in the rock,
and a sun,
in the rock,
and a sun,
…and so we think. I do not say we must think, for I do not think that is so – it is simply a kind of capacity we have, apparently related to external pressures and a possible pleasure, or unknown effects involving desire – a torsion, disturbance, a stirring unsettling perhaps necessary to our living continuance, like pain, like lust.
An activity we call by many names and nuances – reflection, perception, analysis, intuition, sensation, theorizing, dream… but all uncanny practices of turbulence as if trying out invisible options on our world, imagining alternatives, inventing holding frames for experiencing that must constantly and continuously alter and adapt and reorient as living never stills. Like language, like longing, like living. Such things show no signs of resolving, their solutions are their ongoing instrumentalization, their habitude.
This Autumn has found very little time for sustained reading and writing, resulting therefore in meager offerings here. But I am finding jottings, thoughts, and notations in scattered journals that have somehow happened anyway. Please accept these little offerings as efforts to remain in dialogue…
Why do we (at least some percentage of us) take such pleasure (or at least seem to relish) in dark and heavy sorrow, like longing? Grief, hopelessness – is it finitude and mortality that cause us to feel so at home in it? Our drowning womb, begun from a watery coffin?
The sweet, rebellious, anarchy of loving, passion, writing, painting, music…sex – whatever it is we do that works our death deeper in us, through ecstatic bursts that we respond to like life.
We all ways dying…from that first launch…that initial spark of convergence – our long elimination.
Praise for the Name what Remains
By the light of the last thing decaying,
Erosion, they call it,
a painful dwindling away
Inception that won’t return
Sand, soil, snow, wind,
some sort of passage
It is called.
Loss, we name it.
If time is an arrow
even in some infinite
loop and swerving traffic
I’m not. Nor are we.
The finite and fragile
Affected in the midst
And never remade.
The “world,” as it were, as it ‘is’ (also, reduced, in addition) “for us.”
How it comes to be as we are – briefly. Almost incalculably miniscule. Almost ‘happenstance.’
“Our” world, as it were: all we cannot know, that we are part in, of, with.
One wonders what “world” can possibly mean.
Every meaning apparently nothing outside of this microscopic sliver of kind… EVERYthing and more, “for us.” Some ‘infinity’ or ‘void;’ ‘abyss’ or ‘chaotic complexity’ – a reference to every-thing (or not) that so far surpasses us, outstrips us, beyonds us. Some so-called…”world.”
One could turn toward all that, could ‘be-itself,’ bi-pedally, shrimpishly, speck-o-dust uprightedly, with/in ‘it’…and have a dwarfed, almost indiscernible ‘experience.’ Or “one” (were such a thing possible) could de-cide, di-vide, con-sider (?) – place oneself ‘over against’ or ‘in contrast’ (contra-di-stinction) to all that: otherness, ‘world,’ ‘uknown/unknowable,’ ‘beyond,’ ‘out-side,’ infinite… and de-term-in.
Squash it down to ‘one’s own scale, name it / call it / sign it, and ‘fit’ it in. i.e. cut it small enough to be comprehensible, digestible, sensible (according-to-one’s-own) and pre-tend, fore-tell, image-in, sign-i-fy it ACCORDING TO… ‘one,’ ‘us,’ ‘me’ (such as math, logic, language, communicable signs, etc – in-(ter)ventions on/of our own terms).
Human knowledge, inquiry, disciplines, creations, theories, etc. are EXACTLY (and perhaps ONLY, one surmises) THAT: at the scale of the human. ‘One’ is prone to automatically grant every ‘other’ (plant, material, organism, structure, system, etc) the ‘same’ ‘world’ – as Wittgenstein indicated: indecipherable, untranslatable or communicable between kinds, but most probable, no? – Umwelts – worlds upon worlds within worlds outside worlds… we (‘ones’) can have no share, understanding, con(with)cept, com(with)munication of…
To each its scale of experiencing, and all scales together…
Given the human (so-self-called) scale, this seems pertinently and poignantly most evident…
…why would we chafe against our limits… or (perhaps) every scale always is – no ‘one’ could know this… ones (and many ones) are only ones – more and less than their own possible perspectives… in- and out-looks OF. Scale. (Perhaps).
Obviously, com(with)posing in your/our language… whatever I dream is representative of my scale… i.e. is only a capacity of ‘one’(kind) … of many.
Pleasurably so… or why not?
Dreaming beyond scale (or, inventing scale and its beyond – in the de-term-in-ing) demonstrates itself as a capacity… (e.g. mythology, science, religion, fiction/fantasy, psycho-anything, spirituality, philosophy, history, and so forth) … all imagined efforts beyond-scale, that, in occurring demonstrate the possibilities/limitations of human scale…
What ‘beyond’ could ‘one’ see, think, feel, etc., that is not a demonstration of limited and actual capacity of ‘one-scale’-to-experience?
So ‘one’ has a-, con-, etc. scales… all part of one’s scale (abilities, capacities, possibilities, options, kind). Against, with, creative, reductive, but ALL and ANY activities of one kind (so-self-called ‘human’) show its locked and limited capacity. One never goes beyond.
To ‘work limits,’ and boundaries are clearly elements of our ‘limits’ and ‘boundaries’ of the scope and scale of the ‘human.’
“Gods,” cosmologies, dreams, histories, theorizing, etc., all contained within the ‘bounds’ or capacities of the ‘kind-of-thing-‘One’-is. Perhaps.
It is the ‘perhaps’ that haunts us. [but what could ‘haunt’ indicate but another human capacity – perhaps a ‘felt capacity’ of bursting or extending our capacities?]
Witchcraft. Art. Technology. Religion. Theoretical and experimental anything. Logos. Arche. Tohu. Bohu. Beginning. Universe (must needs always shrink to one’s own scale… in order to uni-anything… ‘multiverse’ simple exponents of capacities for in our microscopic self-experienced sphere… we named ‘infinity’ – is there no exponent we can’t add – within our tiny range of potential?).
One’s own anthropology.
Logically [though I excessively distrust that program of human-ing] – what con-cept, i-dea, imagine-ing, or object-ivity is not necessarily always paramatered by the human ex-periential capacities?
The bounds may be elastic or no – there would be no way for a kind to know – being all-ways the ‘one’ experiencing.
is a phrase and a theory I have queried, contemplated, spelunked and pursued for the past few decades of my “living.” Since (apparently) before I can remember, I’ve been addicted to a kind of figuring-out – some offspring of “understanding,” any concept / idea / or belief-faith – that might elucidate to me my (experienced) compulsion to “meaning” or “significance” – to matter as matter-in-relation.
I’ve encountered many gurus (preachers, priests, philosophers, psychologists, scientists, mathematicians and artists, farmers and engineers, poets = “people”) along the way who have sent, directed, swerved, commanded, troubled, commended, interrogated, suggested and questioned this impulse of mine. From sarcasm to scholarship I’ve been told I will not find that which I seek. Or recommended resolutions that don’t withstand my particular scrutiny and skepticism.
It is sunny and light, Spring-y and gentle in Kansas today. I took my lunch, after a walk, at a table among trees. Birds were active, dogs ambling by, flowers in bloom, and a breeze.
For the most part I “eat” cause I’ve believed that otherwise I would fail (as a being) and die. I like to enjoy food, but most often it’s presumed “preparation” falls to me, and therefore becomes a complication of time I would prefer not to.
So I sat and I drank (so much easier). Water & coffee & other things to my pleasure. And “pondered,” I guess – what I do, when (apparently) no one requires immediate need of me.
I was alone, in a way.
And thinking of “meaning-making,” and “knowledge,” “belief” and “desire” – human shit. (It’s what I do – that compulsion).
*** As I was contesting people’s behaviors and language recently in my home, my unanticipated fortune of something like a life-partner offered the response “there are 15,000 things it could be.” Which struck hold and has become something of a cliché in short order in our home. Imponderables, indefinables, indescribabilities. For any action any thing might perform – there are nigh infinite possible “reasons” (most likely irrational) – these courses are taken. “Personal knowledge” is not something we have. Systems do what they do – what is done is what’s done – and the likelihood of our assessments being correct is near null.*** [that’s all an aside]
I can be critical.
And quite gracious and kind.
I am rambling. And have decided to do so. Readers, you must know, I don’t write because I have something to say. (15,000 things). I have drives to express (inexplicably) – and most often what I write is precisely a declaration of what I don’t know.
“The more we know, the more exposed we are to our ignorance, and the more we know to ask”
– Marcelo Gleiser, The Island of Knowledge–
Well that’s a positivist view.
When I write, I expose all my ignorance. Compose hunches and urges, fascinations and fears. Ache to pull my ineffables toward tongues. Talking’s the same. I don’t know what I’m saying – just hoping experience finds text. Immaterial materializing. We might get “something to work with.” I don’t understand any of it.
Sitting then, in the sweet Kansas day, 20/30 years of my life gained a traction. “Meaning-making,” to make meaning, was obscuring infinite unknowns. Underlying such a contention – that meaning is made – swum its absence = there’s no meaning “there.”
“Person-hood” aptly decreed – “person” a “hood” that we wear. “Person-ality” – some ability we possess to appear as in situations. “Meaning” – a something we might craft to suit our unaccountable occurrences. I don’t mean anything, significance is made. If I’m lucky the people around me choose to do so with my existence. Otherwise it’s matter of course. We’re Matter…of course. But who knows? Also the problem of “knowledge” – the only “knowledge” we have is our own and some idiosyncratic communal bastardization of what our Species has MADE.
Not quite nihilism. Just meaninglessness.
I like the idea of “meaning-making” – finding it in the relation of atoms, of stars, of humans and beasts. Of dreams and delusions, of science. I like “knowledge” – created cultural artifacts and residue, flotsam & jetsam, structures and practical theories. AND it would seem it obscures what surrounds. For every academic discipline that drills its way into a world we experience (as humans) and stacks up hypotheses and –pedias…there’s still the wide world there from every other perspective and experience – the ant, paramecium, subatomic particle, sky. Your spouse or your child, parent or friend, or the foreign, the stranger, the Other, the “them.”
Myopia. Perception. The experience of meaning. Attribution of significance. What matters in matter to ME. IF matter – for even matter’s a human contribution to what seems to be.
Perhaps it comes down to particularized –“hoods” and “-abilities” – “each one’s” momentary personhood and personality – whether experience is an occasion to “make meaning” or glide on in its unnecessary meaninglessness. I don’t know.
What remains is my deranged and crazy compulsion – my “hood” I guess, and ability.
So many words come to mind.
i want never to encounter work I wish to edit
“he accepted each moment
shocked by having a face in the mirror
or torn away from it by the beauty of the world”
– from Zen by Stephen Berg
“…its mumbled inadequacy reminds us always
In this world how little can be communicated.
And for these, they too are only tokens
Of what there is no word for:…”
– from To Dido by W. S. Merwin
Then this is my canvas, my clay, the space I am allotted to “begin.” “To write what I feel” as they put it. From a palette of words, of letters, the shapes of sounds.
What color would they be? What lines and outlines? What surfaces, form? What I am representing onto this blank? When or where or what or how is it / was it present before this? Had I more than a pen I might draw. Monochrome doesn’t suit the subject I observe. (“The greater the challenge” I suppose they or you or I might suggest – ack).
As if it were a can to pour. A brush to dab or spread. A chisel to pound or some multi-dimensional possibility. No – one color, a flat surface, and whatever twisted lines I might make with this dark blood.
“Don’t simply regurgitate your story,” I heard, “write things we don’t already know or are able to find out in multitudes of ways.” This is why “feelings” you say (they say). Do we really have feelings bereft of ideas?
I imagine this is what is meant by declension. Some traceable undoing. Some fodder to deconstruct, patterns or plot recognition: analysis. Is that so? “Feelings” you say?
“I began to write down the things I feel,” I wrote, firstly, quoting them, but quickly realizing that that was a quote of a quote, and perhaps out of context, perhaps accidental, of another I have great affinity for, of mind, form and content, but would not dare or hope to repeat or revise. Stillborn. Abort.
“Feelings.” And how might I gain access to this? These? Are not, spoken, emotions dissolved? Transformed into some other reality? Or fiction? Does anyone even know yet what we talk about when we talk about “emotion”? (I suspect there is a sort of object to them/it out there somewhere to be found and to dissect, describe, observe or experiment with – on the in-fernal-ternet or recordings of the surgings of the brain, the body, our systems). Probably it goes without saying, but I have no “access” here. “In” here.
How then should I represent void? And again I ask – where/who/how ever might void have ever been presented in the first place as some natural sign I might re-present? This is what a medium is for, no? An intermediary between? A vehicle or method of expression, disclosure, communication, power? So what is this barely material of ink and pulp (one color or hue each, mind you!) between?
Them or you and my emotions? Is that it? One unknown and untranslatable to another? I might describe here or caricature the you or them I imagine examining this frame, this “picture,” but who would pretend or proffer that I might, in that process, be knowing them to you? And like the immateriality of an inner world, even if I could copy all the pulses, darts, knots and dashes of a stenciling electric light on some screen or render a mapping of neuronal activities imaged in all my various “states.” What would be revealed in that? What more would ANY of us know?
The electricity and charges my brain produces we might label “agitated subject,” or “concentrated subject,” “depressed subject,” “gazing subject,” “excited,” “disregulated,” and so on. Within each of which (and millions of others besides) the terms occur so ambiguously and objective-arbitrarily we end further away than we began.
Alas, it wearies me to consider. Efforts doomed and erroneous at the outset…scoffable. How did such a project even crop up amongst us? What did we think we might uncover? (Ah, back to the mysterious ocean or caves from which we may have sprung! Our reptilian selves, our triune brains, conjectures, conjectures, wild-ass-hairs of a nightmare!)
“Fine” they gently, politely nod, “fine.” You (me/I) are doing well. Don’t get hung up on “feelings” “emotions” terms – just put pen to paper, let’s just see what comes forth. Don’t get “hung up on words” eh? Yet make more words. Is not inquiry senseless? I rest my case. I drain and break the pen. If only I had flame at my disposal.
Let me get this out of your way
The way they occupy space
If it were a point
if form and object were combined
You know there was a particular kind of sorrow that came with confusion, or a certain feeling of being flustered.
She said: Between Point A and Point B is epic poetry, the pathways of taxis, the flights of birds and bees…the shortest distance…follows the molecule
She was surprised by what she saw, she said, I remember.
I don’t remember how to make stories, or ever tell what happens. I hardly remember the words.
Someone said they’d like to write like that, like me, that they would feel good about it. Maybe so. I don’t remember. I just place the words hoping one way or another they might end up meaning.
Something needs to shake, shake up, quiver and tremble.
I need to be rolled dice.
I am troubled (at times) by the absence of narrative. My impatience. Describe what you want, embellish the action and details, characters and plots – I’ll be reading for the meaning, watching for it to happen – we rarely need the bells and whistles.
Like a good poem might be – line after line – meaning.
Facts are of little use unless we doubt them. Without gaps we’ve nowhere to move.
I don’t know what to tell you, I want to write, and my brain rattles like a busted engine.
What if there were desire – if I wanted something, faced conflict, suffered,
instead – what? I want to want.
-the near-unconsciousness of possible meanings -
Daydreaming and then, maybe, writing a poem about it. And that's my life.
Information hygiene for the Covid-19 infodemic
Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar. Wayfarer, there is no way. You make a way as you go. (Antonio Machado)
all that inspires, shocks and makes me purr
Freyja Howls is a writer, performer and activist who would have been a style icon and comedian a century ago.
Dreams, thoughts, and experiences expressed through poetry and prose
Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.