Last Monday I saw another cement heart in the rain while waiting for my mother to return the rental car. My initials were inside of it. It felt like Sunday all day as I stood in front of that street heart and felt outside of it.
“People are getting so fragmented, and part of that is that fewer and fewer people are making a real effort any more to find exactly who they are and to build on that knowledge. Most people are forced to do things they don’t want to most of the time, and so they get to the point where they feel they no longer have any choice about anything important, including who they are. We create our own slavery. But I’m going to keep on getting through, and finding out the kind of man I am, through my music. That’s the one place I can be free.”—Charles Mingus (1959)
3 things for the New Age, all interrelated, romantic/platonic. Lasting.
1. Talk is cheap. Cheaper than ever. Prove it with action not with talk.
2. Many people, including me in Love Dog, Badiou in In Praise of Love, Douglas Rushkoff in Present Shock, and this week Hannah Black in “You are Too Much,” have decried this age as one of intensity, not duration. There is no future, only presentism. Everything and always is just what you may or may not want Now. I used to think (naively) that intensity equaled (led to) duration because I could not even conceive of intense feeling, of feeling intensely, of being able to, without wanting that feeling to last.
So no more intensity, for me. Or: no more speed. Not if I can help it. Now I want time. Now time will wait for feeling. And feeling will wait for time. Too much leads to nothing at all.
“Spontaneity and pre-mediation, as Badiou points out, form a couple. We need both. We always need both. Ways of being both. Two of something, two in one—symmetry. What good are chance encounters, random encounters, close encounters, being in the right time and place, meeting a contender, as Elaine, used to say, if that place is stuck in only one time and one place? What can be called the original, default Home. If, as the poet Mallarmé put it, chance is not curbed, what good is spontaneity without the dexterity for pre-mediation, which makes something durable? Possible. Which makes it switch places, go the distance. If we can only act recklessly, or in the moment, we will always be limited in how far we can go. If the moments do not aggregate and coalesce; make us plan and hope and try and move towards more. The more we maybe did not even see coming but that came for (to) us nevertheless.”
As we kissed and made up after a fight that ultimately led to our breakup a week later, the last guy I dated held me tight in his arms and cooed, “Masha, we’ve only scratched the surface with each other,” as in we’ve (our love) only just begun. He liked to talk about me and forever this way. I was “eternal,” I was “never ending,” I was “out of the blue.” Let’s imagine that blue is the image of eternity, which is what we’ve imagined. But only just beginning was a de facto way of saying we never really started, as scratching the surface has become the end in sight. No end is the end. Surface runs deep, is forever. Deep goes nowhere, and all the way down. Scratching at the surface is the way we now go all the way.
Félix Guatarri said that language is nothing unless you write it down. I say love is nothing unless it knows how to endure.
3. I think and want to tell others: I want to know what you don’t like as a way of figuring out what you love, instead of the other way around. You don’t love more just because you love everything.
While buying a new phone this morning that I don’t understand how to use and is the wrong color (Easter blue? They don’t make the model I can afford in bIack), the poet/bookseller Nathaniel Otting sent me an excerpt from Lisa Robertson’s interview with Etel Adnan in BOMB, the part where Adnan states:
“EA: I don’t know all the philosophers. They’re famous; I’m far from having discovered them. Al-Niffari is very good. Also Al-Hallaj and Ibn Arabi—they are great thinkers. But Al Hallaj I like as a poet, if by poetry you mean something emotional, poignant. Why shouldn’t thinking be poignant? Why shouldn’t thinking be emotional? That is what poetry is! You can’t separate even love from thinking. If by thinking you mean the activity of the Supreme, the activity of your mind, then when you love you think better in other fields also, because your mind is alert. Love is an energy that goes into many things. Love makes your perception clearer and you suddenly discover flowers. In school we’re told that this is sentimental—that is nonsense! We should stand in the origin, which is mindful energy. Why should a computer be smarter than your mind? Our head is a little radar. It is a message receiver and a message sender.
…It’s an energized idea that can be both an inner and outer thing. Sufis use love that way; love for flowers or for the world is part of love in general. When I wrote my little book for Documenta two years ago, they had asked me to write on my latest interest. I told them it was love. After a long life, I realized it’s what matters most. When we are young, we take things for granted, which is good—we keep going in a blind way in life. We don’t realize that our first real loves were the most important things we had. Maybe we were too young to manage them. This happened to me. The first person I loved madly, I couldn’t even look at! I was blinded; I couldn’t manage the situation. When I couldn’t manage, I would stand up and leave, and the others thought I didn’t love them, you see? I messed up because of shyness, but it was really mismanagement. Things have to be managed, even emotions, which are the least manageable. Manageable means to deal with things, and I couldn’t and I regretted it all my life. I miss that person even this hour. You don’t overcome that. You love others, you get busy, you love. It’s not only love of people—I love the world, I really do. In a way, it took the place of other loves.”
I read the interview excerpt at an AT&T store. Then wrote back to Nathaniel on my old phone while waiting for my new phone:
"That just melted me. It’s everything I feel and think and believe and because of that I feel 89 years old, too. So perfectly said. It’s what my parents taught me. I love the idea of never forgetting, always remembering, the one you truly loved, the one you mismanaged, the who mismanaged you. These things—people—should not be forgotten."
Like Adnan, like the 89 year old I have always been, always want to be, will inevitably remain, I don’t care about anything other than love, given that love is everything to care about. Everything is in love, including sex.
Re-blogging this film clip, which I originally posted nearly two years ago. I watched this incredible scene again last night as I thought about Kathy Acker’s love advice to Robert Gluck, “Bob, you’ve got to beg.” And that is what Beatty’s Jack Reed does in this scene—begs Louise Bryant, who has traveled across the world to find him, who searches tirelessly, who thought he was dead—not to leave him the moment he finally gets her back.
What does anything matter, if you can only say it? If you cannot, do not, ever manifest?
I’ve been told more than I ever need to hear. I’ve heard too much. And still, I think of Pasolini’s Decameron:
“Say just one word and you’ll save both my life and yours.”
Or Jenny Holzer’s: “Say the word.”
Words as passwords, secret codes, open sesame. The right word unlocks an entire world. Think of the precious words you had to know—you had to acquire—in riddles and parables. Think of how few chances you had to get those words right.
Because you don’t have the courage of your convictions, because none of you do, because it’s easier to let go of a thought than a person, because you’ve shown how empty your words are, because my being wrong is better than you being wrong for me, you’ll tell people, “I thought I loved her.”
I am so Jack Nicholson’s Eugene O’Neill in Reds—on everyone’s case about love, including my own. Except I’m convinced it’s not alone with our work (his or hers), or alone with each other. It’s together with our work, together with each other.
“6 is love. Swords is Action. The 6 of Swords is LOVE IN ACTION. It is the action of love.
Fleeing doesn’t work. Never once, no matter how much love drives this process, will it work. Why? Because the action of love is to preserve and protect.
The 6 of Swords is telling us Love Conquers All.
As Swords manifests through 6, Love becomes an actual action, not an emotion (that’s 6 Cups). Love becomes an transitive verb, not passive or reflexive.
By finding and unifying with your Soul Mate you can unlock that white-knuckled death-grip on your old habits and let yourself grow to the next level. And of course, this has the same effect on your Soul Mate, who also grows.
The way love conquers all is through the changes wrought at the level of those unconsciously held coping strategies, the habits dragged with us from incarnation to incarnation (the 6 swords in the boat) and re-created to suit each of our new Natal Charts — like the menace in the horror movie, appearing before us again and again until we stop doing whatever it is that projects that menace into our surroundings.
6 is always at the heart of something and also at the start of something.”