Hers

“Weren’t there any words that she accepted more willingly?  Any that diverged less from what she was thinking?”

-Maurice Blanchot, Awaiting Oblivion

There have been many hers,

some promise of connectivity

or commerce

(perhaps promise is too much,

perhaps desiring is more

accurate).

In other words, and

many of the same

from time to time

over time

the process equals =

it is hers –

my strands cannot reach,

meaning cannot knot,

meeting grown unable…

Ellipses…

continuance and breakage

characterizing in-between;

a trailing-off, a dwindling,

leaning toward the open –

deletions and erasures, a clearing of a space.

 

Again

and

Again

and Again

Again…

 

“perhaps because the first words

say everything / He decided

to begin

again

from there” (Blanchot).

 

We can know

the first word is

“Here.”

[After-words?]

 

Again

and

Again

and Again

Again

“Begin.”

 

He thinks that

it belongs

to her,

it is hers,

all of them;

 

In other words

are there any words

that diverge less…

that would not

initiate ellipses…

-the crossing

-the forking

of roads-

 

Here.

Again.

Begin.

– each eviscerating concoction…

clarifying conundrum,

each undone doing…

[doing undone].

 

Not quite correction,

no improvement, evolution,

no repeat and never same,

inceptive destruction…

 

He names it “failure”

“recurrence”

He says it is the “here”

of meeting

inducing the there of separation,

of potential gain

and irreparable loss.

“Here” is where it begins

Again…

and ends,

alwaystime…

 

It is hers.

Colluded

and conspired.

She is never wrong

to say

it is his.

This Here.

Again

and

Again.

Begin…

 

…until finally…

We are. Are we not.

knottyhands

Beginning this way, I have jettisoned my goal.

No one is able to say precisely when it will rain, until it is raining.  Not this one.  Nor…

At times it is raining.

 

When will I be here? Or, better, perhaps – When am I here?  (Already?  Again?)  How?

Am I when and where I love you?  And how?  Forego why, too complicated.

 

Say “I am this one who loves you” now and now and now again.  As if a presence on repeat, differently again.  Registers and tones; layers, levels, circumstance; sense/nonsense and the liquid continuum between.

Who are you?

Say “you are the one this one loves.”  Or the many.  Or the one this one loves in relation to I.  Or the other-than-one loving other-than-one, here, now, again, again, differently.

When is this love?  And how?  Dropping why in the craggy abyss, as it dissipatively floats, up and away.  Where is this love?

I begin.  It is raining.  Say that you are.  If I say that you are, or how, when, or why, I have failed what I set to inscribe (you).  Say now.  I just missed it.  Say love, saying what?

I’m aware of your absence with pain I can’t tell.  I say “love.”  I say “miss.”  I say “yearn.”  Goal discarded.

Please say that you are.  I will be that relation.  Will not.  And I am.

It is raining.  What it?  Say I am and you are.  Less than one and still more, it’s becoming.  Undone.  The suture begins in the cut.  We are we.  We might be, when we are.  Now and now, say now, and is differently.

We’re unfound in this you and this I inter-change.  Inter-change-able as we.  And we’re not.  Either you or an I as these two, but not quite, there’s an extra: BETWEEN.

Which is nothing, like water in air, molecules known by connections.  Re-cognized.  Understanding might pull them apart, separate, while reason(s) constructs some assemblage.

Say I love you, as this one to this.  Say it’s so, without knowing, ‘cause with.  In between, together; understanding, a part; reasoning a sort of equation.

Where am I?  I appear in this with.  Who are you?  This one forming between.  When now comes it is raining, again, again different.  Some of the notion we are.

Laramie, still

Teton-Range

Marc hasn’t approached such things in a very long time, having left ranches for cities decades ago.  He’s never perceived his father this way – a sodden, curled lump, a heavy heap of human – laying not far from a dissolving and evaporating campsite.  Still.

Alias ponders “still as stasis or persistence or both/and?” in his notebook in his study.  “Most often I use ‘still’ with some indication of both – stubborn, persistent, continual, unmoving – obstacles.”

Son standing over his father.  Father, fallen, humped, underfoot of son.  A stubborn statue, status, state.  Something resilient, resolute, apparently ineradicable and permanent – as far as permanence goes.

“Sons stumped by their fathers.  Fathers blocking their sons.” Alias wrote as Lucy re-entered their provisional home (what “home” is not?).

Laramie lay still, sopping, weighing more than any many should, it seemed to Marc.  Now fathering the labor of his unfortunate offspring, hovering over it/him like a bent tree, not quite as strong, but still stuck and rooted.

“The child is father to the man…still,” Alias jotted, telling Lucy that he’s stuck in the awful muddling middle of things, still wanting several things to be possible at once, believing they ought appropriately have right to be – including (but not limited to) both of their happinesses and satisfaction… fulfillments… but unable to see quite how, and for some strange reason thinking acutely of Laramie, wondering about him today – where he is and how – and all of their good, promising, talented grown children, and why they all increasingly feel alone, distant, farther from one another with age, in spite or in direct conflict with his feeling of the relative, mandatory, even necessary import and significance of these very few – very few consistent, momentous, continual and crucial relations – one another, their some sort of shared offspring or circumstanced charges, numbered friends, one another… handful of humans they ‘trust’ ‘still’ – and the vagaried ambiguity of all of these terms.

Marc stares:  his father: a persistent stasis: there, still.  His mother.  What now?  Himself?  His wife, sister, the children?  And there… here… Laramie Paul Backstagger… still.  Present.  Here.  Present.  Still.

Lucy, in annoyed concern – Alias inebriated, anxious, composing, fantastical, undone – suggests they simply call Anna or Marc, Maribel or Laramie his own self, and check in if he’s so concerned, so (“apparently”) troubled and unsettled about them.  But Alias, of course, of matter-of-course, of persistent stubborn stasis, replies, sighing: “Whatever.  I’m overwhelmed.  Over-reacting, under-developed, undone… Forget about it.  Sorry.  How was your walk – your outsiding?”

Marc prods the body with his boot.  His father weighs too much.  Too heavy.  Too absent.  Too still.  Sensei had startled his mother Maribel, returning to the ranch stables alone.  Who startled his sister Anna, startling Marc via telephone, still.  And now here, miles from anywhere, hating, prodding, regretting, wishing this sodden, sullen lump of heavy matter wasn’t his lifeless father, Laramie, his mother’s errant husband, his sister’s rugged hero, the persistent stasis of his dad.

Tension reigns, still.  Vitality.  Forces working upon and with forces.  Matter and space and energy and time, perhaps.  At the very least a conflicted Alias in tangled tango with his beloved antagonist Lucy, unaware, intuitive, confused and undone, while Marc is shoving his inert father, Maribel quivers, Anna waits, and Lucy huffs down the hall.  Life keeps pressing on and stopping, still.

Discursive Tangles

SighForSignificance-1

Increasingly I find myself filled with the desire of simply saying what I think about.  To some generative effect.

“We live.  We die.  We wish the living mattered.”

But “that’s too simple,” you say.  “Everyone knows that.”

And you’re right, again, and it’s the best that I can do.

Not that I don’t do other things, in living.  I hold jobs and work for pay (at nearly ANYthing) to keep a home, feed and educate my children, and attempt to convince them to try to try.

And then there’s the dynamo of desire.  Urges and drives, lusts and obsessions simply to have someone who will allow me to be close to them – to touch them and smell, listen and taste, copulate and serve and talk back and forth.  I don’t expect them to love me.  I’ve long given up being wanted or desired.  Can’t imagine I’ve ever considered myself necessary to someone or something.  For connection – to world, to literature and art, to thoughts and conversations, to knowledge and nature.

“No matter,” He says, “Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better,” He says.

I cannot.  Oh I try.  I try.  I try again.  But never imagine proximity of others not involving pity, and my failure seem ever further from their marks.  Not better.  I’m 45 now!  Or 80!  No matter.

No matter, indeed.

No matter, at all.  Perhaps.  I know this, that, some other stuff.  No matter. So I crave and wish and hope.  Failing further, and worse, never better.

Long hours of days pleasing others (or trying).  No matter.  Family and employers, students and friends.  No matter.  Perhaps?

But to say something simply.  How that?  I feel caught in a tangle of discourses.  What language to say in?  What field?  How to be heard, perhaps evaluated, to “count” or to “matter.”  I read something years ago by Nathalie Sarraute comparing the dreams or demands of Dostoevsky and Kafka to be recognized…no, acknowledged  (“From Dostoevsky to Kafka” in The Age of Suspicion). To matter.  Appear.  Have a voice.

Said simply:

“We live.  We die.  We wish the living mattered.”

Selah.

Fierce Splittings

Teton-Range

Mountains.

At the base of them, miles and miles into Montana, lay Laramie.  Laramie’s horse Sensei is uncertain what to do.  A storm is rolling in.

Lucy knocks at Alias’ door.  “Going for a walk,” she says, “you okay?  Need anything?”  Alias ponders.  “I’ll be taking the dog,” she adds to the nerve-troubled silence.  “You’re welcome to join.”

The fierce splittage that occurs.  Rife.

  1. I always want to go, and madly.  Tromp nature, move our bodies in time, together.  Hear you, explore, see the muscles work your thighs, your calves, their clench and stretch.  Peer at what your eyes respond to, share what registers in your ears.  Be privy to what physicality, adventure, novelty and motion unwind and unravel in you.  Want you as much as myself.  Want to touch and observe, share and protect you.  Crave you.
  2. I need to stay with these thoughts, stick at these questions, interrogate myself, my loneliness, my ecstasy, my want.  I am remiss, longing, wishing.  Forever turning aside for another (spouse, friend, vocation, pet, children) – NO! – I must stay here with myself, plumb some illusory depth, a hell, potential potency.  Must keep scribbling, keep ‘taking up and reading,’ until the moment occurs that seems revelatory, meaningful, significant.

YES                   /                     NO

Silence.                                                                          She goes.

And Laramie’s lain still, a long while.

Sensei turns and trots, after houghing along his body.

Lucy goes.  Exchanging kisses and assurances, both of them wishing, both of them aware, both of them happy and sad.

Alias moves to the piano.

Wanting to extrapolate a sense – but there are far too many senses and sensings.  Children: infants to adults, jettisoned and on.  Sensual aches and lustings – the million maneuvers to orgasm at every angle and scale.  Big Pictures and Miniscule Mundane all wrapped up.  A blooming iris.  Pregnant decisions.  Salivation for vodka, for book, for solitude and quiet.  Augmented chords, then rolled, then extended, then simply a single note.  Promised to language, yet full of sound and fury.

He plays, he drinks, he writes, he doubts, he fears, he wishes.

As if it were imperative.

As if fierce splittings of rationality or cognition and confused whelmings of senses and emotions were condemned toward disruption.  As if it were unknowable.  Could not be known.  Could not be said (or written).  Could not be true.

Human axis.  Axis of being.  Overloaded and irreducible.

A swoon, a swarm, an agony and ecstasy.  A finite loop and laugh.  A tangle.

Alias loves and longs his Lucy, Laramie, children and books.  Alias loves and longs a self that makes sense.  He loves and loathes that it does not.

Lucy goes.  Dog in tow.  At the mercy of externals.  The risk of world and other.  She heads to the Outside.

Alias turns in.

Laramie’s turned in.  On himself.  On the world.  On ‘in.’  Plumbing the depths.  A hell.  Of ending.  Of being.  Of moments and instances.

Sensei breaks to a gallop.

There are the mountains.  Fierce splittings.  Here we go.  Everyone at the mercy of.  Inside/outside.  Too many tenses and senses.  Everyone and the mountains, or for some it might be sea.  Or both, or any.  What happens there.

Lucy in woods with dog.  Alias at desk in plains.  Laramie lying at the foot of the mountains, still.  And everyone else at their everywhere.

 

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.

 

from Archives – Family: A Fiction

wandering through my own writings, and stumbling on things that surprise me.  This seems (to me) to be some of the best writing I’ve ever done, something I can’t imagine being able to do, something I’m not sure I ever did – the bewilderments – something I can’t imagine doing again.  Thought I’d share…I wonder who/what I might be.

Family

Family: A Fiction – NW Filbert (2012?)

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)

 

Alas, Alias

kitty-litter

“Cat litter,” the last thing said, and something about that abandoned bicycle, a child’s bike, deep red, repainted, left askew on their lawn for days.

Those were the last things.  The last things she said.  And so he’d begun to move about much more carefully.  Timidly some might say, an amalgam of caution and care.  Ever tender, aware that things break, or tear, spill, or fall apart.  End.

But then Laramie, his sister, mother, the kids – some entities seem to persist, so few and so stubborn, inexplicably, threatening almost, as if an accumulating disaster, an heavier withdrawal.  He doesn’t know what to make of it.

Abandonment crushes all scales and statistics – but pebbles and dust, foundations and roots still remain.  Persistent.  Resilient.  Irrational.

Like a sloth he repaired to his desk, as delicate and slow.  He took up a pen with his head in his hand.  He was lonely, alone but for quiet, sweet silence, and branches and birdsong and wind, autos and dogs.  Not quite quiet.  Not quite alone.  But abandoned, far as he could surmise.

He wrote.  Rather drew.  Looping lines that were shaky on paper.  Tried to make his operation more smooth.  It failed.  He shakes now, does Alias, from drinking and smoking, aging and grief.  From perspective.  His perspective.

A rattling undone, an erosion.  He sighs.

A bike, and “cat litter,” then gone.  Others had left for much more and much less.  Litanies of reasons of wrongs are so easy with humans involved, never mind the ‘weight of the good.’  Can’t compete.  Won’t compute. There are mistakes, and effort involved – both are failures, no matter the theories or talk, no matter their universality.  He was wrong and a failure, which equals abandon no matter the words they produced.

Alas, Alias.  A depression.  An outlook that colors the field, but it’s charcoal.  No matter the ‘whom’ it will bleed, run them dry, and disfigure.  No one’s withstood it for long, for all of his kindness and passion (devised to distract from the swallowing dark, or the primer – his base coat is death).  He’s alone.

Not a Laramie, mother, or kin.  Without doubt there’s no lover, no friend.  Just a man and his books and incessant grey thoughts, and a pen.

He begins, looping lines…forming “Cat litter,” the last thing she said…

Bike