The Songs I Do Not Know (1)

“Tell me the songs you don’t know.”

Dan Beachy-Quick, Of Silence and Song

“–knowledge is made by oblivion.”

Sir Thomas Browne, in B-Q, Silence & Song

clips, or snippets,

the known as partial



the experienced


hymning (nearly celebrating)

its reverse –



i didn’t know

the sounds of

as they were

always changing –

ever never


so i made noise

my shapes

transparently novel (novice)


framing, marking, visibling

all i do not know –

every word an icon


all it’s not







Clarity of





thus every song i sing

i sing of what i do not know

or hear or dream or feel

i think

but do i tell of songs

i do not know

or sing not knowing?


would i recognize



do i?



it’s hard to tell

meaningful questions

from questioned





her eyes

the water




or passion


not known

i sing.

Continuing Reading Writing

“an ‘absoluteness of absence’ if writing is to be possible” – Jacques Derrida

Certain works by Samuel Beckett eventuate an environment of silence for me.  For instance, the brief poem “What is the Word?”

What Is the Word

folly –

folly for to –

for to –

what is the word –

folly from this –

all this –

folly from all this –

given –

folly given all this –

seeing –

folly seeing all this –

this –

what is the word –

this there –

this this here –

all this this here –

folly given all this –

seeing –

folly seeing all this this here –

for to –

what is the word –

see –

glimpse –

seem to glimpse –

need to seem to glimpse –

folly for to need to seem to glimpse –

what –

what is the word –

and where –

folly for to need to seem to glimpse what where –

where –

what is the word –

there –

over there –

away over there –

afar –

afar away over there –

afaint –

afaint afar away over there what –

what –

what is the word –

seeing all this –

all this this –

all this this here –

folly for to see what –

glimpse –

seem to glimpse –

need to seem to glimpse –

afaint afar away over there what –

folly for to need to seem to glimpse afaint afar away over there what –

what –

what is the word –

what is the word

– Samuel Beckett

Perhaps the what where is always what we’re attempting to tell.  Perhaps that’s eternal recurrence / return.  The when is always known.  Always NOW.  The folly, truly folly, of our attempt to tell the what where that is our being, our being NOW, always being NOW, no when needed, no whom known, just what where presently…occurring.  Is this always what we are attempting to say?  To find words for?  To tell?  What where, now?  Always NOW – whether reading or writing, assailing past, present or future – it is NOW that it’s occurring, but what? where?  And what is the word?  What are the words for this what where we’re attempting to tell?  This is my writing, reading – in a way, it seems, the all of it – my folly.  Perhaps what where is unnameable.  

And so I also offer a reading – for even as soon as I re-read my own writing – I cannot remember the whom or what-where of the writing.  Because the reading is always right NOW.  This reading – a chapter from Mark C. Taylor’s book Tears (as both eye-leak or suffering and rift-split-rip-“tear”) entitled “How to do Nothing with Words”  (my own copy a rainbow of highlights and symbolized marginalia – like all that I read significance to). If this sort of thing – this philosophizing or wondering writing – is not of your interest – don’t bother.  But if it is kind of intriguing, or causes curiosity, I find this chapter a compelling and admirable attempt to descry the “what is the word?” tussle I constantly struggle and strive for enacting the telling what where.  


(click image for chapter, or here: How to do Nothing with Words)

And, after all that…here is neither, a short writing by Beckett to go on with…


To and fro in shadow from inner to outershadow

from impenetrable self to impenetrable unself by way of neither

as between two lit refuges whose doors once neared gently close, once turned away from gently part again

beckoned back and forth and turned away

heedless of the way, intent on the one gleam or the other

unheard footfalls only sound

till at last halt for good, absent for good from self and other

then no sound

then gently light unfading on that unheeded neither

unspeakable home

– Samuel Beckett

Thank you for your time.  It goes on…


Lost in the World

            Lost in an inscrutable world and running out of time.  Always running out of time – don’t you feel it?

We try to describe it to each other – what we experience, perceive, how we learn to survive.  We call this – in varying levels – relationship.  Depending on the amount of explanation and exposure, cataloguing “acquaintance,” “stranger,” “family,” “friend,” “lover,” and the like.  A kind of measure.  Recognizable connection or estrangement.

But the world is inscrutable, as are we, thus we name ourselves “lost.”  “At least we’re lost together,” some said, but others thought we’d find out more apart, in other words “split up and look for clues.”

What would the clues be for?  From whence this idea of “clues” to be searched?  I wonder this.  Did someone somewhere “find” something indicative of something really “else”?  Other than this world and we in it?

I meet one of us who “has a feeling.”  She has this “sense,” she says, that there really is an Other – something or someone truly outside of this barely discernible world we (at least) found ourselves and other things in.  I ask her to describe the feeling and her ensuing language reminds me a lot of feeling-collections I also have gotten from time to time.  Without, I might add, ever considering them Other-worldly.  What is to account for this?  These are the sorts of discussions we wanderers have.

How might I recognize a clue?  Where did the idea/referent/template for such a signifier originate?  Martin found an interesting, that is, noticeable pattern on the shell of a turtle.  It appeared roughly to resemble little squarish shapes of wood we use to count by or play games with, sometimes even to carve on and trade for fruit or grasses.  Martin thinks this might indicate that the shape we use for wood was natural – inherent in the world – purposeful.  Not coincidence or accident, but a sign or clue about “the way things are.”  There were 16 of these rectangular shapes on the turtle’s back.

“Why would you think that, Martin?” I asked.  It is curious and fun to find similarities in the world – between people, smells, shapes, sounds and colors – all sorts of things – but why wouldn’t we notice like or familiar things in new situations?  To make it feel, well, less inscrutable?  That way we could learn about the unlike, describe the difference.  This, at root, was what I understood by the word we used, or called – “learning.”

I ponder the projection that making things seem more uniform might help us feel less “lost” or confused in our surrounding world.  So I might be expected to gravitate toward humans of the same height, weight, or hair color; that  make the same sounds as me, recognize the same shapes, eat the same objects, and so forth.  Somehow this practice strikes me as less interesting, ever running out of time (as we all agreed, once we’d broken our existence up into increments) and with so much unexplored and perhaps unknowable world still surrounding us all.

I take on the habit of investigating difference – I discover that finding similarities in my surroundings comes rather easily, nearly automatically, but aspects that are unique or defamiliar tend to more efficiently further my familiarity with the world.  It becomes a strategy not of looking for clues or surfaces pointing to something else, but simply finding else everywhere.  Even in the same “place.”  There appears to be no end to variance (even in myself) and therefore no static “same.”  I find myself always finding, discovering other in every moment, the differences forever expanding my knowledge of, but also maintaining my ignorance level of, the world I find myself in.

A perpetual state of wonder.