Guilt

by dschapman

I am limited not by what I cannot say, but by what I can say, and do. For in the unspeakable there is everything and of that everyness there is a oneness and a sense of the tepid warmth of significance, glowering over the shoulder of the east in the morning. And in what I can say there is nothing and the words I say. The words with which we speak are bandied around like bacterium, communicable and invasive, and they control us, bandied about so incautiously, straddling men to lesser men and stumbling haplessly in circles. The schemata, the sets, the forms, the orders, the categories, subscriptions, impositions, a world by any other name; the restless shuffling of circles, the venomous tendencies of intelligence; it spreads from a sensation in the skin – but quickly sets in deeper – threading itself through your bones, worming its way to your heart, to shake it from paralysis; in the venom, antidote, and in the antidote, venom, spilling into the bowl like tiddlywinks, from all directions, ceaselessly, a pattern swallowed up by its own repetitions. The polemical oneness, here and unobtrusive, exhaustively incomprehensible – forward to scraping halt, the wall, unthoughtful, and indolent. Sweet sleeping heresy of the vacant few, the floating inhibitless forms of intuition; enough has been said, and said all in vain, of the hopeful; the heartless, loveless, too. And the bad men and the good men, too, sedation into and out of sadness, inlets and outlets steadily bleeding; I think of them and their silly appendages, I think of the sacks of skin that dead-end in pockets of muscle and bone, hanging low from their torso, splayed in all directions – an animal, without even the dignity of silence, without even the dignity of elegant motion, without the stead and deliberance. I think about and it is deranged and hilarious and it is the heedless, handsome product of an awkward and estranged disillusion, of inwardly focused delusion, broad and incisive distortions torn from the pages of the polemic; moreover, I’m right, and a sight for the eyes of the world-weary, that is, the existentials, unpoetic and unbecoming and fruitful. In endless fruitlessness a truly new form of life takes root. The single-celled organism of endless potential development. The sulfur-based lifeforms. And who knows to what heights they will rise. For they are made of gases. They are the stuff of expansion, the widths of gaseousness. Or they are the intrinsic, unkillable. Or they are the inexhaustive. Or they are the unseeable. They are the fruitlessness, formless fruition. Heaps and heaps of lamplight in a silent flicker, loping homeward honestly; sideways split right open. And myself, I keep quiet. I keep my eyes open but my mouth closed, and all the light my eyes let in builds up in a glamorous pressure inside me until one day it breaks from the cracks in my consciousness and beams out in terrible rays all around me. It is every time an atrocity, and every time it ruins me. But the scope of my bad luck is matched only by the scope of my good luck, and so I come out into whence I came, in ever better standing, if not a little weathered. And when I embrace them they enjoy my embrace, I kiss them and I speak highly of them, I take note of the greatest human behavior and I mimic it, and they are skillful mimicries; but here all along am I, successful, and wondering whether I am or not. For I know better. For I know much better. Some days I know too much and it is irreconciliable, and I combust. My friend tells me, I just don’t like it when people tell me something I already know. I tell him that everything people tell I already know. I tell him I don’t expect anything different; if I did, I would never listen to anyone. But that’s pompous and rotten and I act all the more clever, all the more subversive and honest, because of it, to disguise my own rotten pomposity. Fortunately, despite my guilt and my rotten pomposity, I know that even at my worst I am better than the best of so many – and at my best, I’m better yet, and worser still. And into the humble recessions I come tumbling down, and up into spacious absurdity I struggle again. What am I talking about? I am certainly not talking about anything comprehensible, nothing applicable. If you understand me you are lying to yourself and to me. For I sure as hell don’t understand you. But then again, I do, better than you do me, at least – and someone has to do it, I suppose, but why me? I am not talking about the corporeal, although I am talking from it.  And from it of it, in it. On and on I wander, and from without it must look so hopeless, it must look so maddening. Maddening and hopeless it is, but I am not without hope, and I have not gone mad, so there is nothing to stop me. The central interminable schema is sound and steady, and the rest of it is like an intricate and all-sum wonder of the world. It is true that adulthood is spent unlearning the half-truths of your childhood. Because the half-truths lead only towards the truth, and the truth is dead. Fromwards the singular truth, else deadness. But childhood is not the end; it is the passage. The end is the beginning in the deadness of potential, the anxious readiness of unlikely life. But that is not the end! I take it all back. I am lying again. I am a pernicious and systematic liar, pathological. I don’t even always realize when I am lying anymore, so I assume I am always lying. The mere potential that I might at one point change my mind in the future warns me that I am a liar if I ever claim any sort of certainty, and every selection of words is a certainty, every element of meaning proposed an assertion towards, implicit certainty; what terrible lies I’ve told. I’ve misled my closest friends, my family; sometimes, to their faces. Sometimes to myself. My own inescapable intelligence, a masterful cloud of illusion, diluted from the potent thickness of the irrepressible sensible world.

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