the Wanderer

December 17, 2017

Attention, everyone, I need one second of your attention:
Look over here, for once, at something different.
I know you all have personal issues but I promise
It will be okay if you set your doubts and feuds by the door,
And finally look in the eyes of this part of society.

Listen to a soul that has been stifled for years in a sexual and intellectual abyss…
No, seriously, do any of you deny that
Sometimes around here, one may not even breathe properly,
Through their nose,
Or at all? I want all the refined individuals out there to
STOP IT MOMENTARILY while we try to clarify some stuff bothering me.

The daily drama gets to me and I come back to my room dismayed,
My computer is overheating and I have pain
Physically from sitting so much, plus my mental state is pretty disastrous.
In fact I shouldn’t be typing this, but my hatred for the American government
And the ruling classes has released a tart gush in my mouth, and a fetid stink
Associated with public hangings (sorry, that’s a weird thought).
You take great selfies and your personalities attract me, making me believe
Rich people have a seventh sense about the outrage felt by losers.

I still call my mother, wandering, and though she doesn’t know about the insults,
Am honest at least, miss my ex-girlfriend, don’t work and am frequently ill,
Do my best to inspire students and dream once in awhile
In a way I’ll never write down or express, ideas that are world-changing,
Or so personally intense it’s as if my chest contains the gravity of a star.
High on coffee, remembering a plan to do violence to the banks and You! –ceaseless mockers of private shame–
These flights of fancy are the cherishable moments of a life
That will never register a blip on the screen, and wants it that way.

– anti-translation of El Peregrino, Nicanor Parra, 1954

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la vita é bella

December 13, 2017

but i really did believe it was like that. but i really did have prayers answered and the streets were glittering. but she really did love me too. but i really did see things that way. i seem to have messed up and been taken advantage of and i fear the future is being stolen, i fear that they would like to come for my dreams. but i really did imagine i could do the right thing. someone i barely know. barely find. without connection, without sense and understanding. without magic.

Four takes on the movement

 

[editor’s note: I received these somewhat timely reports on different Occupy camps in the past 30 days.  I am printing them together and in the order they arrived.]

 

 

 

THE END OF OCCUPY SANTA CRUZ?

 

Pat Cabell

 

12/11/2011

 

The sites of Occupy Santa Cruz—finally dislodged from San Lorenzo Park this past week—are charged with political and colonial history. The Water Street Bridge was a lynch post for two Mexican men in 1877, an act condoned by the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The Santa Cruz Mission was originally built in 1791 at the site of the present day clock tower—it was destroyed by flood.  The following year it was rebuilt above on the hill, itself the end of the long strait on which UCSC sits. The porous rock of this strait is home to all types of biological and geological strata. The banks, court, and jail encircle this confluence, near where those who are most indigenous wait for day labor. The Christian spires are phallic monuments to the conquest.  May Day 2009, there was a riot at the clock tower, against its imposition of linear time. The murals on side speak of the earth’s undoing our false objects built out of its blood and mortar; the murals also depict the river dance done by those who reject private property on a moving planet.

 

With many of the camps evicted, it is not too soon to begin thinking of Occupy’s historical meaning. Occupy Santa Cruz has been a mix of already mingled groupings: homeless, liberals, anarchists, and students. Occupy has been an opportunity for the amplification of the day to day local struggles against neoliberal austerity even as the Democrats attempt to recuperate and subdue the movement’s radical content.

 

The psychogeography of Santa Cruz forms part of an invisible book, authored by the wild ones whose streets are full of glances. It is a paranoid town, a capitol of the underground, an almost un-mappable space.  Dérive its only map, it absorbs historical energy through the feet of the peripatetic—remaking environments according Capital’s dissolution. It traces a seismography composed of ever changing foothills, caverns, and rivulets, which pour water down from the mountain into the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. This lived experience of mapping has often meant riding the freight train, living in caves, climbing redwoods, and skinny-dipping the Pacific; and the emotional history of this place runs high, notorious for a peculiar manifestation of the personal as political. Psychogeography in Santa Cruz is nothing if not a constellation of monuments to strong hearts fighting and dying upon the crust of this land. A confluence exists at the Water Street Bridge: ‘the whole place’ can come into view. Looking up the river towards the mysterious foothills of Bonny Doon and Ben Lomond, where the mist and the rivers roll down like apparitions, I shoot jumpers in the age-old practice of seeing the past and the future. Like the Charles Bridge in Prague, or that sickly one crossing the Arno, bridge crossings offer glimpses of what lies between Midgård and Asgård. What horrible specters were seen by Francisco Arias and José Chamales in their last glance on this world, and do they compare to those riding towards all of us now in the closing days of late capitalism?

 

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who throw fire

 

10 days ago, Occupy Santa Cruz crossed this bridge and took over an abandoned bank as a new step in the movement. At a time when many of the camps have come under incredible attack, this type of tactical innovation was seen as essential to increase momentum. The 75 River St. occupation realized an old vision for countering the shortage of public space in Santa Cruz.

 

I walked the steps up to the mission and around the sandstone mound, looking for new perspectives on this ever-changing landscape. A flaneur in a busy field, like Balakrishnan traversing Valences of the Dialectic, I saw the street’s brief surfaces of car and grass glow with portent. The murals in this area depict the river dance being done by those who live with the ebb and tide of its shores. They tell synchronic tales about the ownership of public space and who gets the last laugh when the earth’s belly shakes. The bank occupation drew a line in the sand that has been too obscured until now, between the defenders of private property and those who understand the violence of its bedrocks. This unused bank was shamelessly stumped for by city officials and downtown business owners; Mayor “Head-full-of-Money” Coonerty is both at once. One of Occupy’s purposes is making clear the fault lines connecting capital’s direct infrastructure and the power-brokering of Democrats. An occupied space should not merely become an anomaly of social property amidst the spiked fences and reflective windows of private cathedrals. Can the tent-camps turn into functioning councils for a society organized beyond exploitation? Some of the occupants understood perfectly the use-value of occupying and communicating across distance to others. The quiet one in the corner is a seed of leadership for a day when the building becomes a command center.

 

Situating the occupations historically: we need this intellectual preoccupation especially as the movement begins to ebb. The global-local, “worlding” context connects the Occupy movement to moments of past struggles.  Santa Cruz has been the site of student occupations in recent years (2005, 2007, 2009). These experiences catalyzed the learning curve of several radical educations. The passionate exchanges with comrades hint at a relevancy that few other moments in our lives have. These are moments that both Benjamin and Debord theorized as ‘portals’ opening up to a time and place we’ve never been to nor seen. Before La Jolie Mai of ‘68, Debord imagined that various zones of a city would be subsumed by such visions, and that their multiplication would be the pre-history for revolution. For many, occupying UCSC meant becoming true students for the first time, entertaining questions about the counter-organization of space, realizing that autonomy is capital’s fiction—that the step across the portal’s threshold is best done while linking arms with comrades. Standing outside of regular, repetitive time, the multiplied portals, like those of the Arab Spring, have a temporality of their own.

 

These portals were both prophesy and return in Benjamin’s messianic vision. They were called ‘Skookum Nanitch’ in the language of Chinook Jargon spoken here a century ago by IWW loggers, Chinese railroaders, and native traders. A ‘powerful vision’ cannot be taken away by recuperative time, and works against what Zerzan described as the arms of the clock striking blows of repression. What is Occupy, therefore, but a brief portal, a pre-figuring of the day when people hold a Tahrir, a Suez, and an Alexandria to administer their own demands with the swiftness of the breeze blowing through Cleopatra’s seized gates. The occupations had a logic of their own, growing out of the struggles specific to each site, but communicating a consciousness of the global unity of the battle. A feedback loop ensued where local contradictions were broadcast onto the direction of the whole movement, and inversely what was ‘good for the movement’ was arbitrated within powerful contestations inside the particular camps. This is the pre-figurative power of Occupy, for it presages the overwhelming scale on which the overthrow of Capital must take place. In a language of signs and intimations, localities demonstrated some by-rules for this game of Revolutionary Go: a solidarity action here, an escalation of tactics there; wherein the people of the stones speak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report from #OccupyPortland

 

Bryan Coffelt

 

11/19/2011

 

Note: This report is full of inadequate terms like “protest” and “non-violence.” In 2011, the word “protest” is a pejorative term to many people, and comes from a place of weakness, repression, and desperation. And to call recent events “non-violent” does not do them justice: the systemic violence of capital and the brutish police acts are on full display. Bear with me; I believe sufficient replacements for these words will surface in time.

 

 

The loudspeaker van that looks like the torpedo-firing ice cream van from Twisted Metal crying, “You may be subject—”

 

#N17 has come and gone. #OccupyPortland has been in flux for almost a week since the eviction and tense stand off with police the following evening. At work, I receive emails forwarded from the building’s management to prepare commuters for detours around protests. According to one email on November 16th, protesters were to march over or occupy Portland’s Steel Bridge, a main transportation artery for the city. If people had occupied the bridge, it would have shut down five avenues of transportation: light rail, heavy trains/Amtrak, large boats (the Steel Bridge is one of several draw bridges on the Willamette River), commuter traffic, and pedestrian/bicycle traffic on the bridge’s lower tier. However, the Portland Police eliminated the possibility of a bridge shut down by protesters — by shutting the bridge down.

 

These kinds of presumably “proactive” police measures are, in some ways, highlighting the effectiveness and steadfast nature of the entire #OWS movement. The police do not know what to anticipate from one day to the next. They are tired. It is likely that many of them will still be kettling protesters throughout the winter.

 

 

“We have to break away for the Jets–Patriots game.”

 

On Sunday, November 13, I watched a tense standoff between protesters and police. It was the evening after #OccupyPortland’s eviction. I watched from my home about 1.5 miles from the site of the now defunct camps. I debated riding my bike down to confront police, but after watching a few minutes of the local news coverage, I decided to stay where I was. Not for fear of arrest or tear gas, but because I had not, until that point, viewed the events from a perspective that I usually ignore. I rarely watch the news, but the local NBC affiliate’s coverage of the standoff provided some interesting sound bites that add to the #Occupy narrative. The anchors’ rhetoric positioned the unfolding protest as some kind of stupidly happy event where the police and protesters were not on a collision course for violence. The newscasters said things like “the protest’s festive air” and discussed the foods the protesters were eating. This focus on the superficial aspects of the protest by the media rendered it harmless and palatable for the average evening news watcher.

 

The reporters on site also referred to the Portland Police’s “less lethal weapons” and “less-than-lethal weapons.” A less lethal weapon kills slower, I guess, or less efficiently. A less-than-lethal weapon just leaves you without your capacity for speech (in the case of Scott Olsen) or a face full of chemicals (in the case of an 84-year old woman involved in the #OccupySeattle demonstrations).

 

 

“An enemy is someone whose story you have not heard.”

 

In America we have always regarded our neighbors with fear and suspicion, and opponents’ responses to this movement have reflected this. A quick Twitter search shows a common thread of fears that the occupied parks were being turned into bomb factories or that other secret, transgressive acts were afoot—even though complete transparency, consensus have been primary tenets of the #Occupy movement since its inception.

 

This week, protesters begin occupying foreclosed, B of A-owned homes, and the response of “neighbors” and police has been what you may expect:

On Friday afternoon, police broke down the door of the vacant northeast Portland house and threw out the people inside. Two people were arrested, the rest were allowed to grab their belongings and leave. Police say the house is owned by Bank of America.

Demonstrators said they were occupying a bank-owned house. They said they could house 40 people in there, and encouraged others to do the same.

Occupier Genevier Sullivan says neighbors were OK with the occupiers, but said “rich people” in nearby condominiums called the police.

 

Similar scenarios will be repeated over and over. We will challenge the law to examine who and what it actually protects, and the response will constantly confirm what we already know and fear: the laws and law enforcement agencies in America exist to serve and protect the interests of capital, not the people whose blood lubricates our economy’s moving parts.

 

“Not a pretty place to be in those parks right now.”

 

Dehumanizing language has played a huge role in the opposition to the #Occupy Movement. Opponents disparage the camps (and by extension, the entirety of #OWS) as “disgusting.”

 

Let the diseased #OWS freaks kill themselves off,” they say.

 

Lice, fleas, body odor, tuberculosis, rape, murder. Yes, #OccupyWallStreet is a fine collection of degenerates,” they say.

 

And #OccupyOakland? Cockroaches. This dehumanizing rhetoric is not surprising, but needs to be closely monitored. I am hesitant to draw this easy parallel, but we need to be mindful of this discourse because of the atrocities it has promoted in the past.

 

The opposition fears that our cities’ shared public places will no longer be visually appealing and unattended by groundskeepers to maintain their existence as something outside of nature as they are accustomed to—something they may no longer “occupy” on their lunch break. They cannot abide the occupiers’ use of the grounds to camp — to eat, sleep, fuck, shit; this is appalling to people who have carefully convinced themselves that they exist outside such a reality. That their bodies somehow float above it all.

 

As Sgt. Pete Simpson of the Portland Police said in a phone interview with the Portland NBC affiliate during the tense standoff after the eviction, it’s “not a pretty place to be in those parks right now.” No, it is not. But for the police and the mayor, it is enough to fret over the conditions shoppers will experience in downtown Portland during this “holiday season.”

 

We have experienced two months of #OccupyPortland, with demonstrations, meetings, sit-ins, and other civil disobedience occurring daily. Depending on who you talk to, these events are exciting, disgusting, tiring, ineffective, or absolutely necessary. It is now clear that the police are not on our side. The shows of force at peaceful protests throughout the country confirm that the 2011 holiday season will be different. This year, the smells and sounds of holidays will be replaced with the smell of chemical weapons and the sound of loudspeakers demanding that you disperse immediately.

 

Despite opposition to #OccupyPortland and the larger #OWS movement, one thing is certain: this is just the beginning of something much bigger. The huge march in NYC and Bat Signal-like poem projected on the side of the Verizon building confirm this. We have special effects now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCCUPY DETROIT

Benjamin Bourlier

10/22/11 – updated 11/14/11

“What is hazily imagined can be imagined in its vagueness.” – Adorno

“The sign out there says it best.”  That “Shit is fucked up and bullshit.” I met two men immediately, was asked how much for my car, was told, “This is about people loving each other.” We shook hands. “We need more people.” On October 22nd I attended the end of the student meeting, the general assembly, both around the Thomas Edison memorial fountain at Grand Circus Park, the site of Occupy Detroit’s encampment, and an education committee open forum at the Christ United Methodist Church across the street.

The day before, cops on horses and Segue scooters contained the October 21st march on Bank of America.  The marchers chanted for a moratorium on foreclosures. The police restriction of the Occupy movement generally (nationally) has been appalling but sometimes simply strange. There was general disorder this day. 300 or so protesters attempted to enter the bank, but were kept out.  There were no arrests. There have been only two arrests so far, in fact, both at the  November 2nd protest of the taping of Wayne State University’s “Leaders on Leadership” series, which was hosting NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer.  The two protesters mildly challenged the CEO at the Q & A and were pounced on immediately by police, dragged out, arrested.  They may face charges.

Police involvement has been otherwise minimal. Even at the significant October 27th blockade of the Ambassador Bridge, where protesters courageously stopped international traffic and trade, standing their ground in front of semis, largely in protest of the bridge’s billionaire owner, head of CenTra Inc. “Matty” Moroun – who among other things has threatened to sue the US and Canadian governments for proposing to build another connecting bridge over the Detroit river, which would compete with the Ambassador and cost him profits from duty-free gas sales.  (He has proposed turning the historic Grand Central Station, which he owns, into another casino.)  The October 25th march to the Spirit of Detroit statue protested cuts to Detroit public transportation (over 50% of its funding since 2005).  The November 1st march on DTE demanded a moratorium on power shut-offs for the poor (at least 18 accounted for shut-off related deaths last winter alone).  The November 2nd march to the Labor Legacy monument at Hart Plaza denounced police brutality and in solidarity with Occupy Oakland’s General Strike, with chants of “We are all Scott Olsen.”

It’s predicted this limited involvement will change when the police inevitably attempt to “clean” the camp, possibly in coming weeks in prep for the Thanksgiving Day parade.

*

The Opera House and Christ United are the architectural frame of the camp, to my eye, the area a meet of the theater and financial districts. Bank of America and Chase are listed big among financers of the apartment complex nearby, a Vitamin Water ad reads “Stop Idling.” A sign fitted in a shrub beneath: “If corporations were people, they’d be sociopaths.” I think about people in the apartments, the tower, the verticality of financer names, the building as body of the person of its funding, for the persons within, above us horizontal persons, making such flat, de-metaphorical arguments re: corporate personhood, “idling.”

When you “keep stack” at the camp forums, it’s not just a list, but a form. Also, the camp writes on the sidewalk in chalk, horizontally. I realize yet again how the ground remains the last horizon free of advertisement, which seems in some crucial paradigmatic sense horizontal vs. vertical social consciousness…

My family situation (forced out of three homes in five years) says something about the capitalist crises on the whole; my experience is not my own, but symptomatic, emblematic. You begin anywhere, as the crises will encroach on all of waking life. Last week, helping my mother with another eviction (a lawyer is overseeing it), my asthma inhaler ran dry; I left to beg, insurance-less, for free samples at a clinic. At the education forum a man talks about watching furniture and children’s clothes being thrown into dumpsters by police. Confronted by a policeman a month ago for sleeping out of my car, I’m told, “We are looking out for your well-being.”

A woman at the forum says she is here because she wants “to be on the right side of history”. “Amen,” several say…

*

There are a good number of union workers, professors, students, veterans, schools of activism, people involved in the foundation of the civil rights, LGBT rights, women’s liberation movements.  I remember feeling at fifteen one ought to go to college to occupy it. There are teenagers here whose real intelligence I have such hope for: lots of mention, though, of elusive health insurance and insurmountable student loans.

My sister’s boyfriend defines “folkmoot” for me by the fountain and we talk about Olson and polis and Kirkpatrick Sale and seccession and listen to talk of facilitation training for “working groups,” a complaint about an un-assembly-approved plumbing job hire (“I finished the job, I need three hundred dollars”) which is addressed with calm deliberation.   There are plans in the works: the proposed Metro-Detroit AFL/CIO community services account for camp funds (“You need to be a corporation to open a private account. What about the mask of a corporation?”); a protest of Wayne State’s proposed cutting of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (“They’ve already cut Labor Studies…”); a protest against more transportation cuts.

*

Detroit is, as I’m sure you know, the birthplace of the UAW. The UAW has expressed support for Occupy Detroit, but at least one person here expressed concern as to whether that “means anything.” There are a good number of proclaimed communists and Marxists but I could use more Marxian severity than “we want our money back.”  I personally do not want my home or my money back. I want a communism of loss and of spirit.

I was apparently the only composer at this particular forum, which wasn’t a problem but it would be cool if there were more. A retired former union leader explained she had worked for many years to help the UAW become a democractic organization, unsuccessfully, and I think she said something re: her pride in the present occupation’s democratic process but if she doesn’t many others speak to that and it’s anyway self-evident. Proposals at the forums were respectfully acknowledged, well-articulated, and basically all of a felt relevance.

The majority of things I ended up reading were hand-written. To occupy was also to return to the broadcast of manuscript, I think. At the education forum: two dads with teen daughters; one was fifteen and spoke confidently about class-consciousness, her dad listening supportively. I was so proud and angry. The education forum was a “reflective space” for sharing ideological positions, for establishing difference as well as solidarity.

I wrote in my notes, outside, “that important (more than we know) smell of urine.” I hoped that everyone knows body fluids are the future.

I haven’t read Dorothy Ballan so I picked up her pamphlet “Feminism & Marxism” from a man outside who’s on the phone but cooperative – no one’s “preoccupied.” Simply by showing up you were occupying, contributing, and could have an instant sense of involvement. The democracy here was on a small scale but very real and the people were very different. In a Subway for lunch, a girl hummed with the radio – I recalled Silliman’s line “The president of Muzak himself says that humming along constitutes time theft.” Every expression seemed resistant. The merest exercise of intellect has subversive character in our world.

No one I met identifies via the two-party system. It. Is. Anathema.

A nice man talked about his (I don’t know what else to call it) esoteric belief that the “schwa,” the linguistic concept, will revolutionize language by indeterminate vowel reformation. He leaned very close and had me write “fundəgəthə.” He didn’t mention finance. It was like a dream encounter where vowels are the exclusive concern of the revolution.

Empathy is a radical experience. Not mere social awareness or embracing one’s responsibility to others etc. but insight into this continuous reformative churning extension of the material consciousness one enjoys, something one might very well access alone. To sit essentially alone writing here as I would anywhere, as uncomfortable, as convinced still of weak messianism, for its invention – the “weak” the subversive purposelessness of the thought produced. New thoughts are the buried experience of past struggle in language.

Isn’t this what the movement is about?

*

I thought of a “healing center” in Detroit where I went to play jazz for sometimes three or so homeless or otherwise suffering people. One woman had a large, pregnant-seeming gut she insisted was in fact a tumor she contracted after her husband died. “I know what they say, he’s only been gone a year, she’s already pregnant…” This is not just about an obligation to help the poor, because that posits a stability no one has now. Everyone stands to benefit from overthrow of capitalist hegemony. You will be poor.

Artistic production is labor production, we agreed. The artwork is bound to a “false consciousness” all its own, never devoid of fetish character and in fact more radically fetishized. I wanted to talk about art here, I wanted to know that it’s integral, that it will bust up. Its spontaneity, inherent in its production, is a “determinate opposition to reality,” opposed to ordinary exchange and capitalist refinement of the means of production. It tends to non-participation, self-alienation, and reflection.

At the forum I mentioned having been homeless.  On the walk from the church I met three homeless men (there are an estimated 21,000 homeless people in Detroit), one fresh from a psychological evaluation showing off a horrible scar on his wrist where he explains he nearly lost his hand in Vietnam. “I have been called nigger, I have been called coon,” he says, pointing at the scar but never saying “scar.” A teacher who got a citation at a Detroit charter school for wearing a skirt that was too revealing – “advertising,” she was told, “for a husband” – tried to explain that she ran and it ran up is all. Now she doesn’t have health insurance.

Disillusionment as process, as poetics, and artwork as after reification.  I talked to some people about this. A guitarist mentioned Ives, Ligeti. Adorno notes the earliest cave paintings show attempts to give the illusion of movement – Herzog calls these overlappings “proto-cinematic,” as they describe the same image at different stages of motion. Adorno goes on, speculating this is perhaps the earliest attempt to resist the innate reification of the object of experience. After the fact, and subversive from within.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LETTER FROM OAKLAND

 

Casey McAlduff

 

11/12/2011

415.285.1011. For ten days I’ve avoided scrubbing Liberate Oakland’s legal assistance line off of my forearm in case I decide to throw in my flame with the movement’s black flags. To reclaim a space that has been abandoned is a public service. It’s a crime anybody sleeps on the streets with empty shelter close by.  It’s time to consider every abandoned, unused and foreclosed property as our forgotten ground.  Maybe then the 1% would begin to feel the pangs of empathy, and would take their eyes off the fake heart monitors of our nation to recognize the America they’ve created: one in which most victims go vigil-less.

Meanwhile, at Occupy camps around the Globe, candles are lit for the lives and livelihoods of those who have either died at the bottom or those who have suffered there too long.  And, after the deadly shooting next to Occupy Oakland’s encampment on Thursday, November 10th, there are now three vigils set up on the concrete steps in front of City Hall: one for the murder victim “Alex”; one for Iraq War Vet Scott Olsen whose return from the hospital after suffering from brain damage caused by a police projectile was celebrated last night; and one for the Plaza’s Occupy-given namesake, Oscar Grant, a young black man murdered by an Oakland PD officer on New Year’s Day in 2009.

By Friday the local media and the Mayor’s Office had painted the tragic murder at Occupy Oakland as a consequence of the Occupy encampment, and have since called for the people to leave the camp. As the Oakland Police Department reminded campers in their letter of eviction: Oakland has the highest homicide rate of any city west of the Mississippi, and it is the police’s job to protect the community and shrink the startling statistics.  How, one might ask, will the forced evacuation and arrest of the city’s activists and organizers help alleviate this violence?

The Occupy Movement is after property, not people. But because property, as one Occupy activist reminds us, is now “somehow strangely equated with harming human beings,” the City has spent over $1,000,000 attempting to stop those protesting against violence rather than to defend the safety of its people, its occupants, as it were.  On the night of Wednesday, November 2nd, a group of Occupy Oakland protesters were met with brutality by police while trying to reclaim the now vacant property of the Traveler’s Aid Society, a non-profit organization that once provided for the homeless but due to cuts in government funding has since lost its lease.  Layer this onto the fact that the attempted reclamation of the Traveler’s Aid Society was also a response to the Oakland Chamber of Commerce’s pleas that the people leave Oscar Grant Plaza to make way for the cheery onslaught of Holiday Shoppers, and the present wraps itself in a cold, ironic ribbon.

Today, Saturday November 12th marks Occupy Oakland’s official solidarity with the Revolutionaries in Cairo, a solidarity that is linked by the effort to provide “food, education, shelter, and education in a way that Capitalism never can, and never will.”  Though the Occupy Movement asks for the money back, and propositions both the banks and the government to bail out our schools rather than continue to preach the sad propaganda of neoliberalism, the people know now that the price is wrong.

At the General Strike on November 2nd, the crowd repeated mic checks in Spanish throughout the day.  Dogs wore signs. Ten days later, the passion is still palpable, but the Plaza is darker since the city cut the lights. And as Oakland becomes a national scapegoat for the so-called disturbances caused by the Movement, I’m reminded of how little has changed since the late 1960s.

 

 

P.S.  In the early morning hours on Monday, November 14th, 32 Occupiers were arrested and the Occupy Oakland encampment at OGP was disbanded for the second time in three weeks.  But the movement’s enthusiasm is still very much alive, still optimistic in the face of attempted public disgrace by local newspapers, and in the face of the City’s fist. Yesterday, a march from the Oakland Public Library back to the Plaza for an “emergency general assembly” included nearly 1000 people, with another march to UC Berkeley planned for Tuesday afternoon in support of the Occupy Cal protests.

Though it may prove difficult to re-occupy OGP, the movement’s slogan of “Occupy Everywhere, Liberate Oakland” allows for a diversity of tactics that cannot easily be stopped. The people’s next steps may include Lake Merritt’s Snow Park as well as “any vacant city building.”  And, if the Occupiers have proved anything, it’s that their actions meet their words. No matter where one falls on the spectrum of support for the Occupy movement, it’s become clear that our country is dividing slowly into two general spheres—those who support the movement and those who wish it would disappear, or homogenize itself into a unified message rather than represent the diverse masses who give it form and shape.

 

SELF-PORTRAIT

December 2, 2017

(In translating Nicanor Parra
I had to make some changes)
See here, young’uns,
this tattered forehead with the fine hairs fallen out:
I’m a grad student in a thankless university
I gave what I had (it wasn’t much, by most standards) in the classes I taught.
I would telegraph the lessons of the great masters I had
who are now being torn apart
by the snitches that always lacked heart.
It isn’t easy to look at me!
The sadness in my eyes marks a defeat
of the aura my comrades used to say smelled like honey.
The confidences I whisper to my mother
have few other outlets.
What happened to me? — Nothing.
I tried to find a compromise between the passion for life
and the cruel limitations of the system, like this pain in my back from sitting.
Long ago I slept under the redwoods, and saw fantastic ideas in the movement of the stars.
Now I crawl home to a self-serving apartment, to be greeted by the deathly blue light…
which — God damn me! — I stare into even as I write these lines.
These days I dream of my past loves, or feel some inspiration awoken by the reappearance in the new generation
of that intelligence that swims against the grain.
But it is drowned out by my bitter hatred at the gossip and social stupidity
that passes itself off as wit, and lords its mute omnipotence over us daily.
I was in a jail, hunted by the feds, in shelters for migrant labor (to supplant my shoplifting)
and those were the good years!
But here I am, with a broken back,
brutalized by the vapid echoes of corporate bureaucracies.
 Yet, my friends, look into these old hands,
that once cupped eternal springs, and stroked the rivers of Utopia,
are my delusions really so off?
Is finding new life in this old poem really so different from believing
that our forest island was the whole world?

gracias a la vida

November 26, 2017

Today I cried when I read about Violeta’s suicide. I choked up fathoming that this song marked a submission. And the profound tragedy that underlies the Chilean spirit; a clue for understanding the hubris and chauvinism of their nationalist pride. Every bombast hides a secret shame, and posturing inevitably masks for vulnerabilities one is terrified of revealing. Their suffering is the tribute paid to the others’ vapidity.

Anyway, opacity aside, weeping is the opposite of that kind of speech. It is simple and humble and doesn’t want for any luster. It merely laments what is there.

And tonight is another story entirely. I’m reading the Savage Detectives on some russian website momentarily, because I googléd that line ‘you have a cock worth it’s weight in gold’ and that funny fact about the book that it cost me so much to read in Spanish but in english it simply flies. And I read about his return to Santiago. And Parra’s anti-poemas. And listened to cueca and ate mariscos and had two colombian sisters get my number, and later in parque quinta normal they took out my cock at crepusculo to look at it and said it was big. And later walked off quickly and I noticed their picture disappeared an hour later on the Whatsapp message, as if to punctuate that these Chilean encounters are really that cut-throat and swift. I think my writing has the benefit of being direct enough as to cut through the dubious counter-factuals that constitute so much contemporary speech. The drawback is that half the time I make no sense. But today truly chilean from a certain light, maybe from the light of some cemetery in 2066 it says something more obvious, about the time I spent here and the things I came to learn and be familiar with.

And how much this all has to do with forgetting. Because I wanted to fall asleep, but that sorrow about Violeta, it was just a moment that can’t be forgotten, that ties somethings together that were already there. It’s not that there are responsibilities. But in my time of forgetting I get the chance to fight against shame, to swell with pride about what’s passing by, kiss it on the cheek and wonder why it doesn’t have a family. The one real question behind my sorrow. How will I talk about that clearly? That I look at the people around me and feel that I’m missing out on something essential. The only point of writing then is to get it articulated with a brush or an icepick, the tribute the absence pays to the present is sorrow.

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me dio dos luceros, que cuando los abro
Perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco
Y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado
Y en las multitudes el hombre que yo amo

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me ha dado el oído que en todo su ancho
Graba noche y día, grillos y canarios
Martillos, turbinas, ladridos, chubascos
Y la voz tan tierna de mi bien amado

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me ha dado el sonido y el abecedario
Con él las palabras que pienso y declaro
Madre, amigo, hermano, y luz alumbrando
La ruta del alma del que estoy amando

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me ha dado la marcha de mis pies cansados
Con ellos anduve ciudades y charcos
Playas y desiertos, montañas y llanos
Y la casa tuya, tu calle y tu patio

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me dio el corazón que agita su marco
Cuando miro el fruto del cerebro humano
Cuando miro al bueno tan lejos del malo
Cuando miro al fondo de tus ojos claros

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me ha dado la risa y me ha dado el llanto
Así yo distingo dicha de quebranto
Los dos materiales que forman mi canto
Y el canto de ustedes que es mi mismo canto
Y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto
Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto

Luchín

November 23, 2017

How to describe the sounds of Victor Jara’s cantando, sin usa la misma lengua? It is entirely possible that I will escape Chile without writing that article, just as I’ve escaped teaching the abject series without creating some manifesto. Yet there can’t but be a remainder can there? Qué suave su lengua, su onda, mis sentidos en este momento imaginando un triste futuro donde recuerde esto. Sometimes I think of this paro my cells have made. How I loved Bolaño’s essay on enfermidad, so much truth, so much synthesis that my struggle is other than futile. It demands something truer than statistics about the recent election, which I swallowed up. And desperately I look to Romi’s comments, anyone with a slice of truth I might understand from. But I don’t want to pollute myself or maybe estrange myself with facts – though what transgression estrangement might make, what supercession! I wanted to give a talk to Chilean comrades on the social movements in the US and smuggle in some analysis, some redemption for the struggles that are painfully locked in the tower cell of my corpulence. Freed to roam the tierra, how they might find new lives, with the pain forgotten in the way that only pain can be, never truly but all the more so, not being thought of. Perhaps when I stared into the crystal phosphorescence at Salt Spring, a blue wave from the future grazed me of my forecoming deportation, some pain I remembered in reverse, a capacity for loss so drink deeply now my son from the draught all that you can. But that talk like many things may never come. Might some crystal remain that contains what was essential? I still remember some dream I had once where I moved in some circle around a mountain campus at bus stops, how epic the struggle with loneliness and the intimacy of family, played out on those micro shuttles. Distantly the same as Santa Cruz, or Foothill college, the mystical shape of a wheel, where Jenn was perhaps at some other stop and the possibility of travel was also that of the strange reality in which we meet. The banished reality.
But it wouldn’t be so bad to transgress. To admit that I spend so much time playing go and chess. That my brain has seemed to shut down along with my body. That it hurts me to write this prose that I don’t think makes much sense, that there is a simpler truth, a simpler experience I think I could impart that contains the beauty and the wanderlust. That I suppose I worry some part of me has been compromised, a sacred part that holds the self together. Reading Enrique Lihn with Luisa I came across the lines in Hija celestial de la tierra where he longs to love the other so passionately with such fury, unable to forget you like the blind man remembers the light and like the condemned to death remembers all of life in one open and closing of the eyes. And like I remember these lines and refuse to seek them out because the process of forgetting is so holy and intimately wed to the creative act. And because I forget exactly why the scene in Batalla de Chile is so powerful of the guy with the rickshaw running through Santiago. I know it was Jon Beller, and maybe Eric Broberg saying that’s cool, and I couldn’t remember when trying to tell Luisa, because there really is some secret there. It couldn’t be unrelated to Sembené’s cart pulled through Dakar. In fact wow that’s it isn’t it just right there all the time waiting though when we say that Sembene’s cart is an almost stagelike prop for the epic, the beginning middle and end, the quiltwork of various classes, the social types coloring the districts of the city, yes this comparison assists so much because what Guzmán does is almost the disappearing, the negation of all this. It’s as if he, like us, like Chile, forgot, and yet all the more powerfully does the historical process impress itself on reality. So often I fail to explain. The city peels away behind him. Physical reality as Sigfreid Kracauer called it.

Maybe I can learn from Victor his humilidad, what power and grace in that rostro.

Blue Valentine

November 21, 2017

I’m trying to watch this and I don’t know why but the scene makes it upsetting. This is what I’m talking about that these moments trigger some sadness, and I switch from disaffected to swamped with emotions, desperate for some way to connect. Earlier in the film I noticed I had a new message, from someone other than Iva, and my heart imagined maybe someone from my past, Jenn or so many potential others, reaching out and saying a nice word. And there’s some strange irony that according to my detractors, what, I’m not supposed to hope this? That rare moment where I can feel my heart beat, I’m not supposed to listen to it, to imagine words that I want to hear so bad, that someone was just thinking about me, but I can’t finish the sentence because it’s hard to even imagine. But this scene now is too much. It could take me back to planned parenthood, and the pain is there waiting. It’s a horrible combination of physical discomfort and emotional eruption, volatile demand to be undisturbed. Earlier I googled tomas and tereza, hoping to relive the scene where Juliette clutches him passionately, that eastern european woman from the Castle the innocent polish girl I dreamed about loving. I dreamed about writing a poem about them, I fantasized about inventing a scripture, I dreamed yesterday that I was with my family traveling somewhere, my father driving a trailer in bad conditions and then finally the road breaking apart, trying to climb up a waterfall and capsizing. I jumped into the water and my cousins were already at the rescue operation. I think I saw him come up, and down there I trusted by breath and we were together in a little cabin with light holding my breath though it was almost still full of air and someone held my hand as I went to unplug and turn off the gas and I wanted it to be a girl, someone I loved but it was a boy; couldn’t deny it was still a tender moment but not what I’d been excited for. But noone had really messaged me, it was a short unemotional line about rent payment and below it is a message from Jenn I don’t want to read and I though wow this is a kind of bleak reversal. Oddly, I can remember a time when I seemed to live in the heart, when it didn’t just visit on a lark and disappear where I seemingly am too feeble to arrest it whatsoever. Only in these moments of trauma, are they that? when I’m watching a film I imagine I can reach out here on the strange exercise of writing that is like a drop of water still rolling, still through the alcantrillas of poco luz, where all my options have yet to be exhausted. Her message must be hostile, only in dreams do I imagine an alternative, where we imagine things, where we lay on our backs and celebrated the imagination. There was a hammock, the sounds of bells, and children floating around. There was a tenderness to how we treated each other. So I dream that there might still be. And I laugh at the stiff neck’d fools who insist it’s wrong.
We liked that romance between Tomas and Tereza, there’s something powerful there. I don’t know why but I can’t watch this scene. I can watch Kyrie Irving, well at the moment I can’t because the internet is insulting me, but I can imagine Kyrie dancing, I can feel the swish swish of the crossover, the agility of the fake, shake and fade-away. Yes I can imagine his body but not this other thing. Trauma is a word they give to some of these things. I think Monika’s mom was named Tereza and she had beautiful warm eyes, that seemed to ask whether I loved her daughter, or at least that’s what I imagined because I was afraid I didn’t or couldn’t, and this woman seemed to just love her and care, and I wanted to respond by sharing with my eyes, yes I do care but I don’t think it can happen, either my heart is black or hers isn’t strong enough, it’s really sick to make a judgment like that about someone.
Is there trauma there too? Wherever I choose not to look? In this dilapidated physical state, my illness seems to determine where I can still turn my head with the least pain. Some meningitis of the soul compels obedience to the least, not returning to the battle where my heart might fail, resigned to a room in exile…
I imagine telling my story like that of Jose Aureliano Buendía, muchos años después, al frente el pelotón de fusilamiento, había de recordar aquelle tarde en que I rode my bike over the shifting paving stones over the Branciforte hill. And I think about that written voice of Perlman at the beginning of Against History that was so lyrical and free and that it’s a voice I too mimick and that Anita and Esteban loved that part and even though they’ve been rude to me I can flip it and say yes there have to be people who aren’t impressed with just potential, just 50% but if I wrote that it wouldn’t matter because either it would impress them or, the point is it should drive me. All the hate and dissatisfaction because if I can see that in them then surely I can’t hold Angela and Lindsay accountable for having only loved me so much, in the sense that what it is and will be is of my making, and as stunted and faltering as the currently formulation is it speaks to the fact that through writing I can crawl my way out. Maybe not any writing, but that thread, the invocation of Ozymandias, there’s some preservation there, even though it’s so strange because it’s counteracted so powerfully by my actual emotions, that they did hurt me and that I did deserve better, and to construct a memory of Jenn as someone who was there in that intimacy, for a moment believing that with care and accomplices I would get there. And that really is the dream. In my infirmity I’ve retreated from conflict, the illness has the strange regulating effect of demonstrating why so many crimes were necessary. More than most was the retreat from the toxic left, and to just hold and appreciate the truth and positivism of that concept. Only if it is understood can we return to its negation, that there is a utopian kernel to the actuality of anarchism.

manchester by the sea

November 14, 2017

BernyWhy was this movie so painful to watch, and why do I come here again and again weeping? Some dim question amidst my desperation recently, almost as if it’s less intense because there are less distractions, let’s me ask what it’s about. Because I see a scene of their pain; two characters who lost children, whose psyches are raw, not like those who protect and imagine false preserves. I don’t know that then. I just think and see myself and my own pain, knowing that I loved once purely. That I too gazed at those blue wakes around new england after funerals where my blood went to ground. When it brings us together and we’re forced to see what’s there, the physical reality Kracauer should have talked about, everyone’s crying at the movies. There’s no form for this. It comes out at weird moments, coincidences, memories. You knew things noone else knew about me. Noone else living. And in my waking life you hate me and reject this truth and it’s only when the sun is setting or I’m watching a movie and I see something beautiful and I forget to repress it and you’re there in front of me and what happened between us is there in front of me and it’s true that we lost children and this happy romance became a lonely place of mourning and distance and my heart is broken and life is passing day by day but I guess if you can’t let go you’re still back there where tragedy struck. Back where someone loved me, where I felt close to you, and I haven’t felt close since.
At the funeral the family said things about my aunt and I was crying and they asked me to play Amazing Grace which I didn’t know but the lines were simple, and I stumbled, just like I stumbled when I spoke, choking up talking about Cyane and Daniel who I loved very much like siblings and I felt so much guilt. They had lost and I tried to speak about a part of her life I’d seen in the home and I don’t know if it came off, I know I felt guilt next to Daniel on big Rock that his grief was lost on me and that I was supposed to do something with my life. And I met Jenn around that time and tried at times to be amazing and these days I’m feeling some illness or something that blocks me and my energy because thinking about exerting to do a lot of writing brings it on and it’s easier to remember in the past that energy but now I wonder if something fatal hasn’t struck and it’s really hard to get moving. The movies lull me in and the emotions come out, and very briefly I’m back in my heart crying and wondering wow how did I get here inside myself again where the forces of repression aren’t visible so gingerly testing. In that pain I decided to email Jenn and I imagine there the relationship but to get a response I also imagine the repression, I imagine that she’s hateful and that she was struggling as a child with this thing of going inside and wanting to be safe and finding in me someone who was, but I thought we were going to see her develop and I wonder if blocking me out means not only was I not safe anymore but is this some repetition of that conflict between her mom and grandparents, where she was the one damaged by it, but that’s how it was in her family, built up resentment against her father, never having a release or a chance where everything could be spoken. And I was working to see it come out, for her to express why she was so hurt by him but we never got there. At some point she turned on me and I became who was hated, who had a negative debt and she hasn’t expressed that in words but in cutting me off, and in a few desperate moments of anguish those exclamations and admissions that it is so that she tried to hurt me.

The thing is I don’t want to leave the movie. I don’t want to go away from the feelings, the emptiness. For one sweet second there’s something there, I dream, I see Elizabeth, that haunting enigma, the water and it’s cool oblivion is actually an openness in addition to or negating the negative, my mind crests there, I imagine her next to me, listening, watching the waves, hearing the silence, the chance that I could fail is tolerated, is supported, I could just be here in this rhythm. And then alongside that what if my story and my sitting there could just continue, and I could feel the premonition on her hand so slightly moving towards the hair on my arm. As I’m concentrating on the water she might come alongside and acknowledge the immensity of the loss. And I don’t want anything short of that. As a young man I wanted to see the world in its fullness, and sometimes they called that beautiful, and love wasn’t an escape but an acknowledgement of that horrible extremity of loss. I imagined a partner who was so wise that all of that was known but we could reach out to each other there, where it hurt, where one sees life treading out on the horizon. So I held out for that. I harbored the fantasy of a novel in which the best part of me would rise to the surface.  I could describe the beauty of my friends, the love I had, the gracefulness of Cat, the willingness to submit before what was awesome, the dim longing to overcome it even if I didn’t know how, those sunset reveries where he and I could be together like peers as we were several times but as I often feared we weren’t. In the novel I would have feelings of inferiority. I would only realize afterwards the irony, that in acknowledging the supremacy of another I was growing, I was fostering a courage that made me glow at the campfire. These days things feel late and if the spark is visible it’s diminishing because the ambition to capture that glow isn’t really here, well it is it wishes to be but it’s intimidated by time and space and a sickness. I would step back into the novel and the one taking self-realization and maybe it’s better this way? Maybe that laziness is and has always been that limit that I fortunately finally came around to accepting. O lord. And in that acceptance, finally, finally, the distractions might perish.

now

November 5, 2017

CouchWhen you glued back the pieces together, was there some stitching of time recompensed? I can only write in these bursts. Those moments that felt most desperate, they happen while watching films. They happened in lecture halls, in public bathrooms. Jon Beller illustrated the moment when Winston watched a film and its secret connection with writing. I adored what he did to me and later my emails were deleted. You were my preservation with that world, and somewhere we were abandoned, together but apart. Somehow while always telling myself to write, I couldn’t. Yet what if in writing there is some secret? That while you were gluing back together the broken mirror, you were seeing everything we’d done refracted, seeing the separation I needed to return? If there is some total blindness I’m in, can I run through the field of these fleeting moments, these desperate film endings? Like in The Lives of Others where I ran out onto Oxford Drive, where I’d seen those butterflies in a continental armada, and life was horrible and irretrievable. She’d committed tragic suicide. The sideways escape of Othello was also a damning of the secular world I’d been left behind in. Only writing could save those moments. A dive into the unknown I didn’t have the strength for. Forget my sickness and my limits and learn from them while overcoming everything, and becoming someone I’d never been. You might have been that powerful in my life, a lantern out in the cool Squam night guiding me through dreams. Knowing gently all the lessons I was too weak to learn, but could, but still might if I listened… All those deleted emails. That fact of writing stolen. It is a frenzied state where I don’t care, I write faster and more seriously and more determinedly. And my training in literature sneaks in through the hole in the back of my head. Like the communists of old who were once children, our fancies and instincts get lofty and constructed, and our angry force demands that we refuse systems, we remain devotees of the naive tyro at the core of thought.

In thinking of the strange place I’ve landed, the corner so fleeting, the myriad skein of memories and irretrievable fragments, which still ghostlike exercise influence on this, like a play written by a deadman. The lines thumping, the actor belting out commandments that resonate in the wooden fibers of the townsfolk, without a god or author behind them, an organic convention of chaos and frivolous pleading with the existent, the wheat in the field. I walk through the hills smiling at birds and plants. I see you in the sky overcast above the cold buildings. The sidewalk calms me. I remember that other place where I was lost in thought, the fields that gave me comfort, like Alt-Treptow, like Center Harbor Neck Road, like the balcony at Oxford from which we could gaze across at Mt Hamilton and everything in between. And now I’ll have to go to bed. And the memory of Jenn is so far, and so likely retreated. So that the you in this entry is very nearly all that is left. That I’ve come to a lonely goodbye, a sick ending, a poor option for woundlicking, yet who will read? Out of this conversation will come others. I will have to build something, o joy, o crystalline palace of broken dreams, now preserved. They cry together, they comfort the sparrow, they mourn out on the old point by the shallows on the first day of spring, where the water first broke through winter’s icy unity.

october in chile

October 5, 2017

Image result for zvyagintsev the return

I’m not terribly sure what this will be. Perhaps a confession first and foremost regarding my sad internet connection, or rather addiction — for when the power goes out I come alive and start to glow. Daily paterpatinas fill inspirational remarks that could be éxitos on social media… until the plastic and conflict minerals come closer and I shirk. A daily monster. Imagining novels, charlas, letters, messages, impassioned moments lately shallowed into petty quips, where once I dreamed of flying, where once I dreamed. I would escape and cause an eruption. I didn’t want to give up my friends but I was willing to for a greater gain, or so I thought. But when the time to let go of them came, and it was certainly greater to salvage the wreck of depression I was quickly decomposing into, I raged and clawed just like my notorious 8 year old epoch, refusing to let go and shocking my mother and most other onlookers at my obstinacy.

That Jinx touch, the savior of the surreal who melts technologies at the approach, it haunted my writing on emails, staying up late at night pouring on the intensity and believing, little by little, in a power to formalize my dreams into energy. And then a blackout, and no the draft wasn’t saved, and it almost seemed perfect because everything was indicating there was a universal conspiracy, some Cosa Nostra committed to transience, calling me chanting to join the sick and freeing dance of atoms at play in the aurora morning. Wacky and wild, serious and intimate, sometimes the best friend I had ended up hanging from a tree and it seemed both light and freeing, affirming my most private instincts and rendering me some sort of seer who might blow them away – but also seemed incredibly pesado, how would I stand up to my own pressures on myself, not believing deep down that Erik really loved me, that I had to make the fantastic triumph over the petty humiliations of those nights he hated me.

So this blog was supposed to be some coming out, congealing together all the moist dreams that soften my steps and transfigure the plants at reojo into vines and orchids of the netherworld, a comic book adventure. But I don’t know what came before with those tears for Monika. I don’t know what’s public or private. I don’t know what might be the blocks for a letter I can keep writing and what might be another repressed thought, shamefully messy, the funk of the road trampled beneath, abject and defeated. “Social stupidity is the scar tissue of revolutionary defeat”. Kluge and Negt. Let’s forget momentarily the higher levels of stress and dissertations, the speeches planned, the actions, and just come cuddle in bed with this lad so fair, touch his smooth shoulders, round like golden peaches, like greek ramas on the Silver Surfer’s trunk, like a memory so active it collects everything in reach, spitting and spewing new poems like a hungry Chevrolet. Those were my shoulders, my brother’s and cousins’, my sisters’ and lady-friends, my grade school teachers and lucky mistresses in every port and call. My hero Cat-Man and his bronze, ancient nose, his sister beneath the sheets, his silent majesty, his need somewhere deep down for my insecurity and willingness to commit speech acts, my love that acknowledged admiration he was so much more capable of, so much smarter, so less trained in suffering beneath whatever it was he needed from me. A master at blending in, and when I recognized it I did something he couldn’t. There was always a great deal of jealousy. There were men I wanted to be like, wanted to be intimate with, wanted yet had to refuse, except when I didn’t and amazed myself, but only showed them why they already appreciated my company; but then lost that appreciation in the haze and hated the impulse to refuse and the labyrinth that kept me from the repressive process.

Will this disappear too like Jenn did? I thought she was recording it somehow and selfishly treated storage as stuff. I’ve been wanting to slow it down and go back, retrace the process of repression, calmly place myself in the places I did this and that, acknowledge the mistakes, prove myself capable of failing because I’ve backed myself into a corner by not writing, or what was it. There were always those little pauses with her where I got lost and struggle back to the surface, and the Promise Star ironically shines again when I admit the loss. And it has shone so rarely. I get a little sad and accept this will go out, posted. Someone like her might see it. It’s not just stuck in my head. My weird hermit reputation, man-with-a-past Muneeza snorted I think, I couldn’t open up, but good god to walk again like Lazarus or the barefoot easter bunny. Woah, buck, gotta keep on the lamb, out there it’s burning up, and my fever can come back terribly and end me. But to just be me, without the secrets and burden of clearing my name. To go back to Mars and Caspian, swallow my pride again and say hey, I always liked being unassuming, watching others struggle for the limelight, I was good at it, I didn’t like saying, ‘You’re conceited bro, you need to listen to yourself and tone down your ego’ – no, I don’t think I could or will ever really say that. I’d rather say, go, go, go, it’s still not great enough but if you swallow and look at me, well, there’s a lot out there, not like I’m going to make something that big, sheesh, though, ya’ know, I’ve got some ideas. I remember saying Good Night to Jenn. Last time I did. Peaceful, it was. Things just were between us, they aren’t anymore, not in any real sense. Yet literature is for the side I haven’t seen, where the answers are. Like, why did I cheat on her? Boring, horrible question hardly worth the time of day. There was something under the porcelain toilet in that Palo Alto bar, had I smashed my skull against it perhaps the blood would absorb, some lessons absent from Franco’s stories would get thick. Is surrealism just how I can’t physically get to the truth?

Right. I don’t really know what to do with the blog. But when addicted and wanting to play Go and Chess, and here is the pool of my future, can I write? And write, because the fever about facebook, oh. The Fever! The softness of those emails to Jenn, it isn’t worth trying to replace, they were too perfect. Better to remember a gorgeous shadow that suffer painting the clouds of forgetting. So in the asombroso space, it didn’t spit. It was cooly cruising into port beside the little dock in the sun. The cloudy morning my father took me to see the jellyfish. The dream where she greeted me in the shallows, sexy and motherly, my honey just so there, loving me like OH lord, like what I broke and screamed and ran against the screen like Truman at its horror. To face that risks the heart attack, do I dare? Oh Jenn I dare a thousand times, despite your committees for my ostracism. I know they’re right, not because they’re a regime, we didn’t want islands or utopias of any sort, but because of what you needed, for your name now to cease falling from my lips, or at least not like this or…

 

(Postscript: Here in Chile, early october, I wrote again on this blog. It has been over a year and the last posts — I believe they’re visible though I’m not sure — are from the previous summer when I hoped Monika would read what I said online after she ostensibly stated I couldn’t write her directly. Those posts are embarrassing to think about being on the public but it is just that embarrassment that marks them as digging into my demons differently than usual; that marks them as nonetheless showing some spunk as someone who wants to heal, wants to face his fuck-ups. Caspo might slap me on the back.

There’s very little here I imagine will impress the reader, and a fair heap of hubris. It rather calls for persistence, for coming back to see all the holes and omissions given redemption. Perhaps some Comment about the things I don’t, can’t admit. Mainly I wanted to acknowledge that this is a space for me to write, that I have a desire for putting together feelings and past experiences, and putting Pat back into existence, for the shadow his lovers have kept, those who cared remembering me, as I disappointed them they dared to remember, like Clarice. I’ve an intention to make this legible. I have time here, I have access, I have ideas, and I have the heart, I do.)