The Wrong Side of Things

The depth of my life is no more than a remembrance, a striving to be who I am. In the meantime I have been writing from beneath a thousand thoughts, all the same: I am not who I am.

I am on the wrong side of things. There is a shipwrecked craft circling this earth out of which I emerged and swam ashore. The air is my ocean. On the opposite shore is the void of space, the place it all began. I am fourteen billion years old. I have been light and dust, stones and alters, the womb, a man.

sam.1998.3-2

I am distinct from, yet beholden to these forms. I am none of these things. I am the light that sweeps across the rippling cloth. My thoughts live with me, ethereal and emancipated. They have also been light and dust, stones and alters, the womb, men. My thoughts have become my flesh. The cells of my mind are sensitive to the phantom inhabitation of another consciousness whose far-reaching hand, like a needle in its shuttle, inscribes my corporeal cloth; every fold, the lie of the purl, outlined with fine, silver thread. Yet I remain separate. Threads stretch, stitches disengaged. A rag unfurls, torn and useless. There are holes in the once vast, smooth fields of tight-knit thread rows. It doesn’t take much to realize that every tear and fray belies an imperfection that has been there all along, latent, its destructive effect inevitable. Only the light on this rippling surface is constant.

At intervals in my life a trap door will open, drawing me down passageways of flesh, nerve and bone. I pass through cavities and corridors collapsing under their own weight. What was once perfect in its blind, self-sustaining efficiency suddenly wastes away before me. I become old, aging years in the span of seconds standing before my mirror.

The cloth and not the light is the landscape. I have wandered this topography, observing and altering it with my presence. I have written about it. I have tried to recall in my words the blank sheet that preceded them. I don’t know why. The entire process seems paradoxical and meaningless. What am I actually saying?

Words leave the seriousness of human existence stranded in forgetfulness and mocking repetition. It is a map of the world, scale: 1:1. Writing gets me no closer to heaven.

My body is escaping me, leached away by various chemicals, by the end or beginning of love, by sudden realizations, sudden forgetfulness, sudden remembrance. With this dying body I am writing, dying to make myself again to make myself again. I am replacing myself while the physiognomy still enables me. The corpus reciprocates. The reciprocation alleviates pain while embodying eventual death. I become a ghost, vanish, haunt a daydream. Language is the shedding of a great epidermis. It is eternity left to the bones. Fulfillment is fundamental, for once separated from function it is merely surface. I dream of thoughts that do not belong to air, nor to blood, nor electricity. On this shore I long to scratch out thoughts that do not belong to men, the womb, alters or stones, dust or light; thoughts that belong to and must return to the void, so that I may follow.

Meanwhile there are threads that remain tangled around me, and one long one, twisting upwards through the clouds. The days when I stare after it, lost in a daydream, are fewer and fewer. I know the other is still there, a kite at the end of this silver thread, a flash of fading color, moving much faster and further.

SM

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