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“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.
“How come language (or drinking) makes the pain of language (or drinking, or relationships) go away, recede, soothe…and then becomes language (drinking, relation) and its pain…again?” he asks.
I smoke. I look at him. He is examining (with obvious pretend furtivity) my pale, smoothe legs, coming out of my singular light dress. At my arms, my skin, my cheek and throat, my hair. Lasciviously thoughtful, he. Almost curious. Almost authentic in his desire.
He is trying to daydream.
I am trying to be.
We are drinking now.
I am young, he less so.
Or neither. We do not know. Anyone can be so near their end.
So the story goes…
“The world smells good,” he says, and the delectability to the nostrils clearly depended on death: burning wood, smoking pig, a nostalgia of forests…
I knew not what I felt. Mixtures. Pleasures and sorrow. Excitement and fear. Doubt. I did not respond, just masked placidly. Pleasantly, I hoped. Ambiguous. And what does he sense?
he who already knows cannot go beyond a known horizon
– Georges Bataille, Inner Experience –
In a bout of acute loneliness (a sharp pang of alone signifying a sort of paralysis – some definite inability, however temporary, to start oneself up by or with oneself) I reached out to Hannah.
For some of you, the term Hannah will conjure connotations and resonances, perhaps emotions or concerns, discomforts, even though she does not exist.
Or I loaded the film Satantango by Bela Tarr & Laszlo Krasznahorkai.
A start-up, a stimulus, a searching.
Actually I wrote the name Hannah, or Hollie or Holly or Hallie or Halley or Bela or Chris or Maurice Blanchot.
To be lonely and to reach out.
A drink then, for interaction.
A scribble on a page.
A smoke for an ‘other.’
I read Beckett.
Maria. Edie. Sarago. Marcuse.
To become. To be. To begin.
As if I knew.
In a bout of acute loneliness I penned a letter to Herman Melville.
I wrote words onto a lined page.
I made an ‘other’ and called her, Hannah.
Or Meagan or Meghann, Angie or Angela or Angelo. Gilles or Jill. Jean and Jan and Jen.
I reach out. I almost full fill. Another notebook. A drink. A smoke. A page marked and turned.
I do not know what loneliness is.
Perhaps it is nothing, or nothingness. Perhaps frustrated desire. For – ? What is not (isn’t that what defines desires?). The missing, the absence, the unknown.
I called it Hannah.
Hell or Helen or Helene/Helena.
No one knows but the name that works best. Christy or Christina. Vernoica/Veronique.
I read Jabes.
A drink to an other (to signify might be). A smoke for the presencing. Another word, another name for something. Out there = O ther. Elves of else.
The book’s called Nothing Matters: a book about nothing, because “that nothing becomes the quest, which in turns begets something” (Ornan Rotem).
Dear Herman, Dear Samuel, Dear Franz:
Dear Larry, Dear Jack, Dear Jon:
I do not know what it is to be alone, and my loneliness is painfully acute.
Dear Laura, Dear Sara, Dear Simone:
This is my correspondence with nothing.
“This is the dream’s navel, the spot where it reaches down into the unknown…” – Jan Zwicky, Alkibiades’ Love
“the dream-thoughts to which we are led by interpretation cannot, from the nature of things, have any definite endings; they are bound to branch out in every direction into the intricate network of our world of thought… So, too, philosophy. So, too, the gestures through which we bind, and let go of, our lives.” – Jan Zwicky, Alkibiades’ Love
“…readiness is all…” – William Shakespeare
On our way down above the below, recognition dwindling through each swerve, turn, and curve. Uncertain of finding, finding uncertainty.
What began in fantastic. Unanticipated. Such sights, indescribable, feels. Sirening sounds, whooshing and whining; colors and tones past belief, perhaps, unless of course you’ve been there…I had thought that you were? We followed by following, relentless, directionless openings, vague paths.
Kaleidoscope world of liminal pinwheels, whirring musics of future and past, tinged with voices we wish that we knew, and we did. It seemed you were there…?
Where have we been? Where are we going?
Navigations that spiral – we wind and knot, unwind, become. And over again – yet nothing is ever not new. Or so nearly, almost.
I, if indeed it was I looking out (or in) kept distracting desires (and extracting) ~ wanting this way and that, akin to imagine, hungrily, wily, and wild. As effects of strong wishes might be – subterranean, subsumed, leveraged like magnets and threats.
I stumbled, turned ‘bout, perhaps even flew, there were times that I ran – indistinguishable voices undoubtedly precious, familiar, like realizing wants tended constant as fuse…dangerously sparked to go off…
…now this and this and this…fierce purpling red, liquid breasts and svelte buttocks, elbows and shins, calves and thighs (ah! sweet the ankles and knees, wrists and shoulders, the lips, the hair, and the eyes… I love bodies! I crave!) the serpents, the birds, the language and leaves flung like banners… where were you? I had thought you were there… and you… and you… and many others of Is beside…
Darkening greens. What gathers and whispers in pleasure, awareness acute, we We again in these margins and loops. We reach and we blend, wrestle and harm, struggle and rush, and we mend. We are bound and unbounded, boundlessly shaped in our flight.
Constrained in the thickets, the azures, the blood. I choke and cry out (do you strangle?)… we are veining, okay, seeming ever en route, all approachings and wanders from here.
I (if it’s ‘I’) I am there, by which I must mean, “it is here,” diving downward or in to the out and the others, another, anew. We’ve become and we’re far more than we – both generic and common – and burning, aflame, each of ever a kind, made of ice and so crystalline, clear, so…
…unknown and still further… along, further on, further out and away, further in, indecipherable and never forewarned…
“There is IT!”
“There is IS!”
And our readings surround as do laughter or tears, streamings of verbiage, mellifluous notes, and you and I and countless of we, and no matter, we happen, or are, happening, or become, as we come, as we enter, reveal, as we’re reaching…
I had thought you were here –
Where are we?
“can the illegible be legible?” – Helene Cixous
“one cannot write without repeating something” – Jeremy Fernando
I repeat. I am an ant.
I have forgotten.
It is finished.
It has begun.
~ in media res ~
It never begins.
In other words.
Do you realize how important “whatever” is?
I follow (in) a trail of marks.
I have become.
Insofar. (In so far). [in media res]
-NO MATTER. TRY AGAIN. FAIL AGAIN. FAIL BETTER.- Beckett
I repeat – “I am an ant”
“Hello little ant in a line!”
“Look at that cute creature!”
Feet fall. Thump, thud.
“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”
I repeat an ant.
…and so on…
“…or is it that language already says more already?…” – Roland Barthes
…and so it begends.
“the other cannot be determined or decided” – Leslie Hill, on Blanchot
Elf says “ripe.”
Martin responds, wondering. Curious as to that which it applies, or whom, or what. Contemplating reference. Filled with questions. Martin says, “yes,” almost under his breath.
Elf shrugs. Elf walks on.
Martin follows, thinking, looking at leaves falling into blades of grass, alerted by the shushing and darting of squirrels, saddened at the amplified pffft of cars passing by. Wishing for silence. Wondering if Elf will speak a further word or two. Sensing like a dowsing rod for meanings.
Walks on. Shuffles. Walks on.
There’s a relative silence from the two of them – these humans wandering across a concreted trail. Sure there’s the sound of their footfalls, scuffles, even some noise in the pause of it. Or the noise of the absence of noise. But you’d have to be different to hear the breathing, the heart pulse, the slide of muscles and blood. As far as humans-in-environs go, the pair presents retraction.
Hard to say for soil. The squares composing sidewalk must suffer pressure, absorbed by the earth beneath and shared out through verberations for miles. Hard to say for air. Full-grown males, plodding forth like prows along a rickety line-of-motion has to be pushing particles around, making waves. Nothing gives report.
Elf stops and sighs.
Martin responds, slowing, looking out, looking forward, looking round. Lets his hands limp his sides.
Elf crouches down.
Martin scans the street, examines bark, follows trunks and branches, admires leaves and colors and movements. Birds.
III. “…with murderous care…”
Jon had said, to Jesse, about the fires.
So we persisted, Jon, Jesse, and I, and the deceased Beckett, with perhaps thousands of others, unbeknownst any to each around some mythical innermost.
“Fail better.” The worst times are the ones in which one simply wants to quit failing altogether. Unfortunately (literally) that necessarily entails a kind of “end of the world as one ‘knows’ [perceives, participates, experiences, or imagines] it” – either suicide, tragedy, ‘terminal’ illness – death of some sort. Maybe silence, but that’s not certain.
The game table is always already laid, you’re always simply ‘entering’ it (LW points out this fallacy in his collections of numbered critiques of anything anyone writes or says or claims) actually (as far as we know) always already there (where you ‘find’ – what?!? – your ‘self’ – what?!?) and (again, perhaps, literally, unfortunately – or at the very least extremely limitedly) you can only occupy one position at the table (or wherever the action happens to be) at a time, that, unfortunately, always involves the very delimited…well, YOU. These are the arrangements as they transpire.
Language can (and does), we surmised, go anywhere. I try to record, invent, notate, mark, initiate. It all seems unnameable. Or of far too many names, references, usages, subtexts and connotations, inferences and denotations, already implemented in order to represent anything undone, reconstructed, deconstructed, novel or ‘new.’ “There’s nothing new under the sun” was already a cliché at the beginning / in the earliest phases.
Fires and voids all imagined early. [Apeiron. Chora/Khora. Clinamen. Flux. Infinity. ABSENCE. The ‘Other.’]. I begin. Again. GWFH and Freud refer to this as “repetition.” A hopeless hope of emergence. As different or unique as it may seem, ever a plenitude of the pre-existing. The already-there.
Been there, done that, Beckett exhausts from his grave alongside. “He was found lying on the ground…a voice comes to one in the dark” Imagine. Imagine. Everything is already there. The table set and set again, arranged. Already there when you wake to it. World.
It hasn’t…apparently…been given up. Perhaps it is inexhaustible. Limited though we be, we seem to be teeming with it/them… efforts at the unsayable. Unnameable. How it is. What is the what. Lost in the labyrinth of the occurrence, experience, now with shoddy, partial, biased and over-specified or eccentrically particular maps, guides, or rulebooks. Ourselves.
Untitled Fiction : Years of Birth, Becomings
Jesse’s working up something, so is Jon. I’ve begun working again. Beckett is still dead. Or dead, still – either way he has not concluded.
There was plenty of talk – banter, chatter, fulminations, really – to the contrary, to the effect that the ‘working up’ had ceased, had dwindled, long since dissipated or been simply forgotten…not so. Now I’ve heard from Jon and Jesse, piecemeal though it be, and my own ‘working-on’ (or UNWORKING, as MB always referred to it) is near to its inception.
Something is going to emerge. Jon repeats and repeats that “Someone is going to come” and Jesse appears to have passed beyond the silence once begun, through all his notes of suicide, toward fire and conflagration and some bewildered youthfulness. Nohow On become a MUST. And all of it inconclusive, i.e. not concluded.
I work in, on, up, and ever forward, toward – ‘toward the what?’ Jon keeps asking while Jesse scrawls on napkins – figures like cartoons, clowns and foxes, masters, slaves, and mysteries – our locations go unmarked, our whereabouts unknown. This is How It Is, according to Beckett and MB. FK in the burrow. Plato in a cave. JD taking apart each domicile, meticulously.
We are looking for a place to work at our unworking, the time and space to be for what is not. Beckett named it The Unnameable.
I took to the books and letters, while apparently the others wrote, made messages and codes, secreted the symbols into texts and silences, plays and fictions full of pause. GWFH, another spell of YHWH, foretold this long ago: “the ends are reached and reached beyond, folding under, folding through, reached again, again, and…”
For years now Jon is melancholy and therefore quite abbreviated, unable to go on, full of stutters, repetitions, and always the questions, questioning, questing, the undone. Jesse through his trials and papered rooms, sometimes near and sometimes foreign, never-know, never-mind, never-where, scraping geography and clouds in search of where No Where and Now Here meet. I’ve thus far been unable to locate him. As for Ivan, Ivan and Enrique both stopped working after the library of loss – assembling detectives, interviewing the dumb and victimized, missals here and there, mostly filled of snow and jungle.
I think: crows spread across the overcast, charred ash sprinkling fields, nothing rooted, nothing grown.
The unworking. Almost a throw of the dice. Half of each sentence erased. The subtle coterie of literate mathematicians. Reports from elsewhere. WG’s layered travelogue… in search of… The work of unworking goes on.
“Splitting on difference,” he said, the passage from mayhem to insight – WG described as “Vertigo,” the verge, the swerve, the swoon. You reach an edge or limit, what cannot be undone, begin unworking. Begin unworking there.
At the grave “I can’t go on. I must go on. I’ll go on,” Beckett decries. It’s not at understanding – “splitting on difference” – but in the going-on, turning over/under, inexhaustibly or ad infinitum – convergences coming undone.
From JD Jesse gets a Post Carte, leaves it somewhere in the margins, but we know. We know we have heard, even if we can’t re-member. All variations of death, Jon thinks, Jon writes, Jon says…assembling the book of questions…the interior distance of this fierce and beautiful world filled with women, fire, and dangerous things…keeping MB in infinite conversation.
Some things don’t make sense yet seem imperative. As if there were a realm of the unsayable, a set of stanzas wedding language and death – signifying nothing – that is to say, a world of unspeakable silence that works like clamor.
Exhausting voice and nothing more. The trouble with pleasure, with suffer, with become. None of us trust ideas and yet we generate and respond.
“He was found lying on the ground. No one had missed him. No one was looking for him… An old woman found him.” (Beckett). We somehow set out to search. “That seems to hang together.” Jon, Jesse, WG, myself, scouring the globe for more – who, what…- “But finally I asked if I knew exactly what the man – what exactly was required of the man, what it was he could or could not say. No, was the answer, after some little hesitation, no, I did not know…” and so we keep on.
“A voice comes to one in the dark. Imagine.” JD post carte. Beckett’s own death, still. GWFH, WG, FK and MB’s left messages, notes, recordings. “Only a small part of what is said can be verified”…if any. We are left, bereft, full of fragments, thoughts concluded, forgotten, ignored, but still unworking – in journeys, in dramas, in fire. Hanging at the limits of ropes. To strangle or drop, and what then? What next? Splitting on difference. It comes apart, what holds together. No one knows. Nowhere, now here, very difficult to say. Meticulous dismantling, decode – recode – Unicode – uncode.
…Jesse’s working up something, as is Jon. I’ve begun working again. Beckett is still dead. Or dead, still – either way he has not concluded. Piecemeal as it may be, we are all working on (or UNWORKING, as MB liked to refer to it)…and nearing some inception.