Greetings all. I realize something now. I realize (today), I realize, sitting in the sun of a Winter in Kansas, on my porch, in a rocker, alone, a side-effect, a remnant, remainder, myself… I realize that I have long dreamt of leaving some legacy, of making some mark, of contributing to the world – the natural world – the world as made up of plants, animals, landscapes, elements, humans… the world dizzied with combinations of atoms and molecules… and yet… and yet… I realize it was all about love – all about being realized by being loved, and realizing meaning in loving – NOT leaving a literary legacy, NOT producing interesting and intriguing offspring, NOT making art or language or objects that would outlast me – NO, no, no… Simply recognizing that I exist, existed, am existing in the world of another, and that the world exists, existed, will exist for me – by my affection and attention to its nuances, details, and differences – its specificity of my attention, attraction and resolve: LOVE.
I found this entry in an old journal, a blue oversized Moleskine soft-covered journal, and found (years later) that it still seemed to speak for me… but as I typed and edited it I realized that it has been outdone, realized, accomplished, in the FACT of BEING LOVED and BEING ENABLED TO LOVE… and so all the hopes remain, all the purposes and visions, all the projected communications and connections… but in a context rearranged, reapportioned, reinvented – that of MEANING derived from LOVING and being LOVED. Thanks to my vibrant partner and accomplice, inspiration and reward – for taking the grave gravity of production and transforming it into action… the pinched acuity of competition and accomplishment into offshoot, accumulation and extraneous luxury – that the hopes, dreams and ideas / ideals of a human existence might be translated into freedom, grace, and potential benefit or gift – possibility rather than necessity; offering rather than identity; potentiality rather than desperation – a giving in distinction from a grasping : so I might still possess similar hoping without the fear and trembling, without a sense of pointlessness, without a perception of failure. LOVING – intricate maneuvers of helping and healing, intimate operations of interaction and reciprocation, finely detailed activities of acceptance and reception – the sigh, the breath, the pulse of BEING… change me. Change and change and change me. As a parent, a man, a partner, a person. Thank you dear love – a wonder, a woman, an incredible human – a person: full and becoming, so generous, so tender, so affirmative and kind, so rich and creative, inventive and becoming, so new – I love you. The world is different now. Its meaning, its point, its aim, its occasion.
This old and rediscovered writing has distinct meaning… because you, and life, and love, and… an evolving and differentiated “I.”
I am using the blue notebook with a blue pen to complement. Why? Because you asked. You said “everyone wants to know.”
In other words, if it’s going to count for what matters, it has got to be specific and special – set apart, somehow more final, more complete. I’ll use it for the whole – for photos, drawings and more – all the blue notebook in blue ink – for you. Because apparently, “everyone wants to know.”
Mom and dad ask in their roundabout, passive-regressive surreptitiously accusatory way, as is their fashion – kindly and quiet, ever with a look of care and concern, yet secretly shouting their “what is wrong with you!?” “What is wrong with US, that you…” and on and on and blah blah blah…
My memory isn’t like that the first five years of life…that I pretend to remember. But all is mostly smells and sounds and light from there. Trees and grass and dirt, how brightness gleamed and glanced and filtered through, with times of wind and rain.
Not that you care… I’m fairly certain that’s not what is being asked for, not by you, by my sibling, children, or lifetime of “friends” and “family” – whoever, wherever they’ve become.
You’re the livewire – and perhaps the children – perhaps they will want to know, at some point, perhaps not. Perhaps everyone’s already figured my story – diagnosed and prescribed me. Perhaps.
Be that as it may, I’ve thought long and hard, reviewing what I thought I knew, how I felt I felt, what it seems I’ve seen, and so on, and decided, for you, for you, really, and maybe a little of a bit for myself (curiously) and a percentage for my kids should they ever seek to know or wonder, or have need of psychological freedom, or give a shit about who or why… I decided to use this damned blue notebook with matching pen and try to learn just what I think about it all, mostly because, as you put it, “everyone wants to know” – (and WHO might this “everyone” be?).
Should I start with the hands, the head, or the heart? I suppose the limbs and loins will come into play as well – god knows the guts and the goiter.
I remember an opening. A time I was touched, in the rain, and my suddenly skin, my obvious self-enclosure – as opening, margin, and veil – a fabric of me, and a screen.
I wanted to make a difference, you see. Make something, I don’t know, construct an element everyone could hold on to. Take in hand, heart and head. Keep or repeat as needed. Something like that. I knew I wouldn’t last, none of this, none of anything. “The center cannot hold” sort of deal.
I ought not begin there. They’re all wound up together like knots – the head looking down, arms wrapped around, concealing and revealing the heart, the guts, the loins and moving limbs. I can’t take a one without other, thinking and feeling about it, my actions, ideas, and sensations all.
Perhaps I’ll pretend. (Just what you’ve all loved so well about me – to discover pretense – how I’ve molded myself to imagined desires). I’ll pretend I’m an aged man seated on a stiff wooden chair, children / grandchildren gathered all about me – a specimen or model – something to be taken apart and examined. I lift off my shirt and my body is read – questions asked – we all get somewhere in this way.
Let’s see – here – along the shoulder – a self-portrait by Egon Schiele (self-tormented asylum brother) and a snake that is eating its tail. “Le Ouroborous,” I hack out – “don’t you know it?” Sign of doctors, ingenuity, medicine and art – creation, destruction intertwined round and round. Self-devouring while birthing its form as it alters. The mastication and regurgitation of “I.”
A young one might say “what’s that? – the curlicues and elaborate spiel?” Garcia Lorca I’d sigh. Yes. The grand leaping bugger of light. He’s yellow and lemons, crickets and birds! You know the stuff that sends you! Portal moments of sight or song and ‘wham!’ all the crap pelted into your brain and body get shaken and stirred together like surrealist still life. Incongruity making sense. Opposites attracting, no, better – look at your aging mother and I – a juxtaposed spectrum, paradox and carnival!
They say that you wanted to know.
Yes there’s Kafka, Blanchot, Cixous and Lispector. Jabes and Beckett now seeped in my veins. Dostoevsky, Bakhtin, Rilke. Gods and angels, drink and demons all carved in the skin of their names. Nietzsche and ridiculous happiness. Wittgenstein and the torment of words, of meanings, of none. I’d be a working inscription, at surface.
The corridors – head, heart and hands.
Are you sure anyone wanted to know?
The sounds of piano? Coaxing the keys in steady patterns – mimicking rain; or poems – yes, we forget Giacometti’s “Man Falling” – a perpetual stumble on the back of my hand, hoping neither knew what the other was up to. But they did and they do – I see that now – all parts of same body, stretched with same skin. Poems as stripped-down sculptures, some essential chants or song – just a gaze or a wisp of caress. Droppings of blood. Miracles that something remains after we’re through with our twisting and grasping.
Is this what you wanted? Does it explain – anything? I doubt it. Hardly think so.
Here at the ribs. The cracked and the lumpen. There was a time. Times I thought maybe risking and danger – a reach at euphoria – some panicking life – might make one feel much more alive. How do you think you all got here? Desperate plungings into the unknown, oh dear ones, like mad scientists messing around in the lab! The edges of cliffs, clinging to limbs, insecure at wits’ ends, going for broke.
And break we did.
But just look at you fertile seedlings, good eggs. I never meant to be rough with you all. To risk what is fragile in you. Ribs, here – cave and cage for the heart.
I can still breathe you. Charred and chortled, this was one great pleasure – to know I was breathing, in-spired. I know you all despised it, and it caused me to smell stale and rotting, but the rush of smoke down this pipe here into the bellows of slimy flesh…that let me know I was taking it in, not an automaton or senseless machine – no, I was hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling – BEING – I could feel it in my ashen lungs. Sometimes it hurt. What we ingest. But it really goes in and visibly comes out – everything – for good or ill. I needed to know it tangibly.
Why? you ask, why?
Look at the cranium stooped and weighed down. That sucker was a burden of liquid fire. All curled over like that the entirety of my life – looking in, at, in. What’s there? How does it work? For “whom”? When? Is there even a why? Examining, dreaming, recording and imagining – listen – say it back, say it forth, combine and copulate, shake it and stir – use that heavy weight, whirr whirr chrrr and whirr. Profile the shape of some jagged question mark, dotted where the heart must be.
And look at it now, nearly buried into the chest. It happens. Weather-systems, signsponge, it all will run its course. It once was aimed upwards and outwards, into fantasies, hopes and abstractions, and for years I kept it aimed straight ahead – horizontal, seeking directions – but slowly and surely its drug down toward the heart, pulsing muscle, plug for the cords. Everything up and away, everything out there or behind, it’s all happening here – in the mix, filtering through, circulating the circuitry of head, heart and hands – latching up or breaking down in the system.
What was it you wanted to know? Limbs and loins, head and heart, I’m acknowledging and exposing, affording view – I’m aware description does not explain a thing – the wonderful views of science still unable to explain…
The waste gets processed below, legs running away now knobby and stiff. But there, clinging in its corner like a core – my erratic, agitated, beating beast. Entire web of inexplicable drives and energy, fears and misery, desires and dread – my heart. Does this explain it? Does this explain anything? What anyone wanted to know?
Gasping there like the mouth of a landed fish, pulsing purplish like an aroused member – my heart. If I poke and coax it, tear at it or wring it onto this blue notebook in blued blood – will it explain?
Here, whomever, look. Here it lies, cheats, and steals. Here it gives and it aches and breaks. Here it prolongs and stops itself short. Pulpy mass of living meat – humana – the am therefore am. Take it, read it, test it – heal it if you wish or can. I’m open.
Is this what you wanted?
What everyone wanted to know?