Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ich bin frantastisch (or: Three Days)

Sunday night J. got home from his tour, none the worse for wear. We made plans to see Bruno after I got out of work, realizing only after the fact that I had arranged with The German et. al to see it Monday as a group. As it happens, the Cubs game scuttled our attempt--the Red line sported a line that spilled out into the street, and there was no way the Clark bus would be any better. We resigned ourselves to simply enjoying one another, and snuck over to Kit Kat for a few drinks before calling it a night.

Without subjecting myself--or you--to the logic of the confessional, the sex is phenomenal. I trust him with my body, and he is responsive to it, like I am an instrument he is learning to master--harmonics and scales. And he trusts me with his body. The dynamism of a good sexual relationship--my first experience with such things--is heady, like a strong drug. I can't help but feel pride over such response-ability: look, I think, we did this! To the extent that I attempt to keep my deeds in accord with my words, I prove myself not to be a hypocrite, at least before all those men at Cellblock: There is no "right answer"--isn't this Nietzsche: "Go your own way, and you go mine."--just care for your partner and yourself, and communicate: isn't this Foucault. Fuck: isn't this my dissertation: you want community, start living with care towards one another, erotically?

The desire I ended my last entry with was satisfied--but here, again, language fails. An acquaintance recently posted one of my favorite fragments: "I would not think to touch the sky with two hands." When I was teaching this material to my students I wrote about Sappho's conception of desire, and I see her implicitly laying the groundwork for later pre-Socratic philosophers, especially Heraclitus. The virtue of sophrosyne (knowing self-control, but more: harmony) is cardinal for him: to be hubristic, to wish to hypostatize the world, rather than embrace the eternal flux of becoming, is to try to touch the sky with two hands. Desire, rather than fill an empty vessel, is like Heraclitus' external flux; to wish for its satisfaction, wholly, totally, is to reify the world (of love).

Plato plays on this notion in the Phaedrus, after all, where desire is something like the flow of particles that enter through the eyes, into the soul, watering the wings of one's better self. Whereas the Plato of the Symposium would have this "fulfillment" be a terminal affair--you are "filled" and you progress onwards and upwards to the Forms, ect.--in the Phaedrus, rather than being "full" one over-flows. This overflow, in turn, pours back into the soul of the Other, (anteros, back-love). There is a constant dynamism between the lovers, never an "end." (Consider the same trope in the Gorgias, re.Callicles.)

The other desire, however, to boldly stroll downtown hand in hand--this was frustrated. And, thinking back on it, I responded badly. Rather than simply accept the limit J. established, I flaunted the limit. The Vegan and I were shameless, and loud, and he was embarrassed at our contrived display on the bus ride home. I felt ashamed of myself as soon as we were alone again, but it isn't until now that I draw the connection. Fine, it's as if I said, you won't let me touch you or kiss you--I'll make you suffer under the decadence of my queeniness. Go on, it's as if I said, try to ignore us, so that no one on the bus thinks your a fag, too, but they all know, and I won't let you escape that appellation, or their gaze. Louder, more outrageous: this is the wages of your withholding. Realizing this, of course, I would like to take it all back. When I brought up wanting to hold his hand, he said PDA is new for him, to which I added, especially gay PDA. It's hard not to see these things as a referendum on oneself: I felt rejected, and couldn't see beyond my own wounded ego to realize that it wasn't about me. The German is constantly calling me out on "making it all about you." He's right to a certain extent--everything to a certain extent, no? But this wasn't about me, but in making it about me, I acted badly.

Still, J.'s ability to bring-forth his own opinion, without judgment, without moralism, made it easy to see exactly what was so bothersome. I've come to develop a profound respect for his ability to bring into appearance his doxa, in the double sense of the word: perspective and glory. At the same time, I spent the night again, despite my own concerns that I should give him time. But he would have none of it. It's that your simply irresistible, I said, and crawled into bed beside him. He made us tea this morning. We talked Greek tragedy as we sipped a specially brewed fusion of flavors he mixes.

There was much more in between: J. called out of work for last night so we could have two nights together, he met Bob, and I called Joseph before he departed for warmer climes with Lucy. We then rode up to the beach and met Zachary. Best of all, however, was when he told me about his time at this Peace Festival. On drugs, draped in a beautiful blue scarf, as though Puck or Hermes, he said, twirling a little glow stick, he played the wit--I was so fast, he said, like, I had something witty to say to everything they said--like a god speaking. He would admire this in Bruno, as well. He played the Puckish agent provocateur. What I loved was the way he told the story. There is still, in his face and voice, the exuberance people say animates my own when I speak of the books, arguments, ideas that comprise the labyrinth of my intellectual pursuits. I listened to him, with an honest smile on my mouth. He is utterly captivating. I love him, and he knows as much. I don't know what this means, or how one approaches such a feeling--to stay nimble, like a dancer, ready to adjust, to keep moving. That's the best I can imagine. Heidegger puts it best, I think, in a letter to Arendt: "Do you know that this is the most difficult thing a human is given to endure? For everything else, there are methods, aids, limits, and understanding--here alone everything means: to be IN one's love = to be forced into one's innermost existence. Amo means volo, ut sis, Augustine once said: I love you--I want you to be [who] you are." (13 May, 1925) I paraphrased this in bed, and then said: I don't know what I'm doing--I just want to be with you. And we were with one another from that night until now. This might be(come) something.

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