Even a blank page
can be beautiful, asking:
Who goes there? What? Where?
Even a blank page
can be beautiful, asking:
Who goes there? What? Where?
It was funny how she, how I, refused, declining enticing invitations of love. Once.
Then again. Or not.
Still, it happens, rejected or otherwise. Naysaying, that is.
Strange relations. Using yes for no, and their returns and variations.
She says no though. I did.
It eventuates, seemingly regardless of our answers.
Check boxes. Lists. Identities. Likert-scales of experiencing.
Mouths inclining. Decline. A trajectory of eyes. Reclining seduction.
I decided not to go along. (Where do we go instead? Who goes? When?). Each denial an assent.
What did the trees refuse? What was the grass fighting, then? The clouds? I watched… she observed birds.
The dancers’ bodies. A dismissal of space. The removal of sound. Absent silences.
Where was she? I?
We said no.
Do words incline or recline for us? What of the ear, the eye?
Still I smelled her.
“I love,” I thought, “I cannot love. I can not.” She declines.
These are the ways of naysaying, all our doubled negatives, equaling… what, exactly?
I love her. I can not. She won’t. Will not. Negativity in a vacuum. Apparatus.
The squirrel upside down, above the lawn, on the long tree limb. What is it denying? And where is the use of speech?
We cried out, decrying. (What could that mean? That seems always in question).
I asked Beckett and Blanchot. They each said that she said “no.”
Apparently, she says “no.” “I’d really like to, but can not, must not,” i.e. “no.”
It rings out, like bells – so radiant, so silent, such dissipation. Such temporal hazard and warning.
Something refuses the air.
I remember. She traces back. What means “over”?
Sound refusing silence. The first. The second. The next.
What is “last”?
She says no.
I recall dreams from time to time. Unable.
Something may have been said.
“Penelope remembers having read that of all the liquids and fluids produced by the human body – sweat, semen, vaginal fluid, saliva – tears are the only one without any trace of DNA… Impossible to identify someone from their tears, we’re all identical when we weep despite the many different reasons we have for weeping, something like that. Unlike unhappiness, tears don’t set us apart, they make us the same.”
Rodrigo Fresan, “The Invented Part”
Last week I spent with my four offspring at a cabin on the Pikes Peak Massif in Colorado. Mostly I register grief and loss in my experience of living… but interestingly enough, the first entry of my vacation journal begins with the simple sentence “I’m happy.” Unqualified, that’s it – myself + my offspring + a rich world reeking of “no service” and untellable beauty… “I’m happy.” Here are some notes I made throughout the week:
Simple things innerheard during cabin stay:
The stars: “We can’t tell the difference: between light or dark, death or what remains.”
The streams: “Where have we come from, where are we going? / Where we have come from, where we are going.”
Growing things (grass, moss, wildflowers, mushrooms, wild berries, etc…): “Not yet, not yet. Who knows?”
The rocks, the boulders: “Once upon a time. Now.”
The mountain(s): “Maybe. May Be.”
The cabin: “Us. Here. We. With. Hold.”
Phrases of my children:
Addresses to my children and loved ones:
Thank you mountains, rocks, growing things, streams….
for the weekend…
I don’t think I have a question;
yet I seem to be
This one? This one?
Is it here?
The breeze is not silent
as many things
that are not
Still I do not understand –
Are you here?
It goes unanswered
along with the riddle
Are we here?
READY FOR SADNESS
I’m often ready to be sad.
Why is this?
What holes are excavated by living?
What sifts through? Falls out? Runs away?
It goes nowhere
Still it goes
where I am not
through all these openings
Instead I seal them shut
I try to stuff them
full of rags
that reek of sin and toxic
What can I do –
will I –
in this cell
that seems my own?
What does one do?
How does one choose
when all is failing,
he asks his father –
buys a car
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
never the twain shall meet?
(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.”
“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…
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)
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)
The equations very, VERY simple.
Here & Gone
Heaps of trouble in between
Someone is writing.
Writing a long story never told. Never entire, always undone, elaborate and fabricated, once begun.
Tubes, nerves, roots and vessels. Pathways.
Encounters, experiences, events. Relations.
Language is part of it. Emotion. Thought. A strange logic (situational ordering, a kind of management of complexity, sometimes called ‘chaos’).
A rhizome, a network, a knot.
There are inputs and outputs, sources/emissions, but never clean, nary discreet.
Recursive, redundant, asymmetrically reciprocal. Untold and untellable, it’s writing, written, writing on…
Over, through, attempting…beyond, become, a traversing or explore. An assay. Interactive. Emerging. To eventuate.
Someone is writing for something to happen. To participate in occurrence, to entangle in becoming. To begin, continue, hoping toward an unknowable end. Writing.
Like loving, eating, dreaming, or survival – one of many ways.
Laughing, weeping, inventing, desiring,
I am uncertain why I am sharing this, it comes from a personal email response to a friend, but as I was writing it, things that were coming up resonated profoundly in me. Composition just does this for me. I suppose I want it on public record for my own remembering. That I learn things about me, that change is possible, that decay is transformative. Okay then I am posting a personal reflection for myself – to declare it more widely in lieu of a personal social group.
“leaning upon nothing because nothing offers support”
The following is a response to a scholarly conversation regarding philosophy, science, cognition and so on…entirely out of place or sync, but seemed a personal confession on the passage of time and what it reveals…
Greetings —-. It is good to hear from you. I’ve been inundated per usual with family activities – good and tiring – and disorienting to my habits of reflection to some extent. Feeling a bit bewildered re: semester start-up and the madness it brings, and yes, missing ANY considered interaction and dialogue. I feel lucky to have encountered you.
Wee, random breaks and work-from-home days incite my nostalgia and bodily recall of creating creative work in language. I ache for it. Loss of its regularity is a depletion that changes me. But then I read, “the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay” from a book about butterflies. And “we have not much language to appreciate this phase of decay, this withdrawal, this era of ending that must precede beginning” from a commentary on it by Rebecca Solnit, a fine book – A Field Guide to Getting Lost that I like to read while traveling.
I suppose as the library is closed and our work quiet and insect-like on research, curriculum, and admin reports back here…my sociality turns to the work of being open and refusing stress in interacting with my beautiful children. Which clicks onward into the ever-insistent questioning I face regarding whether there are adult relationships that can be predominately nourishing or reciprocally intimate. Do we offer one another boon? Any of us? Our interactions have consistently done so, and I am very thankful to you for that. So much conversation wears on me with the subterfuge and maneuvering to get anywhere near meaningful discourse. I suppose I am tired, and perhaps in a strain of melancholy. The wishing I could sit back with a drink and listen to intelligent talk without necessity of defense or critical acumen. Just enjoying that we can. Imagine and inform one another as humans. I want this to mean something for me. To mean I go about things variantly, shy from exhaustion and welcoming to possibilities. From where does this determination to endure come from? To “make the most of” idle repartee, body language, archaeology of behaviorisms and attitudes, – supplying too much (or inordinately) in order to learn in situations. I dream of the luxury of perception and interpretation without analysis. Reception. Or where analysis co-creates itself. Mutuality. Enjoyment versus labor. Or an effortless labor to enjoy. Ahem. Off-track and losing…
All this, I suppose, to apologize for my lack of acumen in the dear and full emails you and —- have provided…and probably an explanation of my messages of links rather than thought. Others’ works as hopefully substantial stand-ins for my intellectual lack or confusion. I do not know where the path is at present. Just spinning in a lot of literature and activity. Confession.
Trying to view decay in a hopeful manner. The slow tears in relationality that introduce distances. From friends, to partners, to ‘self’ – the flux of it all. Many seem to have a greater capacity than I for working thematically regardless of internal/external context. More flexible beings, I suppose, less bound by circumstance and scenario. Ah well, this is no relevant response to your missals. Apologies. They enliven me – simply that thought and invention are going on around me – so please share them all as they arise – it is a great matter of hope for me to watch thought and process in others. A stay against loneliness. Thank you. As I age along, some confusions do seem to dissipate…particularly confusions of my own blindnesses. What nourishes me: intimacy (emotional, intellectual and physical), the thought and imaginative work of others, people striving to process experience on multiple levels, quiet & rest & reflection. The commerce of ideas and bodies – entangled minds and bodies – passion and gentleness and reflection. When these dissipate or decay or are absent in some strange idiosyncratic equilibrium, life is just harder for me to insist on. And how terribly crucial the activity of writing is for me in my own ability to process my experiencing. A weird alchemical embodied activity for me that seems to bring forth learning, feeling, imagination and all those characteristics I would like to take root in myself, to be me. I am better when I write. Better when I love. Better when I rest. Better with meaningful dialogue. All sounds simple and general, but revealed ever more insistently to me as my epidermis thins.
Another turn of the wheel, bellows to the desire to thrive before the end.
To 2016 then. And hope.
Something better soon.
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"As for me I reduce everything to a tumult of words" - Clarice Lispector
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"As for me I reduce everything to a tumult of words" - Clarice Lispector
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