The world overgrown. At least any accessible sector. I’ve heard tale of open, of empty, of spacious, of dearth. Not where I approach. Even my own body – its in- or out-sides, its wherewithal. Always where-with-all.
Tangled, almost briny, in some instances. If able to determine a surround wherewith or whenwith to take a stance in. Even thinking, even breath, even a pulse of bloodbeat. Any sound we form toward music. Any making-sensible. For us. Our kind. Those within the overgrown – the untamable, reckless warp and weft.
To hunch there, immediately becomes here. How different – if imagined? To gather, to pre-tend. To suppose a disposition, a presence somehow differentiated. How-some? To curl in, therefore (perchance? per theory?) “to find,” to be able to, to call, to be-in-g? Yet how? Or why? Where is the for? And what might the hole be suspected to fill?
Where is the gap between this and the other? Between you and me, he or she, this-that-the-other, between…any/thing? Something wishes to know, apparently… and this wishing/motion/decision/desire/activity/drive (whatever “ “) begins by implicating violence… bi-lining a world with borders, invented barriers, perceived traces, intuited splits, cuts and hacks that are not there until. How un-till this supposed “soil” from which to distinguish, fabricate, or function? From which to “operate.” Surgeon-species.
What knowledge is expected by destroying? Deconstructing (or constructing) – both requiring joints? By suture and slice? By taking life? Prone to decompose. What a trajectory.
What options? Compelled…to con-fuse…confess…to communicate, express, enjoy, enjoin (what we find ourselves joined to) still even to de-scribe, in-scribe, in-voke, ex-tol, inter-act or en-gage provokes difference, demands separations, dismemberment. To cleave.
To try to body. To try to mind. Attend. Acknowledge. Distortion. To twist and torture an other, as the one or…alteration. De-pict.
Impossible connection already seems to be. Each, every add-ition a disconnecting, a cutting, a stitching seam according to a pattern. Whose? Whats?
Over, under, whelmed. Where is the open, the undifferentiated, the is? Always already be-fore. All ways, all ready, be-for. In other words…not possibly worded. Prior to word. Involving act (including language) but unincorporated (already corporal), defying design-ation (surprisingly? one would think ‘it’ [not] is at the end of de- or un-signing/signifying), erasure of description, all palimpsests equaling… perhaps (per-happening) – infinite, certainly uncountable, incalculable, without ordination, order, ordaining, without with-in or –out. Only WITH, inconceivable, imperceptible (perception cuts), irretrievable (the rejection of any re-), disabused, disturbed perturb, a dreaming dreamed turbulence = a happen to be.
Still this thinks with. Language. Lost already, displaced and falsified by a tiny thread, an whole fabric, a world-veil at least whilst continuing as world…
Think again. Dream. Confuse. Imagine. Invent. Art ducts (vents) for breath… further re-moves, com-pli-cations, furthering within, for fun? A dance, a play, a re-morse (cryptic codification, surreptitious and additional) some native complicity to immeasurable complexity. As is. As if. And so on…
It was funny how she, how I, refused, declining enticing invitations of love. Once.
Then again. Or not.
Still, it happens, rejected or otherwise. Naysaying, that is.
Strange relations. Using yes for no, and their returns and variations.
She says no though. I did.
It eventuates, seemingly regardless of our answers.
Check boxes. Lists. Identities. Likert-scales of experiencing.
Mouths inclining. Decline. A trajectory of eyes. Reclining seduction.
I decided not to go along. (Where do we go instead? Who goes? When?). Each denial an assent.
What did the trees refuse? What was the grass fighting, then? The clouds? I watched… she observed birds.
The dancers’ bodies. A dismissal of space. The removal of sound. Absent silences.
Where was she? I?
We said no.
Do words incline or recline for us? What of the ear, the eye?
Still I smelled her.
“I love,” I thought, “I cannot love. I can not.” She declines.
These are the ways of naysaying, all our doubled negatives, equaling… what, exactly?
I love her. I can not. She won’t. Will not. Negativity in a vacuum. Apparatus.
The squirrel upside down, above the lawn, on the long tree limb. What is it denying? And where is the use of speech?
We cried out, decrying. (What could that mean? That seems always in question).
I asked Beckett and Blanchot. They each said that she said “no.”
Apparently, she says “no.” “I’d really like to, but can not, must not,” i.e. “no.”
It rings out, like bells – so radiant, so silent, such dissipation. Such temporal hazard and warning.
Something refuses the air.
I remember. She traces back. What means “over”?
Sound refusing silence. The first. The second. The next.
What is “last”?
She says no.
I recall dreams from time to time. Unable.
Something may have been said.
I found the following paper when cleaning up our dining room table to prepare for dinner:
What I learn from the inscriptions of my freshly teenaged/screenaged daughter is this: POWERFUL WRITING CAN BE ABOUT ANYTHING. Which inspires me, and supports a potent hunch I’ve been harboring over recent years and studies: that writing that works on or in us, that gnaws at us, strikes or challenges us, perhaps even changes or ‘enlightens’ us, nourishes or crushes us (as the human species we happen to be – capable of participating, communicating, coordinating variously fabricated scales of signification from the organismal, cell-based to communal (‘personal,’ ‘social,’ ‘political’-based) tends to be concocted up out from textures and materials of authentic self-report and confusion or lack [wonder? – our ability to ‘put-into-question’?].
That we make effort, perhaps progress, are sustained or contained, constrained or extended by core curiosity (query, investigation, inquiry, desire) around perceived conundrums, or LACK.
“This in-between feeling”: self-report (authentic within constrained conventions, perception, culture) + confusion, curiosity, a questioning, experimentation, conundrum = an access to the uncertain, the open, the unknown.
“If it is true that there is (in the Chinese language) a written character that means both ‘man’ and ‘two,’ it is easy to recognize in man he who is always himself and the other, the happy duality of dialogue and the possibility of communication. But it is less easy, more important perhaps, to think ‘man,’ that is to say, also ‘two,’ as separation that lacks unity, the leap from 0 to duality, the 1 thus giving itself as the forbidden, the between-the-two [l’entre-deux]”
– Maurice Blanchot, The Step Not Beyond
Human scientists, when they’re ‘successful,’ or ‘good’ combine observation / passion / desire / perception (experiment + experience) as authentic self-reports in a conventionalized constraint PLUS putting the conundrum or confusion (joining-with beyond-certainty) into question… open… ‘What Is…?’ ‘What If…?’ WHAT MIGHT MY HUNCHES, TROUBLES, EXPERIENCE, SENSES, DESIRES indicate? Anything? No-thing?
The litterateur, artist, therapist, musician – what COM-PELS us (pushes us forward-with-world, with-being) seems to be a kind and variation, repetition and difference of this experience + experiment – attempt at authentic self-report wedded to curiosity/wonder/or the putting-into-question of it.
Some empty set.
So Cantor’s infinity. Einstein’s relativity. Godel and undecidability. Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger’s existentialism or phenomenology, Wittgenstein’s language and forms of life, Beckett, Joyce, Blanchot, Wallace proliferating or desiccating sentences – all seem to be appropriately tied, threaded and submerged in Experience + Lack, Perception + Desire, what we do not, perhaps can not, know.
When William James delivers a cumulative, culminative authentic and conventionalized self-report, a curious address called “Is Life Worth Living?”, or Socrates-Augustine-Leibniz-Nietzsche-Shakespeare-Kierkegaard [substitute names at will – Dante, Darwin, Dostoevsky, Proust, Sartre, Peirce, Melville, Dickens…] inquire “Why is there something rather than nothing?” or “Why is there anything at all?”… Why this!? We’re hovering about a lack – of understanding, apparent meaning, dissatisfaction, perhaps frustration, an emptiness, a hole in things we’re troubling, questioning.
‘Scientists,’ ‘psychologists,’ ‘poets,’ ‘lovers,’ ‘activists,’ ‘parents,’ and ‘priests’ are all pushed forward in these questions… core-conundrums, felt-vacuums, hitches, indications of LACK.
Resulting in remarkable attempts at authentic self-report coupled to curiosity / questioning / doubt.
Inquiry is effort.
In-between: knowing/experiencing and unknowing/confusion – experience and experiment.
“The center…[does] not hold”
We are not-yet-one (self-sufficient) and less-than-two (self and other). Not an observer or experiencer without something observed/experienced. Not a language or emotion without a group or felt-with or in-relation-to. Not a happening without a happening-in, a happening-here, a happening-to. Not a sound without a hearing. A cell without surround, a border and environment. No self without an other and all incomplete, undecidable, in flux and underdetermined.
ALWAYS IN-BETWEEN AND UNCERTAIN
An adolescent is able to capture and confess this…that alone tells me nothing together might do.
No “what if?” without something to work with. No awareness without awareness-of.
And so “I,” her progenitor-father, study NOTHING. The “what if nots?” Incomprehensible, inexistent, perhaps inconceivable questions… indeterminable, indecipherable, perhaps unexperiencable and irrational.
At breakfast we speak of it. Curiously, we authentically self-report our wonder, confusion and conundrums – our LACK – of understanding, of method, of language, of expression, experience… our limitations we might call ‘impossibility…’
That nothing is only possible when nothing is NOT. That if we are able in relation to nothing… ‘we’ can not be there, or ‘be’ at all. Nothing not even itself, not even an absence… to speak or think of it is to rush it away…
These are things I learn from my children – that our questions go unanswered, are (perhaps) unanswerable, that attempting authentic reportage (communicating) experience coupled to wonder, and putting-it-to-question, with humility, then, in doubt… perhaps drives our systems, our logics, our literatures, arts, sciences, and love… LACK that we do not know, can not (perhaps) know, are participants-at-scale – finite and fragile – and have our limits, open and undecided…
Thank you dear children.
I am comforted almost to imagine you might be driven on…
…by your lack, your honest confusion, unsettledness, and authenticity.
Funny enough, the following short piece arrived in my email the same day…
It would have to be fragmentary, partial
perhaps pointing, with hope,
like us, living things,
at any given moment:
saying things, not yet said,
ever in the midst of acts,
if there happens to be a real
it must be incomplete and full
of undoing and becoming,
of perhapses and oops
I had started out
at some point,
taking up this pen
and applying it to this
open screen, unknowable unknown,
had started out toward
in order to write
“I had started out”
but all is different now
and now again,
assertions and insertions
of possible reals or facts,
some happenings of actuals
be-fore (in face of, in lieu)
words or some expression
It stares out, staring in,
fractured and non-finished,
fetishized with objects
that stand for something else,
always something else
than what “is” or which has been,
unfinished and hardly calculable,
and inexhaustibly exhaustible
and without beginning
(or we would ‘start’)
on a way then, in
doing toward undone,
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.
This constitutes a “free-write” – as I understand the phrase it is an allowance one gives oneself to just make language, unedited, unplanned, in a “spirit” of ex-pression…i.e. a “press(ur)ing- out.” [see suspend]
Spillage, in other words.
And…”in other words,” always, from the first word.
At its release – like an arm movement; a choice of caress, breath, or handhold; a motivation to swerve, or bend, sit, or rise; nigh-automated intention to breathe… a beating of heart, or functioning of organ; lighting a match; attention.
Release a word. Some oddly shaped sound, emitted complexly from the nerves, the brain, the belly. Bellowed air up the windpipe, wending the throat, curling the cavity of mouth, (you can almost feel air in the eyes – perhaps you can!), a scent is involved, a tongue roving weirdly, a tapping of teeth and positioning of jaw…
Or… the combination of organs and neurons, plasma and plastics, rutting a body in accord with a world, activating…firing and sliding, acting re-acting, trans-mitting… and a tension in shouldered muscle begins to stir, roiling down “arm,” triggering the delicate tendons and tissue of “hand,” fingering pencil…and con-script-ed together, they “write…”
And from the first word it is other.
Pressed into and out of the body. Im-pression, re-sponse, and in-tension. (You see the looping?). Out of, into, and back out without measure.
Mathematically speaking, the first term, generates an uncomputable, undecidable, indeterminate and infinite universe of possibilities. Simultaneously foreclosing the same.
Which is why the Moment’s of import. And why statistically, it is inane.
“Spillage” set into motion. “, in other words.” For this organism, now.
Out of infinite potential, a violent reduction to that: “Spillage, in other words.”
In other words, from the first word, an infinity ruled out. By my finitude.
In other words, from the first word, an infinity opened up. By language, and you, all the times, and the spaces.
Pressed in, it moves out. Pressed out, moving in. Always moving.
A “moment” cannot exist.
We switch on. (We do not.)
Then what are we “meaning” by “free”?
A “free-write” I inscribed, but it’s not – bound by me, my experience, education, now here. By my body-environment mesh. By this medium, this sign-system (language), this trial.
And why do then? Why mingle, behave, interact, or respond? Why continue?
continue (v.) mid-14c., contynuen, from Old French continuer (13c.), from Latin continuare “join together, connect, make or be continuous,” from continuus “uninterrupted,” from continere (intransitive) “to be uninterrupted,” literally “to hang together” (see contain). Related: Continued; continuing.
(“Online Etymology Dictionary,” 2016)
How could I “make continuous” what is never discrete? And why are our actions and terms bent on negation / separation (discretion)?
What do we wish to “clarify” by pulling-apart, setting-forth, ripping of context, of living?
We humans have so many re-‘s. As if we do it again, and ourselves (WHAT is THAT?) we might own it or know it, or even come cause. How absurd.
We’re participant. To speak is to join. To move is WITH-IN. To think and to act are to fuse with surround. As much caused as its causing, ground and ideal, this is living. To be fluidly unidentifiable, continuously as such.
What IS (chasing ‘essence’) is futile. What IS (what’s ‘existing’) is all.
How might I write in this way? Write to join? Say to be? The mouth and the ass as the same? I breathe and I shit; I grab and release; take in and give out…unrestrained. Without end or cessation (as far as we know at our miniature range)…
WITH and withOUT “us”
Here we are.
“The experimental dimension is precisely where thinking at its limit takes place, where the singularity of a given thought is being shaped…”
– Michel de Beistegui –
“the present is as long as a walk when I am walking”
– Chryssipe, quoted in Francois Jullien –
Or, “the present is as long as the sentence I’m composing…” the tune, the breath, the weather… the lunge, the gaze, the listen… the sex, starlight, heartbeat… presence determined, according to scale.
“…as long as the thought I am thinking…” that leads to the next, and the borrowed, the other, imagined. The languages lent, or made new, bastardized, reconstructed, remingled…
Therefore [have I now ‘left’ present/-ce?] the present writing is present just as long as it presents itself? Does this explain run-ons and magical realism? The refusal to pause or to finish? Avoidance of punctuation, cessation, or periods…in order to be writing? (as long as it is writing…living written?).
I am drawn in writing presence. And I aspire. To be writing as often present-ly as possible (in all the senses of the terms you might conceive). Working, present-ly, with presences that present themselves in the activity of writing – ages, layers, eons of language becoming toward these significations I am physically inscribing NOW with evolving, accumulative, adapting and erasured meanings over times and places, persons and presents/-ces. This continuous bodily activity and operation marking whatever presently transpires on lines – between my organism, this instrument and matter of lined pages – creating a Mobius-like twisting endless loop of circuitry, a breathless action (almost afraid of interruption, disconnection, or cessation) as if it would disqualify present/-ce with unauthorized and arbitrary finite personal breakage.
Yet I know (or believe) the present/-ing will continue all the same whether I am writing or not – ever assailing with near-infinite (perhaps infinite) encountering and engagements…be-ing… regardless of my regard, participation, choice of action, and awareness. Unconcerned by my present/-ce as I a grain of soil or blade of grass, singular molecules or mosquitos, the hairs dropped from our heads. Matters of scale of what matters. [To/for us. ME. At our scale, at whatever scale, DEPENDING].
Interruption occurs. Into, inter-, enter: an eruption. Anything that commands response. A call from another, a locusts’ buzz, tonal or temperature flux. Changing track and attention. I plea for intervention versus interruption, that the breathless present/ce might go on, unintruded but intervened. Eventuation, eventually, new contents entering veins of the stream I am searching, spreading, scribing…at the limit of…
Intrusion. Inter-eruption. Or inter-vention, intra-venously… WILL OUR PRESENT PRESENCE all bound up with, knotted, wound and intersecting, inserted and inserting reciprocally or complicitly…go on, remain, continue? Will it be dissipation or dissension, distension, desiccation or decay? Can we have, swerve, welcome an irruption intravenously? I hesitate, I turn. A response.
Staccato desiccation. I’ve been bombarded. Like tragedy, untranceable. Persistence and flow stuttering, gives way. The stream of thought polluted, a turbulence assigned. Coming undone, branch drying up, kindling, that is to say…
Yet if to say, that is – perhaps we’re crossing, coming-over, over-coming interruption as irruption. Response-able, disabling, but hearing more, lines converging with complexity, a chaos, a banking flow…or spilling over and dispersing?…who could know. What means – BECOME?
“the present is a write, as long as I am writing” – this presence fractured into fragments, presents, now, perhaps beyond deciphering. The mode of ciphers, potent codes – standing for?? Standing for??? Which represents THIS…what you read. Read in, read from, read into and out of. We do not step into the same stream twice, it has been said, or three times, or even once, even, again. We don’t know “same,” yet use it like a God, destructive hoping (“identity,” “non-contradiction,” even Truth(s) or Fact(s)) – that SOMEthing might not change.
NOT in this world, and we know no other. Conjuring zeroes, ideals and myths, utopias (literally “no-places”) and lines of imaginings. Hoping for control? Security? Continuance? – of what, of which…presence. Scales to track the motions with, fallibly. Attempts to stay the flow, stay with the flow, re-cognize, re-member, re-main. What continues to fall apart and reassemble, ever ‘new’ but only partly, in its occurring, range of scales ever irrupting, erupting, interrupting as comings-to-be in all their goings, it’s going…a fragile now.
But I digress along the stream, exposing fragments, perhaps connected to a mouth, a trunk or mother. Dispersive river, interminably con-fusing elements transgressing finitude. Number, line and term. Concept, law, or theory. None of it works, and some of it seems to. All may belong, depending on scale.
A matter of present/ce perhaps, and of movement. Some matter of species, perception and dream. Susurrate surround, full of disruption, riding waves, but not for long.
“the present is as long…as a singularity of thought is being shaped…”
– Chrysippe + de Beistegui –
(much later and rescaled)
“To bring a work to ‘a conclusion,’ as Picasso said, is like putting an end to a bull – to kill it.”
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