christmas brain food.

I had a terrific Christmas. Once everyone is gone and there is no longer any pressure to be a "happy family," I realize that I am indeed part of a relatively happy family and enjoyed my day. The day itself always feels anticlimactic and emotionally draining. I really enjoyed seeing my Dad for the first time in a long time. He was really really nice which made me feel guilty about the prior post and my general bitterness. People surprise me, sometimes. My favourite presents: the Sartorialist book, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer - which I read in a few hours and want to read again - and the origami crane my sister made for me. Here is a portion of an essay I just wrote that I am incredibly pleased with. On Whitman and Heidegger's "Thinker as Poet" and of course I had to throw some Lacan in there:

Whitman's manic desire to consume and be consumed by everything - and his inability to achieve either - exemplifies Heidegger's quote: "Thinking’s saying would be stilled in its being only by becoming unable to say that which must remain unspoken" (Thinker as Poet). Part of the function of language is to play within and expose its own limitations. Language does not only function superficially as self-contained and transparent, but also in relation to this limit or its ability to expose this limit. Formal experimentation is one strategy of playing with and around the inability of language while simultaneously exposing the lack underlying what is made visible. The malleability of poetry in particular draws attention to this semiotic and material limit. That which visibly manifests itself is also the symptom of a residue, of something that cannot be expressed in language. For Heidegger, "What is spoken is never, and in no/language, what is said" (Thinker as Poet). A similar thought is expressed in Whitman: "Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,/Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn" (Whitman 22-23). Thus, what is said includes the content of the language as well as what is lacking in the language; Leaves of Grass performs this relation and the inability of language. This discourse reveals the limit of the language (what is lacking, what remains unspoken because it is untranslatable) in dialectical relation to the words used and the relationship to the speaker as creator and conduit of 'Being.' What is seen (the content communicated) emphasizes the absence of the unseen (that which necessarily underlies what is visibly and materially taking place). The inability of language to succinctly express experience and realize this desire results in a struggle with and against this limit; therefore, the subject matter of the poem is not only what is said but the issue at stake in saying or not saying, and the problems of language as a system of representation. This reality motivates Heidegger's statement that "such inability would bring thinking/face to face with its matter" (Thinker as Poet). Thinking is a process that struggles to explicate itself through saying; however, the subject of thought cannot be confronted directly, in language. The best and only strategy for negotiating this problematic is to play within the limits of the language itself in order to expose the contradiction inherent in the process of thought and its communication. Thus, Leaves of Grass succeeds because it communicates the vitality of life while sustaining the contradictions inherent in the process of channeling thought into language.

Lacan's distinction between the symbolic and the imaginary realms exposes the function and 'inability' of language within Whitman's poetry. The Lacanian reading reveals the misrecognition that occurs through linguistic expression. Whitman's desire is expressed in language that cannot grasp what he desires and how he desires. Explication of desire in language results in a hierarchical systematization of that desire which results in the subsequent annihilation of that desire. Desire fails when it is [mis]recognized, and thus the untranslatable essence of Whitman's experience - the component that underlies what is communicated - must remain unspoken in order to for the 'Being' of the poem to be realized. This process reveals that desire itself is structured; desire is not free of form. If, according to Lacan, "the unconscious is structured like a language," desire too is structured like a language, but is not a language and cannot be explicated via language. This desire "is without name - it is a word unsaid,/It is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol" (Whitman 68). Whitman swings between a desire to consume and a desire to release (sensually but also within language and the construct of the poem) because he recognizes that desire is extinguished through explication. This is one reason why Whitman advises against "tak[ing] things at second or third hand...looking through the eyes of the dead...[and] feeding on the spectres in books" (Whitman 22). His attempts to mediate his desire through verse to the reader necessarily fails. This is the "paradox of desire at its purest: in order to sustain itself as desire, to articulate itself (in a song), a piece must be missing" (Zizek xviii).


I feel ridiculous, my head has been swimming and murky for the past week. I want to have electric-shock-underwater-half-asleep-when-you-crawl-into-bed-with-me-early-in-the-morning sex after I (exhausted and half naked) curl up and doze off to the sound of you and your stoned friends murmuring delightful things in your well designed living room painted neutral colours. You and your chocolate stout. You and your extremely long fingers. I'm nervous to see/talk to my Dad and his wife for the first time in a while. I am afraid. I feel afraid around my family because I know that nothing I say would even crack a hole in their shrink-wrapped shell minds incubated in religious juices. Religion works so well, it sucks up everything like a vaccuum, all doubt condemned, everything soaked up and churned out and half-digested. Syrupy faith. You can't reason with faith, which makes it very powerful and stupid. I am so absent from everything except my body. It keeps producing things and moving along streets and I'm watching it with a stupid fucking grin, feeling like a brain-in-vat staring dumb faced at my own flesh that is unwilling - incapable - of not moving. I'm tricking everyone! No one knows that I am so incredibly removed from myself and others. Sometimes when we fuck I look down at my body moving and I am impressed. I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay. Write, write, repair. Know your language, know your neighbours. I want writing just for me. I want hard copies of everything. I am afraid of losing or wanting to lose because that's easier. I want paper cuts and ink stains and callouses on the inside of the ring finger on my right hand. I want you to suck the blood from my paper cuts and read me the 'Grand Inquisitor' when I'm leaned against the wall and you are deep in and the street-lamp-light filtered through blinds cuts up your hard, angular body. Condemn me. I feel close to you and only you.

*I forgot to credit these:
the first is Francis Bacon, the second is an unknown source re-posted from another blog (and I don't remember, I'm sorry).


One fun thing I like about working at the library is finding scraps of paper and peoples private lives in books; inscriptions, lists, notes in the margin. I have been collecting "found papers" since I was 14. I have a binder, a box, and a notebook full of other peoples random trash. I don't know why I find it so interesting. Tonight's lists:

quit sdtt
alone time
quit gf
more alone time/cry
gain confidence
work out
stand up to family
find yourself
get priorities/goals

the only thing with a check mark beside it is the first item.
this one makes me feel that everyone everywhere is exactly the same and want the same things when they think no one is reading. and to put "find yourself" on a to-do list is ridiculous, stupid, charming, sad and lovely.
i don't know what sdtt is.

pity/fear - green
catharsis - green
hero - yellow
ontology - blue
truth - red


memory paint by numbers

Yeah, yes, indeed.
Insert colour.
I just wrote this nostalgic and highly self-indulgent thing that I like inspired by this ridiculous piece of writing I found in one of my notebooks from five years ago. I happily roll around in memories, snug as shit.
Who gives a fuck. There is logic but its not clever.
My best people are visiting for Christmas. I'm excited.
I can't stop listening to "Make Love that Lasts" by Karl Blau, its such a fantastically happy song with snarky lyrics.
I'm super excited but I'm not sure what about.

cucumber melon candles
jeans rolled mid-calf
peanut butter sandwiches and coke
tosca goldfrapp jazzanova
you narrowly missed the paintbrush but I can deep throat

nag champa and the annex in autumn
torn up cargos and propagandhi t-shirts
eggs benedict and pad thai
walks/locked up guitar/masturbation
elliott buckley loveless
i came in through the bathroom window/why did you break the glass

cigarettes and soapy dishwater, weed
ill-fitting leather jackets
alfredo pasta and gravy
talk it out and fuck, gently
chili peppers pink floyd and other mediocrities
what the fuck did you do to the closet door

semen and sweat
green plaid shirt and brown polyester
blt with red onion
yell insult throw fuck carpet burn
of montreal captain beefheart pavement

blueberry muffins
hair. 90's. dad's leather jacket
rice and salmon
sullen silent treatment
neil young jeff tweedy the boss
leave, now, anticlimax, side 2

sweat, skin, water
paint and scrubs
gnocchi with scissors
draw escape retract cold as fuck
tom waits nina simone

art is here.


Sources of inspiration this week.

All night dreaming of a body
space weighs on differently from mine
We are making love in the street
the traffic flows off from us
pouring back like a sheet
the asphalt stirs with tenderness
there is no dismay
we move together like underwater plants

Over and over, starting to wake
I dive back to discover you
still whispering,
touch me, we go on
streaming through the slow
citylight forest ocean
stirring our body hair

But this is the saying of a dream
on waking
I wish there were somewhere
actual we could stand
handing the power-glasses back and forth
looking at the earth, the wildwood
where the split began

from "Waking in the Dark" by Adrienne Rich

Sanne Sannes

I cannot explain the action of leveling,
Why it should all boil down to one
Uniform substance, a magma of interiors.
My guide in these matters is your self,
Firm, oblique, accepting everything with the same
Wraith of a smile, and as time speeds up so that it is soon
Much later, I can know only the straight way out,
The distance between us.

from "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" by John Ashbery

...more typewriters...Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, Will Self.

I'm really tired and cranky. We're reading Moby-Dick for my Literature & Philosophy course. I thought it was going to be one of those books that are excruciatingly painful to get through, but its actually been a really fun read. It reminds me of being a kid and reading adventure novels 10 hours straight in my backyard during the summer.

I now have two jobs, plus my poetry editing job which will kick back into the forefront around January. Plus end-of-semester papers and 4 grad school applications to pump out. I want this month to be over and I want a day to write and drink tea and lounge around with my cats. I also want to stop whining, because my life is pretty damn good.