The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

December 21, 2005


unutterable horror

if I did not _this_ and _now_ it would not, would never be, would never
have been, done; this is the unutterable horror of death, with which I
face every moment of my existence. I imagine myself near death, with the
recognition, whatever I do not say _now_ will ever be said, that these
sights are my last, my own, and not my own; that my possessions, which I
have carefully tended for so many years, will lose their inherent skein
with new distributions; that I will never see an end to anything, nor to
myself. with unutterable horror I continue to write, as if texts would
stave death from proximity; these myths no longer work; I no longer sleep,
or no longer sleep well; I survive to write _this_ text and only _this_
text; what I have promised myself - the knowledge of a new language, a
visit to a foreign country - will never be done. when I open a book my
first thought is always, will I survive to finish it; will this make a
difference, certainly not to myself, on the verge of total annihilation. I
cannot imagine such; such is literally unaccountable, unimaginable,
replete with intrinsic absence. every saying, every utterance, is a gain-
saying. this horror is not abstract; it is as concrete as the physical
pain I also inhabit, and only the onslaught of physical torment will make
my death bearable. I am a coward; such is not the case until disease or
accident wills it so. I write, I create, as fast as I do, because it is
all I can do; it is the only thing to be done; it is always the last rite;
it is never enough.

the soul

I almost grasp the soul, which is obdurate, inert, hard as any real, ready
for the byte of heaven/hell, nothing liminal, intermediary. battles are
fought for it; the soul is the soul of war, of possession, the spoils of
war. it is the soul that motivates the imaginary of occidental thought
into anthropologies of conquest and conquest itself; it is murderous, of
value in the service of God. the soul is not the mark of reincarnation,
nor the mark of its own bardo-making and unmaking; instead, it is a thing
and a treasure which is unquestioning of existence, ontology, nothingness.
question the soul and our dis/ease is evident; what we cherish is our
ruin, and the ruin of others. the soul separates us from ourselves; an
invention of the desert of nomads, it is the last stronghold of a world
always already slipping. the legends of buying or selling souls are always
uncanny and always speak the truth of fable's metonymy. look to the soul
for violence; it is incapable of redemption, incapable of entrance and
exit; it is nothing at all but slaughter.

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