I watch myself falling, In the mirror, A rare and disquieting pleasure To be both body and observer at once. Yet my insight, thus ascertained from a flash of lucidity, is useless.
I can deconstruct the movement in its separate elements, the limbs that form an impression of unity, their distinct shapes and orientations, and then the successive stages of the fall:
the stumble the shock, the flash of blood streaming through my body, signaling danger, the realization of the fall, its acceptance, the letting go, no longer opposing the force of the air pressing against my chest, the thud and the hurt, the sensation of collapse, having lost some kind of certainty, some illusion of control.
And even if all of this is mapped out in advance for me, And the past repeats itself in endless cycles of apprehension, I cannot stop the fall, I can only experience it.
(December 5, 2017)
To a Phantasm
Yesterday… I thought I had found the right word to describe the heavy longing tinged with nostalgia which overpowered me on the bus ride home. Was it a form of desire, a yearning, a sadness? Or perhaps a wish to return to the future… to touch with all of the fingers of tomorrow?
So dear the sense recalled by the thought of you. A disordered, limitless temporality, all-encompassing, where the past is present in the future, where bliss and melancholy permeate each other, giving shape to a feeling never before imagined, where affection, though touched by the fear of an ending, overwhelms the feeble human mind through its infinite distances.
And all of this for a simple gesture: The memory of our bodies, stretched softly, One next to the other, tired with lovemaking, Contrasting, of different shapes and hues, Your arms wrapped around me so perfectly That the thought of it made me cry.
wistfulness /’wis(t)falnas/ noun = the tipping point where an excess of happiness finds its painful side.
But this was yesterday… Today… I looked for an anatomy book at the library. Poring over its illustrations, I was hoping I would find an explanation for that soft opening on the side of your neck buried inside your clavicle bone, over which I had passed my fingertips countless times, in disbelief.
A Latin name, A scientific term, A descriptive classification of bones and muscles? To think that such a discovery would bring me comfort was perhaps naive. The same search for a signifier to conscript what is beyond thought.
Shifting images, touch, the texture of skin on skin, the warmth which comes with forgetting, imperceptible twists and falls, the movement of particles, blurring surfaces, eliding distances, liquefying. Never-ending motions in suspension above two edges of the world as of yet unknown to one another.
(December 5, 2015)
After John Cage
Gone are the days when life was a pursuit a pursuit of beauty the element of surprise beauty in the terrifying the grotesque even beauty in the unexpected the possibility open and extended into a future of the past present in the flesh beyond expectations ideologies don’t take over the mind if it is in a constant state of wonder wandering is the mode of inquiry unattached no agenda required no echoing of conventions no necessity to self-police every gesture no ethics of despair of self-improvement of proving yourself pure not touched by guilt the constant necessity to note your lack of participation in or at least increased awareness of oppressive structures.
As if that were sufficient.
Where can we find the pull the push the soft fall the drowning the excess the limit of thought of rules and norms? How to press the boundaries of life until they become mere rubble? Give me a lesson a will a love a longing a desire a word which deconstructs itself from within. I want walls to collapse onto themselves a never-ending vision of bird swarms disorder the motion of the waves at the very tip where they dissolve in myriads of particles.
(November 6, 2014)
On Mindfulness (in the midst of the World)
To practice self-restraint, Quiet, sober, peaceful, Like a solitary tree in the midst of an arid field. To observe from afar, stay still, like a cloudless sky, A void, transparent gap between your body And the tumult.
The tumult tugging, pulling, breaking, invading, in lights and warmth and intensities never before formulated, like the cascading waves of a forgotten sea, far away, on another side of the Earth.
So sweet, the noise, the texture of sounds, coming together in jumbled, formless shapes. Sunlight shining through the leaves of a plantain tree searing through the verdant and the frail, suffusing everything with color, giving individual life to static form.
And you? To be still and silent, Restrained, as if having infinite capacities to know. Can your body remain unhinged, your skin separate from the thrill, the subtle motions, the processions of heat and cold, the vividness and the absence of light? To be forever at the helm, reaching with long, robotic hands into the insides of your brain, Shaping images, carefully constructing thoughts, Words, calmer than you’ve ever uttered, wiser and kinder to the world.
There is a certain contempt of sorts in this, the self-assuredness of the human and her love of order, harmony, control. Yet what has happened to the sparkles alighting in multifarious directions at the clash of two spontaneous, disordered impressions. Those immaterial, unformed grains of dust and light, pushing against the border of your being, refusing form, lingering in your deeper regions, percolating into monsters of great beauty.
(July 16, 2014)
The bus fills up slowly like a glass, holding its hostile faces inside. It smells of old women who try to look young. A man stares at me for a long time, then looks away. I am here by chance, without any real desire or strength. The city is clouds and communist buildings and ravens. Mid twilight crowds lights and trees together. It is so much like home and yet so far removed from everything I’ve been these past few months. I realize all of a sudden that Milosz was here. He wrote in his room and listened to the Nazis march outside, already overwhelmed by what was yet to come, but making it whole and perfect.
I want to follow his footprint, but cannot find it. The fog swept everything clean; the buildings, the streets, the people. Time passes slowly in Warsaw. Distances compress into amorphous matter. I put one foot before the other mechanically, in disbelief and still uncertain. The city is more like a dream of return. I can subsist on air here and walk without thinking.