Saturday, June 10, 2017

Pedro R. Rivadeneira, An excerpt from Dr Sarturnian’s Monologue, Section IV of Song of Anonymous

Dr. Sarturnian’s Writing Machine, image by Pedro R. Rivadeneira

An excerpt from Dr Sarturnian’s Monologue
Section IV of Song of Anonymous,
(a nomadic novel in progress) 
Pedro R. Rivadeneira

“Fundamentally, everything that is said is a quotation . . .”
                                               Thomas Bernhard, Walking

Dr. Alan J. Sarturnian, old, retired, multilingual, multitalented scholar, philosopher, musicologist and composer, now dabbling in magic, alchemy, shiatsu and astrology. He now lives with his twin sister Helena, an artist of international repute, in the Nordeinde qwartier of Den Haag, in one of the old, prominent, four story houses typical of that area, not two blocks away from the Queen’s working palace. Collapsed into bitterness, his eyes never look at me, they move rapidly from side to side as if frantically searching for something. Rumour has it the Doctor had a nervous breakdown years ago and has attempted suicide several times, events which have forced him into an early retirement.

The old man is sitting in his study blankly staring out the window with cigarette in hand. The room is saturated with smoke. He is a short, thin, wiry man of dark complexion. His hair, now mostly dark gray, is longish and scraggly, arrayed in an unruly mass around his prominent forehead and temples. He sits next to an ancient oaken desk on an old, oak office swivel chair that squeaks when he moves. The desk is piled over with books, papers and empty bottles. Several ashtrays lie about brimming with ashes and cigarette butts. He’s wearing a wornout terry cloth robe in a faded navy blue color spattered with food stains and cigarette burns. His scrawny legs are bare with the exception of a pair of thin, shin high socks and his feet are encased in a pair of worn out felt slippers, also dark blue in color. He shuffles his feet restlessly on the littered wooden floor as he sits facing the studio window through which can be seen bare trees in the darkening yard behind the house. I have come to see the old professor, with whom I studied years ago, in the hopes he will help clarify my doubts and dispel the crisis I’m in.

. . . something rules over us which    it seems   has nothing to do with us – the old man suddenly whispers - we barely have any control    any understanding of it    of ourselves    let alone the rest of the world    nature    the universe . . .  - he continues in a lecturing, somewhat pedantic tone - Proust’s notion that after Cézanne our perception of nature changed    provides not only the consolation that poets extracted from impressionism    it also implies fear    fear that the thingification of the relationships between humans will contaminate all experiences and so    become    quite literally    an absolute - he trails off into silence as if suddenly distracted by other thoughts and then begins again - of course this fear has come to pass - he grunts almost chuckling - a girl’s beautiful face becomes homely    ugly even    because of its similarity to that of a movie star’s    in accordance with which    the girl’s face is    in reality    prefabricated - he emphasizes grimly - a prefabricated face    in this age of a totally administrated existence    this age of total mediation    the beautiful in nature passes into being a caricature of itself      these faces    these bodies considered to be beautiful    sexy    are no more beautiful    no more sexy   no more natural than those landscape paintings found in the lobby of a cheap motel which in any case    are more interesting    of more value due to their kitchyness   which is their truth content . . . of course . . . of course – he wheezes on – nothing real is worthwhile extracting cleanly from what is ideologically its own lest the critique succumb to an ideology itself     that of the simple    natural life    so called – he says with a sarcastic drawl –
            wha’ happens is . . . I’ve been trying to write again    you see – he is still talking as if to someone else, his back now to the window, directing his gaze to the wall in front of him across the room, next to the studio’s entrance – a writing experimental    experimental in syntax and in form    perhaps a novel    I thought    but writing outside the book    or in any case    on the margins of various books    trampolining as it were    from one to another    at times writing through them    borrowing    burrowing    restructuring and recontextualizing the borrowed material    not necessarily pointing to anything outside itself    if that is at all possible . . . for language is a system    a system of symbols    a referential system    if not explicitly    then    it points to    it implies other systems . . . if that is at all possible . . . self sufficient and winding in gesture . . . this may be possible if one treats or . . . re-treats language as material    I thought    that is to say taking into account its visual and acoustic properties only    striping it of its semantic surface . . . but isn’t that word itself metaphorical? are we really dealing with a surface that conceals layers of other . . . stuff? or isn’t it rather    an artifact of our brain’s perceptive mechanism    if it can be called that    an artifact     a mechanism    aren’t these figures of speech too?   isn’t all language figurative in that a word   any word    is not the thing it points to but stands for that thing    represents it    and this standing for something else takes place in the mind’s eye    the mind’s ear   from whence it derives its hypnotic quality? . . . I mean to say    its cinematic quality    that is to say    the film we have going on in our minds all the time    the brain in a constant move to map reality compares and matches the surrounding external reality to its representation projected on its internal screen . . . of course    all of this is figuratively speaking as well    internal   external    what does it all mean?    in fact    this oscillation    is what creates the perception of an inside versus an outside    this oscillation by the brain     this comparing and matching with the model the brain constructs electrochemically in the midst of its gelatinous tissues     hidden from view    I mean    from the rest of the world     inside the protective casings of the menningeal    encephalic tissues and fluids and the skull’s bone . . . d’you know that the brain and its network of nerves    including the spinal chord   stripped of the rest of the body    greatly resembles a Portuguese Man O’ War?   oh yes!    but of course    it is by far deadlier   so much so that the Man O’ War and a host of other creatures may soon be extinct! – he cackles nervously - what does that tell you about this organ of ours?    this organ that we are    the brain    which has evolved over thousands of years only to find itself at odds with just about everything there is    including itself and others like it? - he inquires turning toward me suddenly, fully revealing for the first time the entirety of his face which is smeared with a pale rose shade of blush on his left cheek and a dim shadow of mascara around his right eye together with a hint of rouge in the left corner of his mouth -  well?   isn’t it?    I mean    language    that is to say    always already self sufficient and self referential as when we use language to talk about    in other words    which is to say    to describe language itself?    and what is an itself in this context?    I mean    is a word    any word    always in a kind of synecdochic    or metonymic relationship to the rest of the system to which it belongs?    assuming it belongs to anything    assuming language is indeed a system – he muses - I am always stunted by these kinds of questions    don’t really know what to think anymore    it all seems so paradoxical – he says screwing up his mouth in a kind of mocking gesture once more turning is face toward me – in any case    how are these other layers    which supposedly “underlie” the so called semantic “surface” of language – he says gesturing quotation marks in the air with his fingers - these other strata     if we are to call them that    if they are indeed strata    how are they not meaningful themselves?    who’s to say that they don’t    in their own way    contribute to the overall meaning of the text?    and of speech?   these distinctions often seem to me to be just as arbitrary    just as phony as the body mind dichotomy    in fact I would wager    that’s where they originate    in that false dichotomy – he gestures dismissively and spins around on his chair while tapping and shuffling his feet on the floor playfully, like a child – t’would be better   me thinks    to think of language as a complex in which several elements intersect    I mean    figuratively speaking    that is to say    the semantic aspect of it together with the visual and acoustic information    each of these elements taken separately are already very complex    the pitch and timbral information of speech     I mean    the spectral information in vowel formants for instance    is a lot to deal with and a very rich source of material for musical composition as well    what’s more     considering that language has attributes that are said to be those of music    such as rhythm    tone    timbre    phrasing    internal relations between its various parts and . . . silence as an integral part of its expression    and    that it is often polyvocal    who’s to say that it    language    isn’t    in point of fact    a kind of music? . . . what meets the eye doesn’t make much of an impression I’m afraid    if you are looking to jump    caught between the Devil and the wild blue sea    you had better look it over before you take that leap . . . I don’t pretend to be clairvoyant    or    I should say    that can’t be said by me    can’t say it is me who says these things   that is to say   a lack of a certain important kind of energy coming up from below    a guttural understanding of space and mass you see    I mean    allowing for inconsistencies and incongruencies     “erroneous” impulses and “faulty” thinking to have a “voice” as “they” say   languaging not languishing – he gestures impatiently making quote signs in the air again - rather than polyvocal    the work may very well be heterophonic     or perhaps it oscillates at times periodically   and at others     in a-periodic fashion between monody    polyphony and heterophony    one’s mouth full of rubble    rabble rubble    one’s rebel mouth full of rabble rubble    scrambled noisy sound bursts and spittle    projecting the sound out through one’s bat ears and as microwave emissions through one’s multifaceted multi-perspective fly and dragonfly eyes! . . . drip-drop-drooping in the something to say - he chimes excitedly - all of this of course conceals and congeals the general state of lovelessness that prevails everywhere    the vertex of which is a dry    aching scab   the blind spot that drives all our actions    dry as flaking wax and propolis    with the faint hum of a swarm behind the acerbic    aching crust - he laughs mechanically showing his tobacco stained teeth, his accent now shifts from high class British, where the sibilant “eses”  become the “sh” of English tinged by a Dutch accent – and how   pray tell   is language’s so called semantic surface not a kind of materiality considering that one’s thinking   one’s imagination   the various processes of representation that occur in the brain which are instrumental in the construction of meaning   are   in effect   electrochemical processes   that is to say   material processes in the brain   to say nothing of recent discoveries physicists have made about the nature of matter at its most fundamental level . . .

- rain has begun to rap on the window  pane with a gentle pitter pattering sound as rivulets of water stream down the glass distorting the darkening shapes in the garden outside. Nervously, I fidget in my coat pockets, unable to respond to anything the old man says. Besieged by a growing feeling of anguish, not knowing what to do next, I decide to leave, but just as I start moving toward the door, the old man begins speaking again, barely audible this time -
                                                                               whatever the case may be – he whispers gruffly - today    it is impossible to write narrative   I mean    to write a novel in the realist narrative style   which is what most do anyway    pretending history hasn’t transcurred    I mean . . . this . . . even though by definition     the novel as a form requires narration    where the narrator is the owner    as it were     of the experiences related      as such     the novel is a product of the bourgeois era     historically it is an anachronism and therefore     to write in this manner is regressive    reactionary even    utterly conservative     the narrator as owner of the experiences related . . . combinatorial processes . . . – he mumbles distractedly - there is a tension    a play between the various levels of meaning and the various levels of non-meaning so-called    as if this non-meaning were not    in itself    meaningful    assuming there is an in itself – he cackles nervously again – there is a tension     as I was saying    a play between the narrator as owner of the experiences related and the reader    a kind of web or chain is in fact established    but chain too is a metaphor and doesn’t quite accurately describe what really     I mean    physically     takes place in the neuron networks     so called     given the enormous amount of apparently random activity therein . . . a kind of oneiric forest emerges in which flashes of lightning occur here and there briefly illuminating ravines     faces and voices heard     scraggy escarpments     an entangled morass of branches and twigs intertwined    the word network too is problematic you see     but it is the best one can do for now     perhaps web or scrub would be a more accurate description    assuming accuracy is what matters    after all    we aren’t engineers are we?   a kind of action writing akin to Pollock’s action painting     the text     a kind of scrub like that of straggly vegetation     a tangle as seen in brain tissue consisting of millions of neurons with their axons and dendrites twisting    the texture of the text varies irregularly     it is not that of the typical novel you see     it contains destabilizing elements    errors    undermining the impulse to conformity with the ideologies of perfection and completion     mastery and therefore    supremacy     the text resists being read as the totality of its subject matters and strategies    it    having lacunae which remain unbridgeable between any actual reading and any explication of it – he scoffs – I mean    the reader must use her imagination     but he must use it to free herself from any fixed forms of thought which ordinary kinds of language impose on the mind    on the brain like a grid      a kind of harness that limits and directs perception and thought in particular ways    ways which more often than not serve the current order of things     
                                        the new writing    the new novel    must take sides against the lie    the falsity that is representation    it takes sides against the narrator herself     to be precise    who    as far as a supervising commentator of the events related    attempts to correct his inevitable participation . . . wha’ happens is    the author detaches himself from the idea of creating somethink real . . . listening to the whirrr where the words once were . . . gathering up elocution itself by means of an ironic gesture    to which no word     including her own    can escape . . . listening to the whorls where the words once whirrld – he cocks his head to and fro listening, now looking askance at the window and then at the door – wha’ happens is    the author watches himself in the idea of somethink real   listlessly worrying    scurrying about the world of words where once gathered    enunciation means the iconic pestilence where words drool upon words squealing    the new novel was a long time ago – he whispers hoarsely - perhaps we now need a new new novel    or    or somethink else     what’s more     to go against the form lies in the very same sense of the form itself    the novelistic or musical form itself . . . perhaps a kind of writing without direction that makes use of prose as well as verse and other kinds of writing and different kinds of media    beginning in the middle     the muddle of which expands aimlessly toward the edges of beginnings and ledges without end      writhing     riding    writing    it’s  trailing  within    writing as kinesthetic process – he mutters softly with increasing excitement - bodily function    an excretion!    as is thinking a kind of action!    and reading already made to move across the page    always coalescing you back into thinking because immense becomes tumultuous occurring    and off course it shards me talking back into flinging writing as volition handles the thinking - he continues in a soft raspy whisper as if still listening for something - not since the rift between the novel and realism has been linked to the rebellion against discursive language    as seen in poetry    is it any longer possible to write in a narrative voice    as I may have said    a voice in which there is someone who is in possession of the experiences being related    all that’s left now is writing itself    I mean    the physical act    that is to say    writing as kinesthetic process    in other words   writing   reading and writing as activity    languaging not languishing – he whispers vehemently – where language is the material   say   as sound-thought-image complexes to be manipulated and used in the construction of linguistic sound-image structures that convey a variety of complex forms and meanings      I mean to say   the reader is the narrator and the narrator is unknown   is  the unknown    from moment to moment    for each reader is different   and even then   an individual is never the same from moment to moment   for we are   each and every one of us   time    a different continuum of time    but time nonetheless . . . it is the reader who is the narrator      in reading the text   the reader writes the story   or perhaps rewrites the story   and therefore rewrites me   the writer   the reader narrates the story    if it can be called such    a story    if there is such a thing     yet    given that the metaphysical dimension . . . I mean   the anti-realist moment of the new novel    if I may call it that   is itself a product of its realist object    that is to say    a society in which we are separated from ourselves and each other    the more the writer strictly holds on to this realism of the world    of the so-called real   external world    that is to say    the more she tries to tell how things are   how they were    more so do his words turn into an as if and thus more grows the contradiction between the writer’s pretensions and the fact that the things related were not really that way at all! . . . writing is a long   I mean to say    a protracted process of editing     mostly consisting of erasing and substituting    it was the writing that made me vulnerable to their prying    their restructuring my body and mind in the first place    their electromagnetic thoughts protruding     like searching probosci entering    penetrating my territory    my boundaries with a slithering gesture curlicue maneuver of parasite frequencies honing in on their next victim with glee feeding on the horror of society more so strictly thus things related predatorial contradiction grows for passive aggressive sentimentalization . . . I find myself being engulfed by language    you see   it   a swarm    making its home in and all around me    disintegrating and reintegrating the me    in fact   grating me  - he gestures frantically – a process of granulation in which I disappears and reappears into myriad I’s . . . oh the night has a thousand I’s – he chants giggling facetiously while spinning around on his squeaking chair – nonetheless    I feel compelled to write about this    I mean    to relate    to tell you    the reader   the listener   through   I mean to say    with my writing   tell you about this situation and the insubstantiality of the writer as subject   tell you about my experience of the dissolution of the writer as subject as experienced by myself in the act of writing about my dissolution    and    in doing so    I am in fact constructing a narrative about the impossibility of writing narrative!- he exclaims agitated - even as I find myself being engulfed by language    you know    it is a swarm that makes its home in and all around me    disintegrating and reintegrating the me    in fact   grinding me – he gestures impatiently – a process of granulation in which  I disappears and reappears into myriad I’s and yous . . . oh the night has a million I’s – he chants again melancholically – of course to say there is nothing left to say   is    in fact    to say something just as the one who proclaims the death of the subject   of the author    is the subject   the author himself     herself       but no    the main problem with all such writing    that is to say    narrative   linear   realist narrative   is that it is utterly boring!     tedious really    just as all such writers are themselves bores – he scoffs – what all that kind of writing really does is to reinforce old habits of reading    old habits of thinking and feeling    old habits of perception such that it would seem to be saying: that’s just the way things are, the way they’ve always been and so, will always surely remain!   thus confirming the status quo   thus justifying those who wield power over us and keep us in our current state of imprisonment    chained to our destinies so called   as opposed to   say   a writing     a work that might show us a different way of thinking   perceiving and feeling   a way of writing that might take us into the unknown and so undermine the way things are   a writing – he says gasping frantically – that is itself the unknown   an example of difference and so    becomes an input for unfamiliar information as opposed to being merely an output for old    regurgitated information by which the current system keeps itself in power      all of this is further complicated by the fact that the truth   is known only to the one who experiences it – he grunts - and if one chooses to relay it to others   one automatically falls into falsehoods and inaccuracies    all this compounded by one’s    that is to say    my    faulty and inaccurate recollection of events and things     more so    after my so-called accident      as some euphemistically refer to it     thus    it is distortions     inaccuracies and lies that are communicated    the notion of communication   being perhaps the greatest lie of them all!    and the more one tries to untangle this abstruse web    as I was saying   the more mired one   that is to say “I”    becomes in falsehoods and falsifications . . . communication is a coverup; aesthetically pleasing this ‘n that in the passive aggressive blah dih blah: you know what you like    you like what you know – he mutters against the rain - a limit cycle that keeps us spinning round and round in the indifference    no new    different information allowed   sameness comfortable in the purdy please of conformity some knowledge garbage for the trash can lonely   tuppaware thinking in the Cartesian ego center of reality   ideologically proper this ‘n that as the hand that feeds bites off more than it gives – he whispers snidely – giving away globalization for free where the strings attached become chains just around the corner   out of sight     disintegrates me . . . – he snickers blowing smoke rings into the air –
                                                            I wanted my writing to be like Beckett’s  mainly his short stories and poetry   you know   Echo’s Bones   Texts for Nothing and such I love the dryness of the language   the brittleness of it   like dessert sand or the dry flakiness of wax and propolis in beehives   the sounds tend to be meager   dry   paltry  ugly even   generally unsatisfying   the raspy sound of dead leaves rustling in autumn   that cold   dry wryness of his language . . . or perhaps like a Pollock painting   words drip drop drooping in the phosphenic light of night . . . but alas!  I failed miserably   my writing my thinking can’t be anything other than humid   wet even   laden with adipose moisture the body’s humors      I was terribly disappointed at first because writing in this manner is said to be weak    effeminate even     but then I rebelled against these     these notions     such stupidity!   as if weakness and femininity necessarily go hand in hand!    as if there’s anything wrong with either!   my writing can’t help but be alluvial   consisting of flows   ebbs and flows   formed by sediments deposited by flowing water   briny   marshy   full of the messy gurgglings of one’s innards! last night in fact – he starts excitedly - struggling with it   myself   struggling with my head   my body   each wanting to go their own separate ways   the head is part of the body   you see   yet thinks itself . . . different   better than the body . . . it’s in denial you see – he says snickering, then grunts through his nose -  the mind   the brain   thinks itself superior to the rest of the body   it has split itself off from it   in a fit of denial   the brain   that is to say   the head   in a fit of panic   wants to separate itself from the rest of the body . . . hoping to enhance my negative capabilities   that is to say   questioning my assumptions   I devised a system by which various kinds of behaviour could be observed as simultaneities on split screens . . . subjective states can’t be reduced down to mechanical explanations you see   unlike   say   all manner of biological phenomena . . . but nothing I say   nothing I write or think is closed   final   rather   it is frayed   ragged   torn and frayed   shreds really . . . a novel    like a model    say a numerical model or a computer model   may have a lot in common with nature    but it isn’t something real as such . . . like such a model   a novel may be very persuasive   it may seem true if it somehow resonates with our life   our experiences   our experience of the world so-called . . . nonetheless   just as we may question the model and the accuracy of its descriptions   how much is based on informed judgment?   how much is based on observation and measurement?    how much is just a comfortable interpretation of data that suits one’s preconceived notions?  so too it is with the novel   where we may wonder how much the characters and events are based on real life so-called   or just the product of excessive artifice . . . of course nowadays it is difficult to distinguish between these   real life and artifice   considering how minutely administered everything is . . . indeed   as I may have already mentioned – he exclaims excitedly – society as machine   a cybernetic system as Norbert Wiener had envisioned in his book Cybernetics   not long after World War II   and whose ideas were later to become popular in Soviet Russia   who were more than receptive to the fantasy of such a society   a machine which could be fine tuned by following the principles of  Weiner’s Cybernetics   all of which   by the way   would have been very appealing to the Nazis as well – he trails off -  of course all of this has come to pass in contemporary capitalist societies where instead of using military or police force  the subject is kept under control through economic means and information overload   which in the end are just as violent as any other form of control - he cackles drifting off again – . . . I’ve often wondered if Hanna Wiener and Norbert were related – he muses – but all of this is beyond the point of comprehension   too much work   too complicated   beyond one’s capacity to process   imagine . . . the really comical thing about all this – he wheezes on – the comical thing about all those procedures as applied to the arts and by means of which the artist hopes  to create unpredictability and so   undo habitual forms of perception and behavior    all those procedures which artists apply with conscious   methodical and systematic deliberation   all of that is always already going on in the brain without us having to do anything special to create them   I mean   the brain is an indeterminate organ   a random number generator whose comportment is difficult to predict   if you really pay attention    close attention to your mind   your brain   which is the brain paying attention to itself   observing itself   you will notice that it is very difficult to know what it’s going to do from one moment to the next   in fact   while paying close attention to one’s perceptions    it is difficult to know what one is going to see   hear   feel from one microsecond to the next . . . stupid! naïve! stupid! simplistic! stupid! naive! – he suddenly shouts while shuffling his feet - to think that by simply manipulating language one could effect a change of consciousness   a profound   radical change in the brain   the mind . . . one problem with this manipulative approach is that manipulativeness itself is one aspect of our behavior that needs changing! – he laughs derisively – another is that the language centers in the brain which are in close proximity with that center   that small group of cells in the brain that are thought to be the self   the ego   self awareness . . . – he says gesticulating impatiently losing his train of thought –  wha’ happens is   though they may rewire the neural networks of those centers themselves   it doesn’t necessarily follow that the more primitive   the older parts of the brain are going to follow suit   the language and the  self awareness centers   if they can be called that   centers . . . are only a small part of the brain   the mind’s complex web of interactive feedback loops   many of which are stuck in a limit cycle    aren’t necessarily going to change at the flick of the language switch . . . I mean   there’s much more to the brain   the mind   to consciousness than the language centers and the ego   why   it’s not entirely clear that mind   that consciousness is located only in the brain as many think   mind   consciousness may be a complex web of relationships between the brain and the body interacting with the rest of the world   a kind of ecosystem of the mind if you will – panting   he wipes drool and phlegm away from the side of his mouth with the cuff of his sleeve – some scientists have claimed to have identified a small structure in the brain which they think is the locus of the self   if this is true   then one’s sense of interiority is in effect a material   a physical place within the skull   this locus in the brain     excuse me – he wheezes frenetically - I repeat myself when in distress    when in distress   I repeat myself   I repeat . . . not without a modicum of combinatorial variation   of course   I couldn’t bare it otherwise   it reminds me of the human condition so-called
                                                                                   but   I’ve been writing - he says again in a hoarse whisper - trying to write again you see. . . trying to regain a foothold in myself . . . but the pen . . . the ink ran out . . . changed to pencil but the lead kept breaking   then changed to my type writer   and as I wrote   I felt I was plagiarizing . . . no . . . I felt the need to plagiarize   it seemed like the only sensible thing to do   the only so called original   so called authentic thing to do   the only honest thing to do - he pauses briefly and a loud guttural burp erupts from him - in as systematic a manner as possible! – he continues becoming somewhat exited - write a series of plagiarized statements from various sources   not necessarily word for word   you understand – as he gestures loosely with his cigarette hand   a sizeable piece of ash drops off toward the floor – but mostly paraphrasing   trying different permutations and orderings   changing the context of the various phrases and so their meanings   an ongoing   never ending stream of them   loosely strung together   forming overtime   as I write my reading   because   as you know   all writing is a kind of reading and therefore   a kind of plagiarism - he gesticulates, annoyed, as if batting at loose cobwebs - a loose web of associations and connections . . . leading me to believe that perhaps I should construct a machine! – he exclaims, suddenly livening up, shuffling around in his worn out slippers - a writing machine to do the job for me   with only my having to feed it bits and pieces of language   phrases   words   syllables   sounds   scraps of found language   scraps and shreds of found language! – he repeats obsessively grinding his scant and yellowing teeth into the words - scraps found in the ongoing process that is one’s own internal monologue  internal dialogues   energy flows   electrochemical currents and flows   that is to say   a veritable contrapuntal structure consisting of several voices   a polyphonic structure consisting of several strands of sounds   images   thoughts   dreams   impulses and desires   each having its own tempo and direction   perhaps akin to those contrapuntal compositions one finds in a certain period of the Renaissance   and finding   as I’ve already mentioned   these pieces of scrap   these shreds of language in the environment as well   that is to say    the ongoing monologues of others    in the various media through which they are disseminated and heard   without my having to distress myself with all the thoughts and feelings    the unpleasant ones one often finds while writing   hurting myself further    tearing at the memories   the scabs over countless    unhealed wounds   my own and that of others     the one’s we never find the time to properly mend     entangled as we are     in the frey of things
           last night    at dinner – he says wheezing through the cloud of smoke surround him - I said to my sister: “the idea of meaning is suspect to me because in the world it arouses the impression that meaning is meaningful, and vice versa, what is meaningful has meaning, but the only meaning in meaningfulness,” I said to her, “is its meaninglessness, I mean to say, meaninglessness is itself meaningful” I said this to my sister while she nodded patiently as usual    eating her peas, “just as the utter emptiness, the nothingness surrounding us, within us, is somehow full, filled with all the things we like to call existence, being” I said again, “while at the same time, there is an unsatisfactoriness in being, in fact, it is unbearable, full of meaninglessness, pervaded by emptiness, because it is impermanent, it is time itself in fact    that’s what being means, signifies, if it must mean anything at all” I said, and she said while carefully chewing a mouthful of beef – he says smiling gleefully – “I know what you mean, your insights have always been a source of inspiration to me, they have always inspired my work” – he says she said while still chewing, her left cheek bulging, fork and knife in either hand – imagine that! myyyy words    my so called insights an inspiration!     my empty lost words an inspiration for her work! the poor thing! – he exclaims again getting agitated – those incomprehensible paintings of hers I love so much    with their bits and pieces of materials    of scraps of different kinds of materials constructed in piece meal fashion   why   art collectors and critics from all over the world come to see them!     she turns them away!   they offer her thousands of Euros    thousands of dollars   and she won’t sell them any!    she exhibits them herself in her gallery    shows them to some of her friends and to me – he says approvingly - I have some in my bedroom    they are magical    windows    doorways into other worlds     windows into the implicate order      depictions of turbulence     disorders of various kinds     one needs to be careful – he stammers cautiously, eyes wide open - they can take over the entire space    suck you in    you’ll never be found! – he seems to drift off and then suddenly exclaims - and then she said this to me: “there is the unending irritating tendency to think of all discourse as taking the form of a story, most people have the unbearable habit of negotiating their way through life by telling stories that explain who they are and what they are doing and they graft their stories onto the stories of others, onto ours” she said getting visibly despondent – he said – “upon hearing a word, as if a switch had been turned on, people are ready to tell you their life’s stories, their sad meaningless stories” – his sister is supposed to have said – “as if some kind of mechanism had been turned on . . . upon hearing a word, a name, a place, the name of a place for example, they are more than willing to make a connection,” – he says she said emphatically with derision – “they want to communicate their experiences, express, show you the commonality of the experiences which supposedly we all share . . . they are more than willing, they are in fact alert, waiting for the opportunity when they can share their experiences and thus show you the connection,” - he says she said with increasing irritation – “but it is in solitude that I no longer feel lonely, it is in utter solitude and emptiness that one, that I, no longer feel the pangs of meaninglessness and emptiness,” she said seeming to me with increasing puzzlement – he says - “meaninglessness is produced by their idiotic, empty chatter about the meaninglessness of life, a concatenation of catastrophes, a self fulfilling prophecy, like machines, at the flick of a switch, they go on and on, most people have this one, unmistakable, annoying characteristic” - he says she spat out with disdain while still assiduously chewing her food, and then he claimed she said - “the spider resembles the fly, its mate, a trick with which the spider lures its prey in . . .” she sat there impassibly staring at her food as if defeated – the professor says – but then she said with eyes lighting up, “we are, each one of us, made up of wildernesses, wildernesses interacting in a symbiotic, semiotic relationship, all one needs to do to understand this is to look at electron microscope photographs of various kinds of human tissue: skin, epithelial, lymphatic, I mean, the adenoids and their fluids; our  blood, liver, lungs, bone and brain: the dura mater, the arachnoid mater, and the pia mater of the meninges; the adrenal, the thyroid, the pineal  and various other kinds of glands; to be sure you will see different and varied kinds of landscapes, each with its own kind of texture and colors . . . not unlike geological formations, or the textures found in different types of plant life both terrestrial and aquatic . . . I fancy them to be like the surfaces, valleys, canyons and caves of unknown planets and asteroids in distant star systems, distant galaxy’s perhaps, I see them in my dreams . . . these are the sources of my paintings” she said looking at me suddenly happy – he claims – “I pour over countless books on anatomy, internal medicine, pathology and geology, avidly studying their illustrations, I like the photos of endoscopies and different types of surgeries too, but it is the pathologies that interest me most” – he claims she said emphatically – “the so-called anomalies, the various kinds of ulcers, tumors and cysts, the warts and birth marks, the different kinds of skin diseases such as psoriasis, rosacea and eczema and my favorites: ulcerated cavernous haemangioma and elephantiasis” she said while ravenously chewing on another piece of roast beef – the old man smirks with amusement – and then she said “it is these so-called internal landscapes that inform my work, I compare them to the illustrations in my geology books, look for correspondences, relationships between these inner and outer landscapes, the similarities are often uncanny between the textures, the colors, thus implying a deep connection between the outer and the inner so-called, I go on like this for hours, I can’t help it, clearly a kind of language emerges from these images, from their relationships” she said visibly agitated with excitement – he claims – “a language emerges from these shapes and colors, these textures . . . or rather a number of languages communicating with each other, criss-crossing each other through me, through my consciousness, my awareness of them, my seeing them acts, as a conduit through which they, these languages, made up of various kinds of textures and colors, both organic and geological, belonging to different and distant contexts, the so-called inner and the so-called outer, communicate with each other through me, through my eyes, through my mind, and so too, communicate with me, instruct me, show me how a painting, a collage or sculpture is to be,” all this she said to me last night until the day began to emerge from the east and night began to dissolve and the machinery of rodents both areal and earth bound retired for the day – the old man hesitates, mouth agape and drooling, now staring with puzzlement at the floor, but suddenly inhaling, he continues in a distracted tone of voice – of course     nothing could be easier than to go totally insane      from one moment to the next    the problem is not so much that she has something in her head    everybody has the most monstrous things in their heads    and these go on without end until our deaths    anybody else would become unhinged     but not her    it is still possible to be outside time and find that all moments co-exist simultaneously! – he exclaims raising his head - play in the gap between them     but these are all ruins     I mean     most of humanity has its head filled with ruins    most human beings have their heads full of ruins    ruins and detritus      like myself    she loves the debris   the fog     the impending grayness   she gathers the fragments     the fragmented    and rather than trying to make them whole again     allows for the absences to make themselves felt     why     the cognitively fragmented world in which we live brings about the desire in many for over arching narratives – the old man says with growing glee – but these turn out to give only illusions of mending the prevalent fragmentation    anticipating a totalizing vision that obscures the importance of local events   examples and samples    of course the description of the fragmentation itself becomes a kind of meta-narrative    theorists today while subverting overarching theories one moment    create new ones the next thus exposing their hypocrisy! – he exclaims cackling meanly – thus situating themselves as authorities engaged in a power play whose objective is conquest    the claiming of a territory   domination     as it’s always been! – he snickers mischievously – to be right    always right    but no! none of this matters! no matter     no being      no nothingness     no right no wrong    no description     no overarching narrative    no local narrative    puaaaagggghhh! these are the strategies of academics jockeying for position      trying desperately    childishly to establish a secure    a stable position for themselves     ourselves    a position of authority - he emphasizes derisively - even while preaching instability     even while preaching the need for a critique of authoritarianism! these are the biggest hypocrites of all!     academics! – he shouts - we are the biggest    most notorious shits there are!    with our idiotic self importance and cleverness!    they are the most prolific producers of turds and consumers of blood who sodomize their students with their alleged truths!     the truth it comes and goes and leaves us in the lurch - he suddenly entones - and now we think we can see it from our lofty perch – he chants playfully - of course    of course   but no! no!  their cleverness comes after their idiocy which has always butt fucked it closely! all the various critiques of power     of authoritarianism     are privileged forms of discourse by virtue of the fact that they occur in    and are the product of    the academic environment to begin with! – he says pointedly – the ability to criticize is what puts us in a position of privilege to begin with!    I mean to say – he stabs desperately at the air in front of him – it is because we are privileged to begin with that we have the time and ability to produce criticism      of course with the best of intentions    to enlighten     on behalf of the truth     the various truths we think    in our arrogance    others are unawares of     as soon as we open our mouths     as soon as we think      we destroy someone’s life     someone’s reputation is destroyed by our thinking    our speaking     our so-called criticisms     we cannot help it     it’s as natural as farting    and as such     we enjoy it   it gives us immense pleasure     in fact    we revel in it! – the old man exclaims with joy scratching his ass and burping – why    as I’ve told you already    each critical endeavor involves a kind of mapping      each description of reality     a sort of emplotment by means of some kind of metaphorical language    whether that of the so-called ordinary language we use on a daily basis    or the more specialized languages like those of science and mathematical notation . . . but perhaps recent developments in poetic language or musical notation would be better suited for this purpose – he remarks snidely – considering how their overarching narratives render stable the destabilizing methods of writers and poets . . . while rattling  on and on with their various critiques of systematicism and closure     literary theorists    philosophers and scientists alike     systematically overlook music    and    in particular    the variety of musical notations we’ve seen throughout the centuries from that of the Gregorian neum    to classical    traditional notation with its whole and half notes    its quarter notes     its eighth and sixteenth notes and so on    all of which indicate pitch    duration    harmony and texture when grouped vertically or into two or more simultaneous melodic lines as we see in counterpoint    and more recently – he pontificates wheezing with agitation - in the twentieth century    we find all kinds of developments in notation    from so-called graphic notations which not only indicate duration and pitch but also density   dynamics and a kind of gestural language    up to and including of course    a variety of programming languages or code   as they say   used in today’s computer music! – he gestures wildly with his hand while catching his breath - these are all kinds of notation    many of which    if not all     lend themselves to a variety of interpretations thus involving an element of indeterminacy and so    in varying degrees    resisting closure and the absolutism of the systematic     but of course – he says still in a pedantic tone of voice - this requires a shift from notions insisting on the deterministic character of nature   to one that emphasizes stochastic     statistic descriptions    why   at the risk of sounding like one of those new age idiots    the entire universe is capable of development and innovation!     random fluctuations at the local level have the potential of propelling the writing   the artistic work   toward a point of bifurcation at which the direction of change becomes unpredictable!     the work no longer emerges from the idea    the story as idea    where language is the mere vehicle for the story    the mere instrument for the story’s expression     rather     whatever story there is    it emerges from language itself    from the structures formed from this material    I mean to say    it emerges from the different possibilities for construction already present in the linguistic material itself    the language and its ever changing constructs are what make and unmake me    in it    I appears and disappears    free of all intentionality . . . I will never say I    because of everyone    I won’t speak again    no   I won’t speak to anyone   no one will speak to me    I will listen to no one   just as no one listens to me   I won’t speak to myself     there is nothing left to say    nothing but dust will spew from my mouth    dust blown by the cold wind   the freezing cold wind that incessantly blows through everything      throughout millennia    from a beginingless past
                                                                                          but     I mean     I’m interested in this kind of thinking   if it can be called that   that is to say   this kind of residual    weed-like thinking   if it can be called such   a scaling down   a solution or dissolution       desolation      dissolved in desolation      I      I forget – he stammers on - an energy   more like impulses   electrochemical impulses   a kind of stuttering   without rhyme or reason   which is rarely steady and often exhibits considerable variation in intensity and consistency during one’s discourse   one’s . . . thinking   leading to one being resituated in a space unforeseen   yet   a space from which one can gain a better understanding   if that is the correct word   as if returning from a story whose speed exceeds that of life   recently multidimensional I’m told    a better understanding   as I was saying   of perception through attempts to represent dissimilarities as distances between points   things   people    in an n-dimensional space you see   using perhaps matrices of perceptual dissimilarities   measures between physical stimuli    multidimensional scalings attempts to represent the dissimilarities as distances between points and people and things – he says repeating himself, eyes wide open, incredulous –  the consistency of findings and the complementary nature of the results in studies encourage one to extend the multidimensional model of being to other situations such as the arts   music – he winces and clears his throat - the energy in the bones – he says with a sense of urgency – in  one’s bones   one end of this dimension is concentrated predominantly in the lower abdomen you see   and its neural network    while at the same time   one must do everything possible to avoid Manichean dualism   dualism of any kind in fact   and allow for multiple entry ways and exits! – he exclaims, eyes alight with excitement – and so avoiding any pre-established paths   modes of comportment that may hinder one’s actions   thinking  if I may call it that     but whatever the self may be   it is not a stable thing   in fact   not a thing at all! – he exclaims again – but a kind  of process   a flow which is time itself – he says staring at me happily with a big smile – there is no such thing   no substance called time that passes   we   you and I   are time experiencing itself as passing: our experiencing of our passing   our impermanence   is what produces the perception of time passing   it is being’s passing   its impermanence   a kind of becoming and going if you will   that is time itself! – he gesticulates excitedly – I mean   the experience of time is a function of consciousness and self consciousness   a function of memory and awareness   the awareness of impermanence   our own and that of all things   matter becoming aware of it’s own transitory nature      it may very well be that what we generally call time is not experienced by other sentient beings   like animals for instance – he says calmly – maybe they live in a kind of eternal moment    but it is the mutability   the passing nature of consciousness   of awareness in combination with memory   that produces the illusion of time   of something that passes which we call time       a person’s   I mean   one’s mind one’s memory isn’t a neatly ordered file cabinet you know?   but a vague and vast chaos of possibilities      why   as De Quincey noted years ago   and Borges pointed out more recently   one’s mind   one’s brain is a kind of palimpsest consisting of strata   that is to say   layers of activity   I mean   a kind of chiaroscuro   like a translucent amberine substance through which one catches glimpses   bits and pieces of texts borrowed from other sources   stitched together or interrupting each other   texts with illustrations and sound tracks    musical texts   scores   images in sequential order as one finds in films voices and arguments   stories and narrative dreams   a polyphonic structure in fact reminiscent of those massive choral works by Thomas Tallis     it is by means of interpolation   I mean   by troping   that the text becomes polyvocal   a kind of hocketting if you will   between different texts   each an expression of a particular point of view   or views   each with its own voice   if I may use the expression   a combinatorial process   a procedure of dialectic paraphrasing   if you will   producing semantic smears next to or near   that is to say   in proximity to the other texts   such that at times they bleed into each other at certain nodal points   certain points of contact   producing textures characterized by discontinuity   dislocation and this location    incongruencies   jagged   white      black and white    jagged shapes      puzzle-like    slowly swirling round and round     caught in a whirlpool      blindly searching each others’ edges   words and their sounds  their undulating  shapes      erratically   erotically bumping into each other       never quite    fitting in      all this leading to the text’s resistance to being read as a sum of its strategies and subject matters   where the work’s total meaning is a complex   a complex of meanings      of course this requires that the reader use her imagination – he says squinting at the floor shuffling his feet back and forth – but she must use it to free herself from the fixed forms of thought that ordinary language imposes on our minds   one has to move diagonally   one jags   zig zags irregularly   a-periodically in and out of sense and non-sense   while still allowing for gaps to show between any explanation of a reading and any actual reading   assuming there is such a thing as an actual  reading     I mean   the time spent away from the work   the circumstances that interfere with it   financial troubles for instance   its inconsistencies and discontinuities   that is to say   the identity of the experience   life itself continuous and articulated   which is the only thing that allows for the narrator’s attitude   has disintegrated       one can see this if one looks at the text   I mean to say    one’s writing   that is to say    the entire body of the work whose elements occur   as it were   as a simultaneity that consists of the irregular   the a-periodic flickering texture of a kind of frayed tapestry that unfolds in time   which is to say   the text is time itself unfolding   the writing   time writing itself   the text is a fragment made up of smaller fragments arranged in bricollage fashion and therefore never reaching a unified state of completion as it is in an ongoing turbulent state of disintegration and reintegration – he halts catching his breath, then coughing and wheezing, he proceeds with growing agitation - the poets and writers of yore had already noticed this about the self that it is a multiplicity   a swarm   long before today’s theorists did and who   taking advantage of the general public’s ignorance of certain details of the past   of our history have capitalized on those ideas   that is to say   stolen them you see    and made their posh academic careers out of them . . . human greed knows no limits   whether you are on the right or the left – he smiles facetiously - it is amusing that today   our theorists   many of whom proclaim the death of the author   of the subject   and talk about inter-textuality copywrite their books as if those ideas belonged to them   as if they discovered all this themselves while at the same time setting themselves up as heroes   as liberators . . . hypocrisy takes on many and varied an appearance – says the old man smiling gleefully – whether you are on the right or the left or somewhere in between   and    if you are a student    you had better conform   oh yes!   if not   without a doubt   you will be punished for they do demand identity – he stresses - of course   it’s all meant for your own good   for the sake of your. . . liberation – he grins knowingly through the haze of cigarette smoke floating around him – still   it is the theorists who have alerted us    altered us    that is to say    made us skeptical about embracing any privileged account of something    any privileged discourse   by subjecting reigning views   reigning orthodoxies to scrutiny and so uncovering their shaky and often faulty underpinnings   all of which is necessary   useful even   given humanity’s general obsession with power and control . . . most   if not all such orthodoxies   when studied closely   reveal themselves to be based on empty   arbitrary premises which have stuck over time by sheer force of repetition . . . or just by sheer force – he winks at me taking a swig from a flask he’s suddenly pulled out of his robe pocket – they have shown us that language is not a neutral medium   that rhetorical forms are intricately and inevitably involved in the shaping of realities   that rhetoric is persuasive discourse and that all discourse is unavoidably rhetorical . . . all this reflecting a much welcome challenge to the language of objectivism . . . of course   all of this would seem to be an example of objectivism itself after all – he chuckles helplessly –
                                                                                                            nonetheless    if any of these    these theorists     these poets and writers had an honest bone in their bodies   if they were truly revolutionary   they would let go of their bourgeois family lives   their posh and powerful positions   their bourgeois lifestyles   they would do as U.G. Krishnamurti did with his books which are not copy written and which he encouraged the reader to use freely   in any way the reader wants   truly   they are shits   the lot of them   their thinking and acting is still deeply conditioned by social and biological factors   they are completely under the sway of their conditioning   the cowards! – he shouts - they lack the courage to dive into life’s energy and madness like Artaud and Rimbaud did   to embrace the madness   they are merely privileged shits pretending   playing at being revolutionary   the bourgeois shits! – he seems ready to jump out of his chair – why   I would strike out against them but the rule displaces . . . I . . . I am displaced from myself   my body   I’ve been displaced you see    my body has been taken away from me – he says frantically - it’s covered over by multiple descriptions   someone else’s descriptions of me   my self   ah  ah – he gesticulates manically while gasping for air -  aaaaahI’ve got categories crawling all over me! - he screams desperately clutching at himself – like insects   spiders   shadows crawling all over my body sapping the life out of me   distracting me   tugging and pulling at me   dissecting me!   taking my thoughts away   they take my thoughts away! – he screams again falling back into his chair, breathing agitated, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out another cigarette which he quickly lights and puts into his mouth sucking on it frenetically, he pauses for a few seconds stretching out his legs staring blankly at the ceiling and then, in a sudden burst, continues talking in a loud whisper leaning towards me – they have done this to me with their machines   those infamous contraptions   their x-ray machines and their MRI machines which they use to reconfigure one’s body   they   in fact they remap one’s body   such that one   that is to say   I   can no longer recognize it   no longer recognize myself   you see?  they reconfigure the body’s electromagnetic field and alter the electrochemical workings of the brain attuning it to those of the machine with which they control one’s body from afar   one’s thoughts and feelings   the ebbs and flows of the body’s humors . . . they remap one’s body you know? and project new   different images onto it   they de-territorialize it   dismember one’s sense of self   one’s identification of self with body   they re-territorialize the body in their own image . . . I mean they project images onto one’s body thereby making themselves into Gods who have recreated us and therefore possess us in their own image   do you see this?   as if we were screens   our bodies are screens   and of course they project their various images as holographs not onto our bodies but into our bodies – he emphasizes pausing – it is into our bodies that they project their three dimensional holographic images so as to fit the three dimensionality of the body   with its various organs and cavities   taking into account the many layers and types of tissue   I mean they project themselves into one’s body   they etch images onto one’s bones with lasers and so    by doing this   they repossess . . . they tune one’s electromagnetic frequencies to those of the machine and by means of phase cancellation annul the unique frequencies of our bodies imposing those of the machine with which they control our actions from a distance   do you see this? – he asks desperately - I mean   that is why one hears a crackling sound   the buzzing of insects in the background  a kind of electrical humming in ones thoughts   a kind of white noise static in one’s ears you see   it is they with their transmissions   constantly interfering with one’s thoughts one’s actions   scrambling ones thoughts and desires   with their holographic images imposed on the mind’s eye   etching their mark on our bones   in effect branding us
                                               - the old man sits motionless in his chair, blankly staring out the window with mouth agape and cigarette in hand. A long, thin string of saliva hangs from his trembling lower lip, gently swaying back and forth with each raspy inhalation – all the faces    all the voices    blend into one face   blend into one voice . . . it is the silence that listens   it listens to our listening    this unfathomable    eternal silence at the heart of things – he says in a trembling whisper -

* * *

it is this kind of generalized delirium that gives the thinking its rich     distorted . . .    delicious quality    its saturation with branches – he says dreamily - twigs      turns    reflections    eddies and curlicues    tangential planes and lines of flight    only through this destructiveness can one speak freely you see   it is only through this disintegration   this destruction that one can speak freely   think freely   act freely   there is no distinction between one and the other   alienation becomes . . . alienation is nothing other than the total   absolute freedom to be in perfect solitude and emptiness    it is only in this absolute destruction    that one truly lives you see    and thus     being all things at once . . . but let me start again    as always   with that fateful day    the day I was barred from leaving the house   my legs turned to lead   unable to move    all dressed up and unable to move . . . a bookish smell might be the paradise of many a fetishist . . . leftist fetishist . . . rightist leftist fetishists   and those who identify with neither. . . a rebellion was needed to quell the thirst of those neglected . . . but I digress  again    once more I digress   I don’t know what I’m saying again . . . walls everywhere . . . ancient walls of stone and brick   veritable labyrinths    ancient bricks here and there like the rust-colored   grinning teeth of a corpse laid out across the way    in front of me    barring the way   an exquisite corpse  cackling  as it crumbles apart farting with decay as if a bloated maggot infested sack of skin and bones . . . there are two of us now    maybe more    a multiplicity perhaps    no longer the person   the subject himself   herself   what is called writing   languaging   thinking . . . I am always resisting clarity – the old man says staring intently at me - which is to say    in a certain sense    I struggle against language    that kind of language usually thought of as uncomplicated    unproblematic and transparent   the unproblematic and transparent transmission of a thought from writer to reader . . . but it was to be that my writing generates noise you see    my writing is noisy – he gesticulates vehemently – it can’t be helped   noise is the very content of my writing    a kind of static or interference languaging    language becoming a kind of parasite   my mind   my thinking   parasitical   striving to avoid information   form   redundancy and restraints   not linear you see - he says - languaging not languishing    meander-tall-telling and vine-yarn-yearning through the presence and absence of noises intermittent    what most don’t see is that writing such as mine is complex    and that the destruction of transmitted information by extraneous information   that is to say   by noise  can actually lead to the generation of new meaning at another level of the complexly organized system that is the text itself    what’s more     in their strangeness and marginality   literary texts can function as extraneous information    I mean to say    the noise of a culture that brings about difference in the form of variety in the production and circulation of ideas    like for example    here     my writing   my thinking   what I’m now telling you   may be the direct consequence of a kind of interruption    a disruption brought about by someone’s writings    someone else’s thinking   someone’s work whom I read a long time ago . . . it can’t be helped    my writing   my thinking     my mind and body are constantly crisscrossed by someone else’s words    someone else’s thoughts   someone else’s writing   I can no longer say that a thought is truly mine   that a single word I say or write is really my own   it may very well be that I am a node in a multidimensional web of information   it may very well be that we are all nodes in such a web    relaying information to other nodes and so on   who can lay claim to the entire network of information   if it can be called that   a network    who can lay claim to the information that passes through it   through us?   who can lay claim to the language we use to relay the information?   what is the I that can make such claims?   of course    things are never as simple as transmitter and receiver  you know   no   not so simple    as Henri Atlan would have it   an organized system is not simply a receiver or an emitter you see   such organized systems may contain within themselves areas of so–called internal communication    an organized system may contain within itself   channels of information     areas which function as receivers and areas which function as emitters   and the roles may be reversed   what’s more   the noise from one’s environment may intercept and muddle internal communication   so-called internal    so-called communication    maybe this I  that I think I am    is made up of smaller Is   smaller complex   organized systems within other complex systems    each one acting as an I    my liver may be a kind of I    my lungs another kind    my heart yet another and so on    each of my cells may be yet other kinds of Is    the ribosomes and mitocondria in them   still others! – he exclaims with excitement - the kind of writing that supposedly transmits a message from writer to reader in a clear uncomplicated manner    that’s all poppy cock!   not to mention   utterly boring!   it can’t be helped   it is clarity that avoids me   the desire for a writing that is uncomplicated and clear is the desire for perfection and the desire for perfection is the desire to be correct    all the time    and the desire to be right all the time is the desire to be supreme   morally superior    godlike . . . while teaching at college    my colleagues and I were all like this    insufferable really   insufferably arrogant   the lot of us   nothing but vanity    indulging ourselves in gratuitous cruelty and thoroughly enjoying it – he says licking his lips and grinning - . . . whatever any of that means anymore   the left   the right   we were all petty policemen and women back then    petty tyrants the lot of us   demanding identity from our students   just like the fascists we claimed to abhor    claimed to oppose    we were just like them   the lot of us   we were just as tyrannical    just as despotic as those whom we claimed to oppose    always demanding complete identity from our students    punishing those who questioned us and our beliefs     this sort of thing went on all the time – he snickers – we preyed on the helpless   the defenseless students    knowing full well that we were destroying them utterly degrading and destroying their lives – he cackles – it’s an age old story    that of the privileged    the powerful    preying on the defenseless    punishing the underprivileged    the powerless    all of life is made up of nothing but horrible and    at the same time     horrifying circumstances    and if you look at life closely    if you analyze it in detail    it all disintegrates into the most frightening circumstances and states    just as when you look at yourself closely    if you look    analyze yourself closely    you see just how horrible and frightening you are to others    to yourself and to others    as when a famous and very powerful professor   a very influential poet and theorist    or composer   full of self importance    takes it upon himself or herself to punish     to publickly humiliate a student in front of an entire class   or in front of a roomful of colleagues during one of our festivals    and the other students are snickering fully enjoying the spectacle   bringing that student    the victim   to tears   knowing full well he or she    the professor   the poet   or the composer    is destroying that student    knowing full well that student’s mind   the student’s life is being completely degraded    completely destroyed    scarring him or her for life    for life leaving a dreadfully painful imprint     in effect branding the student with hatred    to say nothing of the sexual preying that went on – the old man says snickering - I mean to say    several of my colleagues engaged in preying sexually on their students on a regular basis    both female and male students were victimized – he grins meanly revealing his stained teeth – for years the head of the piano department preyed on his female Asian students   demanding sexual favors from them lest he revoke their student cards   the poor creatures were so afraid    so intimidated    that for years he got away with it scott free as they say    everybody knew what was going on of course    for years the entire department knew what was going on    the Dean himself knew    but not one of us did anything to stop those abuses    those heinous abuses    we rather enjoyed them – he says licking his lips again – we found them amusing    we found the rumors    the gossip to be intriguing    we fancied ourselves sophisticates in the European style    in our heart of hearts   if I may use that expression   though we advertised ourselves to the world as Marxists    though we claimed to be anarchists   though we preached the critique of power    in our hearts of hearts we thought ourselves aristocrats   and acted accordingly with impunity over our inferiors   the students - he leans over and says softly - the privileged     we look after each other you know – for years the chair of the Composition and Theory department preyed on his male students    for years    the cello teacher preyed on his female students    for years the Musicology professor preyed on both her male and female students   many of whom left the program or acquiesced to their demands fearing their careers would be ruined    some of them complained to higher authorities of course   but the Dean claimed there was no proof    no concrete proof he said    but of course   had he bothered to conduct an investigation    he would have found proof enough   as it was    he and the others were soon overwhelmed by an avalanche of very concrete proof when a group of victims decided to sue – he grins fascitiously – providing all kinds of proof in the form of recordings and testimonies from previous victims who came forth once it was clear they had the perpetrators on the run – he laughs maliciously while wheezing – it was a sight to see    it was tasty I tell you   I could not help but enjoy myself   seeing those once self assured and arrogant hypocrites    my colleagues   who claimed to be Marxists and who claimed to be anarchists and feminists    who claimed to care about the oppressed    scurrying about in fear   on the verge of a nervous breakdown    I for one never engaged in such acivities    I had no need to of course   for I had a lover    the love of my life    the suicidal    the experimental poet Francesca [Renata?] Squarcialupi    indeed   neither of us had any need to prey on anyone    for we kept each other well satisfied    engaging as we did in all manner of sexual play    all manner of nasty sexual fantasy   and just as she was fond of applying restrictive procedures to her writing   in the manner of Raymond Queneau and the Oulipo group   so too was she fond of appliying restrictive methods to us in our little sexual games – he smirks licking his lips again - we preyed on each other instead    we all prey on each other   all the time   this is our way   we all prey on each other   back then we preyed on our students forcing our beliefs   our ideologies on them   forcing our thinking into their pliant vulnerable minds while at the same time   forcing our cocks into their mouths    up their cunts and arses    just as I am now preying on you    forcing my rancid   boring stories on you   and you are trying to prey on me   coming to me   expecting some kind of answer    some kind of solace – he scoffs and glances at me with disdain - I don’t see why you come to me looking for answers! – he suddenly looks up at me raising his voice - the left is just as rotten as the right or the extreme center!    the left   the right   in so many ways    they reflect each other . . . but this was all madness!   yet without the illness   a kind of mock madness a kind of practiced madness advancing without the selfdestructiveness   we thought    but rather   a destruction directed at the other   that which we felt challenged our views   our being at the center of attention   pure egotism you see   pure self centerdness    just like anybody else   except for the arrogance of thinking ourselves superior   morally superior to everyone else   especially those we regarded as our enemies    it was all sheer cruelty really and we reveled in it! we enjoyed it thoroughly! – the old man says relishing each word and licking his lips – it still perplexes me when   like yourself    my former students come to me searching    looking for answers    especially those whom I took special care to humiliate in the classroom and bend to my will   as I   like all my colleagues    my partners in crime - he emphasizes meanly – we demanded complete identity from our students   no more   no less than the authoritarian right wing conservatives we so much abhorred and felt ourselves to be different from    thought ourselves to be morally superior to – he giggles fascitiously - at least with those shits    those right-wing   so-called conservative shits     those disgusting conservative right wing pigs    at least with those disgusting right wing fascist pigs you know what you get   you know what to expect   whereas with my friends   my so-called friends    my so-called colleagues and I     my so-called colleagues with their underpaid Mexican gardeners and Guatemalan house help – he wheezes and chuckles convulsively - we were involved in an ongoing process of deception    we were involved in an ongoing campaing of advertisement in which we presented ourselves as Marxists and anarchists    or that we stood for social justice    or that we were feminists   and that we supported the critique of power and authority   that we were opposed to reproducing the hierarchical    authoritarian strutures of the past    but of course in the classroom and in our interactions with the students we were doing just the opposite   we were in fact reproducing those very same structures we claimed to abhor – the old man says – first and foremost   we deceived ourselves into thinking that we represented a force of good. . . over time I found myself distancing myself from them   my so-called friends    my so-called colleagues    over time a growing sense of disgust with myself and them began to take over me like a black cloud of smog    a black    toxic cloud began to take over my insides   a spot of necrotic tissue in my insides slowly spreading its perimeter   rotting me from the inside out – he whispers distractedly - over time   under time   drowned over the years   buried alive    I retreat into anonymity    rejected by the intellectual left   despised by the right   ignored by the extreme center   made irrelevant by all three kinds of totalitarian thinking – he mutters helplessly wrapping his arms around his torso rocking back and forth on his squeaking chair – I exist like a weed   I live in the cracks   the interstices   the generally overlooked gray areas . . . what is it you expect me to tell you about music   about literature   about the arts   their place    their role in our so-called society   our so-called culture    our culture of distraction     of mass distraction . . . all artists live in a state of dissociation – the old man spits out – they dissociate themselves from themselves and the world by means of the work of art    through the actual work itself    I mean to say   the actual activity of making something    the time and effort spent on the endeavor of making something    they dissociate themselves from themselves and the truth of who     or perhaps more precisely     what they are     the horror of what they really are     which is to say     the self centered   egotistical    cut throat     murderous shits they are      that we are     I should say – he chuckles gruffly - through the work of art itself     they    which is to say we     dissociate themselves     which is to say   ourselves    from the world at large – he says – they dissociate themselves     that is to say    we dissociate ourselves from so-called life    from so-called humanity     for the artistic object    the work of art    to the artist    becomes more important than humanity    indeed more important than life itself     by way of contrast   that is to say    in the face of the monstruosity into which reality has developed     the maker of the work    the artist     becomes more and more absorbed in and identified with the artifact itself – he says –  the work of art ultimately becomes a monument to the artist    a monument to the self    even while claiming to be selfless    egoless and free – the old man smirks – a monument of    for and by the artist to the artist herself     himself    it is the solipsistic maneauver par excellence – he chimes – more so today when there’s so little left to say      for a long time there was no better way to call attention to one self than by claiming to be egoless    but of course in a culture    a society that is so utterly materialistic and narcissistic    as we are    all that makes no difference anymore    it never really did – he winces – the heroic gesture of self sacrifice     the heroic    romantic act of self sacrifice . . . of course they    which is to say we     come up with all sorts of arguments     all kinds of reasons     that is to say . . . but these are nothing more than self persuasive    self justifying ratonalizations – he says smirking with cigarette in hand – in this context    the work of art is a kind of advertisement for the self    for the artist     the work of art is a kind of propaganda for the artist    for the self     it is pure ego – the old man says – all ego     the artist is a fanatic   he has to be in order to survive in an environment that is predominantly hostile     not so much to the work of art itself     the artistic object as it were    more so if it fetches a large sum of money where it then becomes a kind of trophy for the rich and powerful – he smirks again – but more so the artist herself    this human being who lives outside the rules and mores of pragmatist culture and who consequently stands in critical opposition to society       a society in which media culture and linguistic systems rigidly constitute meaning     the self     reality . . . language as a system of signifiers and signifieds     that is to say     language as a denotative system     but I’m more interested in kinds of writing     kinds of thinking       kinds of language that  avoid semiotic analysis      classification     systems – he says sounding slightly agitated - language and languaging     speaking and writing as flows of energy of varying intensities and densities    a swarm of words    of sounds     wordsounds and soundwords     language as aural and physically palpable phenomena    where messages may be hidden    immanent in the very sound of language    where perhaps over time       its meanings become clearer as the novel     the writing proceeds    with its jerks and stops    playing a game with the idea that language is arbitrary     that signifiers and signifieds lack any essential connection     in this kind of writing – the old man says with increasing desperation – language is not only an instrument    it is also the subject – he squirms in his creaking chair – languaging not languishing   language talks    writes about language      language talks about language
                                              in light of everything that has happened    that is happening in our world today   the arts are starting to look embarrassingly irrelevant   self serving    a mere luxury of the privileged    a mere exercise in narcissism    where art was once irreverent    a rebellion    a form of resistance against a reality which has become utterly unbearable    now that irreverence has become irrelevant    a mere cliché     a parody of itself     at best   an image to be sold on tv or in film    not all the works of art in the world put together can replace a species of animal or plant that has gone extinct   nor for that matter    can they replace a village   a town that has been completely obliterated by our bombs     but all this happens mostly by default   it’s not so much as if the artist today   the serious artist    the one who’s works require reflection    it’s not so much as if such an artist    has much of a choice     the more and more indifferent society becomes to art     the more and more society becomes indifferent to thinking and feeling    the less and less relevant art itself becomes    and so   by default    the act of making art becomes more and more an exercise in solipsism . . . all artists live in a state of dislocation and this location – the old man snickers – they dislocate themselves from themselves and the world which in turn has dislocated them     purposefully misplaced them     the artist lives under the illusion that he   or she is making connections    that through his or her work     he or she is connecting with the world so-called     the so-called world    the artist thinks that by means of the work of art     that is to say     through the work of art he or she is connecting with society so-called    so-called society    but this couldn’t be further from the truth    for the more the artist tries to connect with the  so-called world   so-called society    the so-called masses     the more and more repulsed the so-called masses are    by the work of art and its maker    especially its maker    the artist himself or herself    the more and more repulsed are the masses by the very attempt    the very act of trying to communicate    to make contact with them . . . over the years – the old man whispers hoarsely, lower lip trembling – I came to the gradual  realization that I no longer loved music    no longer loved writing it    no longer loved teaching it    I came to the gradual and despairing realization that not only did I no longer love it    but that I actually now abhorred it    I could no longer stand myself    all I felt was a wrenching guilt    what was once a liberating experience was now     had now become a new form of imprisonment    I came to the gradual realization that everything about music was nothing more and nothing less than an unbearable tedium     a dull sound from beneath    the obstinate     obsessive murmuring sounds of music listening to itself    speaking to itself   talking itself into existence    convincing itself of its self importance . . . years ago I came to a standstill    years ago a gloom closed in around me as if I had entered a tunnel   since then   all is as if a tunnel to me    everyone I meet    a dark tunnel   all of life a dark   endless tunnel   I no longer leave the house   the house itself is a maze in which I am lost . . . and yet . . . the tunnel’s walls are translucent   I catch glimpses of the goings on outside    the shadows of passersby     for years lost in this cold gloom that hollows me out    undermines all initiative . . . I know that one day I awoke this way   transformed   a hollow man   a shell of a man – he whispers vehemently - of course   it is difficult not to sound derivative these days   even what I just said sounds derivative   as I may have already said   I mean to say   everything I think and say sounds derivative to me today    more so what others say   what others say   sounds even more derivative to me today   what people say and think today   if one can call it that   thinking   sounds utterly derivative these days   everything one reads today    in the papers    in the so-called specialized magazines    sounds utterly derivative and utterly unimaginative    and most of all   utterly repetitive    it is all utterly repetitive    utterly redundant    everything one reads and hears today is utterly repetitive and redundant    one has heard it all   over and over again    decades ago    decade after decade the same useless tripe    decade after endless decade the endless tedium of humanity    the endless tedium of the so-called human   the so-called human condition    the so-called human and its self importance   as if that’s all there is to life   as if we    human beings   whatever that may mean    were the center of the universe    as if we were all there is in this world   this universe    and of course pretty soon    that’s the way it’s going to be!   only us    for we are exterminating everything . . . everything one reads these days is nothing more than derivative tripe    to be sure   one’s manner of reading is itself derivative and formulaic    one reads with a habitual    a formulaic mind set     I mean to say    the manner in which one reads   the manner in which one interprets and thinks about what one reads    is most likely derivative and formulaic   everything one reads and is forced to hear people say    not to mention everything one hears and sees on radio and tv these days     it’s all derivative tripe    it is maddening   one feels like a rat trapped in a maze made of derivative thinking    derivative talking and derivative writing    a maze made up of stock phrases and derivative    formulaic thinking    the maddening tedium of it all!    no longer can one escape from the maddening tedium of all these derivative thoughts and stock phrases thrown at one from all quarters    no longer can I escape such crushing tedium by reading some of my favorite literature of which there are countless examples from all historical periods    no longer do I find solace in The Tempest or The Winter’s Tale    my favorite plays   or the writings of Kafka   Joyce and Beckett    Bernhard    Canetti and Cortázar   no    after years of close reading of all these and others    my favorite authors    I no longer find solace    even they   my favorite authors    after years of close reading    now-a-days   sound utterly derivative and redundant   all too familiar   overdone    just downright boring and meaningless    if you ask me   pointless   I would say    why even the so-called new    so-called experimental poetry of the so-called Language poets    is  nothing more and nothing less than more of the same    reminiscent of the experimental writings of Stein   the Futurists    the Sound poets   the Concrete poets   the Objectivists   the Noveau Roman    the Pataphysicists    the Oulipo group   the Group m    and countless others   even they   after years of close reading   after countless years of close reading    of detailed thinking and analysis    even they   my favorite writers and thinkers    my favorite theorists    all sound utterly derivative    all too familiar   grossly overdone    this is why one day I stopped writing    this is why one day    I just had to stop    I had to stop writing all together    I came to a complete halt     no longer able to write a single word    not a single syllable    not a single letter    no longer able to articulate a single thought in writing that didn’t seem derivative    I came to a complete stop    it is difficult to know what to write anymore   what one needs to write    let alone what the historical necessecity is for such writing    or if there even is such a thing as a historical necessity to begin with – the old man says - of course   there are those who    in the past    have taken it upon themselves to attack me    accussing me of being a money grubbing    fame searching plagiarist    an unskilled imitator who steals lines from more original    more authentic writers – the old man says – but this notion itself   as I may have already said   is no longer original   no longer authentic   I mean to say    this notion of originality is itself not original   not authentic     it is itself    a kind of stolen idea   a kind of plagiarism   a mere cliché     this idea of originality is itself a stolen concept   a plagiarized concept   such notions being artifacts    mere relics    left-overs from Romanticism   such ideas are left-overs from the Romantic era and are therefore no longer relevant in this our twenty first century   being as we are at the end of history   at the end of our age   the age of exhaustion   the exhaustion of ideas    all that’s left us now is this age of monuments and ruins   this age of museum pieces and ruins    as usual   it is thieves who sit in judgement of thieves   the difference lies in who has the power   the power to do the accusing and implement the punishment   there is nothing original about any of that   nothing at all – the old man says – why   language itself is inherited   the language itself    with which we construct the various criticisms of originality   the criticism of authenticity    this language itself is inherited    not original   not authentic   and the concepts constructed therewith are not original   not authentic   all plagiarized     the verbal construct    that’s been done before     has already been written and said before a million times over     and therefore   in keeping with its own logic   its own criticism     is not a valid statement    it annuls itself even as we speak it    even as we think it    to say   that’s been done before    has been said before    has been thought before    and as such   in effect   has been done before!   if to say that’s been done before invalidates a work because     supposedly   it is a reproduction of a previous work    a previous event    then the statement that’s been done before is just as invalid because    it’s been said before     which is to say     it’s been done before    such a statement    by force of it’s own logic    invalidates itself     not to mention     that it is a cut throat thing to say  a mean spirited thing to say    born of nasty competitiveness  the sole purpose of which is to establish superiority     and yet . . . and yet . . . – he suddenly stops and cocks his head from left to right and back again as if listening for something - if one isn’t allowed to think that’s been done before   if one isn’t allowed to say   that’s been done before    derivative as all that may be     how can we come about with anything new   any new ideas   how can we avoid being merely redundant?   assumming of course that novelty is what matters   what one is striving for    I mean   just because somethink    a book   a piece of music    is new   it doesn’t necessarily follow   that it is important    I mean to say   that it is somethink worth paying attention to   worth our thoughts   our reflection   lord knows there are plenty of so-called new works which really have nothing to say   that offer no insights    have nothing to say other than look at me   I’m new!   look at me! I have skills! - he says with derission - blah dih blah dih blah!   so what!?   who cares!? – he says - if the sole criteria for a work’s value is that it be new   that it be skillfully made   then it’s just as empty as any of the products of the so-called entertainment industry    those weapons of mass distraction that are forced upon us everyday – the old man emphasizes sarcastically - just as vapid   just as vacuous   just as insipid    cynical and phoney as any of the commercial concoctions found on the various hit lists    the various best seller lists one gets shoved in one’s face on a daily basis    all such products   all so-called popular music   all so-called popular literature   is to music   is to literature    what fast foods are to real    good   delicious    nutritious food     all such music   such so-called literature    is nothing more than the disposable products of a consumer society out of control   empty   nothing more and nothing less    what’s more    just because a composition   a novel    is presented as an artifact of high culture   and so   presents itself as an alternative to the products of consumer society   presents itself as an alternative to consumer society   it doesn’t necessarily follow that it has anything important to say   it doesn’t necessarily follow that it offers our senses    our feelings and thinking   our spirit   anything to learn   any meaningful insights into our reality    more often than not    such works are no more than an empty façade    a sheer waste of time   nothing more and nothing less – he says gleefully, savouring every invective and then continues spitting out in a frenzy -  language is always saying more than we want it to say     it has a tendency to undermine itself     even to turn against itself       one might seem a word here     you might see a word there    a figure   the relation to what is present    what purports to present itself in this vanishing   this chiaroscuro    what we would know were it simply a question of somethink to know    to play with a reinvention of the surface    what reappears creaking    squeaking    crackling or screaming    the reflection of an abyss which returns nothing    returns us to nothing    opening the hollow of a labyrinth    beneath the appearance of a surface    of a fold    a folding    forever a folding    becoming unfolding    unraveling the unrevealing beginning in an experience involving one’s hands     one’s eyes    voice and ears   one’s body    one replies exactly to a question wrapped    enfolded in the answer of the scene    excused for not of this name    naming   while at the same time    unrevealing as does a revelation involve   invoke     a concealing     a consealment    a con seal meant – he whispers - in any case    who can claim exclusive ownership of the language we speak on a daily basis?   who can claim exclusive authorship of our common language?   of all so-called natural languages?   who can rightfully claim exclusive authorship of our language and all its parts    all its words   all its expressions   all its figures and mannerisms   who can claim exclusive ownership of a particular ordering of its elements?   a particular ordering of its words?   a particular sequence of words?    a particular phrase?   a particular sentence?   these are all verbal constructs which have occurred again and again throughout the course of history   a long chain of permutations whose orderings are more or less arbitrary and whose origins remain largely unknown   who knows when the first word was uttered?   when the first thought was thought?    even to say we as a nation   as a culture    have created the language    this language with which we express ourselves and like to think we communicate with each other on a daily basis   this language with which I now attempt in vain to communicate with you   to say that we    as a nation    as a culture have created this language is utterly absurd   utterly arrogant   just who are this we those idiotic nationalists and purists are referring to?    to make such claims is not only idiotic   it is utterly derivative    all such claims are utterly derivative   devoid of any originality    devoid of any authenticity   such thinking   if it can be called that    is utterly derivative    utterly formulaic    all such thinking sounds utterly derivative these days   all such pronouncements    such criticisms    one hears in the media    in the so-called specialized magazines   sound utterly derivative and utterly unimaginative    and most of all   utterly repetitive    it is all utterly repetitive    utterly redundant    everything one reads and hears today is utterly repetitive and redundant – the old man says - one has heard it all    over and over again    decades ago    decade after decade the same useless tripe    decade after endless decade the endless tedium of humanity    the endless tedium of the so-called human   the so-called human condition    the so-called human and its self importance   as if that’s all there is to life    as if that were all there is to this vast     mostly unknown universe we’re in    it is maddening!   one feels like an animal trapped in a maddening labyrinth    a labyrinth made of derivative thinking    derivative talking and derivative writing    a maze made up of stock phrases and derivative    formulaic thinking    the maddening tedium of it all!    no longer can I escape from the maddening tedium of all these derivative thoughts and stock phrases that are forced upon me from all quarters    no longer can I escape such crushing tedium such mind numbing idiocy    by listening to some of my favorite composers    of which there are countless examples    from all historical periods     no longer can I find consolation    no   not even in Boethius – he mutters snickering - or by studying and listening to my favorite composers     no longer do I find solace in Hildegard von Bingen’s Alleluia, O virga Mediatrix or Machaut’s Messe de Notre Dame    nor for that matter    Dufay’s motet Nuper Rosarum Flores    or my all time favorite    Ockeghem’s Requiem! – he says with increasing agitation - what’s more    I can no longer escape this condition   this crushing tedium    by listening to Josquin’s Ave Maris Stella or Pallestrina’s Pope Marcellus Mass    nor for that matter my all time favorites    the madrigals of the marvelously dark    the murderous Carlo Gesudaldo!   not to mention    the madrigals of Monteverdi and Arcadelt! – the old man exclaims with increasing excitement – no longer can I escape this paralyzing boredom by reveling in Archangelo Corelli’s Trio Sonatas or by meditating on J.S. Bach’s partitas and sonatas for solo violin    or Mozart’s Divertimenti!   no!    nor do Beethoven’s late quartets satisfy     nor do the fantastic Nocturnes by Chopin   or any of Brahms’ works   nor for that matter    my all time favorite    Mahler’s Fourth! – he exclaims almost shouting, bouncing up and down in his squeaking chair – no   no longer can I find pleasure in Debussy’s Jeux    or Stravinsky Rite of Spring   nor do I derive any intellectual satisfaction from the works of the New Viennese School    Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire    Webern’s Five Movements for String Quartet    or   for that matter   my all time favorite    Berg’s Lyric Suite! – he shouts clasping his hands together and raising his eyes toward the ceiling imploringly – no    no longer can I escape this agonizing condition I have fallen into by listening to my favorite avant garde composers   that revolutionary master piece of musique concrète   Symphony pour une Homme Seul by Pierre Shaefer and Pierre Henry    or Stockhausen’s    Kontakte and Microphonie    no   none of those manage to pique my interest anymore    neither do Cage’s marvelous compositions for prepared piano  or Feldman’s   Durations     or Milton Babbitt’s mysterious Philomel for computer and voice    not even the wonderfully poetic    so-called acousmatic compositions by Parmigiani   his De Natura Sonorum for instance   no   none of those any longer provide me with any kind of pleasure or interest     no longer can I escape this petrifying condition I’ve fallen into    this petrifying condition I’ve fallen prey to   this insidious condition that’s taken over me     body and mind     by listening to Ligeti’s Atmospheres    or anything by Xennakis    anything really – he says softly, as if suddenly distracted, blowing smoke through his nostrils – nor does La Cuhte d’Icare by Ferneyhough    provide me with any intellectual pleasure    or the amazing sound compositions by Helmut Lachenmann such as his Les Consolations   or Salvatore Sciarrino’s Sui Poemi Concentrici    or the enigmatic this(continuity) by the equally enigmatic and reclusive Peter Riverdale    or Harry Partch’s wondrous Bewitched    or for that matter    my all time favorite   that incomparable noise music theater Hellhörig by Carola Bauckholt! – he says whimpering, sinking back into his chair in resignation -   
                                                            no   even they   all of them   now   after all these years of close listening and study   are dead to me    empty shells    meaningless    they all sound overdone   empty    utterly derivative    all too familiar – the old man says – empty really   they’re all empty    this is why   one day     I just stopped composing    I came to a complete halt   this is why   one day    I could not write a single note    not a single quaver or semiquaver    I could not articulate a single musical idea    it became blatantly obvious that it is very difficult to know what to write anymore    what one needs to write     let alone the historical necessity    if there is such a necessity at all    one day I just had to stop   I had to stop trying    one day I just stopped trying    I couldn’t go on anymore     for a long time I would torment myself by trying   over and over again    to write something    to compose something    please   I would say    just let me write on more meaningful musical idea    just let me write one more original musical idea    one more musical idea that doesn’t sound derivative   this I would say   to whom?   to what?   I don’t know   perhaps to myself   I would implore    like this I would implore    humiliate myself to whomever    to whatever   by begging in this manner   I would say   please   just one more musical idea    just one more piece with some semblance of originality    one more fragment   which I could then     if nothing else    repeat over and over again and   at least    sound contemporaneous with the so-called minimalists and their so-called minimalism – he says emphatically, staring at me with glaring eyes – let me at least repeat myself in this most tedious manner and so be contemporaneous with my minimalist colleagues – he winces taking another drag from his cigarette - let me at least repeat myself    this little musical idea of mine   as I’ve already said   let me repeat it    in this most insidious    this most annoying and irritating manner   and thus    by force of sheer redundancy    that is to say   by means of sheer brute force    force it upon myself     make myself believe in it     make myself feel it is meaningful   convince myself I am doing something meaningful    maybe not entirely original    maybe not entirely authentic     but at least     by force of sheer repetition    create a context which would provide some semblance of meaning to this little musical idea of mine   and so     in this manner     convince myself it is meaningful    convince myself I am doing something meaningful – he says impatiently shuffling his feet on the dusty floor – my so-called colleagues    my so-called minimalist colleagues    all this I would say to myself - he wheezes on - think to myself   all this   yet knowing full well that to say such things    to have such aspirations    is itself derivative    old hat   cliché   over worn
                                       worn out   over done   done a million times over    refried beans as they say – he laughs snidely and begins coughing - all of this of course   stems from my pathology    the fact that I am prone to illness    and how the sickness has spread throughout my entire system   slowly but surely    leading to my complete breakdown    the complete hollowing out of my body and mind     the gradual drying and shriveling up of all my internal organs which I know have crumbled into dust and spewed out of all my orifices    like spores of an unknown fungus – he whispers again wheezing – now    all that’s left me    are echoes    echoes of thoughts reverberate through my empty skull     their interference patterns criss cross the insides of my empty   hollowed out    organless body   the entire shell of my body resonates    reverberates chaotically like some mad bell    filling me with dread and despair! – he suddenly shouts -  . . . the meaninglessness of the fascination with novelty . . . – he whispers again - all true works of art   in some way    to some degree    point to the mystery of existence    the mystery of what we call reality    otherwise they are merely empty formal exercises devoid of any content    any truth content   empty shells with nothing to say    mere academic exercises – he scoffs - the relationship between art and religion is very close    the distinction between the two is negligeable    both unfortunate and artificial     I mean to say    religion as in religare    relatio    to bind with     to connect with    how we relate to the world so-called    as opposed to the projections of our imaginations we call beliefs and which we foist on the so-called world . . . even the most advanced experiments with the new technology often falter    collapse into meaninglessness    most of this so-called new music is but mere icing on the cake    no substance    utterly derivative . . . and yet . . . and yet . . . – the old man whispers as he spins around mechanically in his squeaking chair – even as the concepts of originality and authenticity    the concept of genius    the concept of original genius     turn out to not be all that original    all that authentic    mere clichés as it were    a product of Romanticism     there is something of the original in the idea of unoriginal genius – he smirks – there is something of creative ingenuity in the idea of uncreative writing    it is all rather clever    and    in its own way   a very imaginative response to those pompous twits who are always prattling on about poetry and poets having to have a so-called voice    an authentic voice    an original voice    they go on like this not realizing that what they are saying in itself is not original   is inauthentic    all clichés in fact     all borrowed words    borrowed concepts and thoughts    all of it    I make no bones of all this myself    in fact    I love the unoriginal    I love it so much    I keep copying it all the time in me own works – he snickers – at the same time   the critique of genius theory itself may be a kind of master stroke    a stroke of genius itself    as  my former colleagues   who made these claims . . . as I have done in the past . . . these poets and theorists   who are critical of the idea of genius   of a unique personality    a unique artist with a unique view    and who write   who construct  difficult works    as I have done in the past    works of intricate complexity   which the masses    as we were wont to condescend     cannot readily comprehend these works of verbal and conceptual complexity which require considerable intellectual prowess and erudition to construct and appreciate   these are works which not anybody can make    these are works that require considerable knowledge and skill    I mean to say    considerable intelligence     not anyone can construct such works    not anyone can read and understand them – he says smirking – I could never understand why the experimental poets of my time    many of them colleagues of mine     put down music of an experimental nature    of a complex nature    music that employs techniques and procedures similar to those they apply in their own very complex   very difficult writing   they sawr it    music of an experimental character    and those of us who composed it    as suspect – he says smirking again – elitist and reactionary    I believe were the terms we got labled with    thrown at us   we were considered antirevolutionary   in league with the forces of oppression    in league with the dominant order of deceit that reigns over society as a whole   the empire of lies as they say     all too eager they were to slap those kinds of labels on anyone they felt didn’t see eye to eye with them    all too eager to treat those who disagreed with them as suspect    all too eager to dispense punishment and humiliation on those they felt disagreed with them   more so if you happened to be a student   as you well know   yourself having been one of their students    one of our students  he says correcting himself - and having bared the brunt of our abuses    for what else can they be called but that   abuses – he chuckles mechanically looking at me with disdain – the inaudible opens up . . . presents itself such as they . . . it is that there is no purely . . . remains . . . lets them be heard . . . remnants . . . for the same reasons . . . can never be sensed as a full term . . . the mark of an inapparent relationship . . . from this point of view . . . myself being interested in interdisciplinary work and inhabiting an area  that stradeled the boundaries between both disciplines    between both departments    between both territories    the music department and the poetics department    I soon found myself in a difficult position     where I too became suspect to members of both territories     but especially those in the poetics department   I could not help but notice the double standard amongst the writers who wrote difficult works    works of an exploratory    of an experimental nature    which used all kinds of procedures   while at the same time they found suspect those kinds of complex    difficult musical works which     like their writings   were of an exploratory and experimental nature    and used procedures similar to those they used in their own writings . . . seeing it as suspect    music in which the musical material was subjected to various kinds of procedures    while at the same time they regarded certain pop music stars as revolutionary - he smirks - how   pray tell    is music whose main purpose is to make money   revolutionary – the old man snickers - how are musicians whose works serve the dominant socio-economic order   and whose musics function as advertisement    as propaganda for the system that spawns them   how are any of them revolutionary?     why   the word itself has been co-opted    has become a product of the entertainment industry and its weapons of mass distraction . . .
                                                                                                   of course    one needs to bare in mind that contemporary poetics    contemporary literary theory has not yet resolved in a satisfactory manner  the relation of what some call the new depthlessness to the so-called genius position    so much in vogue among many of the the so-called deep    the so-called difficult    the so-called complex theorists and poets of today    whose ideas    whose words might as well be law    what’s more     even as many of those theorists and poets question the idea of genius    the idea of a unique individual with unique ideas and abilities    even as they question the idea of a transcendental ego   of an authentic self    of a unique artistic style   even as these images of the genius are summarily dismissed   torn down   as perhaps they should be   it is impossible today to read any of these theorists’ texts without coming across page after tedious page of citations listing the names of all the big critics and theorists of the past thirty or fourty years   a veritable pantheon of writers    theorists and critics who might as well be enshrined     I mean     if genius theory is no longer valid   if there is no such thing as a unique or individual authority    why are all these names so sacred?   especially among the so-called left in academe and the literary so-called world    all of the poets and theorists I’ve ever met have very strong personalities   for all the claims that some make of selflessness in their works    why   many of them are among the biggest egos I’ve ever known! – he laughs derisively - like my former colleagues and I – he smirks knowingly - all  of these theorists and poets    for all their critiques of power    their critiques of mastery and authority    make very powerful    very masterful and authoritative arguments – he cackles – but what does this mean  in a satisfactory manner?   ­ what does satisfaction have to do with anything?   all thinking is always unsatisfactory    in as much as it is incomplete and unstable    an ongoing process of exploration    of investigation    likewise all works of art are utterly unsatisfactory    imperfect    incomplete    what’s more    most of the theories on which such works are based have lost their edge – he entones sarcastically – I mean to say    now that the exploratory poetries associated with the various movements of experimental writing are several decades old    the theorists and critics’ formulations and related theories of the so-called postmodern have lost much of their edge     were we to set aside the works of mainstream poets    those rather boring poets who proclaim the centrality of a lyric voice in their works    and limit ourselves exclusively to contemporary    experimental poetics    we see that certain issues have not been resolved in a so-called satisfactory manner    as I’ve already said    the relation of what some like to refer to as the new depthlessness to the so-called genius position    a position now held by those evidently deep    those complex   those difficult    these deep   these big theorists    these big poets    with their posh academic positions and their lavish publications   these big theorists and critics who make all those grandiose pronouncements are themselves individuals of uncommon intelligence    individuals of uncommon intellectual prowess    individuals who    like myself    are of above average intelligence I would say    many of whom approach genius level or even are geniuses   like myself if I may say so    or at least    they are very clever   more than most   more than the so-called masses    as we liked to call them in our typically condescending manner   most of these theorists and poets    most of my former colleagues   who like to think of themselves as being on the left    are individuals of privilege who have had the opportunity to attend some of the the finest universities in the world    Harvard    Stanford    Oxford and Cambridge   or like myself  the Sorbonne and Yale  it was in such institutions that we acquired superb educations     educations not too many can afford    not too many can even begin to dream of    educations which provided them    I mean to say    us    with the kind of knowledge   the kind of intellectual preparation necessary for the kind of very sophisticated    very nuanced thinking used in the making of some of these very remarkable works   these very difficult poems   these very difficult critical and philosophical works
                                                                                              these Foucaults    these Roland Barthes    these Deleuzes – the old man says - these experimental poets   these friends of mine who proclaim the death of the author   the death of the subject    the death of genius    the death of expressivity    who preach the critique of power and authority    the critique of mastery    are indeed expressing themselves    expressing their selves     very eloquently   in    I mean to say   through their critical thinking     their theoretical writings    their philosophical writings    if not in their poetry    putting forth their ideas   their biases    their arguments in a very masterful and authoritative manner    and in styles which are recognizably unique to each one of them    I mean    if you read a text by Derrida and then you read one by Foucault or Deleuze    you most certainly cannot confuse one with the other    the same goes for the experimental poets    there is absolutely no way you can confuse one with another   beginning with their interests    the subject matters they choose   the way they organize their material   their ideas    the way they structure their writing    their books    or rather how they disorganize  or     perhaps more appropriately   delinearize the thinking   the writing    and so   the reading    there is absolutely no way one could confuse one with the other    no way one could confuse anything by Barthes for Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus lets say    they all have clearly established and demarcated textual identities    beginning with the way they look as books and on the page    clearly delineated territories and positions within the critical    the literary and academic so-called worlds   they have become in fact    figures of authority in their own right – he smirks – no doubt    to be sure    they are all aware of each others’ works   they have all read each others’ works     many of them knew or know each other personally    I mean    big critic or philosopher or theorist A has read big critic or philosopher or theorist B and C’s works    while philosophers B and C have     of course    read philosopher A’s works      and philosophers A     B and C have read the works of philosophers D and E       and in turn    philosophers D and E have read and possibly written about the works of philosophers A   B and C        just as it’s very likely    philosophers F    G and H    have read and thoroughly mulled over and written about and perhaps even deconstructed the works of philosophers A     B     C     D and E and so on      each one with his or her cadre of followers and admirers    their established territories    their positions of power     their cadre of admirers latching on to every utterance     hanging on to every word as if the word of a god   which explains why they have that groveling way of walking – he says – that disgusting groveling way of walking and talking   that disgusting groveling posture admirers have – he says - all too willing to submit themselves to the will of the one they admire – the old man says - I can’t tolerate a state of admiration    admiration is foreign to me    nothing disgusts me more than watching people in the act of admiration    admiring a famous theorists      admiring a famous poet    a famous professor      admiring a famous musician      I can’t tolerate being admired - he says again - when someone admires me or admires any of my colleagues    or admires a famous writer     a famous theorist      a famous composer     a famous poet    I lose all respect for that person    I can’t stand admiration    it is corrupting    it is corruption for the admirer is blinded and once blinded he or she turns a blind eye to the abuses perpretrated by the one admired     whom     by the way    very often abuses the admirer – the old man cackles - once you succumb to admiration    the fear of questioning sets in    and with the fear of questioning    hypocrisy sets in – he says - at the same time     accepting admiration forsters hierarchicism    authoritarianism    when someone admires someone else and the person admired accepts the admiration     both parties are accomplices in reproducing and constructing yet again    another hierarchical     another authoritarian structure – the old man says – when people fall into admiration     they become dull-witted    dull-witted and blind – he says - and are willing to accept anything from the one admired     an intelligent person – the old man says – an intelligent person esteems   perhaps     respects and acknowledges but never admires – he says – were an intelligent person to commit the error of falling into admiration     he or she would soon become an idiot      another dull-witted    groveling    slobbering idiot – he says – a slobbering fool chasing after    groveling and submitting to the will of the admired      in effect   belittling him or herself at the feet of the one admired – the old man says – a sorry state of affairs      a truly sorry state of affairs      a pathetic state of affairs – he says – which explains the truly sorry      the truly pathetic state of affairs in our society    in our world      there are the admired and there are their contless cadres of dim-witted     slobbering    groveling fools of admirers mired in their admiration  all of whom are exploited by the admired     shamelessly    ruthlessly exploited by the admired . . . in any case    as I was saying – he says reaching into his pocket for his flask – it is differences more than similarities or group labels among the various so-called countercultural poets and writers that now strike one as more significant    despite their emphasis on the so-called disappearance of the referent    the emphasis on asyntacticality and the materiality of the sign    all the while    of course    most of them completely oblivious of what authorizes them as authors   what creates the authority with which they as authors    authorize themselves – the old man cackles sarcastically – what’s more   the relationship between tone of voice and identity is something that is generally overlooked    one could not possibly confuse the tone of voice of one poet for that of another   each voice being singular    unique if you will   with it’s own tone color and texture    some more nasal than others   others more throaty and raspy   some husky   some shrill   some breathy   how each entones a line   pauses or emphasizes a word or syllable    it is the various types of musicalities with which they read their poems   their texts   that makes what they say expressive   why   it is precisely the musicality    the cadence     the way their voices arch downwards toward the ending of a line   that betrays just how conventional some of these poets truly are   so much so that the word Romanticism  comes to mind   I am reminded of music from the Romantic era   it is all this twaddle about the musical in poetry that I find so repulsive    so outmoded   a product in fact of the nineteenth century   all of which betrays a very conventional     naïve even   notion of what the musical is or could be   these theorists and critics    these experimental poets     who are always rattling on about the death of the subject    who are always claiming to be against the centrality of the individual artist   of the self    of the lyrical voice    who are always prattling on against the primacy of speech    and who    in the process    evidently    very much like hearing themselves speak    and who    like myself   are capable of talking one’s ears off when they get going – he cackles again – rarely    if ever     do they talk about the relationship between tone of voice and identity    this feedback loop     in fact I’ve never heard any of them talk about it    nor have I encountered any writings on the matter   none that I’m aware of in any case   probably because they are ignorant of the acoustics of the human voice    lacking in knowledge of the structure of sound in general   few    if any    have any knowledge of the physics of sound    they are lacking in awareness about the unique acoustic properties of each voice    of each sound     and what makes it possible for us to distinguish one sound from another     what makes it possible for us to identify one voice from another    what makes it possible to identify one’s own voice when hearing oneself speak    most of them not being musicians    most of them not having studied acoustics or   for that matter    psychoacoustics    most of them not having studied the very complex acoustics of the human voice    obviously ignore the acoustic properties of the sound of the human voice   which is unique to each individual    I mean to say    the acoustic properties of the human voice are quite unique     the spectrum of a sound     the spectrum of a voice is a structure unique to that voice and that voice alone    as you well know – he says looking at me with disdain – it elicits all kinds of associations in one’s consciousness when one hears it     even if those voices are recorded and played back    the sound of those voices elicits in our memories    in our minds’ ears and eyes    the sound and physiognomy of the speaker    the so-called body type    that person’s particular body language    physical gestures which usually coincide with his or her tone of voice    his or her inflections    his or her accents    his or her particular rhythms    the rise and fall of their intonation    the changing levels of the loudness of their voices    all these factors combined make for a unique and complex field of expression    an energy field of sorts which is part of the physical precense of the speaker   a kind of body in fact   a body of sounds   a body of vibrations    a body of energy – he winces taking a sip from his flask and then puffing on his cigarette continues - even if the speaker is not present bodily    I mean to say   in flesh and blood    neither is he entirely absent    as some would like to think   for the sound of her voice is part of that speaker’s physicality    physicality is not only the flesh and bones you know    it is also the energy emitted by that person    and that energy’s signature is inscribed    as if a kind of writing    on the electro-magnetic medium of the recording devices used     either as electro magnetic patterns on tape or as digital patterns on the electromagnetic coating on a computer’s hard drive    a series of ones and zeros in binary code as the case may be     here is a clear example of how speech is a kind of writing    what one hears    is not quite a so-called ghostly voice   a kind of presence of an absence as it were    but actually it is a kind of irregular    partial absence    that of the flesh and bone body   while at the same time    a kind of partial presence in the form of that body’s energy emanations   in the form of sound patterns   a body of sounds    of vibrations    a body of energy in the form of sounds in fact    there is more than one body you see
                                                                               wha’ happens is    many factors inform the perception of timbre     these include the amplitude envelope of the sound    especially the attack shape of the envelope     it’s formant structures    the perceived loudness and duration of the sound    but especially the frequency and amplitude information found in the attack of that sound’s envelope    the structure of the sound of each person’s voice    its spectrum     its timbre or tone color    I mean to say    the frequency and amplitude information found in the attack of that particular sound’s envelope is unique to each individual     it is    in fact   what permits us     our brains     to distinguish    to identify    one voice from another   it enables us to tell the difference between one voice and another    it is    in fact     what permits us to identify our own voices  thus closing a kind of aural feedback loop which is instrumental in our being able to recognize ourselves     identify ourselves with ourselves     the spectrum     the timbre    of a voice     functions as a kind of acoustic finger print     an acoustic marker    a signature in fact    that inscribes itself . . . that says me    or some critic    some poet     some theorist     or whomever! – he exclaims with exasperation - more so if that sound is accompanied by images   as in film or video     in which we not only receive the acoustic information but also the visual information     the movements of the speaker his or her so-called body language    the way they dress    the colors they ware   the way their eyes move   shift about   their so-called eye language   
                                                                    the only way to do away with identity    the only way to do away with the lyric voice     the only way to do away with the centrality of the self     the centrality of the so-called individual artist    is to use machines    is to use computers and voice synthesis    leaving the sequencing    the ordering of events to computers and random processes    random number generators    but even so   this really wouldn’t do away entirely with the self   the ego    for it is the self    the ego   that chooses to employ such techniques   it is the ego   the self   that chooses to employ such technology    which has to be programmed   using programming languages     using programming code    as I use    in which are encoded the various kinds of procedures to which the textual material is subjected    the specific techniques chosen and the decisions as to how and when they are implemented still involves some kind of agency and are   however indirectly    expressions of that agency’s aesthetics    points of view    biases and desires     of course – he snickers again – there is no greater ego trip than when the ego claims to be egoless! – he exclaims - very often    those whom     like my former colleagues and I    proclaimed the need for a poetics    for a music   that used procedures which    according to them    I mean to say   to us    circumvented  the self   the ego    were among the biggest egos I’ve ever known – he cackles meanly – we all were     the greatest egotistical shits you’ve ever known    you’d find out very quickly just how big our egos were if you were to contradict or critizise any one of us    to be sure you’d meet with our wrath    some kind of punishment    some kind of abuse    more so if you were a student   as you well know – he looks sideways at me and smirks – an anarchic repudiation of the self    of the ego and an indefinite movement toward a new kind of subjectivity of course is necessary 
                 and yet   of course    it’s not so simple     as usual     as usual    it’s not so simple     I means    it’s not an either/or proposition    where there is a subject     an author    a voice    or     on the other hand    there is no subject    no author    no voice     only readers    things may be a bit more complicated than this     it may very well be that the relation between identity and agency is negotiable     fluid     interactive    what we call the self is not fixed     not made of stone    not that of the writer nor that of the reader     it changes over time     it changes with time     it is time changing    sometimes from moment to moment such that it’s hard to pin-point   I mean    there is no such thing as a here and now      now  comes and goes     as soon as you think it – he says – as soon as one says it      one’s so-called now  becomes then    and along with it   what ever presence or sense of being one may have      its always in a process of deferment     what ever being there is    it is this    this constant process of deferment . . . of course   one may well ask   what is that that is aware of this process    this ongoing process of deferment    who    or what is it that is aware of all this    as if looking at the whole thing from the outside    how is that even possible – he says shifting uneasily in his squeaking  chair - as soon as I write    I writes      as soon as I speak     I speaks    as soon as I read    I reads    I mean to say    I means to say     as soon as the self is projected     it is both polyvalent and announced – he says – form is emptiness    emptiness is form     as they say – he smirks – at the same time    one cannot pretend that an awareness of psychology   biography    an awareness of history is not active within the writing and reading of the text    this assertion    the poem as proposition     can be seen as one side of the proverbial coin    of self within the text from the particular point of view of the writer    the other side being the subjective or private canon . . . on all this    the views of some experimental writers are my own    those wonderful poets    wonderful poetic thinkers    whose poetry    whose thinking I adore and can’t help but copy as my own     not to mention Larry Eigner’s magical    mysterious illuminating poetry of spaces – he suddenly utters softly, distractedly and, shifting in his chair, lights another cigarette with the still smoldering butt of the one he just consumed – of course     strictly speaking    there is no subject that is not intersubjective    in literature    in writing    including that of the theorists   the critics    the self is a relation between the reader and the writer    set off by the power of presence   or by what some call contact    wha’ happens is    the text has little to do with whether it adopts a persona    is autobiographical  utilizes the language of animals or spirits  or is dictated by interdimensional beings – he coughs suddenly getting agitated - except     insofar as whatever position it puts forth proposes a connection between the reader    a real person with psychology    history     biography    and the writer    the poet   the theorist and critic   who are no less real and no less encumbered by all that baggage    where one would prefer maximum resistance     the irreducible opacity of the text     a reading     a lecture    a presentation invokes the power of presence like no other event    it acts like a conduit    a cone shaped conduit    a kind of funnel in fact   a reading forces the audience to focus the text into a single line or sequence of events and meanings    conditioned and constrained by the presence of the writer    the reading seems particularly constructed to bring about a kind of narrowing down of multiple possibilities to a single interpretation    it seems to invite a kind of ventriloquism    conditioned and constrained by the writer’s presence    it would seem readings force the audience to focus the text into a single thread of meanings    all of this of course    is reinforced by the reader’s tone of voice    I mean to say    its timbre and his or her physicality    the reader’s body language      the reader’s energy field     by virtue of this supplement    I mean to say    the reader’s physical presence     not to mention that there is probably some kind of energy exchange between one and the other    as we now know    we are all exchanging electrons    we all live and thrive in a kind of soup of energies and subatomic particles    so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if it turned out to be that the reader is influencing the audience at some level    with his brain    his mind   I mean to say    her thoughts and viscera    and vice versa   where the audience is influencing the reader with their thoughts    their emotions and desires     it wouldn’t be at all surprising if some kind of psychic connection      some kind of psychic bond is established between the reader and her audience – he says distractedly – in any case      it would seem to be that readings problematize ambiguity and multiplicity    and yet . . . and yet  . . . no two readings are alike   the fluctuations in the reader’s tone of voice    at times contradict the semantic content of the text    sometimes the reader’s body language    his facial expressions    physical gestures    hand movements    posture    eye movements   her breathing and the way she places accents     his inflections   all these variables combined with the listener’s shifting span of attention    the listener’s lapses into day dreaming    all these factors combined may generate slippages in listening    in reading    misunderstandings  in fact  moments of ambiguity which may lead to multiple interpretations and meanings . . . whatever the case may be – he says gesturing impatiently with cigarette in hand - when theorists and critics and their followers say things . . . I mean to say regurgitate like puppets at the ventriloquist’s command    statements like the death of the author    the death of the subject     obviously    they’re talking about the death of others    not themselves    I mean     they aren’t necessarily talking about their deaths as authors    as subjects – he says snidely - for it is an author   say Barthes    it is a subject    say Foucault    it is a personality    say some poet    it is an author   a subject   who says    who writes all that     it is an author    a subject with a history   a biography    a psychology   who says   who writes   the death of the author    it is a subject who says    the death of the subject    it is an author   a subject    who thinks     who writes and publishes such statements in a fancy    expensive    copywritten book from one of the fancy    expensive university presses    with his or her name on it    his or her stamp as it were    in fact    his or her signature    a thinking      a writing of papers and books that affords most of them with their posh academic positions    and rather well padded pocketbooks I should add     
                                      not to mention that many   if not all of these theorists and critics and many of the poets who attempt to implement the former’s theories with their poetry    many of them     have a kind of star status in the academic world so-called     in the literary so-called world    a status that can’t help but put their works    their thinking and speaking    their words    in a position of privilege relative to others not so fortunate    certainly relative their students . . . as you well know – he smirks again looking at me – most of these critics    these theorists and poets    on either side of the argument    are white    privileged    so-called Americans and Europeans    who    in the comfort and security of their posh academic positions    can very easily make the kinds of grandious claims they like to make    they can very well play at being Marxists or anarchists or whatever else they may fancy themselves to be    a luxury afforded them by the positions of privilidge they’re in     the territories they have indeed conquered . . . of course I was one of them     I’m guilty of such hypocrisy and violence myself – he says - of course     someone like yourself     I mean    a nobody like yourself     could never get away with all that    you could never get away with any of that     for there is no territory left to conquer and in any case   even if there was    you don’t have the power    you don’t have what it takes    only those of us in positions of power    secure within our posh academic positions    could get away with such behaviour    we could get away with such hypocrisy     we could get away with mistreating    with humiliating    with abusing our students    because we have the know how   the ability    the superior intelligence   it is afterall because of our above average intelligence   our superior intelligence that we have the positions we have   that we are successful at what we do   who has the right to question that?   It’s just plain to see   a simple fact   a hard edged fact perhaps   but a fact nonetheless     afterall    that is what our society    our culture is made of   built on I should say    it is built on aggressive even brutal competition    it actually thrives on it   we thrive on it – he says - our intelligence and our will to be forceful   ruthless if need be   this is what authorizes us   this is what gives us the right to look down upon the likes of you – he smirks - . . . I writes may be no more than the I’m right   I’m afraid    the having to be right about everything all the time    I mean to say    having to be perfect – he says disgusted and leaning back in his chair, blows smoke rings into the air – regardless of all that     I still love the experimental poets     I mean to say     I love their work    I love all the arts of an experimental nature    they are a breath of fresh air    as they say    as fresh as the stiffling    stagnant atmosphere allows for these days     it truly rearranges one’s innards    one’s noodle    I couldn’t stand the so-called free verse poets    I couldn’t stand the so-called voice poets      not only is all of that thoroughly passé     it is just utterly boring     utterly tedious to read or listen to    certainly not very interesting to look at in print    always more of the same served up under the guise of authenticity    a smug authenticity    a smug sincerity    which of course is no more sincere    authentic or original than the latest soap opera on television    and often    just as banal    obviously    there is no going back to earlier models    as the experimental writers would agree    the term voice which one still hears everywhere in poetry workshops so-called    a term that quite inaccurately implies that poetry is a kind of outward sign of a spoken self-presence where speech is primary and prior to writing    isn’t quite right . . . and yet . . . and yet . . . at the same time – he says shifting restlessly in his chair - it isn’t an either/or kind of situation    sometimes writing is an act of construction     an activity of building linguistic structures using concepts   words    sounds    phonemes    fonts and space as building materials    in other words   relying solely on the materiality of language    of the word     its sounds as well as the visual aspects of the text     a strategy that clearly affects ones thinking    this approach can affect     change one’s thinking and perception in ways one may not have forseen     may not have imagined    in fact it can generate new thinking    a new kind of thinking is generated    at the same time however     I can see    hear    a kind of writing that originates in one’s inner voice    the voice in one’s head    the voice one recognizes as one’s own   based on one’s memory of the sound of one’s voice    which    as I’ve already said    has a unique acoustic structure     a unique acoustic signature     a writing that originates in one’s so-called inner monologue   this kind of inner monologue that goes on in one’s head all the time – he says – but maybe it’s not a monologue as such   not a monologue at all    maybe there are several strands     several monologues which one hears and recognizes with one’s mind’s ear as one’s own because one hears the memory of the sound of one’s voice when speaking     one hears one’s tone of voice      one hears the timbre of one’s voice which is inscribed    so to speak     in one’s memory    in the mind’s chatter   the brain’s ongoing chatter   the mind’s ongoing noise    it’s various noises    the mind’s cacophony    the brain’s polyphony    which is a kind of speechwriting or talkwriting where one   within the confines of one’s skull is alone with one’s voices    the various voices    the various thoughts that bunch up on each other    bump into one another   snake around each other in a constant rustling struggle    wrestling for supremacy    for attention    a kind of swarm in fact     where the me    the I     is no longer a single monolithic structure but rather   a kind of composite made up of different Is    different mes    perhaps echoes    reflections of each other as in a labyrinth of mirrors – he says -     a kind of polyphonic structure in which many voices speak    arise    so to speak    and just as quickly disappear    such that when one writes   one is in fact hearing voices which in any case move too quickly to notate    type    put down on paper    into writing    or rather     what really happens    is that the I     the  me     is a single structure    I mean to say    not a structure but the self is a kind of state of being that lies somewhere in between a structure and a process     it seems like a structure   a thing     an object    when we focus our attention on it    when we look at ourselves     when we focus our attention on ourselves   we appear to ourselves as a stable structure     a thing    an object    at the same time however     when not focusing our attention on the self    on ourselves   but rather     focusing our attention on some kind of activity    such as writing for example     the I    the me    is no longer a stable structure as such     an object    a thing     it can’t really be called a structure     as in a system of parts linked together and functioning to make a whole     rather    the I      appears to be fluid   appears not to be a single I    because from moment to moment it changes    it is never really the same I    but one that flickers in and out of existence   in and out of one’s attention from moment to moment   it’s always new from moment to moment and therefore it may give the impression that there are several selves at once    that there are multiple selves     where in reality there is only one self that flickers in and out of existence very quickly always reappearing as something different   
                               wha’ happens in fact    is    that it doesn’t exist nor does it not exist    one sees images   scenarios   images of scenarios    a kind of theater takes place in one’s mind     in one’s mind’s eye   one may be able to see them with one’s mental bat ears    as kinds of sonograms    but of course one can never really write it down as one sees it in one’s mind    as one experiences it as language    it is very difficult to grasp what is meant by experiencing such inner  visions    such inner sounds     such objects of the imagination    such images   the words one writes with   these signs are always standins for the thing they represent     a long chain    or vast and complex web     or enormous and intricate network of signs defering the moment in which one can encounter the thing itself     in this sense     the word is defered presence    I mean to say   the closest one can come to apprehending the thing itself with language    the closest we can come to grasping or showing the thing     or stating the present     the being-present     that is to say    when the present cannot be presented    the closest one can come to actually grasping the thing represented    is to use repetition   repetition in the form of tautologies    I mean to say    reiterations   in other words     linguistic redundancies     that is to say    say or write the same thing over and over again but with different words each time    as if approaching a place    a space   a splace    from different directions    different paths or angles   
                                     when writing    the text and the writer are in a kind of feedback loop    wha’ I mean is     a kind of limit cycle     a kind of cascading feedback loop   I should say    in which information flows irregularly between both    in time   altering the content of the text and the writer’s consciousness and expanding the perimeter of the loop itself   increasing it’s energy as it oscillates irregularly between order and disorder . . . I can see    hear    a work    a writing    a poetry     consisting of a kind of irregular    or chaotic oscillation between the lyrical I and it’s dissolution into language   into fields of multiplicities    into a scatter     a scatter of words      syllables and sound complexes    vowel formants and phonemes    plosives    nasals    fricatives and sibilants       a text in which the visual aspects of the printed word are experimented with such that the usual layout of lines and paragraphs is severely disrupted    forcing the reader’s eye and mind to learn new and different modes of reading and thinking where the materiality of the word     of language    is emphasized    where the disappearance of the referent and asyntacticality take precedence over the semantic surface of the text . . . whatever the case may be – the old man says - I don’t understand why they give readings    I don’t understand why anyone would want to give a reading nowadays – he says snidely – why they give talks     why they give lectures     why they want to be seen     why they want their presence to be felt     why they want their image to be seen    projected onto . . . into people’s minds    the sound of their voices heard and identified     identified with their image    why they want all this    why proselytize in this manner    isn’t it good enough that they are published?     isn’t it good enough that they are read?    isn’t it good enough that they have comfortable academic positions?     I hate talks and lectures     I hate poetry readings     they’re utterly tedious    pretentious really      all those puffed up egos   prattling on and on     making their puffed up claims     their trumped up claims      going on and on about wanting to change consciousness when they can’t even change their own! – he exclaims -    of course     all those grandious claims have afforded       many of us     with our posh academic careers – he snickers – but in reality     I’ve never made those kinds of claims about my own work    it’s always been others who have said those things about it    my work    critics and theorists     criticizing and theorizing about my writings    my compositions    most of which I’ve ignored     actually I’ve only heard what my colleagues have said about what others have said or written about my work    I never really cared what anyone said   I knew what I was doing    what I wanted to do . . . the idea of unoriginal genius   this observation    this critique itself    which is so masterfully constructed     so cleverly argued and which    in a very skillful manner breaks down the idea of genius    the theory of genius    and which purports to be an anti-romantic gesture    is a kind of master stroke    a kind of stroke of genius itself – he cackles and coughs – a kind of romantic gesture of self denial    I mean to say in the sense that it is a kind of sacrifice    self sacrifice    a romantic gesture par excellence    as I may have said    all of art is a kind of romantic gesture     more so today when art is basically useless   in pragmatist terms    in consumerist terms    by default taking a critical position in relation to the latter    art can’t help but be political without one going out of one’s way to be explicitely political in one’s work    as in say     social realism . . .when consumerism and capitalist pragmatism . . . it is of course in these various critiques the theorists who in their masterful and authoritative manner    create the authority with which they as authors authorize their various critics of originality    their critiques of mastery and authority   thus . . . of course I have used these techniques   these writing strategies  myself a lot   all the time  I love them   they take me to unexpected places in the work   in myself . . .    
art is a kind of activity . . . something that questions and transforms the subject    this transformation is itself a political act because it entails a spiritual transformation     a radical change in one’s perception of the real . . . art’s goal    which is transitory    never final    is the transformation of the subject which involves contemplation     but  contemplation here is not a standing still    or rather    the standing still doesn’t mean inaction in which the work of art is just somethink that happens to us     means is a kind of action  and so a kind of transformation which permits one to witness the disappearance of the work of art    its transitoriness    its tentative movement to exist as a fixed thing   but this can be . . . where contemplation does not lie outside time   as some think    nor does it make time stand still but    in actuality   it is a kind of attention that moves with time    it is time itself you see        but not the usual idea of time    that is to say    time as a linear process    a sequential linear process    rather a web    a multidimensional web that extends in all directions simultaneously    as far as one can indeed talk of direction in this context . . . but the critique itself   like all critiques sooner or later   verges on becoming a kind of ideology    a kind of propaganda    these are all kinds of propaganda    to be more precise    these are kinds of advertisement which    like all advertisements    are to one degree or another propaganda for the system that generates them and which they serve    and   but perhaps more importantly a kind of entertainment   in the sense of distraction     a kind of distraction    and as such    a kind of denial     a kind of evasion from the reality of our situation   of course – he wheezes on coughing – nothing real is worthwhile extracting cleanly from what is ideologically its own lest the critique succumb to an ideology itself     that of the morally correct   the morally superior   the good guys so-called    as those on the right and the left like to think of themselves    the way my colleagues and I used to think of ourselves – he says with a sarcastic drawl – as my colleagues used to say    which is to say    ventriloquizing the big critics    the big  theorists word for word    these so called colleagues of mine with their Mexican gardeners and their live in Guatemalan house help – he smirks nastily – hypocrites    the lot of them    insufferable hypocrites    over time I began to feel ill with disgust at myself and all of them    rotted out by guilt and remorse   from the inside out    rotted out by guilt and remorse    I began to feel like a carcass    a rotting carcass      
                                                                   in any case people today do not appreciate what is said to them     what is shown them in a poem    in a work of art    many works of art are truly magnificent   but not one of them is perfect    not without their flaws    there is always something wrong with them – he wheezes on - this idea of perfection is nonsense     horrific really   I always start from the assumption that there really is no such thing as the whole     the perfect     the complete    the perfect ceaselessly menaces us with our ruin    it ruins everything we look at    it ruins everything we listen to and think about    perfection and the ideas associated it    closure and completeness    are truly abhorrent    my gratest pleasure    surely    is in the fragmented    the incomplete     the fragmented    the fragment itself    just as one derives the most pleasure from life if one regards it as a fragment    the complete and the whole    the perfect     are fundamentally abhorrent to me     it is only when one is lucky enough to break down something perfect    something whole or indeed     something complete into a fragment    when one gets down to experiencing the work of art in this manner    only then does one experience a high degree     at times indeed    a supreme degree    of pleasure in it    the whole and the perfect are intolerable to me    our world     our society    our culture   indeed our age     has long been intolerable as a whole    only when one perceives a fragment of it    is it tolerable    this is why most works of art     most paintings and sculptures    most pieces of music    most poems and novels    all of which are based on the ideals of perfection    completeness and wholeness   this grotesque   repugnant ideology of perfection    these utterly naïve ideals   these works of art    if I am to be honest    are abhorrent to me    in order to be able to bare them    I find myself having to search for a major fault in them    fortunately for me   so far   with this procedure    I have managed to turn every so-called perfect work of art into a fragment   a more barealble piece    it is thanks to this process     that is to say   of finding some great flaw    some great failure in each so-called perfect work of art    that I have been able to tolerate those ghastly works which are regarded as perfect – the old man says - of course   their greatest flaw is the claim to perfection itself   this wanting to be right all the time    it is their greatest flaw    it is sheer cowardice    the age old fear of death lurks behind them – he scoffs - for years and years    almost every morning    I would go to the Mauritshuis and sit in front of the self portrait by Rembrandt    you know the one    painted in 1669    for years and years I tried to elucidate what it was attracted me so much to that painting    I was completely enthralled by it   spellbound    until one day it became evident to me that there is an element of indeterminacy in his paintings    this is especially the case with this  portrait of himself as an old man    and later ones    which  not only show the technical development of the artist over time    but also show his inner development   it shows an awareness on the artist’s part of the fact that what he was painting wasn’t an object as such   that is to say    a solid thing fixed in space and time     but rather an ongoing process of change    which of course really can’t be done    which accounts for the mistyness    a kind of fogginess    a vagueness of definition around the figure in the portrait itself    also   a kind of non-descript foggyness in the background    there are no indications in the background that would give one a sense of place    where the painting took place   in a sense it is a kind of non-place     an abstraction    perhaps taking place solely in the artist’s mind    though there is of course an element of objectification   it is impossible to completely objectify the subject    more so if the subject happens to be the painter himself which accounts for his painting about ninety self portraits throughout the years    showing thus    an acute awareness of the impermanence of the self    what appears to be a fascination with the changes the self undergoes over time    an awareness of the subject as unstable     of the ambiguity of presence     the play   that is to say   the irregular oscillation between presence and absence    a kind of chiaroscuro if you will – the old man says - but more importantly   in his later portraits   Rembrandt clearly shows awareness of the imperfect which he incorporates into his art    in the form of a kind of play    a play between the perfect and the imperfect  which is what makes his paintings   especially the portraits of his last twenty years     in which he shows himself in a much more honest light    so much more human    this is what so fascinated me about that portrait and still does    ironically    perhaps paradoxically    his incorporation of the imperfect   the ugly     the marred    into the work itself    is what brings it the closest to perfection any work has ever been    but not quite of course   for were it to be absolutely perfect it would lose it’s power   its truthfulness    of course   this truthfulness  is a kind of fiction     I mean to say    the truth    if one may use that word    can be seen as constituted by fiction    if I may risk using that  word    just as truth may establish itself in the form of a fiction – the old man says – whatever the case may be   most works of art   which is to say all works of art    are failures    not one of these so-called world famous   so-called masterpieces   regardless of who has made them    are perfect or whole   all this produces a sense of joy in me   it reassures me    for only when    time after time    I see with my own eyes    which is to say    with my own mind    that there is no such thing as the perfect or the whole    am I able to continue living – he says licking his lips and taking another swig from his flask -  in general   one tends to love philosophy and the humanities   one tends to love the arts precisely because they are flawed and hopeless    why   just as we tend to be attracted to someone    a friend or a lover    because he or she is chaotic and not perfect    because he or she is helpless and not whole but vulnerable   for this same reason are we attracted to the humanities and philosophy    to the arts    because they are hopeless and flawed   they are helpless    the awareness of this fact is what enables a person like myself   which is to say   a desperate    a hopeless person like myself    to go on living in these hapless times – he says frowning - for decades   academics   poets    artists and theorists    have been saying the same thing    in one way or another   I mean to say tautologically    which is to say   a great deal of redundancy   of repetition    as my colleagues used to say   my colleagues who had appropriated verbatim    many    if not all the words written by the big theorists and the big critics    and were more than eager to throw them around    regurgitating them    ventriloquizing them . . . the critics    the theorists and poets swamp their readers    their victims    with twaddle – the old man says - if we read the big theorists today    the big critics   the big poets   the big writers    we only ever read that art twaddle that gets on one’s nerves     that unbearable art twaddle of the theorists and critics    that same art twaddle my colleagues and I used to prattle on about all the time – he says - people today only read poetry    go to concerts    go to museums     not out of interest    but because they have been told    by some twaddler    that a cultured person    a politically and socially conscious person     must go there    most    which is to say all of this twaddle ends up being a kind of propaganda    a kind of advertisement in the crassest sense of the word – he says - people are not interested in art   I mean to say    most people today don’t give a shit about poetry   wha’ I mean is     most people today don’t care in the least about art    any of the arts    ninety nine percent of humanity has no interest whatever in art    which is just as well    for the so-called person on the street   the so-called common man    the so-called average man   the so-called masses   are weary of all those art twaddlers    they are wise to the fact that the arts    which require contemplation    require thought    require considerable time and energy to comprehend    time and energy that most people don’t have    involved as most are in the drudgery of so-called everyday life     working as most are forced to    all kinds of tedious and meaningless jobs that lead nowhere except to a kind of grave   a kind of trap    a kind of live death    these masses which have been inculcated from an early age by the various ideologies ruling our world     after having already endured the violence of indoctrination    of inculcation   that is to say    of brain washing    the so-called masses are understandibly resistant to allowing themselves to be brainwashed yet again by some art critic’s   some theorist’s   some poet’s    some art historian’s twaddle – he says - it is no wonder they seek distraction   evasion   it is no wonder they seek to distract themselves from the crushing tedium of their lives with some mindless entertainment    entertainment that provides them with the momentary illusion of freedom  freedom from a life of meaningless tedium   the meaningless tedium brought on by their meaningless jobs   by the ideologies that stifle their minds   this vast prison house that is our society – the old man says – in this prison house of a world we have constructed    there is no such thing as a free person    a free child     from the very beginning   as soon as they’re born    the state takes hold of them by the throat and throws them into some school   some state school   where the state’s idelogies are mercilessly pounded into their little     helpless heads    school is the state school   which is to say    the state capitalist school     it is in these state capitalist schools that children are taught    which is to say    coerced   into being good    little    obedient workers and consumers    whose language    whose thinking   is the language   the thinking of state capitalism – the old man says – on and on one hears pundits    politicians and talking heads chattering about freedom and democracy    of course they have no choice but to talk like this    to talk about freedom    about democracy    in the midst of a totally unfree    undemocratic  world   they have no choice but to talk about freedom and democracy and they do so with glee   with healthy smiles on their faces   for they are not allowed to not smile   not allowed to not look healthy   they go on like this day after day   with their gleaming white   perfect teeth   smiling   as if anyone knew what any of that really means – he says – as if anyone has ever really experienced anything close to freedom    as soon as they talk of freedom   of democracy   this is tantamount to admitting there is no such thing as freedom    no such thing as democracy   there never really was . . . as soon as they open their mouths   with their gleaning white   perfect smiles    as soon as they speak of freedom and democracy   you know freedom and democracy are dead    have been dead for a long time    as soon as they start talking about the need to guard our freedoms   our democratic rights and our privacy    you know those freedoms    those rights    one’s so-called privacy has already been pronounced dead   the bars   the walls of our confinement are secured by all such prattle   the walls   the bars of our cages are secured with reassurances that we are free and that we live in a democracy  
                                 using only the language given them by this totally unfree    undemocratic society   with their minds restrained    their thinking restricted   in the harness of the culture’s official language   I mean to say   that of the main ideology   which is to say   that of state capitalism   and which   having become a kind of second nature   functions like a script that guides their thinking and speaking    even their body language   reducing their so-called thinking and their so-called speaking to a kind of ventriloquism – the old man says - the talking heads   the pundits and politicians    go on and on like this   regurgitating the official language   the official so-called thinking of state capitalism    if you watch them carefully    listen to them attentively   you’ll see   hear   that there’s an underlying rhythm that pushes them along   pushes every one along   an underlying rhythm that sets the pace for their thinking and speaking and their other physical actions as well   a frantic   panicky rhythm born from the motto time is money    and there’s not a second to be wasted for each second is counted in gold    all of their actions move to the rhythm of state capitalism’s monstruous money making machine   the rhythm    the pace of life   of so-called life   is set to the production and consumption clock of the state capitalist machinery – he says – of course   in order to offer some sort of resistance    however feeble    one has no recourse but to throw one’s tv set out the window   throw one’s radio out the window too  throw one’s computers    so-called smart phones and other devices out the window   and if that’s not enough    take a sledge hammer to them   shatter them to pieces   to smithereens – he says – reduce them to useless shards and splinters unfit even for landfills   use the magazines and newspapers as snot rags and toilet paper    that’s all they’re good for   junk with which to fill our ever growing land fills    as soon as they’re born   as soon as they think    as soon as they open their mouths    they ventriloquize the thinking   the language of state capitalism    from day one   there is no free child    their subjectivities having been completely colonized by capitalist ideology   by the various political   religious and philosophical systems of thought that serve the dominant ideology    which is to say    that of state capitalism   there is only the state capitalist child with whom the state can do whatever it wants   
                                                                                      where ever one looks these days – he says - one can only see state children   state capitalist children    taught by state capitalist teachers   who are overseen by state capitalist officials     the capitalist state produces and permits only state capitalist people    where ever there is still someone who has escaped state capitalist inculcation    he or she is ridiculed   humiliated    denied a decent livelihood    or hunted down     persecuted to the death or turned into an obedient state capitalist person   when one sees people    one only sees people who have fallen victim to state capitalism    one only sees people who have surrendered their lives to the state    people who only live to serve the capitalist state    when we look at people    we only see people who have succumbed to the state’s will   the people one sees have fallen victim to the state    what ever humanity there still is    it is only state humanity    which is to say    a state of inhumanity     in control societies      a cybernetic society of control such as ours       so-called social media is one of the best    most efficient ways of controlling people   simply by providing the illusion of communication and the establishment of new social connections    in the isolation of their homes    their computer terminals     their so-called smart phones   thus ensuring everyone’s complete alienation      a great machine that reduces humans to mechanical   biological mecanisms controlled by information     in formation with the reduction of humans to cultural cybernetic machines – the old man says - mecanisms    forming a serial    sequencial system turning in upon itself     coil after coil    overlapping circuits of control    constantly flooded by information    most of it noise   that is to say     useless information     the effect of which is paralyzing     hypnotized into paralysis       it stimulates     tantalizes and plays upon our desires    the dream circuits in the brain     if they can be called that    circuits      you see how this technological     mechanical language has seeped into everything     into our consciousness     this is no accident        if the brain can really be compared  to circuits at all – he says – neural networks     neural webs perhaps describes more accurately what really goes on     neural scrub     neural wilderness    neural forest      neural ecosystem      I think would be more appropriate – he says - of course to talk about all this is utterly tedious     it’s pointless to go on like this – the old man says – tedious because pointless    just as tedious and pointless as the crushing tedium and pointlessness most people are forced to endure in their daily so-called lives    all this criticism and analysis     society      the so-called human condition     the various critiques and analyses    what have they achieved?    despite all that   more than ever    it’s business as usual     theorists    philosophers have made their posh careers out of all that    it’s sometimes very interesting and entertaining    an intellectual diversion if you will   but it hasn’t changed much of anything     in fact    in some cases   they have become part of the problem      the various critiques – he scoffs – what have they done?     have they brought about a radical transformation in human consciousness?    the critique of power and so on    what point?    psychoanalysis    phenomenology     structuralism     deconstruction    post-structuralism      modernism and
          post-modernism so-called – he says mechanically - none of it has changed anything    the more we talk about it   the more we exercise our critical thinking   the more meaningless it all becomes   the more lacking in authenticity    the less and less genuine    the more and more phony it all sounds   more so coming from the minds   the mouths of those of us    who     for all intents and purposes are privileged    privileged shits is what they all are – he says – privileged    pompous shits    we all were     I mean to say    it’s all so common place     it’s all clichés   a long stream of clichés    for hundreds of years   this ridiculous faith in thought   in reason    this absurd faith we’ve had in reason    in thought    in reason’s ability to understand reality    to understand our situation in this world    this universe    this faith   this belief    this irrational belief and faith in reason and thought    this insane belief in thought’s ability to solve our problems    problems which thought has created in the first place    these ridiculous beliefs    have turned out to be delusional    have led us to a dead end    have led us into the current crisis    which is the same crisis we’ve been in for hundreds if not thousands of years – he cackles - you might think I’m making a case for irrationalism    but the belief   the faith in reason   in thought   in science     being faith     being belief    are by definition irrational    they have their roots deep in the irrational    in dreams    in fears    the desire for power    in greed and vanity – he cackles again – the repetition of the same patterns throughout the years    the centuries    utterly tedious and pointless   as I’ve already said    we’ve heard it all a million times over – he says – everybody knows this    and everybody has come to accept it     the tediousness of the human condition    the abuse of power    the wars    the ever ubiquitous barbarity and atrocities      which no longer surprise    no longer shock    after the horrors of the first and second world wars    we’ve become inured     nothing shocks or surprises us    we take it for granted     we’ve come to expect it   we’ve come to accept it all as part of the so-called human so-called condition     as part of the so-called human so-called nature     which has been accepted as final and therefore is always already a closed book and so taken for granted that it won’t change . . . year after year   you read the theories    the critiques    the various analyses     year after year     year after tedious year you hear about it    are lectured about it by your colleagues     you hear it from guest speakers    from the big theorists    critics    poets and writers    on and on    all of them in one way or another     preaching     proselytizing     on and on they go until so much repetition turns it all into a mass of noise     of static     a great meaningless mass of noise and as such    more useless information    in formation with the tenor of the times – he smirks – the utter meaninglessness of the times     which is no different from the meaninglessness    the pointlessness of times past    the only difference being that today we can’t escape it    all the distractions we’ve created over the centuries are wearing thin and the nauseating meaninglessness     the utter pointlessness of our lives is surfacing     coming to the fore – he whispers gruffly –  the project of knowledge    which has been the project of thought    is showing its limitations      its shortcomings     especially when it comes to knowing and understanding the self       human psyche      the mind and life     and the self’s place in life    but the unknown     which is boundless   unfathomable   cannot be reduced or contained by the known    which is thought    each moment    the mystery of life stares us in the face whether we know it or not      whether we like it or not . . . knots of discontent     this content was as if by dreams an intent – he mutters distractedly staring out the window into the gloom - no doubt    to be sure    they are all aware of each others’ works   they have all read each others’ works     many of them know or knew each other personally    I mean    big critic or philosopher or theorist A has read big critic or philosopher or theorist B and C’s works    while philosophers B and C have     of course    read philosopher A’s works      and philosophers A     B and C have read the works of philosophers D and E       and in turn    philosophers D and E have read and possibly written about the works of philosophers A   B and C        just as it’s very likely    philosophers F    G and H    have read and thoroughly mulled over and written about and perhaps even deconstructed the works of philosophers A     B     C     D and E    and I’m certain that philosophers and theorists A   B   C    D    E    F   G and H are thoroughly familiar with the works of philosophers and theorists I    J and K and have most likely written about them and critiqued them    just as one can be most certain that philosophers or critics or theorists I     J and K are thoroughly familiar with    and most likely written critical essays   and even given lectures about the works of philosophers     theorists and critics A   B   C   D   E   F and G      and of course one can be certain that philosophers and theorists X    Y and Z know the works    the thinking of philosophers and theorists J    K and I     and the works of A     B     C     D     E    F and G thoroughly     almost word for word     and have written countless essays and books and perhaps even have been on the lecture circuit lecturing their unsuspecting victims about the importance of     or fallacy of or in    the works     the thinking of philosophers    critics and theorists K    J      I      H    G     F     E      D     C     B and A with their critical    their philosophical      their theoretical twaddle     which they exercise    which they weild like a weapon    what’s more     you can be sure philosophers     theorists and critics X    Y    Z    A     B   C     D   E    F     G   H     I     J and K     have thoroughly studied and intimately know the works of critics      philosophers and theorists L     M        N      O and P     whom    in turn    you can be sure of this     are very familiar with and have most likely analyzed and deconstructed the works of philosophers     theorists and critics A   B   C   D   E    F    G   H     I     J and K     and of course – he entones – you can bank on the fact that philosophers      critics and theorists A   D   B   H   F   C   E   M   G   I   P   J   N   K   L and O    and philosophers and criticts and theorists Y   Z and X    have deconstructed     analyzed   critiqued   even torn apart      the works    the words    ideas and concepts     if one may use that word    that concept     of theorists      critics and philosophers Q      R      S and T     whom     as you are well aware      are intimately familiar    and have written countless papers      some have even written several books in multiple volumes    about the ideas    the words and concepts     in short     the works of philosophers     theorists and crtics U     V and W   whom    as you well know    have read and thought about and written about the works    the ideas     the concepts of philosophers    writers    thinkers    theorists and critics A   B   C   D   E    F    G   H     I     J    K     L    M    N    O    P    Q    R   S    T     U     V     W     X    Y and Z      not necessarily in that order of course     and who have made it their live’s work to repudiate what all the other philosophers have said    written and done over the years     they have made it their live’s work to destroy every word uttered or written and thought by the other philosophers    theorists and critics    they have taken it upon themselves   with as much violence as it is permited them   to thoroughly tear apart     thoroughly destroy   demean and debase   which is to say    utterly destroy     their words    their works and therefore their reputations    ridiculing their thinking    their writing    their ideas and thus     ridiculing them personally     generating thus drama    excitement and intrigue in the academic world    in the intellectual so-called world   all of which    of course    is yet another layer of entertainment and distraction with it’s gossip and rumor mills    its utter nastiness . . . it serves mostly to make cushy academic careers for them     it is entertaining to them   distracting    even self congratulating in that they have convinced themselves they are doing something positive about the current crisis   the current human crisis with their thinking    their speaking and writing . . . of course all this knowledge    all this thinking    interesting and sometimes amusing   as it often is   is too ponderous   it lumbers on    and is therefore outstripped by the ever increasing speed and complexity of the destructive events taking place in our world    events which we have generated with our thinking . . . none of this of course has brought about any fundamental change in human consciousness     in society    in the dominant culture of consumerist distractions    in fact   one often finds that their followers    their admirers   are part of the problem    if not they themselves     I mean to say     the various philosophers    the various critics and theorists    their followers    their admirers   as I was saying    become part of the problem through their often aggressive      confrontational stance    their cliquish attitudes    evidently thinking themselves in the know    in the right     puffed up with moralistic righteousness and superiority as they often are      in any case    no matter how interesting and insightful    how relevant the works     the ideas and writings of all those philosophers and writers may be     these are works of considerable sofistication and complexity which deal with very complex issues   very intricately woven and structured texts   which require great knowledge and sofistication on behalf of the reader    the reader must certainly be very well read    very well educated    with ample knowledge of the history of ideas    those of us who read   or have read these works   belong to a very select   specialized group of readers    for the most part circumscribed to academia    it takes a lot of time and considerable effort for one to read and re-read such works  to think about them and to elucidate how   if any   those ideas    those concepts  might connect with one’s life   one’s life’s circumstances in a culture     if it can be called that    a society   if it can be called that    that is    for all intents and purposes   oblivious to thinking in any detailed    nuanced manner    oblivious to questioning and learning something new    which is why such thinking     such writing is circumscribed    limited mostly to academia where it becomes effectively neutralized     reduced to a mere academic exercise     most people whose lives have been taken over by the duties of work and family   have very little time and interest in grappling with such works    very little or no energy left to sit and learn how to read those intricately crafted and masterfully written texts
         in light of all this    I can’t help but feel   can’t help but say   I hate poetry     I hate music    the hero worship of the poet   of the composer    the artist    such a nineteenth century notion    such a romantic notion   the romantic notion of poet as revolutionary   as seer dispensing wisdom   this is why I can’t stand myself   for I am myself steeped in all that art twaddle    all that poetry and music twaddle    all that theoretical and philosophical twaddle   this whole cult of the artist    of the importance of art    of culture    is disgusting – the old man says – this enshrinement of art and culture   as if they were some kind of religion    which in fact they have become    with their missionaries    their high priests  and priestesses    this whole self congratulating   self centered culture of mutual admiration    and debasement    this enshrinement of pettiness     this self serving     self congratulating culture of favoritism    this opportunistic notion of art as a kind of knowledge    and critics and theorists as those who know better    this cult has indeed become too precious    all of it harks back to the romantic notion of artist    of poet   of musician    of composer as visionary    as mystic    in possession of some kind of special knowledge    some unique insight    why they’re all romantics at heart   this notion . . . the whole idea of poetry is such a bore    such a romantic notion    with its heroic gestures    the poet   the artist as saviour    dispensing advise    wisdom   whether you want to hear it or not   their revolutionary pretenses . . . the more experimental poets are just as bad in this respect as are the so-called voice centered poets    they both converge seamlessly on this point – he says – they’re both just as sappy    naïve     while at the same time presumptuous and sanctimonious    with their inflated views     their grandious claims    this even though I am partial to the experimental writers    the experimental composers    I mean   there is no turning back    no going back to older forms    in any case    these apparently opposing tendencies are two sides of the same coin   as it were    they’re in a kind of paradoxical relationship . . . in my own work    in an attempt to show that the two terms of an opposition are merely accomplices of each other   extensions of each other really    I’ve always tried to undo these opposed perspectives. . . of course    in time   I drew fire from both sides    both sides of the argument    the so-called experimental poets and the so-called voice centered poets   overnight I became suspect     overnight my friends and colleagues turned against me    in their minds     I became suspect   in their endless need for enemies   I became yet another    another enemy and another casualty of their idiotic squabbles     their idiotic conflicts     conflicts which they so much enjoy   thrive on – the old man says - relishing as they do the pummeling    the total humiliation of the other     as you know very well – he says - I dare say   if they were left alone on a desert island with nothing but knives     they would be at each other’s throats    they would be slitting each other’s throats in the blink of an eye    stabbing each other in the back literally    all the violence    all the bile that otherwise in the academic world so-called     in the literary so-called world    gets rechanneled and expressed through more    shall we say    civilized means     that is to say   through words mostly    through words and nasty gossip    all that repressed violence    would become uncorked    would suddenly explode into a frenzy of unabashed hatred     were they left alone on a desert island     were it not for the rules and laws we have against violence . . . of course we circumvent those rules    those laws   and find other ways of inflicting violence on each other    as you well know   words themselves can be used as weapons    one can kill with words     the blood shed may be invisible    but it isn’t erasable    it is real enough    so too the suffering caused . . .  most artists and intellectuals are like this     so-called intellectuals     most artists are violent    most artists revel in violence    artists everywhere wrestle with each other     inflict violence on each other    mostly with words    with nasty    demeaning criticism and gossip    most artists are terribly competitive     territorial    more so if there aren’t enough funds to go around for everyone    this is nothing new      many of my colleagues were their own religion – he scoffs – despite their claims to egolessness    despite their writing strategies which were meant to omit or downplay the subject    the ego    everyone involved in the arts today has a bloated ego    is a narcissist – the old man says – the claims to the opposite are the proof of this    it is the ego that makes those claims     it is the ego that claims egolessness     it’s all just more advertisement     more propaganda and eventually gets lost in the endless flow of noise    of useless information     the endless flow of useless information    noisy wave after noisy wave its only meaning    which is to say     its only truth     made of lies     made of deception – he says – most artists today are mean spirited cut-throats    they’re all about competition    very nasty competition . . . made of noise . . . bloated waves of noisy information – he suddenly seems to waiver in and out of focus, the sound of his voice intermittently interrupted by the crackling sound of static - in formation with the claims . . . literally back in the . . . through the would mostly . . . suddenly explode into revel violence artist . . . pummeling the total humiliation . . . were it not for the rules uncorked . . . shed the bloody invisible . . . were it not mostly erasure . . . through words shall we see . . . were it not mostly pleasure . . . one might seem a word here . . . you might see a word here . . . the relation to what is present . . . what purports to present itself . . . in this vanishing . . . a chiaroscuro . . . what we would know . . . were it simply a question of something to know . . . to play with a reinvention of a surface . . . what reappears creaking . . . squeaking    crackling or screaming . . . the reflection of an abyss which returns nothing   returns us to nothing   opening the hollow   an echo    echoing the hollows of a labyrinth    beneath the appearance    the surface of a fold    a folding    forever a folding    unfolding   unraveling    unrevealing    beginning in an experience involving the body    one’s hands     one’s eyes    voice and ears    one replies exactly to a question wrapped     enfolded in the answer     of the scene   excused for not    of this name    naming the unnamable    while at the same time unrevealing     as does a revelation involve     invoke a concealment    invoke  involve    a concealing gesture     a concealment      a consealmeant    a con seal  meant    a seal    meant to con one out of existence    meant to barr one passage . . . it’s been like this for a long time    it’s always been about this   at bottom    about competition    competition of the most vicious kind . . . nonetheless   I love the experimental poets    the experimental writers    I mean to say    I don’t love them personally    except for my Renata of course    wha’ I mean is     I love their works     their writing and thinking     although some of them I did love     in more ways than one – he says – but it is mostly their works    their thinking which I loved     they themselves don’t really understand what they have done    how with their lingustic experiments     they have constructed a kind of inverted architecture   where the concave is the convex and the convex the concave    how by inverting the angles and their vertexes    the angles and vertexes of thought   of language and consequently   of perception   how    with the combinatorial    the alchemical characteristics of language    they have opened doors into other worlds     other dimensions of thought and imagination     they have opened doors into other dimensions    how in this manner    they    the experimental poets     the experimental writers   with their linguistic alchemy have opened doors not only into other dimension but rather    they have opened doors from other dimensions into ours    from  unknown dimensions into oneself    into one’s mind    one’s psyche    they enter this world through our unconscious . . . the Editors . . . – he whispers cautiously -
                                                                 in the beginning   when one is young    one goes into the arts   goes into poetry   goes into literature   goes into music and philosophy with high hopes   convinced that through the arts and by means of thought    one can bring about a radical change of consciousness in oneself and others    convinced one is making a positive  contribution to culture    to society    to humankind     to history – he exclaims – only to find    over time    that one has walked into another wasteland     yet another wasteland of human devastation and degradation   one has walked into and walled oneself in a cul de sac    just like any other death trap human beings walk into or construct for themselves and each other on a daily basis   their families   their jobs    their many and varied belief systems . . .  
                                      though one   as a youngster  one went into the arts   into philosophy with wide eyed enthusiasm   over time it became obvious that it was all another death trap     just like the ones one was hoping to avoid or change by going into the arts    into philosophy and critical theory in the first place    my early studies in comparative literature and philosophy    my early studies in musicology    music theory and composition    all of which I embraced with gusto   with the enthusiasm of a zealot   all of that   over time    became a kind of prison   a kind of tomb in fact    I became entombed     buried alive   for years and years I plunged into my studies with unabashed enthusiasm    into my so-called creative work with unabashed passion    happily thinking I was digging myself out of a life of tedium and despair   thinking I was working myself out of a cul-de-sac    only to find that    in fact    I had been digging myself into a dead end    only to find   in fact    that I had been constructing for myself   a cul-de-sac    I was in fact     all along    entombing myself   just like all the people I knew growing up in my neighborhood    my friends at school who grew up and settled down    mortgaging up their lives    only to find that I too    like them   had walked into a death trap    I too had constructed a cul-de-sac for myself in the form of my academic and artistic career    for the arts    the humanities    are frought with conflict born of jealousy and fear    the politics of territorialism    where one is forced to acquire and secure a position    mark and defend one’s positions    one’s territory . . . in any case    the problem with both positions    I mean to say    the more conservative   so-called voice  oriented writing and the more experimental    exploratory kind of writing based on procedures and in which language is treated as material    to which I am partial    the problem with both  these positions     is that many of their representatives    for all their talk of revolution    for all their talk about the need to bring about a change of consciousness     are actively engaged in reproducing an age old formula    an age old structure    an age old mode of behavior which we have seen reproduced over and over again throughout the centuries     positions in fact    where one sees the other as the enemy     the problem with all of this    aside from the fact that both are all too often utterly tedious in their arguments     their posturing    rather full of themselves really      pretensious is what I mean to say    sanctimonious really – he pauses briefly on the word as if savoring it - especially when it comes to all those claims they make – he says again gesturing impatiently –  wha’ happens is that they are both utterly stuck in their ways    utterly stuck in their respective views    I mean to say     utterly attached to their respective views    both having become utterly rigidified in their positions    like monuments    monuments of themselves    monuments of themselves to themselves – he snickers - this is not a package    a package deal   pretty as the truth tied at both ends    none of these explanations are definitive    final     no explanation really is    with the exception of this last statement which sounds final - he says giggling fascetiously - even when one gets stuck and is forced to repeat one’s self over and over again    this is not a package     a package deal     a packaged ideal     finalized    pretty as the truth tied at both ends    rigidly pretty in the absolute symmetry of its perfection    perfection is truly horrifying    it is truly horrific   why does everyone keep on going about this?   this and happiness     or revolutionary    one hears these mindless words    these mindless phrases    these mindless so-called ideas   thrown about all the time – he wheezes on - of course all explications    all commentaries pre-suppose underneath the language one is reading or listening to and deciphering    all explications pre-suppose an underlying      central narrative that holds the entire work together    an underarching  structure    as it were    a kind of cantus firmus    if you will    a kind of hermeneutical sounding board that serves as a foundation upon which the structure of the text with its various layers of meaning rests      take for example the astonishing structure of the novel with its leitmotivs    allusions     crossreferences and symbolic threads and its underlying plots    it’s abouts    similar in a way to the manner in which certain musical compositions are sometimes structured     that is to say    with their motives    their phrases     the subsections these form when grouped together and the larger sections the latter form over time    all these elements    all these internal relationships    forming a network of references that unfold over time from the present moment to the past and into the future simultaneously    a kind of explosion   in fact    that transcends time    where time is no longer unidirectional but rather   palindromic    and where the listener’s memory is the medium in which the work crystallizes into an object of consciousness blurring the distinctions between subject and object     between inside and outside . . . but of course   a word is an endless pit and a text a web whose strands and nodes are connected to other texts present past and future    forming a kind of vast and translucent palimpsest    forming a vast multidimensional web in a manner similar to that of neural networks     perhaps it even models itself after the brain’s struture    that is to say     the intertextual web is a kind of representation of the brain and its neural networks    a kind of map – he says - a representation of the brain’s memory the brain’s structure and its capacity to imagine    to see within   as it were    and it’s not that these texts are connected to each other only by language itself     by the structure of language    its syntactical structures     it’s grammar    the parts of speech       the vocabulary     the syllables    the phonemes and their various sounds    I mean to say    the various aspects of language’s materiality    no   this web also extends into the realm of mind     by way of the conceptual . . . it extends seamlessly from the concrete     from the material into the realm of the intangible    such that the distinction between mind and matter becomes negligible – the old man says – electro-chemically firing     spitter-spattering here and there    seemingly at random like an electric storm    all of this leading to a re-evaluation of what mind and matter are    of what it means to be a self – he says suddenly spinning on his squeaky chair in merriment - for if you follow each strand to their logical non-conclusion it soon becomes apparent that it is very difficult to tell where one begins and where one ends   that is to say    they would seem to extend past the boundaries of what one thinks of as oneself and the other      language is always saying more than we want it to say      it has a tendency to undermine itself     even to turn against itself   the text becomes both closer and at the same time   more distant . . . the idea of unoriginality    of unoriginal genius    turns out to be quite original itself   in the sense of being quite ingenious    despite it being so obvious    right under our noses as they say    this they say     say this they say – he suddenly chants - uh-nu-nu-un-or-or-ori-orig-lani-nila-organi-ori-gami-organi-lani-un-nor-nag-organi-lani-nag-nag-nag-me-organi    it has    no appeal    none of it any more has any appeal    we were just filling in the void with the noise of our thoughts   of our voices    like whistling in the dark    whatever the case may be    I no longer care for poetry – he whispers hoarsely – no longer do I care for literature     literature of any kind      not even the advanced     experimental kind     it’s all so annoying     so tedious – he says placing a hand on his frowning forehead – it’s such a nineteenth century notion really     I mean to say    such a romantic notion    especially the poetry    the literature that purports to be revolutionary – he says sarcastically - the poets    the writers and theorists     all of it smacks of romantic heroism     all of it blends seamlessly with authoritarian hierarchicism – he says barely audible - on either side of the argument    it all blends so neatly into the cult of the hero warrior    valiantly fighting to protect his territory    protect the honor of her profession and further his or her aesthetic   position   all these undoubtedly very bright people     these poets    these writers and theorists vying for supremacy    trying to prove themselves right      trying to prove their critics    their competitors    their enemies   wrong    ruthlessly trying to eek out a territory in academia   brutally so    even while claiming to be opposed to violence – he laughs snidely – one will have said nothing    or   in any event   done nothing    in declaring against this or that poetry     this or that theory    this or that thinking     this or that music    that these apparently opposing tendencies are two sides of the same coin in a kind of paradoxical relationship in which one is a reflection of the other     in which one is the revelation of the other    in time they reveal themselves as who and what they really are    in time   I could not help but undo these two opposing perspectives     showing that the two terms of the opposition were accomplices of each other   creating a kind of economy of need    the need for opposition and conflict   all this violence justified by some ethical moralistic rationale    this is the way it always was    always has been with them    with us   I should say  throughout my academic career    how it’s been with them the intellectuals in the academic world so-called    the literary so-called world     my colleagues    my so-called friends    all of whom have long since abandoned me     these intellectual colleagues of mine      embalmed with their own thinking      their own ideas and words     mesmerized by their own voices    leaving me for dead     like a dried out husk     leaving me to wander aimlessly    in the darkness of their Newtonian    their Cartesian clockwork universe . . . of course    academic so-called life    knows no greater pleasure than the fall of one of its own     the same goes for the so-called art world     academics and artists of all stripes are some of the greatest cut-throats and back stabbers you’ll ever find – he smirks and licks his lips – but of course you already know this     you’re one of us – he smirks again – the difference is   this time is no longer yours    time has been sold out from under your feet    your minds     your memories    this is no longer your time     it never was    just as mine is long past    the time of the great intellectuals     the time of the great thinkers    the time of the great artists     that time is nearly gone     you and your generation    quite simply    have  arrived too late     out of time    no matter how clever and insightful you may be     it will go un-noticed – he says – it will fall on indifferent minds    indifferent senses    your works      your thoughts    your words will fall on indifferent ears     indifferent minds       not because in and of themselves they lack merit    but because you and your generation are in the wrong time    for my generation and the ones before    the time was right    the time was ripe     but for you and your generation   and for generations to come   you have no choice but to go around in circles   stuck in a feedback loop   a limit cycle      condemmed to repeat the past    what’s already been said and done    thousands of times    all that’s left for you to do is rearrange    in a practically infinite number of permutations what’s already been said and done a million times over      for you and your generation    quite simply    your time is up     you have no time     you are like ghosts – he says - no substanciality     no matter how hard you try     how hard you work     how well made and interesting your works are    they are essentially empty    have nothing to say        for you have fallen between times – he utters – you are in between eras       you’ve come up at the end of an old    dying era     and at the beginning of a new era       a new era which will be characterized  by eccentricity in extremis     to the point of mania      and lucidity to the point of hallucination    no longer will we live in a cold   desecated world analyzed to death    a disenchanted world quite literally analyzed to death by thought     a dead world chopped into pieces by thought     no    a new word is emerging     a world re-enchanted   a re-enchantment made possible by science     but not necessarily due to its technological advancements   rather    due to its seeing the true nature of what for centuries we thought of as reality     the dream-like quality of reality    the voluble   fluid    mirage-like nature of reality
                        it’s best you turn around and stop facing the past – the old man says -    what was     which is to say    what never really was     if you have any sense – he whispers trembling – you’d know better to face toward the future    the new dawn      those changes are already within you – he says – they are already expressing themselves    this crisis you say you’re in   is only the fact that you no longer recognize your self   your old self is a corpse in a well advanced state of decomposition    to which you cling in desperation  or rather    you think you are clinging to it    but you can’t of course    you can’t cling to the rotting corpse that is    was  you    no more than you can cling to sand or water     air or space    clouds move quickly across the sky    their shadows move across your face     your eyes are clouded over    it is best that you move on like them     the clouds    what we say is thinking has nothing to do with thinking     I mean to say    nothing to do with reason    with reasoning    we only think we think    we only think    that is to say     we only talk to ourselves    we only tell ourselves    we only convince ourselves      we only come to believe that we know what thinking is    we only come to believe   to tell orselves   to talk ourselves into believeing we understand what it means to think       we only tell ourselves we understand what it means to understand      people     in their baseness   don’t know any better    people in their baseness don’t see how their actions are their undoing    don’t see the evil of their ways    that nature can be so cruel so ruthless toward it’s most pitiable and helpess creatures     that nature can create so much horror so much palpable misfortune  every day  with unparalleled regularity and stupidity  uncomprehending and helpless    so much human ugliness     one has to watch day in and day out     the creation of masses of new and ever greater human misfortune      so much human atrocity . . . you should never be here too much    not for long    get as far away as you can where they cannot find you    the lot of them    get as far away as possible where they can’t get to you     and shape you    mould you   abuse and humiliate you    inflict their violence on you      be so far away like the mountains    the unpolluted sky    if there is such a thing any more     be so far away such that you no longer have a family    no parents    no relations    no patterns    no nationality     get so far away that not even you know where you are    don’t let them find you    don’t get too near to them    be far away where even you can’t find yourself     keep a distance that can never be crossed over    keep a passage always open which only you know about     there are no doors    only an endless open way    if you shut the door   you are lost    they will be very close to you     don’t allow them to contaminate you with their words   their gestures    their thoughts    their knowledge     stay away from their breath     their breath goes very deep and far    they have great knowledge but stay away from them    as far as you can where they cannot find you    where not even you know where you are    for they are waiting for you    waiting at every corner    every school    every shopping mall     every concert hall    waiting to mould you    to shape you    waiting to tear you apart  and then reconstitute you in their own image   till you speak their words    think their thoughts   believe their beliefs    till you join them in the killing    till you join them in the frenzied enjoyment of killing those who won’t conform    those whom they cannot turn to their murderous ways    this is why I am here now   in this house    my sister’s house    this is why I no longer leave this house    this house is my world   my universe    my only reality    it is my sanctuary . . . I often contemplate suicide – the old man says – sometimes it seems like the only meaningful thing left to do    but what stops me is this house    I love this house    it suits me almost perfectly    it understand me    it understand me insides    we understand each other   and when it’s cold   gray and foggy outside    the three of us are like one    we understand each other perfectly    such that understanding as such is no longer necessary    for we are     the house   myself and the fog    of one substance – he says – we are one body   such that there is no distinction between inside and outside    the fog   the house and I   are one single continuum    the house knows    and so does the fog     so I stay away    I stay inside   as far away as possible from the world outside   these walls . . . these walls are meager   flimsy   should they decide to search me out    the entire world is but a paltry thing     a paper house  that would crumple in an instant and vanish into dust without a trace – he mutters - it is too late now for suicides    too late now to worry about myself    I know I will die at their hands    I will give my self over completely   gladly   without any resistance . . . one replies to an answer wrapped    enfolded in the question    of the scene    excused for not     of this name    naming     while at the same time    unrevealing    unraveling as does a revelation involve   invoque   a concealing     a concealment     a con-seal-meant – he chuckles - beginning in an experience involving one’s body    one’s hands    one’s eyes    voice and ears    a fold    a folding    forever a folding over into     beneath the appearance    the surface of echoes in the hollows of a labyrnth    an echo    opening the hollow     nothing returns us to nothing    the reflection of an abyss that returns squeaking    crackling or screaming    what reappears creaking    the surface    to play with a reinvention of a question of something to know    what we would know were it simply in this chiaroscuro   this vanishing    what purports to present itself     the relation to what is present    a word here   it might seem    might you see here a word    one might seem a word here    here    in the seam . . .
                                                                                                         I’m here
                                                      I came here to share my exile
                                                                                               with you
                                 what I am identified with I
                       am I
                  and defined by which with that what eye
sees far    as far as the I can see
                                              seas     this content was as if
                                                                            by dreams an intent
                                 what I am is what I -dentified as
       with what I am an eye since when
                                 wind! let me get it!
                                 mind upside down!
                                 might mind wind blown around white
I writes     write the rub out 
and meanwhile like manifold leaves
overprint the reading
a person’s body can sometimes
do without paper    long to what
they always call the always
a holding with more
about figures with what?
withdraws beneath a so-called
a holding with more than one hand
form a thinking on some kind of surface
a membrane   a skin   a film
a sheet of paper perhaps like parchment 
a skein   a tangled mass from which to begin
is already reduced or withdrawn
not to speak of the hand
a border    a ledge on which to end
alledged beginnings it is said    start here
in the space in between
                                  - the old man entones whirling around on his squeaky chair, restlessly shuffling his feet on the dusty floor – what we are seeing are the forces of history    thought    the imagination    so-called creativity   turning in upon themselves    making whirlpools in time and space     unable to move forward yet unable to stay still

* * *

most consider information that which is expected    that which is only uniquely defined    while on the other hand   random and unexpected sequences of events come across as uninformative    confusing . . . in other words    by information    most people want to mean the message actually sent   its expected   specified order   as opposed to a chaos of possibilities which is more likely the case you see . . . in actuality    it is in this ambiguous informational environment that we rapidly flicker on and off   we exist and cease to exist and in which they   the Editors   thrive . . . just as we find in other types of systems   say   thermodynamic systems  which contain within them    depending on the observer’s viewpoint   patterns which can be characterized as orders and disorders    so too it is with systems of signification like language and the particular expressions associated with them such as  the various kinds of speech and writing we engage in    why    our speech is a collection of noises     plosives   nasals    sibilants  and so on   before I can utter a thought   a swarm of thoughts snake around in my mind with no idea on my part as to where they come from   perhaps they come to me from a source beyond myself  like transmissions – he mutters - of course the writing    the text itself   lies in an indeterminate area as well   somewhere between subject and object    it is neither object nor subject    not an object as such   yet still   it is one given that it is in the world so-called     by the same token however    it is not quite a subject either     at least not yet   not until someone has read it and internalized it and by so doing has begun an intersubjective relationship with the text   its writer and other readers    the text and the writer are a kind of locus   a kind of node   through which an intersubjective web is spun   actualized    the writer a spider at the center of its web    the text is in the process of weaving   in fact subject and object come together in the very activity of writing   the activity of writing and the text written are the locus in which both subject and object meet   there is no distinction between one and the other when one is writing   when one is giving one’s complete undivided attention to the writing   am I making myself clear enough for you boy? – he asks mockingly and begins to giggle then rapidly flicks his tongue in and out like a reptile testing the air, and as he speaks, I seem to hear another voice in the background, in the back of my head perhaps, a mumbling under the breath as if someone where dutifully reading words from a text. At times it seems I hear a swarm of voices that match the movement of his lips perfectly while his louder single voice seems out of sync. Startled I stumble back toward the wall behind me, he looks up smiling knowingly and says


Some sections of Dr. Sarturnian’s Monologue are composites made of bits and pieces taken from other texts, whether in the form of a direct quote or as paraphrases, which when put together in collage or bricollage fashion, constitute the professor’s “voice” or rather, his many voices. A list of these sources is provided below.

1) Adorno, Th. W., “La posición del narrador en la novella contemporánea,” Notas Sobre Literatura, Obra Completa, 11, De la edición de bolsillo, Ediciones Akal, S.A., 2003, Sector Foresta, 1, 28760 Tres Cantos, Madrid, España.  My translation.

(Adorno, Theodor W., “The Position of the Narrator in the Contemporary Novel,” Notes on Literature, Complete Works, 11, From the pocket editions, Ediciones Akal, S.A., 2003, Sector Foresta, 1, 28760 Tres Cantos, Madrid, España.  My translation.)

2) Adorno, Th. W., “La forma en la nueva música,” Escritos Musicales III, Escritos Musicales I – III, Obra Completa, 16, Ediciones Akal, S.A., 2006, Sector Foresta, 1, 28760 Tres Cantos, Madrid, España. My translation.

(Adorno, Theodor W., “Form in New Music,” Musical Writings III, Musical Writings I – III, Complete Works, 16, Ediciones Akal, S.A., 2006, Sector Foresta, 1, 28760 Tres Cantos, Madrid, España. My translation.)

3) Artaud, Antonin, “Artaud the Momo,” Watchfiends & Rack Screams: Works From The Final Period, Ed. And trans. By Clayton Eshleman and Bernard Bador, Boston, Exact Change, 1995.

4) Barthes, Roland, “Writing and the Novel,” Writing Degree Zero, trans. Annette Lavers and Colin Smith, Hill and Wang, 1977.

5) Bernhard, Thomas, Gargoyles, trans. Richard and Clara Winston, The University of Chicago Press, 1986.

6) Bernhard, Thomas, Gathering Evidence: A Memoire and My Prizes, trans. Carol Brown Janeway, Second Vintage International Edition, November 2011.

7) Bernstein, Charles, “Artifice of Absorption,” A Poetics, Harvard University Press, 1992.

8) Danielewski, Mark Z., House of Leaves, Pantheon Books a division of Random House 2000.

9) Deleuze, Gilles, Guattari, Felix, “Becoming Intense, Becoming Animal, Becoming Imperceptible,” A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Translation and Forward by Brian Massumi, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2009.

10) Ehresman, David E., Wessel, David L., Perception of Timbral Analogies, IRCAM, 31 rue Saint-Merri, F-75004, Paris and, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, U.S.A.

11) Flowers, Brandon, “Spaceman,” Day & Age, The Killers, Island Records, 2008.

12) Gaiman, Neil, Kieth, Sam, Dringenberg, Mike, Jones III, Malcolm, “The Sandman,” Preludes and Nocturnes Volume I, DC Comics, 1700 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 2010.

13) Gallup, Smith, Tolhurst, “Charlotte Sometimes,” Standing on a Beach, The Cure, Elektra Records, 1986.

14) Paulson, William R., “Literature and the Division of Knowledge,” The Noise of Culture: Literary Texts in a World of Information, Cornell University Press, 1988.

15) Stevens, Wallace, Collected Poetry and Prose, The Library of America, 1996.

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