Distortion of the Perceiving Eye/I

“the turned-to-water book…

with all that has room in it,

even without

language.”

– Paul Celan –

Decide to write the book-that-turns-to-water, as speech-that-turns-to-air.  All that rippling silence, even without language.

Someone asking: what is gesture?  movement?  expression-in-its-being?

Signification the silent razor.

Someone mentions music, which it claims “represents nothing at all,” (Michel Seuphor) and I doubt that: is there not expression?  confession?  some sonorous and vibratory friction or exhalation?  A “constant inscription of birth in innumerable ways…language is metaphor and metonymy, one cannot avoid it.”  (Helene Cixous)

[“where trace becomes existence” (Seuphor)]

I am tracing letters without a model, refusing to hub any wheel…

.

Out of its mouth: communication sounds.  The body moved likewise.  Undulant, suggesting.  only sounds, no discernible words.

Signification, perception, emotion, feeling, sensation… and then translations: prefrontal cortex: “meaning”?

A blockage.  Refusal.

Andre Malraux: “You are human when you can say no.”  Remembers Bartleby.

What is called ‘agency’?  Only negation?

This is how the story goes?

Prefers not to.

.

“Pleasures,” “pains.”  Pain wakes.  Pleasure lull(abie)s?

.

And when is the “system of nonknowledge” (and unknowing) not “unfinished” (Bataille) posthumous.  Post-humorous.  Generations.

What was it?  Ah, yes, the Book-that-turns-to-water.  Speech-to-air bubbles, balloons.  Hot air, as they say.  They?  We.

“even

without

language”

(someone wrote, silently saying).

.

“all that has room in it”

(same).

.

Of truth and genesis – constant inscriptions of birth.  Unthinking the point and the line.

“Not to worry about the rest of us.  Love you.”  (someone said).

.

This is the shaping of chaos, this hell of stories.

Unthinkable.

.

Unbearable lightness of being, this breath or stream of life.

Mismaking is an art (or so we hope, we think, desire, demand).

.

Men and apparitions.

[everything I letter down is plagiarism]

These – the margins of philosophy, a way of life.

Saying I no more.  Interior distance.

.

This is the writing of disaster: the book-that-turns-to-water.

Speaking turned to air.

Philosophy, the posthumous.  Dust.

.

Listening.

Abolishing freedom.

.

Text (from textare: to weave).

My documents.

My notes in the fog.

The trouble with pleasure.

.

Myopia.  My opium.

 

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How it is, part exponential

We followed the arc of the diver, losing it in the fog, wishing to make it out clear.  I might have said this meant “philosophy.”

“Poetry,” he said, “is utilizing known language to invoke the unknown.”  Or certaintly uncertainty, or something like that, which I liked, and indicated by asking what is not uncertain?

Your hands, the music.  My desire, a naming for them.  I think of your waist as a séance.

What is it to be crippled?  I keep trying to use words.

Another asked about the “arc of the diver.”  How should I know?  All of my sentences should be read as questions.  I wonder how divergent questions or commands might be… as statements.

She said, “it falls between.  It has to go somewhere.”  I guess we pressed it there… were poietic… since we couldn’t find a name.  “Dis-appearance” might be one.  Like a guess that can’t be falsified.

We all hold a paper marker printed “You are here.”  Perhaps paper is too substantial.  But it still seems like an invitation I wish we had.

Maybe this is why Albahari inscribed “Words are something else.”  We leave it at that.  And are flummoxed as to what “that” refers to.

Still we look.

You move like flocks of birds that wheel.  I’ve never comprehended “swarm.”  Mathematics doesn’t cut it, though it certainly uncertainly tries.

The telephone Pictionary of ear-mouth-brain when we issue sound or gaze.  Don’t foibles equal actions?  Parts of us experience this as violence, as valence.

Relation as a struggle to balance victimhood and perpetration.  Uncertainly.

When or where does this infiltrate unknown?

He went on to say…

I thought (imagined?) your ankles, knees, elbows and knuckles as adroit sworls in swift mountain streams.

So also losing it in the fog, hoping to remember where the trees were.  Philosophy.  Or was it the forest?

Poetry as ocean surface between “known”/unknown?  So wavy, so heaving.  No one said that.

The richest respect he gave was his readiness to call me “Nobody.”  Or “Anybody.”  Carte blanche.

She said.

I can hardly perceive what’s in your head now.  Potentia?  An horizon of waves.  A place where words press images press events, the banal.  Perhaps.  Uncertain sphere of unknowing?  They say learning happens there.  Like a cell in a culture, animal in terrain.  Cacophony of dreams.

Each time we encounter.

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.

Now, and so on: an addendum

I do not doubt that we are all capable of learning to freeze.  Or starve to death, for that matter.  Death will not be a stranger for any, for long.

.

There are reasons we are constituted in uncertainty.

We are able to learn.

Everyone will.

.

It’s why I told her how much I trusted her.  To change.  And therefore never knew anything, asking so many questions, again and then again, about plans.  Who knew when?  or then?  or now?  I said.  Things fluctuate as they die.

Or I never knew.  Having so little to do with facts or truth, beliefs or trust.  IS is always something else.  Or here is always different.  NOW has never been, in other words.  Even if the words are the same.

.

And. So. On.

Apparently.

.

There is music.  And recognition – recognizability – (memory?) – a passion for pattern, a shine to similar, a longing for location, locatability.  For what it’s worth – a pronounced inaccuracy and pro-found nostalgia.  As the ‘similar’ is founded on what’s been experienced before (pro-found), and at least less than (or more?) than present.  Pre-sent?  NOW was given / sent before?  I doubt that… but feel wary that that’s all we’ll ever know, never quite catching up to being.

In another sense: the inherent lag of perception.  How old (again, pre-supposedly) are the stars we ‘see’?  Or the squirrel on yonder branch; your eyes across the table; our held hands… by the time they register?

What happens, “now”?  And why are we occupied with what we call “next” when we can’t even exist at once’s occurring?  Seeking a head start?  A virtual or imagined pre-sent?

.

Yes I heard what you said…after you’d said it.

There’s our “now.”

The cut from stepping on glass… and then the pain… later.

The bite of food, licks of flesh, kisses… and then the tasting.

The breeze and then the leaf, light and then its outline.  Mostly shadow.

“Hello,” I reply in turn, but your head already bowed and path resumed, on the far sidewalk.

.

I fall behind.

.

Suppose this is why, in conversation, ever losing our way in delay, we ask “where were we?” rather than “where are we?”  What is it we wish to know?  Where do we hope to be with one another?

As I was saying – with requisite gap between whatever may have been transpiring in my ‘mind’ (or whereverywhere thinking occurs) and the sludgy musculature, instruments, and carefully crafted formulation of alphabetic symbols to display attempts of communication or composures…

…now I’ve forgotten…

Ways of Naysaying

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.

Negotiations.

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.

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.

 

 

Meaning

…still seems

to occupy us

as an open question

 

who (yet) knows

what language means?

 

I love/d you.

What more is wanted

ever?

 

With all of its not

mattering, like changing

seasons, world

 

going on.  A hawk

(or owl) shrieks

‘beauty’

 

We ask again

at the canyon,

the peak, the abyss,

 

And I say simply

‘You are beautiful,

Thank you…

 

therefore I love you.’

 

Nothing meaning

but some report,

some expression –

 

Elementary assignment:

This is why I’m alive.

Possessives and plurals,

the mysteries remain.

http://www.schirn-peace.org/en/post/marcus-steinweg-notizen-zur-liebe/

Learning-With, Working In-Between

I found the following paper when cleaning up our dining room table to prepare for dinner:

Ida_Blog

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”

Lacks.

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…

Without which…nothing?

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…

Buechner_blog

“Internal Monologue” (Virno)

“Thoughts constituted by non-uttered wordsThis monologue always – ‘I speak’”

Paolo Virno – Word Became Flesh

“its thisness, then, cannot be fully articulable since any such articulation would require the articulation of a complete context, which in all cases is the world…often the experience includes an awareness of not being able to give an account of the this

Jan Zwicky – Wisdom & Metaphor

“457. Yes: meaning something is like going up to someone”

Ludwig Wittgenstein – Philosophical Investigations

“…I wept up to a great age, never having really evolved in the fields of affection and passion, in spite of my experiences”

Samuel Beckett – Malone Dies

“to frame the unsayable, & mute the sayable… he was the singing and the no one there…”

Larry Levis – The Darkening Trapeze

“All this must be considered as if spoken by a character in a novel – or rather by several characters”

Roland Barthes – Roland Barthes

*****************

– I believe I told them that “all language was like a metaphor” in several characters.

I heard nothing, I said to myself, as if nothing were something that might be heard.

Still I stroked her ankle, index-finger-pad to delicate-bird-bone.  And lip.  Finding textures and surfaces with lips and tongue.  Precarious…it never lasts.  Taste and touch are like that [metaphor] immediate.

Am I speaking when I write?  What is happening now?

Several characters.

– “often the experience…includes an awareness of not being able…” (J. Zwicky)

She tasted of…

“…to give an account of the this…” (Zwicky)

…coffee grounds, sandalwood, humidity, and turquoise…

I left off my exploring.

What is it like [metaphor] to…?

I told them that ‘I speak’ is a metaphor…as is indeed all the rest having to do with language.

(consolations of philosophy)

I hear nothing when I talk with myself. [metaphors].

The sounds of flying a kite.

It’s rare that I am naked.  But “yes: meaning is like going up to someone” (L.W.)…some sort of connection is made (some convergent affect) and a resolution leaks open…resonance…endlessly (perhaps).

“I wept up to a great age”…by which we always mean the aggregate…which seems quite less than my ‘great age’, if ever there was one.

What is ‘great’ like? [metaphor]

Once I was younger…

– Always wished you’d known –

Are photographs metaphors?

I said that ‘nothing made is like.’

(“in spite of my experience”)

“Did I say I only say a small proportion of the things that come into my head?” (ontology of perception) (Samuel Beckett)

I intended to quote: “It is a pretty little object, like a – no, it is like nothing” (Samuel Beckett)

But what is ‘nothing’ like?  A “pretty little object”?

We know what he means (“like going up to someone”) … I was naked, I tasted.

You know the story… “I wept up to a great age.”  I touched, I tried, I felt.

What do you see?

Hardly ever the point.  Perception + Reflection = Imagination (perhaps) I told them – it’s a metaphor – a “crossing-over,” some traversal.  The trace of sweat behind her knee just above the calf.

Once I was alive.

I crossed over.

Several characters: ‘I speak.’

“Affection.  Passion.” I said.  (what I had thought it was ‘to learn’ [metaphor]).

– “in spite of my experience” –

Perhaps language wasn’t made for speaking.

Someone.  Somewhere.  Maybe.  Here.  Now.

That thing that words do [metaphor].

The “experience of this”…”non-uttered words.”  Non-utterable?  Perhaps, this.  (I traced the swerve of her, its curvature, hair-smell and sounding…’I speak,’ non-uttering…)

What is writing?

I believe I was speaking of metaphor

Something crossed-over.

Nothing.

“Yes,” I said, “yes…” “it’s always alright to weep.”