We paid someone to pour milk over our bodies, and to scrub off gray layers of cellular history. Apparently we each thought of each other, viewed reclining from the back: “ah, Odalisque.” In that steamy Ingres space.
Sharp, almost antagagonistic conversations despite the warm affect and sensuous bonding. These conversations truncated by time and other limits, so there was no way to work through the dialectic. This leaves an unsettled and frustrated feeling in me, but then these days so much does.
Thinking of Spicer’s line, “no one listens to poetry” as a morph of that childlike plaint: “no one listens to me.” I have felt this since childhood and feel it still. I extrapolate that no one listens to me because what I have to say is not really worth listening to. Of course, even this thought may be just another form of self-involvement, as I know full well that others are busy listening to themselves, for one thing. Still, my extrapolation brings on a tantrum of rage and frustration that I internalize into any number of symptoms. I blog anyway. The blog becomes the place that no one can listen to me in public, the great exposed negligible void into which I can put the language that will otherwise make psychic whirlpools. Ululating. The poetry also exists as many things, but partly as a rebuke to those who did not listen to me, or those who did not love me.
Well, I think I am the devil’s child. This is perhaps just another manifestation of the neurosis, to think that. That “Artauldian” thing in me. But I am also seeing into life and death all the time, their terrible racket and bruit, so much that I can’t help but comment. Not to put on vatic airs, really: many of us do, and I think this is a fairly ordinary thing; this is what I think of as a life led in a state of “noisy desperation.” It would be good, I think, if I had turned out to be a little more intellectual, as the search for structures and patterns in the noise seems to happily, or at least constructively, distract many who might otherwise get bogged down in the desperation part.
I don’t feel bogged down, I feel churning. I’m in a tizzy of chemicals all the time: it fogs analysis. Therefore, this isn’t worth listening to. The churn seeks form (better form than this). I’m not ashamed of my angst, no, I mean, I am, but I’m not ashamed of being ashamed by it. It’s real, it’s just a human thing. At least, I cannot be accused of being calculating because I am too guileless.
A day without pain is a day without poetry! We’re supposed not to think this way anymore, and yet…
Well, I was interested in Stephanie’s piece how the “appropriated” danced with the “authentic.” That is a dynamic I have addressed many times in this space. The blur in between those notions. The allegorical grid of what’s appropriated is subsumed into autobiography, and changed by it, too, but I’m not sure how those without privileged knowledge about the writer would have heard it. I wonder. Not that those distinctions need to be clear; I suppose that’s the point.
I ran into Cheryl Donegan outside of Pratt yesterday and we rode the train together for about five minutes, talking of appropriation and its appearance recently in the mainstream of the NY Times. She wore a wonderful grey suit, little multicolored striped socks, and strappy pumps. I told her that I don’t think of appropriation as the gospel. I am not into gospels. Coincidentally, today I am taking my students to see the 45 years of performance video show at PS 1 and Cheryl’s video is in it.
To be honest I sometimes feel as if I have been appropriated (by the zeitgeist) into appropriation. What would I have written if I had never fallen into these circles, I wonder. Something more like the Book of Disquiet, perhaps. Because that is what this writing is like, a little, just sloppier. Always needing to make a space for sloppiness because the sloppiness is what generates unexpected curves and angles of form (back to odalisques, I guess). Then I fall into a pile of exhausted ragged weeping, but only in the text, because I am at work right now, and coping.
Anything is so complicated, like a spider donkey. I can’t stay happily in discursiveness because it doesn’t take me to the jagged ray. Not as escape, but as dimension. I have to be on the jagged ray. Its noisome caw and haunting interpersonal peeve. This other space of thinking where webs have dots of moisture/toxins that gleam in emotional blacklight and hazy strobe. The beautiful milk body and the beautiful oil body. The problem of the wiry cave, and the view from the prism (triangle). The problem of the alabaster slope. All this in ceaseless and organic palpitations…