A Radical Cut In The Texture Of Reality

June 29, 2015

Four quotations on sex

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The ubiquity of such struggles occurs, not because of some fundamentally problematic quality of sexuality, but on the contrary, because sexuality has qualities that draw other problems to it as people seek sexual solutions for the neverending conflicts and ambiguities of the hassle of living life as a human being, whether male or female. The entangled relationship between the sexes is the site of attempted solutions, which give the appearance of ‘problems’ only because the solutions are unsuitable. Sex is an arena within which other kinds of problems get played out.
– Sheldon B. Kopp, If You Meet Buddha On The Road, Kill Him



This is also why, for Freud, “everything has a sexual connotation,” why sexuality can infect everything: not because it is “the strongest” component in people’s lives, exerting a hegemony over all other components, but because it is the one most radically thwarted in its actualization...
– Slavoj Zizek, Less Than Nothing



Another paradox: Often the one most plagued with lust is the one most capable of restraining it. The monk and the philanderer are likely to be the same person.
– Qiu Miaojin, Last Words From Montmartre



In abstraction, sex reveals the intangible force of its own irreconcilability and becomes what it is in reality: a spell for togethering doubling as a boundary.
 – Paul Chan



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June 26, 2015

All Profound Distraction

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My text All Profound Distraction can be found in this anthology on the theme of concentration.




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June 11, 2015

And then, as the book was nearing completion, I suddenly panicked...

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The original title for this book was Artists Are Self-Absorbed. And then, as the book was nearing completion, I suddenly panicked, feeling I couldn’t give the book such a negative title, that sending it out into the world with a self-defeating name was almost a form of self-sabotage, and my entire life had been a series of incidents of self-sabotage and now was the time to change. To get on my own side and, hopefully, turn things around a bit. And in a way I already had another title in my back pocket: Polyamorous Love Song. It was a title I had used for a short-lived music column and it was a title that had already received much love. The idea of the column was that most love songs, mainstream or otherwise, are directed towards one person, the ultimate soul mate or new excitement, and maybe a polyamorous love song, a love song directed towards a few (or many) soul mates, might undermine some of the basic songwriting assumptions, be a small step towards a more liberating, emacipatory way of being alive. Then something else occurred to me: that this explanation might also be a form of self-sabotage. So many paradoxes piled upon paradoxes.

It was around that time I became obsessed with the idea that I wanted people to read my books long after I died, that I wanted to be one of those authors – like Kafka, like Walser, like so many others – whose work only found a substantial readership after they were gone. I didn’t want to do anything in particular to bring about this goal. I just wanted to work, to live, within the vague, unverifiable hope that it might eventually come true. And it occurred to me that this hope was a bit like the Christian idea of an afterlife, that my body would die but my work would live on in the eternal heaven of a considerable posthumous readership.

And then another thought. Maybe all works of art are some kind of polyamorous love songs, offerings sent out into the world in order to get everyone to love you. Works of art and literature are not directed towards one person but towards many. Songs in the sense of bird song, messages thrown out into the world. At times I felt that everything about being an artist is encapsulated in the tension between these two titles, between Artists Are Self-Absorbed and Polyamorous Love Song. And by changing the title it was almost like I was trying to say: look, I’m no longer self-absorbed. I’m not the same person I was when I started writing this book, when I started dreaming it. Or at least I wish I wasn’t. However, I fear I am more the same than ever.


- From the interview: "I Have Never Watched Pornography" - 11 Questions with the Author of Polyamorous Love Song



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June 10, 2015

Four Decades

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1988-1998: Theatre & Anti-theatre
1998-2008: Translation & Polemic
2008-2018: Books, Music & Hospitality
2018-2028: Emotion & Decolonization



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May 17, 2015

C.E. Quote

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Loneliness, which is really lack of love, is the pain of being unable to be present, makes us inhabit our bodies differently. At its most radical, loneliness’ pain relates to a missing presence beyond any comprehension or memory, as the speech of what feels the unspeakable. Where it does not, or rather cannot, remain trapped in the self-soothing, heterosexual loops intended for it, it may become a question of political engagement.

- C.E., Undoing Sex: Against Sexual Optimism



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May 12, 2015

Jericho Brown Quote

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Poets whose work supports the status quo often fail to acknowledge that their poems are just as political as poets whose work questions it.

- Jericho Brown



From his text Love the Masters which can be found in The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind



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April 23, 2015

Anything is possible, but not everything.

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[This text was written for the performance One Thing Leads To Another by Emma Murray.]



Anything is possible, but not everything. Thinking you know exactly what is going to happen next is the easiest way to be wrong. Of all the things that are possible, among which we might even include many things that are relatively impossible, rather few are likely. It is possible that the next sentence in this text will be about dinosaurs, while it is likely that it will not. It is possible that human beings will become extinct much sooner than was previously thought.

Of the things that are possible, it is difficult to arrive at a percentage that might be generally understood to be desirable. If human beings were to become extinct, it might be said, from differing perspectives, to be both desirable and undesirable. After you, as an individual, are gone, why would you exactly care what does or doesn’t happen? But it is possible that you do. Or at least a part of you does. What might be the best way to understand this particular part?

Desire can be understood in terms of sex, but it can also be understood in terms of everything else. For example, the desire to be alive, or to continue living. The desire for the impossible, far from being a contradiction in terms, is in fact extremely common. Things that I desire that I am frequently, or at least implicitly, told are impossible: an end to war, an end to capitalism, powerful people treating those they have power over with enormous kindness and generosity, etc. But, of course, all of these things are essentially as possible as anything else. I see no proof otherwise.

It is possible that one thing causes another, but it is equally possible that it does not, or that we have the cause wrong. However, whether the cause is clear, unclear, or misleading, the desire to find and know the cause for any given thing is not difficult to understand. Every moment is a mystery waiting to be solved. Or a pleasure screaming to remain unsolved. A pleasure screaming to remain lost. Understanding everything completely and perfectly is the death of all pleasure. Fortunately this is impossible, and there is also of course great pleasure in learning, in coming to understand something. As every conspiracy lover knows all too well, almost everything happens for a reason, but then, every now and again, something beautiful happens for no reason at all.



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April 12, 2015

Unit of Measurement

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We hate the government
the government represents us
we hate the government that represents us
the government doesn’t represent us
it represents corporate interests
corporate interests that give them money
money they use to get us to vote for them
we don’t vote for them
but someone does
with thirty percent of the vote
you can have a majority
the majority never says to itself:
I feel inferior because I’m only
worth thirty percent
it says: I used strategy and guile
to flip my thirty percent
into absolute power
perhaps every vote feels superior to the vote
sitting next to it, glancing over,
thinking: let me handle this
I know what I’m doing
or perhaps not

Our vote represents us
we hate our vote, our choices
we hate the choices that represent us
a vote is a unit of measurement
but the hatred we feel for the government
cannot be measured
if you want to understand the present you
have to read history
if you want to understand history you
must understand human nature
human nature is malleable
it is formed by the society and
culture that surrounds it
perhaps not entirely
our history: we came here, said it was ours
but it wasn’t ours
there is enough for everyone if you’re willing to share
if you use only the small part that you actually need
they say the government is ours but it’s not ours
it’s against us, but that
doesn’t mean we’re not the same
the problem of government is a problem we all share

I know someone will tell me I shouldn’t
use the word hatred in this poem
that hatred is unproductive
but we do hate the government, I think,
how they reshape our world in their image
I know someone will tell me
I shouldn’t be so simplistic or didactic
but perhaps all I’m trying to say
is that the simple things are complex
and the complex things are as simple
as poison



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