Flames and Storms
Edited by Miriam Zeghlache
A Bionic Tender Cauldron
“Because I whispered,
I lay in bed, against a thigh, against a palm of hand. My heart simultaneously still yet throbbing as I attempt to silence my breath. Despite the warmth of the touch there’s still a distance between us, a threat to our existence, a longing that was not satiated by the proximity of chest to back. As the light cracks through the blinds I’ll get up, sneak out, remove myself further.
An aesthetic desire has been bubbling up through my gut, through my lungs. The body transforms. The style of self presentation transforms. I buy sticky, lip plumping lip gloss, gold hoop earrings, a blonde wig, pink pumps, a black dress with a gauzy lace overlay. I pretend to be a slut online. A practice of othering and selving. You are what you eat.
A mechanical phylum of desire pulses underneath the creation of all new worlds — a perpetual emergence of the corporeal. Desire is repetition, producing and negating itself in every dance between I want-I don’t want.
“Repulsion is the condition of the [desiring] machine’s functioning, but attraction is the functioning itself” (Deleuze, Guattari, 1977).
After months he invites me over but never kisses me.
Because writing exists, I want to be a writer. Because poetry exists I want to be a poet. Because art exists I want to glue glitter on scrap paper. Because the world exists, I want to put it in my mouth.
Some facts about the oyster: oysters can change their gender multiple times during their life, they are shaped by their beds, they can clump together forming oyster reefs that provide shelter for other ocean creatures, raw oysters are still alive when you eat them, they breathe via gills and have no central nervous systems, humans have been eating oysters since prehistoric times, edible oysters do not produce pearls.
A language builds up around the desire for desire. I am plotting on a map. I am crafting a dialogue, a dictionary. When the boundaries of self are absorbed by such longing, we create new ways to self-create. To see myself as though through a camera lens, as though I am the director and the actor and the camera operator. I have a crush, it floats in and out of existence and isn’t dependent upon the object of desire. I write a poem.
Months have gone by in the midst of a crush I can’t rid myself of. At times torturous, so I focus on the lack. But it isn’t lack driving this impulse to satiate my desires through performance, ritual, the writing of a poem. An entire book unfolds in the language of creative torment. We dream of love but we always find new solutions through distance and exchange. I write myself in and out of love everyday.
“Desire is in itself not a desire to love, but a force to love, a virtue that gives and produces, that engineers ” (Deleuze, Guattari, 1977).
To want is an act of pleasure. There is an ability to remake yourself over in over in afterimages, in multiplicities, to remake yourself into and out of liquid machines. I project a fantasy across the clouds, root systems, mycelium. I fold the desire into networks that form/ re-form selves. I am every desire and what I want is left changed by my power of wanting it.
Sublimate your desires only to break it all apart again.
A collection of colorful lingerie has amassed itself in the top draw of my turquoise dresser. I wore it to transform into the object of luxury, to transform myself into a projection of myself in the gaze of another’s eyes. Now i mostly wear it on my own black sheets for a ring light, for the gaze I can carve.
I am. I am not. I want. I want not. I will. (Or will not.)
At dinner, I can eat for hours. Tartar, foie with brandy aspic, slippery, salty oysters, clams in brown butter, little pots of cheeses and cremes, preserved mackerel with preserved lemons, gallons and gallons of Gruener.
Delueze and Guattari postulate that the death of freedom lies in the congealing of desire into a stabilized identity that can be controlled by the state, by the marketing staff, by the object I’m pursuing's vast indifference to my system of varying networks. I flood them out in excess, pooling around the floor. Identity is an illusion — a network of machines pumping desire into consciousness. Desire pushes and pulls, creating new networks, new poems, new cities. Delueze and Guattari claim the only way to free ourselves is to deterritorialize, to de-frame, unwind desire.
Can delusion be a means of freedom?
I walk down the stairs into the long tunnel lit up by red, blue and green fluorescent lights, up the stairs and beyond the curtain that separates the whole rest of the world from the Pixel Forest. Beyond the curtain there are long strings of colorful, floating jellyfish lights, bean bag chairs where an audience floats in and out to watch two large screens loop videos of Worry Will Vanish. I lay down in a bean bag, I watch the lights dance in color, I watch the video turn from skin and teeth to an entire forest, I write a poem.
Sunflower skyscrapers, a miniature city downtown in a garden field. In the light they flitter their own phototropic fate. I wish to participate, to appropriate their language into my language — take pictures as if I could capture some part of their beauty in my image, steal a few petals to press between sheets of thick cardboard and paper, write sunflower, sunflower, sunflower as if I could create my own field.
Desire self replicates, desire creates desire creates desire. A lilac colored typewriter catches my eye in the shop window, pools of typewriter ribbon arrive in the mail. I want glitter, I want magic, I want more money, I don’t want to work, I want to write, I want nail polishes in blue and black and silver, I don’t want my apartment to be messy, I don’t want to clean, I want a garden, gold mirrors, silver teeth. The desire that rots is the desire that feeds.
There were times when I would fantasize about licking the back of his neck. Imagine his calves closing in on me as our bodies entwined. A turbulence of erotic shock that doesn’t lead to an orgasm but to a poem written in the dark.
The narrowing of the eyes communicates in its own erotic language.
“These intense becomings and feelings, these intensive emotions, feed deliriums and hallucinations. But in themselves, these intensive emotions are closest to the matter whose zero degree they invest in itself. They control the unconscious experience of death, insofar as death is what is felt in every feeling, what never ceases and never finishes happening in every becoming” (Deleuze, Guattari, 1977).
To crave, to obsess. What works I create out of these moments of madness, abandoning stabilization for tumult. Nails are painted jungle red, eyelashes reach towards the sky. I collect scraps while exploring the city — business cards with colorful flowers, fliers with bulbous sculptures, a pineapple sticker from an iced matcha purchased when exhaustion and thirst took hold. To thirst. I carve flowers into every piece of furniture. In my fervor I attack art like a maniac. I cannot be soothed. No amount of coolness will seep in and lead me to peace. I fold craving into a meaning only to unfurl it against the wall.
“The experience of death is the most common of occurrences in the unconscious, precisely because it occurs in life and for life, in every passage or becoming, in every intensity as passage or becoming. It is in the very nature of every intent site to invest within itself the zero intensity starting from which it is produced, in one moment, as that which grows or diminishes according to an infinity of degrees.” (Deleuze, Guattari, 1977).
My desire to survive leads me to a job that I can tolerate but on days like today the desire to be dirt overrides this survival instinct. What other fresh machines will peak their heads into my peripheral? Eventually the coldness of the air will outweigh them all.
In another city, I wish to collect any language I can find—particular patterns in the bark of trees, the veins of the leaves, words scrawled on dive bar bathroom walls, informational pamphlets along the road stand. I have become a floriographer, each petal containing its own particular piece of text. I linger against a fence, intoxicated by the perfume of jasmines and gardenias that bloom for two weeks in late April.
Where does the lust go when it is negated? Does it return to the source of desire, desire itself? Is it just dispersed into the ether awaiting the arrival of an anticipated, new other? Am I performing for a future crush?
“Dissolve into the flux you already are” (GoodReads review of Anti-Oedipus).
The hungry cat slides towards me affectionately.