And it would seem then that to make an image of death, we would have to conceive what our life would be if all the movements of the earth, all the noises of the earth, all the smells, the tastes, all the light – of the earth and of elsewhere, came to us in a moment, in an instant – like an atrocious screaming tumult of all things, traversing us continually and instantaneously.
~Quentin Meillassoux, “Subtraction and Contraction: Deleuze, Immanence, and Matter and Memory”
You know, out there right now in the great big world, there is someone who has realized something important.
They have realized that they really hardly matter in the big picture, there was never even a big picture.
Sure, if they are lucky they might matter to a few people, people who might depend on them or people who have worried about them, maybe for a long time, but perhaps those people have started to notice their worry has now turned into regret.
Realizing that they have seen enough of Spring turning into Winter and back again, enough of the Beautiful and the ugly and the continuing cycle of consuming and wanting and scrubbing the world clean.
Enough of trying, enough of not trying. Relapse, rinse, repeat.
What then? It's a matter of logistics, leaving the game, the stage, the good fight.
A final decision on what is the best way to leave a beautiful garden of memory or scorched earth in your wake on the way out, but the realization that you will be forgotten in time, and that the few who mourn your absence will be also forgotten in time, makes that decision even a more personal one.
Out there right now in the great big world, there is someone who has realized something important.
That one candle that burned in the darkness going out will not be missed by the light of day.
“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.”
"Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that—everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V."
Until now we have sought redemption in a transcendent eternity with which we have nothing in common. But this world – this finite eternity which is so much like us – this is a world where we can find unity, and where we can finally feel at home. Camus affirms, “I am fulfilling a truth which is the sun’s and which will also be my death’s…I love this life with abandon and wish to speak of it boldly: it makes me proud of my human condition” (Tipasa 69).
Our only unity lies in death – this is the grim reality which the absurd man must face.
Yet it is a cause for joy because it means that we are exactly where we belong — we are mortals in a mortal world.
We have rediscovered our deepest measure.
Our death causes us grief and yet it frees us from the future, from eternity, from duty; death means that we can only live in the present, and we are absolved of our obligations to fulfill the requirements of the eternal soul.
Our mortality is the source of our estrangement from the world dressed up with transcendent values, but it is also the birthplace of those absurd values which once again bridge the gap between man and the world.
“If I could cut from my brain the phantom of competition, the ego-center of self-consciousness, and become a vehicle, a pure vehicle of others, the outer world. My interest in other people is too often one of comparison, not of pure intrigue with the unique otherness of identity. Here, ideally, I should forget the outer world of appearances, publishing, checks, success. And be true to an inner heart. Yet I fight against a simple-mindedness, a narcissism, a protective shell against competing, against being found wanting. To write for itself, to do things for the joy of them. What a gift of the gods.”
“Although I cannot find in it either objective meaning or transcendental finality, existence, with its multiplicity of forms, has never ceased to be a source of both delight and sadness. At times, the beauty of a flower is enough to justify in my eyes the principle of universal finality while at others, the smallest cloud troubling the serenity of the sky rekindles my somber pessimism. Those who interiorize excessively discover symbolic meanings in the most insignificant aspects of nature.”
“When I enter most intimately into what I call “myself”, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never catch myself at any time without a perception.”
“Life isn’t happily ever after… It’s work. The person you love is rarely worthy of how big your love is. Because no one is worthy of that and maybe no one deserves that burden of it, either. You’ll be let down. You’ll be disappointed and have your trust broken and have a lot of real sucky days. You lose more than you win. You hate the person you love as much as you love him. But you roll up your sleeves and work - at everything - because that’s what growing older is.”
How I Learned About Sex or A Sybarite Among The Shades
I learned all about sex by learning about my own equipment first.
Oh... how I love penises, they are all so different- like snowflakes-
I want to run around aimlessly catching them on my tongue like the Peanuts gang on a Christmas special.
Anyway, I found that out after showering with my Dad one Father-Son day at the country club when I was 7, that although we did resemble each other as males of the species, there was a certain big difference that I took as a possible birth defect on my part, as it were. so to speak. Leaving the Tasty Pines Country club, as we made a few stops on the way home the frustration came to a boiling point and I had a meltdown, I started sobbing and bleating like a Mexican soap opera actress right there in the frozen foods aisle at the local supermarket.
When I finally fessed up to my Dad that my malaise was due to the fact that in seeing him in the shower, I felt baby Jesus had "short changed" me in that department, He consoled me, saying that I would one day have a nice Pino, that’s what he called them, but at that point, more than anything in the world, he needed me to calm down and behave. Mom really liked that particular Piggly Wiggly that we were in and wanted to continue trading there.
I just knew I would look absolutely stunning with a really large appendage just like my dad‘s so as I sat stoically in the car on the way home pouting and planning for my future
To prove my point, like a prepubescent drag-king, socks, balls, bananas and balloons alike were carefully jammed underneath my pants in an attempt to create the appearance of a monster pee pee, I would walk around the neighborhood greeting the neighbors like Hapsburg royalty. "Allo there! Allo ducks!"
For years I was known as "that nice little English boy with the tumor".
Many hours were spent pinching and prodding my junk as if frequent handling would encourage growth. I drank plenty of milk and even choked down some spinach, but it was all to no avail. My pino remained a Vienna sausage as I dreamed of Kielbasa. How long would I have to wait for a grown up pino of my own? How long would it be before my pino grew so large that I would have to be mindful not to knock down passers by or otherwise cause injury to home and hearth with my majestic weenie? Thoroughly frustrated, a few months later, I went back to my Dad for advice. Actually truth be told, I snapped. Suddenly barging into the bathroom, pulling open the shower curtain, not unlike Norman Bates, and tentatively pointing to his pino, I asked, “When will I get one of those?”
After recovering from shock my Dad stated in his heavily accented voice, “You’re only 7,” he mused, “You’ve still got a long way to go.” I moped around the house, demoralized, for a spell until I came up with the most scathingly brilliant plan I’ve ever had: I was going to ask Santa to bring me a man sized pino for Christmas. As far as I was concerned, the plan was foolproof. I had been a good boy all year long. My teachers loved me, (save Sister Mary "Stink eye") I always shared, I was a good host to my friends and I rarely got in trouble with my parents. (Except for the time I tried- unsuccessfully- to drive a railroad spike into the head of my sleeping brother...) I had earned my reward by God.
To really drive my point home, I coolly strolled into my Dad’s study like I had just paid the mortgage, sat down across from him, crossed my legs, took out a candy cigarette, handed my weekly allowance over to him, and ask him to give it to some starving children on my behalf. “Just make sure O’le Santa knows it was from me,” I whispered as I gave him a wink while spuriously dangling my Buster Brown shoe from my big toe. Then, it was time to go in for the kill. I sat down to write my Christmas list. It went something like this: #1. PINO size extra-large I chewed thoughtfully on my eraser for a minute before I added: #2. Soccer Ball #3. Hot Wheels #4. Beatles records #5. Lederhosen
Considering that a grown up penis like Dad's was a tall order to fill and I didn’t want to appear greedy, I decided to end my list there.
I finished my letter off with a few declarations of love for Santa, actually I think my words were "Undying devotion" and even went so far as to call him my Hero, "More than Batman and Robin and Batgirl combined!"
I figured a little sucking up couldn’t hurt my cause. Later that evening, I handed over my Christmas wish list, heavily perfumed with Fidji by Guy Laroche, to my Father and asked him to mail it to Santa for me.
Counting down the days until Christmas is torturous for any kid, but it was particularly hard for me. The days seemed to drag on forever and remaining on my Best Behavior was getting tedious. But finally, finally, Christmas Eve arrived. I could hardly sleep, I was so excited. I just knew I would wake up in the morning with a brand new extra large pino. You can imagine my utter dismay when I woke up that brisk December morning and peaked down my pajama pants only to find I was as small as the day before. Santa, that fat bastard, had screwed me over. It was travesty! How could he do this to me after I had saved him the very best of the Christmas cookies?
My tutoring in the “hands on” aspects of the tender Arts of Venus began one afternoon about a year later as I was trailing after a few older boys from neighborhood. Joey and Noel were laughing about someone they knew that had a magazine with photos of people doing something I had never heard of. Fucking.
Neither of these boys were going to let me in on what this was- I mulled the term over and over in my head, “Fucking…” I could just see hear it, spoken in the adult realms of locker rooms and men’s clubs, “Great fucking today Chip!” “Well, I always enjoy fucking with you too Biff!” It sounded to me like a new sports craze - like Jai alai.
Being devoted at the time to all things Basque, I thought I would ask my mom or dad about this new fad, so I waddled home and made my way to my moms boudoir where she was hurriedly twisting on some 'cherries in the snow' lipstick and making herself all pretty for cocktail hour with the neighbors. She had just returned from doing a 10K - at Tiffany and Company.
Leaning casually on the door frame and carefully yet absent-mindedly arranging my candy necklace and puffing languidly on a candy cigarette, I asked, in a rather offhanded manner, " Soooooo Mother, what do you know about... fucking?"
The look she gave me was priceless, it was the exact same look a baby makes when you fire a gun over its head.
Grabbing a tissue and removing some 'cherries in the snow from her forehead, she calmly said, "Bricky dear, where did you hear that word? Was it from your grandmother?" I shrugged and said I didn't remember, some magazine I thought. She added "I believe you need to go and ask your father what you just asked me." I turned and scampered to my Dad who was outside on the patio preparing the altar for the Tiki booze Gods. I asked him the same question. He reacted like I had heard some top secret information straight from the Russians but asked "Did you hear that word from your Grandmother?" As I repeated that I didn't remember where I had heard it from, he grimaced deeply yet calmly led me to his personal private inner sanctum off limits to children, his workshop, where he told me in deep and thickly accented voice were going to talk about the "Birds and Beans".
"When two peoples love each other, they like to have a close personal relations, to make the fottere, the fucking." I listened in awe, feverishly chewing my candy necklace, "That is when the man will put his pino into the woman's figa, and they sometimes makes the bambinos." There was a short question and answer period after about things like what the testicles were for and whether the woman minded what sounded at best like a tedious way to spend an afternoon. In general it was a satisfactory lesson in anatomy and reproduction, and I looked forward to the day my Pino would make crema, which I was sure would taste just like banana pudding.
When I was about 12, I started going through puberty. I was pleasantly surprised not only with its increased size but also with the number of things I could stimulate my privates with. It was a steep learning curve, The vacuum cleaner hose was more of a success when applied to my penis than when applied to my rectum, the maid always gave me dirty looks after that experiment. There was the pool jet, the sofa cushions, my grandmothers stone martins-I still get a chubber when I smell Dial soap or walk through the fur department at Saks.
In the midst of these phallic halcyon days there came a hulking menace in the form a of a thirteen year old boy named Wilie.
Wilie was the neighborhood bully and for several years struck terror in the hearts of younger children in a ten block radius. I was lucky for some time dodging the Indian rubs and from turning over my candy money, but one evening at the city park my luck ran out. Wilie ran up behind me and grabbed me in a half nelson, pulling me into the bushes.
Thinking quickly, I did my best imitation of a fainting goat. (It’s a great imitation, try it when the bill arrives at Antoine’s.)
Surprisingly enough Wilie didn't beat the crap out of me. He looked at me with his eyes on fire and his nostrils flaring and asked. "You look like a girl, do you have an innie or an outie ?" By then my mastery of slang was becoming somewhat advanced, so I knew what he was saying. " I have an outie." I haughtily answered, carefully tucking my long hair back behind my ears. "I don't believe you, drop your pants." He leered. Still in a state of shock, but always remembering my manners, I complied. Before I knew what was happening, he had taken down his pants and had a full erection stuck in my face telling me to put it in my mouth. Long story short, as I reapplied my Bonnie Bell Dr. Pepper flavor Lip Smackers I was somewhat disappointed that what came out of his pinodid not taste at all like banana pudding.
He wiped my vomit off his PF flyers and said "Thanks queer. I'll see you tomorrow." “Not if I see you first.“ I quipped rolling my eyes.
That night was spent in my room strutting and fretting in front of the Barbie townhouse wondering if I was really queer for doing what I did. Certainly, It seemed odd but not queer.
My answer came the following evening.
If I was queer, then Mr. Big Bully tough guy was too.
I swear his face looked like a toaster strudel.
We segued into being soul-mates soon after.
We did everything two males could possibly do to each other sexually- including a rather surreal episode involving a tall Mary Poppins doll and me dressed up as Serena from Bewitched.
That arrangement continued until Wilie discovered booze and mushrooms. They started calling him Wilie Peyote.
You spoke about the sadness of death as it comes from forgetting, and I thought of the time I took the week long vow of silence and on the fourth day all the poems came through, the most beautiful poems I might ever write, and I had neither pen nor paper nor even tongue to memorialize them, but had to let them speak in me and almost instantly dissipate, to be lost forever, forgotten and heard by none. And yet on the fifth day I knew that their beauty mattered neither less nor more for not having been memorialized; they simply were at the moment they were, and nothing more. What it means to overcome the sadness of death is simply this: to know every thing one sees, hears, and speaks – every sky every person every word – cannot ever be memorialized, but must be left to the moment it comes and nothing more.
This web of time - the strands of which approach one another, bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other through the centuries - embraces every possibility.
We do not exist in most of them.
In some you exist and not I, while in others I do, and you do not, and yet in others both of us exist. In this one, in which chance has favored me, you have come to my gate. In another, you, crossing the garden, have found me dead. In yet another, I say these very same words but am in error, a phantom Time is forever dividing itself toward innumerable futures.
Melancholia’s narcissism seeks isolation, entrenched in resentment, as if wronged by some turn of events. This can be about feeling failed either by a loved one’s sudden death etc, or by one’s own capacity to love.
When the neurotic avoids groups, he avoids the gaze. The gaze is not the gazing of people in the group, but the void of never being able to fully check with everyone in a group that each is okay with what I say.
The gaze is the remainder in the Other which cannot be made sense of or symbolized even by the Other herself. - Andre Vantino
“Love is narcissistic, a hospitable narcissism, open to the experience of the Other as Other. The relation to the Other must trace a reappropriation in the image of one’s self for love to be possible. Without narcissistic reappropriation, the relation to the Other would be destroyed in advance.”
"A faith, naive and child-like perhaps, born as it is from the infinite simplicity of nature. It is a feeling that no matter what the ideas or conduct of others, there is a unique rightness and beauty to life which can be shared in openness, in wind and sunlight, with a fellow human being who believes in the same basic principles."
"One must learn to look away from oneself in order to see much. But the lover of knowledge who is obtrusive with his eyes—how could he see more of all things than their foregrounds? But you wanted to see the ground and background of all things; hence you must climb over yourself—upward, up until even your stars are under you!" - Friedrich Nietzsche, from Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Martha: I looked at you tonight and you weren't there...And I'm gonna howl it out, and I'm not gonna give a damn what I do and I'm gonna make the biggest goddamn explosion you've ever heard. George: Try and I'll beat you at your own game. Martha: Is that a threat George, huh? George: It's a threat, Martha. Martha: You're gonna get it, baby. George: Be careful Martha. I'll rip you to pieces. Martha: You're not man enough. You haven't the guts. George: Total war. Martha: Total.
"It is true when you are by yourself and you think about life, it is always sad. All that excitement and so on has a way of suddenly leaving you, and it’s as though, in the silence, somebody called your name, and you heard your name for the first time."
- Katherine Mansfield, from Bliss, And Other Short Stories
Be careful of words, even the miraculous ones. For the miraculous we do our best, sometimes they swarm like insects and leave not a sting but a kiss. They can be as good as fingers. They can be as trusty as the rock you stick your bottom on. But they can be both daisies and bruises. Yet I am in love with words. They are doves falling out of the ceiling. They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap. They are the trees, the legs of summer, and the sun, its passionate face. Yet often they fail me. I have so much I want to say, so many stories, images, proverbs, etc. But the words aren’t good enough, the wrong ones kiss me. Sometimes I fly like an eagle but with the wings of a wren. But I try to take care and be gentle to them. Words and eggs must be handled with care. Once broken they are impossible things to repair.”
“The square is not a subconscious form. It is the creation of intuitive reason. The face of the new art. The square is a living, regal infant. The first step of pure creation in art.”
— Kazimir Malevich