Within / Without

Image result for person walking past yard b&w

 

“I have only to go on, as if there were something to be done, something begun, somewhere to go.  It all boils down to a question of words, I must not forget this…”

– Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable

Waiting for the passerby to pass.  Contingency.  To not open the door until the potential for harm is past.  No apparent harm: adult man, skin color variance, divergent ethnicity, strolling outside the iron black gate surrounding my home, gesturing toward and addressing my small pet mammal (a dog) – ostensibly safely contained and separate – from the strange-other, (“stranger”) traveling past my abode on a designated path “outside,” a public sidewalk… yet no harm is ever apparent, or we’d be almost certain to avoid it.

From behind the closed door, thus abandoning the small animal, the “pet” that I care for (“care”? – to keep alive with food and water, activity and touch – for what reasons I have never understood, it seems something we do, or something done to us) in any case (who “us”?) to me (“me”?), in any case, in every case, (what is “case”? – case is what occurs), in any case the sensation that harm is imminent, is possible, that any/every-thing (or case) harbors potential threat – intrusion, oppression, obligation, response-ability – that ANY passer(s)-by may enforce (force what in?), force “presence” (presence: the pressure of an other)…occurring-with.

Mammal, woman, weather, man.  Peril of change, of inevitable occurring, alteration, the inception of a “case.”  Event.  Permutation.  Disaster.  Perhaps.

Wait for “it” to pass (ambiguous constancy of language, of pronouns, of perhaps).  To be.

No apparent harm, harm always arriving where not apparent, otherwise averted.

Therefore damage expected everywhere, until proven otherwise or bypassed, for when has it ever been the “case” that harm, hurt, or affliction were not lurking unaware?

Always caught “off-guard” when injured.  As in “accident,” or un-fore-seen.  Must not not-fore-see.  Avoid wreckage.

He passes by.  Or she, or it, or they (ambiguous language and malleable, eminently referable, transferable, vague for application).  No harm incurred (as far as is known).  As who knows?  Who might know?  Or what?

World transforms.  Passers-by.  Incidents.  We have a “case” (who – “we”?).  “I” step back, step in, amidst  walls, barriers, rooms.  “I” retreat.  Evading catastrophe.  Probable hardship.  Imaginable uncertainty.  Such is the “case,” my “cave,” a cave uncertain, unreliable, self-designated, no one knows.  This (what “this”?) is vague – hurt has always materialized unexpectedly.  Danger is disaster, or if not, no harm no foul, never wounded by suspecting, only oblivious or uninformed.  Must anticipate harm.  Less proven guiltless.  Never guiltless.  Never harm without an-other, without outside, without obscurity.  What is “with-out”?

When ever not with-out?  With-out always.  With.  No in without with-out.  Danger of disaster.  Any definability requiring with-out.  No in without out.  Being with out.

Waiting for passersby to pass.  Bye.

When have I been harmed when I expected?  Perhaps in love, perhaps adventure.  Any venture with out.  Into the without. Within without.  Knowing I was risking with the out.  “Self-harm.”  It would appear without’s within as well.  Never not another.  Abysmal and ubiquitous.  Possibly impossible: to be without with-out.  No reference or referral without being-with “out.”

No within then.  Only out could be.  In with in?  Self-same.  Tautology.  A=A.  How A without out?  Without not-A?  Without absence, other, space, not-line, shapelessness, void?  A=A because A is distinguishable from.  Distinct.  From – ?  Without.

Why “without”?  Why not only “with” – necessarily out or other?  Variant.  Different.  Without “out” no “with.”

Squirrel, leaves, air, skin.  Cells, organs, activities and processes.  Even what’s “in” is “out” for “with.”  “In” “with” “out.”  A=A.  So say.  Think.  “I.”  Passing by.  Table, paper, pen, without prompting “in.”  In without as well.  No “in.”  A=A.  IN WITH OUT.

Out the “within.”  Without in/out.  Writing.  Saying.  Bleeding.  Breathing.

Only think with out.  All out, away, a way.

Wait for a way to away.  Within/Without.  A/A.  No equals.  Never equal.

Pet mammal dog, own voice, man, woman, child, sensation, language, molecule, atmosphere, ground: without with-in.

WITH, then.  Simply with.  No out, no in.  All danger and disaster, potential and unsuspected harm.  Can not.  Unprotected.  Only WITH.  No out, no in.

Waiting for the passers-by.  Passing.  Bye.

 

 

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The Loving(?) [dis]Organization of Fire

for lispector

“and it came, with its long passageways without end”

-Clarice Lispector, Soulstorm

and then again, the words, the words they came, presently, fluently, astonishingly as miracles, your body, the languid haunches – temptations, always – your breasts – these letters, formed in the hands…you, you, you, all of you, and I want/ed, I want, I am wanting to grapple, devour and subsume, consume (no, never!) you, but utterly – to the end – to everything – a swallow and fire and drowning and drought – to eviscerate, desiccate, absorb – to thorough you. I want to thorough.  I want to you, thoroughly.  Yes, that is what.  That is the who what am I?  The always when and every how – I want you thoroughly, but not you as realized by or digested in or taken or given or experienced thoroughly (without remainder) but rather

What I am saying (without remainder) What I mean is, what I am saying, shouting, quite silently shrieving, shrieking, screeing, WHAT I CRAVE REVEALING ENTIRELY BY RAVAGING TO END…

I WANT TO YOU.

And I want you to want to me, as mad, as madly, as terribly and

I am ravenous now, each instant and you for starving for me (I’d like that – have me)

but yes and I am having taking giving receiving AND YOU.

I do not understand.

It maddens, controls,

frees.

And this is what I mean.

In hopes that I was born for this…

for Hallie

On a Personal Note

Prologue:  I do not know what I am about to write.

saas-fee

Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

In less than one week I will be in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in the midst of a thousand novel things.  I am going as a participant in the European Graduate School’s PhD in Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought program, studying with 15 or so others, guided by Simon Critchley, Giorgio Agamben, Christopher Fynsk, Boris Groys, and Luc Tuymans, et. al.

For weeks now, any spare moment has loomed like this:

7.25.15

working my way through the bulk of Agamben’s corpus, Heidegger, Hegel, Kojeve, Derrida, Brecht, Benjamin, Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari, Spinoza, and columns of secondary literature.  I do not know what to expect.  I expect small seminars of conversation and dialogue, led by persons tattooed on my arms – persons I “assume”? “understand”? are paid to think – employment I would SO love to land – to experience & think, inquire & think, research & think, & report.  Perhaps?  So we’ll gather for 6 to 9 hours a day (or more) – discuss principal thoughts/texts/events of human thought-about human thought-about human being-experience…and…?

Walk in the mountains – Nietzsche claimed his thoughts would only be possible up here.  Sleep.  Read.  Think.  I really don’t know.

It’s been the first time in my life (I can remember) in which the hours of reading I’ve poured into this have actually eventuated in headaches.  Distinguishing terminologies and concepts.  Following trails of thought.  Engaging them.  Responding to them.  Add to the above William James, A.N. Whitehead, Eugene Gendlin, Mikhail Bakhtin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Steven Shaviro, Brian Massumi, Gilbert Simondon – my own favorite philosophical corpus – to construct conversations, critiques, and alternate points of view through.  To think-through-with.  And still with thousands of pages to go.

EGS

Here the classrooms and buildings.  Mountains and trees.  Novel, novel, novel.  The minds I’ll encounter.  Novel.  From all over the world, perspectives, perceptions, reflections, opinions, resources, references, practices, habits…novel.

And mostly (always?) I still simply want to write.

As my mindbody gestates and swells with new jargon and lingo, concepts and theories, voices and styles, there are many moments of cluster, confusion, conjoining and merger.  Thoughts disarrayed.  Set loose from their sources and synapted to knots and knobs of my own kernels of thought & experience.  A pregnant field.  A chaos.  I will need to walk.  Need to sleep.  i lose my bearings.

Language.   Other moments it feels everyone is considering the same things in different voices.  The same ‘truths’ in variant language-games.  The same purposes.  Not always.  But those hunting and haunting human experience – with that strange zeal and compulsion, near-desperation of finding-something-out, making-sensequesting meaningful presence…from diverse times and cultures, languages and histories, feelings and vocabularies…

I sense similarities, ties.  Tangles and diversions.

“the chief error in philosophy is overstatement”

-Alfred North Whitehead-

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE

is what I have written at the beginning of my notebook for the journey.  What are you talking about & how? written just underneath.  Wittgenstein.  Whitehead.  Bakhtin.  James.  What we experience together alters everything we bring.  When we dialogue occasions occur, events happen.  When we encounter and meet.  Interaction.  Action and process take place, differentiated, by Other.  

From another pile: Knausgaard, Mary Ruefle, William Bronk, Wallace Stevens.  Ivan Vladislavic, Ben Marcus, David Foster Wallace, Joshua Cohen.  In my readings – Valery, Rilke, Holderlin.  Blanchot, Kafka, Beckett.

Voices.  Styles.  Experiences.  Occasions.

Interpretations.  Experiences.  Thoughts.  Language.

EGS crest

What I expect is that “something is doing.”  Activity is going-on.  We/I will be being-with and being-in.  There will be convergence, dissonance, emergence and change.

It will be a variant “me” coming “home.”

http://panocam.skiline.cc/saas-fee/laengfluh

(live webcam of area)

To the mountains then.  To think.  To learn.  To live.  To be-with and be-in.

To become.

A Provisional Writing

He, frightened, uncertain, inexhaustible and weak, somehow mustered the strength to ask or act for what he wanted.

Perhaps she would not comply.

Or could not, and remain who she needed to be.

Yet there would always be response –

even ignoring, diverting, pretending to sleep.

It hurt to ask.  To attempt – its exposure – admission of lack and need – the venture, to try.  The fear of undoing, of incompleteness, of rejection, impossibility.

Still he acted and asked.

The alternative grown unbearable over time – constructions and deconstructions, composition and erosion, the living through time and space.

Time approaches in which time isn’t worth it – without.

Without knowing and acknowledgment, honesty and rejection, awareness…

…until the response is given…isn’t there still chance?

Untoward, illusory, unlikely and so slim…and yet?

As if…

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

Varieties of presence.

Certain opportunities of world.

Of doing.  Being.  Making.

As life runs out, so too the prospects of meaning, of experience. 

Had begun to feel he must,

or never.

Discover, find out, uncover, unearth, reveal

at least for a moment.

This moment.  The moment.

Nearing NOW.

But how?  Who?  And what sorts of whys were required?

What lent him the right and wherewithal, the luck, the chance, or desperation?

And why now?  What for?  How her?

 

Hesitates.

 

After all, perhaps?

Perhaps its merely panic, neuroses, a fracturing diminishing end?

What motivates?  And why?  And why this one?  And this now?  And here…in the midst of.

 

Always already in the midst of…and always already not-yet.

 

Between.  Desiring a line to be drawn.  As if the world depended on it.  His world (perhaps theirs?).  His life, his living, his NOW.

 

It remains to be seen.

Ever remains to be seen, evidenced, emergent,

Proven.

 

Can there be any proving?  If things had been different, some slight change in the initial conditions, conditions so complex?

 

Could it be different?

 

He must, he has to, he is compelled to act / to ask.

What will she reply?

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

The always begin.  Begin, begun, always.  Climbing the steps of his lack…behaving…becoming.  Ever some begin – some something, something shifting, changing, altering, becoming something else, something altered and novel, new, not combined in quite this way before – submerged, emerged, converged…yet differently.

No?

Next?

With N (next) = Begin?  +1, +1, +many + again, else, other…Equaling not before, prior, exact…NOT repetition but difference, remainder, chaos, complexity

Impossible,

seemed inexhaustible,

almost infinite,

not quite.  Not remotely.

“He,” “She” will surely end (in a way)

as a form of beginning

As a form of

a form of

motion, movement, becoming.

Things happen, or happening produces things (at some scale, interaction, percept)

What becomes undoes becoming undoing

(and so on).

Uncertainty.

              Mobility.

                          Activity.

                                    Becoming.

                                                   Undoing.

                                                                Undone.

He becomes.

Unraveled enough, to a point (a seemingly certain threshold) he will risk,

wants risk,

                                          feels compelled,

                                                                   concerned,

                                                                                                for survival, needs, depends,

decides to act or ask for what he’s wanting (needing?  lacking?  desiring?  believing?)

And where / who / what / why / is she?

And there and which and whom and when?

He will act, ask,

she will needs-be

in response to the violence of movement, address,

intruded perception, sensation,

respond.

In what way?

Coming Bare

head-silhouette-with-question-mark

In the interests of authenticity

  • The fact or quality of being true or in accordance with fact; veracity; correctness. Also (overlapping with sense) accurate reflection of real life, verisimilitude.  
  • Genuineness;
  • The quality of truthful correspondence between inner feelings and their outward expression; unaffectedness, sincerity.
  • A mode of existence arising from self-awareness, critical reflection on one’s goals and values, and responsibility for one’s own actions; the condition of being true to oneself.
  • The fact or quality of being real; actuality, reality. (Oxford English Dictionary, 2014.)

Unveiling.  The action of reveal.  Is the “condition of being true to oneself” a possibility?

Recently my partner and love wrote me a revealing, unveiling, letter that blunted me with authenticity – a quality of herself that she was questioning in that very message.

Self-awareness.  Sincerity.  Something corresponding to actuality, reality.  Genuineness.

How often do we present or re-present ourselves authentically?  Do we all wish to?  What would it look like?  Sound like?  Would we lose friends?  Lovers?  Jobs?  If our outward expressions matched our inner feelings?

WHO AM I?

The complaint was compromise.  Pretense.  The wriggling falsities of “fitting in” or “being useful” or “surviving” in the world of humans.  In social groups and situations.  In life.  The feeling that what “works” or garners respect, interest, desire in the commerce of human beings is not authentic to who I actually am.  That what I am “liked” for is a misrepresentation, a partial product, a fabrication, a mixed message, does NOT “correspond to actuality, reality.”  And is it possible to undo that?  To live authentically in the variegated, unpredictable, situational and relative world of humans?  And is authenticity of an individual even a potential actuality / reality?

This has prompted me days of thought.  In effect it was relieving, releasing – my lover is exhausted of the “play of living” – the work of “fitting in,” “surviving with others,” “belonging” in ways that feel partial, inexact, false even, untrue, ALWAYS incomplete, inaccurate, inauthentic.

I felt freed to say my honesty.  When I father, I pretend to be a father.  I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know what I should be doing.  I don’t know what it means to father children.  I love them, I care about them, I am frightened by them, I am exhausted by the responsibility, I gauge my activities based on parenting behaviors I DON’T feel comfortable with, or that I wished for…I act, I pretend I’m a man who knows how to love, instruct, “raise” children!  I do not know what I’m doing.  I feel inauthentic.  Like I’m reaching, practicing, experimenting, trying to be what I think a good “father” might be.

For years and years and years and years I have “feigned” being a writer, a musician, a scholar, an artist (it feels like).  Yes, I’ve read a lot. Yes, I’ve studied, I’ve practiced, I’ve performed.  Yes I think I “get” some things about the world and our human experience of it.  Yes I LOVE writing words, mixing them up, crafting phrases and sentences with them, attempting to mate them to my internal experiences, ideas, emotions… but I almost ALWAYS feel an impostor not an expert, like I’m trying out voices, expressions, characters, compilations to FIND OUT if that’s how I think, feel, imagine?!  So if ever I’m desired, complimented, responded to – I think it is an accident, a gratuitous kindness, a pitying.  That I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m simply trying, groping in language in a thorough darkness.

As a lover, a partner, I have simply tried to please.  To find out what is wanted and do, be, perform that.  How does an intimate relationship “work”?  I don’t know.  Everyone is different.  Nothing I learn to enact, behave, communicate, engage – is successfully effective in the next relationship (or, obviously, in the relationships ended before that!).  Could I BE whatever mucky morphing “self” “living human organism” I am (at any given moment) and be loved?  It seems so unlikely!  I don’t even know what that is (the mucky morphing living individual human organism) to express or represent to the Other one… – do they?  Does ANYone?

So do we ALL feel like we’re FAKING our way through being human?  Adapting “roles” and “styles” and “opinions” and behaviors in order to survive?  To be liked?  To fit in?  To feel good about ourselves?  To feel useful?  To BE?

Over decades, I have found that there are some things that steadily characterize me.  I like to drink and smoke and read and write.  I love to love and desire and be loved and desired.  All of those things share the “actuality” and “reality” of being activities that I don’t understand.  Things that seem to steady, nourish and keep me vital…and yet also damage, wound, hurt and make me vulnerable.  That wobble.  That trembling.

Identity

To my lover I responded theoretically.  That my understanding of a living organism is that its “identity” in fact is created and activated in every moment’s situation and surround.  That ALL of being a human is identifying oneself in relation to circumstance – a moment-to-moment relation and response to THOSE and THAT which constitutes its happening.  That “living” involves trying style, voice, behavior, activity, vocation, perception, interpretation, thought after another after another – quickly realizing that in EVERY instance the “fit” is partial, inauthentic, somewhat true (what feels good) and somewhat false (what is uncomfortable) – that BEING ALIVE is a wandering experimental trial of sorts.  That if we CHOSE or locked ourselves into an IDENTITY and attempted to be consistent in it – we would in fact deteriorate, become bitter – that the wisdom is NOT “I AM THAT” but “THAT IS PARTIALLY ME” for now, in this instance, at present…

????

The questions keep coming.  We bemoan that when we take a job, a position, a role, responsibilities… we tire of them as we feel the constraint of structured, required, or expected behaviors and activities.  When I compose a writing work – within pages I tire of its direction, its characters, its ethos – I can feel where a thing is going and whether it’s interesting to me or not, I tire of it – feel constrained by what’s created, feel fake in pushing it in another direction…even innovation and inventiveness feel PRETEND.

Perhaps LIVING = the tension of partiality.  Striving to “fit” to “belong” to “match” (be safe in, acknowledged, understood, allowed) means adaptation, alteration, invention, reciprocal construction, which would seem to inherently demand compromise, partiality, veiling and highlighting – what will seem / feel to be INAUTHENTIC, misrepresentation, “FAKE.”

And yet – it is through this wriggling tango that we also come to discover what “fits” us – what we enjoy, what our perspectives are, who/how/with whom we like to be, what feels “good” to us and what makes us afraid/uncomfortable/ and so on…

Cynical view: we’re ever pretending and untrue.  Hopeful view: we’re navigating and discovering, becoming.  And it seems that both are “real” and “actual.”  Authenticity (maybe?) equals partiality and pretense for humans?  Equals morphing and becoming?  Equals uncertainty and acting (adapting)?  Equals attempting to be?

Opening the Hand

Mapping the Meaning

What follows will most likely be of little interest to the bulk of you.  For the past few years I have been working to drive and weave the resources for my writing ever more densely into the thickety webs of my authentic experience of the world.  Normally I press this through interdisciplinary inquiry into ways we make meaning, or co-construct what we live as relational/relating realities, attempting the time and effort of translating and investigating these passions and fascinations through creative genres and forms.  However,  life events of the past couple of months have greatly constricted available moments or periods for research and reflection, and magnified the complexity and overwhelming magnitude of our multi-layered, cross-scaled, relativity-dimensioned (see Multi-Sense Realism, et. al.) actual experience of living as human beings.

The most authentic and naked (or base) way I have had of “making sense” of my experience has been, for most of my life, to do it on blank pieces of paper with a writing utensil in hand.  This has enabled my body, like a court stenographer or EKG, to jitter out marks and symbols of what happens to it, get strange glances at the process, notate various strata of its responsive-formative interactivity and selection, and extend/diminish/further and edit or retract (evolve) its activity of living survival.

The past 65 days have been characterized for me by grief and bewilderment, gratitude and wonder, tectonic shifts and rejoined connections, breakings and openings, terror and panic and archaic survival strategies, and desperate hope and frenzied imaginings…I suppose you could call it trauma, dramatic change, upheaval…LIFE.

I’ve been fairly caught up in processing it all (with dear good help), parenting my children, continuing academic study and frenetically seeking employment that it all might go on.  So I feel my posting of late has been fragmented, disorganized, spotty, haphazard, almost accidental…

I have found employment – fraught with uncertainty still, but employ – and something about that one structural determinant has triggered me to assay an account, as much for myself as for anything else…to make the time to manufacture a kind of map for myself of what has and is occurring in my life in this span.

All of this is to say that I plan a series of posts that will be intensely personal, self-revelant, my own way of reaching toward my experience, my being, and selecting language with which to mark it down – for re-memory, re-cognition, observation, reception, attention, account.  These are journal entries, frankly.  They are what I have to write.  I am calling them “Mapping the Meaning.”  Since I know very few of you personally, in your whole presence, I expect confession, inquiry, and its self-circular expression to genuinely interest or benefit very few of you.  For me, it is writing with an open hand.

photo 2-001

.

 

Unspoken Fragments

Through someone else’s blog award list I recently discovered The Dream Journal Today – a remarkable blog straightforwardly recounting dreams.  It has stimulated me to pay more attention to what my brain is doing in its “off-hours.”  The post regarding my longing for knowledge of my father is such a result, as is the following post, gathered through the past night.  I have the hunch my psychophysiology works over emotion when I’m out…something my waking mind deters.  Whatever the case, I have found the ritual to be as intriguing as working with photo-prompts to dislodge other-conscious concerns, and recommend it to writers everywhere as a kind of exercise in translation.

Thrown on my back as from a jungle gym – panicked in the way of breath-smashed bodies.  Helpless then, disempowered.

Lying next to you in our warm nest of bed, nose and right eye microscopically near the flesh of your chest – the sharp distinction of its tattoo’s inky night and the blemishless cream covering your major pectorals.

I see it falling, the exploding crush of a thick plate of glass the size of a small wall and maybe four inches thick – variegated and stained – slicing and dicing my face with the stories you don’t share.

The night is full of phrases.  Intimacies shredded by the unspoken, the secrets.  A literal compaction of my face in bloodied fragments – the world a shattered windshield.

Sleeping fitfully you deliver direct language through the dark.  “This is wrong and this is wrong and this is wrong…with you.”  I don’t remember details, only that I’m broken like a vase of porcelain on the floor of an empty manor.

The decompression and drainage, the fracturing damage of all you hold apart.  Discommunication.  What is withheld.  The feeling of what happens when I supply the captions to your silence.

more_fractured_light_by_thescreamingid

“What is fiction after all, if not a kind of purposeful dreaming?”

-Jonathan Franzen-

Signs

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Signs

 

We wanted love.  This sentence has no meaning outside a sentence.  We wanted a multitude of words.  Love was to become the quarrying of ourselves, emerging from a completely different side of the narrative…Representing ourselves to ourselves was an unmanageable task from the beginning.  To continue being a reality while simultaneously becoming its sign that dissembles nothing, only relentlessly elevates itself in a continuous shadow –

-Arkadii Dragomoshchenko-

 

There was no doubt we wanted.  What it was that we wanted, exactly, was another matter.  We wanted love?  Perhaps.  Love made from words and signs and gestures.  From the beginning we had trouble representing ourselves.  Being a reality while also signifying it and being its addressee – inveigled us in a continuous loop.  We needed another view.  From a completely different side of the narrative.

Maybe we wanted to drink reality to its dregs.  We wanted love.  Someone who could read the being and its signs and comprehend its address.  Someone to help interpret the loop, quarry the signs, chart and map the shadowy spiral.  We wanted a multitude of words.  Words we’d never thought of.  Never heard before.  Synonyms and antonyms to set apart our signs, that we might, perchance, see who we are.  Learn, not just be.  We wanted love.

Loving ourselves was clinging to continuous shadow.  Ourselves always just ahead of us, being, quarrying experience, fabricating new signs, dissembling nothing.  We didn’t know, anything.  We wanted love and a multitude of words, of gestures – significations of action and matter – we wanted to be real.

Your side was completely different.  There you were – being, assembling signs, dissembling words I thought I knew into paradoxical meanings.  I’d see a sign that seemed familiar but the language was foreign, the reference obscure, of exotic materials.  Where were you quarrying?  I was stunned and fascinated – we could make such similar things of our surround and within – yet pointing in apparently opposite directions!  How could this be?

We wanted love.  I followed your signs, tried to tell you what they meant.  We wanted for multitudes of words.  You sought to explain, what with the being, the source, the signs and address,  indicating your shadow, not mine.  I, forever chasing the shade of your dress.

We wanted for love and showed each other signs.  We gestured and addressed our bodies and songs, put on shows of ourselves for each other.  Here are my banners and pennants.  Here my consistent mottoes.  Here the images we keep – representations of ourselves like lost memories.  Here our directions and contents, graphics and readings.  Signs, signs, and a multitude of words.

We began telling one another their stories as we read.  Replete with new words, new signs and misreadings.  This did not often go well.  With each sign that we made we were reading the last.  We couldn’t keep up, swimming in continuous shadow.

A multitude of loving and words.  We believed we wanted reality.  We decided to quarry together – our insides working into a shared surround.  We disagreed on its representation and agreed to post personal options.  We grew confused and crowded with signs and gestures.  Grabbing some of these, we started swinging, thinking ours might outlast the others, might prove “right,” win out, or be “true.”

Our signs began to shatter as our words and gestures dissembled.  We established picket lines and separate camps.  We fashioned more signs with blazoned slogans of ourselves and our views, losing them inside our shadows.  We decided to climb.  Perhaps a view from afar, or you’ll be off on expedition.  We located a guide.  Who seemed to think all of our signs were true.  We looked again and could read that we wanted for love.  Our valley was riddled with signs.  Our guide interpreted gestures the same.  Words of pain, words of fear, a multitude of words.  All quite similar but in our own languages.

We wanted love, he said.

Someone to read our beings, our signs and receive their address.  Someone to help interpret our loops, quarry new signs, and map our spiraling stories.  We wanted multitudes of words and we had them.  Words we’d never thought of nor read.  Words replete with variant meanings and references.  Synonyms, antonyms distinguishing our signs, redirecting our shadows.  If we listened and looked, and with care, he said, perchance we might see who we are, being.  And learn how to be.  If we wanted for love, we had it, he said.  Just look at the signs.

The Howl and The Whisper

Howling is a buried feat

epigenetic

leaking everywhere

Howling is done with the body

in terror

 a raging fear

imagine the reddened and purpling frame

a six-month-old baby left

naked on a hardwood floor

arching back

jerking tremors

piercing wail

flailing, throttling, choking at air

it will not stop

it is vulnerable.

Say the father rushes it

say he scoops it into his arms

whispers and cradles

The infant fits in the fathers’ large hands

held close to his cheek

ear-brushed lips

the father coos

infant trembling revolts

feeling its death

the father rocks it gently

kisses its skin

sniffing the child

while the infant howls.

He says “leave it to me.  Everything will be alright”

on repeat

says “I know we are vulnerable”

as the shuddering

comes to cease.

Let the infant howl

raise it up

bring it near

hold it close

that is all.

I, an infant’s father.

note:

I have had many incidents of late in which I howl at the dreaded prospect of losing my wife (to others, to distance, to death, to herself).  These have come out slantwise:  as anger or jealousy, criticism and challenge.  It is physiological.

A therapist recently suggested some alternate meanings.  When my body convulses in paranoia and terror, what might its messaging be?  Might it be saying that something or someone is terribly important to me, as significant as my own life and that I might well feel utterly helpless at that vulnerability?  He suggested that my body is indeed feeling real-life threat…and that the left side of my brain whooshes in hoping to rescue (“SuperMeaningMan”) to concoct a story to match, to account for the tremors and heartbeat and anxious breaths.  Things like: “I must not be good enough for her.  She must be cheating.  See how she dresses?  See how she is tired when she looks at me?  See how she keeps leaving the house?” and so on, or any number of scenarios…

When in possible fact I’m a flailing infant desperate for assurance and comfort, for a tender voice near.  Which made a world of sense.

He said:  supply it.

This is part of that work.

N Filbert

ALL MIXED UP

Mark Kozelek