what/who I am.

I can say something of the how…which felt like a revelation on me of why the most off-handed permanent mark I requested to be inscribed into my body has come to feel most adequate / representative / apt / true?

The how is like this.  I recognize in intimacy and dialogue with a loving other (my partner) over time habits of mind: annoyances, arrogancies, logorrhea, unwise knowledge-sharing (always borrowed)…INSECURITY, self-doubt, terror, UNCERTAINTY.

In most seconds of my awakeness two things are tangled, wound, immediate, simultaneous, recursive and self-devouringly going on: WHAT AM I DOING/WHAT AM I? and WHY?

My children run in, blast a request that feels like a demand – at the kitchen counter I: what am I hearing?  What am I feeling about what I’m hearing?  Why am I feel-hearing that?  What should I do?  Why do I think ‘should’?  How should I respond?  Why do I think there’s a ‘should’-how to respond?

On the porch reading with coffee:  Why do I cross my legs?  Why do I like coffee?  What am I looking at?  Why does a squirrel catch my eye?  Why did I choose these glasses?  Why am I thinking about these things?  Is this what others think about?  What ‘should’ I be thinking about?  Why ‘should’?  How should I work?  How should I think?  Why do I think I should have a way of thinking?  Why do I think about the way that I sit?  What kind of being thinks about the way it sits when it thinks on a porch and is distracted by a squirrel?

WHAT AM I?/WHAT AM I DOING?  and WHY? leading to HOW?

What am I doing?  Looking at letters on a screen.  Why do I look at these letters on a screen?  Why does language move me, draw me, resonate?  What is resonating?  Why?  Should other things be resonating?  I enjoy looking at my love.  Am I looking in the ‘right’ way?  Why do I enjoy looking at my love?  How should I look at my love?  Why do I look at my love?  What kind of thing is drawn to gaze at his love?  What is love?  Why do we love?  How should we love / might we love?  Why do I hold books certain ways.  How do I hold them?  How might I hold them?  Why?  What kind of thing thinks about how and why and what he holds?  What was that tone?  Why that tone?  What kind of being uses that tone?

And so on.  Moment after moment.  I get a drink.  Why did I get a drink.  Why was I thirsty.  What does it mean that I was thirsty.  How should I vary what I drink to my thirst?  Why?

Rarely do I consider “Who” does these things.  It’s too far removed.  Too unknowable – beyond any what/why/how I can even begin to contemplate.

But constantly constantly constantly WHAT AM I DOING?  WHAT AM I? (in this situation, this situation, this situation) and WHY?  HOW?

tangled ouroboros

And this is how my days pass.  Finding myself moving, teaching, listening, talking, drinking, eating, loving, avoiding, forgetting, imagining, smelling, saying, wishing, regretting, ashamed, confused, uncertain, unknown…but always searching, observing, inquiring, scrutinizing…

WHAT AM I DOING?  WHAT AM I that DOes such things?  WHY am I doing them?  HOW ‘should’ I do them and where/why/what/who thinks of ‘should’?  WHY?

And finding nothing but infinite tangles, recursive spiraling production and reduction, endless context surrounding every moment that is constructed only of questions and hypotheses…

I chose a good tattoo.

Permanently self-devouring and regurgitant.

Self-Imitations of Myself. (Gordon Lish)

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perhaps shed light on through an-other?

“A single voice raises the clamor of being”

Gilles Deleuze

Velocity and Friction

This uncovered writing has parts that feel like 16-year-old wordplay mixed with the aging man…sigh.

FROM THE 9 NOTEBOOKS

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Velocity and Friction