Sunday, February 25, 2007

Alienations (Parts I, II)

I don't know what this is. It's many-pronged alienation. My first question is: is this new, or has it been here the whole time? If it's new, then I have no idea what causal powers lie behind it; I'm carried by the current, struggling more for show than anything else. If this is actualyl a matter of greater sensitivity to myself, then I am in better shape. Maybe the system I'm applying is bearing fruit, but in so doing is carrying me across a valley which I don't want to traverse. And who does? Who wants to be desperately unhappy for what I can only imagine is a long time.

The problem, you see, is alienation. I think I've been able to put more of it in words; and before the words were coherent thoughts and trains of tohught; before those only vague inklings and longings. Maybe this whole post would have worked better as a dialogue. Dialoguess--quite obiously--mean inner dialectic, inner discourse and, inevitably, inner conflict. THey do not imply solution necessarily. They may be time-slices of larger dialogues. But I digress.

Alianation the first: my own sexuality. As much as I profess sex would be great if we could all be more mature, rational, detached, calm and cool about it, I'm mostly ding it to cover up what I feel to be the uncontrolalble within me. Let's say I get aroused on a dance floor; what should be--what is designed to be--a go-with-the-flow experience becomes instant inner turmoil. Because the executive part of my psyche still operates by some odd myths (in the perjorative sense). Chief among these is the "I'm in this for some transcendent reason: some drive to reality, some actualization of what is unlikely, frail, impossible and tragic in this world". This mythos cannot abide that I may get some immediate pleasure out of whatever meagre encounters I'm capable of having. In that, an erection becomes sin. I have an idea of what I need to do. I need to get away from the Abrahamaic framing of this whole issue and adopt a stance more congruent with a Dharmic approach, in which the natural law is, in large part, natural law. Is and ought try to merge and, while never succeeding, manage to hold the ambivalent balance of opposites to maximum effect. Hence I migth be able to summon up genetically-progarmmed animal lust as something complementing my more declarative transcendet aims. In other words, can I turn my lust into an art form? This is a good question that deserves more exploration. In that vein, I need to draw more parallels between how to do this and how gluttony can become epicureanism (in the degenerate, food-savouring sense).

Alienation the second: the night-world. Last term seems like a nostaligic time. I have never felt more retrospectively in the moment, flowing with experience than I did during September-December this year. The experiences I value woere more intense: the experience of seeing the city street for a soup of bustle, the experience of consciousness expading wine (parts I-XX); essentially, to see the world in a grain of sand. But also during that time I experienced two things I have never had before. One morning (and one morning only) I had someone to come home to, to greet me as I arrive after sunrise to flop down semi-unconscious on my bed, someone to throw a blanket over me, groan in the stinging rays of afternoon sun and hoarsely "what time is is?". I had a ready-made label for this years ago: the "experience of humanism". Maybe it's too cerebral, but it's the practical side of my head games: an actual appreciation of sleep-crud in the corners of someone's eye, a communion with the folded sheets, the leaching-out smells of over-thick skin oils. All this and more: the out-of-nowhere nostalgic pang upon rising, fear from someone sharing my space so closely, if only for a morning. The other thing I had never experienced was the torrent of dreams. Three, five times a week, movies in the mind: drama in wire cages, doomsday clocks, terrifying tales of creeping vampirism I attacked like a puzzle. Those seem to have gone, leaving me in the daytime world of consciousness feeling drained and bland. I miss those dreams and I miss what waited for me after emerging from dreams. Those pointed to experiences of value I ad no idea existed. At least, I had no idea they existed that strongly.

I'll end today with the ltwo couplets that got this word-train rolling several days ago. They're too stupid to be said, so they're sung.

Consider: "I don't know why nobody told you / how to unfold your love... I don't know how you were inverted / no-one alerted you."

Thursday, February 22, 2007


You will never reclaim the itinterant moments of the week! Not the morning woken up by dew-heavy snowdrifts! Not the moment of realization of why you like everything you like! O son of man! Not the moments of alienation! Not the question-dodging! Not the groggy 5 a.m. "how the hell did I manage ot od that"! Not the poems of singing snowdrifts in a room whose wallpaper skin was peeling off! Not visions of fetid swamps reeking with the crushing apect of unconsciousness, narcosis, paralysis, anhedonia, omens, associations, magical talismans, sunrises, cloud fronts, constellations, tarot cards, the I Ching, cataplexy, the crud of a thousand sleeps, faeries! Can't you see the Sphinx has started to crawl up the Temple Mount?!

I might, if I'm lucky, remember the moment I almost fell through ice,, slipped on a hillside, charmed a squrrel, found my power animal in an unknown bird, stabbed my shamanic staff into the ground. Those might stay. But what else? Interminable hours and spinning lathes of undergraduate wisdom? Hardly. Tastes and smells? Not consciously. A thousand iterations of the same webcomic? Not at the level where it would be useful. But that should be driven form within anyway.

Part 3: wherein I rattle my cage and cut myself and get tetanus and think: "this would make a great title for a magical realist novel, or at least chapter", the title being "That One Summer Where No-one Was Sure Whether Pot Was Legal Or Illegal Or What?", but then it would really ba mich better title for a different genre, if we wanto t think of genres as separate and what would follow from that I dont know becayuse it's not in my customary train of thought to ask that kind of question, but more to go with the association that three lines down might take on from magical realism to Wikipedia, because associations have distinctly Wiki feel to them. Whatever that means.

Consider: "Since before time and space were, / the Tao is. / It is beyond is and is not. / How do I know this is true? / I look inside myself and see."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Wine (Part XX)

The exorcism begins here, where I will write the pages & pages trying to grip, hold and mold what happened to me. Well, what used to happen to me; that is, what used to drive the letters to no-one and make my every other day a feast for the senses. All I'm left with now is a feast for the intellect, a little descriptive mind-space where something needs to be personally memorialized. I'm left thinking: why did I ever try to do what I did not know, why, sir, did you pretend that human impulse came out of nowhere? you probably read too many authors who described emotional pain with inadequate understanding. Redemption is not a turn in the plot when the playwright gets tired. Redemption is a drawing in of threads to make a knot. Where am I going with this? I'm still trying to find somehting I know. And for that I havr to start with something I feel--something that has been anathema for so long. That something was your loneliness. I felt it in your cavernous rooms. I felt your world-tiredness as you lay on your bed, your sinews absolutely still. I thought then you looked peaceful, and it only occurred to me as I left you, as I pulled out my book & started to read (but really I was giving my mind the order to wander) that you weren't peaceful--you were insensate. You had pulled up a mesh screen to protect a flickering flame in your center, and this meant I could never try to tempt the flame--I would be cut by the mesh. I failed to see a lot of other things too. I failed, as only a modern fails, to see weather-cues, to see the evocation of the wind turning every tender caress into a rough push, a tendon-snapping grip that left you numbed and prickly; I failed to see the rain as the washer-away of memory; it plasterred out hair to our shoulders and we were left shivering and dumbly looking at each other in that theatrical-movie pose I never understood. When the cockroach awoke me in the night, it might as well have been you. Your fingers tracing the lines of my ribs felt exactly like the six piston legs of a biting-eating-surviving machine. I should have seen symbolic quality everywhere: shopping for bedding as I stood dreaming by the doorway, or descending into labyrinths of ants and moths and plate mail and armor and kobolds. I talked to you freely, open-book style and got as far as your right shoulder. In my mind I was already resting my arm on your back as you lay there insensate. You would shift and open up some room for me to lie down, and that would be the afternoon. That, or we'd lie intertwined in a bowl-chair. I would finally climb out of that symbolic basement and the imps of the underworld would stop stealing my clothes (symbolically). I would foist my mannerisms onto you, and I'd walk away in the end wiser and broader. But as I said, I failed to see what anyone else would see; I failed to tap into my broad anddeep reservoir of foolishness. And this is why I'm left writing for redemption. This is why I seek out toppling fire escapes and stand atop them, taking pictures of the street in the hope that I'll see you aroun the next corener and you would yell for me. But so few of us ever bother to look up. I don't want to make you slip on ice. I'll come down eventually, once my rat-face begins hurting from the 10th-story windchill.

Consider: "I have read descriptions of Paradise that would make any sensible person stop wanting to go there."

Thursday, February 08, 2007


It's not the season, I tell myself. It's not the lack of light: I've always dreamed of being nocturnal. It's not the cold: that snaps you to attention like nothing else. Hey! Your nostrils are dying! The air is crisp but be mindful of your breathing--too much and you'll destroy your bronchioles! It's not the toil of slogging: everyone does this. What else is new? (Thse second-person narrative ends here.) I'm starting to feel like I've seen too many of these. How many more? My life line cuts off at about mid-palm. I should start making plans on the basis of this. A mod haircut and a more extroverted demeanor won't cover it. They just won't. What does get me is walking into buildings, whereat the stench hits you: one part socks, one part sloppy carpet, one part tracked-in mud mixed with one part thawing bits of microscopic shit, one part mouth-breath recycled in the library again and again, the whole building sick and falling, falling and sinking, sinking and melting and shining its lights the entire time, one more part unwashed hair with its unwashed oils, one part little bits of food from between teeth, one part mucus suspended in droplets from dozens of mouths sneezing in this lobby every minute. The air outside, by contrast, is crisp. That's what gets me: the transitions of winter. From a Nietzscheian joy at self-overcoming on the snow-swept plains to neing a burrowing rodent of some kind navigating using olfactory cues, naked but for hairs on the head, the armpits, chest and pubis.

Cons: "I googled Google." "What came up?" "Google."


To all those who stood with backs against the wall. To all who fell down manholes because they stared at the gleam of the morning against a skyscraper. To all who ran their eyes into the ground reading in dingy hole-in-wall cafes. To all with the sleep-crud of eternity in their eyes. To all whose imaginations were more than a thousand plaets. To all who bore the spirit of lightness through 80-hour weeks and dried tears and sweat of dread and despair. To all to whome rust on the bus indicated some redemption. To all who tried to understand the music of the spheres, or the music of the neural networks, or the music in perception, or the harmony in reflective equilibrium, or the music of crystals, or the fabled music of the spheres. To all who chanted when they should have discoursed. To all those who overcame themselves time and again, thinking it was for naught. To all the people of the margins: your stories are important because they've never been told. To the peripheral vision of the society of striving. To flies in the walls and flies in the kitchen in the most Gabriel Garcia Marquez sense of the word. To all the makers of hammocks, puffs, ottomans, beanbag chairs, hookas, pillows soft and hard, comforters, ticklers, plush towels, bath gels, childhood stuffed toys, playing cards, glass panes, sliding doors, eye drops, napkins and all the things that made sedentary moments comfortable. To the head chefs of the human soul who were not content to reframe a thousand and one times and reframe again. To the boatmen of the Orinoco delta: I imagine you when I read about Latin America. To those who built spires of ancient buildings, defiant against glass and privilege and cleanliness. To all the women who plated trees along my sidewalks (metaphorically speaking). To all the brilliant pot-bellied punks, stoic in outlook though not behaviour. To the interlocutors in tow-character plays on balconies and in parks and at bus stops. To all the people who will never have children. To all those who probably won't live to see thirty. To my greedy reductionists and my airy qualia freaks. To the lovers on the couches and the anonymous kitchn staff. To the homeless sages and the human beings gutted. I urge you to grow and change, but maintain your essences. Because without you--no book!

Consider: "Never say, and never take seriously anyone who says, "I cannot believe that so-and-so could have evolved by gradual selection". I have dubbed this kind of fallacy "the Argument from Personal Incredulity". Time and again, it has proven the prelude to an intellectual banana-skin experience."