Late Assignment 2

The play within the play
The museum of museology
The candle in the waxworks (thanks Les Coleman!)
The history of history
The idea of an idea
The memory of memory

That thinking feeling. Feeling that thinking feeling. Thinking about feeling that thinking feeling. 
Qualified. Its qualities. Unqualified.

Assignment Two

Explore (modify, cogitate) the following truth (or untruth) by Levinas: “[i]n imagination our gaze then always goes outward, but imagination modifies or neutralizes this gaze: the real world appears in it as it were between parentheses or quotation marks.”

Stumble, Stumbling, Stumbled, Stumped

Inadequately I stumble, I tremble, I mumble to try and create something adequate [to write] to read.

Promptly complicated thusly
overrated—meander seems
appropriate now.
round and round I go with a
word in each pocket and a pen like a rocket
but with a mind that’s moving too slow.

I’m stuck on a dream two days old,
a fairly ordinary scene that’s succinct
and pretty boring.

there must be something more there.
there must be something more to see.
there must be something I’m
missing, now listing each person, each object, each scene
to recreate to make a speech to
loudly applaud what language can teach,
to play hide and seek each syllable hidden, to tremble
with fear that I’ve written all
there is to write. But wait.
Here it is now again and I have arrived
at this line and everyone is here.

Now again
Now again
Now again

But wait let me start from
the beginning [Ah-hem] : Inadequately
I’ve stumbled, I’ve trembled, I’ve mumbled the
story, which goes like this:

Once upon a time there was a poet. She had a pen.

The End

                                    Cheetah Bird Courtesy MailChimp  2013

Mediated Life

© 2012 Sylvia Liu
Life is already viewed in parentheses - by the filters of our neural networks, sensory paths, and egotistical worldviews. Add another set of parentheses when trying to convey that view through words or pictures. Add the pathology of requiring attestation or affirmation through social media (I created this! You like me! Tweet tweet.) (You weren't there unless you have an arms length distorted picture of yourself proving it.) There is no real world - just layers and layers of quotation marks.

strike that, reverse it


“[i]n imagination”

then the real world modifies or neutralizes
this gaze as it were: it always goes outward,
but in imagination our gaze appears
between parentheses or quotation marks.

Assignment One

Write (create, animate, orchestrate) a still life (a nature morte, some kind of inertia).

Awake or Not

Awake or Not

He lay near the bank. Cars or helicopters passed at irregular intervals; otherwise the place was quiet. His flashlight had dimmed to nothing. The lights of the world glimmered across the horizon, but could not slow the waning dusk.

To fit lengthwise inside the child’s mummy bag, he pulled the opening to his chin, and simply held it there, one hand gripping the antlers of a flat elk, the other the space in between the flat elk and a flat hunter. His knuckles became bloodless and white. He ignored the numbness. Discomfort alone had no affect on him. And while no knowing person would doubt the claim, he often failed to recall the intimate encounters with afflictions beyond the purview of discomfort.

The dog had fled so feeding it no longer mattered. The event simplified a modest to-do list. Perhaps simplified was itself too modest a term as the dog’s departure reduced the list to those chores mandatory by the constraints of existence. The determination to avoid these chores paralleled a resistance to change. He believed the embrace of change produced ephemeral flights of fancy that did more to deplete than revive.

While sudden alterations of his to-do list might easily spark a crisis, this time he saw an opportunity to further his goal of remaining perpetually horizontal. Without the dog, no chore required standing up beyond his pissing and small shits. Even these would eventually lose their obligatory status, a result of his deteriorating condition rather than a shift of credo. A speculative claim, but not without an analogous precedent. Recently, he had lost the capacity to stand and spit when laughter became bloody coughing.

The skull-sized rock which at various times had been alongside his head, at his feet, and out of reach just far enough so as to appear inanimate. A deception that no longer fooled him.  Since then the rock had wedged itself beneath his back. The view of a man stuffed into a child's mummy bag, his small head protruding from the top, the peculiar arc of his midsection which only a trained eye could discern arose from the imposition of a rock, not the surplus flesh of an unfortunate man, would indeed raise eyebrows, he thought.

He cringed at the thought of creating a false impression. This thought of another’s thought began circling viciously. The circling of a circle; the distinction between beginning and end; the distinction between distinction. Without distinction between two parts they became neither beginning nor end. Something very difficult to grasp, a shift of convention so extreme that he could not recall the meaning of meaning, or where it began. Meaning was the source of all terror. He heard a voice, and he screamed to himself, I cannot move!

On occasion he did move, but found less and less return for the effort.  At some point he had written a self diagnosis, but the details escaped him. Yet he pressed on for days and eventually progressed as far as the name. According to his earlier diagnosis he suffered from what he’d called darkness induced paralysis. No further details surfaced, nothing of its etiology or his prognosis.

He dreamt without color, a row of disintegrating zeros, a field scorched by last years harvest; too many bridges across the same river; a tiny closed box on a ledge.

The next night, the zeros became real, the field remained scorched, the bridges collapsed, the box opened, with nothing inside.

He awoke or not, either way it was still life.

Siamese Fighters

© 2013 Sylvia Liu
© 2013 Sylvia Liu
Siamese fighters: still, waiting, alone in their plastic cups. Waiting for a fight with their own reflection or a rival.

Siamese fighters: sold in a bowl, stuck in a bowl. Still as can be.

Still life with Siamese fighters.

Still Life With Language

Gli La Gli   © 2013 Kelly Lydick

The light, the leaf, the line, the language, the geometry, the fiction, the books, the moon, the love.

Still Life With Language = Alliterative Linear Movement

Still Life: History Lesson

Nothing moved once my answer was given. Then she said “ok,” packed a bag, and left. I exhaled and had a bite to eat.