The Greeks were right, X tells me, the gods are flawed. They laze around and bicker. The heavens aren’t serene, far from it, he says, they roar with laughter, earnest speech, drunken shouts, arguments about what to name us and what we’ve named them and how to interpret the events they’ve caused. Confusion reigns up there, he says, it’s a dysfunctional parliament of deities, and that’s the source of all our confusion, all our noise. If we’re weak imitations of the gods, imagine what it must be like up there, he says. If we’re the trailing off of their shouts, the ripples of their noise, at least we can rest sometimes in our limitation and our stupidity, at least we have the makings of silence, he says. And maybe that’s what they dream of, the gods, maybe that’s why they made us in their image, only infinitely weaker: to embody their wish for silence, like dying ripples, like shouts in the wind: to sacrifice us to silence. But they’re too noisy, X says, and they know that whatever they bring into being will be moved by their noise. Yet their hope is that as time moves into eternity, as we move into timelessness, their own noise will die out with us. That’s both their hope and our great mission, he says, that we can become silent even if they themselves can’t, that silence can exist in the world even if it’s only a silence of weakness, a silence that hears what can’t be silenced.
Talking to you is like moving through a forest, X tells me, like the one that grew next to our house, the one I grew up in and played in. Except I knew then I’d be able to get back home no matter where I went, but now I don’t, now I come out where I thought was home and realise I’m in a bigger forest. A forest of kitsch. And where are you, he asks me, who do you think you are to lead me astray?
Posted in Kitsch, Writing, X
The punks were right, X tells me, there’s no future. They were right to scribble their slogan on city walls. Then what are we living in now, he says? What are they living in? A present beyond their present, I guess, he says. A present beyond their futureless present, a present that is itself futureless. What does that mean? he asks me. A pastless, presentless and futureless present? But that’s a wordy slogan, he says, not to mention pretentious, you’d be collared before you finished scribbling that on a wall, he says.
It’s this feeling of tedium, X tells me, that’s what he circles around, isn’t it? That’s what he returns to over and over despite himself. Or rather, it’s what returns to him, to us. Surrounds us. Just sits there waiting for us, for nothing. There’s an interlude sometimes, he says, when he’s drunk, or just getting drunk and words come to him, sounds that sink in and break it up. But usually he’s just getting to the right stage and wanting more, even if he’s had more than is good for him: chasing himself out of tedium. There are images for it, he supposes, pointless and inaccurate images. Sunday suburb. A cat’s stupor. Grey sky. Stagnant ditch. The spell of emptiness. Emotionless emotion, restless rest. Limbo. The emptiness between movements and sounds, between his words, always lying in wait for nothing, lazily, always just there and never really there, since if it were it wouldn’t be empty, wouldn’t be tedious. You must feel it too, he tells me, come clean for once. Or are you responsible for it? Whatever, it still sits there, like a toad, like a bloated toad in a stagnant pond.
It’s just a game, isn’t it? X asks me. He’s just playing with me, isn’t he, like a child with his toy, like Freud’s grandson with his wooden reel. No, of course he’s not, what’s he saying, I’m not his reel, I’m the reel who’s playing with him, he says, or rather, I’m the child and he’s the reel, he says. Hang on, he says, none of that’s right, let’s get it straight. He’s the child with the reel and I’m something else, something quite different. So what am I, he says, and what’s he doing with a reel in the first place?
X tells me he’s finally found the truth about himself. He’s needy, he says, that’s the basic truth, isn’t it? He needs the sound of my voice, he says, he needs me to tell him something kitschy and comforting. He’s like that teenager who got lost in the Australian bush and was kept alive by his longing to hear his mother’s voice, he says. He wants to curl up in a foetal ball and listen to me whisper words of comfort in his ear. That’s the perfect image of what he wants, a foetal ball, rocking back and forth, being lulled to sleep by words of comfort, isn’t that what you think? he asks me.
Posted in Kitsch, Writing, X
I’m right, X tells me, how could he have said all that to me, what drove him to say all those pompous, absurd things? Where does this need for puffed-up declarations and personal kitsch come from, and how can he excuse it? he asks. He can’t, he says, and that just adds to his problems. I’m right to wonder if he thinks the world revolves around him, he says, if he thinks he’s the hero of his own kitschy drama, because he clearly does, doesn’t he? he asks. Like some delusional case in a room somewhere, rocking in his chair and scribbling all the reasons why the world is against him and vice versa, and why it’ll all end in tears. No, he says, he needs to sober up, beware of himself and try to understand his circumstances instead of making them worse. Maybe wearing a suit would help, he says, or getting laid. Maybe he should keep a notebook, he says, a healthy, normal notebook, countering all his negative thoughts with positive ones, isn’t that how it’s done now? What’s certain is he’s out of line, he says, out of touch with reality. He needs to clean himself up with limpid, objective thoughts, he says, see himself from the eyes of the world, society, God, Sigmund Freud, Margaret Thatcher, anyone. But first he has to get rid of me. He doesn’t want to be that guy down the street, he says, the guy with the stained jacket. But it’s like a mess of rats is running around his brain and mating, he says, that’s why he talks to me like this, he’s doing it now, can’t I hear, why can’t I help him instead of making it worse with my silence? But of course I’m right, he says, he has to help himself because no one else can, so in a way my silence is a blessing.
Posted in Kitsch, Writing, X
He should rise up, X tells me, rise up against the oppressors, above all against me. He should rise up against the disparaging voices. Basically, he just needs to be man, he says, grow a pair and stop rolling over for the oppressors like a bitch. But first he needs to stop rolling over for me, he says, like a submissive dog. Why won’t I let him rise up, he says, why won’t I let him help topple the system like a man?