“he accepted each moment

shocked by having a face in the mirror

or torn away from it by the beauty of the world”

– from Zen by Stephen Berg

“…its mumbled inadequacy reminds us always

In this world how little can be communicated.

And for these, they too are only tokens

Of what there is no word for:…”

– from To Dido by W. S. Merwin

Then this is my canvas, my clay, the space I am allotted to “begin.”  “To write what I feel” as they put it.  From a palette of words, of letters, the shapes of sounds.

What color would they be?  What lines and outlines?  What surfaces, form?  What I am representing onto this blank?  When or where or what or how is it / was it present before this?  Had I more than a pen I might draw.  Monochrome doesn’t suit the subject I observe.  (“The greater the challenge” I suppose they or you or I might suggest – ack).

As if it were a can to pour.  A brush to dab or spread.  A chisel to pound or some multi-dimensional possibility.  No – one color, a flat surface, and whatever twisted lines I might make with this dark blood.

“Don’t simply regurgitate your story,” I heard, “write things we don’t already know or are able to find out in multitudes of ways.”  This is why “feelings” you say (they say).  Do we really have feelings bereft of ideas?

I imagine this is what is meant by declension.  Some traceable undoing.  Some fodder to deconstruct, patterns or plot recognition: analysis.  Is that so?  “Feelings” you say?

“I began to write down the things I feel,” I wrote, firstly, quoting them, but quickly realizing that that was a quote of a quote, and perhaps out of context, perhaps accidental, of another I have great affinity for, of mind, form and content, but would not dare or hope to repeat or revise.  Stillborn.  Abort.

“Feelings.”  And how might I gain access to this?  These?  Are not, spoken, emotions dissolved?  Transformed into some other reality?  Or fiction?  Does anyone even know yet what we talk about when we talk about “emotion”?  (I suspect there is a sort of object to them/it out there somewhere to be found and to dissect, describe, observe or experiment with – on the in-fernal-ternet or recordings of the surgings of the brain, the body, our systems).  Probably it goes without saying, but I have no “access” here.  “In” here.

How then should I represent void?  And again I ask – where/who/how ever might void have ever been presented in the first place as some natural sign I might re-present?  This is what a medium is for, no?  An intermediary between?  A vehicle or method of expression, disclosure, communication, power?  So what is this barely material of ink and pulp (one color or hue each, mind you!) between?

Them or you and my emotions?  Is that it?  One unknown and untranslatable to another?  I might describe here or caricature the you or them I imagine examining this frame, this “picture,” but who would pretend or proffer that I might, in that process, be knowing them to you?  And like the immateriality of an inner world, even if I could copy all the pulses, darts, knots and dashes of a stenciling electric light on some screen or render a mapping of neuronal activities imaged in all my various “states.”  What would be revealed in that?  What more would ANY of us know?

The electricity and charges my brain produces we might label “agitated subject,” or “concentrated subject,” “depressed subject,” “gazing subject,” “excited,” “disregulated,” and so on.  Within each of which (and millions of others besides) the terms occur so ambiguously and objective-arbitrarily we end further away than we began.

Alas, it wearies me to consider.  Efforts doomed and erroneous at the outset…scoffable.  How did such a project even crop up amongst us?  What did we think we might uncover?  (Ah, back to the mysterious ocean or caves from which we may have sprung!  Our reptilian selves, our triune brains, conjectures, conjectures, wild-ass-hairs of a nightmare!)

“Fine” they gently, politely nod, “fine.”  You (me/I) are doing well.  Don’t get hung up on “feelings” “emotions” terms – just put pen to paper, let’s just see what comes forth.  Don’t get “hung up on words” eh?  Yet make more words.  Is not inquiry senseless?  I rest my case.  I drain and break the pen.  If only I had flame at my disposal.


The Results in 79 words

The brothers knew it wasn’t right, what they had done.  Though Alfred had thought it was, before.  Not now, though, no one would argue the results.  Were bad.  Were harmful.  Would be difficult to live away, if ever.  Ends were so unlike their means, and either could be culpable.  The boys knew that now, blaming as they did each other, by which I mean, themselves.  Stuck with it, the consequences, are also new beginnings.  Arden took the cue.

N Filbert 2012


And when he comes to the end he often has the sensation that he hasn’t gotten very far.

As if he’d just begun

or that it seemed quite near to where he’d started from

that foreign felt familiar and a bit of vice-versa

Where had he gotten?  And where had he set out from?  And when?  What had moved him from place to place, situation through situation and so on?

Max Frisch came to mind.  He’d once said or written that “a man has been through an experience, now he is looking for the story to go with it – you can’t live with an experience that remains without a story…”

which brought to mind everything he knew about the world and everything he’d ever read or seen and everything he didn’t know but may have heard of, and everyone he’d ever met or fathered, loved or hated, felt indifferent or mildly agitated by, animals, trees, chemical theories, in short, whatever remained, at this point, in his memory, mind, consciousness and/or body, however one might denote such a thing,

and he wondered if there was a story to go with it, or a thousand stories, or layers upon layers of inextricable stories, or if he hadn’t got any?  Who would author the narrative?  Any narrative?


He must be at the end of it.  Something has assuredly happened, yes, he could swear he has “gone through an experience” (while remaining quite unsure of what that entails or might mean, or how to go about verifying or evaluating it).  Yet he’s quite sure that things have occurred, including, quite plausibly (it seems to him) maybe even himself as well as the myriad characters and events that are flooding his mind. Continue reading “He(II)”