Monday, December 10, 2001

Love and Wild at Heart

I saw David Lynch's "Wild at Heart" today and it made me really really sad.

There are these two people and tons of fucked up shit keeps getting forced between them. But in the very end, they manage to reunite and realize the only thing that they ever wanted: each other.

It's an explicit Wizard of Oz fairy tale and it makes me so unhappy. My experience with relationships has had absolutely nothing in common with the conclusion of the story. It's like you feel really left out of some greater, transcendental experience. Nature is just a big, cruel joke. We're constantly taunted with the Real, but we can never realize it. Our desire to be desired by the Other can never get fulfilled. Language, social convention, and the Symbolic always get in the way and keep it all out of your grasp, just like the way Guy can't seem to win his tennis match in Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train." The attainment of the Other and the fulfillment of desire are only possible in the fantasy screens of movies and books. They beckon for us to try to grab them, but always dance out of the way, leaving us cut up and nauseous at the last second.

There is no Utopia. No harmony. No love. At least not that I've experienced. Once the mirror stage forces us to differentiate between the signifiers of the Self and the Other, it's all over. We hurt other people without even realizing it and are doomed to a life of misunderstanding and unbearable pain.

That's why I'm sad tonight.

-erNNNNNNNNNN

I have no more heroes. You killed them all.

Sunday, November 25, 2001

memento.

I just saw Memento... and I'm stunned.

I could really identify with the emotions in this film. The inability to understand one's surroundings, the demand for fast action beyond your capabilities, the claustrophobic feeling that everything is closing in on you, the unstoppable feeling of horror that just won't go away... wow.
One of the most gruelling parts of the film is when the protagonist talks about how he's unable to heal because he can't experience time. His wife is gone and there's nothing that he can do to come to terms with that fact. Every time he wakes up, it's like he just found out that she was killed for the first time. The last available memory to him is that of his wife dying in front of him while he's helpless to do anything about it.
The only thing that the main character has left are his long-term memories of her before the accident. In one scene, a friend implores him to close his eyes and remember her, because that's the only time that he's ever happy. The way that he clings onto little details (even things that used to annoy him, like the way she used to say his name) reminds me of how I recall the last time I was happy while in the middle of a relationship with someone. The only problem is that, towards the end, even those memories, the only things that he has left, are drawn into question. He's becomes unsure of how they even happened and of how much he's constructing after the fact. That's really scary.

Like some critics, I was left a little unsatisfied by the ending. I'm still not completely sure what happened, but maybe that's a larger metaphor for the screwed up way that memory works. You're left without a clear picture of the world. The only thing you have is the blind confusion of the present moment where nothing is certain.

Monday, November 12, 2001

it's just not the same

There is a girl who slow dances
by herself
atop New York buildings in sub-zero fog
to scratchy old records.

Lou Reed sings "Berlin" while minor piano chords strike dusty strings, isolated, in the background.
"It was so very nice."
Sharp lines streak down her face and neck,
Red hairdye dissolved in sweat,
Mascara runs in tears and smears over frosted cheeks.
Tattoos and distorted images of shadows shimmer over delicate nose and mouth,
They flash Japanese phonetic characters that speak
stories of dead boyfriends and late nights
of pot-smoke, Trivial Pursuit, and rum-fueled conversations.

She stretches her arms around her hips and neck,
remembers the hands that used to rub her there.
Licks caked up lipstick,
Applied in preparation for a night that never happened
as it begins to crack.
The lips fall apart and tremble open into a
faint frown.
Hold herself tighter and tries to recall good days...
when there were two empty glasses at the night's close instead of
one.

Clenches her body but it's just not enough.
Hands are too stiff... too cold...

"Lord, it was paradise."

Around 2, at last, she walks back to the door.
Gives one last look at the empty table,
longs for someone to be there,
but turns and realizes
he's not coming...

just like every other night.

Sunday, November 11, 2001

life.is.ugly

Geez. Last night I got this weird idea that I should read the entirety of Dennis Cooper's Closer before I went to sleep. For some reason I thought it would calm me down...

wrong, wrong, wrong.

On the one hand, it's very beautiful in places and always well-written. I feel a lot of the characters, especially George. He's obviously extremely different me (I've never felt the urge to engage in casual gay sex), but I really identify with a lot of the feelings of loneliness, meaninglessness, low self-esteem, loss of purpose, and the need to be loved that he feels in the book. There's one entry about him closing his eyes and yearning for a kiss from someone. It's the only thing in the world that will make him happy and he is denied it. Cooper's hitting a lot of the emotions I've been going through right on the head.
However, Closer really distrubed me. It's not as blatant as Frisk, but it still explores some horrid depths of humyn possibility that can be truly painful to examine. In typical Cooper style, murderous desire is directly forced into the reader's consciousness. You are forced to come to terms with the fact that people do horrible things to eachother and that they get pleasure from it. However, what hurt me even more (and kept me up for the rest of the night in despair), was the way that people treated each other. Several characters commodify George and use him like an object. He becomes reduced to this thing that doesn't even deserved to be cared for or loved. His life is steadily shattered and he is reduced to a hollow shell by the various characters that he comes into contact with. Eventually, one of them even tries to kill him for some death fetish. No one expresses a ton of sympathy for him until George's new friend threatens turn Tom in at the end of the book.
In less than 150 pages, Cooper has summed up a lot of my outlook on the world right now. He shows real people caught up in the midst of a chaotic and violent world that they don't deserve. I can't even come to grips with what that means right now. I don't understand why people I know have been hurt by others or what role I play in that process. Cooper fleshed out my emotions and really freaked me out. I spent the remainder of the night in various stages of anger, sadness, and frustration. It's hard to sleep when you know that everyone around you is hurting inside and that you can't do anything about it.

Monday, November 05, 2001

Requiem for Anti-Oedipus

The hand that strained
let go,
Broken blisters flowed free and dropped the rug burnt rope.
Sweet release into the night's bath of wind and fall,
an icy shower over cobblestone streets.
Eyes flickered and cast off one last tear,
An angel, head baptized in the splash of bone and brain on the sidewalk below,
A rhizome flower,
grinds out and shimmers in the nightline for the last time.
A mess smeared on concrete and
served to intellectuals' mouths.
The yawn becomes a gasp...
No more theory.
No more silly schizo masturbation.
Only silence in vacant university classrooms
as our jaws hang open and
we stare at the wreckage of Freud's last cruel joke:

"Tonight it was announced on French radio that Deleuze
has committed suicide
(one report said that he 's'est defenestre' ie. threw
himself out of a
window)."
[Melissa McMahon Sun, 5 Nov 1995]


I'm on these little yellow pills. My dermatologist gives them to me. They're really expensive. I swallow them every night and feel horrible the next day. They say that a senator's son killed himself while taking these a while back.
I wonder how he felt about that. I wonder what was going on in his life. Did he have relationship problems? Ontological issues?
I guess I'll keep on downing these things like razorblades until my face is suitable to be shown in public.

Sunday, November 04, 2001

painless

I talked to some friends I know today. Everyone seems really hopeless. I can't think of many exceptions. Almost every one of them sounds like they're trapped in an endless nightmare. One of them talks about how he doesn't know how to justify school work or breathing. Another one of them has a huge conflict with the legal system and his academic aspirations. Everyone seems so hurt and confused and I don't know why. It's never been like this before. Am I just projecting my emotions onto them? Why on earth would everyone start acting so comatose at the exact same time?

And it's really hard too. I mean... how do you encourage someone who sounds suicidal when you feel just as emotionally tired and scared as they do..?

Friday, November 02, 2001

adrenaline

DISCLAIMER: I'm cleaning up some egregiously bad html and I found this "piece." I have to warn you that it's really stupid and I'm kind of embarassed that I wrote it. I'm not really sure what I was thinking at the time


Today has been one hardcore day.

Lately I've had this desire to look for extreme versions of my normal, daily activities. Don't get me wrong. I'm obviously not a very hardcore person (I'm freaked out of needles and would probably get killed in a brawl). It's just that the things that have normally interested me don't seem as intriguing in their usual quantities. I want something more. And today has been a step in that direction.

I've been listening to quite a bit of Merzbow, Bastard Noise, and Bizarre Uproar. Not small quantities. Unhealth doses of it around the clock. I've been feverishly downloading noise off of www.audiogalaxy.com for the past twenty-four hours and playing it on loop.

I'm also reading crazier stuff. First I picked up Ballard... now I'm reading Dennis Cooper books, for crying out loud. A lot of stuff just seems dull, so I just have to up the dosage and read about more horrific things. I saw Tetsuo: Iron Man today too. Damn. That movie is fucking crazy. Really jerky and violent black and white images with a wall of crazy sound behind it. In the first scene this metal fetishist cuts open his thigh and screams as he inserts a metal rod into it. He gets hit by a car and is abandoned in a field by the driver (who begins to turn into a fucked up metal-person for the rest of the film). I swear... this is like "Run Lola Run" (an excellent film) on amphetamines and crack. I just ate some really hot Indian food at the authentic Indian restraunt down the street. Usually I get it mildly spicy, but tonight I had them turn it way up. If I weren't so distanced from the pain my body is experiencing right now I could have never finished it. I'm still rolling on the edge of an endorphine high. It feels really good. I just hope I don't do anything stupid tomorrow.

Thursday, November 01, 2001

noise.

I'm listening to Merzbow right now. No lyrics. No key signature, melody, or harmony. Just head splitting electronic noise, roaring machinery, breaking metal, shreaks, squeals, and the sound of civilization destroying itself. It gives you a horrible headache, but eventually you learn to love the throbbing in your temples. It becomes a beatiful pulse, like an orgasm of anguish. It's a cacaphony that fractures the way that you feel about the world. Wasn't it Genesis P-Orridge who talked about "entertainment through pain?" When I first heard this stuff I didn't really "get" it, but I had a strange feeling that there was something interesting there. After you force yourself to listen to it for a while, the distorted trash becomes a soothing white noise. It scrapes the day's ravages from your mind and lets you finally fall asleep so you can wake up tomorrow for yet another day on this fucked up planet. One letter writer to Harper's (yeah, that Harper's) called Merzbow's work a brillo pad. I like that analogy. It's kind of like bathing in a tub of liquid lysol. It may burn a lot, but it really cleans that social junk off. Right now, unmitigated chaos is one of the only things I can sympathize with. The aural violence is kind of like a Deleuzian disjunct. It just shocks you out of your normal way of thinking and forces you to confront your basic attitude about what "production," "efficiency," and "art" even mean.

I read an interview once where Merzbow said that popmusic sounded like noise to him. I would definitely rather listen to grinding machinery than the cleaned-up, yet shallow, music everyone around me seems to like.

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

I want to feel your pain

I think I've lost my ability to feel empathy for other people.

I know in theory that it's bad for other people to be hurt. I fully support efforts to relieve sufferent and will fight for a better world. It's not hard to recognize that others' pain is horrible and just shouldn't happen. But a basic problem remains:

I don't feel their pain.

I think that I'm incapable of even understanding or coming to terms with what it means to suffer or to be assaulted by the world or another person. When someone tells me about something bad that happened, I can't even imagine what that's like. I've become so obsessed with my own, trivial problems that I'm unable to sympathize with others or really REALIZE the horrors that they're going through. One might say that this isn't a problem, just so long as I recognize that other people have rights and that those shouldn't be hurt. Unfortunately, it is a problem. If my self-interest ever comes in to conflict with someone else's, I'm horrified that I might weigh my short-sighted, selfish wants more than the easing of someone else's pain. This is the exact same mindset that has allowed people to commit horrific crimes and to dismiss the wants and needs of other people.

Yeah, I feel guilty... but that's the problem. My guilt is just another example of me feeing sorry for myself. This whole rant is just another pathetic attempt to justify myself with my own "suffering." Maybe I just need to imagine what it's like to be in someone else's shoes. I'm honestly trying, but it's really difficult.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

warm.

Frozen skin trembles at the touch of exposed palms.
Clammy finger rub and dissolve frost-chafed hands
and sink in, surround knuckles in a grasp... reassures.
Too scared to move,
muscles tighten and strain
but are clenched by a soft clasp.
Timid, but respond and squeeze back,
Look up...
And skin shivers as you realize
that she doesn't know that

You saw her smile.

Monday, October 29, 2001

cut.

this is the knife that cuts the meat
skeleton of the rock it used to be,
but sharp.

blade ready for hackin' up stuff,
the mice that dare
to crawl
here
get cut up real bad

twist down aching throats that
choke
gag
wheeze on tungsten razorblades
spill out of compartments
in the ceiling above you and
everything rushes to your head
and you can't see anything
through the spots of blood
cloud your vision
the sweat soaked sweater
wrapped around your eyes
only see the drenched yarn
that burns into restricted cornea
shatters veins and smears
iodine across your vision
drips down into your mouth
and you wretch

but nothing comes until
the dry heaves
can't even bear to hack up the
shredded piece of lung trapped
in your throat
fingers down mouth in the bulemia
dance, head plunges into the toilet
grasp piece of rare steak gristle and pull
it up along with the rest of your lunch

"someone, please help"

cpr trained dining companion
who you hadn't even noticed
smashes your ribs with
a carpenter's hammer and you feel
them break into more shards
that twist into and wring out organs
like the kid who rubbed fiberglass fireglass
foam on his chin and
screamed, the rash burned and broke
blood vessels into his face
ended his chances of ever meeting
a soul mate
screwed up his social relations with family
and friends
only stutters with turrets
and drains pus out of pores
while they all stare back in disgust

she turns around, unaware
and hits you in the face again with iron gavel
drops blade into the face that pleaded
for help

the knife can' t extact the trapped lozenge
that festers in your throat
traps it and presses it against aching
trachea

guest leaves the terrible food
unfinished to rot on her plate
and departs
escorted
by one with a somewhat clearer throat
and leaves a shred of paper on the carpet
beside you

you however
still twitch on the floor
realize you were never really a dinner guest
just a sideshow to watch
strangle beside the dining room table
tremble toward the note but
body too wrenched to read it
you croak through
the jacuzzi bath of black fluid that bubbles
out of your lips:

"I'm finally dead...
We did it together."

Sunday, October 28, 2001

the death of everything


Welcome the wasteland, losers. Just when you thought you had gotten over the death of god, you're now confronted with the death of Reason. Welcome to the age in which nothing makes sense and all of the Truths and norms that you cling to like the tit of a mother boar shrink and decay right before your eyes. Sartre's existential "choice" has been reduced to complete absurdity as it begins to dawn on us that we never had the decision to make in the first place. It was all a big fucking joke. Society constructs who we are. You're not "special" or "unique." Every time you try to define yourself as "different," you're just reacting to more covert social control. Who the fuck cares if I wear all black and dye my hair? It's just a denial, another symptom of the fundamental Lack wherebye I have to define myself through absence. We have no freedom to make "autonomous" choices.

There's the real joke. It's just feel-good, self-help section of the bookstore, Oprah show propaganda to make you fit in better with the other pieces of garbage, the other tools needed to let the machine operate more efficiently. Every time you act, every time you breathe, it just gets stronger. Try and resist, but it always fails because your move is just another totalizing regression (yes, I do see the irony here, it only proves that I'm trapped in the same circular, discursive black-hole as everyone else. You get a cookie for pointing that out, btw).

Once you fall off the cliff of rationalism, you're in the abyss of infinite meaning. Who's right? Who's wrong? Who cares? Just pass me more of that rum and it'll all feel better... at least until you have to wake up tomorrow for another pointless day at work. Or until the play of violence comes to your house and decides to take your life. Keep clutching your favorite volume of Descartes to your chest and pray to the gods of reason that tomorrow's not your day, but when Bush pushes the button, your idiotic introspection about the "meaning of existence" will become meaningless in the hot flash that will evaporate your blood, bones and flesh. And what about anthrax? You never see it coming. One day you're writing essays in English and you get sick and then... After the explosion or the infection, there is no more "symbolic logic." No more math. No more epistemology. No more metaphysics. Just nothingness. I can't even comprehend what that means, because it just doesn't mean anything. Feels good, huh?

Academic Debate (an activity I participate in) is just another game, a nation-wide 500 per minute speed-reading circle-jerk for privelaged kids who want to make sense of the world. You can win every tournament of the year, snort as much coke as you can on all night research binges, fuck as many debaters as you can, and always have the newest goddamn updates at the Kentucky Round Robin, but you'll never get beyond the fact that it's all a big, sugar-coated sham. The evidence is a huge lie. The shit that passes for warrants is simply absurd. Deep in the recesses of their minds, the debaters know that they have NO IDEA what's going to happen if Bush passes an Indigenous policy tomorrow. And that's fucking terrifying. If you embrace the State, shit gets fucked up. If you reject it, other shit gets fucked up. And while you're pausing to reflect on your own futile bourgeois positionality, some jackass in the back of the room is aways screaming, "What's the alternative???? WE GOTTA' ACT NOW!!! PEOPLE ARE DYING!" What do you do? Are you even capable of making that decision? What gives *you* the right to make life and death choices for anyone else in the world?

Don't give me your bullshit about rhetorical "liberation. You're not transforming anyone. You're just leading us down the same liberal path of white-washing complacency that got us here. This is Baudrillard's ultimate crime. The Real is extinct and there's nothing you can do about it. Mommy is gone (dead after a soma-crack-Love Boat Marathon-vacation) and she's not coming back. Daddy cries in the living room when you're not looking and doesn't know what to do either.

The final stanza of TS Eliot's "The Hollow Men [sic]" is appropriate:

Here we go round the prickley pear
Prickley pear prickley pear
Here we go round the prickley pear
At five o'clock in the morning.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

-erNNNNNNNNNN

I have no more heroes. You killed them all.