dictionary begins when it no longer gives the meaning of words,
but their tasks. Thus formless is not only an adjective having a
given meaning, but a term that serves to bring things down in the
world, generally requiring that each thing have its form. What it
designates has no rights in any sense and gets itself squashed everywhere,
like a spider or an earthworm. In fact, for academic men to be happy,
the universe would have to take shape. All of philosophy has no
other goal; it is a matter of giving a frock coat to what is, a
mathematical frock coat. On the other hand, affirming that the universe
resembles nothing and is only formless amounts to saying that the
universe is something like a spider or spit.
The grain swells. Since 1902. The oak fills the room, and the objects
fill his vision, and his vision nearly pours out of the sockets
of his eyes. Spit fills his mouth. He has purchased two chairs.
He has put them in this room, his work room. They sit before him,
thick-bristled and raw as an arm half in his hand, half coiled on
the floor. His own arm twitching in the faintest pulse imaginable
before he moves.
backs face one another. Two arcs doubling. The wood curving in that
impossible way that wood does. The velvet of the red seats sanguine
beyond dried blood. Personless familiars. They sit dead in the way
that chairs move us.
the slowness of breath he laces the rope through the back arc of
one, then the other. With the carefulness of a carpenter he swings
his arm forward, back, forward, looking skyward; faith. With the
skill of a man in the middle of his life he pitches the rope up
and up and of course around a metal pipe jutting like pipes do from
the ceiling. He has calculated the action in his mind. He has seen
each second laying itself bare as if in an architectural diagram.
He has considered every moment in excruciating detail. His hands
are dirty. His fingernails lined with black. Splinters sting each
palm without his notice. The rope hovers like an idea suspended
like ideas do for a long second, then over the pipe, then drops
back down to him as if he perfectly asked.
lift the chairs. To watch them kiss themselves and knock wood against
wood in a sound he has never heard before in his entire life, nor
will. To witness their rising. Together. Forever like that. Tilted
in against one another like some strange new species. Leaning taught
like muscles or clenched teeth. The one against the other. Nearly
over hand and the biceps pulling like biceps do. His eyes lifted.
Blue. His mouth open slightly. His lips wetted. His tongue against
his front teeth barely like that. The chords in his neck straining
but with ease. His jaw present. Their weight is not heavy. Simply
weighted in the most remarkable way.
has taken such care. Against the white wall, after the first day
he saw them, before he spoke to the shop-keeper, moments after speaking
to his wife (had he forgotten? Had he lost himself into a longing
unnamable, some ache reaching for light? Her voice so familiar he
no longer recognizes it, her thoughts dull as wood, her responses
known to him like the back of his hand, repeating endlessly?) he
has mounted a metal prong. When the chairs reach the ceiling (no,
not the ceiling. Just under it. Like a word sent out to a listener
doesn't meet them but comes as near as is possible to their own
mouth), he pulls the rope toward the metal prong and laces it once,
twice, three times, then drops the length of it to the floor. The
rope thuds like a heart.
will be no knot, no certain stability. Their will be only this rope
holding. He will work directly beneath them time and again. There
will always remain the chance that they will fall, together like
that, back to back, palm to palm, psalmed, there will always remain
his not knowing, his longing, his wonder lifting.
A relative silence settles. All the stupified glances are arrested.
The image siezes its onlookers. Look. Seated as they are static
and in the dark, a dark which would so easily overtake them that
it is laughable, they convulse. Is it agony, well no. But they mistake
it for agony. Look. A woman as common as a sentence stretches herself
out naked before them. Her back that of eastern European women;
longer and without the curves one expects. Her ass white rising
screened. Her cleft black and the wiry hairs magnified to monstrous
proportions. Her head severed--not part of the picture, is it. The
heads of the viewers repugnant as a thousand worms butting their
way through dirt, emerge in the dark, pulse toward the screen. One
feels compelled to spray gasoline on the lot of them. Are they holding
back pathetic cries? One can only imagine the overaught pathos of
this moment. My god. Teeth bite into lips. Mouths so agitated they
are comic. Contracted by strangulation. The eyes have it. Roaring
laughter that no one hears. Contracted by death; after all, don't
they want to watch this woman's body in time and space? Who among
us will yell "FIRE!"
A little girl coming out of a theater. Her brother has taken her
to the movies so that he can feel up his girlfriend there in the
dark. She has been terrified. Terrified by a family, terrified by
speech, by speaking in public, by that thick mucous forming at her
mouth when people are watching her attempt to talk, terrified by
the eyes and the watching and the voyeuristic cannibalism that seems
to never end, terrified by her brother's knowing, his hands, terrified
by her own want, her crotch throbbing in ways she cannot name, her
body making her cry, terrified by images big as buildings overwhelming
her to the point of disembodiment, terrified of her own hands finding
her pre-pubescent cunt, terrified by her mouth filling with spit,
terrified of the theatre chairs cupping her like a hot palm, terrified
of her own courage. Her brother's girlfriend is red and sweaty and
her hair is messed up. Her lipstick is all over her face. There
was a moment in the film where she saw her ass, glowing in the dark,
and she thought of apes, and she thought she might pass out or vomit.
When it is over the murderous crowd comes spilling out of the theatre
into daylight. Every one's eyes hurt. She rushes to a woman her
mother thank you god and wraps her little arms around her waist
and buttocks. She begins to cry while her face is buried in the
woman's crotch. She hears, "Hello little girl, are you lost?" She
thinks and thinks and thinks and then looks up to see a woman she
has never seen before in her life. She thinks and thinks and the
only sentence that happens in her brain like some ticker tape is
"are you my mother? are you my mother?" Little bird gone crazy.
In this room the skin bulges of an ankle thick-push between twine
and the wooden leg of a chair making a question: how long.
A small red wooden stool. That of a child. A dead one.
squats, her ass comes down onto it. She is naked. She is drunk.
The stool wobbles underneath her weight, underneath years, underneath
a body thudding and swollen. In front of her a mute television set,
exactly the height of a child. She reaches through the space between
them and turns it on. She pushes another button on a VCR and an
image appears before her there on the screen. It is as if the television
has given her the image.
pisses. Slowly. Just sitting there. The piss running down her leg.
Down the leg of the stool. She is lost in her watching.
does not cry.
little girl in near sepia tones (wasn't her husband there? she cannot
remember. wasn't there a video camera? who captured this image?)
twirling and twirling in circles. Running sideways. Berserk in her
girlhood. Little grass hula skirt. Little topless doll. Little tits.
Little mouth almost gagging from laughing. The girl stops dead in
her tracks, does an almost obscene little wriggling of her hips,
some idea of a hula dance, from movies, from pictures, from god
knows what, then speeds out of the frame like thought killed.
drunk woman stops the image's flow. Rewinds. Does it again.
small red stool.
small red stool.
small red stool.
In the film Death and the Maiden, there is a point during
which Sigourney Weaver has duct-taped Ben Kingsley to a chair in
her living room. The characters are re-enacting a reverse torture
scene. To move the plot of a woman tortured toward its desire: to
torture the torturer. To extract a confession.
chair is a prop.
prop is a stage object that supports the drama.
the audience suspends their disbelief the chair transforms itself
in time and space. If the audience is left unconvinced the chair
is silly and imaginable in anyone's living room.
the film Romeo is Bleeding Lena Olin sits in a chair and
spreads her legs so that her cunt can be seen/scene. Her nationality
keeps slipping; she is what we want her to be in a million ways.
Her severed arm our severed arms. Her mouth opening like a country.
the film Exotica Atom Egoyan has the male lead (primary actor,
financial draw) sit in a chair immobile while a child-stripper dances
excruciatingly close to his body. His hands on his thighs. His mouth
open. His mind seated. Torture.
the film Barbarella Jane Fonda is trapped inside of a science
fiction sexual orgasm chair. This is before her politics come.
the film Breaker Morant two men mutated soldiers lost are
executed--shot through the chest--while seated in chairs.
my kitchen I jack my father off while he sits in a chair, my hand
smally domestic, the back of the chair holding his back, the legs
of the chair forgiving his weight, the wood of the chair blonde,
the hair of the girl blonde, the room magnified to cinematic proportions.