Christ…He thinks of the abortion he missed, lying wrapped in bloody rags on the floor of a cheap hostelry. He is excited by the thought of his mother in mortal sin, and of a harsher love than he ever knew. How was it possible for her to forgo the delight of hacking God’s fruit from her womb? (That was a chance for religion.) [Nick Land]
Outside. East coast coldness grazes my bare right hand. The sun is setting, switchboard of the night. Darkness begins to highlight 12th street. Key Food, trees, cars, Sweetwolf’s, Red Horse Cafe—all highlighted. I finish my cigarette and fling it over cars. These highlighted streets meet many flings. Inside.
Virtually. Wirelessly. A gust of wind heard from outside which calls. Switchboard of nature. Mother. Be there. Outside. Inside. The stanza, Italian for room. Pieza in Spanish. The piece which is for yourself. The room which is your voice. The womb which is your inner space. And the world of the mother outside. This I learned.
The incidence of lethargy demands a refraction of events, if only to highlight the processes of these events. So this is refraction, not reflection. Naturally, things are skewed. The several agents require some disappointment and some appeasement.
French press, pressing. Neo-liberal policies and the polities of lateness press on my shoulders, stressful pressure. French press, calling; a bit of half-&-half—the tawny tan of coffee, a first sip and the inevitable laxative feel. It is the late afternoon. The sun is setting. This is my first cup of coffee. First hour of my day. It is the last hour of the day. The sun is setting; switchboard a la pineal gland, or it may be a comfortable sinking mattress and my ever-drowning body.
Virtually. Wirelessly. A gust of wind heard outside calls; the voice which enters the stanza, the pieza, the “room of one’s own”. Should I answer and pick up the telephone? I hear and cannot be indifferent. I see and cannot be but subject. Be here. Now. But also, because it’s here now, was there before. Because it’s here now, will be there later. Before. Now. Later. This is chronological. But logically, perhaps cosmologically, it is Now. Before and Later. More coffee-laxative.
Pluck. The scenes of murder. Twitter feed mixed with the affects of loss and the twitter litter of the numerous luxurious dulled many. Pluck. Garbage finally found its recycled medium through binary codes. Swoosh. 140 characters of shit. I flush the toilet.
…And the need for communication with an absent other is already a radical affirmation of the loss of the other. The symptom of the telephone.
The room is also cold. The heaters are off. The floors miss the rug and the rug is not to be found or sought. My left knee shivers. I call it Parkinson.
I thought this virtual, wireless connection was a rebellion against patriarchal God; an affirmation of future motherhood. The voice from afar that disturbs the clergymen. But, the loss and the withdrawal of the maternal is something that the telephone maintains as connection. It erases and suspends the loss acting like a pacifier. The telephone as voice of the future mother of one or two children. And the telephone which performs the disconnection that makes this future impossible. It de-simulated the very loss that it marks. A monument to an irreducible disconnection. The telephonic communication doesn’t allow us to mourn the loss we feel by it.
I try to read. But perhaps I’m hungry. I read the twitter litter, the 140 characters of shit:
Dismal news stories of Israeli war crimes and criminals. Desolate news stories of Palestinians dead and the Frustrating Western propaganda [140 characters]. The masturbatory upheaval of the inner spirit of revolution & the pent-up rage followed by the post-coital feeling of complete helplessness [140 characters].
…and here the pressure of distance lies. The distance which highlights the aging of the potential mother. The potential mother which is made impossible by the distance amplified by the telephone. Sons and lovers kept apart from mothers and mothers-to-be. Mother as land, as Palestine and Homs and Beirut. Mother as woman. Mother as the caretaker of the womb, the tomb and the crypt of all hope and anticipation. Mother, the trigger of revolution. And mother, the Pink Floyd song.
Twins play outside this pieza-stanza-room. There are voices which permeate it, but none of which I heed. What kind of a drug is this virtual wireless telephone? How long can you live without the telephone and the voice at the other end of the line.
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani? [Mark XV:34]. There is no answer. Merely the blank violence of the sun.” [Nick Land]
The father cannot answer the telephone. His duty is to cut the umbilical cord.
“When reality does not coincide with deeply held beliefs, human beings tend to phrase interpretations that force reality within the scope of these beliefs. They devise formulas to repress the unthinkable and to bring it back within the realm of accepted discourse.” Michel-Rolph Trouillot.
Trouillot outlines succinctly what being a reactionary is: desperately clinging to your ideological beliefs to make them re-act to the ever-more estranged reality around you; dealing “with the impossible only after the impossible had become fact”. On the contrary, being active is allowing your ideologies to think themselves through your actions; to think of yourself politically and philosophically as you are ‘taking place’, without demarcating ideological limits on yourself. To act is to be in a continual state of revolution. Thinking the impossible and making it a fact.
Don’t most (aging) Arab Leftists, who flaunt their nostalgia on twitter and Facebook suffer from this gross reactionism, thus disabling themselves from seeing the reality around them, dare I say, as it is? Perhaps it’s an effect of age to submit to the impossibility of the impossible. “Pessimism of the mind (intellect), optimism of the will.” Even Gramsci rings through their ears in reactionary terms. Their mind is old and their will has metamorphosed to the guilt of their past. Their tactical and strategic bellowing is instrumental for their fundamental mode of stasis. Their names now ring the death sound of their crackling jaws. If even Adonis, the poet of the phoenix and eternal return of the new, receded to a reactionary position…they’ve effected the same fate for the Arabic language; controlled for centuries by reductive fanatic clerics and decadent Arabic departments, who choke it, keep it mute and restrained. Instead of striving for the impossible in and through our language (and its unremitting poetics), it has been made to be subordinate to the utilitarian economy of usefulness, homogeneity and positivism. Free our language from your theatre of superiority; it is no coincidence that the self-same aging ‘left’ are the same people who meditate on the dismal state of our language in trite manners. There is no greater abjection than to submit to their ball-ankle word-vomit they call critique, it swells up and reproduces itself like capital in an infinity coterminous with our own dis-solution. Language debates lead us away from the matters at hand, and toward the idea in the head. All is matter! Never Mind! Open up the Quran, it’s not enough to read it. The words on the page mean much more than the words in your mouth; but essentially they testify to the humanity of the words enclosed in the book. There is nothing divine about the Quran. I hope it is understood how this is not blasphemy but an opportunity to save meaning (and non-meaning!) even as it occurs in a wrong inflection. The fate of a revolution is always with its youthful in spirit. Be young in spirit. Become wild at heart.
Typical Brooklyn Night – Redux:
I listened to discordant jazz music as disconcerting thoughts ran through my head. The trumpets blew loudly and the drummer was guilt heard through the throbbing of the heart in the chest. How should I force the thoughts out of my head? And a Cello rolled through the room-stanza-pieza as fine as mahogany can be. Hands played on it with such style, the body and the neck were dancing, wobbling, roaring with a depth of an ocean-graveyard of de-shipped slaves. The subdued erotic voice of a woman reverberated from its hollow body. This was a woman subdued by age and in lament. Midgets wore bat wings and veiled the light, changing its color from a bright yellow to that of a darkened Brooklyn sky. My thoughts hid behind the deep voice of the double bass. I trembled. The disparate notes assaulted my cognition like Israeli warplanes over Gaza. Life on a global level was troubling, and so are the thoughts that accompany it.
Sirens rang outside the room, overpowering the voice of my mother. Sirens and their temptations, mermaids immobile on the street, trapped on the cement. I look at them, still-life like leaves, the beautiful Brooklyn autumn effaces me. I try to help them, but the winds blow down from the sky, complete verticality. It is the time of the sovereign abortion. Acid rain and hurricanes. A mother shall never thank you; she needs not to. Mother’s weather is always temperate. A mother is also always a mother-to-be, to the hope of her sons and through the anticipation of her daughters.
And I understand why mothers feel this way. The call of the umbilical cord is always an emergency call, and it has come. The call of motherhood by the potential mother is directed not to me, but to the one to-be-born. She aborted me to keep what’s sacred safe.
…And this is self-abortion, my kicking inside the room-tomb-womb; everyday is a chance for it. Everyday I await the subway train, underground—its voice comes howling from the dark tunnel. It comes fast and I’m on the edge, its washes over me like a temperamental wave, holding me prisoner in its undertow as I’m still surprised by its speed. An attractive speed that reminds me that I’m not in Beirut, I’m beneath the sea, sous la mer/mère, winded by the umbilical cord that strangles me; and the subway is the reminder of my daily missed encounter if I were to be in be in Beirut. This missed encounter is death, but also a rebirth. This was my future and for now: “The rest is silence.” Bataille
Everything is political. The above signifies the time and weather of the maternal mother. Le Temps de la Mère. The schism of today enacts this and it seems to be the only way: the mother-to-be’s freedom from patriarchy takes this decision to the heart, nobly, masterly, for not wanting or even risking to live as a disappointed slave. Revolution demands to let go of love and lovers, answering the call of future generations. Revolution is inherently maternal. The uprising of women in the Arab world is part and parcel of any uprising wishing for a radical change in the status quo of patriarchy.
“The radical abortion of tragedy and irredeemable waste is Socratically sublimated into the service of the Idea, becoming a police function of theistic sociality, within a political economy of managed sperm.”
“In Nietzsche’s text abortion—in the loose sense Schopenhauer has opened—is both the possible outcome of procreative anarchy and that which characterizes a eugenic regime.” [Nick Land]
“Heterology is restricted to taking up again, consciously and resolutely, this terminal process which up until now has been seen as the abortion and the shame of human thought.” [Georges Bataille]
with a long black shoe
with Communist Party and a broken stocking. .
with your sagging belly
with your fear of Hitler
with your mouth of bad short stories. . . .
with your belly of strikes and smokestacks
with your chin of Trotsky and the Spanish War
with your voice singing for the decaying overbroken workers. .
with your eyes
with your eyes of Russia
with your eyes of no money. . . .
with your eyes of starving India. . . .
with your eyes of Czechoslovakia attacked by robots. .
with your eyes being led away by policemen to an ambulance
with your eyes with the pancreas removed
with your eyes of appendix operation
with your eyes of abortion
with your eyes of ovaries removed
with your eyes of shock
with your eyes of lobotomy
with your eyes of divorce…” [Allen Ginsberg, “Kaddish,” IV]
[post inspired by recent personal events, by the lectures of Avital Ronell at NYU, by the book The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Elissa Marder, and the ever-inspiring feminists of Lebanon and the Arab world]