Out of the Woods

“Why did you come out of your place in the woods?” I was asked.

“I guess so,” I replied.

So what?

This I find I cannot answer.  It is irrational.  Perhaps to stir and sense?  Dis- or un-cover?  “Strife” (from Ancient conceptions of the term).  Turbulence.  That something rather than nothing?  Not to have one’s hands folded on one’s lap? (Dostoevsky).  How should I know?  It’s irrational.

Unreasonably, I’ve begun.

Of course beginning will destroy things:  my stasis, comfort, stillness.  Family roles, relationships, profession.  Any beginning changes everything before (prior) to it.  Friendships, rituals, schedules, habits.

To START (anything) means to RUIN.

And also…BEGIN.

In other words, if I (one) reach out – lash, swipe, caress, call, correspond, text, touch, encounter or engage – an Other (one)… all will be disturbed… it’s the nature of contact between living beings: landscapes, art, humans, animals, spaces, times, words, events.  Everything alters at encounter.  Period.

If I (or we) are available (or needy) and therefore present ourselves (vulnerably) to a reality (actuality, happenstance, opportunity, occurrence) everything changes.

Past.  History.  Future.  Meaning.  Understanding.

So “Why did you come out of your place in the woods?”

What was my ‘place in the woods’?

Repetition.  Familiarity.  Habitue.

Security?  Comfort?  Compatibility with my environs?

I must have desired DIFFERENCE.

And how to account for that?

This is something we just do.

Clothes, taste, touch, belief, surroundings, movement – variance, dissimilitude, change – this signals in some way to our mechanistic (apparently) methodology of ‘survival’ – that we’ve ‘still go it,’ still HAPPEN, to-be… we live.  Are a-live.  Existence.  (See how the noun – the naming/defining – kills it?  Stills and destroys it?).  Existing.

Out of the woods I desire – not to be “existing”, not to crave “existence.”  I do not want any THING.  SOMEthing. I am simply wanting to be-ing… indefinable, indescribable, occurring, happening, all-live – not staid enough, locatable or timed enough to be characterized, apportioned, described and named.  No!  I (for one) am wanting to be happenING, impossible to capture, occur-ING, become-ING, vital not repeatable, unique not typified, tabulated, calculated or classified.

And thus, and so, I change (again).  Again.

Again I come out of the woods.

I be-come.  Out from the woods.

I say, I write, I speak, I act.

I am.

Friends to Fall

Elf says “ripe.”

Martin responds, wondering.  Curious as to that which it applies, or whom, or what.  Contemplating reference.  Filled with questions.  Martin says, “yes,” almost under his breath.

Elf shrugs.  Elf walks on.

Martin follows, thinking, looking at leaves falling into blades of grass, alerted by the shushing and darting of squirrels, saddened at the amplified pffft of cars passing by.  Wishing for silence.  Wondering if Elf will speak a further word or two.  Sensing like a dowsing rod for meanings.

Walks on.  Shuffles.  Walks on.

Martin, too.

There’s a relative silence from the two of them – these humans wandering across a concreted trail.  Sure there’s the sound of their footfalls, scuffles, even some noise in the pause of it.  Or the noise of the absence of noise.  But you’d have to be different to hear the breathing, the heart pulse, the slide of muscles and blood.  As far as humans-in-environs go, the pair presents retraction.

Hard to say for soil.  The squares composing sidewalk must suffer pressure, absorbed by the earth beneath and shared out through verberations for miles.  Hard to say for air.  Full-grown males, plodding forth like prows along a rickety line-of-motion has to be pushing particles around, making waves.  Nothing gives report.

Elf stops and sighs.

Martin responds, slowing, looking out, looking forward, looking round.  Lets his hands limp his sides.

Elf crouches down.

Martin scans the street, examines bark, follows trunks and branches, admires leaves and colors and movements.  Birds.



Alias and the Ants


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…


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.



Vignettes of the Hermit



He changed his clothes, wearing a color he usually would not.  And of course the day was different.  “Sameness” (from one moment to the next) is a difficult seed to piece.  Yet, he’s identifiable.

Last year, his hair was cut.  By a trusted friend, no doubt, yet it hadn’t been severed for nearly two decades.  His behavior altered, his manner of speaking and greeting.  Him.  But (to those who knew him) he was still recognizable.  Somehow.  Even if not so much to himself.

Humans are strange.  There’s the sound of rain.  Emotions.  Appearances.  Sunlight.  And many other things besides.  There is language, for instance.  And touch.  Scents.  Each tiny change – alteration/adaptation – is micro- and macro-scopic.  Is.  Effective and affective.  Not easily discounted.




She did not want to interact with him.  That, at least that (much) was clear.

She sat down, she closed her eyes.

She wished to stop the opportunity.  As if to say – “I am now sleeping.  You (any other) cannot reach me.”  Any (other) – even (you) – blanked out, refused, forgotten.”  “I am asleep.  Do Not Disturb (me).  I am Off Limits to you (any) you.”

He understands.  Reads sign signals.  Goes silent.  Writes on paper.

His dialogue – a wounded scraggly trail of hurt – writing.

No one (wants to) listen(s) to him: so he wails, expresses, tells, shares his story with flattened and dehydrated tree-pulp.  He draws confessions (conventional words), his family-language, blah blah blah – onto surfaces of desiccated dying.

So he might feel (an eensy-weensy tiny-whiny) a little bit that he matters.  That (i.e his feelings, experiences, being) is not ONLY shut out by closing (closed) eyes, but may (in fact) –

No, never mind.

[someone might care?]

No, never mind.

Eyes closed, shutters drawn: No.


Believing language makes things possible.

He (in order to survive) needs belief (otherwise – ?) that someone (one?) hears (cares?) attends (asks?)

Shaping letters onto dead matter.


Celldom (continuation)

oval sketching

(click image for previous content)

            Unwittingly, I suspect, you or they have begun encouraging me to fantasize, concoct alternate realities, to record what “self-awareness” I might possess – in effect, to make art.  To use artifice.  Pretend.

As they frustrate with my mind, I sense them agitate, they request I try again to inscribe ‘emotional states or fluctuations’… what I hear is: “Be delusional!  Pretend you can be other than yourself and fabricate observations or reports of what you find!  Write for us from a realm of your imaginings!”

I write: “Magenta with a violet, a blackened green, a touch of white and several mixtured hues of blue.”  One morning simply “ultramarine.”  The view up is amazing from the window when I wake – another problem – what is waking, what is not.

At this point I begin to draft single-lined wriggles and ovals (as near to circles as I am able) – day after day – delivering these gestures as my only possible responses of non-delusional self-observation / “awareness.”

They transport me somewhere.  “Some place quieter, restful, pastoral and with the sound of water,” they say.  My only hope is thunderstorms.

Thunderstorms shake me through and through somehow.  I profess rainfall to be cleansing, charming, enervating and distracting, but thunderstorms really tear me away from things toward some other beauty.  I draw an oval filling the page (as much as possible given the argumentative shapes) with emptiness.  Is this what is desired?  Am I approaching an “expression” with this instrument?

Another day I attempt a square and rectangle, even triangles – all with single lines and full of nothing, but none of these standardized and recognizable forms seem accurate.  No self-portrait (is this what you’re after?) could be so distinct.  Perceivable.  “Only bits and fragments appear common among ‘selves,’” I say (regrettably), “unless there be love.”

They (you?) pounce on this – “love! Ah!  Might you tell us, write” (very different things of course) “more about what you mean by this?”

“Don’t get hung up on words,” I whisper, and I’m off again to silence.


            There seems to be no library here, yet if I request books they arrive from somewhere.  All a matter of electricity, buttons and money.  As long as they last, I suppose.  And at higher costs each year, I think.

Thunderstorms, then, in lieu of the other unknown (“love”).  Something about their breadth and depth, the long slow accumulation of elements from such vast distances and sources: the implausibility of their construction, the buildup…composition…complexity…the billions of collisions that activate the enormous releasings.  Thunderstorms suggest the miraculous in nature, the dangerous prospect of entities coming together…some awe-full beauty.

Provenances, directions, blusters and still points, specific conditions, temperatures, “fronts,” uncountable molecules, atoms, producing just this dynamic event/effect…

This day I make a spiral down the page.

Biologies, psychologies, humors and pleasures, emotions and moods, habits, likes, dislikes, abhorrences, opinions – these seeking common spaces, manufacturing convergent territories…a prisming trap.  Love must be a fantasy or delusion like self-awareness…circles within circles…lapping, overlapping, twisting round, across and through.  A wovenness.  A magnetism, I think I meant earlier – a lust of imagination – would not knowing another be as futile as knowing oneself?  I think.  Learning by observation, interaction, what you cannot but effect, cannot become separate from?

A woman reads to me at night.


Click the image for the first entry:


            They brought me a pencil.

Just as easily broken, but the softness and variations of shading are gentler, and it emits a soothing sound (whatever “soothing” might mean for me here).  As well, I am able to watch it exhaust itself, and must keep rotating it within my fingers to fashion readable markings.  I do enjoy whispering in these lines with graphite.  Its liminal appearance and capacity for subtlety and starkness.

A pencil accomplishes something (I am thinking).  Makes tangible the dust and fog – our weathers of uncertainty.  You have to squint a little to make it out when used for forming language, and it quickly evaporates, fades.  Feels more made of matter than an ink pen…more temporary and inevitably fragile, decomposing.

They led me to the library today, accompanied closely, of course.  I saw more colors, shapes and forms than I have seen for weeks.  Selection was limited but there were some illustrated texts on natural science and even a few collections of art.  “What do you think these pictures express?” they asked of paintings or sculptures I paused upon.

“Look” I said, “look.”

I pretended sullen and began to ecstatically absorb – lines with dozens of colors peeking about the edges, throwing some other sector of the painting into bright relief, leading my eyes like young tight calves signaling, dashing about in summer.  My eyes leapt about after splotches and strokes, sunk slowly into (imagined) vast planes of layer upon layer of shading and tone (what an interestingly borrowed term!), scratched back, built over, washed in and out.  I danced through sprays of evocative squiggles, hyphens, circles, blocks and splatters, all in the space of half of an hour (does ‘space’ really apply to sequence?  To time? – “Don’t get hung up on words” again, always afraid I’ll disappear more fully, remove to too far a distance).

And why should they (or you) care?  Why should anyone?

broken pencil


            Too much shading, pencil evaporated, disappeared (literally “before my very eyes!” – what a ridiculous statement – as if eyes were anything without the information of the hands!)

Why distance is required.

This pen appears to be blue, although by the light I am provided to scribble by, it is difficult to tell (Ha!  Eyes even need speech to operate!)

What messages are all our so-called senses constantly inundating our poor cerebrum with?  Life is one massive assault on minds from birth until its end.  It’s no wonder then, is it?

One requires a kind of distance to “see” (observe, perceive, etc.).  How might one achieve this necessary gap from what one must inevitably be the substance and content of?  One needs a mirror and a separate self.  I believe this is variously referred to as “dissociation,” “transference,” “schizophrenia,” “writer.”

It is suggested that I attempt to describe further what I am noting down.  I already know that is not possible.  “Ouroborous” I say, and close my lips and eyes, quieting my hands.

Aspects of Writing: Writing the Impetus. The Self-Reflexive.

The Self-Reflexive.  Impetus.

The urgency, that is, the urging I feel in setting forth to compose, is dismantling.

In other words, the forcings that encroach, impinge and unleash within me when I’m ‘of a mind’ (experiencing the intention of) ‘to create’ is one of destruction, a defensive attack.

I am thus synonymed by sculptor, woodcarver, archaeologist.

One wants to undo the stories before they reach the page.

In order to find, discover, the figure of them, a more lasting (perhaps) form or shape.

To strip them of their ‘qualities’ or ‘style.’  Their manipulations.  Creation as a straining of the weak, the falsifiable…a process in survival of the fittest, the more “true”(?) or apt.

Chiseling personal explanations and perspectival descriptions down to possibilities.  Unraveling myths toward oracles.  Discounting proofs into theories.

The impetus of writing evokes the motivation of doubt, the landscape is struggle.

“To be inspired” might mean to be activated by an experience accurately called “perfink” (David Krech), or, “perceiving, feeling and thinking at once” (Jerome Bruner).

Regurgitant feeling: investigation, analysis, interpretation – meanings attacking meanings, in hopes.  In hopes that a perfink of “meaning” (a satiation of anxiety, terror, doubt) might prove indestructible – as a possibility.

The narrative, then (the verbal expression of a perfink), is a traffic jam of conventions, presuppositions, reality-views and solipsistic Gnosticism forged within the forging self; writing – as apparatus, activity, function – reflexes: brings self-world to bear on self-worlds in attempts to deconstruct automatic (as it were) constructions of perceiving/feeling/thinking – fighting, clawing, tearing against it with the information and energy of shared resources: language, “knowledge,” the usable past.

Clashings of systems, perfinking perfinks, violent internal skirmishes and acts of terror(ism) – a doing that attempts the undoings of doings – an otherwise endlessly insular, of unverifiable and infinite traces, activity known as self-reflexive

– producing stalemates of exhaustion, individual paucities of supply and reinforcement, ourobourosian

offering only extrinsic chances for momentary cease-fires – the artifact, figure, form of the battlefield, photographed in process and thus submitted – to critics, to readers, to colleagues, to shadows (i.e. to genuine Others) that it might become real (exist in relation, to be directly experienced), corroborated or dismissed by equally limited and idiosyncratic perfinking, outside – both in the world, and of it.

“the contest any artist has with his or her art: working toward a perception that is his or her mind’s peace.”

-Louis Zukofsky-

“the mind carries an austere

inwardness that will not put out its eyes”

-Laurie Sheck-

“Writing is a lonely business’ is both a dull myth and a material fact of the profession, one I happen to be temperamentally suited to endure but which doesn’t gratify my sense of what it’s for.”

-Jonathan Lethem-


-Robert Creeley-

see Aspects of Writing

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