Shoveling silence over buried forms, brush the night with dark lashes. Wait. The memory of suffering suffers the memory of love. And yet, it will make you drunk on the idea of losing what was never yours.
Make yourself a deer. Run a bright flash of sinew over wet grass, until you get to the shore of the day where you witness a rising wave and the sound of a whispered I am. Find that you still hold a glowing flame, tiny and quivering, at the back of a breath.
Notes while reading an excerpt from “Deluge” as it appears in The Hélène Cixous Reader.
What speaks from silence.
After birth, I looked for a place to dance, but his web was everywhere. It was made of metaphors designed to capture life and lives, including mine. I learned to be still, as the living will do, noticing how everything that had happened went on, an eternal past.
Here comes another of the old men of fallen monuments, still craving to be mourned, to find the host of a living body to feed the death drive, taking everything in reach until the buffer between here and madness is gone.
He speaks of himself with pity, as though speaking of a god-like friend that had bid him a final farewell. Nearby lives were rafts, the impulse to grab, the refrain always mine.
Now I want only to un-forget myself, to make her un-forgotten, unsilenced, unearthed, to sing a voice I have stitched myself from smooth sheets of shining dark. To save the orange that this hand once knew and heard, the globe of its peace. How my palms once kissed its skin to feel the volume of its liquid pulse into lifelines.
Adapted from Hélène Cixous’s Angst, as well as Vivre I’orange/To Live the Orange.
We left home, entered the moving current. A voice of flesh consumed us, and we were danced in her swells. Who is to be born now, we wondered, with all of this touched at once, her proud body immersing us in the music of first lessons and the rush of her in our ears like, This, this, this! She hushed the time for signs to show us. Unless this, no genesis, no catastrophe, no words.
Inspired by Hélène Cixous’s 1975 fiction “Souffles” (“Breaths”), which is the first of a series of texts in which she explores loss and rebirth in relation to the mother.
To enter the regions where music is the official language, check all baggage. To what destination? It doesn’t matter. It isn’t yours. The bags will not be coming.
To be invited, sleep. When you discover that your hands are deep in the mane of the creature that carries you, do not attack with sharp probes of interpretation. Do not attempt to extract some abstract essence from its living flesh.
Where is the ladder? You will not find it looking up. It only descends.
Notes while reading Hélène Cixous: “The School of Dreams” in Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing.
The ladder, she tells us, is neither immobile nor empty. Its climbers are secret; they have different voices. A common thread is this mysterious affinity. It has to do with their music and to find it they had to ascend downward, into the earth or the sea. Neither is easy. What matters is to learn from the dead.
Writing, she explains, is learning to die. If you listen, the dead man will give you the end of the world, and you can’t write anything until you start with losing a world.
The above are notes while re-reading the opening section of Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing (“The School of the Dead”), a beloved classic by Hélène Cixous.