Friday, January 25, 2013

We are concerned here with love instincts which have been diverted from their original aims, though they do not operate with less energy on that account. Each channel branches from the last at an angle between 19 and 47 degrees until there is no room anymore for such branching and the whole system comes to an abrupt halt. This is the point at which we are asked to provide resources like lengths of copper and tissue cultures and illustrations torn physically from old magazines so that they are ragged around the edges. Immanuel materializes at the elbow of anyone who takes this instruction so seriously as to begin searching the little utilized portions of his house with a flashlight and a clipboard and one of those ammonia tablets you break open beneath the nostrils of anyone who has recently lost consciousness. His insistence on playing his newfound role in a manner pre-determined by the likes of Maturin and Ann Radcliffe causes a great deal of friction between the two of us, though he chalks this up to simple jealousy, to my desire to possess him the way you might possess an insect in a jar. Which is to say not bodily (something entirely impossible at any rate when you are without a body proper) but spiritually perhaps, though it’s hard to see how such a term would apply to a walking stick or centipede. The hallucinations that speak most directly to the center of our being are also those that like to hang around at the edges, telling stories and forging simple syllogisms out of very complex experiences. You can almost picture them with cigarettes hanging carelessly from their lips and their shoulder slouched a little in an effort to suggest disdain and disinterest in everything that occurs around them, up to and including the sound of their own voices. But this is an exercise in personification that can’t help but lead us astray and ought, therefore, to be tabled until such as time as we are no longer plagued by hallucinations, a time I envision arriving in the not too distant future simply because I envision everything that has yet to happen as happening then. Immanuel exists now, I suppose, in order to warn me away from this or any concept of time that might otherwise destroy me, that might envelope me and begin its slow process of constriction and suffocation. But the idea that he has been sent from some other world through the conscious agency of an intelligence (whether bodily or no) both higher and more demanding than my own gets me to giggling and coughing and clutching helplessly at the bony part of my chest, and eventually it alerts him to the fact that I refuse to take his presence at face value. I refuse to believe that his words, for instance, really ought to echo that noticeably. We are merely sitting at the dining room table and attempting to reminisce. It doesn’t help that I can no longer recognize any of the places where, he claims, we spent time together. The rock pools with their little red crabs, no bigger than half the diameter of the palm of your hand, disintegrating raw between our teeth. The enormous stone towers reverberating in their mossy interiors with the sound of phonograph recordings of Caruso and the tenor who came along immediately following Caruso. The one who knew he stood little chance of reproducing the master’s success but who also knew somewhere deep down inside himself, where such knowledge resides in the darkness like a kraken, that his failure – his repeated public humiliation and subsequent alcoholism, his sobbing at the feet of a woman who couldn’t even sight read a sheet of music -- would be a kind of glory in its own right. Something that only he could experience and so something that he would treasure the way he treasured memories no one else could verify, the way he treasured the sound of the blood moving in the veins behind his ears when he lay his head down on a pillow.

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