The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

September 20, 2012

Streak (easier)

Changing the high string on the pipa for a modern nylon-
wrapped steel one (replacing the nylon one; I was trying
to imitate the Tang) - changed everything with the ins-
trument; it became much more responsive, and notes can
be bent at least a minor third or so. So my play becomes
a streak, constantly changing, covering about three and
a half octaves, and all sorts of techniques - streaking
breathlessly and holding everything in the world at bay.
These include: depression, misery, slaughter, death, sex,
food, drink, friends, leaks, storms, fires, suffering,
pain, sleep, ecstasy, anguish, sadness, happiness, cats,
dogs, virtual worlds, phone-calls, email, messaging,
door-bells, collapsing buildings, arenas, bulldozers,
street-scrapers, jokers, tricksters, pills, salves,
alcohol, self-mutilations, military enlistments, prayer,
offerings, sacrifices, masturbations, runnings, jumpings,
singings, whisperings, yellings, cryings, fallings,
standings, recitings, poetry, cinema, theater, poisons,
guilt, pride, honor, decency, indecency, noise, quiet,
music, sculpture, video, sitcoms, talk shows, reality
shows, hummings, strummings, thumpings, beatings,
caressings, rollings-around, jump-ropings, dodgeball,
basketball, swimming, diving, hoping, despairing,
millings-about, walkings here, walkings there, doorbell
ringing, incantations, sublimations, subalternations,
reconciliations, differentiations, integrations, field
theorizing, quantum fielding, cosmologies, mythologies,
snifflings, sneezing, carpet-vacuumings, eatings,
seatings, defecatings, effacings, defacings, fevers,
elliptical pereginations, sweatings, begettings,
funerals, mournings, evenings, noonings, mornings, and
sundries, mondays, tuesdays, wotan, thor, freida and
mars, moons, saturns, jupiters, entoplanets, asteroids,
exoplanets, dark matters, light matters, and any other
matters such as these - light energy, dark energy, and
any other matters.

Thinking about suicide *

( Note: This is not personal; I am not contemplating killing
myself; I am contemplating the subject. )

We have all been here; we have all been there.

Thinking about suicide is suicidal; already a disruption has
occurred. But thought accomplishes nothing; there is always a
surplus, something else to be done, something inconceivable,

Suicidal thought organizes around anguish and a kernel; it is
haunted thought; it is neither private nor public; it is held
close; it is repetition without origin; it is universal; it is
thinking through ellipses... featureless little stories.

Life is watching life slip away, and the habitus one took for

Suicide is accompanied by a life led under erasure, by a lack of
attentiveness, by the withdrawal of support.

Suicidal tendencies are accompanied by new environmental stresses.
It's the personal history, as (re)constructed, that tells itself
repeatedly, to the exclusion of everything else.

Suicidal thought wants to bring itself to an end.

Suicidal thought is accompanied by regrets that are always already
without closure; staying alive is being accompanied by a permanent

The stories one tells are always obsessive, always degrading, not
worth their retelling, not worth a listening; keeping one alive in
the midst of these stories is itself suicidal, the suicide of the

The primal scenes aren't sexual, but everyday, and they occur
constantly, coming into decay before they begin: suicide is a
condition of the defuge of the narrative.

One counts the summers one has left, one lives in the regret of
abandonment, just as much as being abandoned.

There are no actions in suicide, there are just dark thoughts
without end, that ruin and collapse the human project. For the
suicidal, time compresses, affect flattens, it is as if living is
a matter of tallying integers.

Right now, the violent noises in the street drown out every
possibility of clarity of thought; the result is a searing of
affect that cuts through, an external life that refuses flattening
by flattening itself.

The suicide never has a choice, and it is not the end of a
journey; suicide is the journey itself.

To be suicidal is to be among nothing whatsoever; there is no cure
because there is no disease, only corroded stories, within which
corrosion itself rises to the top. One might speak of the sludge
of suicide, its abject nature.

The curtain has been drawn down long before the curtain has
descended. It is neither in the process of descent, nor a
finality, and it is this stickiness, this paste, that is at the
heart of suicide.

To refuse to listen or view the work of an artist is already the
gate through which she steps, as the words, tones, and canvas
collapse around her. Such collapse is continuous; like paste, it
has no beginning and ending; like paste, it is always in the
process of drying.

Sooner or later one is exhausted by all of this repetitive
symptomology, and that is the suicidal, not the relief of suicide,
but suicide itself. Suicide might not be a a death, but a living
in the abject of death, the decay and distancing of narratives
that once gave meaning; meaning without recognition and
affirmation is meaningless; meaning depends on the cauterization
and separation of states; the suicidal has no such things; what
remains for the suicidal is junk.

It's important for the suicidal that the stories are never new,
that they're never stories, that they're endless, torn apart like
flesh; always whole.

The worst thing in the world is one's thinking; the best thing is
its release; like a bubble it might go elsewhere and grow. For the
suicidal, thought decays into stutter, and his permanent traumas,
doomed to repeat, lose their status as emotional leverage; they
collapse, creating a floor of debris: one crawls.

For the suicidal, a cry for help is already somewhere else: an
act, an object with boundaries, a decision. The cry works against
suicide, and the suicidal fights that with all her strength, which
is failing; the fight is won by being lost, by being within a
continual state of being lost.

Debris is the condition of unrecognized collapse; the one who
kills himself is exhausted or idiotic. The latter is an accident
who has not lived or died her suicide; the former is existence
itself, always unawake, prepared.

Time is on no one's side; time is only a prolongation of the state
of suicide; it is never a resolution or denouement. The suicidal
never dies; there is no ending for him; what occurs is always
before the curtain; the halted curtain is in continuous and soft
motion; it is the slow descent of a viscous fluid on an unreadable
and violating surface of constantly erased inscription. For the
suicidal, to speak is to gag; there is nothing to say; everything
is sickly sweet; and uselessness has occupied the remnants of a
world beyond recognition.

For the suicidal, there is nothing to be said; it is as if the
suicide note were written as an object for others, guaranteeing
for them, the others, what appears to be an object, a death. But
for the suicidal, there is no such thing; it is always and forever
a prolongation...


* Sandy Baldwin and I are co-moderating the empyre email list for
October, on Pain, Suffering, and Death in the Virtual; the above
is a meditation on the subject.

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