Journal 03 Journal 04 Journal 05
Journal 01#Permalink On This Page
What have the intravening weeks taught me?
Besides the renewed horror of wordlessness?
Nearly two months ago I embarked on a quest for a new home
for this “ongoing” work.
Having barnacled so easily onto the hull of that great cavernous vessel
But encountering also, predictably, my share of immaculate scrappers:
Bean-counting barna-cullers insistent on streamlined datapoints,
which is uncharitable but also accurate —
I need not be so aggressive.
But then I need not write at all, either.
As was made abuntingly clear.
I have not abandoned that place. At least not deliberately.
For in addition to the protractors, there dwell also
open source hermenauts and silent scuttling lizards
for whom my “work” may hold some continued interest.
Audience shapes performance.
When the audience throws stones, an actor can clam,
Claw, or clamor for different attention.
The room’s already full, though. The lights
already counting to the next scene change.
In the face of repeated peals of conflict, I quietly stepped
out the side door and began constructing a new theatre.
Here we are.
The setting warps the performance, too,
and a noisy desk delays research.
I haven’t been sure of what to put here,
Of the voices to deploy,
And of too many other technical wiggles.
The habits of writing and riting I’d established
have dissolved back into the either.
It wasn’t nearly as clean a task as moving everything over here
and simply resumpting.
What I’m after now is a reclamation of
of comportment at least with my space here,
a sense that, while no place is safe,
this phase is appropriate for my work.
What we do here is unclear.
Journal 02#Permalink On This Page
Drive this home.
Throughout [snip 'Only_Revolutions' cannot be found], “going” gets a prominent place.
“Here I go. Here goes. Not I.
“British 708 & Fujiyama,
“And Morning Glory goes.”
Going can be dying, and it can be moving.
These events. Can be moving.
Motion as well as motion’s ceasing.
When the commotion stops, that’s a type of movement,
from one phase to another.
Sam & Hailey each mention letting go several times,
Almost allways in proximity to revulsion, revolt,
as here when Sam gleefully flatulates until The Creep capitulates (H/68):
“So loud The Creep’s revolted
enough to let go.”
The other side of which page features the vows of marriage,
of “She squeezes my hand.”
Or to commitment, the unrepulse within a held wrist (S/102):
“Poor Hailey won’t let go,
fingers moonslivering my wrist.
Clatter of wheels.”
The reverse page features a Widower lamenting
Love won’t wait.
He who couldn’t take a wrist.
As is everything else that’s Now Here,
Letting Go is complicated.
Danielewski spoke of materialism in writing,
and alleges that [snip 'Only_Revolutions' cannot be found] steps around that by refusing to repeat objects
or entities within a scene.
Let us note here that his example of Sam taking a drink
from a cup-goblet-flute-mug
doesn’t actually occur within the book (so far as I can tell).
Doesn’t have to; it’s a simple example that rings true.
Allways a new car, animal after animal,
BIKER GANG is THIS CREW is THESE TWINKS.
VIARAROPOLIS is VIARIROPOLIS is VIATITOPOLIS.
Or are they? They take on a continual presence without ever solidifying,
in the same way their slangshifting prevents a temporal pinpoint,
and the vowel movements stifle even the certenty of diction.
The Ongoing Party, with all its outwardly-varied enticements and snares.
The Ongoing Hangover, same party, different day.
Journal 03#Permalink On This Page
It’s not about newness.
And this isn’t about originarity.
“This pursuit includes my own scumbling footfolds.”
Or so I wrote the other night in the ballet bathroom.
Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center,
The Atlanta Ballet,
An earth-taking dance/poetry mutation
“All about Atlanta.”
Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Daniel Bernard Roumain, &
Amy Seiwert’s 7.
What a fucking torrent. Took a staged man’s
Rapid diction, a violinist’s
Contorted effections, and a ballerina’s
Heart work to make clear
That I’ve got
They blurred us through a city’s history.
Recantations so fast I could only feel them
as the breezes of each street’s passing.
Where I’ve known and been denoted.
Distant beckon of rope.
Where my distrusted fallen brothers still squat.
Where an only holy brethren thrives.
Where I’ve frequently traversed, where
a bench before the now-erased border recalls
certain struggle and where R. Thomas always
manages to reunite me and mine.
We once walked barefoot for thirty blocks
because What Would Regina Spektor Do, and god
Your feet needed to breathe.
It’s a history that creates a place.
Where I’ve seen both sides of North Avenue holding
my last conversations.
Where I’ve moved friends in and out of houses like
Nobody bonds satisfactorily here.
Chemical balancing a too apt. allegory.
Where I’ve fled the darkening sky’s prescient lights
Under various pretenses, suspicions
Of wear, of love, and of certain due.
Atlanta, where I’ve never stood unclothed.
It’s a history that cremates a place.
So in the ballet’s bathroom, I scrawled
“This pursuit includes my own scumbling footfolds.”
Thinking of you, sweet Awn. Thinking of
Your needs, and how to secrete them.
I’ve been asked quite plightly to omit my purse
I think they are, at least for now—
For as long as I’ve known how—
Personal details are very nearly all.
Deeply personal becoming universal becoming
Painfully personal and therefore.
What’s the point of poetry if not chemical reaction?
What’s the blade of poetry if not disco(mfort)(very)?
What’s the pummel of poetry if not a handhold?
What the heft of poetry if not its wait?
There. Now that’s a question.
Journal 04#Permalink On This Page
And just like that, the
I’d been thinking, “Nah, should I?
It’s consistently infusive muse
ic, a steady pace for making
more clackity noises.
It’s accompanied me through many darkening
screens of variably-valued verse.
I’m afraid of trusting part of my sovereign might
to anyone else.
If the staff can be destroyed, it makes the wizard vulnerable.
Accepting that vulnerability
(if the stories can be interpreted usefully)
Affords one with even greater power.
And, yes, eventually the ring is crushed. The sword
broken. The crow or cat or cauliflower soul-trustee held ransom.
If something isn’t inevitably to be lost or taken,
There’s no real risk.
Ritual music runs the risk of eventually diminishing in utility.
Or, worse, of… what? Taking credit it doesn’t deserve? Or of
So I let some other album play, fine enough but
too noisy, too fast to get out of the way
so I could write.
Continued to dally. Dragged pieces around.
Until I heard the familiar opening.
The computer shuffling albums, taking me where I’d
Wanted to go in the first place.
Anathallo’s Canopy Glow.
If it were vinyl, I’d have already ground it flat with
Repeated spins. That good.
And always ready to accompany me to dangerous promise lands.
Rhythmic enough to keep me moving,
Obscure enough to leave my language centers unencumbered,
Beautiful enough to keep me gently sighing.
I’m afraid I might need totems to clutch as I press
Farther into confounding territory. Where everything
Starts to look like everything else, and plenty makes
Sense, but it isn’t getting any easier to move.
In fact, the yearned-for familiarity may breed constraints.
Build borders. Engender hoarders.
Condone the entitlement of Deeds, of landed lordship.
The lure of royal bruises.
The weight of ermine cloaks.
Is a treasured song’s assurance just that materialism’s re-gloved grip?
This isn’t a place for answers. Not nearly.
This place isn’t even a place. Not really.
shadow cast that never lasts,
The burning screen’s burnt-on offering.
The memory of some particles’ passing, the
Signs left longering while neither you nor I
Promises dismayed. Hopes asway.
A rhythmic relinquishing of rule.
What’s rule-linquished ree-ell-ligned.
Where mastery and mast airing meet.
Wherein our host is hoisted high
And we see both
Noose and throne, both
Knotted oak and cheary hearth,
Wherein home may be where we hang
Or where our hats go.
I’m No Derrida/ Journal 05 #Permalink On This Page
I’m no Jacques Derrida.
I look at the scope of his work.
The scale, and the scuff-marks left on my
beautiful original wooden floors
by the weight of this Frigiderr,
Full to burstin’ with such choice cuts,
as I ’eave and ’o and sweat my back into it,
trying to move the damn thing down the hall
to the kitchen.
By which I mean to write that it’s heavy drifting,
and slow glowing.
And quite fun, too.
He and I
I’ve now read the first half of Writing and Difference, and
about a third of (plus the lengthy translator’s preface) Of Grammatology,
both as translated into English by Alan Bass and Gayatri Spivak,
Every time I tell someone that I’ve been “reading Derrida,”
or more recently that “I’m reading text written by Jacques Derrida,”
— which even that isn’t quite the right way to phrase it,
but it’s better than the
academic “reading [Author]” —
or when someone sees me headed to breakfast with one
of these books tucked under my arm, the response
has been one of dismay or disbelief.
“Heavy reading for first thing in the morning.”
Funnier than the newspaper comics, I say.
“I can’t read theory. It’s just too… theory.”
I was unaware of even a category of writing that could be
referred to as “theory”. Must not have paid attention!
But I get the name and I understand it, except…
Well, who’s this for right now? To whom am I justifying?
I’ll cut quicker.
I’m thoroughly enjoying these books.
They’re taxing me, and that work invigorates.
I’m poorly-educated on the histories of philosophy and linguistics,
at least as Derrida approached them,
but he tells me what I need to know to move along with him,
and it’s enough.
What I’m learning is fascinating.
Most crucially, I’m not “reading Derrida” because a class requires it.
Or because I want people to think I’m fancy for bringing
“theory” to my morningtime biscuit celebration.
Which no one thinks, rightfully.
The approach vector is one of curiosity based on Danielewski’s
Curiosity which has already been rewarded amply.
Detailed thoughtpaths through the grounds that Danielewski, Borges, and
Others curate corners of.
Impractical practice space.
Vigorous investigations of the spaces I’ve developed interest in
over the years. Specifically, if I think carefully,
Over the years since I first read House of Leaves.
An accelerant, a crucial fuel so far omitted.
I and He
I’m compelled by the scope of these projects.
Derrida’s writing over several decades orbiting around,
I think, similar territory with increasingly-varied but
consistent results. Whatever that means.
Danielewski’s painstaking dedication to gradually introducing
pieces that don’t appear to have anything to do with each other,
working toward the
same unknown ends.
Arising out of some insight, some consideration, something
worth writing toward over years and years.
Known to whatever extent, maybe well, maybe not.
Possibly something that emerges over time and toward which
the pieces are sculpted. Most likely that.
And I’m compelled by what these texts do.
I’m compelled by this, and by my increasing
understanding of the How,
because I’ve long been pulled in that direction.
Have made forays out.
Without offering any excuses,
Haven’t gone far at all.
Most plainly, as I think I’ve said elsewhere,
I want to write.
I want to better read these texts.
Writing about them is the
only way to do that.
Works out pretty well.
e and i
Except when the writing is difficult.
(I know that’s the wrong thing to write.)
Especially when the writing is difficult,
it must be written.
But when I’m able to really read maybe 10 pages of Derrida’s books a day,
and though I thrill to certain passages and constantly underline, transcribe, and
Attempt to begin to have something to write about them…
I’m left speechless, most days. Clackless.
I don’t know what the hell to do with what I’ve read.
The images connect, the words all rhyme
Excitingly, I wander the woods
Waving my arms in front of me,
Gathering connective indicative webs until my hands look like
Cotton candy cloudlets.
Bound by the plurality of all that couldn’t be discussed.
And when I know that each page will undo, redo, and reinstate all
(Especially when my writing target is something to be posted immediately
to a web site, which is something in need of adjustment, too)
How am I supposed to write anything at all?
I’m pretty sure that’s my attachment to “writing in the narrow sense.”
Because even as I write that I feel its wrongness.
Writing is not always a proclamation
(He proclaimed in writing),
Not a taking of stands.
Alan Watts told me earlier,
And we are finding our rock getting rather worn out in an age where it becomes more and more obvious that our world is a floating world, it’s a world floating in space, where all positions are relative and any point may be regarded as the center; a world which doesn’t float on anything, and therefore the religious attitude appropriate to our time is not one of clinging to rocks, but of learning to swim. And you know that if you get in the water and you’ve nothing to hold on to, and you try to behave as you would on dry land, you will drown. But if on the other hand you trust yourself to the water, and let go, you will float.
Writing can be a flotation device.
A way to relinquish control of your thoughts to find out what you really think
(For a moment, anyway),
Or perhaps better put,
Writing is action, it’s a motile verb, it’s the way that, for me,
Thinking does anything at all.
I don’t know if I’m getting any of this right.
That’s why I’m writing it down at all.
If I’m to have anything
It’s going to take a whole lot more writing. More reading, yes,
More breathing, more motion.
More of a lot of things, and less of most things.
Which I find very exciting. And terrifying.
I don’t know whether Derrida would agree with me on anything,
Nor am I sure that I “agree” with him on anything yet.
Accord isn’t what I’m after.
I’m the after of the chord.
The shaking of what’s struck.
The air’s living quiver.
No, I don’t know if Derrida would shake his head at this,
though I’ll keep wondering;
And with that unknown, I’ll say it anyway because it’s what I can say at this moment.
I hope I’m close, and I hope also that I figure out in what ways I’ve
Been wrong, and that I can adjust as I go.
Of all that terrifying, exhilarating change,
Whatever else it entails or prepurrs us for,
Participation is key.
And if I’m to have anything at all written, it can’t wait.
It won’t be easier to recap afterward;
There will be no afterward.
Even after I put the book down, I’m still trying to read and write it.
Best to acknowledge that and join in willingly.
To choose it, whether there’s really any choice there or not.
So I do.