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    on the 5ives




above all, do not mistake me for someone else

eyes lips dreams & then night goes first night & then day & she must open her eyes & confront that other that intractable real of light & solid objects but eyes need not be open for this to be real eyes could be shut one could still be able to sense to listen to recall impressions this body this bed this room the words speak themselves from somewhere further on some external voice insisting upon the unquestionable existence of things a voice by itself spilling out of nowhere but who is speaking she thought shaking off the sleep haze of unconsciousness who or what & she felt her body lying tense & silent hopeless & beside her an other body she was listening to its breathing there in the distance like wind coursing through the street broken into an echo of an echo only which hung now suspended in silence & now called back aloud to something forgotten during the night a voice drawing her into the present time of its own cadence but what was it saying with its heavy consonants drifting one into another like waves against a shoreline something meaningless the same thing repeated over & over terminating in a restless & frustrated monotony obscuring her thoughts confusing them she opened her mouth & tried to speak a dull empty sound a knot in her throat in her lungs she shuddered slightly & stiffened against the ceiling a pale light flickered on & off casting a broken shadow across the side of her face her mouth was in darkness a dark cavity beneath the black rings of her eyes outside the sound of footsteps passing below the window the ticking of a clock obstinate murmur of language strangely entangled like hair after sleep on a passive face as someone watches but what could have happened for every-thing to be & remain incomprehensible forever be-ginning with a line & then the line faltering panic arc of a seabird the futile beating of imaginary wings there where the eye breaks off suddenly & falls to-wards the water the smell of leaves & wet earth mingling with the sharp smell of salt & she felt her-self listening far off to an echo of an echo listening for the first disconnected syllables of day just before dawn actually breaks & strained to recall what it looked like when the sun rose on the blue lines of rooftops to imagine what type of sound it would make dragging itself over the dark cut of earth the ringing of granite in the desert the sudden intonations of the callers to prayer or whether or not the blind could believe in such a difference night & day day she murmured night as if either could mean something after all something real the way she tried to believe in a body her body this body she felt a narrow band of perspiration about her wrist when one of these hands touches the other is it true that the things in question are my own these hands touch the same things because they are the hands of the one same body the things themselves the lived presence hearing oneself understanding speaking the sound of a typewriter entering from a different room the dissonance of keys struck at irregular intervals & each sound in fluid symphony persisting obscurely like a palimpsest of notes vibrating in air like a sheet of paper deeply indented & in places cut through the barely legible traces of other texts whose characters seem to branch off in unex-pected directions spreading & overflowing punc-tuating her thoughts confusing them one instant opening to another suddenly & with no apparent connection or else she had already gone on ahead turning pages like somebody who has forgotten about the words & has begun to move uncon-sciously among their meanings a lucidity hidden in the void a specter & you want to call out to ad-dress her there where she has already begun to disappear like a ghost passing through a locked door but like the doors in dreams it has no handle as if to say there was an imminence which took shape in her & which held you at bay indecision keeping everything open as the ultimate rationale each of those fragments notes treacherous insights on the way to some occasion everything you sought to make her represent as if i have followed one by one all the steps of the route chosen going back to the start every time a doubt or suspicion directed me there in other words i have not been allowed i have not allowed myself to arrive at a single conclusion without having retraced all the thoughts that precede it but is that even possible chance when i seek it is beyond my reach i could have said it escapes me but it is not from me that it escapes since i have never had it in my grasp & in fact can barely conceive it & at the same time something resembling a memory breakdown sets in i begin to be afraid of forgetting as though unless i made a note of everything i would be unable to hold onto any part of it all of these extraneous elements which are perhaps nothing more than an elaborate arrangement of planes & facets & simul-taneous aspects of so many generalized items if only to project a sense of volume in space some-thing tangible enough to frame a presence independent of impressions but such deep complicity can’t be expressed in words or else it is all that can be expressed in words & our intentions are merely a way of saying that these things do not belong to us & even thought must pass away then afterwards driving through m in the back seat of a taxi it was a late summer he thought wiping the sweat from his forehead he hadn’t slept outside everything flashed past unresolved this day he mur-mured at last to be delivered staring out at the white glare of heat a fume of hemorrhaged faces the phrase pity never helped the dead mouthed it-self over & over changing momentum with the harsh whir of car tires meaning is eclipsed he thought like the face beneath its death-mask & the self becomes the anti-self becomes an echo only a conjurer’s cheap trick as if to say open sesame & there she was that pale wax figure lying in a box or gazing from a window of a hospital in m as though she had seen a ghost the way she might have expected someone her savior like cortez to appear suddenly on the gravel driveway wearing flowers in his hair she might have run outside one day as if to greet him like a moth flying blindly into light & that was death had he not seen her in fact lying there still alive trying to touch his hand to speak to him promise me she’d said but he did-n’t know what to promise he could promise nothing he promised nothing but when did it end the hours of waiting outside the ward until finally they let him in & felt as though he were being pushed downwards his head his whole body submerged as though their voices were coming to him underwater further & further down an illusion was it just an illusion on a platform of the gare saint-lazare a woman had stepped in front of him & instead of moving to the side he allowed his body to come into contact with hers upsetting her balance & when she touches him he resents her because her touch reminds him of his betrayals because even compassion belongs to cruelty the falsity of it the lies & contrivances that is what it will have been a vacant life turning & turning between the walls of a cell the incessant measuring of time an unresolved sentence that runs up continuously against the edges of the page strophe antistrophe filling the empty spaces of that mise en scène like an actor on stage rehearsing other sentiments than his own always saying what he is made to say & tormented by the words of others entering his body taking possession of it so that he can neither see nor think how many nights have passed like this not sleeping repeating the senseless tableau i can’t go on you say & at the last minute he stretches out his hands to stop her from falling a reflex or an afterthought but never soon enough the faces of people crowding on the platform & trains rushing past out of obscure darkness shuddering stripping back the air & the down-wards motion of the body caught frame by frame as though it could make a difference reaching the turn-ing point one day after another with your note writ-ten out & folded in your pocket taking one last look in the mirror before going outside but you don’t you take the key out of the lock instead & take off your clothes again & lie down beside that other & close your eyes again did you allow yourself to be over-come by so little pain i’m shaking she stammered lifting her hand to her face with the gesture of a marionette i can’t stop shaking she pressed her eyes with her knuckles & rocked the weight of her body back & forth on the edge of the chair & there were moments hours perhaps sometimes days when she would stand by the window compulsively shifting the curtain back & forth looking down onto the street although she knew there was no-one there looking down onto that street where she could imagine her-self as another returning her own gaze perhaps nothing more than a glance an instant of recognition that would cancel the oppressive weight of entrapment the night sometimes i don’t know if i want to live or die sometimes it’s painful not to die at last to have been done with words to have been able to resolve everything into a single continuous nothing car il y a tant de choses que je n’ose te dire tant de chose que tu ne me laisserais pas dire the flowerless stems hung in the glass bowl on the window sill now shadows rose & fell & lay flat where the sun touched on the leaf-colored water now a figure stirred in the bed & the room separated into light & solid planes & things unhinged from nowhere in an infinitesimal fraction of a moment morning replaces dawn night into dawn into morning suspended in that single moment all moments interceding in one another & over the city the sky becomes a fire a burst ventricle bells & trucks & voices pealing in chorus she felt the light beat against her eyelids little by little a red disk filling the black screen & faint blue vertical or horizontal lines weaving a vague gridlike pattern that suggested the movements of concealed forms somewhere in the background a spectral acrostic in which geometrical designs spelt out entire sequences of words algebraic notations molecular structures of time & space merging in this intricate hieroglyph written between the membrane & the eye though it seemed impossible to distinguish what they were saying carried off on the endless stream of noise that flowed circulated & throbbed in the city’s veins feeding the vast entropic spiral at its heart the ceaseless tending towards an end a gray-brown opacity that seemed to pervade everything & to consume everything in its own time the struggle was writing itself out transcribing itself the words & phrases half-seen half-heard & fail-ing as she herself was failing & she thought of all the people whose eyes would never meet across an empty intersection & all the disregarded phrases from foreign languages their fugitive exis-tence how it both lured & repelled her like the music she had heard long ago in the bois de boulogne things unseen & unspoken that haunted through each moment the intermezzo that her own life seemed to represent suspended as though between two indistinguish-able points of negation when everything & its op-posite narrow to a single fragmentation an arch-way a door a windowpane & there was some-thing awkward about the expectations of a room the way she felt its walls required something from her & always there was the sensation of a verbal thread created by their silence as though she were trying to hold onto something to stitch time to reweave the inevitable lacunae of departure & ab-sence as though trying to hold onto something by denying it by denying the loss of it & silence like a knot gathering each fragment of her conscious-ness into a point of dark interiority an impossible silence closed off from the senses it was the same night that she always experienced over & over a recurrent dream though fleeting enough never to be remembered in the same way it was as though each time she glimpsed only one aspect of the re-ality in which she was suspended but which she couldn’t seem to grasp hold of adrift on a sea with only the vague suggestion of landfall far in the distance she thought of all the false sight-ings the flocks of seabirds that might have suggested a shoreline luring her on hopelessly towards a bank of clouds arching over the horizon like a mountain range each night the pale flicker of zodiacs rising low in the east like campfires hidden deep in the mangroves of some dark estuary she moved inexorably towards them swimming through the air upwards & in all directions circling like an insect caught in a lunar trance a sense of inevitability surrounded each of her actions & yet not of their own accord i harbor no illusions she said i can’t reach that point in my memory from which time seems to diverge something resembling a fold a warp in the layering of hours a suspended alien moment the opposite of a beginning as though it stood on the verge of an irrevocable erasure like a word or a name of which all that remains is the initial letter a barely audible consonant alone in a sea of noise indistinctly murmuring & beyond it the silence that it masks & which envelops it in the same precarious instant she felt herself drawn towards it & repulsed lured by chance outlines & pushed back & in that strangely present tense of her movement she appeared to herself as a pair of eyes drifting in their own space punctuating it but through which space also flows out & she was staring down at the streetlights aware that a tide was welling up inside her & no longer a surface to reassure only her reflection in the glass pierced by the streetlights beyond the punctured form swelling to incredible proportions of its own accord into a neb-ula of flesh & corrupted matter an idea began to form of her body as a hive of wounds that somehow pre-existed an implement a secret mutilation from within as though i am always going back over something that i cannot recall & the fear that there is no end to this pantomime by retreating from the mirror one goes deeper into it by retracing one’s steps one continually advances & at moments when her mind was quite clear she would complain of the most pro-found darkness in her head of not being able to think of becoming blind & deaf of having two selves a real one & a false one which forced her to behave badly she felt that she was always struggling towards some haven of finality the secret unseen light in which the end would be revealed lumen luminis deciphered at last from the sidereal or hieratic writings of the lost chambers of night the places where the souls the divine entities the shadows & the spirits the transfigured dwell sym-bols words phrases like talismans magic charms written over the bodies of the dead flectero si nequeo superos acheronta movebo but to experi-ence oneself as cut off from others is also to hold open the possibility of transcending this isolation entering into all of those lives experiencing them like a mirror in which no division of time or space prevails only the fluid contour of an irrational gaze tracing a path between each of her gestures now opaque now transparent revealing a series of half-formed images like cinema stills in which the subject is constantly moving beyond the edge of the frame & whose fea-tures remain indistinct blurred unfocussed as if i were haunted by every-thing i am forbidden to remember & somewhere he was sitting on a bench by a river that resembled the seine & he was smoking a cigarette watching the barges slip by on the lethe-waters below the stone parapets there are elements of the scene which remain indiscernible by going back over details perhaps it would be possible to recon-struct events & he was looking across at the people on the other side of the river there was something disturbing about their movements at a distance their mouths which seemed to open & close silently like fish a chorus of the damned nothing is real her voice said as if i were on stage faking my own pain a leering pierrot the idea of a murderer who waits in a room for the victim who will never arrive she crum-pled onto the floor there were cigarette burns on the carpet & dust & human hair night goes the thought repeated itself in an in-finitesimal fraction of a moment night becomes dawn & then becomes morning she dragged up-right let fall her feet from the bed without opening her eyes she felt her way mechanically across the floor walked to the window by the washbasin & unlatched a shutter let it sag open a crack of light streaming at an angle across her breasts a mere outline the summarized form of a body in vertical sections whose details have become obscured in the too immediate contrast of white & black un-able to isolate or focus the image between conflict-ing exposures shutter speed & width of aperture although for the pretence of meaning there must at least be a relic some sort of vestige a scar of rock jutting out over the water the uneven ledges of seaweed exposed at low tide the sun’s dying rays dragging across the sea like the strings of mari-onettes she placed her fingers hesitantly against the wall it was the tide she felt it running out of her gradually she knew that the last marker had slipped into darkness now she was counting back working back through the absences memory presented to her the pulsions of her body the waves the tide reversing mounting up against its limit on the breach of a sys-tem of meaning the elision of its totalizing movement & at the same time inaugurating its acts the act mediated translated by what lies between in the silent aspiration the neither spoken nor unspoken where the harbor lies flat & heavy on the sea’s lip & the headland like a sentence half-articulated faltering syllables of stone shivered falling to a still & cold weight of water that stretched then further off into a tongue of silence the crossing over into a beyond space into a beyond time the failure of the episteme knowledge & memory to draw things together to re-solve mirrored in the act of entering a room empty & pregnant with significance but what do we seek through so many pages only to arrive in the midst of another reading or perhaps there are other worlds & these are simply means of transporting ourselves une tantative i recognize that here is a wall & that beyond it there are other walls but the essence of my confinement is neither in the wall nor outside it but in my dwelling upon it which means also that it is not possible to think the opposite of the wall though in my dream i have made it into a symbol & once again it remains there for as long as i seek to explain its significance the anguish of dispossession the experience of having lost life of separation from thought of the body exiled from the mind i can’t think she said the words are not my own less than before i’m always failing to compose myself & then falling into others falling outside my-self into the nothing which opens my history but how is it possible to begin saying all of these things with-out inventing narratives or describing events i imagine the objects around me & determine their re-lation as though they exist all by themselves & are not in fact projected outwards from a body an organ of perception of perceptibility like the body & eye of god i write these things but i do not un-derstand them if only everything could be made to stand still & not speak to communicate directly in the senses outside the sound of traffic moving in the opposite direction reminded him of the sea the sound echoed in stasis lines of flight that were closed off from him it all seemed blurred unreal like a picture in a newspaper other people’s faces & yet there he was barely an hour ago standing beside a grave & saying her name over & over thinking how dry the lips must have been under the embalmer’s heavy make-up they seemed to represent first one thing & then another the illu-sion that something stirs in the dusty corner of the eye in the room gray light filtering through the window mixes with the yellow light of the reading lamp but how do we know it is we who are speaking the voices in a crowd guarding their anonymity were they real or did you invent them no does it matter nam & ego vobis illa non probo sed narro it goes on like this no longer conscious of what has been said if anything you wait for the mind to go blank for the pantomime to end staring into space the same space & these voices this voice these words from elsewhere without naming you words that are not my own but whose lives i inhabit as actors inhabit the theatre the performance the rôle the seam which draws them to-gether words passing from mouth to mouth one mouth to another like an eternal eucharist flesh of my flesh blood of my blood there are cries in the distance the sea birds reel & lunge at the ebbing tide between the piled-up masses of broken rock & dense vegetation arching over the water it seemed to grow not in a vertical but in a horizontal direction & something else what was it a faint stirring the snapping of a twig & then silence as if someone were listening watching among the trees & later along a path you find a piece of broken glass like millefiori it burns white in the sun it turns green you close your hand upon it & it changes to black you are not afraid of cutting yourself in a café beside the hotel she let her fin-gers play inside a pitcher of ice water the geomet-rical patterns on the tablecloth that reminded her of the mosaic of blue turquoise framing the entrance of the koutoubia mosque & dissolving at its edges into exposed masonry where the tesseræ had bro-ken off & her own image coming back to her hunched between the rocks above the ochreous red cliffs that fell into the sea with sullen eyes shifting from ledge to ledge searching she supposed for some promise of destruction some massive catastrophe echoing from the past the water thickening dark green becoming black she turned her head dropped her hands & then lifted them again aimlessly i suppose it’s all so logi-cal isn’t it to believe that the past has actually taken place afraid of being alone afraid in the end she said it seemed impossible to believe in uncaused things i can’t see it it mustn’t exist she held her face in both hands sinking wearily into the chair i have a recollection of perfect stillness she sighed letting her hands slip down between her legs oh hell that’s a lie i can’t recall anything i feel that nothing can be gath-ered made whole like waiting for a room to become silent & then the silence begins to bash at your skull she stood up abruptly wrapped herself with her arms as if you could be enormous & infinitesimally small at the same time she said i fear that more than death she dug her nails into the sleeves of her coat & moved towards the window a faint exterior light casting a blue shadow across the floor i don’t know who i am any more i’m going to make gashes all over my body i want to become infinitely hideous she repeated herself & then fell silent the minutes passed it will never come to its own end she whispered staring out through a cracked pane of glass i can’t retrieve the fear of death nothing interests me any more nothing less than that even without words no desire the wheels of the taxi turned dismally beneath him promise me she’d said promise the sound of gravel beneath the car tires a feeling of disgust gagged in his throat you can’t pretend you’re actually sorry for her he hissed catching sight of his reflection in the window he closed his eyes felt the sunlight beat across his face red light & then darkness again did he really remember her that way but there was nothing he could have done that day or any other day nothing he could have ever done at the gare saint-lazare he thought he had seen her on the crowded platform appear-ing & disappearing in a sea of faces watching im-passively as he struggled towards her like a swimmer fighting against the tide but there was no sign of recognition in her eyes


the garden