truths that’ve finished with me

(this is a code)

“Popular themes of the genre include murder, suicide, depression, abuse, mutilation, war, religion, barbarism, drug abuse, terminal illness, domestic violence, rape, homosexuality, incest, pedophilia, child sexual abuse, insanity, nightmares, disease, racism, homophobia, sexism, disability (both physical and mental), chauvinism, terrorism, genocide, political corruption, torture, and crime.”

ever wonder why the impulse to laugh wells up as one reads on to where such sentences might and inevitably may full bore take you …

there are many reasons why i’ve not added to this blog in months. the easy answer is that it’s a symptom of distraction by something, and the easier answer comes from impulsively projecting one’s own, but alas dear reader, i can now say these myriad reasons encapsulate a tripartite of competing drives.

one.

i’ve consented to shoulder some complicity by way of vocation; I now write for a publication in the financial district, where i spend as much time spreading the myth of innate hierarchy and naturalized capitalism as i do lining bankers’ pockets with rhetoric about why banks must be the foundation of economic trust. since suffering from amnesia in this case would be more farcical than not, the truth is that this first major distraction in my life is about bullshitting “definitively,” as my boss’ boss would say. but i can’t really write about it here, because i need to eat, and he’d probably replace me for holding the entrepreneurially uncouth beliefs i truly do about such perfidious phantasms as of late, late capitalism.

two.

the old drive: to write, and write well, i.e., in secret; alone (for me). for me, art making should not rely on an immediate social circle’s confidence, both because i don’t have the heart to fool my friends into becoming a means and not an End, and also because why the hell should I cash in my works’ potential for a short-term relationship with one person?

i do however enjoy casually eschewing truths that’ve finished with me into the farcical ears of ideologues, whose eyes exude eternal superiority joined by manic laughter and self-parodying impressions used to rebuild a sense of lacking autonomy. it should be noted that per the Greek etymology of autonomy, the word has nothing to do with independence; on the contrary, it has everything to do with dependence on a set of rules or laws that determine the entity’s position and function in a greater system of laws, circulation, mediation, et al. was it Nietzsche who said that people don’t want the truth because it destroys their illusions? in the abstract it’s quite banal, but face-to-face with those in the concrete, known psychologically, socially, known sexually … it’s anything else.

sometimes i wonder why i’ve chosen a life this intense; why i continue to choose to swim on the surface of words, metaphor, discourse and argument, instead of building a submarine (religious following) or warship (brand) to leverage legal or financial or psychical violence against those I could much easier deem an obstacle embodied than a person whose liberty i might oppress. only in allowing oneself to be vulnerable – by remaining honest and open enough to risk damage from others’ violence – can one know another as oneself. this is why in my travels i’ve never acquiesced to those who claim the masque artiste, and yet refuse to re-spect who they speak their title to, i.e., em-path(os)-ize. hypocrisy really gets on my nerves. let me explain.

three.

The worst, beyond the Derridian sense, although still very much an issue of grammar, is when an artist, formerly irresolute to practically self-eschewing and sociopathic portent(s), later starts to believe, whether from acquiring a degree, publication, illness, or simply the tested patience of any arbitrarily recognized life-event (à la Badiou), that they have already empathized enough, cared enoughdone enough to be bothered to care or feel or think for anything but their own good again.

it’s a weakness of the heart, and a weakness of the intellect; when the latter feeds off the former for security, and this is when a person slips into fascist thought-patterns.

speaking of grammar, let’s break the fourth wall and let the fury go for a minute. the very first post on this blog involved the retelling of a tale of abjection. Much the same as its recent reccurrence in my life, a sophistic stranger sorely lacking in self-referential awareness, in that they know neither what they were doing nor to whom they leveled it, leveraged sex and sexuality to obtain cultural capital. Ever the compulsive fucking saint, I tried to diminish the extent of their violence, both times picayune and both times psychical, by explaining the hypocrisy at hand.

This is probably out of my idiotic (literally) conflation of Kant’s bi-conditional dictum, “you can, because you must!” mistaking the possibility for greatness in a constellation of another’s young personal (con)fidence for the will to make that self something great. try to remember the last time you asked someone a question as ostensibly boring as, like, hey: why are you living that way and were really heard.

so, memento.

never underestimate youth’s fear of being wrong.

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on the trauma of privilege.

The night before last I spent five hours analyzing the semantic and performative contours of the phrase “as if” in-text. Tonight, I vacillate between secret applications on one imperious hand, and the abject denial of the pernicious contingency my last ex proved me right in inevitably being on an Other’s.

Accepting that second-guessing intelligence is more harmful than acquiescing to the truth of said intelligence’s brutally proven first nature in its first instance has a lovely indelible flavor, and a third hand is holding spectral position over this amazing Crown Heights studio I’ve enjoyed for two weeks. Nevertheless I remain ever-readied for a second move in two days, and I’m writing fiction like never before on yet another fucking hand, and I threw Anaïs Nin’s “trauma of privilege” motif out the frigid window with fully conscious glee, and I drink under a nomme de guerre with two-dimensional strangers.

I’m beginning to believe in the existence of an intermediary class of inauthentic extroverts, those who are really introverts, yet lack the commitment to follow through, and so make much better extroverts, digitally. No hate, no foul.

Don’t know about you, but I’d rather not be here right now.

I barely touch my social media accounts. It’s kind of exhilarating to imagine the emotional détournement everyone is copping on the hourly, perpetually fighting the urge to conflate their concrete situ with their self-produced produced-self.

But clearly it’s still worse to run from the acts one does, or continue metanarrating one’s failure to act from an abstract, presumably innocent position. My god, the casual ease of blaming one self for hurting oneself, while one freely switches between judge and accused.

In other words, I’m quite pleased with myself, and I know it. Apologies to most readers for the cryptic nature of this post, but look at your fucking clock. Look at it. Goodnight.

mutually ensured solipsisms

The living room is lit in slight excess of what’s either needed or desired: two couches on old, uneven planks, facing one another like waves bracing for Brooklyn, separated by a brazenly tacky ellipsoid glass coffee table, covered in writing magazines and spent, overexposed polaroids.

Two wooden desks cup the far couch, one bare, the other with ornate carvings, full-bore patterned copper handles and candles, all extinguished since C’s old psychosis. A single wooden chair rests next to the metal-barred window to the rusting fire escape to Central Harlem. It’s eleven p.m., and Al Pacino’s slow mix of Mac DeMarco’s Chamber of Reflection plays out its somber affirmation, and the latter’s voice repeats the chorus: “alone, a better man, alone again…”

I am in here.

Having just finished the first pointless argument with his new gf, I feel somehow at home again in this meanness, a meanness that settles slowly, for weeks, behind the intersections of my minimally networked life as its said minimally networked connections begin to become not so minimal after all, begin to regain social affect; a meanness which does not exist when it grows, because it isn’t real, you see, it is only a reaction, an explosive, self-immolating shock wave, perpetuated by the degree to which my present, becoming self’s difference from the ideal, future-perfect selves extends. And they, them, being imaginary things, will not acquiesce to the present’s real demand for space, and so turn against the newest, least ingratiated self, my future-perfect selves do, but their motion is neither linear nor coordinated; they move against all knots of narrative, real or not, social or agential, giving their imaginary selves (N.B., sans reductio ad absurdum) a taste of reality by rejecting my present self’s request to be imagined, struck down from thought by their mutually ensured solipsisms, and so their movement becomes a perpetual vengeance machine: real because it tears by being torn apart, escaping their ideal world(s) by destroying their newest brother’s potential to not not be.

This is fire, burning what’s on its way down.

02.13.2015

Today my bag was stolen from 96th St in the upper west side. I suppose these things happen. Its contents were a tin water canister, a notebook, a scarf from Cambodia, French sunglasses, a bottle of ibuprofen, a book of poetry, a pencil I’ve owned since 2001, and my journal, which contained fragments of manuscripts, essays, personal thoughts, speculation and poetry. I sincerely hope whoever decided to take it performs a gestalt of reason on these contents, and concludes that he or she just stole from someone who was out to do something spectacular, but it’s almost certainly already in a garbage container by now, because there was no money in it.

I am trying to think of something profound to write in eulogy to these items, with my last modest spurt of energy, but it isn’t coming.

A part of me feels relieved, as my manual writings were becoming more theory and itinerant plans than actual passionate writing. Only half of the journal’s contents really seized their respective days. The rest were notes on others’ thoughts, and the depressive motions of a man in bad faith of a futile relationship. Maybe it’s for the best to forget my first few months in NYC. No record of beginnings really make a difference, because in retrospect, it’s during the middle and the end that the most profound recognitions occur, when the old habits break down and deconstruct, when one transforms and realizes he or she has already become an other, that the story actually comes to life.

But really, there was much to be unpacked that I wrote down … ideas i consented to forgetting because i wrote them down. Fuck. I’m going to have to re-research so many things. I feel so empty without it. My work and its media are obsessed with stoicism and buddhism right now, and it’s been getting on my nerves; as if I haven’t already practiced this. I don’t want to play mind games and trick myself into feeling better about the state of things. I want to go, go, go, move on and higher, and stop doubting how I feel. Of course no one needs to feel any different than they already do. I’m (ironically) a radical individualist. One can choose to remedy any set of emotions if they are an obstruction to extending a genus of ethical conduct, a flow of desire,  but one should never be forced to assuage one’s present body. However, you’ll suffer that,  regardless.

But moving on is all one can do in this situation. Damn. I’m so unattached to everything and everyone. Oh well, moving on …

I can’t stand only writing at night, when my mind’s spent and my imagination is asleep. Everything in this post feels so quotidian and uninspired, and that isn’t me. (PROGRAM …) This isn’t what it’s like to be around me. I can’t wait for this next job. Which one of the two awaiting me I cannot say.  that is up to the economy.

I suppose this blog will be my journal of the more profound kind, in the meantime. But I miss pen and paper. At least the screen lights itself, but still. Text is so fucking democratized and minimal on these flat dull screens. There’s no character, no mistakes turned semiotic tricks to play off as coy slips.

A few notes:

reactionary→i am so very tired of people of ordinary craft and creativity using SNS sites to document their self-sabotage. (I made it! I did it! I’ve achieved jouissance! it exists only for me,  and pretty soon it’s coming to destroy you,  too!)  … there should really be a public announcement illustrating the phatic nature of remediating gestalt-recognitions. It should begin with a soundless definition,  and conclude with examples of online socialites of ordinary craft being cross-examined by homeless geniuses (again, soundlessly), to reveal how irritatingly much desire the viewer discharges in he/r adoration of them.

spontaneity→time. work. sign. lit. revolution. open relationships. negative capability. indifference to public dissent/assent. art, genesis, concept. reading//writing. thought, thought thought. sleep.

02.13.2015→unedited fragments.

There is a trail of dried wax resting on this white wooden table in the dark. The only illumination is this computer’s light, vaguely outlining this old Harlem room. Recordings of thunder and rain fill this space with memories of more authentically introspective nights in the Midwest, back during a time when this writer could speak candidly about a soul’s eternal fate, in that contented intermission between love lost, social transgression and academia.

I am sitting in a broken chair, balanced into its upright position with one foot, held down by the weight of the other. Crumpled copies of my manuscript and notes dating back to 2011 litter the oak floor, and the drive to complete even a single essay escapes me. In seven hours I will be at work again, begging strangers for money on the streets of Manhattan, fighting to keep what thoughts I’ve summoned in the past few hours within reach.

Time is one’s greatest enemy. The internet only plays at democratic pluralism, only pretends to be free mediation. Without the space to write one’s own categorical imperative, free from social assent or dissent, one’s attention becomes fragmented, polyvocal, self-contradictory and unsound. Endless feeds of news, politics and art elicit only urgency, decadence and envy, respectfully. We are forced into ego-death, and redirected to the races, our “careers.” While it may be true that only moral (or immoral) action yields individuation, it is also true that the absence of non-political spaces precludes the formation of a stable ego.

In a completely politicized world, friendship becomes enmity with an other’s lack of correspondence with the completed, idealized other of one’s imagination. A series of images is organized and consolidated enough to resemble a whole, then it is renamed as such, as other; gestalt.

An anonymous quote has intrigued me as of late:

a man once said to himself, “so tell me, is it better to die?”

A man posits a transcendent, future-perfect self who is both oneself and who one will have been. He walks along a crack in the road, one hand over the sun, the other like a wing swinging down, looking down through imperfection, through the trace of his more earthly, contingent self’s mortality, and considers his fate from this distance.

It’s something everyone does. An absolute imago, totally sheltered and abstracted from the blinding uncertainty of the present. But it is also a deferment of the question. If there is a higher self to ask, then the question is senseless.

He whispers his name. He repeats it, he echoes. He thinks greek, and feels the pull from the other, the magical space of noumenal intuition Kant posited between the phenomenal and the political, so he’d ‘know’ what was right.

isolation is a cold, epoch-producing machine. it brackets causality, it removes the castrating effect of proper use endemic of the term social. if Dostoevsky lived today, he would agree with Zizek that if there is no God, then everything is prohibited.  We cannot act how we’d like to because there is no afterlife, no future-perfect to which we can defer our complicity, and delay our need to make amends.

time is one’s greatest enemy, not in the senseless way of lacking a requisite quantity or duration, but because it has been pulled down to us, in our hyper-mediated world. it drives us through so many frames of reference that we can no longer project it in any other way but how it wants us to. there is no era. there is no tribe. there is no season, no history. only statistical analyses and quantified jouissance.

when tomorrow finally comes to stay, perhaps yesterday will finally make good, and all of us will face Hegel’s Divine Day, present, game-free, unmythologized, undetermined and unavowed. breathing, divining, shining into one another’s eyes, we will cease to posit “me,” and exist as the future does: for one-self, in the future anterior, the origin of all past repetitions.

01.24.2015→much later, with sun

I’m settling in for a few weeks of the most mortifying work I can imagine, in any town. I don’t even want to say what it is. I think prostitution is the next step down.

the New York economy is onerous!

I read another blog’s latest post earlier today, and it reminded me of a distinct difference in social relations between asia and the states–respectability: in the east, I was basically a demigod wherever I went. Except for the few who’d already made names for themselves by establishing cultural capital (bands, art fests, interdisciplinary performance troupes, etc), most expats were predominantly reduced to nervous, flattering and attention-seeking behavior.

Oh, how sad I was back then.

I’ve entered this strange stasis, now, trapped between two mutually exclusive outlets: this awful job as my only means for survival, and my writing. The latter’s been difficult for the past day, seeing as this caribbean wake upstairs connotes 9 hours of bongo-bashing per night. jesus. my roommate’s ceiling is coming apart. whoever passed had better be up to some serious bliss.

I am writing three pieces, two of which are due next week:

the first is an essay on the notion of future anterior in psychoanalysis. the most compatible experiences to employ as examples are trauma and love. oh boy.

the second is my SF piece. I’m submitting an excerpt from the novel, but I need to expand it, sharpen the dialogue, insert some psychosomatic and etymological play, take advantage of the use-mention antinomy, et al.

They’re just for contests, but hell it would be really nice to receive a $4000 grant, work-space, free workshops and two public readings. Talk about a different world. There are a thousand ways I can rip myself apart about where I am, the life I presently endure, who I can and cannot talk to, my lack of progress in pretty much everything compared to upper-middle-class writers of ordinary craft and solid capital. whatever happened to the days of the bum genius? i am in serious need of a 21st century beat movement.

but the saddest thing I guess is how my friends have interpreted their recognition of my recent housing//financial//emotional woes as proof of character weakness, and transferred that recognition to something more specific and personal. my competence as a writer. because, you know, if i were smart 

I guess one learns who one’s true friends are through such ordeals. The sad thing is it was all of them.

I said tabula rasa, but I didn’t mean ex nihilo…I still have needs! Ugh.

I find myself fantasizing encounters with people I’ve hardly known, and maybe met once, as if my subconscious doesn’t even know what to do with my body anymore. In another time and place it would be funny, but I’m subletting my room to a couple, a happy, young couple in their late teens. I will be on the couch, working on the cold streets nine hours a day, five days a week.

Hopefully, something will change for the better, someday, somehow, eventually…