Current psychological latitude: gratitudinal.
(Current linguistic attitude: I will fuck with you with love in my heart, language, baby. Now and forever.)
Once I woke up with the words “your fried arm” stuck in my brain so I looked up how to say “I love you” in as many languages as possible, to make myself feel better. It worked, too.
It’s still in my head, the image from a lot of years ago, the image that came to me one day when I was sad and angry and roiled with all the awfulness of what had happened, when my worklife had become void, when the job I loved had been lost to me by bad behaviour not my own. Smashworld came and I fell down until the moment I got up and thought to make my own way, which I did and am doing and will do.
sometimes you have to lie on a bed
so your brain can be all in a floaty place
I would be brief on the day I didn’t have a lot to say or, really, had a lot to say but wanted to make the thoughts in my head all compact the way a wintertime child can take a puff of snow and squeeze it into a ball of ice, to make it all hard and small.
If you read here fairly regularly, you may have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a consciousness kick lately, posting about dream and nightmare, acid and ‘shroom. It’s a subject that’s still very much on my mind and, in my mullings, I have thought mightily about trepanation, not for the first time in my life. Good old trepanation is, as Wiktionary has it, “The practice of drilling a hole in the skull as a physical, mental, or spiritual treatment” and it’s an activity that first crossed my radar close to 30 years ago, when I read the book Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions by John Michell. In that book there is a whole chapter, “The People With Holes in Their Heads”, devoted to the subject. Now I’m not suggesting I’ll be taking the old drill to my own head (or anyone else’s, for that matter) any time soon, or even any time not-soon, but for all it’s absolute crazy, awful grossness, I’m deeply, weirdly compelled by it. I love Cynthia Girard’s poem “There is an insect” because I swear to god it’s about trepanation.
Sometimes I think it might be enough for the wild things of your brain to assert themselves sufficiently that instead of pretending they don’t exist, you have to turn your gaze to them, even if you can’t classify them. Taxonomy is good and useful — delicious, even — but maybe not always necessary. Maybe you don’t always have to be able to assign a clear name or narrative or meaning to a nightmare. Maybe the beast that rises from the deeps when you dream a dream like that doesn’t have to be a beast you recognise. Maybe not being able to speak the creature’s name is not only okay but an important component of baddreaming.
I like the feeling of dream, the look of dream, the words of dream, the music of dream, the LSD of dream. I like the blur, the opacity, and the glow of dream. I like the strange wrong flawed perfect images of dream that sometimes tell a strange wrong flawed perfect truth.
And here we are, arrived at the day on which Canadians give thanks. Truth be told, I did my Tgiving dinner yesterday and it featured poulet not dinde, but this is the official holiday so I will honour it and break my illness-induced silence by typing some words for you all.
This is a period of similehead. I always have quite a bit of that but it’s really all-consuming lately.
I don’t know why I always want to know “why” but I do. Even when the answer to “why?” is “because” or “dunno” or “what’s it to ya, mofo?” Even then, I still wanna know. Why, I wonder. Why am I like that? Dunno, really. Because, I guess. What’s it to ya anyway, mofo?
I listen to a lot of music. A lot. And while I think my taste is fairly wide-ranging, ultimately I have to recognise that I am particularly drawn to and moved by music that is odd or broken or primal or otherworldly. I want from music what I want from poetry and fiction — I want to be moved. I want to be taken to a place of sentipensante, feeling-thinking, to borrow Eduardo Galeano’s most beautiful word, because sentipensante is “language that speaks the truth”. And my god, that is a powerful notion.
Last night was mad where I live. A storm blew up in the early evening and the sky went black and the rain was a swirling chaos and the thunder and lightning were slamming wildly in the atmosphere, and it was all feeling almost too close for comfort, and for me to say that is something, really something, because there is almost nothing I love more than bad weather.
I like the word “with”. Maybe because writing is so not a “with” activity. It’s really a pretty terrible pastime: lonely; painful; scary; frustrating; slow. But it’s also the way I learn what I think — I often don’t truly know until I start the ridiculous process of corralling the headchaos.
Last summer I went to church. Not church-church but a place that made me feel what maybe those who’ve got religion feel. Last summer I went to the reconstituted London studio of Francis Bacon, at the Hugh Lane Museum in Dublin.
The backbone of the backbone.