section VI from "The Shattering Din of the Morning Star"
by Lital Khaikin
Memory is struck into the air. Time is recalling itself, spring is recovering the body. “What is the name of the great double nest?” Mnemosyne, daughter of Earth and Heaven, writes the unearthing.
Every day, I pace within my cages, some smaller, some larger, and I’ve learned to make my presence hybrid, flowing between significance and stupidity. Everything is moving so quickly and disappears into everything that has happened, and what has not happened, but not in the ancient way that first ignorance recovers. This synchronism of new time sends me deeper into my body, craving its limits, but I am shaken. Noxious by electric current, I am shaken. Everything surrounding me becomes absorbed into my body. I am taken apart by all my surroundings, torn out extracted reconstituted. The external stimuli and neural processes of high- octane operations change the constitution of my flesh. I become thick with more self. I am exiled so rapidly from my bones. The demands of the world of the body of the money of the time are taken into the body. The world is taken into the constriction of nerves, accumulated into the shape of re-ordered instincts.
A moment is made to take on permanence to become the entire world and I am compelled to live within it forever. I live interred in this simultaneous descent and ascent, towards life and death, and unable to decide between each and the decision is made in every new now, but not by me. Here was born the delusion of the New World’s immortality. You wake up, and everything is available. Adrift, everything is done and undone for the extension of this moment. The desperation of passage is drowned, its familiarity is murk. It is safe where there is no distinction between one moment and another, where there are no intermediary spaces where nothing is available.
It is as if the time we have conceived of is too rare to contain us. We pull all of the world over our eyes so as not to see it, and yet, never entirely covering ourselves, we swell as big as every world we evade. Hoarding it this way, how very little of it do we give to one another. At each moment we are pushed outward of the smallest space with the expectation of discovering that we have been greater than this. At each instant, we emerge as if from a hollow, heavy with the effort of remembering who we have made ourselves to be in the last moment, terrified to lose that.
In order to prevent the total destruction of the small time, there are those who say that we will become accustomed to the vertigo of an existence that must always defend itself even against its self. The small time is the moment when immortality exchanges hands between myself and the reassuring speculator of the future values. They say, look away turn your head put another face on your head and for the sake of liberty make it look good and look away. They say, don’t let your words touch surfaces. This way, the vertigo lessens. This is how we give the most volatile parts of ourselves over to those who would wear them like skins. I desire that you wear my skin. That you want to surround yourself with my humidity. I assume the position of someone who doesn’t know how to pray. My knees clatter over the ground. Am I supposed to keep holding it my hands this way, outstretched towards you?
Mnemosyne to flower. Life is made to be lived a million times when it only begins to arrive. The penumbra of speed encroaches on the body. Speed breaks attention, demanding the compression of time. But I can see that you are cut by the stratification of life into the terms of distance and time, even as you tell me you have found ways to do outside of these. Recurrence is in every moment. The terror of yesterday that determined every day that follows has already been broken, and is already being recovered. The mechanisms enclose, separate, divide, limit, carve bodies out of other bodies, saying, “this is mine to with what I will”. No body remains unknown.
It is this way that we lose each other. We are broken many times over. The insatiable hunger and cruel rituals of being are memorized into the cells until the body cannot exist without fulfilling the masochistic need for the same material of its destruction. I am swept into these machinations. It’s the taste of abuse that I long for, return to, keep at hand in case I need its taste again. “I felt no pain and used to burn the insides of my arms with a lighter.” “I will show you.” Show me what? “I will show you that you refuse to see me.”
Since when, this loudness? Where from, this din? My own becomes the other voice. A body is crumpled with the burden of being nourished on its own poison.
Such is my dependency upon this poison, that it makes my grief untouchable. You cannot approach it. My grief precedes me. My unbreachable wall that I surround with the guards of sorrow and permit only one grief. It is only my grief that I will allow, which is never a form of violence, but your antagonism is always violence upon me. [i] Here, sorrow is occasionally even permitted. Architectures are made out of sorrow. Vulnerability is choked into something that is precise and describable. Any available trauma is exploited, the historical memory of it and the duty to its memory equally. I tell you that I own mine, because it may be the only thing I can own.
The subterranean must be uncovered. The anguish that is invisible is less than that which is pronounced and publicized. Produce nothing, and your pain is nothing. At the moment, legitimacy lies with whichever persecution is loudest. The invisible and secret is as if inexistent because it is not made available. It is to no longer be made in the regulated realms. To be without that previous substance is to excise the previous self. Without which, I cannot be, I am absent from the self that I have made in your form.
What is there to claim if I is nothing, if I is least, if absolutely without I? What could I claim to my name that will validate my having been? Having disappeared, where violence, if nothing? Toward what do I continue, shamelessly, interred, the secret of childhood a prize clenched between my front teeth with the snapping jaws of a dog, this claim on being? To what inevitable delusion leads? My heart unthreaded recklessly.
As if outside the artificial dimension of these boundaries, there is the slow time of defiance. The time that intimacy requires is outside any ideology. It does not require. It does not permit the invasion of noise and pushes farther the cusp of material residues on the psyche. The permission of being requires the slow time of living. The slow time that exists between our encounters, collapsing out of the moment where matter is noise, replenishing the being that has been splintered into every lifetime of opportunity.
To emerge is at once, to enter and exit. It is a gesture that is between states, it is to come to light, become known, “I surface, I arise, come forth”. So here I exist with you, in the slowest time, with the permission of being incorrect, of relating incorrectly. In the possibility of undoing the speed that has taken our bodies out of ourselves. Undoing the words by which bodies are dictated. In the death of the old mythology, the idol of the self is recreated. And where, the revolution of transcendence? In the countable object-self. The hoopoe screams.
[i] The poets’ rebellion, Camus writes, requires the unreason that is outside of justification. “Lautréamont makes us understand that rebellion is adolescent,” he says. “Our most effective terrorists, whether they are armed with bombs or with poetry, hardly escape from infancy.”
Image from a section of I Extend My Arms, Claude Cahun, 1931-32.