The Want for a Story : Texts for Nothing

Beckett_TextQuote

The want for a story.  For a ‘reason’ to be.  A far place, an illusion, the stomach knows its illegitimacy, its fantasy, irreality…yet the brain (mind?) dying toward, for, craving, starving after it.

A thread in a narrative…a plotline…a characterization – some momentary identity.  To be witnessed, accounted-for, counted, taken note of, recognized.  The mad dream of anOther aware of me, acknowledging my presence, sidling out of my way.  “Made way”…I exist.

The madness of atoms.  Nonsensical.  Not “to be” – a sort of fact as it goes – but “to be in awareness” – and not only, but much more – “to be in An-Other’s awareness!”  Too much!  Pure delusion.

We infect alt-awareness only via disturbance and/or unavoidability – interruptions, intrusions, sign or accident/event – a scream, a tragedy, an obstacle.  Interference.  No one selects for intrusion…it is managed and dealth with, endured or survived.  We (humans) don’t “mean to,” don’t “seek out” inconvenience.  (Or maybe we do?).  But no matter.  Not our ‘purpose,’ ‘intent.’ Not our ‘drive’ (to survive).

Others become aware of “me” when (and ONLY when?) I get in their way.  “Intrude.”  Otherwise – sans dependence, accident, harm, or some assumed respons-ability (‘obligation’) – I find it hard to imagine drawing the care of attention of an/other.

We spread too thin.  Period.  Once we engage/respond/encounter/experience, it is blatantly evident: WE ARE NOT ENOUGH.  Perhaps nothing is.  Perhaps learning, relating, experiencing, engaging, life…NOTHING is.  Perhaps this differentiates us as a species – UNSATISFIABLE : UNMET.

And…perhaps this is a synonym for “Life/Living” – some ‘thing’ ever striving ‘further’ or ‘beyond’ itself…

Is the ‘definition’ of “Life” simply WANTING FOR MORE?

i.e. – entities remaining alive, period – according to DESIRE?

The want for a story.  A ‘reason’ to be.  To be meaning.  To signal.  To call & respond.  To exist.

But all those are “more-than.”

The Myth in the Verse

The River of Bees

BY W. S. MERWIN

In a dream I returned to the river of bees

Five orange trees by the bridge and

Beside two mills my house

Into whose courtyard a blindman followed

The goats and stood singing

Of what was older

.

Soon it will be fifteen years

.

He was old he will have fallen into his eyes

.

I took my eyes

A long way to the calendars

Room after room asking how shall I live

.

One of the ends is made of streets

One man processions carry through it

Empty bottles their

Image of hope

It was offered to me by name

.

Once once and once

In the same city I was born

Asking what shall I say

.

He will have fallen into his mouth

Men think they are better than grass

.

I return to his voice rising like a forkful of hay

.

He was old he is not real nothing is real

Nor the noise of death drawing water

.

We are the echo of the future

.

On the door it says what to do to survive

But we were not born to survive

Only to live

  1. S. Merwin, “The River of Bees” from The Second Four Books of Poems(Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by W. S. Merwin. Reprinted with the permission of The Wylie Agency, Inc.

 

Not-Belonging, Chapters

I feel somewhat apologetic, but here is one more selection from my archives.  Another that when I re-read I am unable to see how I might do better, or how I ever got it done at all, yet all my work un-published or rejected, so I know it is not “good enough” per whatever the current cultural milieu would prefer.  “No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.”  Perhaps.  In any case, it circles around for me like the tail-eating snake I am, in hopes it might engender something new, no, in hopes it might be put to rest.  For any who read it, I would be hard pressed to metaphor my astonishment, humility, gratitude and begging-of-patience, including a sheer and sharp ache of deep appreciation for your life’s time and likely unwarranted, gracious, attention.

does-not-belong-worksheet-worksheet

Chapters That Don’t Belong

(please click image or title for text)

many thanks

Let Me Get This Out of Your Way

Intriguing stumble-upon.  Clearing an old flash drive for my daughter I ran across this – texts from my first and only public reading – featuring art by George Ferrandi and Laura Barbuto, which occurred in an interactive reading space with many assistants and much assistance a couple years ago.  Seemed like it belonged in this space.

space_ferrandi

  1. Sitting at table amid a narrative hum. No one speaks.

“Getting it Out of the Way: A Response”

(texts by Nathan Filbert; art/images Laura Barbuto/George Ferrandi)

 

Alias and the Ants

trailofants

Alias observes the ants in his bathroom.  Each Spring.  Spring or Fall, no matter his warfare – treating / trimming / grooming the perimeter of ‘his’ home – no difference (or differance) – Spring and Fall, a trail, a train, a miniscule “army” (whether ‘Army Ants’ or no, he could not say) of tiny insects crossing his counter from sink rim to (nonexistent) god-knows-where and back again, doing god-and-perhaps-scientist knows what…traversing, infesting, conquering, appearing, occurring…

…Alias is unattended…

Observing ‘his’ (not-his) ants.  A collective of interminable insects roving to and fro between a Lilliputian crack along the paint of his lavatory wall (an outside boundary of ‘his’ ‘home’), the cylindrical rim involving ‘his’ ‘vanity’ (does he still possess any of that?) sink, his children’s toothbrushes (the “family” so wishes the infestation undone) and wherever they might journey over the surface’s edge, the drainage holes, the drawers…

Ants.

Alias composes both paste and powder of Boric acid and particled sugar.  A supposed deadly mix for puny pests.  Like “life” for him.  Murderous moments of sweetness colluded with deathly compounds: vodka, cigarettes, illicit sex; bacon, buttery-fried flour, altitude…

Responsibility (instinct) and desire (impulse).

Alias is alone.  Most definitely that.  Solo and (interpretively) forsaken.

His ‘kids’ are grown.  His loves (clearly) outworn.  His ‘friendships’ recursive, reductive, assumptive, routine.  But the weed-trees, the weather and wear, the spiders, the crickets, termites, and dust…and ants, carry on in a differently (and differantly) incessant way.

Indefatigable.  Undefeatable.  (Like death.)

That within succulent sweetness, luscious limnings of love, lie poisons and trace, exposures – never a joy without risk, no ecstasy lacking its peril, no thriving without its decease.  Positives all laced with negatives, happiness balanced in depress.

Alias gazes.  He stares.  Isolated, trimming at an untrimmed beard over a sink he did not install, looking (and failing to see at all) into a mirror replicating demise…above a trail of ants he’s fed sugary poison for weeks, which appear to be active and thriving, in differance to his own ‘self’ – choking and chortling on pleasures that keep resulting in pains, experiments emerging as monstrous, efforts destroying their ends.

He sighs, does Alias.  However he seeks a team and a trail it leads him to toxin, bane eroding his chance.  Considers Laramie, Lucy (his wife), and each child.  Ruminates purpose or promise or hope.  Wonders how relief repulses its reasons.  Why remedy acts against cure.  How ants insist on their patterns.  Why exultation evinces in ruin.

 

 

Current Reading Sampling – 2016

I realized I have neglected this ever-changing list…for any who might be interested.  So I updated it today…

2016

“I decided to continue drinking and living in just this way.

My whole life long”

– Georges Bataille

Chin-deep in labor, family, relationship & studies…

Works for survival:

Writers, Antoine VolodineAntoine Volodine, Writers

Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature

Samuel Beckett, The Grove Centenary Editions

Franz Kafka, I Am a Memory Come Alive

Enrique Vila-Matas, Bartleby & Co.

Montano’s Malady

Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

William James, The Writings of William James

Mikhail Bakhtin, Works of

Edmond Jabes, The Book of Questions

Works that expand:

Friedrich Kittler, Discourse Networks, 1800/1900

William Franke, A Philosophy of the Unsayable

Ian Hodder, Studies in Human-Thing Entanglement

Paolo Virno, When the Word Becomes Flesh

Werner Hamacher, Minima Philologica

Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community

Paul Feyerabend, Against Method

On “waking depressed,” or, Human Clear-sightedness

skeleton

We say that we “wake up depressed” wonder why and conjure up reasons.  What is this “hollow” or “indentation” in relation to?  Depression versus delusion?

Squirming up out of dream or slumber into wakefulness, awareness – illusions and solipsism scattered by light of day, by alertness – what would be the “norm” ‘depression’ dips under?

Say we consider “normal” as the state or condition of being aligned with what is.  The only certain trajectory of living is dying.  Dying the condition of life.  The only permanent outcome of breathing, saying, doing, being…are their cessation.  In confirmation or conformation to this “reality” – what should be the normal living response?  Depression, I should say, full awareness and wakeful understanding that my promise, potential, outcome and fortune are to end.

Decay, departure and death are the certain “norms” ruling human existence.  What occurs, forgets; what merges, diverges; what events, unravels; what happens, undoes; what is made, erodes.  Assuredly, they are strange loops, ambiguous and temporal – more wave/particled than 0/1 – and yet as “fate” or “doom” would have it (definite futures) we know of no other.

Therefore it should seem “depression” would be the normal human state of life, and all forms of happiness or joy come about due to some compromise or delusion – an abnormality – some neuroses or failure to accord or conform to what is.  How might we have come to classify conformity to what is as a “disorder” or diagnosable swerve?

“Certifiable depression” is marked as a disability, a failure to thrive, a condition incapacitating function.  Yet does that not most assuredly accord with the certitude of demise, destitution, eradication?  To terminate activity, halt health, conclude creativity, finish folly and destroy delight would all seem to indisputably align with the necessary phenomenon of obliteration.

Thoroughgoing comprehension of what is – that birth has a single objective – that all roads lead to one – that all effort leads to naught – that entropy – is not lunatic, demented, deranged or unhinged – but rather most enlightened and balanced, intelligent and lucid, perspicacious and well-advised.

Being pressed down, a lowering of quality, vigour or amount, feelings of severe despondency and dejection are surely the most accurately normal experiences – regulated, coordinated and adjusted to what is versus what is imagined or desired – indications of astute apprehension and capacities of apperception to the real.

Do not be flummoxed by “waking depressed” – do not seek for treatments or reasonings ‘why’! – do not be baffled that a heaviness descends, or a ‘pressing down’ is felt or occurs – we emerge into life and descend into matter…the cradle and grave a continuous process.

everyone dies

Ends – the Means to Get There; or, Laramie says “OFF.”

ON OFF image

I drill. I devour.

Kafka, Blanchot, Derrida, Bartleby.  Pessoa, Nietzsche, Jabes, Beckett.

Into the absence of hope.

Of language.

Of body.

I drill and I devour.

Myself.

Vitality.

Capacity.

I try to think my end(s).

I want to get there.

I would like to make it to the end.

I would like to make the end.

I think.  I serve.  I love.  I ask.

I care.  I touch.  I say.  I listen.

I am not fulfilling.

I am never quite what is wanted.

I have never been “right” for a situation.

I am a person who tries very hard to be what is wanted.

I am a person who tries very hard to offer what is “good”.

How would I know?

– what is wanted?

– what is good?

I do not.

I am incapable.

But I DO know:

I AM NOT THAT.

(do not) BE HERE NOW.

simply : do not.

“I would prefer not to.”

“I will not”

No reason.

No anwer.

We are just humans.

Animals.

Purposeless.

Pointless.

Without reason(s).

Without meaning(s).

Without.

Still we go on

(for now)

Still we keep on

Still

On

On

On

OFF

(he said, said Laramie to Alias. “OFF.”  He said, said Laramie to Alias.  And then he was gone.  Really.  Gone.)

Sometimes it happens this way.

Sometimes.

OFF

Simply, over.

[Often, in my case and experience.  They come, they go.  There is a rush of blood to the brain and the loins.  There is something I assume the others refer to as “hope,” – some reason to live, to go on, to pertain.  Then OFF.  Binary.  Digital.  Technology.  Culture.  Beings-in-relation.  ON/OFF.  Lights.  ON/OFF.  Progress.  ON/OFF.  Will.  ON/OFF.  Love.  ON/OFF.  Value.  ON/OFF.  Need.  ON/OFF.  Mood.  ON/OFF.  Everything binary.  Irrational.  Abstract.  Illogical.  Happenings, events, occurrences.  ON/OFF.  ON/OFF.  Life.  ON/OFF.  Life.  ON/OFF.  Life.  ON/OFF.

Life.

ON/OFF.

We are coming to an end.

I am coming to end.

We each come, to end.

The End.

 

 

Alias (inside) – a writing diary

This is long, and really, perhaps, does not belong here.  Reading through notebooks to find references to Alias and Laramie in order to continue the trail or trace of them… I happened upon a set of pages that seemed like something under or inside the emergence of Alias and thought it might be interesting to some.  Or, just something to not lose to memory, but archive in this auspicious and fragile space.

Czech-Marionettes-wooden-joker-czech-marionette-puppet-3.7ac6

Do I think this is my last probable chance (at 45)?

If so

              (it’s undecided, presently)

then this would = my final

composition

                          (undecided)

What would I tell you – you few that have made the time worth being?

T, A, I, O, S, K, H, J, perhaps J.  Arvo Part, certainly Blanchot, Pessoa, Bronk, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Jabes, Cixous, Rilke, William James, Schiele, maybe MK.  Assuredly TWDY, Bach…well, too many to mention.

            Whom else?  Whom else, really?  Dad?  Mom?

In any case – the children, H – H because truly the past two years demonstrated an adult, freely-selected relationship in a way surpassing but only referenced by S, V, PJ, perhaps, no, perhaps J – what H has explored with me re: the world and life really I’d only imagined before.

Therefore – indecision (as ever).

IF the “best” experiences rise up out from the worst (often), out of ‘end(s)’ – beginnings surprise, then how can I know (as I age) if a better-yet does not exist?

It becomes a decision of ‘enough’ or not.

A personal decision.

If I can only imagine repetition with variation, and I’m already tired and starting to ‘ail’ – then the logical decision is to stop.  To peace.  To quiet.

As re: T, A, I, O (my children) – in EVERY case what lies ahead is far beyond repetition with variation – much unknown, much novel, much uncharted territory to experience.

As regards H, and adult self-selected relations of emotion/passion/intimacy – probably (seems to me) little could surpass…only possibly in elements, but – enough?

That is the question – always

Keep living?

Stop?

If “stop,” no more.  Yes it will effect, hurt, harm, perhaps enable – the others (T, A, I, O, M, D, J, H, etc.) but I won’t be aware of that anymore.  It’s just DONE.  OVER.  SIMPLY.

If “keep going” – then demonstrating a care/concern/attention for the others’ lives – T, A, I, O, etc…) that THEIR lives are worth staying alive to see, and that – who knows?! – maybe my own life still offers more truly worth experiencing.

Perpetual conundrum, weighing lives – my own little one versus a host (however small) of others – it would seem theirs count for more than mine (alone).

Hard to say.

I guess we’ll all find out tomorrow what “I” decide.  Not ambitious to keep working just to feed and pay bills.  I have little confidence I’m capable of making something world-enhancing.  But as a parent, a friend, etc., it doesn’t feel fair to make the decision without considering their preferences as well.

I like to think I don’t like to be selfish.

I would live in the country.  Woods, preferably, mountains not too far away.  And rain, plenty and regular rain.

There would be hours in the day.  Hours for loving, hours for reading, for working, for learning, for play.  Enough hours.  Hours to think about the hours, the learning, the loving, the play, and hours to think the hours writing.

I’m aging.  Hair, beard, muscles, flesh all going long.  Mind.  Long(ing).  Time, not so.  Seems shortening, shortened, fore-shortened…by the hour.  I wish for hours.  For time.  For children, partner, places, books.  For human.

She would be there.  Close, somewhere, sometimes.  We would wander, would work, would learn, play.  Would be there, away.

The children would come.  Would visit, report, eat, learn, work, play.  Sometimes we would laugh.  Sometimes perhaps weep or cry.  Contact.

Wood would be sawed.  Water drawn.  Yes it hurts now – knees, shoulders, joints, bones.  Slowed.  Steady, almost.  Still dark but peppered, frosted with gray.  I’m aging.  Tired.  Memory almost all made up already.  Thought always seems new, possible.  Touch.  Strength.  Sound.

Hours.  Gone ever so soon.  Thought, then paper, then feeling begins (or the other ways around?), then gone.

The pen.  The paper.  Lust.  Flesh.  Language.  Learning.  Where is the time?  Too much required for each daily need.

A joker, a harlequin.  Another, another.  Another other in the midst of me.  Mottled mangle, Alias.  Running out of time.  Running down the times, the memory, the full flesh of desires, its theory and knowledge, its aspects and affects.  So very many aspects.  Hand gains speed, cursive loops thin to lines.  Skimped satisfaction.

I like it to take time – loving, learning, working, play.  But the hours grow thin.  Shortcuts, swerves, abbreviations, tastes.  Hints now.  Breezes.  Nostalgia.

Growing monument – what cannot be said – will not – the ineffable – unsayable.  Ungrasped.

How though, to here?  Piecemeal person.  Farm labor, religion, sport, education, family.  Plains, harvest, accidents.  Mountains, Mexico, Europe, lists.  Music, poetry, philosophy – earliest companions – a few pets, kaleidoscope of selves, the river, the sky.

Deaths.  But no death here (yet).  Just on, scrappy, incisive, insecure, haphazard.  Books.  Remiss without mention of books and relentless ache for books and ‘broads.’  Women and words, the headstone says.  Women, words, wisdom(?).  Nature.

To explore.  Internal, external, outward, inward bound.  Sciences and arts.  Creativity and logic.  Psychology, anthropology, complexity and chaos, nihilism.  Literature and lust.  Words and women.  Matter and mind.

I’d have quiet mostly.  No mouths to feed, no herds or pets or things to tend.  Nothing to care for.  Hours.  Hours to tend.  With mind intact, a library, papers and pens.  And lonely land, mostly cloudy, cool, drizzly, wet.  And legs to stand on, arms to haul.  Eyes to see, please keep these eyes a-seeing – yes they’ve heaps of assistance – but please not a final fail.  Not the inner darkness, nor colorless clouds.  Hearing first, before vision.  If the vision is gone – ?

Breath.  Biosemiosis.  The sign and signal of being – a body for meaning.  Complex.  Confused.  Barely contained.  Unspecified.  Though wobbling to, fro, sound, precept, percept, interpret, sense.  Hope.  Hope of vision, of sex, of knowledge, health – something, something – beyond, more, still…

Alias sighs.  Perhaps beautiful still, but soiled and tired.  Undone.  Who is this one?  Which one?  How.  Who this be?  Alias i. e. Harlequin.  Unnameable, the attempt to name, creating traces of not-these.

“man is but a patched fool”

-Shakespeare, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act IV, scene i