Friday, May 12, 2006

Ghostly Threads

Someone emailed me last week wanting to know if I will still continue to write on dating hysteria even though I'm in a relationship now. Obviously, the tone will be a bit different, changed from the insane, desperate dating hysteric NOOB, to the now sage, veteran of brutal crushes, hysterical instructor, who has at last found a beautiful girl to spend his time with. A sort of Subcommandante Hysteric, and if any of you have read his speech on Culture of Resistance, you can understand my cheap connection as well as why Zizek says in The Ticklish Subject that hysteria is way more subversive than perversion.

In other words, my ruminations on attraction and dating will now be filled with a grateful distance. Hopefully for a while...I haven't written a dating hysteria post since I got back into a relationship, and this one I started several months ago before umasodda' ham yan Si Madonna, so I'm finishing it in a slightly different mood. So I'll be the first to admit, this post may seem a bit scattered or confused:

Life truly is the stringing together of a possibly infinite, but surprisingly limited number of moments or scenes. Pula i Kadena I Korason-hu yan sotta yu'. Yamak este na kadena, na'matgan este gof fotte na hinasso ni' pumopongle yu', ya bai hu mana'libre! Or the pearl like memory of his nanny from Shah Rukh Khan's character from Swades. Memories are strung together stand beside each other, gained equivalence, distance, misseconaissance, they affect each other, stimulate, mutilate, neutralize (such as the magnet next to the flash drive from last week's 24). The content perhaps doesn't change, that moment of hurt, loss, love, but when imagined beside another moment of love, hurt or loss, the narration changes as it must. The shifting continuity to make for the explainations of changes. Sa' malingu ayu na guinaiya, matto este na nuebu na guinaiya. Could I feel this love without that loss?

These memories are of course never equal, and although they hold the potential for being reworked at every moment, they usually aren't. A strong scene or moment will draw others to it, it will gain the appearance of fluidity and flexibility, it will appear to be adaptable, it will therefore become a fantasy. We can see this clearly in the way that people tend to typically articulate their relationship to an other group, ethnic groups, opposite sex, age group, culture, sub culture, etc. We tend to preface our discussions of such groups with a particular moment in our lives, literally our lives, meaning where my life who is speaking, overlapped with the lives I am speaking of. A moment of harrasment at the mall, a failed dating experience, times when you were cheated, stolen from, looked at strange, smelled something funny.

These moments are elastic, flexible because of the way they can integrate nearly any new experience and nonetheless return to what is always the lesson of that inital moment. Zizek often uses the example of a German in pre World War II Nazi Germany to make this point. The German neighbor of Mr. Stein is confronted with physical, material facts and evidence that his Jewish neighbor is not part of a conspiracy to control the Germany economy and state, and is not a lewd and immoral creature who preys on the innocent daughters of Germany, but only a kindly old man who obviously minds his own business. The German's usual response will be, but that is how shrewd they are, how momumentally deceptive! The clear lack of the qualities which match my fantasy is what condemns them to possess these fantasies in a way which is more than themselves (the Jew more than a Jew), since I ascribe to them these malicious traits, the ultimate proof of their maliciousness is their ability to maliciously hide them from view!

(For those familiar with my academic research, this is taken from my work on Liberation Day and what I call the scene of liberation. Of how the Chamorro even up until today seems condemned and doomed to return to that fateful day of Guam's "liberation" in order to exist.)

This post had started on moments, attraction etc, but slowly wandered into ideology. Let me try to bring it back on track.

Attraction produces the same condensed, collapsed, extremely potent and potentially labile moment. Let's take for example the following poem by e.e. cummings, which nearly brought tears to my eyes when I heard it most recently in the film In Her Shoes:

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)


There is an interesting tension over what I carry in my heart. Although a common interpretative short cut would lead us to think that the poet carries his lover in his heart, it is merely a poetic choice to say "your heart." But to say that the lover is in my heart is the fiction, "I carry your heart in my heart" is the truth.

What I carry with me is never you. I cannot carry you, but only your heart. We cannot be sure what it would entail to carry all of you, is it simply impossible or would be grotesque because your lover is simply too close to you, that there is no room to breath or think? (like when Jerry Sinfeld meets himself in female form and they can't stand each other!)

Only a moment, perhaps a collapsed, collage, melange, deluge, of half lit moments, incomplete moments which only gain the meaning of love when they are felt within this privileged site through which you are always there. The Beatles song "With a Little Help From My Friends" would make an interesting connection here:

Would you believe in a love at first sight?/ Yes I'm certain that it happens all the time/ What do you see when you turn out the light? / I don't know but I know its mine

It is not literally, that the moment you first physically laid eyes on this person, you were in love, but only that in love, you will always return to that moment of "first sight," the moment where the heart of this person first appeared. I posted about this last year as "Ten things I Hate About Lacan," I'll paste a section of the post below,

"Love happens, we can connect to the other, but not through pre-packaged romance and the realization of social fantasies about the other's magical qualities, but instead when the facade does break down and when the curtain of fantasy is lifted away. When we experience that hysterical moment where the fantasy frame through which we hold the other in attraction experiences a glitch as we perceive a glitch, a piece of the other's Real...When the other is broken down to something like this, which sticks out of joint, whether its a look aside during sex, a laugh which seems to come from nowhere, a statement with an uncertain author, or even tugap or do'do', it is only here that love is possible."

(but this isn't a really a timeless moment that never changes fundamentally. As we see in the film At First Sight (where two distinct moments of "love at first sight" take place), the moment can change, as we change, the scene through which our love becomes possible shifts, are our eyes are recast in a different desire.)

Returning to the Beatles' lyric, this moment of attraction will create a space through which it will remain. Through which moments that follow will be laced and threaded into. Even in the absence of this lover, the love will remain and its presence produces a secret, a loving avarice which produces possession. Similar to Derrida's statement that there is no love without narcissism, there is no love without possession. To pay homage to my unorthodox Lacanian roots, Love is the sinthome of perversion, hysteria and neurosis. The loop which can bind these frames of mind together. The desire to posses, the desire to consume, and yet the prohibition to not do anything such thing, to let the other be other, let my lover to my lover and not, mine. Through this we see the somewhat crazy mixture of emotional threads that push me to know the secret of my lover, to consume their secret, to make it mine, and yet at the same time, to let it be their's.

The whole point of this post was to introduce a poem I wrote several years ago about what I supposed was one such privileged moment of attraction, a crush on a girl in class.

Although these moments force you to desire a possession, what we find in songs, poetry, art, and everyday conversations is that these moments possess us just as much. The camera tricks used in films to denote a moment of lust or attraction (slow-mo, camera jerks, zooming) remind us of this point. They jerk us from what we felt was a normal course of seeing, viewing, living, and snag us. It is for this reason that the Chamorro word I use for crush is sinekkai which comes from the word sokkai or "to snag," like to snag your clothes on a tree branch or a nail. (This dynamic was made clear to me recently in an incredibly interesting way in "A Dragon Within," episode 9 of Ninja Scroll: The Series)

Apologies before you read the poem though, romantic poems in English have never been my forte. They always have a quality of sadness and incompleteness that my poems in Chamorro don't have.


Ghostly Threads

There is nothing about you that I love, except for that void that consumes everything I think of
It trails beneath the hair that falls from your fingers
In your eyes pieces of your smile still lingers

It is an insensible, often unreasonable weight, that constantly secures my gaze
Envelopes it and develops it.
Words emerge from the depths attempting to explain you, yet refuse to contain you

They splash beneath my downturned head
Like unrelenting tears of empty and conscious dread

A loss which feels like nothing but ghostly threads looping around my cringing fingertips

The caress of an empty kiss
My always waiting lips, always waiting, wondering over the other who has never left, because they never really arrived.

1 comment:

Saipan Chamoale said...

Do you ever write about the difference between Guam and CNMI Chamorros?

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