Next Stop

I think I’ve run out of words to say what I really mean; or else, I am no longer the writer that writes to mean what he wants to say.

I watch the flickering bar traverse with hesitant speed the width of white space, leaving black marks in its wake, segmented or circumscribed by intermittent chasmic distance. My fingers type – they speak; we call those, words. Each little carriage is fettered to its preceding and succeeding car, and the entire vehicle we say, is a sentence. The engine groans and sputters, and throws its pioneering weight forward into the dark, like a throbbing, desiring body. It is fed fuel – it insists, and plies the length of those rust-enrusted rails. Chug, chug – metonyms for movement. The train, it moves because it has to; no, because it wants to. But it is condemned to run these weatherworn tracks, to get somewhere. Where? Wherever these rails take us, I suppose. The captain is asleep at the controls; his breathing is light, and regular. He twitches, he is smiling – is he dreaming? Well, does it matter? Next stop: next stop.

But the passengers, they always want to get somewhere some where, for who takes the train if only to commute from point A to point B? Husbands all suited up for work, mothers taking their kids to school, and the listless maid dragging her empty burden of a trolley to the market; they all intend to go some where, and they get there eventually. But there is no one on this train. No one ever embarks anymore. If anyone does, it’s usually the destitute and desperate homeless who make nowhere their destination, who get on and never leave. They die there, and the captain (when ever he is awake) binds their hands and feet and tosses them overboard, into a black stagnant stream from across a bridge, or along the natural gutters – tall grass and wild shrubbery that line the tracks. No, you don’t want them crawling around and begging even when they’re dead.

The captain falls willingly into slumber, to the sway and metronomic clocking of wheels against the iron tracks, because he knows that the course is determined – there is only one way, and that is forward, and forward along these familiar rails. What place does intentionality have on this journey? That is why he sleeps, because sleep is the theatre of possibility, of a world without tracks, or else of trackless trains. In this somnolent drama, he leaps off the verge of a carriage with doors flung ajar, and tumbles onto the grassy meadows of the countryside. There he lies, catching his breath, and taking in the immensity of his self-directedness. He goes anywhere but forward; no, he does – he goes forward in different directions. He darts from side to side, stopping when he wishes, hastening when he wants. Now he’s sprinting to catch the sunset and its fading last light, now he’s chasing the shadow of the night that flees in the face of dawn. After awhile, he grows tired, and slumps against a great rain-tree in the middle of a nowhere that is a some where, and falls awake to the droning of the eternal engine, and the sobering beep of buttons and rickety levers that demand attention.

I have watched the flickering bar traverse again and again the width of this white space, leaving black marks in its wake that try to mean what I say, but fail. The bar continues to flicker. Now there is speech and nothing, now there is only speech. With utmost vehemence, I make the bar stay – I signify it. | On this side, at the moment of fixation – of fixing the bar – there was at first empty space and a silence. I tried enunciating this silence – describing it, and to make myself conscious of it – but it immediately ceased to be silence. The bar, once made material and inscribed as ‘|’, loses its symbolic function – it becomes just another metonym, just another mark. It no longer delineates signifier from signified; it is no longer the resistance to signification. It has itself become signifier. It is the corpse of the metaphysical bar that perdures – still flashing, ahead. And so silence is deferred, again, and again. There is something in this raw, primordial silence lying just beyond the bar that wishes to speak; but this train, this language, this imperious prismatic vehicle refracts, distorts, and maims the voice, so that it always only says, but does not speak. When we try to articulate the silence, it is not silence that speaks, but the words that stand for silence. Try as we may, we only re-present silence; we can never present it. But there is so much this silence wishes to communicate – a fecund infinitude before us, unreachable.

So this elusive bar continues to flicker with condescending, nonchalant regularity – on my screen, at the verge of abyssal silence, and to taunt, knowing that it is transcendental – it stands outside speech and silence; it is the system. I know that you wouldn’t, and you can’t – but I dare you anyway. I dare you to vault over this archaic, discarnate barricade – the monolithic wall of our symbolic Father, taking with you none of His words for companions, into the primordial unspeakable.

I dare you to cross the bar. |

The Rupture

“What if it’s lost behind, words we could never find?”
— Chris Daughtry, ‘What About Now’

That which escapes the constructs of language—the inexpressible—is the Real. The Real is a state of full presence and completeness that has been irrevocably lost to us via our entrance into the Symbolic. It is the unbridled expression of every desire and wish, utterly independent of any anthropological framework; it is lawless, raw, feral, fearless; it is the pre-Man, pre-atomic, pre-universal. The imperious Symbolic—the name of our Father, the Father with his measuring rule and Pygmalionean hands; with his Hammer and mold; with his absolute Word, his decree—He has wrought order to our Chaos, and pronounced it creation. And so our engagement with the world—the earth in its undifferentiated chaos, its primordiality—is therefore forever mediated by the taxonomical, nomenological, prescriptive ordering of language; as is our desire.

However, ever so often there is this eruption, a resurgence of this unspeakable Real—the linguistically incomprehensible primordial—that vaults, projects, forces itself out of the unconscious into plain sight, a hideous monstrosity, that faceless face. A hitherto unspeakable longing, a lost familiarity. But, but I cannot express it in words; we could not. Where was our signifier? Where was our signified? We turned, at every dark and (b)lighted corner to grab, claw, snatch at words and the alphabet, to arrange them in slated permutations, arrangements and rearrangements; but they did not speak the language we spoke—did we ever speak language? Did we ever speak? Suddenly none of it, of us, made sense; suddenly, we realised we were mute, all along. But we talked, didn’t we? In nighttimes of pseudo-eternal quiescence, together and alone on sandy stretches along the oceanic starlit sky, before a sunset that we knew meant nothing because there would be tens of thousands more before the End. No, perhaps we didn’t. We didn’t, I’m sure, because it was not language.

Like a confounded mass of Everything and Nothing—of fear, vengeance, love, loathing, memory, sorrow, exultation, a thousand eternities in a single point—it did not belong to the set of words we knew and had to know, the consensus of the superego, the Word of our Father, our World as we knew it, in which we were birthed and raised. And that which escapes the ordering of language is at bottom, traumatic. We didn’t want that; and we enunciated our existential apprehension, in their our language, and left, just as the markings that millennia ago in stone embossed, portended; the progenitors of silence.

So we left it—ours, y(ours), mine—there, in the light—

Other, object, abject.