Book ends


“…feeling of humiliation is simply the feeling of being an object. Once this is grasped, it can become the basis of an aggressive lucidity thanks to which the critique of the organization of life can no longer be detached from the immediate inception of the project of living otherwise.” –The Revolution of Everyday Life, Raoul Vaneigem

Each time I find myself falling into the kind of doubt brought about by being too much in my own head, luckily, last-minute spontaneity (is there any other kind than last minute, though?) propels me back into a world full of people and noise. With absolutely no plan I dashed away for all of 24 hours, door-to-door, even though I had only just come home, had only just done the long drive from the airport, had only just settled in to enjoy half of the Midsommar weekend before returning to work from a too-short vacation. Unsettled by a strange melancholy, though, when a sudden opportunity arose, I jumped at it, and off I flew off to a former stomping ground for an event that served as a kind of an end of endings.

But my god how tired I am now. Do I feel more settled? No. Perhaps, though, more determined. I can’t easily explain this. What kind of determination?

Between reading just about everything Naomi Klein ever wrote (these books make me so angry), I found my “quick-read break” in Roxane Gay’s Hunger. Not that it was a breezy book, but it was further evidence (all thoughtful memoirs seem to provide this) that humans are cruel; humans are resilient; human individuals are beset and defined by tremendous fear and doubt; human individuals do not love themselves much but may come to love themselves, piece by piece, against all odds, only through some miraculous maneuvering, experience and remarkable perseverance.

And it seems, at least in a world where we have too much time to luxuriate in the suffering of our own misery and self-reflection, these experiences and doubts are fundamentally universal. How many of us have gone into some kind of self-imposed exile, real or within our own bodies or minds? How many of us have self-medicated pain away in a thousand different ways? How many of us have indeed desperately wanted to curry favor with some other person, or god forbid, make them love us, losing or never knowing ourselves or our desires, by submitting to whatever they want – or even what we think they want?

I don’t know that this strange combination of need-to-hide but need-to-please ever completely leaves; it shifts and is not the primary driver of one’s behavior. It does not get one into as much trouble. Less patience and tolerance for the whims, fantasies and projections of others, yes. Pushing back and asserting boundaries, yes. Finding healthier management mechanisms, maybe. But complete immunity? I don’t think it exists. Is this process, though, what I mean by ‘determination’?

Photo by Matt Alaniz on Unsplash

between dog and wolf


I have read this poem a million times in the original and translation without ever giving much thought to the expression “entre chien et loup”. It suddenly hit me this time; ever the wonder of translation. (Incidentally also led me to read Sasha Sokolov’s book of the same title.)

Christiane Baroche
savagery of love just lent

divert it and at once no longer love
so much.

Tumble from loss to loss
moments occupied in being occupied elsewhere
Great chasms where love remains
at the edge
guard-rail of impatience

Wait ah
open up to minutes weighed down
to longings gone gluey
to blunted desire
like an old frayed sail thinning
with time…

I hurt in this man I’ve ceased
waiting for
he’s dying
in the murky light
backing slowly away
unfaithful memory abrasion of his features.

And you, you don’t yet know
that drab mounting-up of defeats
when no one waits for you any


sauvagerie de l’amour juste prêté

la divertir et déjà ne plus aimer

Tomber de perte en perte
de moments occupés ailleurs
Grands vides où l’amour reste
au bord
Garde-fou de l’impatience

Attendre ah
s’ouvrir aux minutes alourdies
aux envies qui s’empoissent
au désir émoussé
comme un vieux gréément s’ébarbe
au temps qui passe…

J’ai mal à cet homme qui j’ai cessé
il meurt
entre chien et loup
il recule à pas lents
mémoire infidèle abrasion de ses traits.

Et toi tu ne sais pas encore
la morne addition des défaites
quand on ne vous attend

Dreamed death on the Jumbotron


I try and try to make the shot, and even when the ball goes in, no points are scored. My goal was never to die on the Jumbotron – no one would ever think to plan for that. But now I have done that too – died for the whole arena to see.

Look at the bright side,” my evil inner voice said. “Now that you are dead, all the children you lost can follow you in your misery. You have your ‘family’ – the one you wanted, just not where or how you wanted it.”

Photo by pepe nero on Unsplash