Wednesday, October 24, 2007


In my valiant and eternal attempts at procrastination I have just translated a letter I wrote to an Australian friend living in France - originally written in a phonetic spelling of a "fairy seek foran ucksonn" into my incredibly imperfect French.

When I read my French I can read my accent into it - it's not just the lack of punctuation, the absence of accents, or the continual reversion to imperfect past tense as a default position to disguise my complete incapacity to absorb volume two of the BLED guide to French verbs (dspite many hours of cheese inspired toilet reading).

and - I do get increasingly scared that my French will end up as disused and strange as spanish. this sounds tragic in a way, but then I wonder just how much of language - or appparent coherence in language is built on faith... we recognise what we expect to hear, what we want to hear. Language is acquired as a habit of familiarity and trust - which falls apart as soon as that trust is broken - or the familiar suddenly seems incomprehensible.

I said goodbye to 'el viejo' on the weekend. He's moving back to South America to live. He says he'll return to visit his kids, but I'm not expecting to see him again. He returned my tresses that I cut in the 5th and final year of our relationship, so I now have a complete collection of my hair for the past 17 years.

. He also gave me the photo left - which is a tiny print - which he insisted was of me and my brother - which my mother had given to him.I tried to tell him that it was not of me or my brother, but he refused to believe me.

This was really strange. I asked him which child he thought was me, and which one was my brother, and where did he think it was taken, and he said "I don't know, but your mother gave it to me". This was the sort of moments that my childhood was full of. My dad telling me continuous endless tales about myself and my family that didn't make any sense.

In Dad's favour (perhaps) he was also obsessed with mimetic technologies, taking photos and recording our voices and cutting scraps of hair. these would be brought out and displayed and replayed each time he came to visit. They were some of the very few things about the visits from my father that made sense. Mum didn't buy a camera until we moved into town, so almost all of my childhood photos before the age of 7 were taken by Dad, my aunts and uncles, or the pixie photos in town.

I remember most of them being taken, and remember hours spent looking at them, recounting the stories of when and where they were taken. It's incredibly how scarcity of images produces an embellishment of words, or rituals, stories sensations and memories around the images, so they become attached to ourselves - not merely through the punctum of the image itself - but in where and when they have been viewed, reviewed, explained, touched, maybe destroyed and forgotten and then remembered. I wonder if kiddies growing up in the digital age of excessive images - will relate to photographs. I see my own relationship to photographs changing as the amount of images of myself multiply - but mainly on virtual platforms - disconnected from me, my hands, from paper, my room, my family.

the photo on the right was the first pixie photo that I and my brother had done - and I think it is likely that Mum gave a miniature copy of this one to el Veijo. I think he's recognised the dark curly hair, the spotty jumpsuit as indexical elements to this image and then decided that this other photograph was identical if not the same.

But I remember the photo - where it was taken - and the past 30 years of walking past that particular pharmacy since, and remembering 'that's where we had that photo taken when I was four' It's next to the pub where I threw my t-bone steak bones onto the street - coz I's assumed there'd be dogs wanting to eat them. I remember the clothes we were wearing, and seeing them on the clothesline, and in other photos since. I remember looking at that photograph repeatedly since, and remember what I thought, what I said, what I felt - as I do with all of my other childhood photographs. I aslo recongise the features of my brother and of me. the facial gestures, my mouth, my hands, both our eyes - which I don't in the other photograph.

I tried pointing this out to el Veijo - "neither of us has eyes that far apart - we both had curly hair as kids - his eyes were black not blue - we were nearly the same age" but el veijo still wouldn't beleive me. I was incredulous that someone who'd slept with me for 5 years and lived with me for 8 couldn't see recognise my features enough to tell me apart from some other child in a photograph, and I wondered what sort of relationship I even had with him.

I still wonder, and I wonder about representation, and what happens when it doesn't work. Derrida's work breaking up representation - it's a re-presenting, but then it's also a redoing of a pre-sending - a weird kind of repetition of an act of interpretative anticipation. Derrida - recalcitrant beast that he was - tried to read more sympathetically into Martin heidegger's disdain for the detachment of representation from reality, the act of anticipation and projection of a preconceived idea of reality as a way of avoiding an engagement with it. Derrida (I think) envisaged to re pre sent as a series of temporal shifts and movements. Derrida's emphasis on temporality is deadly serious. His use of 'differance' is not a semantic game -but a passionate insistence that difference, that reality, that what we encounter as.... anything that is, is founded on a deferral - a shift in time between what is familiar and what is strange. What we know as 'us'is never given but comes to us through a process of becoming, of differentiation - and the moment of this differentiation is intricately linked with memory - a movement back and forth in time, between what we RE - cognise, what we REmember, and what is formed as memory - through a process of anticipation.

Can I admit here how much I LOVE this idea of embedding the notion of time moving forwards and backwards as we - as the world, as our capacity to apprehend, to articulate, to describe it - also involves a distinctly temporal quality? for me, it's a reminder of why history is so precious and so fragile. We cannot apprehend the present - and any attempt to do so - to represent it involves memory, projection, moving backwards and forwards between what we think we know or thought we know, anticipating what we might know, and being startled so often by our encounter with what is. My idea of myself - bound up in industrial beige consumer fetishes for mimetic technologies - for technolgies of representation aroudn which I have an accretion of habits, of words, of exchanges with others that has become my life. My memories, linked to indexical elements in childhood photographs, is still embedded in relationships and the language that I am using now. this is what forms me.

However, so many friendships or affairs seem to fall apart based on a dispute over words, or their meaning - and I find - I feel that as a soon as I find myself haggling over words, phrases and nuances in words, trying to tease apart, re-read, restate, clarify, qualify what i've said to someone - or as soon as I find someone picking apaprt my words and twisting the remainder back around my recollection of an event, my emotions, my reactions, my feelings - or my confusion - that i lose interest in saying anything at all. words seem absolutely pointless. words exist to embellish an affective connection, a weird strange sense of a shared project, or plan - or something... but they don't work as bandaids over nasty gaps in faith or feeling -but drop away.

It's the sense I had in my last conversation with my feline friend - who curled up and spat in a furious dispute over 3 words in a text message. Can an affair really fall apart over three simple words? An affair built on crazy desires, unstated needs and mad flights of fantasy probably can, and did. I was silly for ever tring to call such a fleeting thing 'friendship'. Ho hum, mayhem's judgement swayed by une belle cul yet again. One day I'll learn to walk with my head raise a bit higher, I promise.

Tormenting myself over the spiteful missive from the cane toad - I'm impressed by the power of misapprehension to allow for meaning to twist between words,and turn back again, becoming something else. My words, misheard, mistranslated doubling over themselves, as meaning trips and stumbles. I spoke to her in two languages, she wrote to me and spoke only in one. Her command of English almost as appalling as my French, using the misrecognition... yelled became yeild, and my cries of pain became distorted into an accusation of violence.

She said she could press charges against me... for what I wonder? "Yielding and crying"? Australian police have a history of harassing and incarcerating aboriginies for being in a position of vulnerability and disposession in the face of colonial invasion, but I'd hardly describe indigenous marginalisation as 'yielding'. So is 'yielding and crying' a crime? And was I yielding? or yelling? I'm not sure that I raised my voice that much, but I could be wrong. One of my housemates described my requests that she turn out the lights when she left the house as a "bollocking" -so maybe I am more forceful than I realise.

Where images failed, now words fail and have failed, and yet here I am, circulating the images, and surrounding them with words to somehow make things alright. words and images, becoming like some sort of fetish to ward off the evil eye - or the evil spirits, or just evil. In the misrecognised photograph I felt undone by doubt - I doubted my childhood - then doubted my relationship - and then in the cane toads posting - her differing account - again I wondered if I'd made everything up. If I was just acting after all. am I acting, what am I playing at? and why would I bother. Is "yeilding and crying" such a compelling fantasy for me?

and why the hell is it, that when I move away from an impossible relationship with a French Language Teacher I end up immersed in the work of those French intellectuals who are lauded among anglophones but barely known in France. does their work only work in translation? and what does that say about me?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dirty Laundry

Sitting here at uni trying to feel less hatred for my abject lack of productivity for the past 4 hours. I've managed to go over some readings and half spellcheck the summary of some book and check my email and facebook about 3 times and eat a whole heap of sugary stuff and have a micro sleep on my desk and drink a pot of coffee and.....

I had 3 days of quality doona time, on the tim-tam meal replacement diet, unable to get the motivation to clear away the clutter of clothes and books and papers that were accumulating around my bed - actually around my body that was confined to my bed while I popped pills, passed out, gorged on books, gorged on chocolate, getting up occasionally to piss. Bribing myself with chocolate in order to force myself out to do basic things, post a letter, pick up some scripts.

Then when I woke up with a dark brown smear over my back and across my pale green sheets, I decided I had to act. fortunately it wasn't shit - just a bit of chocolate that i'd rolled over in my sleep. (really! I promise!)

So I washed my sheets, dragged myself out to yoga and back to bed for another 12 hour slumber. today - I got up, meditated, showered, cleaned and vacuumed my room. Forced myself to walk to uni wiht the promise of 4 tim tams when I got here. I havne't been able to work. Just survive. Just subsist.

Maybe I should have let myself scream hysterically at my friend's funeral instead of quietly self medicating into this slow fug of gloom. Maybe life is just a bit shit right now.

a comment from the cane toad beneath my last post - only added to my dissonant relationship with reality. Last week I somehow replied some sort of light polite response to an email from Abel's mum - who's visiting the compound in 2 weeks.... saying 'yes, I'm in the last few months of the PhD, yes i've been a bit down because a close friend died'... not "your drunken daughter and that vile cane toad she wrecked our relationship for have driven me stark raving bonkers" because it didn't seem *polite*.

Maybe I'm more english than I thought?

Maybe not. I sent some replica turds in the mail to my favourite blighty boys - and have heard nothing since. I thought they'd *like* a festy missive.....

I can see now how academics become complete aspergery freaks.

Bright young thing enrolls in PhD
Life randomly falls apart around their ears. Friends die, go mad or turn turdish
Primary relationships turn turdish
Bright young thing starts hiding at uni, burrowing themselves in obscure theory
Bright young thing decides world is completely scary
Bright young thing loses all contact wiht reality and loses basic social skills from lack of practice
Bright young thing eventually becomes a freak and gets awarded a doctorate.

the last time my life decided to become so intensely shit - I decided that acutally there was a god and I was being punished for sodomy. At risk of making the readers of this blog puke with TMI (helll when has that ever stopped me in the past?) I will now admit that I have been playing wiht pooholes this year - and now fully accept the consequences - and will try to refrain in the future - If I get through the present.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Danny Boy

Time for some light relief! for some reason this reminded me of zoo!
Maybe its because she recently had a white night in the beige confines of a postgrad computing room.

Saturday, October 06, 2007



One night back in 1994, el veijo lashed out and bought a crab which he made into an incredible soup for the two of us. Crab filled the flat and drowned out the stench of the neighbours constantly fermenting vats of ngoc mam next door.

Perfumed fishy sweetness filled our noses, dribbled down our arms, filled the air, perfumed the garden, drifted up and met the fug of jetfuel wafting down from the flightpaths above.

We drank, we smoked, we ate. We were trying hard to be happy in our new 2 bedroom flat, trying to hold hands as we drifted apart, trying not to look like a couple to centrelink who’d dropped in for a home visit. I had cut my waist length hair short, looking pained enough so they could guess why we weren’t a couple. El veijo just look pained.

After gorging ourselves on crab meat, we stuck the licked fragments of shell in a bag on the back doorstep. A few hours later, still up, we heard a caterwaul. It was autumn and this was odd. I went to investigate and found a slender young ginger tom, miaowing plaintitively on the back step. I undid the bag and offered him some crab flesh, but he seemed more interested in rubbing himself against me. I invited him in.

My previous feline “Pulgato” had mysteriously disappeared during my birthday party a few months earlier, so I was glad the universe had found me a replacement. El veijo wasn’t. “Cat’s are worse than rats” he declaimed and then launched on a rambling lecture on the evils of those weird four footed furry familiars that people have around. I hadn’t seen such odium until watching Deleuze and Parnet on youtube… checking out the “A” section of ABCDE as the old emphysemic Deleuze coughed and shuddered and his gravely voice expounds on the repugnance of rubbing, miaowing plaintative pathos of pets, especially cats. “c’est odious… comments ils frottent. Non. Je n’aime pas ca, je ne support pas les chats.” (It’s hateful, the way they rub. No, I don’t like that, I can’t stand cats).

Back in the past, as el veijo declaimed, the ginger tom was already on my lap, rubbing himself against me, my face, and my hands. Some cats settle quickly into a furry lap snuggle, but this one was intent on rubbing himself all over me. I guess you could call it heavy petting, and I think it fuelled el veijo’s odium. I think it gave me hives. I didn’t care.

After some time, the ginger tom paused and looked deep into my scratched spectacles, where my eyes met his. I had never seen a look like this from a cat. Especially one I had just met. I stared back. I was definitely in love. This cat was seducing me. Red welts appeared on my neck, my hands and face were stinging, my eyes watering, my throat itchy. Still the cat stared and I stared back. The cat was in love with me. His eyes drew my watery gaze back into his and my hands on his back moved down to his tail. He moved forwards, but mercifully not to rub against my face… but then sunk his teeth into the side of my neck.

I kid you not! As his teeth broke my skin I reached involuntarily for the scruff of his neck and I had to pull hard to wrench him off me! I cried out and flung him away from me with a shudder, and he stood on the floor looking at me. Looking kind of hurt, but still quite loving as well. No actually I don’t know how to describe the look. I stared back in bewilderment. “Eso es!” el veijo declared “El gato culiardo es Nosferatu”. (that’s it, this bugger of a cat is Nosferatu – the famous german expressionist vampire).

I reluctantly put the cat outside, but he hung around for a few weeks – he’d come in, act incredibly affectionate to whoever would let him on their lap, then he’d stare into their eyes, and then try to bite their neck. It was uncanny, but fascinating. I was reminded of anecdotes about animals seducing their prey. I felt like a mesmerised little bird in front of a serpent. I was seduced and terrified at once. It was creepy but exciting, but still creepy.

I was reminded of that look more recently in the eyes of an equally seductive affectionate young tom… and I still can’t quite find the words for it. Other lovers have trapped me in their gaze, and I’ve felt my eyes drifting into theirs and my language drifting into an infinity of bad poetry… such delicious swooning delight! But uncanny for someone I’d just met, a playmate, light sweet and salty sex, no shit, no ties, no games, apparently.

It’s easy enough to fuck up in casual sex and slide from fornication into lovemaking in the bat of an eyelid. (A vampire bat perhaps?) I’d even venture to say that the thrill of a casual arrangement is largely based around toying with the knife edge of seduction – seducing her or being seduced…. Drifting so far in, and pulling away… testing, toying teasing with the limits of our desire, our bodies, our stamina, our hearts… certainly the thrill of succumbing to a lustful embrace is that vertiginous swoon of affective collapse. No words here, my dear. You eyes meet mine, your fluids fill each pore of my skin and stain my sheets, your smell fills my nostrils for hours. I drench myself in our fluids and drown inside your stare. Your eyes have eaten my soul, sucked out my lifeblood, sucked out my secrets, and mine shed tears, and my fingers scratch out screeds of swooning indulgence in black bic biro, etching my lust, your flesh, your taste scrawling itself along my tongue into my favourite silent language, carrion words, hidden on paper, on which I feed, and refeed and savour for weeks and months to come.

Obviously none of this is particularly healthy, and most certainly feeds into my own pathological relationship to writing. Words! I love how they swoon within me, I love to gorge on them and vomit them out, I love to swim in them, feel them enter me, hurt my insides, digest and break down and pulse throughout me… and then I love to feel the end of words…. Knowing that there’s bits of me they can’t reach…. I touch the darkness and draw back…..

Back to the tomcat. Who still gives a strange flicker of soul sucking stares in the strangest of places. My own eyes water and flit and I rub toothpaste on the coke bottle lenses, hoping to shelter behind a few more scratches. Myopic watery pools. Made for scrutinising pores, for focussing on the eyes of a lover, while their mouth meets mine, but little else. Prosthetics protect. Protect my own sad stupid little heart, from flying out again to be hurt and crushed and dropped and crushed, and… no, actually they don’t protect me at all really.

There’s a fleshy pad between my thumb and wrist. There’s a stretchable pocket between my thumb and index finger. On my right hand, which is not my writing hand, though I’m typing with it now. This part of me aches for tomcats…. Impels itself to burrow in their fur, to smear itself on their haunches, soaking up their scent. Neither inside nor outside, the tentative hand fucks that aren’t quite five fingers, rubbing against the edge, as my fingers move inside my palm remains here, where lips and folds are both inside and out, strange hesitating incessant rubbing…. Are you with me? The base of my thumb, the hard wad of muscle wants to meet feline flesh, to rub up and down the fur, feel the fur rubbing itself into my wrinkles and pores, along my fine tracery of warm veins rising to the surface. When I see that stare… I look away, because there’s a lump in my chest, a little reserve, as the blood rises to my face and I blush. Nosferatu can see my vessels dilate, wants me to open up a little more, coaxing me forwards….

Right now, retreating, hidden, safely snuggled under layers of fabric and words, I wonder if Nosferatu is something I’ve just made up. Something I invented, projected out as part of my own desire – my own need to collapse onto something – someone else, my own desire to collapse over my own projected need. As I drag people towards me and push them away, as I hide myself away feeding off my own emptiness, as I sit in the grey fug of my own crushing doubt, noises, shapes, people, conversations, oppress, suffocate me. I feel my life blood ebb. No colour here, only graphite scratchings across an infinite sea of mundanity. To face myself is to face boredom, incredible boredom, counting freckles, squeezing blackheads, noting the increasing greyness emerging from each pore on my head. I haven’t got the energy to flee into colour, the sea wind chills me, and I wonder where my life blood has gone. Why am I so cold all of the time? Why can’t I think in colour anymore? I don’t know who to trust, who to believe, I barely trust myself, I trust barely, I trust myself barely. Naked in the bath, barely naked, strange pale flesh streaking past the mirror, before I hide myself in clean clothes. Is this the same body that stripped, and swaggered and seduced a few short months ago? I can barely touch myself now, and the thought of other flesh renders me nauseous. Maybe I need to go back to life drawing, but I’m enjoying melaleucas, whose stripped peeling bark, gnarled forking forms evoke my own dreams of Daphne…. She retreated from flesh, from flight, from rape, into stillness. Her limbs wooden, her feet rooted to the soil, her hands sprouted infinite leaves. Reset in Erskineville, her skin pushes outwards, splits itself as multiple layers of protection, inscription, traceries. Her skin became paper, her skin begged for writing, to be written on, for the stories her mouth had silenced to finally appear, to be heard only by eyes and hearts. There’s no words here, my dear. Only desperate sheafs of blank paper, multiplying pushing outwards, peeling, folding, splitting, reminding me of what hasn’t been written yet, what can’t be written, what can’t be spoken but could be written, if only I could find the words. I trace my finger across the soft bark, trace my soft pencil across paper, remembering flesh. Bloodless flesh.

I go back inside, retreat into the darkness, to the edge of words, where there is little more than darkness and fear. Trying to make friends with this space. Not to fixate morbidly on my own frailty, but to realise there is something inside of me. This aporia, murk of hell is part of…. Part of me, and part of life. This aporia, murk of hell is deadly, it is my own fear of death, and yet I carry it within me. I don’t need a vampire to suck my lifeblood from me any more to feel it. It’s here, behind my heartbeat, and yet my heart continues to breathe over the top. My chest expands, I breathe, quickly, from an aversive terror, or slowly and I, slowly exhale, settling down into the fixation. I sense the delight of my own collapse, and sense my own inexorable movement away from this. My life is a constant sensing of this, the awareness of hell, and the flight from pain, from death. I’m tyring not to flee so fast, so far. Trying to move a little more cautiously, holding my self as I sense the world around me – not as a fixed entity, but as what I move into, what moves into me, what becomes me and me it. I am merely a species of momentum, a set of movements in a rib cage, senses pulsing down into limbs, extremities, eyelids, pulsing, pushing forwards, connecting, calling, crying.