bar tender

henrylganttIt wasn’t supposed to be like this. It wasn’t supposed to be like anything, yet in it’s unsupposing it certainly wasn’t envisioned in this way. A strange situation where the blankness seems to fill so much space and the forgetting is…The word maps are torments—they show a potential something but jostle in close and suffocate; remove the air and paralyse into inaction. Curse them. Celebrate them. The words are leaf litter or worm casts that is all we can hope for. Give it time and the humus will feed and nourish fresh patterns of growth.

But there isn’t time. Oh, yes there is. It is measured out in bars. Coloured bars that intersect and overlap goals and targets to weave a rigid result. Where does the final straw go? A cheap shot (straight, no ice) but I’ve lost the swing. I need a walk but my feet hurt. I must imagine a walk…

Where is the Art of Sorcery we want to be fooled again
Staggered by deception charmed into submission1

Waking with that empty feeling again (again, again, again). Hollow-eyed. Open the curtains to a pre-sunrise haziness; claustrophobic, empty. The days stretch out wearily, emptily ahead yet they will not drag; contrarily time will fly, only emphasizing the lack of productivity. This emptiness is mocked by the plenitude of thought of Deleuze, Barad, Stengers…There should be a fullness of constant intermingling instead there is a loose staccato of choked, stilted, slow progress. Not a constant purple hum but instead, a scintilla of vivid colour…a magenta let’s say…garish and so unsuited. How can this emptiness be so heavy? It defies all logic. Cling to it. Maybe the focus has gone and this empty uniformity is really rich with diatoms of thought. Thought(s) that cannot be released as long as they remain blurred by wrong-looking. The emptiness is full if you do not stare straight at it. But distractions are easy to find here too.

Does the ‘5’ look clearer on the green or red? First or second? Is the ‘N’ clearer with…or without? Look at my ear. The bright column of light sways and hovers. Look right. The bright column of light sways and hovers. Look left. The brightness reflects little. Wait, there are rivers on the surface of a planet. Look up. A surface. A deep surface. Disappears. Look down. A slight change in prescription. Back out into the…into…into reality. Woken.

The blurring of the diatoms is so extreme that the scene becomes a fog punctuated by ill-fitting and illusory plecks. Like a will-o’-the-wisp; we follow their erratic path and we become further enmired…further from help. Stumbling and sinking. The pleck is merely the ‘foolish fire’ of the will-o’-the-wisp’s alter ego ignis fatuus. But we have made the deal and we pay the price. We have made a bond with the shape-shifters and now we must learn to live with them as they delude and mislead with their fugitive appearance(s).2 The glass half empty has been spilled. The surface-ground is exhausting. Oh, how it looked so simple from afar, now, in it, the hummocks, hags and corrugations almost cease progress. Unless mindless stumbling can be called progress. Maybe, just maybe. A shift in thinking. A shift in focus. A shift in scale. A shift in shape.

My eyes tire and dry out as I stare at the words on the screen. I shift my gaze and look absently at the clouds scudding across the sky above the tress in the park. It is autumn and there is a chilly, strong easterly wind. Another day of power tool use in neighbouring gardens. The sun comes and goes on the slated roof and brick chimney stack at the back of the house. I can imagine how they will feel—grainy, smooth, hard; warmed slightly. My eyes return to the words. These words, I type now. But where are the words? I will need to know as I need 80,000 of them. A dictionary has words certainly but I think their order will be too regimented, too obvious, to constitute a PhD thesis, besides, I think the plagiarism will be very obvious.

In following, approaching, the will-o’-the-wisp we expected that it would meet us at some point. Preferably half-way. The effort we invested must surely be rewarded in equal measure. An I for an I. The difference between us folding neatly to press presences into absences and vice versa. A neat model where we achieve a glorious whole. We have been tricked. These will-o’-the-wisps are not things in themselves, nor are they the effluvia of some thingly action. They precede ‘within’ the thing, signaling possibility. They flag-up potential but the rewards must be sought elsewhere and not at the (apparent) source of the ‘fire’. These fires will not be seen by all but can be seen by all. Doggedness. That is the easy part (apparently).

And the dog goes back again and again. Back again to the thing. Not a thing, but enough of a thing to be a dancing partner. A dance between a thing and a not-thing; a strange dance of asymmetry. Hobbled, awkward, strained. Furious. But this dog desires a dance.

1. John Cale, “Zen,” in HoboSapiens, EMI 5939092, 2003.
2. “Will-o’-the-wisp […] 1. = IGNIS FATUUS; fig. a thing (rarely a person) that deludes or misleads by means of fugitive appearances.” The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, ed. C.T.Onions (London: Book Club Associates, 1983), 2550.