Found Autobiography



A country mapped with invisible ink

Bob Hicok

Like we are the hole that grows in poor, unmendable

nothing: we blind needles: we unmoored threads:

like feeling I’m the enaction of a waterfall by my tongue


upon your body, as when a boat is brought to the edge

of exile and a hand extends to a hand or a tree

beseeches with its shadeshawl: however born,


there is reaching, we agree the wind smelled of copper

one day, a passport the next: like how to escape

my brain’s slum of words, the ghetto of the said,


while adoring there the rocks, the teacups,

if half of me is a Molotov cocktail and half

the inflection of loss and half a genuflection


to breath: like wondering if this extra half

is a country mapped with invisible ink:

like how windows ask to come along with the going


and preside over the staying, and I look at them

with all the love, all the shatter I can muster:

shards cutting me when I try to put the sky,


the distance back together: boredom cutting me

deeper when I don’t: like searching for a man

in a burning house and finding a piano as echo flees:


a whetstone still warm from the blade: sheets pressed

with brainfolds of sleep: a whisper from the bathroom

of running water: but no body: and I carry


these things to safety that are not the man: the piano

in my arms, running water in my mouth, the vespers

of sleep, the knife, so like a wing, like flight:


and say of him, that was me, to the ashes, the char:

and sift the memory of flames for their sorrow,

holding smoke to the mirror interested only


in solid dreams: like it will finally see

what isn’t there and give it my face, this presence

of absence I have tried and tried not to be


“almost as if I’m making her and this poem and my past

up as I go, to help me feel nothing


goes to waste, not even waste.”

-also Bob Hicok

Nathan Portrait


Self-writing / Autography

web I


I want to know how everything we do (as the human kind of organisms) functions for us, including wanting to know how wanting to know how everything we do (as the human kind of organisms) functions for us, including wanting to know how wanting to know how wanting to know how everything we do (as the human kind of organisms) functions for us, including…


Thinking about Origins

Along the networks of transductive reading, the following productive co-constitutive readings…

“The beginning is not the same as the origin.  When the beginning emerges, the origin recedes, leaving in its wake a past that becomes our future to form a circle that never closes…It is important not to convuse beginning with origin.  Origins are always obscure even when beginnings are not.”

Mark C. TaylorField Notes from Elsewhere-

“What if, instead of placing self-self interaction at the center of development, we were to posit relation as key to experience?  Relation, understood here in a Jamesian sense, is a making apparent of a third space opened up for experience in the making.  This third space (or interval) is active with the tendencies of interaction but is not limited to them.  Relation folds experience into it such that what emerges is always more than the sum of its parts…”

Erin ManningAlways More than One

bear with me – this is extended, but so merits reflection (I think)…

“What if neither skin nor self were the starting point for the complex interrelational matrix of being and worlding?  Being and worlding depend on the activity of reaching-toward.  Reaching-toward foregrounds the relationality inherent in experience, a kind of feeling-with the world.  This tending-toward is a sensing-with that does not occur strictly at the level of the sensory-motor.  It happens across strata, both actual and virtual.  A looking becomes a touching, a feeling becomes a hearing.  But not on the skin or in the body.  Across strata, both concrete and abstract, that constitute an assemblage.  This assemblage is a sensing body in movement, a body-world that is always tending, attending to the world…”

complex adaptive systems diagram

“…In equal measure, the world also tends toward the becoming-body.  Body-worlding is much more than containment, much more than envelope.  It is a complex feeling-assemblage that is active between different co-constitutive milieus.  It is individuation before it is self, a fielding of associated milius that fold in, on, and through one another.  For the associated milieu is never ‘between’ constituted selves: the associated milieu is the resonant field of individuation, active always in concert with the becomings it engenders.  Becoming-self is one of the ways in which this folding (body-worlding) expresses itself, but never toward a totalization of self – always toward continued individuation.  ‘To think individuation it is necessary to consider being not as substance, matter or form, but as a tensile oversaturated system beyond the level of unity’ (Gilbert Simondon).  Self is a modality – a singularity on the plane of individuation – always on the way toward new foldings.  These foldings bring into appearance not a fully constituted human, already-contained, but co-constitutive strata of matter, content, form, substance, and expression.  The self is not contained.  It is a fold of immanent expressibility.”

one more paragraph worth considering?….

senses of self are less bounded phases than fractal phase-spaces composed of interweaving strata.  ‘Once formed, each sense of self remains fully functioning and active throughout life.  All continue to grow and coexist’ (Daniel Stern).  No stratum is ever completely disarticulated from another in the creation of emergent senses of self.  Rather, strata veer through and across one another in the associated milieu’s intensive fielding.  As the infant ages and becomes verbal, for instance, their sense of being a coherent, willful, physical entity – foregrounding strata phasing toward organization – may intermesh with the frustration of not being able to express the feeling-vector of intensity that remains a key aspect of the tending toward coherence – foregrounding the strata phasing toward the virtual or immanence.  Every becoming is tinted with this double articulation.  There is no stable pre- and postverbal state.  There is no stable identity that emerges once and for all.  Becoming-human is expressed singularly and repeatedly in the multiphasing passage from the feeling of content to the content of feeling, a shift from the force of divergent flows to a systematic integration.  This is not a containment toward a stable self.  It is a momentary cohesiveness, a sense of self that always remains colored by the interweaving of forces that both direct and destabilize the ‘self’s’ proto-unification into an ‘I.’  With all apparent cohesiveness there remains the effect of the ineffable that acts like a shadow on all dreams of containment.  For double articulation reminds us that singular points of identification always remain mired within the complex forces of their prearticulation, prearticulation not strictly as the before of articulation, but the withness of the unutterable, the ineffable – the quasi-inexpressible share of expressibility – within language.  There is no self that is not also emergent, preverbal, affectively oriented toward individuation.”

Erin Manning, Always More than One

“That from which I emerge approaches by withdrawing”

-Mark C. TaylorField Notes from Elsewhere


Mirrors & Shadows

“Ten times a day you must overcome yourself.  You must want to burn yourself up in your own flame.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche-

The Shadow, Andy Warhol
The Shadow, Andy Warhol

“the lesson is clear: one is multiple, the same is different, the representation is the negative of the person…both original and copy, identical and different, they are the same and the other, interchangeable and monumental…In the dark room of his studio, Warhol develops himself.  In so doing he ‘unmakes’ himself.”

-Victor Stoichita-

Shadows, Andy Warhol
Shadows, Andy Warhol

“Death follows artists around like their shadow and I think that’s one of the reasons artists are so conscious of the vulnerability and nothingness of life.”

-Francis Bacon-

Children singing choruses.  Joyous chants and rhymes.  Distant.  Repetition forming memory.

Chasing shadows, or running from.  Self-same body blocking sun.  To be sought, to be feared.  Identical and strange.

Known alone in traces and reflections.

I say that “I” was young once.  That it’s only patterns of light, only the passing of time, only angles of vision.

I repeat myself.

Each day reassembling, developing, dissembling, to reassemble again.  My body a gathering post.

Mirroring image has gone from the closest thing to self-awareness we might uncover to a flat reflective surface full of nothing.  Ephemeral and changing by the second, dependent on the looker, a vacant mirage.

Shadow has proceeded from a designator of real presences to an outline of actual vacuity.  From a measurable symbol of substance to a vague hint of objects passing.

Voices like a bag of small bells and grass.  Something shaking and stirred.  Snippets of a tune, the catchy parts.

What I can tell I read, observe, attend and consider, opening a dialogue of days.  But I only get to see in glimpses and portions.  A hand moving, holding an instrument here; flat feet from crossed legs there; a shoulder, some hair of a beard, the frames of glasses.  I don’t see myself seeing, nor see myself as seen.

There’s the mirror and the shadow – intangible, eminently interpretable and malleable “things” – emphases of the transitory.  Receptacles like language – merely signs or indices – pointing back at absence.

Moment, moment, moment…now then now then now…endless fantasies of dissection moving round the room, faster than shuttling clips of film.  A self presenting / representing itself after again, appearances only, shimmering skein mingling veils of light…

While they sing like breezes dreaming – “Who sees?” and “What is seen?”

He who has ears let him hear,

bypassing illusion,

in marks and gestures


Other Worlds / Our World … as conceived by a Semiotic Animal

The following is, again, a fairly dense essay, but I find the content so fascinating and very well presented.  The concepts and observations herein form a central core of what I desire to use language to explore – signs upon signs within signs over signs – living in the specificity of our species – and attempting to discover what/where/how that specificity (namely language) might lead/take/auto-generate itself forward.  If these sorts of things interest you as well, i encourage you to lend Deely’s writing your time.

(click here for essay) – Umwelt by John Deely

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.



“The Artist, he who even takes the shadows of things in hand…”

-Macedonio Fernandez-

“He who imagines will never know non-being.”


A morass of shadows.

A repletion of blips and flashings.

An absence : I understand.


I swipe my hand through the shadows.  I sense disturbance, but my palm returns empty, save the moisture of fog in dark woods.  If even.  There has been dust.

I stir the ashes.  I kindle the fire.  The brain a roadmap of chaos.  And intricately precise.  Subject to accident and lesion and a cross-pollination of impulses and energies beyond present calculations.  Not withstanding infinity, of course, which hardly makes sense, given the matter.

A squalor of shadows.

Currents of whispering air, of motion.

A ubiquity that trembles.

I open my mouth to the world.  I emit and inhale.  Shouting resonant within, because I have ears.  Equipped with particulars.  Apparatus.  Other cells stay quiet but do not cease, I lack the equipment to hear.  Stone, lizard, mushroom.  Light in its veils.  I cry out.  Echo =, tree hardly cares.  I’m remiss and listen myself for response.

Breathing the smoke.  I stink and I cough and I smell.  My hand passes through without ashes or mist.  I am not everywhere.  I do not know my ends.  If a melody came through like a sight or a sound, I would not name it.  I am emptying full.


As shadows thicken and disperse.

Objects as subjects and objects again.

Something live in the darkness.


That is darkness for me, not the night owl or mouse, salamander or bat, not the tree.  No, it is me, I, we, that conjure the “darkness” as difference from “light,” however similar, however same.  As if emitting symbols.  As if meaning to manufacture.  I construct a sign and call it poem, collaborate a you and a me.  We converse.  I begin.

If doubt incites a thought, thought conspires doubt to further action.  As if shadows were transparent.  And meaningless was choice.  Eye – mouth – hand : open to the world, the world opens.  I begin in signs and gestures, a collaborative entanglement, reentered.


In dispersion shadows reconvene.

Clearly thickened by old growth.

Body minding nets.


Would I make a “here” it would be “we.”  A desire for presents is relation.  What its plural ought to be (“presence”).  I unwrap unable to view the gift.  Tell me of it, will you?  “Inside” is lost in shadows.  What’s perceptible from “there”?  Tree, raven, sky.  Plastic object pulsed in heartbeat or emotion: what could I learn from “there”?

What isn’t simultaneous?  And how like the infinity we are constrained not to absorb?  Enclose me.  Lend me a form, a border, a threshold.  Entangle.  Experience may come.

“the silence of the page allows us to hear the writing”

-Octavio Paz-



He with the mind meandering like the great rivers – those that function metaphorically for whole cultures and histories – the Taiga and Thames, Amazon, Euphrates, Danube, the Mighty Mississipp, and so on – along with all of the tributaries and streams, springs far removed, deltas and falls…

In that his mind has assimilated, absorbed particles of eons of blood, trash and shit, death and being born, creatures and passengers, landscapes and strata, wars and rumors of wars, nations and races and species…

he was the written word as a river, knowledge as a catch-all, depository, wealth and waste and millions of miles to tangle

the body being like this as well – billions of cells, some relatively foreign to others, some of entirely different types, all connected and held together somehow; “body” of water, of work, of being: arteries, capillaries, aminos, neurons, stems, DNAs, whole worlds of rivers, lakes and creeks.

Heidegger pictured it a hell of a journey through thickest forest – rivers do this – sometimes underground, the earth is filled with reservoir – to traverse the “open,” coming to a clearing, a stream wending its way in dry desert, mountain meadow, steppes and prairies…the surround is still denser than dense,

his mind become so, with awareness of the body, or mind as body, also mind matter stuff, indecipherable, inexplicable, barely described.

Yet all, so far, inscribed?  What little of all could be held.  Infinitessimal.  Finite.  In the face of infinity…relation.

Derrida’s abysme – a feeling, an unknowing, almost a certainty that “things will never be sorted out…” that the tiny wiggles over the mapped surfaces can never all be traced, all the planes, there is not time nor capacity, to follow thoroughly even an arbitrarily chosen segment of a smallest stream, constant movement from and toward, through, up and down, over, under, behind, before…abysme.

Untraceable traces.  Mind, emotion, sense, soul, causality discombobulated and befuddled beyond cognizance or comprehension, indeed – of what comprehension consists.

“Know thyself,” cruel riddle, as if spoken by a genuine god – something entirely Other, outside, impossible and impassible…the knowing cannot be known, or who knows it?  Is knowing it now, and then now?

The rivers do not know, they flow, happen.  God cannot know or not be a self/person in any way that corresponds with us – without not-knowing or abysming in endless spirals centrifugal and –tripetal.

Bakhtin sees the picture of us seeing pictures of what we do not see…all together…but we’re never all together and imagining is only one way to correspond.

It would require a miracle, yet it already is, he thinks – inexplicable, unprecedented, unaccounted for…kenotic theory, Forms and Chaos, quarks and atoms – nothing explained, ever re-described, only resolved in irresoluble faith – in theory, in truth.

And so on…mapping these rivers.

Oceans and the pooling of eyes, vast landscapes of fleshes, fragile impossible organs, tenuous and tenaciously flowing on, through drought, through death, flood and

“all things come about through opposition, and the universe flows like a river”


                He with the mind meandering like great rivers and their effluvia…


And when he comes to the end he often has the sensation that he hasn’t gotten very far.

As if he’d just begun

or that it seemed quite near to where he’d started from

that foreign felt familiar and a bit of vice-versa

Where had he gotten?  And where had he set out from?  And when?  What had moved him from place to place, situation through situation and so on?

Max Frisch came to mind.  He’d once said or written that “a man has been through an experience, now he is looking for the story to go with it – you can’t live with an experience that remains without a story…”

which brought to mind everything he knew about the world and everything he’d ever read or seen and everything he didn’t know but may have heard of, and everyone he’d ever met or fathered, loved or hated, felt indifferent or mildly agitated by, animals, trees, chemical theories, in short, whatever remained, at this point, in his memory, mind, consciousness and/or body, however one might denote such a thing,

and he wondered if there was a story to go with it, or a thousand stories, or layers upon layers of inextricable stories, or if he hadn’t got any?  Who would author the narrative?  Any narrative?


He must be at the end of it.  Something has assuredly happened, yes, he could swear he has “gone through an experience” (while remaining quite unsure of what that entails or might mean, or how to go about verifying or evaluating it).  Yet he’s quite sure that things have occurred, including, quite plausibly (it seems to him) maybe even himself as well as the myriad characters and events that are flooding his mind. Continue reading “He(II)”

Writing: the Subjects

Writing: the Subjects

A lot can be read about what it takes, means, requires, or qualifies a person as a writer.

From “someone who inscribes a text,” (akin to walking or speaking), to publication and critical acclaim (akin to fame and riches).

As I see it

it must begin with a facility with language.  Any language.  An awareness of words and their implications.  The intention to utter.

Uttering tends to search a subject, (what words are “about” is as various as the universe) and a style or voice (how it will inscribe).

From there it’s simply performance: arranging or placing the selected words in a medium with a measure of physicality, sense-ability, somewhere capable of being perceived.

As far as I can think it, when these few elements are satisfied what we are engaging is “writing” as a product of “writer.”

He chooses a form of English he has acquired through hunting and gathering, a language institutionalized and socially invested in him with measures both beyond and within his control.

He searches a subject to say.  Already subjective (as he is the one searching with what language he has or is able to acquire or create) his utterance will always contain an “I” – both shaped and formed by his responses and politically constructed by his social milieu.  In other words, there are always more than one “subject” in every utterance.  At base, at least three: the language, the user, the construction and arrangement.

He’s already overwhelmed with the largeness of the simple subjects inescapable to human languaging, and he’d thought to write about rocks (geology) or time (epistemology); romance (psychology) or events (history; ontology).

Subject-fields are vast, you understand.

Having sought to describe an object (desk or stone) in space (again scientific theories / epistemology) each signal latent in language subjectivized: using language creates subjects, no objects remain but are subjectively engaged.  Language is an invisible bridging, a liminal skin, connective absorbent tissue, subjectively creating subjects-in-relation.

This, apparently, its object.

Thus uttered…a story.

N Filbert 2012