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.

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The Moment Suspended (a “free-write”)

This constitutes a “free-write” – as I understand the phrase it is an allowance one gives oneself to just make language, unedited, unplanned, in a “spirit” of ex-pression…i.e. a “press(ur)ing- out.” [see suspend

Spillage, in other words.

And…”in other words,” always, from the first word.

At its release – like an arm movement; a choice of caress, breath, or handhold; a motivation to swerve, or bend, sit, or rise; nigh-automated intention to breathe… a beating of heart, or functioning of organ; lighting a match; attention.

Release a word.  Some oddly shaped sound, emitted complexly from the nerves, the brain, the belly.  Bellowed air up the windpipe, wending the throat, curling the cavity of mouth, (you can almost feel air in the eyes – perhaps you can!), a scent is involved, a tongue roving weirdly, a tapping of teeth and positioning of jaw…

Or… the combination of organs and neurons, plasma and plastics, rutting a body in accord with a world, activating…firing and sliding, acting re-acting, trans-mitting… and a tension in shouldered muscle begins to stir, roiling down “arm,” triggering the delicate tendons and tissue of “hand,” fingering pencil…and con-script-ed together, they “write…”

And from the first word it is other.

EX-press-ion.

Pressed into and out of the body.  Im-pression, re-sponse, and in-tension.  (You see the looping?).  Out of, into, and back out without measure.

Mathematically speaking, the first term, generates an uncomputable, undecidable, indeterminate and infinite universe of possibilities.  Simultaneously foreclosing the same.

Which is why the Moment’s of import.  And why statistically, it is inane.

“Spillage” set into motion.  “, in other words.”  For this organism, now.

Out of infinite potential, a violent reduction to that: “Spillage, in other words.”

In other words, from the first word, an infinity ruled out.  By my finitude.

In other words, from the first word, an infinity opened up.  By language, and you, all the times, and the spaces.

Pressed in, it moves out.  Pressed out, moving in.  Always moving.

A “moment” cannot exist.

We switch on.  (We do not.)

***

Then what are we “meaning” by “free”?

A “free-write” I inscribed, but it’s not – bound by me, my experience, education, now here.  By my body-environment mesh.  By this medium, this sign-system (language), this trial.

And why do then?  Why mingle, behave, interact, or respond?  Why continue?

continue (v.) Look up continue at Dictionary.commid-14c., contynuen, from Old French continuer (13c.), from Latin continuare “join together, connect, make or be continuous,” from continuus “uninterrupted,” from continere (intransitive) “to be uninterrupted,” literally “to hang together” (see contain). Related: Continued; continuing.

(“Online Etymology Dictionary,” 2016)

How could I “make continuous” what is never discrete?  And why are our actions and terms bent on negation / separation (discretion)?

What do we wish to “clarify” by pulling-apart, setting-forth, ripping of context, of living?

We humans have so many re-‘s.  As if we do it again, and ourselves (WHAT is THAT?) we might own it or know it, or even come cause.  How absurd.

We’re participant.  To speak is to join.  To move is WITH-IN.  To think and to act are to fuse with surround.  As much caused as its causing, ground and ideal, this is living.  To be fluidly unidentifiable, continuously as such.

What IS (chasing ‘essence’) is futile.  What IS (what’s ‘existing’) is all.

How might I write in this way?  Write to join?  Say to be?  The mouth and the ass as the same?  I breathe and I shit; I grab and release; take in and give out…unrestrained.  Without end or cessation (as far as we know at our miniature range)…

…goes on…

and

…goes on…

WITH and withOUT “us”

Perhaps.

Here we are.

Discontinue Discontinuity

Happy Holidays

Wink of I

I close one eye as a hint or signal.  Almost-gesture of complicity, alliance.  Miniscule nod of knowingness.  Nearly clandestine.  We are accomplice.

Subtlety.  In the colors of sunsets are moments.  Light in trees, precipitation, breeze and wind.  Occasions, occurrences.  A brush, a jolt, a catch, or slip.  Just there, just then, just whom.

Sum of an enormous fund of letters, sounds, marks, and inferences composing a confused and compossible khora of language actuated haphazardly in discourse, and conversation, a dated letter, an exclamation or response… one might say the signsea winks or glimmers.  A squinch or sparkle  of potential affinities and conflicts, affiliations and consorts.  Then gone.  A breath.  A…

Glance.  A glimpse shuttered quickly, asymmetrically.  What does it mean?  Something.  Something of nothing.  Like accident, collision, like misreckoning, mistake.  Like harmony, accord, or intercourse.

“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, as a trumpet sound… the dead shall be raised, and we shall be changed”…(I Cor 15:52, changed).

Happenings, emergence, inceptions, conceptions, decisions, decease…moments, blinks, glints, such tiny gestures…

…and all shall be changed.

Picture, if you can, if you will, a spill of sonority, funneled through lung, through throat, whirling the mouth cavity, battened by teeth, and leaving the lips as a word… now whispering air as  smoky exhalation… mingling and woven in the voice of another… such breaths, these terms, these inscriptions… how they collide and collude, coalesce and caress, commingle and pass on…

Moments, instants, mishaps or miracles…and all shall be changed…or so it is written, supposed, and declared…

In the Wink of an I, there is difference.

for Jean Lee

Friends to Fall

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.

Martin, too.

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.

Elf.

Martin.

Laramie, still

Teton-Range

Marc hasn’t approached such things in a very long time, having left ranches for cities decades ago.  He’s never perceived his father this way – a sodden, curled lump, a heavy heap of human – laying not far from a dissolving and evaporating campsite.  Still.

Alias ponders “still as stasis or persistence or both/and?” in his notebook in his study.  “Most often I use ‘still’ with some indication of both – stubborn, persistent, continual, unmoving – obstacles.”

Son standing over his father.  Father, fallen, humped, underfoot of son.  A stubborn statue, status, state.  Something resilient, resolute, apparently ineradicable and permanent – as far as permanence goes.

“Sons stumped by their fathers.  Fathers blocking their sons.” Alias wrote as Lucy re-entered their provisional home (what “home” is not?).

Laramie lay still, sopping, weighing more than any many should, it seemed to Marc.  Now fathering the labor of his unfortunate offspring, hovering over it/him like a bent tree, not quite as strong, but still stuck and rooted.

“The child is father to the man…still,” Alias jotted, telling Lucy that he’s stuck in the awful muddling middle of things, still wanting several things to be possible at once, believing they ought appropriately have right to be – including (but not limited to) both of their happinesses and satisfaction… fulfillments… but unable to see quite how, and for some strange reason thinking acutely of Laramie, wondering about him today – where he is and how – and all of their good, promising, talented grown children, and why they all increasingly feel alone, distant, farther from one another with age, in spite or in direct conflict with his feeling of the relative, mandatory, even necessary import and significance of these very few – very few consistent, momentous, continual and crucial relations – one another, their some sort of shared offspring or circumstanced charges, numbered friends, one another… handful of humans they ‘trust’ ‘still’ – and the vagaried ambiguity of all of these terms.

Marc stares:  his father: a persistent stasis: there, still.  His mother.  What now?  Himself?  His wife, sister, the children?  And there… here… Laramie Paul Backstagger… still.  Present.  Here.  Present.  Still.

Lucy, in annoyed concern – Alias inebriated, anxious, composing, fantastical, undone – suggests they simply call Anna or Marc, Maribel or Laramie his own self, and check in if he’s so concerned, so (“apparently”) troubled and unsettled about them.  But Alias, of course, of matter-of-course, of persistent stubborn stasis, replies, sighing: “Whatever.  I’m overwhelmed.  Over-reacting, under-developed, undone… Forget about it.  Sorry.  How was your walk – your outsiding?”

Marc prods the body with his boot.  His father weighs too much.  Too heavy.  Too absent.  Too still.  Sensei had startled his mother Maribel, returning to the ranch stables alone.  Who startled his sister Anna, startling Marc via telephone, still.  And now here, miles from anywhere, hating, prodding, regretting, wishing this sodden, sullen lump of heavy matter wasn’t his lifeless father, Laramie, his mother’s errant husband, his sister’s rugged hero, the persistent stasis of his dad.

Tension reigns, still.  Vitality.  Forces working upon and with forces.  Matter and space and energy and time, perhaps.  At the very least a conflicted Alias in tangled tango with his beloved antagonist Lucy, unaware, intuitive, confused and undone, while Marc is shoving his inert father, Maribel quivers, Anna waits, and Lucy huffs down the hall.  Life keeps pressing on and stopping, still.

Laramie & Alias & possible ways to end

Not Found
Not Found

“Just find a way through to an end,” Laramie thinks, fallen there, and hurting.

“the void is waiting for vocabulary,” Alias reads, and ponders alone what the void might be comprised of.  “Perhaps the void is composed of perhapses,” he writes, “combined with some organization of relations we are incapable of imagining, cannot begin to fathom.  Awaiting and constraining possibilities, likelihoods and unforeseens in a kind of complex and chaotic equation or balance.”  Irreducible, inexhaustible, and unsayable, he marks on the wall-sized whiteboard in his office.

“If I figure how to end…make it to an end,” Laramie whispers, hoarsely, internally, excruciatingly, silently.  He cannot sense his horse, nor smell the fire.  It will begin to rain.

“Perhaps,” Alias cursives at his desk, dire, lonely, remiss.  “Perhaps each motion, feeling, thought…perhaps the shaping of an ‘a’ instead of an ‘I,’ perhaps this particular curve or flutter of line, this pen rather than another, the way it sits in my hand, perhaps the letter-to-word conjured depends on so much more than I can conceive or dream: smoke rising to atmosphere in some African desert; a precise selection of neurons inhibited and allowed in my body; the varying flow of blood and calculus of cells active in my thighs, my ankles; the trajectory of wind – its velocity.  Perhaps what registered itself in my synapses and muscles 17 years ago is playing out in curves versus straight; what she said; or his coughs in the night.  The amount and location of sperm; exact army and height of each dandelion stem; the president’s breath; engine ignition in China; the current temperature of Jupiter.  Perhaps.”

Laramie works to focus on his breathing, attempts to concentrate his eyes.  Seeks localization and diagnostics of injury.  His vision is “impaired.”  His legs have gone numb.  Some liquid burn fires through chest-shoulder-arm.  He cannot wriggle his fingers.

“Perhaps every ‘moment’ or movement, influence, decision, activity, intention, expression truly depends on everything else – EVERYTHING…since ANYthing occurred – however that may have become.  And the motion of my arm, its difficulties, my emotions and thinkings, what I am able to perceive, just as much participates in the perhapses and perchances as EVERYthing else – directs them accordingly while equally or ratio-reciprocally affected and determined by.  Some inexhaustible, irreducible, assemblage – unsayable from my specified and fluctuate limitations – my finitude, but imaginatively infinite (perhaps not) in chances-are,” Alias furiously scribbles.

Attempts to roll over.  Effort towards sky.  Finds himself clutching left arm, his legs akimbo but working into a ball.  Breath harsh and labored.  Sight unseen.  Somewhere far, separate, Laramie is suffering.  Finding a way to an end.

“Perhaps,” Alias drones.  “Perhaps deaths and births, seedings and desiccations, galactics and atomic behaviors, cheetah-screech and egg-breaks, politics and business transactions, theories and documents and artifacts, particular weights of the world and all of their unformed-formings gather every instant to become again, particularly.  Planar, scalar, interactive and recursive, never still, never stable, not quite patterned – ever potent, ever determined, ever possible, ever realized – EVERYWHERE + HOW + WHY + WHO + WHAT – always possible and continually actual – without possible worlds – just IS.  Just IS.  Just IS, again.”  Alias slumps.  Decides again to drink.  Looks at porn.  Longs for intimacy, for desire – to be craved, wanted and longed-for.  To be satisfying, satiating.  To be some whacky, untellable, sort of “enough.”  Wishes and wishes – 15,000 things.

Nothing now but distress, pang, shards, fire.  Something like the neigh or whinny of a horse.  A coyote yelp or yip.  Dying insects, a squashed ant.  Sparks fizzled in mist and wind.  Harsh, hard, and consuming.  Consumptive.  Agony.  Laramie unable to locate his body, his voice…himself.

data-rot
data-rot

Without Criteria: Laramie

Picasso - don quixote

Laramie shoots and kills.  Laramie loves and captures.  Catches and release.

Riding along the ridge, singing, swearing, singing.  This journey’s a long time coming.

The need to get away.  For autonomy.  To be self-called.  To begin after all of this and that.  Recall and resound.  Taking stock.

He’s always been this way – a little undomesticated.  A touch of untamed wild.  Never finding a place.  Never quite belonging.

Boundaries forged by relation and response (-ability) all forwarding to limits, cages, toward constraints or restraint he can not abide.  Each vocation or program, discipline or field, replete with vocabularies and methods, praxis and behaviors misfitting to degrees he finds it hard to accept.  A ‘lone wolf,’ ‘self-made man,’ a patent failure or ‘with no name.’  Renegade?

He rides.  The shuffling flanks feel heavy under him, providing awareness of his own weight.  Considers Alias, and thinks how both do not belong.  How adamant and vehement he himself cries freedom, how Alias skinnies and wriggles past the gates.

How neither could ever be said to have ‘succeeded.’  How both (in his mind) would never have failed.  How neither and both are alike.  Neither and both are so different.  Neither and both alive.

Rides on.  Too old for all this but he’ll camp out tonight.  To prove to himself that he’s old both and wild.  Yet.  That he aches to be tamed and untame.  Yearns to belong, independently.  The want for a self that is selfless.  The urge for a course without banks.

Laramie wants to be world, alive.  Wants to be fertile and virile, viral, untrained.  Wants claimed and confessed-for, wants derided and praised.

“We’re the renegade scholars,” sometimes he would say, “learning the lingo and undoing like acid its heart.”  “We master and tell of its weakness, expert novitiates in all.”  “We unwind and unravel.  Travel and root.  We are rhizome,” he says, “drawn out from anywhere.  We absorb and vituperate, ingest and expel.”

He rides, and he rides, in love with the muscling flanks.  The wind tearing through hair and beard, blistering cheeks, stinging his eyes.  There are tears.  Laramie swallows.  The sorrow and joy are one.  Life and its death copulating…heaving and sweating, oily and dry to the bone.  He is brittle.

Laramie is needing to stop, and he feels it.  His body is singing – pain tells.  Time is ripe.  There’s an end.  It is coming.  Unrolling his pack…here it goes…

Alias Alone

“it was neither the cradle nor the grave of anything whatever.  Or rather it resembled so many other cradles, so many other graves, that I’m lost.”

Samuel Beckett-

The silence.  The separation.  The solitude.  This is not novel, not uncanny, not even irregular or unexpected.

Betwixt Alias & Laramie, in fact, it would not be unusual for 1-3 years to pass without interpersonal communication.

The interruption, irregularity, or stretching intermittence of intimate interaction (current parlance “intensive interaction” – what they’re calling genuine conversation these days – a sort of treatment or therapeutic method for the autistic or ‘disabled,’ – akin to the ‘Talking Cure’ of psychoanalytics past) wasn’t really odd or unexpected or otherwise for Alias…merely unfortunate…he accustomed to his cycles and wishes, routines and desires – never mated very well with the world-at-large…his surround.

Still somehow Laramie’s “off” was different.

Perhaps.

No matter.

Alias driven back to Kafka, Beckett, Jabes, and other authors of silences whom he’s long aspired to – wishing (not so secretly) that he might require only some genuine solipsism or solitude, a kind of retreat or reversal from the cultural logorrhea (social media posts, artist’s talks, professional blogs and listservs, tweets/tumbs/grams & feeds) –

incessant reports on one’s self

– disgusting yet enticing,

If other humans ever happened to ‘like’ or ‘follow,’ ‘share’ or ‘pin-it’ or – could it be – actually care?

Alias entering thickets alone.  Laramie “off” (in every way his ‘right’).  No human (living, warm, alive, and responsive).  Alias turns to the ‘mind’ (texts, images, memories, dreams, literature, language, art, thoughts) – in any case or scenario – some abstracted cerebral, cognitive-capacity, the Human Imaginary.  The Pretend.

Meaning.    God.    Religion.    Truth.    Santa.    Satan.     Logic.     Math.

His pet feline “Luna(tic)” and fractured Chihuahua “Gizmo” as company.  And printed literature.  Recorded music.  Playback audio-visual-cinematography.  Machinic animations.  Pornography.  Movie.  Television.  Photographs.  WHATEVER.  Virtual Realities in the place of persons.

Attempts to stay alive, carry on, delude oneself that meaning and reason and experience and expression had validity and representation, communication and comprehension, and so forth.

To “keep calm…& carry on.”

Breathe.

Or…whatever.

Laramie: “OFF”

and

Alias: (“ON”)?

never the twain shall meet?

well, occasionally

(he says, he thinks, he imagines, she says, someone hopes)

The HUMAN (Alias surmises) – ‘an interminable thinking-speech,’ Alias think-speeches, “surely I read/heard/saw/overheard that somewhere.”

It’s Alias alone…free(?), unfettered, allowed, supposedly “ON”

Laramie – “OFF,” Alias sighs.

(and therefore no way to ‘think through’)…

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

Point is, Alias thinks as he murmurs and walks along, there is no meaning, purpose, or point to it all.  “Think-writing” Laramie once called it (re: Alias’ poetry) – “simply inscriptions of progress, er, process…languaging what happens in your miniscule portion of the world (as you know it).”

Think-writing, write thinking, “fuck you!” Alias thinks (writes).  “How can one think without someone or something to think ‘off’ of or ‘with’ or ‘in relation to’?”  Alias grumbles – “yet you’re ‘OFF,’ gone, along, beyond, and so remains me, it, this ‘against,’ ‘in relation to,’ this withless ‘with’ (all versions of the same) ANYthing, EVERYthing, NOThing.”

Something!

“OFF” said Laramie, he

said to Alias, “simply ‘OFF’” like a switch, a light, a life, a dream, a thought, an inception of memory, an hope, ON/OFF, ON/OFF, there/gone, here/gone, you/I, yes/no,…’OFF’ said Laramie, he said to Alias that day, that last day, that latest traversal, that…

…dream,

imagining, encounter, hope, wish, Alias imaginary…

———————————-

…because no one cares, and there is surely no reason to (Alias ruminates).

Having always wanted, desired, craved (it might even be said) to be some strange, unrepeatable and unique (or recognizable) combination of human/person/lover/writer/philosopher/musician/writer/virile male and sensitive, omniscient (no, not ‘omniscient,’ not ‘all-knowing’ but ‘all-considering,’ ‘all-comprehending’ and ‘-allowing,’ ‘understanding’) homo sapien.

There is never any reason (Alias considers) that he should (in any way) be special, “special,” and yet, and yet…

There’s no smidgen of doubt (Alias i. e. Harlequin, piecemeal patchwork of human male – a man, a father, son, parent, professor, laborer, home-owner, some-time partner, friend, teammate, band member, student, child-like adult, mature-seeming child, and so forth…animal, patron, caretaker & guardian, public, customer, businessman, blah, blah, blah, descriptor, descriptor, word, word, term…) that Alias i.e. Harlequin, in relation to Laramie James Backstagger, in relation to J, J, K, T, A, H, O, I, Sam, Franz, Helene, Clarice, mom, sister, dad, daughter, cat, dog, cow, instructor, stranger, landscape, realm, city, genre, language, world…

wanted, even craved (it might be said)

being “special.”

Alias Harlequin.

Alone.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

A thousand shades from cynical to fine…

…medium nor method, mechanism nor machine matters…

…it’s simply the persons involved…

…the choices they make…

….ways they behave…

…what is made of it…

….making and interpreting…

…given the day, the moment, the situation…

…without matter or evidence or reason.

The world happens.

And then we die.

And then world continues.

Happens (for us) (me) (Alias) (Laramie) (you)

No more.

The equations very, VERY simple.

Here & Gone

Heaps of trouble in between

Self-causation

-regulation

Autopoeisis

 

 

Laramie begs “OFF,” or, what happens is parting

What happens is parting…

The incommensurable does not lie outside of language.  It is language.

– Werner Hamacher, Minima Philologica –

“Off” bothered Alias.  It aggravates Alias that Laramie only and simply, states and declares the term “off.”

Strikes him as unfair.  Short-shrift.   Foregone.  An easy conclusion.  A self-imposed or autocratic EXIT.  Cheap escape.

Conversation (that day) silenced (muted) and dulled.  It soured.  When participants elect not to speak their minds or piece, peace or conflict, new tensions are introduced.  Silence [chosen, selected, fought for (or against), willed] intentional silence effects scenarios like speech.  Withdrawal.

Alias tells him; ‘Refusal to speak equals a sort of speaking.  We are both ‘in it.’”

“Off.” Laramie repeated, simply, only, just “off.”  And, “the switch can be binary, non-complex, Alias, simply a choice – ‘I love you,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘I would prefer not to,’ – ‘no,’ – OFF – please allow me that.  I am tired.  You are my friend.  All is well.  It is good.  Life is hard.  Love is pain…OFF.”

The large, long, horizony cosmic swath of atmosphere containing and surrounding human interaction (in this case, in any case) snaps.  It fractures.  The environment (in this case, with the pronunciation of ‘OFF’) simply breaks.

There is quiet (as in) silent (as in) absence of sound, stillness of action, stasis of communion, of commerce, connection –

VACUUM.  REFUSAL.  A plea and a begging to STOP.  QUIT.  CEASE.  To not continue, to NOT go on.  A demanding request for an end.

Laramie states, speaks, invokes, complains, retorts, confesses, professes, declares and pleads and laments, quite simply, to his dearest, nearest and closest confidante, companion, friend and interlocutor – “OFF.”

Laramie chooses.

Alias wants to honor…

grieves, requests, rescinds,

carries on…

evoking ambiguity, anonymity, fiction and untruth.

The calf.

The finch and bluejay and weasel.

Deer, cow, pasture, thistle.

Friends and morning-glories.

The sun, the air; clouds and mid-day.

Company.

Revoked.

 

Laramie Poeticus

Laramie liked to think himself a poet.  One attuned, natural, native to his world(s).  He liked to think he had unique feelings, perhaps an “insight,” an acute attention – that maybe he saw just a little bit more than others saw.  And was able to say so.

A farmer-cowboy type from the upper Midwest, he played a lot of sports and performed muscled labor – at times enjoying the solitude of pasture rides and the company of large mammals.  He felt a “care,” not sure for what, suspect he’d call it a kind of “connection” – with crop growth, animals, the waters and the skies.  And felt he could say so.  And he could sing.  Musician, farmer, cowboy, son.  Husband, scientist, laboring man.  Father, friend, and “poet” (he might say).  Laramie James Backstagger, dearly known to Alias.

“When you’re making it – forming words or music – do you feel somehow that you’re ‘getting it’?” Alias might ask, as they ambled the fields chopping at thistles, remedying fence.  “Do words add to experience or just chop it up?  Diminish?  Reduce?” Alias chimed.

Laramie would go silent, plodding along, smelling and listening.  Looking.

At times they’d play basketball, tennis (this was all in their youth, Alias having blown out his knees at the pigskin).  And careful.

They both went on to cities: education, enlightenment, the ‘experience’ of cultural promises.  They still had their debts to pay.

“I mean, when you ‘see’ it, or ‘hear’ it, are immersed – it’s not seeing or hearing or sensing – am I right? It’s just being – and then – ?” Alias prodded, “and then – what happens?”  “You hear language, or find it or forge it, dream times or ‘intuit,’ you consider ways you’d be able to MARK it – note it down (letters or score) – recount or recreate it – even extend or rescind it – and that all seems like media to me: communication: expression or history or talk…but reduced.  Reduced to what YOU can comprise or compose – not the ‘same’ as the moments, trembling in the web, and borrowing, borrowing, borrowing – from the wind and the trees, weather and bees, family and learning, working and friends – and our culture! – all funneled and cored to some desiccated fraction of bone – eviscerated – ‘HERE LIES LARAMIE’S TAKE’: some words or an etude or painting.  Even action.  Even sowing or reaping or pruning or care…’HERE LIES LARAMIE’S TAKE’ – wow!  Really?!  Amazing!  One moment made this?!  AND WHAT CARES?  WHAT MATTERS?  WHAT PURPOSE OR POINT, BENEFIT OR CONSEQUENCE…the next ‘now’?!”

Alias could go on and on like this.  Often doing what he’d just described or decried.

And Laramie’d slow, maybe stop, often sit, and stare out.  Have a smoke (he didn’t smoke, but pretended – his children and wife didn’t like it).  And Alias would drink and get wiser.  A little calmer and sad.  And all might go quiet, save the world always humming.

Laramie Backstagger sighed.

“Well?  Whadda ya think?” challenged Alias – “how is it for you when you speak, feel or sing?”

And how would he know, ailing Laramie?  Been too many years of conflicting events and results and mixed feelings.  Too many miles that worked out without working, or failed for the working too much.  “I’m uncertain,” he said, “I’m uncertain.”  “But you’re pushing at something in me.”

By now Alias was off on his own like a mammal, had concocted a scent for to trail.  Maybe the ache was for sharing the thing they were sharing: agreement.  Maybe to get through the whole business at once, simultaneously.  Maybe to not be divided and different or just pieces of things – to be doubled or tripled or multiple?  Harlequin – pieceworked and patched, back then and now and some future.  An assemblage, a collage wanting melding.

“All uncertain,” Laramie said.  “I can’t know, just I do it and feelings will follow.  New ones.  Pains from smashed understandings, joys from promising starts, aches at the poorness I lend them – but something goes on, carries forth – it don’t end with the birds and the breeze.  The words have it too, and the voices.  The shapes and the meanings and lines.  Even tones.  It goes on, both the good and the ill, and I’m part, or it seems such.”

“How ‘bout you?” Laramie wants to know.  “Why do you carry on and keep blabbing,” he taunts.

“Just to borrow,” Harlequin murmurs.  “Just to steal.”  “To have something to say.  To keep silent.  To wish that it might carry on.”  “It’s what we’ve got, all these things.  Try as I might, I don’t know what else to do, and at times feel compelled, god dammit.  Like Foucault or Blanchot or Spinoza.  Or Buddha or Christ, Kafka or little Jane,” (little Jane was the crazy old lady – lived two miles from the Backstagger’s farm – she’d sparkle to company no matter the cause and just cackle and croon – mixing nonsense and stories, opinions and facts, just talking and talking and talking.  No one knew if it ceased when they left, it never stopped within range of the hearing).

“I hear you” said Laramie, “I see.”  To which Alias always replied “But you don’t – I don’t know that.  Have no method of saying it’s true.”  And they’d keep walking on…toward night.