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Aggression and Community: [exit notes] [snake puke] [discuss]

By Bhanu Kapil

1.  Discuss.

2.  No.

3.  The sentence is a dark alley.  You know what happens in dark alleys.

4.  Something’s not right.

5.  Discuss.

6. No.

7.  What kind of person gets to the corridor then stops?  On the verge of research, a question, an interview.  Takes notes on the architecture, the crenallate of red roofs stretching over the East End, the cross-hatched window of Kamaldeep Bhui’s door. Then goes home.

8.  The recent honor killing in Turkey.  Discuss.

9.  No.

10.  The university department.  The conflation of the shadow blogs with the comment stream.  Uncles.  Cousins. The sex attackers in childhood, adulthood, and beyond. The killers on the verge of killing.  All my life I have looked into the eyes of serial killers and have developed a sixth sense when it comes to not being murdered.  You fucking cunt.  Your eyebrows are really ugly; did anyone ever tell you that?Discuss.

11. No.

12.  I love you.

13.  Discuss

14. No

15.  Questions of non-violence bring me to the moment when, face to face with a cobra, two cobras, I look them in the eyes.  I don’t know what this does other than reduce my nausea.  Eileen Myles, would you take over my gig?  I will re-send you the money when I get it, though I need it.  I think I need this money, sometimes.  No, it is better if Eileen Myles takes over from here, and maybe someone else. Elena Georgiou.  Someone fierce and gentle, and someone gentle and fierce.  Someone with a partner, because I think you need someone at home if you’re going to do this.  If you’re going to take this up.  I have a dog.  I have a cat.  I have a son.  I have amazing neighbors and friends. I have you.

15.  I have you.

16. “Shame may be fatal.”  Discuss

14.  No.

15.  Towards an aesthetics of non-violence.  Towards Elizabeth Lonzano’s work on ritual and community in Colombia.  Towards an essay composed in the notebook, where it drifts, a composite of scraps.  MEAT BLANKET.  Discuss.

16.  Towards a different kind of sex altogether.

17.  The question of sex is linked to the question of territory.  Discuss.

18.  Yes.

19.  In a war-time, predatory effects are amplified.  Discuss.

20. Yes.

21.  Mira Bai’s bhajans recalibrate the garden at the end of winter.  In class, we read ZONG!  I direct my students to Fred’s posts on reparation and trance.  When Sina writes about the river and Woolf and her mum and the north, a vertical thread unfurls.  Sometimes I listen to Sotere’s audio: at home, I read Craig’s book, delighted by the rain and the jungle and the aunties, in my first scan.  Thom’s thinking about the sentence affects me, deeply, in the space before writing begins.

22.  ”Mom, can we have a snack?  Abby wants a cocoa.  Can we go to The Coffee Tree?”

23. “Not yet.”

24.  ”How will you put the shit back into the mother’s body?” — Cynthia Sailers, on aggression, community and the group mind.

25.  Discuss!!!

26.  ”Mom!  We’re hungry!!!”

27.  ”I’m almost done.”

Comments (18)

  • On February 10, 2010 at 7:30 pm Sina Queyras wrote:

    We are losing species by the minute. Wade Davis talks about how many languages we are losing day by day. Charles Taylor talks about the need to be comfortable with difference. How else are we going to live together on a shrinking planet when we are so intolerant?

    Even the basic idea of translation can turn into such a battering of ideas. And this is poetry?

    It may be lively debate for some, but it isn’t for all. I don’t understand the basic inability to acknowledge this difference. That we don’t all think, communicate or write the same.

    Difference isn’t a flaw.

    Respect doesn’t make someone a cow.

    Thank you, Bhanu.

  • On February 10, 2010 at 7:32 pm alexl wrote:

    Sorry to see you go Bhanu. Be well.

  • On February 10, 2010 at 7:35 pm Sina Queyras wrote:

    Me too. Be well.

  • On February 10, 2010 at 7:49 pm evie wrote:

    Bhanu! I totally understand the need not to invite insanity or the insane-making into one’s life. But I will miss your posts like crazy. : )

    Peace.

  • On February 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm CJ Martin wrote:

    From those of us listening from the sidelines: yours have been some of the most interesting posts to appear on this blog in some time, often a vital supplement to your wonderful work. The current group one of the most generative to have appeared all at once on this blog–& one of the most generous in the comment streams. Exit understandable, but lamentable… w/admiration

  • On February 10, 2010 at 8:25 pm Anji wrote:

    As ever, I am excited and challenged by your writing. Some of these alleys are on my map too.

    Love,

  • On February 10, 2010 at 8:57 pm james stotts wrote:

    some farewell notes on shit on the body, for comrade bhanu–

    from rukeyser’s sonnets for the unborn child:

    ‘there is no father’ they came and said to me.
    –i have known fatherless children, the searching, walk
    the world, look at all faces for their father’s life.
    their choice is death or the world. and they do choose.
    earn their brave set of bone, the seeking marvelous look
    of those who use and lose and know their lives…

    …child who within me gives me dreams and sleep,
    your sleep, your dreams; you hold me in my flesh
    including me where nothing has included
    until i said: i will include, i will wish
    and in my belly be a birth, will keep
    all delicacy, all delight unclouded…
    .
    .
    .
    from agamben on parody and shit:

    the institution of parody as the form of mystery perhaps defines the most extreme of the parodic countertexts of the middle ages, in which the aura of mystery at the center of chivalric intention is converted into the most unrestrained scatology. i am referring to AUDIGIER, a poem in old french composed sometimes around the end of the twelfth cen. and preserved in a single manuscript. the genearlogy and entire existence of its antihero and protagonist are inscribed within a constellation that is resolutely cloacal. his father, turgibus, is lord of cocuce, ‘a soft country/where the people are in shit up to their elbows./i got there by swimming through a stream of crap,/and i couldn’t get out again through any other hole.’ concerning this noble gentleman, of whom audigier shows himself to be a worthy heir, we know that ‘when he shit all over his clothes,/he stuck his fingers in the crap, and sucked on them.’ but the true parodic nucleus of the poem is found in the imitation of the ceremony of knightly investiture, which unfolds in a dung pit, and, above all, in the repeated struggles with the enigmatic old grinberge. these struggles unfailingly end in a sort of mock scatological sacrament, which audigier undergoes like ‘a true gentleman’:

    grinberge uncovered her ass and cunt
    and squatted down over his face.
    shit fell from her ass in great profusion [grant foison].
    while audigier lay down on a dung heap,
    grinberge sat on him and rubbed his ankles.
    twice she had him kiss her ass until it was wiped clean.

    this is less a return to the womb or an initiate’s trial than an audacious inversion of the stakes in the chivalric quest…it is even possible that the unknown author of the poem is confusing and rendering indiscernible the threshold that separates the sacred and profane, love and sexuality, the sublime and the base…
    .
    .
    .
    still, we must give a name to all that has been undone
    tie a string to the weightless joy that we have sent into the sun
    .
    .
    .
    you don’t wanna have a baby
    once it gets out it ain’t ever coming back

    put your milk back in the udder, babe
    i drink my coffee black

  • On February 10, 2010 at 10:24 pm Peter Greene wrote:

    Shame. I read once, in an old Cordwainer Smith bit, that the only reason people go like Ted Bundy is a very old sex-need for the smell of blood, for nipping. It’s something to do with wrinkling one’s nose. And with holding the door open to demons. Being killed is not an honor. Those who do this should live outside the villages, alone with their wealth and needs. Anyone can be trained to this, like a hungry hungry dog in a closet that still loves and loves, but conflates the smell of love with the drawing back of the lips. Anyone. It is a lovely dance, to avoid violence, it stretches one out and strengthens one, for there is violence in everything. Old animals, we are old animals, and we show our teeth to each other in this dark, old hands, we are old hands and we touch each other in this space of time. We wear old animals, we smell old animals and hide them in thick robes and powdered wigs that we may gather and conspire, and perspire, and lie, without smelling each other out and the tearing of throats.

    Which brings me to the snake puke. Bhanu, you freak me out on a regular basis, and I landed back here today after spending a very strange and unhappy day following my mind’s weather tether spiderwise through the web, which led me to some places strange and awful, and out to the interesting paintings of an MPD trauma victim named Kim Noble. Snake puke, wands, caducei and healing.

    Meat blanket. (deep breath before going down here) Not only war can make the strain that makes a predator. Meat blanket….nonviolence….different sex…

    MEAT BLANKET: sometimes the way out is through a sock, eh? Sometimes one’s sexual territory was taken, long, long ago. What do you do if you lose sovereignty, and discover the fact too late, after war has been declared? Do you carry on in the role of governance, while another pulls the strings that make your blanket dance?

    I’ll read Lonzano, what I can dig up. I have a feeling it may be important for me. I can feel a woman’s presence in your questions but can only respond with an autosexual’s snake puke.

    I find the truth in what you say from 17 on to be unbearably cleaner than the self-regard of most of my own mirrors.

    I’m almost done.

  • On February 10, 2010 at 10:30 pm Peter Greene wrote:

    @Bhanu: Butterflies: there are, children: there are, lepidopterous old snakes, there are, there are. Bye, Bhanu – been neat to know you.

    PG

  • On February 10, 2010 at 10:48 pm John Oliver Simon wrote:

    I’ll miss your wild sentences, Bhanu.

  • On February 11, 2010 at 1:36 am john wrote:

    The question of sex & territory — yes. Reproduction, survival of one’s genes, territory, resources.

    We’re animals all right.

    And it’s painful!

    Internet rage = road rage. Seeing the world through a glass. (Windshield, computer screen.) Feeling invisible/invulnerable on the other side of the screen. The people on the TV aren’t real. Driving is a movie. Who are those jerks to cut me off when I’ve got my music playing, soundtrack to my motion-picture landscape screening?

    I was 22. My girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend was coming to visit and she said she was going to sleep with him. An old friend invited me to go to Texas, to visit the ranch his mother had grown up on, then go to Houston to see his brother, who had just eloped and come back to town; I accepted the offer. Friends of my friend’s brother’s (and new sister-in-law’s) were throwing them a party out in a small house in the country east of Houston, toward Louisiana. We went. Someone hired someone’s housekeeper’s nephew to wash dishes at the party. A young guy, 19 or 20, nice guy — we rode back together in the back of my friend’s brother’s pickup, lying on our backs, looking at the stars. He said he’d never seen such stars in his life. I wonder whether he’d ever been outside of Houston in his life. We fell asleep and woke up in a traffic jam on the clogged late night Houston highway. And I realized what those windshields are for. To keep the world out.

    It is good to have someone at home.

    Thanks for your writing.

  • On February 11, 2010 at 10:34 am Peter Greene wrote:

    @John: Had a flip through Utopian Turtle Top. Good stuff + thx. It is sad to see Bhanu give up the blogging. She’s good, and it’s nice to have access to the process and thought of someone that good at their job. There are lots of other competent writers and minds here, but most of them are entirely too dry and hard without the spice and leavening of Bhanu’s wild leaping prose. @Bhanu: I’m sad if your post reflects a bad experience blogging here. Hope, you take it with you.

    ps what are the shadow blogs? they sound…scary

    PG

  • On February 11, 2010 at 2:37 pm roz wrote:

    Oh this is very sad. I will miss your posts terribly. Please take good care.

  • On February 11, 2010 at 4:47 pm Henry Gould wrote:

    “It may be lively debate for some, but it isn’t for all. I don’t understand the basic inability to acknowledge this difference. That we don’t all think, communicate or write the same.

    Difference isn’t a flaw.”

    Sina, I respectfully suggest that you try some of your own medicine. Respect the different tones & levels of commentary. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with them; but neither do you have to be upset by them. Allowing serious disagreements & arguments about what are really public matters (the philosophy & practice of translation, for example) is necessary for free expression & democratic process & diversity. Rather than pointing fingers, why not accept that there may be such actual differences of opinion?

    By criticizing Thom Donovan’s or others’ stated opinions about translation, I am NOT discounting that there can be widely differing views & practices of same. In fact I would suggest that airing such criticism as mine allows such differences to emerge more clearly. It’s a dialectical, dialogical process.

    & by the way, my “cows” remark to Rich Villar was meant as a joke, as playful satire. I am sorry you take it SO seriously. & it was meant as a (playful, satirical) response to what was quite a negative comment of Rich’s about other participants in these conversations.

  • On February 12, 2010 at 1:53 pm Rachel wrote:

    I have been called a fucking cunt a few times in my life. One time is particularly memorable. Although I have been referred to as a “stupid twat” and compared unfavorably to a “Thai whore,” I have never been called a fucking cunt online. On the off chance I might be someday, a few years back I thought about how I would respond. I decided I’d go with: “That’s Ms. Fucking Cunt to you.”

    Bhanu, don’t let the online bastards and bitches or an occasionally bitchy but lower than a Thai wench like myself get you down. If you can, I hope you stick around.

  • On February 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm Richard Villar wrote:

    *Listening to: Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” (Theme From Rocky)*

    Bhanu: A very good friend of mine recommended your work. I shall find it and read it closely. (Something good had to come from this thing, yes?)

  • On February 17, 2010 at 7:59 am jarvis fosdick wrote:

    Dear Shadow Bloggers, you may not read this as for you the internet is now, and four days old you can’t read. I went to your blog one day (scairklal.djla — oh! you aren’t in a position to have a name.) Anyway, insult is your logic; have we communicated? If anything in the aboveforementioned is true, either implied or openly expressed, then, yes, what I gained from the brief reading of your blogger seems to stand. You can not write and from your comments: you can’t read. Of course, writing insults is for amateurs. The rest of us will go on to engage the genius of B.K. and other things of value… But if there is a problem // we can step outside.

    Jarvis Fosdick, Gentlemen

  • On February 17, 2010 at 10:13 am Peter Greene wrote:

    Good on you Jarvis. Be cautious of people who hate. Instructed not to, I disobediently attempted to follow the address you left, curious furious and all the other things a person gets to be. Of course, they have left. I adore your doubleslash gloves on the ground, lying where you left ‘em after spoiling them by slapping something so filthy in the face.

    You please me with your chivalrous courage, sir.

    P


Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 by Bhanu Kapil.