If Hegel contends that only that which is simple constitutes a beginning, then I’m already doomed to be starting with a conditional followed by the proper noun: Hegel.
Hegel has never made it simple to face anything; but he’s made death simpler.
It has been seven years since I immersed myself in the sea. And now, for lack of a suitable animal, I kill time beneath the storm, swimming.
Mammoth waves wash over me before hitting the shore sucking in and displacing smack needles. “A year’s end”; a phrase marks the self-reflexiveness of a text as it consciously probes its temporal mortal immortal letters. Hang me up as you hung up poems on the black stone, immortalize me with the spoken violence of lacerating lips.
It has been seven years since I swam. And tonight amidst the storm, I couldn’t have wished for a better moment to reunite with the Mediterranean.
From a distance, the vast shoreline appears like a spectrum of edifying monuments, a lit up architectonic system organizing all the movement under and within it. But even from a distance, a vile hue strikes—club lightning or an explosion—cracking the sky and shattering the architectural structures which give this country in front of me an illusion of cohesion.
I feel like a stranger in my boyfriend’s parent’s bedroom, sneaking through a crack in their closet door, coolly observing their secrets, trying to avoid their eyes. I’m not ready for the guilt. They watch a warm coloured Lebanese film, shot like a long video clip.
Religious allusion is spewed like mercury as the film starts, and constantly throughout, the mercurial allusion jumps around, leaps, resisting fixity and stasis, until the final scenes, in which the allusion is aborted. A group of women trod the arid earth clad in black; they are mourning and do so with charming, choreographed movement, almost distancing the sorrow from the event through an aesthetic appeal, and confirming Nietzsche, “As aesthetic phenomenon existence is still bearable for us.”
The theatre-of-a-room is silent. My boyfriend sneaks a hand across my crotch and I almost let out a sigh ending my dissatisfaction, but then someone dies.
I longed to swim tonight because it had been becoming more and more apparent to me that I am immanently part of a world, and what is a better way of celebration than to be like water among water.
I am a monkey eating a banana while looking you in the face and laughing.
The film is set in a village trying to be isolated from the world. If isolation eclipses the socio-historical and political “real” of the war, it nevertheless allows for a greater representation of the social (and gendered) dynamics of the society depicted. On the forefront of this village-society is the league of women; the village is comprised of wives/mothers, men, and teenage boys. Ergo, the women’s alliance is an imperative if they are to successfully guard against the dangers of the war.
Strict academic writing bores me. I have no patience for convoluted arguments. Why race away from the abyss? From vertigo? The vertiginous abyss is the finish line.
I think back on the dry ambivalence which tints me. This ambivalence made me tacitly answer antithetically to the same question, without synthesis.
Something nibbles at my feet. I’m being swayed by these moments under heavy rain and the joy of being stung and eaten.
My boyfriend has his hands inside my pants; he is watching the film with his parents through the crack in the closet. At the same time, I’m looking at the city, at the village, at the whole country. It doesn’t matter. There is no beauty in the dissonance of the metropolis or in the arid rural landscape. And to our surprise, chaos and disorder are furthered by Maldoror making “a pact with prostitution in order to sow disorder among families”. Even the world’s mythical oldest profession, however, fails to disorient. His parents laugh but then gasp in horror.
The ambivalence of love between sexuality and neurotic behaviour; between the desire for terror and the desire to defile beauty. What speechless wonderment washes away the ambivalence as I release myself in the closeted sea, amongst dirty clothes and waste, my boyfriend rubbing himself on my back, passion serving as a prelude to physical union; or who knows, physical fusion serving as a prelude to passion, the fervour of love, the violence of a storm, of lips moving apart and closing in, tightening in on each other to prevent the slaughtering laughter which would expose us—pause—silence—contemplation—and so what if we’re exposed? Beware of the (s)laughter.
Mahmoud Darwish starts a poem by saying, “I want from love only the beginning.” I never could understand his masochistic desire. As I stepped in the water after taking my clothes off, rekindling my love for the sea, the yellow road lights reflected on my legs, the hairs like those of a cat in alerting fright. Although the road to love is a path to blissful happiness, before I can enjoy happiness, I walk towards the water, my toes touching its chilled surface, and I suffer from its frigid agitation.
My boyfriend’s mother vocalizes sounds of disapproval at the film’s abrupt change from comedy to tragedy. The world’s oldest profession fails to distract, and the terror of War pays a nonchalant visit in the form of a bullet in the back of a mother’s son. She decides to hide her son’s death like an abortion long in the making. The mother becomes the reciprocal of the Virgin Mary. The aborted body is invisibly put in a room, protected from the world, as if in a womb. The room, however, is empty, cloistered from the world; the windows are shut, the door is locked: The room is an empty womb, figuring abortion. And I reach climax.
The sky becomes calm. I swim now below a huge, pure sky and I laugh, water enters my mouth and chokes me with saline reality. Something stings me next to the knee and I feel frail. We stumble out of the wooden doors of the closet, welcomed by shock and gaping dry mouths. My boyfriend’s parents are so startled by my (s)laughter, they disregard my gaiety and look straight at their poor helpless son, his hand covered with my semen.
And is it worth an abortion? To come out of the closet? To swim back to the shore? Nothing is more religious than abortion: the wastage of ultimate excess in a formless formation. Freedom from form, from the prison-tomb of architectonic systems, from the police function of sperm management, from the cosmo-illogical shoddy bunk-hole of binary patriarchy.
The metropolis will crumble if we feel a gist of freedom. It is no wonder that parks are few: “The workers must stay away from these too clean groves…they could easily become seriously angry and question why they earn so little when these rascals steal so much”. The words of Emilé Zola ring true.
I am not in the tradition of giving out answers, not even to the questions that I ask. But there is a force which propels me to be without ambivalence, compels me to utter a scant revelation: given the space of a shoreline and the sea, I see nothing stopping us from aborting on behalf of mothers the progenies of phallic architectonic monuments. The crack can be seen from a distance, widened through the (s)laughter of beautiful, violent Medusa.
“Learn to swim…” [Ænema.Tool]
“Every animal is in the world like water in water.” [Georges Bataille]
“And why don’t you write? Write! Writing is for you, you are for you; your body is yours, take it. I know why you haven’t written…Because writing is at once too high, too great for you, it’s reserved for the great –that is for ‘great men’; and it’s ‘silly’. Besides, you’ve written a little, but in secret. And it wasn’t good, because it was in secret, and because you punished yourself for writing, because you didn’t go all the way, or because you wrote, irresistibly, as when we would masturbate in secret, not to go further, but to attenuate the tension a bit, just enough to take the edge off. And then as soon as we come, we go and make ourselves feel guilty –so as to be forgiven; or to forget, to bury it until the next time….” [Hélène Cixous.The Laugh of the Medusa]
“Humanism (capitalist patriarchy) is the same thing as our imprisonment. Trapped in the maze, treading the same weary round. Round and round in the garbage. Round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round (God is a scratched record), even when we think we are progressing, knowing more. Round and round, missing the sacred, until it drives you completely into your mind. But at least we die. Personalism is a trap because to believe that some of what one was holding onto will be taken care of by another being is irreligion. It is not our devotion that matters, but surrender. There is no end to the loss that lies down river. If only we can give up. ‘Life will dissolve itself in death, rivers in the sea, and the known in the unknown’ [V 119].” [Nick Land]
[P.S. A subtle interpretation of Where Do We Go Now is passed on here. My own.But you can share it.]