Lettering

Dear Michael, Dear Jonathan, Dear Scott, Dear Laurie, Dear Lydia, Dear Sam; Dear Meghann, Dear Summer, Dear Tyler and Karl; Dear Edie, Dear Sara, Dear Mari; Dear Albert, Dear Paul, Dear Denise; Dear Tristan, Dear Aidan, Dear William; Dear Andy, Dear Pippin, Dear James; Dear Timothy, Dear Jada, Dear all of you who save my life from time to time, by being:

Perhaps I should not own a phone.  It’s Short Message Service, in my employ, allows a nearly ubiquitous, immediate reach of the text, from my thumbs.

Thank you for telling me about the exhibition, I have the retrospective tome near me even now, attempting to go in and near the two-dimensional images on paper.  It is not the same as being present to the sculptures and paintings, their ambience.  But now I know I could not move around them, nor touch them, I’d have only to use my eyes and very little of my body.

This obsession with connection.  Once I would have had to go to work unlinked to any of you for hours at a time.  Once my going home would mean your absence unless we arranged for sharing space and time.  Now I reach, I report, I ask and beg, and enter your lives like someone shoving a newspaper, pamphlet or flyer into your hands at will – without contact – propaganda blaring from speakerless speakers.

Your mails and email show deference and thought.  I am happy to have your works near at hand to consult and resort to time and again.  I see the care in the hand-writing, the pacing of thoughts, the reasoning reflection, the sense of your audience.  They lie about me on the floor, I can feel them, turn them, taste them if I wish.

Your phone makes a hum or a buzz.  An ejaculatory missive from Filbert again.  He’s lonely, he’s excited, he’s drunk.  He wants to share.  He needs to share.  He needs communique.  He wants connection.  He is not thinking of us, he suffers the duress of himself.  He spouts, he shouts, he slurs.  He insists he needs solitude and rest, needs quiet, less public.  At any hour, at all hours, these textual packets flow.

Perhaps I should not own a phone.

Where do the gaps that make the heart grow fonder bloom?  What is banal and what evental?

Thank you for your poem.  I will read it again and again.  Thank you for that clip of music, I repeat it throughout the days, when the mood demands an answer.  Thank you for your books, your artifacts, your gardens, your hands.  Thank you for your eye-contact (those of you I’ve sat or walked, camped or climbed with).  Thank you for the melodies of your particular voices.  Thank you for your hugs, your nourishing, your care.  Your listening.

I do remember the ground there, how it fell away desperately or rose violently into sky.  What the birds did.  Where the fire flowed.  Yes, the leaves.  Yes, the sleeping bags.  Here’s to the unknown trails, the stumbling, to whatever’s discovered.

I am sorry I flood your phones with less than thoughtful driveling – explosions of fear, anxiety, want.  Am I alone?  Am I alone?  Do I matter?  Does anyone want my voice?  Am I also missed?  But also love.  Yes, sometimes I merely wish to tell you the difference you make to being alive, that I feel you out there, somewhere…

Perhaps I should not own a phone.

Advertisements

Expectation

“Whether it makes any difference what you say – whether there is any point in it anyway; whether there is any point in saying anything anyway.”

– Rush Rhees, Wittgenstein & the possibility of discourse

It was the mystery that found us, all the unknown buried beneath and beyond.

She said to me, or rather she offered her hand, or rather we made eye contact, well, she greeted me and held out her hand and we looked at or into one another’s faces.  Just the surface of the ocean.  Seas and skies are larger than our imagining.

Say skin, language, thought, or feeling are flexible bordering insides and outsides, contained and beyond.  Something like that I thought, unknowingly.

He spoke to me, then hugged me, with an asking.  I couldn’t know the question, but I understood the words.  We seemed friendly and respectfully embraced, hesitant and expressive at once.  There’s a cliff at the end of the trail.  Sometimes I don’t remember.

Sharp curves on roads in mountainous terrain.  That sort of thing, voids that look empty but allow plummet.

And whether it makes any difference, she said.

Difference is made, apparently.

Mother used to tell me, what was it?  Her voices are clear, kind of, almost, but the words are lost in others.  Deep waves are like that, it seems; hard to follow or find, prominent and obvious while rocking the boat, regardless the size.  Clouds.  Wind makes little sense of skies.  Everything is out there.

Inside, it’s raining.

I was asked for a cigarette and large trees moved above rooftops.  She offered her hand the way he hugs me, my son playing music on the piano while a cat escapes and someone’s doing homework.  They say the ground goes deeply down beneath us, compiled by potential millennia.  Nobody knows, though we have tools to measure by.  Whatever those tools measure.

I remember first times.  Every time.  Only it’s perplexing that they’re exactly the same.

Does anything repeat?

Father got on me again about irresponsibilities, my dreaminess.  If only I’d been military I’d be disciplined.  Different.  She offered her hand plus an ankle, a hip, a breast, a womb.  I’d have values. The crook of a knee, a neckline.  Take responsibility.  He wanted it in my mouth – that feels best, he said.

What do I know?

Surfaces of oceans.

She stops and reads books.  I do.  There is music and a din of dialogue.  Raucous.  Discomfort.  Anxiety is familiar, always the first time again.

I am afraid.  Usually.  Deep water disturbs me.  No one knows.  Many are afraid of flying.

Crying is its own thing.  How is an ocean made?  I won’t succeed.

Whether it makes any difference – saying anything anyway.  Someone speaks at me.  Eyes meet.  A brush of lips.  A grasp of hand.  What is the question?  Skies and oceans.  Earth’s depths.  What do I understand?  Always ending begins, beginnings.  What ends.  What has no end?  It begins.  Again.  Always first times.  Nothing.

Her breath tastes good, inhaled.  His muscle.  Seawater burn.  Heartloss.  So much fresh air.  The turn is sharp.

Saying anything anyway: the point is whether, weather, difference…its repetition.

The how and why of her.  Of him.  Of it and other.

There I must have been when I saw her or felt it or once again the beginnings.  Once again the first time.  Always again.  Begin.  While ending.  While ends.

He said so – whether there is any point in saying anything.  He said what felt best when he hugged me, kindly.

She offered.  Someone asked for something.  Like surfaces on oceans.  Horizon lines.  The ground beneath our feet, beneath that.  Differences.  The above.  I cut my skin.

 

 

Michel Foucault: “Speech Begins After Death”

.

..does the pleasure of writing exist?  I don’t know.  One thing I feel certain of is that there’s a tremendous obligation to write.  This obligation to write, I don’t really know where it comes from.  As long as we haven’t started writing, it seems to be the most gratuitous, the most improbable thing, almost the most impossible, and one to which, in any case, we’ll never feel bound.  Then, at some point – is it the first page, the thousandth, the middle of the first book, or later?  I have no idea – we realize that we’re absolutely obligated to write.  This obligation is revealed to you, indicated in various ways.  For example, by the fact that we experience so much anxiety, so much tension if we haven’t finished that little page of writing, as we do each day.  By writing that page, you give yourself, you give to your existence, a form of absolution.  That absolution is essential for the day’s happiness.  It’s not the writing that’s happy, it’s the joy of existing that’s attached to writing, which is slightly different.  This is very paradoxical, very enigmatic, because how is it that the gesture – so vain, so fictive, so narcissistic, so self-involved – of sitting down at a table in the morning and covering a certain number of blank pages can have this effect of benediction for the remainder of the day?  How is the reality of things – our concerns, hunger, desire, love, sexuality, work – transfigured because we did that in the morning, or because we were able to do it during the day?  That’s very enigmatic.  For me, in any case, it’s one of the ways the obligation to write is manifested.

This obligation is also indicated by something else.  Ultimately, we always write not only to write the last book we will write, but, in some truly frenzied way – and this frenzy is present even in the most minimal gesture of writing – to write the last book in the world.  In truth, what we write at the moment of writing, the final sentence of the work we’re completing, is also the final sentence of the world, in that, afterward, there’s nothing more to say.  There’s a paroxysmal intent to exhaust language in the most insignificant sentence.  No doubt this is associated with the disequilibrium that exists between speech and language.  Language is what we use to construct an absolutely infinite number of sentences and utterances.  Speech, on the contrary, no matter how long or how diffuse, how supple, how atmospheric, how protoplasmic, how tethered to its future, is always finite, always limited.  We can never reach the end of language through speech, no matter how long we imagine it to be.  This inexhaustibility of language, which always holds speech in suspense in terms of a future that will never be completed, is another way of experiencing the obligation to write.  We write to reach the end of language, to reach the end of any possible language, to finally encompass the empty infinity of language through the plenitude of speech.

Another reason why writing is different from speaking is that we write to hide our face, to bury ourselves in our own writing.  We write so that the life around us, alongside us, outside, far from the sheet of paper, this life that’s not very funny but tiresome and filled with worry, exposed to others, is absorbed in that small rectangle of paper before our eyes and which we control.  Writing is a way of trying to evacuate, through the mysterious channels of pen and ink, the substance, not just of existence, but of the body, in those minuscule marks we make on paper.  To be nothing more, in terms of life, than this dead and jabbering scribbling that we’ve put on the white sheet of paper is what we dream about when we write.  But we never succeed in absorbing all that teeming life in the motionless swarm of letters.  Life always goes on outside the sheet of paper, continues to proliferate, keeps going, and is never pinned down to that small rectangle; the heavy volume of the body never succeeds in spreading itself across the surface of paper, we can never pass into that two-dimensional universe, that pure line of speech; we never succeed in becoming thin enough or adroit enough to be nothing more than the linearity of a text, and yet that’s what we hope to achieve.  So we keep trying, we continue to restrain ourselves, to take control of ourselves, to slip into the funnel of pen and ink, an infinite task, but the task to which we’ve dedicated ourselves.  We would feel justified if we no longer existed except in that minuscule shudder, that infinitesimal scratching that grows still and becomes, between the tip of the pen and the white surface of the paper, the point, the fragile site, the immediately vanished moment when a stationary mark appears once and for all, definitively established, legible only for others and which has lost any possibility of being aware of itself.  This type of suppression, of self-mortification in the transition to signs is, I believe, what also gives writing its character of obligation.  It’s an obligation without pleasure, you see, but, after all, when escaping an obligation leads to anxiety, when breaking the law leaves you so apprehensive and in such great disarray, isn’t obeying the law the greatest form of pleasure?  To obey an obligation whose origin is unknown, and the source of whose authority over us is equally unknown, to obey that – certainly narcissistic – law that weighs down on you, that hangs over you wherever you are, that, I think, is the pleasure of writing…

…I’m not an author.  First of all, I have no imagination.  I’m completely uninventive.  I’ve never even been able to conceive of something like the subject of a novel…I place myself resolutely on the side of the writers [in distinction – Roland Barthes – from authors] those for whom writing is transitive.  By that I mean those for whom writing is intended to designate, to show, to manifest outside itself something that, without it, would have remained if not hidden at least invisible.  For me, that’s where, in spite of everything, the enchantment of writing lies…I’m simply trying to make apparent what is very immediately present and at the same time invisible…I’d like to reveal something that’s too close for us to see, something right here, alongside us, but which we look through to something else…to define the proximity around us that orients the general field of our gaze and our knowledge…

So, for me, the role of writing is essentially one of distancing and of measuring distance.  To write is to position oneself in that distance that separates us from death and from what is dead…I’m in the distance between the speech of others and my own…In exercising my language, I’m measuring the difference with what we are not, and that’s why I said to you earlier that writing means losing one’s own face, one’s own existence.  I don’t write to give my existence the solidity of a monument.  I’m trying to absorb my own existence into the distance that separates it from death and, probably, by that same gesture, guides it toward death…

I’dd add that, in one sense, my head is empty when I begin to write, even though my mind is always directed toward a specific object.  Obviously, that means that, for me, writing is an exhausting activity, very difficult, filled with anxiety.  I’m always afraid of messing up; naturally, I mess up, I fail all the time.  This means that what encourages me to write isn’t so much the discovery or certainty of a certain relationship, of a certain truth, but rather the feeling I have of a certain kind of writing, a certain mode of operation of my writing, a certain style that will bring that distance into focus…

Foucault saisi par la révolution - Vacarme | Michel Foucault | Scoop.it

Ever-Unprepared

It’s said that “readiness is all,”

yet the readiness required

has no subject, and its object

can be anything

which portends – what – ?

we do not know

which is the point

and is beside it

 .

Turns out that knowing

neither how nor when nor what

nor where nor why

can still be useful –

ever-unprepared is our preparing

for all we cannot fathom

 .

getting used to

every there becoming here

drawn by perception

and a yes however secret

she arrives

and I, unready

.

open eyes

and take her in

with an open-handed

readiness,

is all,

and I receive

these many things I cannot fathom

 .

into this here

where I, bewildered

and ever-unprepared

and open-handed

 .

allow her to arrive

and arrive

and arrive

in waves of all

and getting ready

Research Respite

research overwhelm

In the midst of a day of feeling overwhelm faced with school projects, group projects, and individual research assignments, I woke anxious and needing voices to recall my core – the vibratory physiology of the aim of my experience – to write, creatively, freely, integrated and symbiotically brain-body-world…

I scanned my shelves for emergency care, and found it here:

Passages

quick quip for Friday Fictioneers

Copyright-Renee Homan Heath

Not as if we’ve much choice.  Forward?  Back?  If we could see a little further, higher, or what might be underneath.  There’s a reason we’re heading this direction, away from what’s behind, but still.  We needed water, we’re given sand.  Needing shelter, we find a beach.  It won’t do to stop here, but where do we go?  Carrying on is unknowing, all the same to me, and yet.  Something’s bound to open up, if we could locate a horizon.  You go on ahead, I’m surely unfit to lead.  Why does it always seem like this?

N Filbert 2013

…more fears…

My Anxiety

“Limits are what any of us are inside of”

-Charles Olson-

Deep in the cave of gates

latches and locks

and no moon

no light to speak of

silent and dark

and appropriately caged

unwound

Deep in the cave of gates

in the company of beasts

without vision

or light to see by

fearful and rabid

atrociously caged

unbound

 

Deep in the cave of gates

at risk and unhinged

without air

and promise of drowning

flailing incapacity

the autonomous cage

unfound

 

“The mechanisms that keep us from drowning are so fragile: and why us?”

-Anne Carson-