Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Series Conceived on St. Valentine's Night

"An Insight Born On St. Valentine’s Day":
One must, I find, confront disappointment with the deepest grandiosity.—The deepest, sweeping bow, with one arm holding the lapels of one’s coat, and one arm spread, showing the way by which to pass (which speaks: fare-well [good-bye, _and_ take-care, be-well]).
In this way one does not demean love’s grandeur.
And, often, the highest moment of intimacy is shared in this magnanimous parting.

"St. Valentine":
St. Valentine is also patron saint of bee-keepers. (I learned this at work—there is nothing esoteric here.) A customer, puzzled, said, “bee-keepers?” And it all made sense…
Yes, Love can either reap the sweetest, thickest, dissolver of all boundaries (have you ever stuck your hand into a pot of honey?), or it can sting the life out of you.
I’ve been teaching some of my students the “sweet-bitter” of love, all in an effort to transmute this primal, defining moment into the possibility of an ethics.
Not only with love, but with all people one begins to taste, one begins to dare the dangers of pain with--this can either afford the most decadent satiety or the most pronounced painful penetrations.
Love is like a honey-bee. And so, Sappho writes, in a moment of despair, “neither honey, nor the honey bee for me.” She writes this, we can imagine, covered with the inflamed welts of a former lover, the taste of happiness still coating her mouth.

"Where Have All the Faggots Gone?...":
I worked tonight, on this most “sacred” festival of love, and what disturbed me most was the pronounced _absence_ of gay couples. I saw at least two dozen straight couples, fresh from dinner, on to home, and…. But the only fags I saw were a) with a fag-hag, b) with a group of fag-hags, or c) on a first-date [and this was but one, and it was really quite cute to watch and catch snippets of].
I’m no sucker for commercialization, but still: we are a ritualistic people (humans, that is), and so this is the moment when we allow ourselves to lavish upon the one we love, in public—and thus, through masks/forms/structures—the affections we show in private. Why, then, were there no gay couples in our café tonight?
Yes, yes, yes! It is completely plausible that, in fact, a coffee shop is not where gay men go after dinner. And I am, by all accounts, a terrible fag, so I don’t know the rules governing the play of this ritual.
But still, and maybe this is my point, it was lonely for me to keep serving happy straight couple after happy straight couple, who would then sit down next to another straight couple looking equally doe-eyed. I wanted faggots to come in, cute couples, young and filled with the exuberance of love. I wanted to see, on this ritualized day of love, that we, too, are capable of getting lost in one another.
Maybe, of course, I was behind the wrong counter. But tonight was the first time in my 5 months working at the café that it wasn’t “queer” or even “gay” in tone and color…

"On Dating":
I’ve never dated.
A boy said, “Salinger,” and this is what helped him survive highschool.
I replied: Rimbaud, and I am still on his drunken boat.
I follow currents, I suppose. It is what one does when passenger on such a vessel. But they are subterranean rivulets, as if of gold in the cold of a mine.
I’ve three times dared take helm of this ship, and the first time nearly sunk me, the second made me bitter against torrential winds, and the third… well, of the third I still hold a certain hope for safe-passage, like a crew starved for wind on a ship that doesn’t even rock them to sleep with predictable rhythms—there is only stillness (and from e.e. Cummings: nothing surpasses the mystery of stillness). I hold to this course, even though my rudder may respond, there is no movement. But with knuckles white, I clench the spokes of my wheel, and will sink, starve, or drown by these choices. (For the first time.)
Dating, I tried to explain to a friend over drinks the other night, is first and foremost a matter of reading how constrained to structure the other boy is: does he reject wholesale these strictures? does he accept some, but not all of them? or is he bound by them? In each case, it is a matter of readership.
(This is a bias, of course: I've recently taken great pleasure in reading a boy nearly as prolific as I am...—and then promptly forget what I read once I see his face… That’s actually strange, now that I saw it aloud: I read him, and then care only for what I hear.)
[My friend Ghazi insists I read Dolar—philosophy of the voice—while my other friend Paula insists I read Cavarerro—philosophy of the voice—. The irony: they are estranged friends, and I am so preoccupied with writing and reading...]
The one is easy to understand: lose all structure and we agree upon a freely created discourse--which promises a lot of talk, when I may simply wish to kiss you. The other, equally easy: adhere to all structure, and I never speak to you again. It is the middle-course, of course, which fucks me. Because, as I think, there is no such thing as either extreme—they are phantasies. I err towards less structure myself, wanting the freedom to negate and re-create what I said, who I was. I will paint you a picture of myself, but it may be like a Picasso. (And this creates problems, because you, too, are like a Picasso, and I'd like to kiss you very much, but it's hard to find your lips...)
One thing, always, remains “constant” (like a highschool lab experiment): you. It is around you that I speak, move, dance, pause.
This, I agree, is exploitation: I like you as a constant, as a focal point for my movements, a safe harbor I can return to.
This is the (vulgar) relationship of author to reader: I give two-shits what you think when you read: I don’t do this for you, I write for me. (Nietzsche’s "narrow" Artist: I create for the joy of creation, not for the joy of your spectatorship.)
But I’m not so crude, so one-dimensional: I am a reader with aspirations of authorship. I write, yes, but I read your reading, and edit. I am dynamic. And I write, I think, based on what I read. I dance. And I need your body to move with mine, your words to address mine, your eyes to meet mine.
One thing remains constant: In a moment, I move around you, who move, also, in orbits outside of my own. The synchronicity of a shared moment is a miracle. Love, among other things, is born of this moment.
It is rare, I think, for two minds to write to an event independently of one another. I’ve read latitudinally and longitudinally—and I find the same ideas emerging in different voices over centuries.
We find ourselves, perhaps, at a moment in time where, to speak with Thom Yorke, “We think the same things at the same time, we just can’t do anything about it.” (Track 8, "Harrowdown Hill" off "The Eraser")
What, then, are we to do about it?
(An addendum: The same night I wrote this a similar question was posed: "What is it that is so difficult about making the connection?"--asked with regard to "missed connections".
With Holderlin: "Near is, and hard to grasp, the god. But where danger threatens, that which saves from it grows also."--I've this latter half on my arm. I'd be saved, I think, if only I allow someone dangerous enough.
For my own trepidatious effort at an answer, see my previous post: "Love's Fool: The Philosopher".)

"Love in the Age of Radiohead":
The magisterial beauty of sorrow alive in each song—the hatred, the anger, the betrayal, the longing, the desire, the hope, the weakness, the loneliness, the hatred, the hope…the love. We philosophers—of life, of love, of revolution—contemplate _this life_ composed of utter brutality and nudity. (Our late-modern selves in this new order.)
I find that art has become my lens. This is no new lesson, I suppose… surrealism, dada, fascism, French new wave cinema…Nietzsche, Plato…
But I am young, and my eyes still cloudy from so many births.
I learn now, amidst this populace of players, the role of the stage, of the artist’s eye, of the canvas, and the audience.
I learn now of politics, perhaps.
I learn now, perhaps, of love.

"Of Expectations":
Never read me when I leave only an empty sheet.
My emptiness is a womb, not a grave.
Never ask me my past with eyes that see through grids.
My past is a snake I charm, and it does not know right angles.
Never take my choices as sacrifices.
Allow me always the freedom of my pleasures.
Never presuppose my voice.
I speak only ever to a "you," and you don’t know how I hear you.

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