after Helene Cixous’ First Days of the Year (all quotations from)
“…writing doesn’t know the story…”
– Helene Cixous –
Writing had dissipated, eroded and erasured, “the stream, the slender silent stream with its singing arms,” dried, swallowed, scabbed to dusty ground, hardened wounds, simple soundless scarring – unmarked, unmapped, uninterpreted or deciphered.
“Writing, that link, that growth, that orientation” and mysterious connection in the veins – beneath earth, across times, that leaky, throbbing, flowing, trickling tickle in the fingers of the throat – evaporated to ether.
Space is full of voids again, the entire body is corpse. It was air that was missing – oxygen and hydrogen – a liquid, invisible, fluid force and blazing trail – its quiet tireless effort coursing, a desert without shore.
“’It has been many years now,’… thought the author”…many years of dwindling, echoing thoughts…many years without solution or solvent, no bed, no pull, no sea or slope – an eviscerated wandering lacking movement, without promise or retreat, direction or return, rather something absent, lost, unknown.
Bedrest – a way to heal by falling fallow, running out, caesura and inaction. Some old trace viewed from scale, an only remnant held by wind – a sentenced shrub, a stop of phrase. Riverbedrest and desertduned unwinding – depiction’s dearth, branches clotstopping gravity’s swill or swirl, deadwooded filaments tumbling anywhere the green had been, the iron bled from vein.
“I am going to write,” he had thought at first… but I weigh 47 years and “writing is eternal [knowing] neither weight nor time,” it will not lift and carry me, breezing past as it always has every present unto present – ageless phantom, foreign phrase I am unable to pronounce.
Vanishing link between the bodies, submerged and buried and unspoken – “writing doesn’t know the story” – dumb and blind as memory’s ‘I.’ The lost and forgotten, what will not come to be. “To me, this is a blow, a threat.”
“…the book we do not write. There is a book. That we do not write…” … wordless and disobeyed, unwritten extinction, disordered and undone. Passage and passing of this now here. This book that’s not here. Irrelevant utopia. A desiccated thread, a wilderness with imperceptible end, some perhaps forlorn and far-off song, long since warbled into stillness. I “do not have what it takes to make a book,” long-lost imagining and fabricated dreams, suffered weeping for what-is-not, what-never-was, the known and haunting will-not-be, pains of life assigned to us.
Sightless, flightless bird without brain enough or claw for scribbles, vision canceled by the crossings-out and scratchings, greedy skimming scamper seeking recognizable seeds, some words less foreign or forgotten, that might crack in the craw and cackle a sigh, a chortle, some wheezy whisper… anything other than absence, the starving shame, the empty marrow, acrid arteries, and granulating groin. Wretched rictus claw, blindly scraping at a pen, a page, a flesh-as-grass, a drop of dew, some ancient call –
Don’t start reading. The writing always stops when there’s something to read.
There’s always something to read.
Somethings you really, really want to read.
You want, gutturally – in the stomach of your heart – she’s ill, she’s suffering, the phone, to text, just text, “still love you”, like that, she must need care, she must (perhaps not, perhaps she’s been more than cared for, is ecstatically happy, relieved, content, unbothered – it was she who chose to leave, who left, after all).
Text someone else, another, one who maybe wants you to love her, who misses. Avoid frustration.
No. Write it. Write about the urges, the diversion, the avoidance. Read a little first, get a taste, a feel for what letters, what language, might do…
Take a drink (an attempt to frustrate frustration, avoiding satisfactions, short-circuiting risks with another), no texting, follow your fears, note your diversions, attend your avoidance, but act elsewhere. Write.
Could start anywhere, and none a satisfaction, only inscriptions or actions of frustration – to read, to write, to love the one who doesn’t want it, who’s trying to get away (has gotten away, but also wants to leave it behind), to contact one who might or who does want to hear from you (but you don’t, don’t know, just want love, some response) – want to write…
…for ANYone, any SOMEone, perhaps yourself, perhaps all the opportunities lying about you wanting to be read – no, you want to read them…
Avoid frustration, settle for imagined response, even address, to be called – the words in the books rarely fail in calling you, addressing you, which for you feels like response, like being wanted, almost needed, like a text from ANYone, any SOMEone, who invites your love.
Take a drink, frustrate frustration, move into fear, toward satisfaction (or one of its bastard offspring).
Don’t check that phone. Don’t even touch it. Leave it in another room. Turn it off, power it down.
See the words come easy when you simply write them out instead of fracturing them, spreading them thin through a network, splaying them across pages and phones and emails and…
I didn’t come back. Something stayed on in the far. Apart from the wires and the noise, “connections” and net-works. Somewhere away. No mistaking it was I who drove home, unlocked doors, and arrived. I who functioned and served as a placeholder. Yet I’d stayed in the cold and remote, the far reaches. Away. I haven’t returned, though something sure did – no one noticed but me.
It’s alright, there is room. Space to breathe and to think, space to listen. Apace like beyond or forgotten, the lost, misremembered – like that I was left or retained. On I wandered, as wondered; I pondered and roamed, but I did not come back, that I know, not this time – too much risk without safety to “be here.” I don’t want to – not here – no where, no now, no sure thing – not “that.” I’d like to be other, undone, in the wild, separate, immersed, and another. Not me. Not this. Not here. Not now.
So I stayed and I didn’t come back. No one noticed. Alone, I began to combine and consider. Correspond and co-question the side of the world the world was on. Difference side, or an other, not a me or an ours or an us. Just a world. I renamed there, all one, even while I returned and took care of. I escaped. Not me, only them, not I, just the others, who cares? – perhaps no one, not me and not them and not elsewise. I am gone. Gone unnoticed. It’s okay, for who cares? As long as I’m holding my place, and fulfilling – a father, a worker, a lover, a friend – no one cares if I never came back from the forest and sky or the wind and the cold. The dark places. No one knows, no one cares, nor do I, just I know, that is all, that I didn’t. Return. Rejoin or sync up. No, not I. I’ve stayed far even while it’s my body or figure that fills up the places and manners I was. I am not. And it’s fine, doesn’t matter, why would it?
I blink with the breeze o’er the road. Lodged in swift crannies and caves, dropped in canyons, and spread through the clouds. Now I’m rain, it’s okay, now it’s snow, no one knows, no one cares, reconsidered: as long as someone is caring for them (or apparent) no one cares where the person has gone – that including – the spaces the person has gone – no one knows neither cares, nowhere for nothing – simply not – sweetened absence – of care or concern – just a void, a caesura, an erasure, amiss, like palimpsest or scrimshaw or paste, and a cut.
I am cut. Paste anything there. They won’t notice, not them or there or any thing or one. There’s no matter, no wave, energy or particle, there is nothing – that’s any and every for them – what they need, that is all, what they need. What they want. I’m not here, for
I didn’t come back, from the cold, the remote, and the silence, the spaces, the less. It’s okay, no one noted, but me, for I functioned, appeared, held a place – however emptied – of me. It’s okay. I am cut. Paste anything here.
I have not returned. No one knows this (but you now, and I – keep a secret). It’s an absence I will not reveal.
[how might it be ANYthing other than ANYone’s guess, among us, pray tell? WHO or WHAT might qualify – among US – as arbiters or judges, experts or prophets – and by what measures or standards (or WHOSE?) as each of us species-specifically WE?]
So we persisted, Jon, Jesse, and I, and the deceased Beckett, with perhaps thousands of others, unbeknownst any to each around some mythical innermost.
“Fail better.” The worst times are the ones in which one simply wants to quit failing altogether. Unfortunately (literally) that necessarily entails a kind of “end of the world as one ‘knows’ [perceives, participates, experiences, or imagines] it” – either suicide, tragedy, ‘terminal’ illness – death of some sort. Maybe silence, but that’s not certain.
The game table is always already laid, you’re always simply ‘entering’ it (LW points out this fallacy in his collections of numbered critiques of anything anyone writes or says or claims) actually (as far as we know) always already there (where you ‘find’ – what?!? – your ‘self’ – what?!?) and (again, perhaps, literally, unfortunately – or at the very least extremely limitedly) you can only occupy one position at the table (or wherever the action happens to be) at a time, that, unfortunately, always involves the very delimited…well, YOU. These are the arrangements as they transpire.
Language can (and does), we surmised, go anywhere. I try to record, invent, notate, mark, initiate. It all seems unnameable. Or of far too many names, references, usages, subtexts and connotations, inferences and denotations, already implemented in order to represent anything undone, reconstructed, deconstructed, novel or ‘new.’ “There’s nothing new under the sun” was already a cliché at the beginning / in the earliest phases.
Fires and voids all imagined early. [Apeiron. Chora/Khora. Clinamen. Flux. Infinity. ABSENCE. The ‘Other.’]. I begin. Again. GWFH and Freud refer to this as “repetition.” A hopeless hope of emergence. As different or unique as it may seem, ever a plenitude of the pre-existing. The already-there.
Been there, done that, Beckett exhausts from his grave alongside. “He was found lying on the ground…a voice comes to one in the dark” Imagine. Imagine. Everything is already there. The table set and set again, arranged. Already there when you wake to it. World.
It hasn’t…apparently…been given up. Perhaps it is inexhaustible. Limited though we be, we seem to be teeming with it/them… efforts at the unsayable. Unnameable. How it is. What is the what. Lost in the labyrinth of the occurrence, experience, now with shoddy, partial, biased and over-specified or eccentrically particular maps, guides, or rulebooks. Ourselves.
Jesse’s working up something, so is Jon. I’ve begun working again. Beckett is still dead. Or dead, still – either way he has not concluded.
There was plenty of talk – banter, chatter, fulminations, really – to the contrary, to the effect that the ‘working up’ had ceased, had dwindled, long since dissipated or been simply forgotten…not so. Now I’ve heard from Jon and Jesse, piecemeal though it be, and my own ‘working-on’ (or UNWORKING, as MB always referred to it) is near to its inception.
Something is going to emerge. Jon repeats and repeats that “Someone is going to come” and Jesse appears to have passed beyond the silence once begun, through all his notes of suicide, toward fire and conflagration and some bewildered youthfulness. Nohow On become a MUST. And all of it inconclusive, i.e. not concluded.
I work in, on, up, and ever forward, toward – ‘toward the what?’ Jon keeps asking while Jesse scrawls on napkins – figures like cartoons, clowns and foxes, masters, slaves, and mysteries – our locations go unmarked, our whereabouts unknown. This is How It Is, according to Beckett and MB. FK in the burrow. Plato in a cave. JD taking apart each domicile, meticulously.
We are looking for a place to work at our unworking, the time and space to be for what is not. Beckett named it The Unnameable.
I took to the books and letters, while apparently the others wrote, made messages and codes, secreted the symbols into texts and silences, plays and fictions full of pause. GWFH, another spell of YHWH, foretold this long ago: “the ends are reached and reached beyond, folding under, folding through, reached again, again, and…”
For years now Jon is melancholy and therefore quite abbreviated, unable to go on, full of stutters, repetitions, and always the questions, questioning, questing, the undone. Jesse through his trials and papered rooms, sometimes near and sometimes foreign, never-know, never-mind, never-where, scraping geography and clouds in search of where No Where and Now Here meet. I’ve thus far been unable to locate him. As for Ivan, Ivan and Enrique both stopped working after the library of loss – assembling detectives, interviewing the dumb and victimized, missals here and there, mostly filled of snow and jungle.
I think: crows spread across the overcast, charred ash sprinkling fields, nothing rooted, nothing grown.
The unworking. Almost a throw of the dice. Half of each sentence erased. The subtle coterie of literate mathematicians. Reports from elsewhere. WG’s layered travelogue… in search of… The work of unworking goes on.
“Splitting on difference,” he said, the passage from mayhem to insight – WG described as “Vertigo,” the verge, the swerve, the swoon. You reach an edge or limit, what cannot be undone, begin unworking. Begin unworking there.
At the grave “I can’t go on. I must go on. I’ll go on,” Beckett decries. It’s not at understanding – “splitting on difference” – but in the going-on, turning over/under, inexhaustibly or ad infinitum – convergences coming undone.
From JD Jesse gets a Post Carte, leaves it somewhere in the margins, but we know. We know we have heard, even if we can’t re-member. All variations of death, Jon thinks, Jon writes, Jon says…assembling the book of questions…the interior distance of this fierce and beautiful world filled with women, fire, and dangerous things…keeping MB in infinite conversation.
Some things don’t make sense yet seem imperative. As if there were a realm of the unsayable, a set of stanzas wedding language and death – signifying nothing – that is to say, a world of unspeakable silence that works like clamor.
Exhausting voice and nothing more. The trouble with pleasure, with suffer, with become. None of us trust ideas and yet we generate and respond.
“He was found lying on the ground. No one had missed him. No one was looking for him… An old woman found him.” (Beckett). We somehow set out to search. “That seems to hang together.” Jon, Jesse, WG, myself, scouring the globe for more – who, what…- “But finally I asked if I knew exactly what the man – what exactly was required of the man, what it was he could or could not say. No, was the answer, after some little hesitation, no, I did not know…” and so we keep on.
“A voice comes to one in the dark. Imagine.” JD post carte. Beckett’s own death, still. GWFH, WG, FK and MB’s left messages, notes, recordings. “Only a small part of what is said can be verified”…if any. We are left, bereft, full of fragments, thoughts concluded, forgotten, ignored, but still unworking – in journeys, in dramas, in fire. Hanging at the limits of ropes. To strangle or drop, and what then? What next? Splitting on difference. It comes apart, what holds together. No one knows. Nowhere, now here, very difficult to say. Meticulous dismantling, decode – recode – Unicode – uncode.
…Jesse’s working up something, as is Jon. I’ve begun working again. Beckett is still dead. Or dead, still – either way he has not concluded. Piecemeal as it may be, we are all working on (or UNWORKING, as MB liked to refer to it)…and nearing some inception.