The Perpetual Proposal

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Interconnection and Autonomy

a personal note

I have long disliked and had an intense aversion to telephone calls.  Like televisions transmitting in shared or public spaces, they present inescapable interruption and intrusion.  One could be in thought, repose, intimacy, conversation, activity — in fact, whatever one is about when one is not on the telephone – and then suddenly must react to a demand.  A call.  But WHO is calling?  WHY?  Why now?  When my attention is demanded through interruption or intrusion, my body anticipates emergency.

Disembodied conversation shifts the burden of dialogue to the voice.  Therefore the natural indicators for “I’m thinking…” or “give me a moment,” nods, smiles, frowns or gestures that flow in face-to-face interaction, offering wholistic responses, are all pressured onto the mind and voice – forcing incessant reports and the trickiness and difficulty of translating bodily experience into language.  I require time to listen, consider, and respond.  Movement.  Silence.  Whether it’s a simple invitation, business matter, question or request – it always emerges as demand on the telephone.  Respond to this NOW.  (public or shared-space televisions – SEE this NOW).  You cannot escape, select, regulate or direct such importunities.

Global Communication Technologies, – our networks, internetworks and their myriad machines and devices – have provided some enormous benefits toward expanding our social lives outside of limited demographics and cultures, opening realms of activities and artifacts, information and resources that in any other time-period we may never have known about or encountered.  As these technologies proliferate into internets of thingsubiquitous (or pervasive / invasive) computing, and manifest the inherently linked realities of our world…simultaneously providing ambient findability (all of these terms and phrases as easily interpreted as violence or intrusion as well as opportunities or boon).

I’ve long preferred face-to-face interaction (in spare doses, they are taxing & rewarding) and textual communications (obviously, but also texting, emails, postal correspondence), because in the F2F we are offered and allowed appropriate cues to follow and respond to one another, and in textual discourse we are allowed the time and distance to craft and dictate our translations of experience, messaging intentions, and terminological tones.

Of late, however, I have noted a convergence of Call-Anxiety and Pervasive-Communications.  And am wondering about our levels of autonomy (if there even is such a thing for the human) or self-direction, any amount of governance we might preserve over our lives and activities and choices in a world populated with linked devices?

How much of our days – work time, supposedly “personal”/private time, play time, labor time, interpersonal time, family time, meal-times, chore-times, reading times, creative times, necessity times, and so on…- are steered and directed, controlled and dictated by the consistent, persistent, pervasive and invasive thoroughfare of MESSAGES from OUTSIDE?  If we consult our devices upon waking – how often are that day’s events passively designed around what we receive?  If we respond to text vibrations / updates / posts / SMS or IMs / emails – how much are they eroding self-governance and discipline or choice and instead simply ANNOUNCING (demanding?) direction and response?

How many swerves do we make in our causeways of living by our over-saturation with “friends,” our communicative reach far beyond our communities, our global information system versus our local work offices or families or few (actual) friends?  There have been plenty of studies from nearly every field of inquiry reporting that our safe or thrivable social capacities are quite limited – most studies indicate humans do best in consistent contact with 30 or less others.  Proffering sufficient opportunities to know, understand, interact and relate.  Yet any given Facebooker or tweeter or snappy-chatter may have exponentially larger engagements nearly every minute of their lives.

How different would my relationships with co-workers,  children, family, friends, BE if we weren’t including thousands of others in remote places, professional connections throughout the world, images and language and emotional reports and happenstances flooding like telephone calls and tele-visions and noise into our domains, habitats, domiciles, studies?  What might i NOT buy if it weren’t so easy?  How differently might I know books, movies, music, animals, persons – if they weren’t in virtually infinite supply?Do we preserve moments of choice and connection, safe from Call-demands or Pervasive/Invasive-communication-technologies?  Or do we simply escape or take breaks from time to time?  Going for a walk or having a dinner, camping, hiking or traveling once in a while without our devices?  What would it be like to lose them?  What would we know?  What kinds of knowing would we produce?  What sorts of makings?   What might be drawn or composed, felt or engaged, seen or heard if we were DISconnected to the hive of activity and input? How might we relate to those around us?  Where might we go?  Who might we be?

Well, that’s what I’m thinking about.  Pondering.  Wondering.  Queries of value and quality and meaning.  Stress-levels, anxiety, physical wear of being “on alert,” alarm, reactive, responsive to ubiquitous “Calls.”  Demands.  Invasions.

What if we saved intrusions for emergencies?  Took time to send only specific, relational-oriented, relevant and appropriate information to one another?  Thought critically?  Reflected?  Looked, touched, listened, and managed more wholistic presence with our immediate surrounds?

I don’t know.  I’m just wondering.

[The lucky piece for us at present is that, like pulling the phone line from the wall, our technologies are remarkably easy to dismantle and turn OFF, should we CHOOSE to]

A Guarded Narrative

Theories exist that propose a process for primary and profound attachments.  That as these attachments proceed, they will inevitably expose (or reach, come up against) individual limitations.  As humans intermingle with increased intimacy and time, eventually the darker reaches, safer holdings in us (traumas, repression, grave fear or terror, shame) will be engaged and something will ensue – usually either openings or closures.  The following was composed as an attempt at a relational account of this…

Alfred Hitchcock Doors

 

We Open Doors

We struggle.  We stumble forth.  We reach, we ramble, we run.  We learn to walk.  We tumble and waver, we stride.  We overhear, we listen, we engage.  We greet what we encounter, we welcome and inquire.  We reciprocate.  We open doors.

We gaze, we laugh, we remember and rejoinder.  We wander, we wonder, we happily agree.  We chide and we dispute, we recommend and reason, we exclaim.  We open doors.

We step forth, step through, we open chambers.  We confess.  We beg, we plead, we rest and bless.  We sing.  We join, we sway, we dance.  We kick and scream and wriggle.  We resonate.  We hurt and we forgive, we open doors.

We whisper while we shout, we worship and succumb.  We praise and denigrate, argue, negotiate, we push and we budge. We hesitate.  We wrestle with the locks, we suppress and unremember, we fabricate, we lie.  We pry the doors.

We change the stories.  We imagine.  We concoct and recreate.  We design a thread and tell a tale, we corroborate with doubt and love.  We fear and we recall.  We reassure.  We swoon, we falter and we soothe.  We open doors.

We enter dungeons.  We smell the dark.  We trigger mines.  We panic and react.  We flee aimless and return, we grasp and seek and hope.  We lift the doors.

We reach the wetlands.  Cross the plains.  We clamber mountains holding onto rope.  We knot and we undo.  We disrobe and arm ourselves.  We bleed.  We heal.  We stack the rocks.  We open doors.

We attach and we press on.  We scab and suffer.  We get lost.  We recover.  We holler, we recoil, we respond. We widen cracks and we expose.  We grope, we censor, we divide.  We rage and we varnish, we forget.  We ask and refuse the answer.  We testify, profess.  We strain and crawl.  We collapse.  We guard the doors.

We collaborate.  We weave and tear and shape.  We invent.  We threaten cores.  We gird our hearts and steel our minds, we clasp our hands.  We jump and weep and fly.  We grieve.  We repose, we dialogue, we alchemize.  We sear.  We use our weight.  We bolster.  We open doors – they slam us.

We protect.  We damage and arrange.  We repair.  We gossip with our notions.  We theorize, we enter forests.  We drown and cradle rocks, we float and we resign.  We hear the latches, we peer downstairs, we take our steps and count the beats.  We’re keeping time.  We feel the tremors, we sense the snap, we open doors.

We break them down.  We tremble.  We contract.  We slither, wriggle, wind.  We explode, we come undone, we disappear.  We hear the lock.  We search the key.  We gather, we conspire, we close in.  We close doors.  We seal, we paint, we turn.  We shrink, explore, thin out.  We look away, look forward, look about.  We separate and margin. We barrier and bind.  We open doors.

We pause, we blind, we wish.  The doors shut tight on what we’ve opened.

 

 

 

“Leaning into the sharp points”

Suzanne(Beckman-Filbert)Holly-suzanne-prayingman.jpeg

 

painting by Holly Suzanne

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth” – Pema Chodron

I modeled for the painting above.  It is propped beside the bed as I write.  A large painting, and heavy, maybe 4.5 feet long and 3.5 feet tall, loaded with layers of paint.  She called it “Praying Man,” but I wasn’t praying – the way it turned out I felt like a longshoreman, a hauler, tensed with the energy of pulling things out from the deeps.  I see why she called it that.

We’re reorganizing the house, and in that process I notice what’s gone, and discover things forgotten.  Today it was When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron, “heart advice for difficult times.”  I’ve depended on this one before.  It’s written with the situation in mind in which a human feels there is nowhere to escape.  Suffering floods in weights that compress one toward no option.  Chodron says that “No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear…the advice we usually get is to sweeten it up, smooth it over, take a pill, or distract ourselves…but by all means make it go away.”  “We don’t need that kind of encouragement, because dissociating from fear is what we do naturally.”  “Cheating ourselves of the present moment” according to Chodron.

Instead, she suggests, “we could step into uncharted territory and relax with the groundlessness of our situation…by inviting in what we usually avoid…adopting a fearlessly compassionate attitude toward our own pain and that of others.”  I am taking this on as the work of the “praying man.”  The longshoreman and hauler, reeling hand over hand over heart over hurt into the tumult of the pain of being.  “…getting to know fear, becoming familiar with fear, looking it right in the eye – not as a way to solve problems, but as a complete undoing of old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and thinking…having the courage to die, the courage to die continually.”  The traditions align.  “He who saves his life will lose it.”  The terror that drives the boundaries, isolates the organism.  Protectiveness cuts the supply chain.  Security stanches generative flow.

What happens when we stay?  Nailed to the present misery.  Chodron suggests that when we move into rather than away from our life-threatening pain a kind of catharsis can occur – an acceptance that we are “precious beyond measure – wise AND foolish, rich AND poor, good AND bad…and totally unfathomable.”

2013-01-22 14.36.20

another painting by Holly Suzanne, emptied of me

The trick is to keep exploring and not bail out, even when we find out that something is not what we thought.  That’s what we’re going to discover again and again and again.  Nothing is what we thought.  I can say that with great confidence.  Emptiness is not what we thought.  Neither is mindfulness or fear.  Compassion – not what we thought.  Love.  Buddha nature.  Courage.  These are code words for things we don’t know in our minds, but any of us could experience them.  These are words that point to what life really is when we let things fall apart and let ourselves be nailed to the present moment.”

Preying Man then, hunched over and hauling it out, rhythmically breathing into the present, a turbulent pain fueled by fear…searching into what I usually avoid.  Hopefully not so much as a way to solve problems, but an undoing of native ways of seeing and hearing, smelling and tasting and thinking…along with the courage to die.

-all quotations Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

Intimacy

Greetings, in an effort I am making to “make sense”… I have been encouraged to chronicle the benefits of my experiences to investigate personal meanings.  That might not make sense.  Suffice it to say that I am plunging into the world of my recent past in an attempt to discover how it has changed me.  A working title might be “Intolerable Vulnerabilities,” (a phrase lent me by my mental physician) and its subject is yet to be defined…but here are the beginnings of an intro…

Intimacy - Amy Bloom

 

The hesitant beginning…

” Most all of us have been caught up in the proverbial “throes of love.”  The ecstasy and heartache of opening oneself to another, being enraptured, plagued with doubt and hope, captive to longing and the myopia of the significance of the beloved.  But perhaps less of us experience intimacy.  Intimacy may be something quite different from love.  Although usually initiated in its atmosphere, intimacy reaches beyond the experience of love and journeys toward closeness.  Intimacy is about the intertwining of lives, the multiform intricacies of barely-boundaried involvement.  What occurs when lives are meshed and melded – shaped with and around one another – physically and immaterially, actually and theoretically, imaginatively and really.  Where histories are remade and revamped together in a present.  Where hopes are remade and reshaped as a couple.  Where the unit and body that counts as an “I” extends to a “we,” and sensation, perception and thought happen always with an external mirror.

Where intimacy takes us is awesome.  I mean this in the most fearsome and incredible ways.  Human closeness is fraught with archetypal danger.  When exposed in such nearness, our lives seem at stake.   It goes to the “heart of us.”  Within the weathers of love, the wedded experience that intimacy brings seems to make us or break us – our futures and fortunes, significance and meaning rise or fall in accord with an Other.  We, in ways, “are not our own” but become something new, something larger and fresh.  Something open, extended and possible.  Something at risk, distended, and vulnerable.  Our lives shared in the hands of another.  Our minds shaped with the mind of another.  Our purposes, intentions and behavior ever effecting conjoined scenarios.  The world is different.  Intimate.  Involved.  Precious and fragile.

There are (at least) two sides to the story…a territory of doubled strength and minimal safety.  Of terrifying exposure and (possibly) multiplied protection.  Of enhanced security and absolute danger.  This is the province of love.  This is the prospect of intimacy.”

Love - John Armstrong

 

-John Armstrong, The Conditions of Love

Intimacy as Art

Intimacy as Art

“A way of connecting, on relatively safe middle ground, with another human being”

“that ‘neutral middle ground on which to make a deep connection with another human being’… was what fiction was for.  ‘A way out of loneliness’…”

Jonathan Franzen, on David Foster Wallace

“If the novel were able ‘to give the reader, who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves,’ it opens the potential that she might, as a result, feel ‘less alone inside’”

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, on David Foster Wallace

My son and I arguing about the nature of things – is there anything we can agree on?  mutually believe?  are we similar? – in what began as an attempt (on my part) to soothe obvious hurt and confusion (on his part).  He kept pointing to (referencing) his mirror, his bedside table, in an effort at agreement, at a meeting-point that might be solid, be reliable, be “correct,” or “true.”  Some relatively stable collection of roving and vibrating molecules we might sharingly recognize, might hold, attend, or unite around – together.

Throughout my life I’ve attempted to comprehend – to make a symbol for myself –  what works of art, particular pieces of music, specific phrases or pages of literature, momentary glimpses of nature, dollops of emotional experience DO.  How they work.  Why they “feel” – move us, take an occasional effect we might call “profound.”  Why, even if they shatter us, cause us to weep, provoke in us the enormous courage required to change, we also somehow still feel safe, often empowered, somewhere beyond “okay” (ecstatic? – out of ourselves?)?

Although often evoking experiences I’d describe as most completely, totalizingly personal, I always felt their effectiveness, their possibilities of success and individuated power, came precisely because they were not (personal).  That what intimacy they provided – what outlet or spillage, what expression they represented or evinced – was contextually impersonal, through matter and energy uniquely organized, mediated.

In other words, we could throw all of ourselves into, at, toward or away from them (works of art, formal arrangements of world) without the danger or threat, anxiety or fear, of influence.  We wouldn’t hurt, harm, embarrass, shame, offend or be misunderstood by a cornflower, a collective of strokes of paint, a recording of sound waves, moving molecules.  No direct hits of miscommunication, misinterpretation.  Perfect, variable, flexible presentations of world, of other, that we might release ourselves in relation to, without fear.

Existent things, moments, that genuinely represent otherness from ourselves but without direct exposure, without a being’s inquiry, possible scrutiny, judgment or evaluation.  Interpretation.  Many-sided, borrowed perhaps, but mediated via only one person – me.  I could not fail, fall short, be inadequate to, or otherwise  mess up a novel, poem, composition or film, and if I experienced myself as any of those things – it was my own judgment, assessment.  Mediated.

After years of such exposure, why do I still choose sides, entrench myself in arguments of logic, when I mean to comfort, soften and heal?  Alone, later, I sat and asked myself over and over – IF I have changed, grown, matured in any fashion in my 42 years of life, IF I have learned anything to the point of conscious belief, what might it be? – what  might I say that I know?

I don’t know.

What I scribbled into the margin of my journal was simply that my fundamental belief about the world and life in it was that – at the core of things – “Everything is essentially messy.”  By which I (at least partially) meant (intended) was incomplete, mobile and complex.

Nothing “fixed.”  Staid, finished, whole.

Throughout years of journaling, as I’ve grown to understand how deeply I desire “intimacy” (which I suppose I would describe as “shared personhood” or “met experience”?  Co-events?) I have repeatedly diagramed what seems to me an only possible means between humans:

             Using Wittgenstein’s duck-rabbits to represent whatever we happen to perceive ourselves as, and “Art” on an easel representing anything as a mediated format outside of our “selves” (themselves, I surmise, also likely a constructed medium for experiencing world), to or in which multiple human persons might invest all they experience themselves to be, without necessary personal organism-survival fears, and, possibly, perhaps, occasionally MEET via that medium in toto (or as nearly as possible): experience intimacy, mutuality.  No longer isolated as a being, alone, but finding a common, a sharing-realm, co-perceiving, co-experiencing.

If it be so, that, in fact, as human organisms, all of our entity-type experience is, truly, mediated – through various organizations of mobile and voluble matter and energy – never identifiable as a stasis or final form, if we might begin to see it (us) as such – might we become able to experience direct, person-to-person (experientially) intimacy?  Co-being?  This is where I have turned effort (driven by desire) with my wife, my children.  What if we became safe mediums for one another to experience through?

That would be another entry altogether.

“I am a sentence”

On Reading in Marriage

They speak of their pleasures, their necessary loves.  There are changes you make.  Some things are not accidents.

In other words, after decades fueled by a fifth of vodka drenched with grapefruits each day, husband is able to leave it behind.  Although he loved it, it was not necessary.

Wife, in her cravings for sugar and salt, discovers with age they are not constitutive, not centrally.

Might be solitude or fine shoes; 80’s music or mountains and seas; active social lives or the thrills of travel, how do you know?

Husband elicits evaluation.  Given impending demise, what gives more pleasure?

Wife admits a necessary love.

Husband responds in kind, having been in partial reverie, their warm bed surrounded by shelves of books, so that as he listens he also corresponds.  She says.  His eyes resting on a spine and the sweet particular music of that voiced tome slithering through him, then the next.  Perhaps like chocolate morsels in their process of dissolve upon her tongue.

“I love sentences,” Husband says.

There ensues a pause, a sympathetic “I know.”

He ups to exit, teeth to brush, clothes remove.

He hears “I am a sentence,” a lilting and playful challenge.  And wonders just what that might be, each person a length of sentence.  The content.  He puzzles the verbiage of his own as toothpaste shuffles into his beard.

He returns to the room, it is dark,  there is no light to see by.

Opening the covers, he approaches the text, eager to find what it says.

Tying Knots

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“To tie knots, not decipher them”

-Arkadii Dragomoshchenko-

 

Thinking again of my father.  Which wends its way to thinking of my friends, my nearest family, my mother, sister, sibs-in-law.  Children.

Mainly I’ve been thinking of my father.  For decades now.

(Rewritten 41 times).

 

I keep trying to decipher.  In fact in yesterday’s version I described my desire lacking the keys to its secrets, and declared us all impossible to descry.

If that’s the word for it.

Forty-one years using letters for rope.  That is fraying.

 

I’ve said that I want to be known better than I can know myself.  By him.  By which I meant differently.

I’m sure that’s correct.

Otherwise not being possible.

And vice-versa.

Such knotted things.

 

Unfortunately I deciphered it, thereby fancying a code of simplifications and falsity.  Reading something like this: ta TAH ta TAH ta TAH / de dum de dum de dum dum dum.

Sounding better than the truth I never hear.

 

In other words, by desiring my desire (to comprehend it – synonym: “fit it into my small frame”) I laid it out in lines of script as on a butcher’s table.  And looked for patterns.

xxxx— I want to be known better (elsewise) than I know myself —xxxx

by:       +@+@+@ my spouse; -/-/- my siblings; o][o my friends; ~!~~!~ my children; ^*_= my parents…

and likewise inter-pret them

forever crafting spies sniping through tiny keyholes

one another.

 

The dimensions are not vast enough.

We don’t possess the organs (apparently).

I’m not sure any of this has much to do with knowledge (though I keep on using those terms).

 

It was about knotting ropes or threads, veins or limbs, ideas.  Tangling memories, blending emotions, and cross-narrations.

 

I tried actions (working-with, snuggling, fighting, conversation and more).  I tried history (genealogy, geology, agriculture, politics, religion and so on).

Think of these as ropes or twine.

Perhaps tied is a better word than tried here.

I tied performing, misbehaving, more languages and themes.  I tied sickness and health, better and worse for this knowing, this desire.  These persons.

to no avail

What was I expecting?

Transparency.

Demystification.

Understanding.

Deciphered companions.

 

What have I got?

Unclear, confused and knotty, my hands can’t pass through them.

I can’t wrap my brain around it/them/us, nor define.

At a loss as to explanation (a probable gain).

Father-cipher.  Mother-cipher.  Spouse-cipher.  Family and friend-ciphers.

 

Something substantial.

 

On the Anniversary of Our Wedding

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The Forest of Marriage

(Happy Anniversary Holly Suzanne!)

 

I’ve never felt sexy or young, my memory is chained like an old growth forest accumulating decay.  Remains tough to destroy.  Why would I want to?  Perhaps for you – so lovely to me – youthful, vital, your non-submissive and consistent new growth.  Your winding ways, nubile bends – how do you regenerate yourself?

I’ve no doubt my dying fertilizes and enriches, our scent expands.  Some wreckage crumbles beautifully, overgrown and softened by corruption.  But it’s not the same as planting seeds, a puppy’s not a dog.

Steep.  A word for danger and infusion.  Calamity filters through.

Seed.  It is not uncommon for your resources to sprout fresh things in me.  Renewal, come in.  I am fertile in layers.

Steep.

I’ve aged tall and long and twisted, hoary with moss and tangled by vine.  Formidable, while spongy in places.  Your green shoots pierce me, exposing my slowness and rot, my muffling stance.  You crack me open, engender new soil.  I collapse and give way, I adapt.  It’s a marriage.

I wouldn’t say “handsome,” thought at times picturesque – in a rugged way, and worn – tendriled with you growing green.  The occasional strength to bloom: I mushroom, you flower.  I fungus, you shine.  Together we develop our wonder.  Some stop and look, others stay awhile, everyone traveling through.  The coupling is not unfortunate – providing nourishment and shelter.  There’s always damage.  Having endured, still I am fragile, and you, with your gentle, tenacious roots, ever purposeful and true, yet transplanted and remaking, storms can threaten with uprooting.

We are called by one name and belong – a vast generality for incalculable kinds.  We don’t mind.  Old or new it’s still growth; what dies and what’s born construct a joined density.  I lean on you while providing shade, you straighten me as you fight for necessary light.  We are one seething thing, steamy if un-sexy, cross-generative and moist.

When the fire burns, it destroys and begins.  Gaining as much as we lose.  It takes time – symbiotic – establishing roots we combine and recover, shed and absorb, co-create and depend.  Relying on the same in our differencing.

Reaching again in each instant’s climate.

(I love you beloved wife – happy anniversary – and here’s to continual renewal and the sustenance of old growth)

 

The Cleaving

“Connection is the recognition of the  intimacy of a division…

to make a division is to give substance form”

Madeline Gins

“Therefore shall a person leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto another

and they shall be as one flesh”

Genesis 2:24

The Cleaving

 

How do we come to know, believe or accept this ancient concept?  It has mited its way to the deepest reaches of Being (Dasein): Heidegger’s rift, linguistics address, each individual body’s pulse or breath or tremor.  That only the separateness may truly join.  Only the differences are recognized as similar.  Only the rifts require a bridge.

I do not know.  It is a reality I feel with as much pain as hope or joy.  That cleaving is both the splitting apart, the splintering wood and severing rope, AND their clinging together, their sealing and sealant.  It undoes me.  As a metaphor, concept or signification it rings true and carried dark howls and bright screams out of the depths of me.

And yet it comes so naturally.  Fight or flight.  Attack, retreat.  The extremities of the urges to join and drive to cease.  In the utterly intimate action of cleaving, we expose and unite – right in the most susceptible, vulnerable, life-threatening places.

 

The “cutting out,” “cutting off” – to cleave – you know what I’m referring to – when that which is most important to you becomes unreachable.  That impression that you are being “given up on,” that someone is “letting go,” even actively removing themselves or casting you away, chopping the cord – the umbilical torn, gushing, pulsing, the infant left writhing and wailing in the dumpster or thorny woods, a closet or dark alley.  Cleft.

In truth:  that severing of relationship, whether momentary or fatal, is a life-threatening, death-dealing blow.  Abandonment.  The dawning that you are at the front and there will be no reinforcements, you are cut from the supply train.  There is shock, there is scream and then a canyon of void with no other side.  It is we at our most disastrous, mortally dependent state.

We in the face of absence.  We without response – no face in a mirror, no echo of sound, NO THING.  Cleft.

Individual, alone, solitary entity.  Facing the reality:  we are insufficient to our needs, incompetent to our existence, impossible to self-sustain.  We in our fragility.  Our valid, appropriate, ontological FEAR.

Whack!  In anger, in grief, in silence, in bruise, we are severed, ultimately exposed, whether through small offense or enormous rejection – we have been cut.  Past the bone.  The reverberations tumble and crumble out far and wide, seemingly ubiquitously, regardless of the specific instant’s severity.  This is “the cleaving” done as much to us as by us in our madness to survive, to be real, to be verified and validated.

 

In the “drawing near,” in the “clinging” of to cleft, on the other hand, we are born.  We become.  As another reflects or responds to our raw broken mortally wounded finitude and fragility, we get glued to the vitality of these limited lives we have in us.  As these fearsome exposures are clasped, bonded, covered by another – transfused and salved, bandaged and wrapped or dressed by another – we know we are possible, we feel we exist and we matter, we join toward world and its being, brief though it is.

These are our chances and capacities: to effect, to mean, to act, create or be.  It is in the drawing near that what life there may be is acknowledged, fostered, affirmed.  Con-firmed.  Cleft – grafted into the ongoing reality of things, parting through wholes, participating and enhancing of semiotic systems.  As if life does not really belong to us, but we must belong to it, by belonging with one another.

“Leaving,” “cleaving.”  The leaf cleft from its branch will not survive, but cleft or grafted to another stem or soil or root may for awhile yet, live on, grow, produce, change and become.

We continuously leave and cleave to varying extents, and these just may be the principal elements of our thriving.  Cleft we perish, shrivel, die away.  Cleft we heal, nourish and grow life.  Both options/realities occurring in the cuts, the core places, the sources.

Here we panic, here we rejoice.  Here we suffer, here we love.  Here we become, and here we cease to be.

 

This mysterious activity necessitates both significations, counter-intuitive though it seem.  The need to be cleft exposes the places needing cleft.  Awareness of the sources for supply determines the crucial treasure, dependency, and gifts of supply.

We are chopped to the truth of death

and joined to the reality of life

Cleft.