Without Criteria: Laramie

Picasso - don quixote

Laramie shoots and kills.  Laramie loves and captures.  Catches and release.

Riding along the ridge, singing, swearing, singing.  This journey’s a long time coming.

The need to get away.  For autonomy.  To be self-called.  To begin after all of this and that.  Recall and resound.  Taking stock.

He’s always been this way – a little undomesticated.  A touch of untamed wild.  Never finding a place.  Never quite belonging.

Boundaries forged by relation and response (-ability) all forwarding to limits, cages, toward constraints or restraint he can not abide.  Each vocation or program, discipline or field, replete with vocabularies and methods, praxis and behaviors misfitting to degrees he finds it hard to accept.  A ‘lone wolf,’ ‘self-made man,’ a patent failure or ‘with no name.’  Renegade?

He rides.  The shuffling flanks feel heavy under him, providing awareness of his own weight.  Considers Alias, and thinks how both do not belong.  How adamant and vehement he himself cries freedom, how Alias skinnies and wriggles past the gates.

How neither could ever be said to have ‘succeeded.’  How both (in his mind) would never have failed.  How neither and both are alike.  Neither and both are so different.  Neither and both alive.

Rides on.  Too old for all this but he’ll camp out tonight.  To prove to himself that he’s old both and wild.  Yet.  That he aches to be tamed and untame.  Yearns to belong, independently.  The want for a self that is selfless.  The urge for a course without banks.

Laramie wants to be world, alive.  Wants to be fertile and virile, viral, untrained.  Wants claimed and confessed-for, wants derided and praised.

“We’re the renegade scholars,” sometimes he would say, “learning the lingo and undoing like acid its heart.”  “We master and tell of its weakness, expert novitiates in all.”  “We unwind and unravel.  Travel and root.  We are rhizome,” he says, “drawn out from anywhere.  We absorb and vituperate, ingest and expel.”

He rides, and he rides, in love with the muscling flanks.  The wind tearing through hair and beard, blistering cheeks, stinging his eyes.  There are tears.  Laramie swallows.  The sorrow and joy are one.  Life and its death copulating…heaving and sweating, oily and dry to the bone.  He is brittle.

Laramie is needing to stop, and he feels it.  His body is singing – pain tells.  Time is ripe.  There’s an end.  It is coming.  Unrolling his pack…here it goes…

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Alias Impassive

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Alias awakens to disquiet.  Comprehension out of joint.  The motions, the motions, but nothing complies.  He does not feel so he touches the knee of his son.  Yes, he seems to be there.  Words with their sayings and tellings aren’t meaning.  Perhaps he hears.  Feels he doesn’t have pants on, but perceivably they’re there.  Goes to bathroom, masturbates, conjuring images of his love.  Disconnect.  He is not sure that he is here.  Or where it is he is.

Not the trees, not the road, not his car.  Many things are missing.  Not his thoughts.  Not pets, not postal service, not sky.  He’s come unfastened.

The motions, the motions, he makes coffee.  The motions, the motions, he showers.  But did he use shampoo?  Deodorize his pits?  Remember the drop of cream?  Are those his feet?  Walking into work they all take notice.  Is he bleeding?  Checks his hair, his face, his clothing.  Is he stinking unawares?  Deactivated and decoupled, unable to correlate.  He’s in his chair.

He’ll go for water.  He’ll check again.  He’ll look through letters, notes, to-dos, he’ll use his fingers.  He seems inoperable, confused.  They’re noticing.  He hasn’t spoken.  He puts on music.  Sits again.  He looks at language, hears some sounds.  He’s not authorial, nothing gives direction, nothing issues commands.    Disjointed and isolate.

He tries to sleep.  The dreams don’t follow, the eyes don’t rest.  He is confused.  He is detached.  He looks at pictures, attempts a memory.  Everything is near and quite intangible.  Everything is distant.  He cannot cry.  He cannot feel it.  He isn’t thinking anymore.  Something is unhinged.

The motions slow, the motions blur.  Not conscientious.  No recognize.  It seems there are duties.  It seems related.  It seems forgotten or never begun.  He’s too much there and not enough.  Unavoidable and out of sorts.  He cannot hide and there are others.  He tries the motions, and the motions, and they’re still without sound.  He can’t compute.  Head in his hands on his desk.  His eyes are burning.  He can’t find pain, locate discomfort.  No ability to take account.

He pushes objects.  Cuts his palm.  He walks again.  The motions, the motions.  There is no wind.  The sun pervasive.  He sees some plants.  They are not there.  They have not grown.  He is alone and everything knows this.  Dissociated.  He’ll try again.  What will he try?  He’ll try the motions, he’ll try the motions.

Alias motions with his hand.  It comes undone, it does not signal, there is no shadow.  Too much shadow.  He looks around.  There are the others.  They seem to wince, to look too much, to look away.  There is no commerce.  There is no passage.  He sits again.  He hears a sound.  He thinks the hearing.  He tries his luck.  There is no luck.  He wants to realize.  Anything.  Something.  Perhaps.  Maybe.  Motions, motions, motions.  He is not moving.  Things are vacant.

Alias impassive.  He tries to speak.  No one to speak with.  He works at thoughts.  All misremembered.  He’ll try again, he’ll try the motions, keep at the motions, the motions.  All the motions he will try.  He has no purpose.  The motions fail.  Vacuous and without intention.  Was only trying, was just to see.  He cannot see it.  The motions fail.  He moves again.  Things are dissolving.  Disestablished.  Without relation.

He calls the dog, he has no voice.  There’s no response.  He is within a vast alone.  He is not happy.  He is not sad.  He’s unaffected.  He tries the motions.  He tries again.  After all he will stop trying.  Sometime later he’ll give up, but now he tries.  He tries the motions.  He tries again.  He is disquiet, and without end…

Laramie begs “OFF,” or, what happens is parting

What happens is parting…

The incommensurable does not lie outside of language.  It is language.

– Werner Hamacher, Minima Philologica –

“Off” bothered Alias.  It aggravates Alias that Laramie only and simply, states and declares the term “off.”

Strikes him as unfair.  Short-shrift.   Foregone.  An easy conclusion.  A self-imposed or autocratic EXIT.  Cheap escape.

Conversation (that day) silenced (muted) and dulled.  It soured.  When participants elect not to speak their minds or piece, peace or conflict, new tensions are introduced.  Silence [chosen, selected, fought for (or against), willed] intentional silence effects scenarios like speech.  Withdrawal.

Alias tells him; ‘Refusal to speak equals a sort of speaking.  We are both ‘in it.’”

“Off.” Laramie repeated, simply, only, just “off.”  And, “the switch can be binary, non-complex, Alias, simply a choice – ‘I love you,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘I would prefer not to,’ – ‘no,’ – OFF – please allow me that.  I am tired.  You are my friend.  All is well.  It is good.  Life is hard.  Love is pain…OFF.”

The large, long, horizony cosmic swath of atmosphere containing and surrounding human interaction (in this case, in any case) snaps.  It fractures.  The environment (in this case, with the pronunciation of ‘OFF’) simply breaks.

There is quiet (as in) silent (as in) absence of sound, stillness of action, stasis of communion, of commerce, connection –

VACUUM.  REFUSAL.  A plea and a begging to STOP.  QUIT.  CEASE.  To not continue, to NOT go on.  A demanding request for an end.

Laramie states, speaks, invokes, complains, retorts, confesses, professes, declares and pleads and laments, quite simply, to his dearest, nearest and closest confidante, companion, friend and interlocutor – “OFF.”

Laramie chooses.

Alias wants to honor…

grieves, requests, rescinds,

carries on…

evoking ambiguity, anonymity, fiction and untruth.

The calf.

The finch and bluejay and weasel.

Deer, cow, pasture, thistle.

Friends and morning-glories.

The sun, the air; clouds and mid-day.

Company.

Revoked.

 

Laramie Poeticus

Laramie liked to think himself a poet.  One attuned, natural, native to his world(s).  He liked to think he had unique feelings, perhaps an “insight,” an acute attention – that maybe he saw just a little bit more than others saw.  And was able to say so.

A farmer-cowboy type from the upper Midwest, he played a lot of sports and performed muscled labor – at times enjoying the solitude of pasture rides and the company of large mammals.  He felt a “care,” not sure for what, suspect he’d call it a kind of “connection” – with crop growth, animals, the waters and the skies.  And felt he could say so.  And he could sing.  Musician, farmer, cowboy, son.  Husband, scientist, laboring man.  Father, friend, and “poet” (he might say).  Laramie James Backstagger, dearly known to Alias.

“When you’re making it – forming words or music – do you feel somehow that you’re ‘getting it’?” Alias might ask, as they ambled the fields chopping at thistles, remedying fence.  “Do words add to experience or just chop it up?  Diminish?  Reduce?” Alias chimed.

Laramie would go silent, plodding along, smelling and listening.  Looking.

At times they’d play basketball, tennis (this was all in their youth, Alias having blown out his knees at the pigskin).  And careful.

They both went on to cities: education, enlightenment, the ‘experience’ of cultural promises.  They still had their debts to pay.

“I mean, when you ‘see’ it, or ‘hear’ it, are immersed – it’s not seeing or hearing or sensing – am I right? It’s just being – and then – ?” Alias prodded, “and then – what happens?”  “You hear language, or find it or forge it, dream times or ‘intuit,’ you consider ways you’d be able to MARK it – note it down (letters or score) – recount or recreate it – even extend or rescind it – and that all seems like media to me: communication: expression or history or talk…but reduced.  Reduced to what YOU can comprise or compose – not the ‘same’ as the moments, trembling in the web, and borrowing, borrowing, borrowing – from the wind and the trees, weather and bees, family and learning, working and friends – and our culture! – all funneled and cored to some desiccated fraction of bone – eviscerated – ‘HERE LIES LARAMIE’S TAKE’: some words or an etude or painting.  Even action.  Even sowing or reaping or pruning or care…’HERE LIES LARAMIE’S TAKE’ – wow!  Really?!  Amazing!  One moment made this?!  AND WHAT CARES?  WHAT MATTERS?  WHAT PURPOSE OR POINT, BENEFIT OR CONSEQUENCE…the next ‘now’?!”

Alias could go on and on like this.  Often doing what he’d just described or decried.

And Laramie’d slow, maybe stop, often sit, and stare out.  Have a smoke (he didn’t smoke, but pretended – his children and wife didn’t like it).  And Alias would drink and get wiser.  A little calmer and sad.  And all might go quiet, save the world always humming.

Laramie Backstagger sighed.

“Well?  Whadda ya think?” challenged Alias – “how is it for you when you speak, feel or sing?”

And how would he know, ailing Laramie?  Been too many years of conflicting events and results and mixed feelings.  Too many miles that worked out without working, or failed for the working too much.  “I’m uncertain,” he said, “I’m uncertain.”  “But you’re pushing at something in me.”

By now Alias was off on his own like a mammal, had concocted a scent for to trail.  Maybe the ache was for sharing the thing they were sharing: agreement.  Maybe to get through the whole business at once, simultaneously.  Maybe to not be divided and different or just pieces of things – to be doubled or tripled or multiple?  Harlequin – pieceworked and patched, back then and now and some future.  An assemblage, a collage wanting melding.

“All uncertain,” Laramie said.  “I can’t know, just I do it and feelings will follow.  New ones.  Pains from smashed understandings, joys from promising starts, aches at the poorness I lend them – but something goes on, carries forth – it don’t end with the birds and the breeze.  The words have it too, and the voices.  The shapes and the meanings and lines.  Even tones.  It goes on, both the good and the ill, and I’m part, or it seems such.”

“How ‘bout you?” Laramie wants to know.  “Why do you carry on and keep blabbing,” he taunts.

“Just to borrow,” Harlequin murmurs.  “Just to steal.”  “To have something to say.  To keep silent.  To wish that it might carry on.”  “It’s what we’ve got, all these things.  Try as I might, I don’t know what else to do, and at times feel compelled, god dammit.  Like Foucault or Blanchot or Spinoza.  Or Buddha or Christ, Kafka or little Jane,” (little Jane was the crazy old lady – lived two miles from the Backstagger’s farm – she’d sparkle to company no matter the cause and just cackle and croon – mixing nonsense and stories, opinions and facts, just talking and talking and talking.  No one knew if it ceased when they left, it never stopped within range of the hearing).

“I hear you” said Laramie, “I see.”  To which Alias always replied “But you don’t – I don’t know that.  Have no method of saying it’s true.”  And they’d keep walking on…toward night.

 

Alias (outside) – more from the notebooks

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Alias “boyfriend,” alias “daddy,” alias “instructor,” alias “friend.”  Alias “person.”  Alias “student,” alias “son;” alias “scholar,” alias “man.”

Alias “Alias.”  Always additional roles (or functions, behaviors, responses, and on…)

I.e. disciplines: philosophy, sociology, science.  Alias “arts” and “humanities” and “lover” and “partner” and “parent.”  Alias “human.”  Alias everyone.  I.e. no one.

Alias Ignatius Evgeny Harlequin, a simple human pattern, sample, example, i.e. so-far-survivor.  It’s nothing, really, but something enough to write.

“His” body distinct in the way of all bodies, but matching no cultural icon.  “His” mind above average – no matter.  Mattered/matters little, just a human.  Related to others in lieu of dependencies – that “human” is not a species that can live on its own.  Therefore at least elements of an immediate surround are, well, ALWAYS, essential.  Genuinely.  Utterly.  Whether air or land or water; people, chemicals, fuel.  No human exists without others.  Simply.

Therefore (i.e.) even the meaningless, unnoticeable Alias Harlequin could not survive without a surround.  But might his “surround” survive without him?  On this query, Alias’ presence (and present) is hung.