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Tel Quel

je sais bien mai quand même

Category Archives: Books

In this life, we are the sum of all our journeys made, the greater part of us perpetually in medias res, always the becoming of time and events; most of us already seasoned travelers. “I want to be happy, sleep in a bed, have roots. And you’ll never be alone again, Mathilda.” And all this while I thought having roots meant a particular spatial-temporal groundedness in (or attachment to) community, society, culture. The idea of a home, and a family.

When I hold you in this night-soaked bed it is courage for the day I seek. Courage that when the light comes I will turn towards it. It couldn’t be simpler. It couldn’t be harder. In this little night-covered world with you, I hope to find what I long for; a clue, a map, a bird flying south, and when the light comes we will get dressed together and go.

More than we realize, we have a tendency to be inconsistent. We carry our hearts everywhere, when I think of rootedness I think of two things: How easy it is to cultivate one from youth, and its occasional abandonment with greater rapidity. We are always growing up, but most of the time, unconsciously, apart. We carry our hearts everywhere, therefore our roots. A composition of internal systems, memories, individuals but never quite a specific place, or the larger Ding an sich. People die, but people have meaning. Places without people are just spaces, white-noise. Empty spaces and points of light. I’d like to think I have my roots in people, or more specifically, persons as Léon is to Mathilda and vice versa. When I say I want to have roots, I meant the rhizomatic interdependency of souls.


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Five more days.

I am a dreamer. It was said that one day I would lose myself, and everyone else to (my) dreams. But did I not dream you into life? Or was it you who dreamt of me first? It’s hard to believe oneself immaculately conceived from dreams alone. Dreaming, alone; dreaming alone.

Let me see your face. You face lit up by twenty centuries. Who told me you had stars in your eyes? Let me see your heavenly body. Star-proof I am not. From a hundred billion others, you hurled yourself down in gassy form; no definite boundaries, no fixed volume. You could have filled any space but the space you filled was me. I saw you drop from the roof of the stars, and in the moment of your falling, you began to be defined.

I picked up the flickering body, frozen in crystalline form, kissed the place of your face and the solid geometry of each limb. Five points you; legs, arms and face, a pentagon of hope, and me a talisman at your hand. Revoke me; You do. Call me back and back through the wastes of time, here, there, nowhere, carrying white roses never red. Not a dead poet but a living love, and if the words I bring are dusty, I will renew them in your mouth.

But I am also a realist, brutal on my own fodder of Truth/truths, savage as any uninhabitable space. In my dreams I give you the living word, not promises but the living word: let the blind lead those who can see but cannot feel.

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Every movement necessitates an overwhelming sensation. The air grew cold, and for a moment, smelt of Melbourne: careless, sleepless, tireless; free. That particular street with the imposing french windows and screaming typography on every pane beside the quaint cafe with cheap pots and skull-warming heaters hung aloft, the same street where we walked until our feet hurt our pockets empty but our hearts full of purpose and possibilities and eventually we bought a pair of pumps each, in feeble surrender. Those were the nights of milk and honey, and cheap cigarettes. I had so much less of everything then.
This is my fourth night, completely clean.

And here I stand again, waiting in a different time and place, where all of the little rights and wrongs dissipate beneath the lights of a false, obscene winter in quiet contemplation of aesthetics over ethics; like Winterson’s Picasso and Sappho intertwined. Why are we moved? Because there is an excess within our lack thereof(s); a thousand things, people and events at any given time for which and/or whom we have no language for.

“Why do I long for another turn of time? Why do I want the clock to go faster when my life depends on holding back the hands? Why? I want to kiss you.

Kiss me with the hollow of your mouth, the indentation of desire. Kiss me with the pulled-apart open space, demolition of propriety, rebuilding of a place of worship among an upright people. She kisses me. The words that there are, fly up from her lips, a flock of birds cawing at the sky. An engine of wings migrating through the world but she makes her home in me.


Love me (…) through time, beyond the clock. Help me forget my life.”

They say the heart is a weapon the size of your fist,
(but how terribly small)

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To reduce the collective sein und zeit in a pre-apocalyptic here and now, today; we are much more intricately connected than we are individuals, nobody is special:

“She watched the people in the bandshell struggle out of their bedding, humped and gasping, looking up dazed into the span of light and sky that hung above the blue encampment.”

Not you, not I, there is no such ‘She’, or a said observer, everybody is watching and the gaze is genderless. Based on such an assumption and/or possibly a fact, the Observer’s paradox ceases to be in function; however that is not to say that responsibility henceforth is detached from the loci of hermeneutics and translation, the inherent responsibility lies in the genealogy of sight, not blindness.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: but God decided he didn’t need to divide the light from the darkness. It is as it is, and that it was equally good. There was no need for a second day.

14: 38
What was supposed to be an afternoon engagement with the politics of text and (t)error (at this point the parenthetical pause has become quite ineffectual) became a feckless wandering into De Botton instead, desperate to find a divine message within the pages of half-fiction, half-destiny. Turn to page 21, “…reading meaning into everything.” Real desire lacks articulacy, De Botton aptly writes, or in my mind’s euphemistic cynicism: There is nothing to say to you in a medium void of sense and structure, in spite of. By now, I have become an analytic philosopher complete with charred lungs, non-existent sleeping habits and waning social skills, commencing the simulative interpellation of “I” as the objet petit a, and objet itself.

Not quite the conversational topic, but today it was raining. And it was perfect. The last I wrote sequentially, there was an interstellar demise in abject procession and I lost my body to an ocean. Here, now, there is only the familiarity of comfort in waiting, as if it was the most natural and necessary thing (for anyone) to do, to be. Chapter 18, Romantic Terrorism. We are acquainted to perceive time in the distance of eternity, in light-years but they are merely the cadence of empty, immeasurable signification. In truth, or in a truth that I’m most familiar with; time is bound to memory, inflection, images and sensation. Time is the strange post-markings of people that constantly walk in and out of my life, in medias res.

The streets are foreign tonight, rarely illuminated in such a melancholic sort of opal, like a marine aquarium. Still, it becomes garish under the weight of a constant gaze; I am a minnow with the luxury of space yet trapped in every sense of an indecipherable, postmodern topos. I cannot see where boundaries end and abandonment begins, and yet I knew there were cartographic blockades in moments of blindness. In the span of eight hours, I knew vaguely that I was neither Chloe nor De Botton’s “I”, and in a moment of dissociation, sought to have the capacity to (receive) Love eventually, but above all, also the capacity to be patient.

Analysis could never be anything but flawed
– and therefore never stray far from the ironic.

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In certain lights it is easy to see the towers and the domes, even the people going to and fro. We speak of it with longing and with love. The future. But the city is fake. The future and the present and the past exist only in our minds, and from a distance the borders of each shrink and fade like the borders of hostile countries seen from a floating city in the sky. The river runs from one country to another without stopping. And even the most solid of things and the most real, the best-loved and the well-known, are only hand-shadows on the wall.

I have never been more certain about uncertainty, the lucid and ambiguous are as the bones beneath (my) skin, like the clavicular rise and fall with each breath. When I am tired of running, I will stop. To be worthy of the mirror-bearer, I will breathe slowly, if measurable at all; out of fear, out of mysterious revelation. I am my own person; afraid and independent, careless and carefree. Start as I mean to go on, and then I realize how vast it all is, this matter of the mind. I am confounded by the shining water and the size of the world.

She wades into the water with me, deep enough to wet the bottom of her hair, and takes my face in both her hands and kisses me on the mouth. Then she turns away and I watch her walk back across the sand and up over the rocks. I begin to row, using her body as a marker. I always will.

Mine is a sea-faring soul in the light of boundless oceans and the shadow of the gulls.

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There are days where time is measured by albums, or specifically beats per minute: the last I checked, I had no idea seven hours had passed or remotely felt so as I sat (and am still sitting) in a meager 7 by 3 stripped against the colours of false appeal outside. The lurid juxtaposition of being in and out of the system simultaneously compels a second sanity, one which I am forced to assume and understand. But I don’t.

Today I failed to understand the awkward choices people make, the occasional irreverent working class, self-aggrandizement and/or affliction, the strange co-habitation of blindness and impartiality in general. With whatever spare hours in between, I wondered to the point of exhaustive delirium: like De Beauvoir, it appears to exist in a spectacle of multiplicity, the truth which is not one but many. I continued with dialogues, ethical and moral, many of which failed to be coherent and logical because I had little to spare by the eighth hour. With Von Kleist, I come to the temporary conclusion of eitelkeit; vanitas; or vanity. Any form of perspective is an interminable relation with blindness, with singularities, and from the position of Omnia Vanitas from the Book of Ecclesiastes: the obsession-possession of the subject, or perhaps of the object itself, and its ultimate alienation (in memory of Narcissus’s unfortunate drowning.)

The preoccupation with the look, with people, with choices is beyond all of me, as I tried to the best of my abilities to wait for chance occurrences. I believe most think faster and more effectively than I do; I just happen to wonder, then wander. With secondary knowledge I’ve subjected to a makeshift phenomenology to hold fast onto, just to make sense of today. The problem is that I have no clue from which position I speak of: within what boundaries, or from a distance, and if so to what degree, what kind of justification? Nine hours later, I am still fast frozen beneath cryptic entries of ideologies past but in a certainty mad with distraught, that to speak is never neutral.

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