The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 5, 2013

When I need.

I sleep when I need to sleep. I wake when I need to wake. Some-
times I sleep when I need to be awake and I struggle. Sometimes I
need to be asleep and wake perhaps in the middle of the night and
there are the disturbed remnants of a dream. I feel my body
clotted and abject and I can say it almost always is this way; I
loathe my body and write of its death immediately beneath me, even
before it or I touch the ground. It's this that stops me from
being a man; I am arrogant and angry and despairing, but I am not
a man; I flee even from the position of the coward. I am cowed. In
the face of other men I cannot urinate or breathe; in their face I
remain awake until sleep brings its nightmares to bare down on me.
I consider all of this existence, and ordinary existence, mediocre
existence. I have nothing to gain and always everything to lose,
even in the state of exhaustion or penury or just having finished
an improvisation. I attempt to improvise a life out of debris and
scar and sometimes I succeed on a momentary basis. I look around
and create an epistemology and it is the epistemology that lies
just beneath the surface, an abject epistemology within which we
bleed to death. At the moment of dying, if we are old, we are
transformed, and someone said we are no long human, we are things
sliding into the abyss. I am on the lip of the abyss and I write
of the lip. The writing makes me uncomfortable but I am the one
and many doing the writing and you are the one doing the reading
but it is my writing you are reading as control slips from me.
Control goes nowhere; it slips like my skin slips from my
shoulders and the rest of me slips away; I an always pooled on a
ground or foundation not of my own making. It is there now in my
sleep. It is this that makes men turn from me, an abjection easily
mistaken for the tawdry or sleazy, but in actuality that which
grips all of us in our moments of fear when we piss ourselves or
collapse somnolent to the ground. It is this that makes women turn
from me, or those of any other sex or sexuality, or those of any
other species or kingdom or queendom, or those of the earth or
sky, or anything needing or avoiding breathing. I am seen as
untoward, creepy, something or someone, if I am lucky, smelling
not quite right, putting forth an odor or stench which accompanies
me everywhere. I am kept out of institutions which rake their
borders clean. I am kept away from collegialities which are
dependent on the cleanliness of capital abstractions replacing the
shit of corporeal monies and standards. The toilets I should say
are also cleansed. The stalls and urinals are cleansed. The
stirrups are cleansed. The needles are cleansed. Everywhere there
are flows of brilliant fluids monitored for impurities; I am
removed from the flows. Everywhere I am removed from what might
have been, from the possible, replaced by semblances of security
or comfortably controlled leaks. To leak a secret is seemly; to
leak in ones pants is unseemly. The first leases life, the second
releases death. You will know me by my red stains, my menses I
have not hidden, my lymphatic nodes, the phlegm that steels from
my eyes, the hardness of tears, the tearing of tissues as death
and only death penetrates me. I am the gate of death, of spent
semen and sweat, of useless language. You shift from foot to foot
and pry open shame in every direction. Of my tribe the four
directions, the six directions, the eight directions of shame. You
consign me to the rubbish bin: who would write such a thing? Who
would read such a thing? Who would be such a thing? But I am such
a thing, and I am a thing, and a thing among things, as are you,
and the rest of you. Only the vulnerabilities here are within my
skin and you see them and stretch them until I disappear. Until my
work disappears. Until the ungainly sanctions I have tattooed upon
my eyelids are no longer visible, not even to me. In other words,
until I am stitched and sewn into a tattered ungodly thing. Then
I will hear nothing you say. I will see nothing you are. I will
smell nothing. I will touch nothing either.

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