hysterical new york

christmas is cancelled

again.

nyc is best for working, growing and learning,

and not loving.

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there must be some way to introduce oneself, and future readers, to a text without some variant of an idiomatic generalization about the lack of motivation at a certain time of day, or an arbitrary collection of emotional, social, governmental or financial forces stretched around one’s world to take the role of warden.

a fictional space is created, and depicted in such a way so as to challenge the protagonist in her righteous claim to autonomy. archetypes, be they scientific, historical, communist, feminist, anarchist, et al, are argued to be clustered around these hubs of illegit power, and the writer enjoys an imaginary authenticity within his or her internal narrative, for a time.

much planning is said to be underway. the scientists and engineers work to keep that tech edge the powers at be find so irritatingly semelfactive; hackers never appear, only a brief trace of their work, coded insulation nested within codes within codes, and then gone, leaving revolutionary texts on homepages like “the coming insurrection,” or “the coming community,” announced once and then never seen quite the same way again; anything so long as the message left for media-loving peoples is one of a continuing contradiction in the world.

it’s suggested that there’s something out there, brewing, plotting, violent and ungodly, waiting to take common securities away. the plans are personal to their core. for once, the rhetoric of revolution isn’t for an oppressed class, or sex, or sexuality or nation, any more than it is an idea or simulation.

for once, it’s about you.

somewhere on the upper east side a designer whose life flies between work in the financial district, home entertainment, and pre-arranged three-ways lets loose a dime from her fist, on its way to a waitress’ model hands, and the cycle is broken for an instant, and she thinks

{is this…a simulation?}

slowly, depositing doubts in each phoneme’s contours about who her CV says she is, about why she writes her assignations in her planner, about why she leans on social media accounts for self-assurance and correspondence rather than email or a phone call.

she can’t remember the last time she made a phone call, she can’t remember when she spoke out of character, the last time she spoke without constraints and without three to five trending words on her mind to fill awkward silences with. she couldn’t remember the last time she thought without sex, money, or power being its object, its End.

her phone makes the alert sound to remind her of her trendy mask. she gained another twenty likes for throwing in the hashtag “autumninnewyork” on a nature photo, and below she can see the comments, whereupon she is reassured that this is real, that the amalgam of quantitative statistics suggesting for her that she will, in fact, exist, if only she would announce it according to google analytics. And who could argue? google tells her she has many more hits this year than last, and the further back in time she searches, the less she exists.

in fact, her social media accounts and the followers contained therein tell her, there is a good deal of her who has come into being since 2005. she Likes over 128 bands now. in 2005 she only liked genres. she has Read over 100 books on Goodreads. Before then only a few friends and family had seen her holding a couple of dozen. how scandalous! she thinks, how much time she spent reading privately, thinking privately, presuming a signature self not subject to the democratic assent of Likes and Shares. how could she ever claim to be a bibliophile if she wasn’t seen reading or digitally shelving her books? her thoughts on the book were given value, Goodreads says, if only she’d transcribed them online.

it’s difficult to level the insult of historian so succinctly at anyone in a group, today. every experience is devoid of value unless it is Social, i.e., liquidated for its quantitative potential through Likes, Retweets and so on. Thus every user account on social media networks is collectively writing the fiction of now, and history is a knot of embedded links and #shoutouts and archetypal reminisces from the position of a dead icon or author, whose death thankfully preceded the death of the author.

there is no history, because reality is narrative, and that can be purchased, re-interpolated, weaponized. i remember going back to the future last month, how about you?

this is why your memory is so unreliable. virtual space has extension, too. our lives extend there before anywhere else. but writing online constricts language’s use to the lenses of those positions pushing the trendiest terms; an anti-poeisis always already at work between every hyperlink and image.

if there is always a finite number of lenses with which a text can be interpreted, then communication itself’s reductive. semantic scarcity is the desert of Facebook.

all things equally exist so long as all things are social. then, after the (in)different is silenced, all things (left) exist equally.

filter the snow.

it was a snowy ebullience outside, and the city’s effeminate best would be shaking its hips a little slower that night, he imagined. he could see their minds in his mind: a little extra time would have to be added in tribute to the collective de-cadence as winter came to help us reflect, each raised waistline paused in contemplation, gathering silent prayers, crystallizing the zenith of a thousand relationships, as they all silently consented to fall again, together, in his icy hometown.

it was a laconic, reluctant ebullience, he thought as he tread heavily through those snowy sidewalks, and he could only give due justice to his steps’ heavy tread with penetrating, other-worldly, alice blue eyes. their gaze leaped between snowflakes falling to embrace each twig, landing in unified waves; a collective affirmation of what must go under again.

but Winter was late, and so with the heart of a lover returned from some distant land, the need to renew oneself threw itself back into reality, cutting into all of our lives. some of us were studying, some of us were fucking, and more were trying. but some of us were trying to carve something new out of the world, each to his or her own cathexis, grounded in a kind of presence free of seasons, seeking an archetype invulnerable to contingency itself.

proposition 1.1 of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus tells us that “the world is the totality of facts, not of things,” and so one might think every raised hip, each symbolizing a truth and not a fact, i.e., whether each hip is spoken for or not, would collectively constitute the world Winter wanted to come back to. and its return was not out of lust or wont of unrequited love; it needed to be visceral. it was supposed to touch and Move Us All, it was supposed to saturate our senses, send us rolling and vulnerable and scared, in secret anticipation of the awe which comes from a morning baptized in white. the word that comes to mind on such morns is the ancient Greek apeiron; the unlimited. we were supposed to feel freed by the infinite embrace of freshly fallen snow, by the power of what one does not know one does not know.

but as with any thing, the potential of life’s lived recognitions, in art, in love, in bringing the unknown into being, of the very possibility that a single magnificent day could exceed one’s capacity for absolute, total, social, sexual, financial, intellectual, spiritual satisfaction — that to even imagine fully sating the multiplicity of our pan-psychic desires, we require an imagination in view of utter absence, slumber, lack; non-being.

and so as winter consumed the city, killing foliage and filling fissures, he was supposed to be moved, he was supposed to be Touched and brought back into the social fold via a mass acquiescence to cyclical time. like the good folk of the city, he was supposed to be re-cycled.

but he was mourning that kind of time because he’d lost the sense of seasons as destination; as a place to go and stay a while. a place became a dimension, a story reduced to hypothesis, and all narration collapsed into another self-consciously Modern iteration of the fall. becoming this in-difference, he could not recycle his soul, because he was not moved by any one thing, because, when falling, no one stationary sentiment or mono-mythic recognition can claim him.

and so Winter did not embrace reality because that reality was a broken sequence of dead undulate foliage, repeating onward as intermittent substrates between which were the multiplicity of disparate ends each raised hip inevitably fell into, and the whole ordeal of the Winter’s Return took the form of a great carving up, a cuckold winter whose monochrome white arrival became an eviscerated sameness for us to defer, and to transgress and to enjoy.

in time, what the real said to winter was “filter the snow.”

filter the snow.

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.

07.23.2015

It’s been a while. A lot has changed. In myriad ways, I have what I wanted. I’m in a better position than ever to sit down and finish what I started, five years ago, but I’m holding back for some reason. It’s like I’m peering back through the door I’ve already stepped through, reassuring myself that there’s nothing left I could still take with. Could. The subjunctive is a treacherous case, if there ever was one.

I’m still in Manhattan, I’m still in Harlem, I’m still willingly single, but I am suddenly free, freer than I’ve ever been, and it scares the hell out of me. I’ve been thinking about the will to not not write, and my own relationship to the stories and concepts I’ve chosen to live amidst for so long. I don’t really have friends, but I do have conversations. They go on for days, and there’s a certain cryptobiologic to the timing in opening each subject.

You should see me on the streets now. When I walk, I engender anyone I’ve been close to. A grimace, a guard, a flirtatious smile. Everything is certain because nothing is in its place. I’m voracious.

I did meet up with someone familiar recently. We shared drinks and workshopped in the beer garden of a bar in alphabet city. He had a heavy case of culture shock, but it was driven by narcissism with a dash of megalomania. I suppose I know by now how difficult the prospect of rejection can be to someone who lives alone. It was good to see him.

So why am I writing this here. I’m thinking to myself that it’s about time. I’m stalled eclipsing the moon, and I’m going to enjoy the way down.

It’s going to be one hell of a flight.

some Recognitions to Workshop

A few words on recognition. The signifying chains said to constitute two discrete subjectivities in psychoanalysis are not distinct, because two subjects would otherwise never be capable of sharing a perception; of having mutual re-cognizance. May the reader not be misled by my choice of the word perception–this is not about what’s usually called the empirical world. What Locke called secondary qualities are here reformulated in the language of Lacanian psychoanalysis. Very little persists in the empirical world (what Locke would say primary qualities signify), perhaps because the question of Origin is senseless. But that’s another matter.

Too often one finds oneself mired in contrite repetition, recognizing the lack of repeating social recognition–that we can’t settle on the same thought, with the same feeling, viewpoint or perspective, one and an other. There’s the feeling of injustice in that–having already progressed through so many traumatic, vituperative, edifying, Truly Trying Times (as we all have), and having since then perhaps stood out in uniquity as one who’s become more perceptive, so much more cognizant than one once was, having become capable of tracing a multiplicity of narratives juxtaposed (or simply opposed) in one moving train that one can not only predict, but understand the temptation to bring every conversation back to oneself, one’s story; one’s “self”–that because of these accomplishments, one has earned the right to require others to reciprocate in diachronic recognition of novel objects, of alternate outcomes, of the perception of social injunction as artistic expression to help what is become more; that if I can focus enough to become what I am, you owe it to do the same, respectively.

But it’s a question of balance (or supplement), of balancing the humane with the human, (supplanting) others’ need for patience with one’s desire for another confrontation with boredom, (supplying) others’ presence to resolve an abductive economy of space.

or maybe henri bergson should be required reading in secondary schools. would this be anarchy? i put this to you.

05.12.2015, unedited.

He was not supposed to be a jealous man. He found himself alone again. He ogles what he once called bourgeois-publications. Their prose, their effortless poetry, the a priori class in each placement of space. He turns. He rebukes himself for comparing himself to the wolves of the lower east side. As an artist. Or whatever. He loves the past more than the present. This is cliché, he thinks. He should have had things, he thinks; he is coming to understand that he wants to rewrite his-story. His up-bringing was too innocent, too honest, too moral. He would rather have bloomed suburban or upper; anything complicit’s worthwhile if the wrong was in the know. They’d rather be right than true, he remarks to himself, when he silently harangues the well-to-do he has known, dated, chased and lost. It’s amazing how quickly the rich pull away from difference.

He’s run out of options. He works a sales job. Of course it’s below him, but then he wouldn’t have to do it if it were, would he, he berates to himself. What’s the point of hating those in the know who’ve never experienced survival as a struggle? The lower class doesn’t know any different; it is not so self-aware. What does he want from envy? Pity? They have summer camps for that. The kids are guilt-trained. Entitlement as first rites. Isn’t that something. The vicious circle always returns. He remembers being told it’s all a matter of feeling, of choosing a viewpoint. His vision is blurring. He has to remember to find a way out of his sales job so that his vision will not fail the night, he thinks. He must remember to have it checked, after he finds a job paying well enough for him to afford the appointment, he thinks. Insurance doesn’t exist for those whose survival is in default. He should not go out, he should train himself to forget how hopeless things are as soon as he steps off the train, he concludes. That will do it, just leave it all behind, the Two Worlds Hypothesis never failed in theory, he repeats aloud.