His near stammering. With disconcerting promptness one word hid behind another. -- Maurice Blanchot, Le Dernier Homme Contact me: red3ad (at) yahoo (dot) com


The light
Of the closed pages, tightly closed, packed against each other
Exposes the new day,

The narrow, frightening light
Before a sunrise.

-- George Oppen



“The narratives have dropped away like those rockets that disintegrate in the atmosphere once they have placed their small payloads in orbit. Detached from their original settings, each scene is now the satellite of the other. Each echoes the other, increasingly merges with the other, and I experience a kind of fascinated incomprehension before the hybrid object they have become.”
--Victor Burgin


between rising and burning the toast

--Up early; sitting at my desk at that point where everything’s blue, blue tint to the frost on the neighbor’s rooftop, sky seems to be clear or thinly clouded, there’s some texture there; a bit later, the streetlights go off one by one, but within the space of a minute. One lags behind, as it has for a few years. I'm occupied by some thoughts of moving, and not just across town. What books would I pack if I were limited to one suitcase only?-- but that’s hardly a question to waste time with when things are glazed with a powdered sugar freshness. It’s these waking moments -- and it takes awhile, this waking process, I have my rituals -- that are prime. The best time to mull or muck at my desk, a good time to read, though I always have to reread a bit later. As my mind, still tethered to sleep, is slowly reeled back into my body (this line, I think, I might be paraphrasing or riffing off Proust here; that’s another feature of this waking time, not knowing of a thought is ‘mine’ or elseways borrowed) -- there are quite a few skips and misses; reading over some notes -- scribbled in a darkened movie theater, say -- I’ll misread a line or a word (my handwriting doesn’t need to be done blind to run, alternately, slack and thorny). Often the misreading evokes something else, cuts a closer, other truth.

I go outside for a couple of cigarettes; I look at the name on my mailbox and it doesn’t quite register: another skip. It’s clearly, plainly spring in many ways, though temperatures have been as low hereabouts as I can recall -- some cherry and jasmine has blossomed, but offers no scent (yesterday, in the warmth of the sun, it did [and that blue sky conjured up another time and place, more southerly, a beach, a happy time]); but I’m not scanning things as fall as I did a few weeks ago. (Coming home lateish one night, 2-3 weeks ago, I went by a different street and saw Christmas lights hanging in an apartment window; my visceral impression was "oh, it’s soon to be the holidays" -- wch I quickly, mentally corrected; the upcoming holiday was Easter, after all -- but I've been inhabited by a strange & pervasive feeling of autumn). Autumn, a disembodied time, a time of slowness. Because I’m literally retracing my steps here (a remove upon remove), a marked passage of Wittgenstein seems appropriate enough now (these shelves, these books with protruding slips of paper!):
“I feel my arm and in a queer way I should now like to say. I feel it in a definite position in space; as if the feeling of my body in a space were disposed in the shape of an arm, so that in order to represent it I should have to model my arm, in plaster say, in the right position.” Hand (holding cigarette) attaches to arm, attaches to body, containing lungs and heart; mouth wch opens, exhales smoke, wch rises and dissipates in the morning air. Same hand holds pen, scratches out a few lines, refills pen (fountain) from glass jar of ink, crosses out, writes again, later types out, extends, digresses. Computer crashes, and this “post” -- as in lost or errant letter, this writing -- is mostly lost, then translated again, broken, sifted up from memory and a few notes.

Slowly. I use the word often; a few years ago, a friend and I agreed that it’s one of the very finest words. To not rush, to read slowly, to breathe slowly. To drift calm and without anxiety. Slowness, if I recall Badiou correctly, is one of philosophy’s greatest qualities. This morning, smoking a cigarette in a leisurely manner, at a point in time before the light rose over the horizon, listening to birdsong, I experienced another “miss” -- grazing the edges of trees, wires and rooftops, I looked for the source of this song, and my eye caught an object in flight, but it was an airplane; for a second the two impressions coincide, coincided). Dawn having broke, the day entered, I turned back towards the building and out of nowhere a single word suggested itself: “Hegel.” A word as specific or as general as “alone” or “bread.” And then I came in and wrote for a bit, and then lost a good deal of that, as I have mentioned. What happened along the way, I can’t entirely account for.


“Someone has torn up a letter and thrown it away. Picking up the pieces, one feels that many of them can be fitted together.”
-- Sei Shonagon

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