Laramie & Alias & possible ways to end

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“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.


The Writing of the Disaster

You think twice.  You plan.  I do these things.

Finally incapable of mind over matter.  The capacity of drunkenness.  Full experience.

The body.  The lust and wanting.  The work to let it alone.  To surpass or supersede.

Supplant desire with will.

Language works with, on and in the body.  Larynx, lung, tongue and movement.  Gut, brain and blood.

Without satiating muscle.  Without exhausting the possibilities.  Without terminating lust.

I think twice.  I plan.  You do these things.

Intention.  Commitment.  Decision.

“I will transcend the body.  I will overcome desire.  I will compensate and supplant urges with verbs.  Consonants will become my flesh’s contact and content.  Interoperation with world will equate to traversing its languages.  To write will be my sexuality.  Language my intimate other.”

I will compose my satiation.  I will think my end.  I will language my undoing and completion.  I will create what I need.

Still the body rises.  Erects itself.  Rushes and longs.  Aches.

I rub language all over it.  Stroke it with breath and sounds.  Caress every part with a term.  Toy and pleasure each hollow and tense with tongued noise.

It wants.  It desires.  I want.  I desire.  I long for what it says without diction.


Be Drunk

Charles Baudelaire, 1821 – 1867

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

Language.  Alcohol.  Language.  Alcohol.  To void and satiate the body.  To provide full experience.  Pair satiating self.  Ache and desire.  Want and sensation.  As a whole – the desire to be drunk – to fulfill – saturation of pleasure and knowledge – perception/sensation and abstraction/thought – TO RESPOND.  Shower the body, challenge the mind.  Work the muscles.  Lingua the self.  Tickle with letters and edges; heat, fill, temper and calm  salve and sensitize the skin and organs – flood the whole: language and alcohol.  Avoid depending on kind, species, occasion.  Avoiding dependency.

How might an human organism satiate itself?

I dreamt language.  I imagined correspondence, intelligence, sexuality, the wide-openness of commerce between one human and another.  Particularity, difference, biology, culture, knowledge, capacity undoes this.  Incapacitates convergence.  Ruins union.

Intimacy with other = impossible.

Intimacy with self-system = ?

Language.  Alcohol.  Immaterial / Matter.  Body-mind.  Embodied mind.  Enminded body.  How solve desire?  Lust, want, biology, sociology, anthropology (and so on) – the logoi of BEING HUMAN.

Be wild and crazy and drunk with Love,

if you are too careful, Love will not find you.



Love depends on Other.  Love depends on converging, connection, call / response / return.  Love is impossible.  Cohesive mingling.

To say the unsayable.  The reach beyond.  The experiment, invention, imagine.  Commerce with species and kind, taking it in (language), absorbing and transforming seeds, spewing it out (language).  Giving / Giving Back.  Receiving / Offering.  Language – perfect intimacy seed.  Perfect contact and context differentiating and responding each to each, body to body, mind to mind… sans orgasm, sans drunkenness, sans satiety… regardless of ecstatic fullness.

This is the disaster.


Insatiable (body)

Satisfied mind.

This is the disaster.


What a Story Looks Like to Me

The Trouble Is

He feels slow, tectonic, deeply submerged even, unable to act, not able to speak, disabled (apparently) to respond, incapable even of processing.  Something seems to have happened.

She – is confused and confounded – experiencing a complex cocktail of distress and depression, pointless and pointed-out, sludged, sloughed and slathered, comatose and doomed, sad and angry in equal measures.  A compound.  A compound problem.

But she’s not.  And he can.

And they will.

The trouble is.

Yes, the trouble is.

Not easily fitted.  Because it is this time.  Again, it is now.  And now, again.  The words were made from before, or for some last time, some other.  Something foreign.  Along with the categories, analysands and diagnoses.  Along with the remedies: all for a potential future or other distinctively past.

But it is now.  Yes, the trouble is.  Is now.

Words of others.  Ideas, aspects.

Always malappropriate and inadequate.  Words are not it.  Words are something else.

This is not discrete or verifiable.  Simple.  Is.  Trouble.

Yes, the trouble is.

And the trouble is now.

She collapses.  He freezes again.  And this frozen is yearning.  Something excruciating.  Like her.  Like where she is, now collapsing.  Collapsible.  Collapsed.  That’s the trouble.

The trouble is.

He wishes and fumbles, at light-year’s remove, another era, disabled, catatonic, all too aware.

She breaks in and through her fall.  He hitches and constricts.

She gurgles a sound, a horrible mutable sound, hardly audible in her destruction and dismantling, her infolding and coming undone.  And he cries, cries out, a sort of bellow and howl of noiseless emission, helpless to keep up with time, incapable of presenting, shaped and occurring like shore-stones and wheat-seed.

She is done.  He has yet to arrive.  He will not get there.  Too far ahead and far too behind, and she is in trouble, and the trouble is.

Yes, the trouble is.  It is now.

Something has happened.


Chodron - groundlessness


I seem to be unable to stop digging in and reflecting on When Things Fall Apart.  My memories range over its engagements with this book, most of the circumstances blurred and dissipate, but not the wisdom of the text.  I was trying to explain to my teens the odd euphoria that follows suicidal determination – what neuroscience knows as “shut-down.”  As the body begins to burn, or be ripped apart by fangs, riddled with bullets or smashed into bits…pain ceases to be useful to the organism and it is flooded with endorphins…a kind of blissed-out euphoria like a systemic morphine drip.  “There is definitely something tender and throbbing about groundlessness,” Pema says.



But the idea isn’t shut-down.  The idea is more like a drowning compression without a bottom…a fall…a float…if fear – flight; if anxiety – distract; if anguish – addictive comfort; all these options for moving away, slipping out, attempt at relief, escape, a concretization of experience, rather than its flow.  It’s now-ness.  This drowning compression without bottom – what if we BE THERE?  What if we sit in it, and breathe.  The groundlessness, bottomlessness, suddenly becomes some space.  A little room…there’s opening.  We don’t know what to do, don’t know where to go, don’t know how this happened, don’t know why we did.  “Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all...Life is like that.  We don’t know anything.  We call something bad; we call it good.  But really we just don’t know.”

“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.  We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved.  They come together and they fall apart.  Then they come together again and fall apart again.  It’s just like that.  The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen:  room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”


“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.”

– all quotations Pema Chodron

“Leaning into the sharp points”



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

Unspoken Fragments

Through someone else’s blog award list I recently discovered The Dream Journal Today – a remarkable blog straightforwardly recounting dreams.  It has stimulated me to pay more attention to what my brain is doing in its “off-hours.”  The post regarding my longing for knowledge of my father is such a result, as is the following post, gathered through the past night.  I have the hunch my psychophysiology works over emotion when I’m out…something my waking mind deters.  Whatever the case, I have found the ritual to be as intriguing as working with photo-prompts to dislodge other-conscious concerns, and recommend it to writers everywhere as a kind of exercise in translation.

Thrown on my back as from a jungle gym – panicked in the way of breath-smashed bodies.  Helpless then, disempowered.

Lying next to you in our warm nest of bed, nose and right eye microscopically near the flesh of your chest – the sharp distinction of its tattoo’s inky night and the blemishless cream covering your major pectorals.

I see it falling, the exploding crush of a thick plate of glass the size of a small wall and maybe four inches thick – variegated and stained – slicing and dicing my face with the stories you don’t share.

The night is full of phrases.  Intimacies shredded by the unspoken, the secrets.  A literal compaction of my face in bloodied fragments – the world a shattered windshield.

Sleeping fitfully you deliver direct language through the dark.  “This is wrong and this is wrong and this is wrong…with you.”  I don’t remember details, only that I’m broken like a vase of porcelain on the floor of an empty manor.

The decompression and drainage, the fracturing damage of all you hold apart.  Discommunication.  What is withheld.  The feeling of what happens when I supply the captions to your silence.


“What is fiction after all, if not a kind of purposeful dreaming?”

-Jonathan Franzen-

Recently Recovered

Another story I found from a number of years back…still has some oomph I hope….

A Series of Stories about Love

 The first thing that comes to mind is all the breathless tugging.  At clothes, at skin, in her mouth.  The way you squeeze into it, the wiggle and dance, and then you drown.

She told me of her life-dreaming last night, lying in bed.  How she just knew, she really knew, at fifteen or sixteen, her skin first licked by flames, all her dizzy hopes, her victimized newness, those first irisy smelling blooms in her flesh, that she would always love in such a way that men would eat at her, chew her to blood and spit her out.

It didn’t happen this way.  She bought a blender.

And every time, at just the right (or very wrong) time, she stuffed them in, ground them to pulpy bits, and poured them down the drain.  This is my wife we’re talking about.

The blender is out.  The blender sits on the counter.  It’s been four years.

First the sun rises.  Everything warms, your legs glow into coals.  Arms flush with melanin, forehead beading sweat.  Her ears are red.  Your mouth gasps and gulps at the air of the others language.  Someone lights your fuse.  The booster rocket burns away.  A holocaust of flames.

She’s never stayed friendly with a man for so long she says.  She makes a list of what’s necessary to her life.  Your name is not included.  I wonder if the blender is still working.  The right very wrong time is past.  We are nowhere.

I consume alcohol like fields do liquid in drought.  I smoke like an oil field already spent.  I caress and fondle a fuzzy June-bug in my palm.  With my lips.  I tossle my son’s hair.  I cry.  I love everything one way.  Addiction.  Obsession.  My love is a jet turbine (I say), a swallowing vortex, a whale.  My love is neuroses.  You’ve got the wrong each other, the weather says.

First there are nine kinds of electricity.  One for each of the senses.  And they all get plugged in at once.  Except mine were never unplugged.  Rain-powered, blood-powered, keeps going and going and…

I would not have your name tattooed on my body, she says.  Only permanent things, she says.  Like zodiac.  Like turtles.  Like signs for god.

Everything hurts, but we knew that already.

This is my wife we’re talking about.

I have a lazy eye.  It wanders about and falls asleep at random.  Its dreams are split away from the rest of my body.  I blow lightly on the spiders.  I stroke her calf.  I read a line of words down a page and get inappropriately, inexplicably charged.  Most things turn me on.  The turbine has only one speed.  It’s what makes the planets move.  It hurls the moon’s stones.  It fills stars.

The glance of fingertips on arm while walking one night: first strawberry in the mouth.

Strips of fresh mango: her first song.

She will not be overcome.  She fiddles with the blender’s buttons.

We have made children together…

I love mountains.  The sight, smell, rocks of them.  High, cold streams.  I love temperate woods.  The tall soft spike of giant firs.  The drape and droop of their large limbs.  And mermaids.  Salt on liquid skin.  I suffer from addictions.  Rituals.  Habits.  Gas for the turbine.  Sight.

Shoulder.  Tattoo’d calf.  Waistline.  Ankle.

Knuckles on a hand.  Hair over neck, down between shoulder-blades.  Belly buttons.  Crotch.  Wrist.  Veins at the back of the thigh.

Fuel for the turbine.  Touch.  Smell.  Thinking.  Dreaming.

I hear the blender in the kitchen grinding frozen fruit and yogurt.  Bones.  Blood.  I shiver.

“I could not be intimate with you if I didn’t care,” she says.  “It’s 50/50 my like and dislike, my hope and depression.  I want to be in love again, but not out of love again, so I stay.”

(This is my wife we’re talking about.)

“But you should be loved like an engine too,” she says.

Just let the engine run, baby, I say.

Love for a woman is systemic.  Like cancer.

The blender is like chemotherapy.  No one really knows how much it destroys.

Love will destroy you, she implies.

Like alcohol.  Like war.  Like fire.

Maybe we shouldn’t own guns.

But that first day at the range.  The charge of the buckling of your shoulder.  The loudness of the rifle’s shout.  Those sudden bursts.  The sheer power and speed.  You fire, again and again.  You conceal it in your hand.  They live and fill your pockets.

We possess many weapons.

A person is an armory.

She is a turtle mostly, she says.  She carries it all on her back, she says.  She can retract at any time.  Be saved from the flow of hot wind, the battering of sound, and the flood of all at once, if she needs to, she says.

The turbine spins (it’s the size of government buildings), it blows, rages, floods.

We draw letters in the mud.  It dries, cakes, molders.

We set these things in concrete stamps.

We yell permanence.

(The blender is whirring in the kitchen).  Even rock will ground down.

“I have the sense that the meaning of things will never be sorted out,” the poet says.

There is no hope.