attempts at living

to make a system out of delusions

Tag: absence


This is how it is when you miss someone who is away for a brief time. And it is a foreshadow of when, for whatever reason, it finally comes to an end. It feels strange to think that the best possible of such ends is a far off death, strange to think in those terms at all. And I hear the echoes of those thinkers who have advised to pay attention to impermanence, to conjure in the imagination grim portraits of the silence that will come. I try it but find it too hard. It isn’t hard because I can’t imagine it but because I can. The millions of accidental things that, having happened, have no choice but to have happened; fate operating in retrospection. The millions of things that could bring the distance back on itself, cancelling out the distinction between now and the time of inevitability. I’d rather every star burn up, every life wither. It is a strange emotion that we call love; to everything but it’s inspiration it conceals a brutality, a terrible violence. I am noticing the time now. 02:39. I have been writing all night and I’m tired. In the morning I will write more and still be tired. In the interstice my consciousness will evaporate and I will have the tranquillity of a Zeno or a Buddha, never remembering my sleeping dreams. I re-read what I have written here and note that I still haven’t quite captured what I mean. Language always seems to fail inside of its successes.



I took my seat in the Crematorium and listened to the priest talking about life eternal, resurrection, redemption; the whole tawdry list. I listened to the crying of my family. Shifting in my chair, an arm placed on my father’s back so as to offer some semblance of comfort. I looked at the box. Inside the box (pine?) there was a body. Not lifeless but no longer the form of life known to those who were gathered. Now just the impersonal process of things. And I felt nothing. The only thought in my head: there was a man and now there is no man.

During the church service (he was a public figure and so it was well attended) this thought repeated insistently beneath the hymns and the sermons, the tribute and the droning prayers of unified and appropriate voices. The thought settled in during a rendition of Blake’s Jerusalem (an irony that the man we were remembering, his picture beside the altar, at one time owned a dark satanic mill). I realised the foolishness of the thought: no man is a man. He is a nothing trying to be a man, an absence given the task (by whom?) of filling the shape of a man.

Later there was a lot of wine and eating. Everything went on unchanged. The Earth rotated, circling the sun, fixed on its temporary course and ignorant of the days when everything is cold and dark.

A Sophistry of desire (a series of groundless assertions)

All of our attachments are haunted. There is no new leaf, no fresh page. She is not merely she, he is not merely he; they are not merely our fantasies and representations. They also occupy the affective place of attachments since dissolved; the figures that we carry with us whose absence is acute even after the years of time’s opioid erasure or those nested even deeper, invisibly wearing thin the tissue of our hearts.

There is no archetype for these apparitions, these inexhaustible exhaustions; The archetype is and always was missing. Perhaps this lies at the heart of the why of our attachment-objects that we choose or that unconsciously compel us to select. This might be the absent core of desire otherwise named object petite a; the object lost and never possessed. To gamble on such a claim would mean acknowledging the possibility that all of our attachments are impossible, mere stand-ins for something impossible, that love is pure nostalgia.

If love is nostalgia in general then its specific experience in our contemporaneity, which for convenience I will call Exhaustion, can only be that nostalgia beyond nostalgias we name atavism. Love is an affective inheritance that neither makes sense in a society of virtuality, of connectivity, of a crowding alienation, of an accelerative temporality that disassembles and manipulates the coordinates of once considered ‘primordial’ domains, nor is quite able to disappear. Resurrected and reassembled it is even possible to find (construct?) an Electric Love in the prosthetic imagination of cyberspaces. That Exhausted humanity can still love is a constant source of both hope and of horror, tonalities of the same bivalent

All of this amounts to speculation, a record of my own sense of the matter embroidered with words I’ve inherited from others. Disregard whatever is objectionable to you.

simple words for simple hurts

what on earth is going on?

A perfect week
Kisses in the night
The kind of sex angels
Fall from heaven just
To sneak a voyeurs repentance at
Mostly in bed
Shed of intellect
Free of culture
And the weight of banality called
Forward motion
Sharing in the sweetest
Stickiest, honeyed inertia

A perfect week made nothing
Because i’m empty
Because there is no adjective left
Inside the sadness of this skin
I have to break her
Because i am broken
Because you have broken me

Because that is my truth now
That where my heart should be
All there I find are remnants of the claws
You used to tear it out

There is no smoke
And there is no fire but in the flesh
Beyond that i can’t make any promise
And she deserves it

I am the wrong thing
Doing the bad thing again
And again
Trying desperately to make good


I am lost and i don’t know what I’m doing
And i hurt
Spurning happiness, stumbling from mess
To tortured mess.

sunday lunch

its inevitable;
the regurgitating horde
telling stories
about the lives they wish
people might lead,
as if the terror of boredom
might smother them
as they walk upstairs
or down the hall
towards a blank class room
or endless supermarket aisles
that taunt them with the produce
that will sit in the fridge
and wither.

“i worry about you”, she says
wanting something to come
from late night laughter
and offers of sharing a bed.
i’m a monster, i should tell her.
i’m using you to let the absence
be erased and not felt quite so keen.

we sit in D’s and eat.
a long languorous day in good company
and spirits. but underneath it
the sense of death perfected
come to life inside me.
i can’t even smoke
because of these fucking renunciations;
another attempt to keep living,
to keep living so as to forget
i have no reason to keep living at all.

and then we ate cake and listened to
our favourite songs, gathered up
our belongings and left while
D went to work on throwing out the
carcass and cleaning things away.

and i love these people so much,
these friends who won’t let me disappear
who keep me tethered to the world
a day at a time.

for what’s gone

The pain of love is the pain of being alive. It is a perpetual wound.
– Maureen Duffy

what remains
a thin veneer
a skin of oil
stubborn in refusal
but collapse
is the fact
is the cold dead
truth of this

there you are
beside me
invisible to each other
as histories erase
and landfills rise
debris drifts
circling around debris

this is a mess
better to let it go
tear it down
better not to start again
better never to begin

but too late for that
so staple limbs together
cellotape the broken things
a surgery in the gutters
performed by no one
on the anonymity of love’s dying

and here i am still living;
an impossible thing,
bleeding on everything.

but i have pictures

what am i now
and where
i could wait outside your door
like a stalker
a psychotic with grim designs

sometimes i wonder
what is the value of a human heart
excised of love
excised of pain

i’m a waiting man
who doesn’t know how long he’ll wait
or who he’ll find
when her shadows lift

i miss you here
on the moon’s dry lakes
i don’t even breathe now

is it cold where you are walking?
i see you’re still performing
smiling for the camera
so beautiful
but still so vacant?

i miss you here
this is not a place
without you
and it may never be again

i just don’t know
if you’re ever coming home

who am i
in this
to you?
to decipher
these fragmenting
if this
is the pause
two acts
or the drawing
of the final

i’m in executioner
the axe to my
own head
and i’ve
been reading
all about
role procedures
and how
to sit and watch
without naming
monsters monsterous
or angels angelic

i keep a reel
of live sex
all spliced and cut
as by the
hours wandering
a lost pair
of shoes
sleeping silently
out into the

and confessions
make me sick
as i sit
concerned face
posed a rictus now
and forgetful
of the commonplace
in front of
amidst the company
of others
in their own
leaking little vessels
and stare
until i can’t see
or hear
or think.

who am i now
despite my flaws
and mistake
your perfect imperfection
you’re indelible
in heart and mind
a welcomed
invading army

these ghosts we see between us

and its haunting others
who poison
and protrude
like knives
buried long ago
drawing fresh blood still
even when
the wound is long healed


the world ends
but it keeps on ticking over
populated by ghosts
who neither see nor touch

and who throw accusations
best suited to land
upon themselves

a fool tries to love
in this spectral kingdom
ruled by Aesthetic hearts
where any true attachments
are felt as bonds
and love itself is a prison

and another name
for a nostalgic mode of terrorism

this is a killer’s heart

save yourself the pain
of having to live under the weight
of this killer’s heart