A Requiem for My Wanton Words

The Purpose of this Delenda: A Limbo Between Digression and Deletion

During my last college semester I studied under a brilliant professor; he taught me to quiet my inner censor and to just write as I wish--despite my post-traumatic-professor-disorder which paralyzes me with self-doubt, these the war-wounds worn by so many students after years of terrible teachers, each either entirely apathetic or deeply entrenched within the utterly rote—their lectures just jaded regurgitations in Power Point, those slides cycling while the students fitfully sleep in-seat.I began writing a memoir for his class and I have yet to finish it; my writing has not been as clear and precise as it was while under my professor’s mentorship and I have more than doubled my original page length, though very little has actually been said therein. I am increasingly lent to my own obsessive compulsive writing tendencies. My prose has of-late been lost in loops and tangles of meaningless tangents—self-indulgent insertions of the beautiful words I love to taste in text.This blog is a collection of passages deleted from my memoir—an attempt to preserve wasted words, which are intrinsically sacred in spite of me. May they have their heaven here; may this final resting place, this Delenda, be better than nothing at all—better than true deletion.

If this unjust medium--this blog--be not the cure for my wild-fire writing, then surely The New School will be.

I was recently accepted to The New School in New York City for their MFA Creative Nonfiction Writing program for Fall 2010. Being accepted into such an esteemed university, being awarded such a coveted spot in their writing MFA program -- it's like winning the academic lottery. I have never been happier than I am in my dreams of a true academic setting. I know this will be the solace I have sought since being under the mentorship of my undergraduate writing professor.

This is me...

This is me...

This is me as well...

This is me as well...
In Death Valley, the Sand Dunes and Solitude Suited me Well.

February 22, 2012

Ask Not For a Love Like That

  • This is a random musing, again. Another free-writing I did a few weeks back. It's done totally subconsciously, without regard for spelling, grammar, or even making sense. It's how I get all the pretty nonsense out of my system so I can write something somewhat coherent. I don't know where this subject matter came from, but -- like our nighttime dreams -- sometimes it's just random and seemingly unprovoked by any experience in real life. I'm sure a psychology buff would have a field day with it. I cleaned up the spelling and punctuation as much as possible, but left the rest exactly as I first wrote it. So if I skip around from thought to thought, or leave sentences hanging, or get lost in tangents and clumsy metaphors -- well, that's just the way my mind was working.

Ask Not For a Love Like That

When one fosters their love in earnest, it can strangely seem to inflict the greatest damage, cause the greatest distress, leave the heart with the greatest gaps, cavities and depressions where a space filled-to-brim was divided, restructured, re-organized, to accommodate the presence of someone new, and that room that the heart had made for love to move into, that space that was cleared out and made available for someone else, is – in the absence of that love, or that lover – oddly unable to be filled up again, the heart thus riddled with gaps and cavities from the space left in place of the previous occupant, like an apartment shared by two tenants, and the emptiness that’s left in ghost-squares on the walls where posters and framed pictures were taken down, the depressions in the carpet lingering where furniture once laid, and the sparse patches left on bookshelves where voids in the ashen dust evidence something once umbrellaed that space and caught the dust before it could fall.

A new vacancy: It’s obvious in the oblivion; the drawer in the bureau you once-upon-a-time had to clear of your own things to make room for someone else’s, and once that someone is gone, you cannot for the sake of sanction and sanity find anything to put in it again. This is a similar but opposite phenomenon to that strange and particular certainty – that phenomena of packing and repacking things for travel: when you pack a suitcase for your travels, it closes well when you depart, but upon repacking those same things in that same bag when you are preparing to return home, those things that once fit perfectly in your suitcase never seem to fit inside the second time around, and no matter how meticulously you fold your garments or how perfectly you replicate your original packing, the poor parcel inevitably ends up looking swollen and engorged, splitting at the seams, the zipper threatening to split down the middle like an incised Easter ham.

A new vacancy: It’s evident in the absence; the recent deficiency of that which you hadn’t the space to properly accommodate to begin with, and in the end, you’re left with room begrudgingly to spare; the closet you had to clear to make room for someone else’s garments, and when they go gentle into someone else’s good night, the lack of them haunts the closets, the tangible gaps in the walk-in space looming almost tangibly, phantom attire, the memory of sweaters and the gamut of button-down shirts leavings wakes and depressions in space, and the phantom attire – the presence of that absence – weighs heavily upon the clothes-hangers left behind on skeletal rods. Empty clothes hangers can sing a tacit chorus of as the world’s loss, their existence giving definition to emptiness rather than decreasing it, as though their occurrence in the closet actually creates some vacuum into which all matter is inwardly pulled and the world upon its precipice is the event horizon where somethingness evacuates infinitely into some Heideggerian devoid, some Nothingness and Nothing besides.

A closet has been emptied of someone else’s clothes; and it becomes increasingly devoid. Clothes hangers that are left behind in the abysmal vacuum hollowed out of the bedroom wall – and though they take up closet space they seem to exaggerate emptiness as an resounding echo exaggerates the depth and distance between canyons – yes, clothes-hangers left in a closet can echo emptiness – those triangular plastic things like bones on slivered hooks, now naked and swaying haplessly, and there is a despair to the darkness they occupy, shuttering and quivering though the air is still. What profound devoid there is, in the space made for new occupancy, once that occupant has gathered his clothing and departed.

It is truly disquieting: the haunting way even the things that are long since gone continue to consume the space in the monstrosities hulk of their absence – empty space once filled being a thing more suffocating, stifling, crowding and cluttered than was the space when occupied by the items and articles now gone; the missing things, the deficiencies, the emptiness, the half-hearted way of things, both as they are, and more so, as they once were, being a presence in its own right, and the nothingness left in the wake of someone else’s somethings being of a far greater mass and bulk than the things themselves could have ever been. Mass removed is an absence of that mass. The absence of that mass is of a greater mass than was the mass that had been taken away. The vacancy, the sudden absence, of any once-present thing is a far greater presence – a far greater thing – than the physical, tangible presence of those things had ever been, and far greater thing even still than all the things that had been present in the space before it. Emptiness, sudden space, deviod….this loss is the hardest thing to make room for, in the end.

An apartment that seemed fully furnished until space had to be found – room had to be made – for a move-in lover, a new flatmate or a long-staying visitor, and while that task of making room in a seemingly full space is laborious and daunting no-doubt, it will be paradoxically apparent that the apartment had never been fully-furnished or completely-decorated before that begrudged accommodation was made, begging the constant, unanswerable question:

‘If truly these rooms, cabinets, closets and drawers were occupied with my personal belongings, and all of these closets, cabinets, dressers and drawers were brim-filled and fully-utilized before the arrival of someone new, the arrival therewith of all their things, and if they were truly so full and so complete and set just-so before the need for making space and room for more items had to be made, then why is it so impossible to put the pieces back together as they were, why can I no longer see these closets and cabinets and rooms and drawers as anything less than half-empty, half-vacated, half-furnished, half half-full? How did it ever seem as anything other than half before?’

 It will always seem half-gone, half-broken, half-removed, and the only thing these ghost remains lend one to remember isn’t how things were when only one person’s things were accommodated, nor how they later had to be adjusted to accommodated and house the belongings of two; they remind us not of how things were or even how they are, but merely they remind of things as they are no longer, and as they shall never quite-right be again. In that new presence-of-absence, there is a great bulk of devoid that cannot be filled, a great clutter of nothingness that cannot be removed. A weightless heaviness that is as unobtrusive as a wall of dew-spun morning fog, and at the same time, suffocating us as though we in submerged in stone, a crushing heft upon the heart, like the long-fabled night-mare, that demon steed who comes to sit upon our chests, preying upon the vulnerable hours we spend locked in a senseless slumber.

How can the lack of something be so much more than the something-lost ever was? The emptiness of something you once begrudgingly made room for, finding places to store the possessions of someone else, finding places for things in a space already thought to be filled, and once those new things are accommodated they become inextricable from their dwelling-space, a permanent fixture in the home – permanent in their presence, and ever-more-so in the looming weight of their absence. The space left in the shadow of their absence is obtrusive; the missing objects and articles of clothing, the ugly furniture you never wanted, the drawers you needed for yourself, the toothbrush holder no longer cradling a pair, the shelves showing outlines of books and coin-jars and plant stands that were never yours, and it all amounts to an emptiness that doubles after the accommodation for these objects is no longer required.

Paradoxically, the lack – the aching absence – of love having-left, come-and-gone, moved away, that lack of it – the gap, the cavity, the empty space it leaves behind where the stuff of loving had once been – that absence, all its items absent, rescinded, annulled – all that nothingness takes up so much more room than the somethingness once had; the memory of the stuff of love coupled with its absence, its vacancy, its void, is a lot of negative space, which somehow takes up so much more space, takes up infinitely more room in the heart-space left behind, than all the stuff of loving ever did.

An apartment more full and crowded and cluttered after half of everything in it is removed: Because the space that remains is a wicked, cumbersome thing, heavy and suffocating in its ever-awful echo, always ringing of what was, so that a cavity is a cavity…never again just space, never again to be thought of as ‘extra room to move’. It is forever more empty than empty. It is empty from absence. Empty from something once present. Once present and removed. The greatest kind of emptiness in all the infinite space there is.

And that’s what the best of love does to you. That’s what the truest of tryst will leave you with. All things ending, that’s what the purest love portends, come thus the inevitable end. And thus come, always shall, this eventual end.

So, wish not for love, save for the weakest and worst of love.

Wish not for true love, you world of wretched fools. Wish only for the most depraved adoration's, you world of wretched fools. Wish for the love of harlots and charlatans and thieves, of invalids and evangelist….you world of wretched fools…do your soul a service and wish only the lesser love marriages arranged and relationships estranged…wish not for a love any greater than the most menial you can manage, you world of wretch fools, wish only for the almost-love of two lives living in individual parallel, afford yourself only the most meager rations of affection, for in love you accommodate the presence of things which, come their inevitable absence, leaves behind a phantom copse, a heart deforested, the cavities in canopy crowded by the clearings from a most copious fell, and rather you see the trees or through them, the forest, you still find your gaze falling upon some recession of soul, some encroaching of void, some limbo of the two, something made of too much nothing, a castoff of was-once, a sea flotsam-strewn with memory, space so full of empty-space, like a shell in the after-years of an oyster removed, a shell that forgets it ever harbored a something, a shell that knows only the residual emptiness from the missing something it has forgotten, and this is how we know a shell to be. A shell remains; a shell of me. A restituteless shell, a space that is no longer a space at all, and is now known by what it has lost – defined by it, filled with it, essential and necessary to it, in some profound phenomenological way, and this place left as but a shell is some craven child of loss, some bastard perversity of life left-behind, and thus can justly, only, and most aptly be described as some near a-thing to hell. So wish only for the least of love. The love of circumstance…of poverty and hardship, of unattractive or undesired souls settling for they equal, of small towns and antiquated sects, of countries old-world or third-world, of the marital arrangements begotten of social constraint, of pragmatic merger…for the loss of these lesser loves is a loss less inevitable, and in any case, it is a lesser-love to being with, thereby its loss is a loss less vicious. Thus, let your love be as adulterate and surface as that between the royal, or the deeply religious.

Wish for these lesser loves. Wish for love tempered with depravity, covettry, lust and lewdity, apathy, avarice, sycophants and fickle-fancy. Ask for these adulterated likenesses of love or ask for none at all. Because the best of love will ruin the heart and leave little left of the soul. The star-crossed kind of love, the truest and purest of love, will ruin the heart once happy with all the extra room left behind when it fades, fails or is taken away. A single-occupant space we all have in the dawn of heart, is space we first see as but room for one to stretch their legs, all the emptiness not yet known to be emptiness, but merely some extra room to move around. Never having is never knowing that something hasn’t been had, but having and losing is never knowing how we ever thought we ever once had…how we could have could have ever thought there was a fullness to the empty spaces to start with, those spaces now full of the emptiness never-before obvious, never knowing again what it was like to feel complete in a space so devoid, but remembering the vague, vacant notion that it was, indeed, a thought we’d once had.

Above all things ask not for that.

You, oh world of depravity, deplorable and immoral fiends, lovers and brothers and villains and thieves, of vengeance and vigilantes, of loss and absence and the profoundly empty. The space left in the wake of love is a burdenous thing, like a shadow heavier than that from which it is cast, following at our coattails always, and without the reprieve noon-time lapse, and if there is not a love that lasts, ask not for the best of love, which in its recesses leaves the best of gaps.

Ask not for the best of love because – with both the best of love and the less – love is like the lunar-tethered tide, eventually doomed to recess…and if this be true of both the lesser likes of love and, of that, also the best, then hope only for the less. The greatness of love is equal to the greatness of its recess. So ask not for a love that is life-changing, world-stopping, heart-racing, soul-completing, ask not for love at its apex, ask not for its best, for that is a love, ourselves from which, we must strive to protect. The perfect love is the love we must reject. Because love lost – love’s aftermath – is not more favorable than some love never had. It is as ludicrous to make this claim as it would be to say it is better to have fallen to your death after a free-base jump from a bridge than to have never made the reckless and ridiculous decision to jump, to begin with.

Because the lack of love at its best is a presence we haven’t room for, a force without arrest; it is an obtrusion one can never remove, diminish or retract. So ask not for a love like that. It is an agony of memory, a cavity, a gap. And the lack of it becomes more consuming than stuff of it ever had. Do not be a fool, wishing for the best of love, for even the best of love cannot last. And in the wake it shall leave only the best of gaps.

Ask not for love that leaves more behind than ever it brought. Ask not for a love that gives in finite, but infinitesimally retracts.

Be not the mortal of fool of mid-summers. Ask not for anymore than you can space in double to give back. Ask not for the best of love. Oh, lest your soul be left in shells, as not for more than you can someday survive in-lack. So ask not for true love. mortal can recover for the loss of love unbridled…I beseech you, take this on fact.

Ask not for true love, the best of love, the most of love, because you will not survive its lack.

Thus, you must refuse it always, and never wish it upon your fellow, even your worst of enemies. Wish not for oneself or others a love from which you cannot recover. Wish not for the best of love, it shall not last. Only its absence will follow you, and it will be an albatross to follow you always, an apparition upon the heart, a heft, a weight, a whittled space, ever grim and ghast. 

So ask not for true love…Alas, do not ask.

Ask not for a love like that.

Heed wisely the love you take upon yourself as your heart’s repast. Do not take a portion greater than you can return two-fold, the debt that we all shall owe, once and whence that love has been annulled. Do not take on a presence in-heart greater than you can afford to detract, greater than the degree of loss you can survive when the presence becomes an absence, someday…as it will be a taxing subtraction…leaving behind an absence greater than ever was the love, the amount of love by measure, by volume, weight, and mass…and in equivalency to the love partaken, twice-so shall be the space left vacant….the lapse of love twice the weight of love itself….the loss ever more vast, always an absence twice in-mass. If love shall not last, do not wish upon yourself the worst degree of its lapse.

And alas, first you’d be wise to wish for the world’s eternal focus of anger and hate than to seek out your true soul mate. Ask not for the most powerful of love, perfect and innate. Ask first for war and famine and hate before you damn yourself to a soul-mate. Ask not for any more than the least of love. Ask not, at least, for it’s best. Ask not for a great love – if not love lasts. Ask not for the truest of love, the love of soul-mates, of media de mi naranjas, of besherits, of fate. Ask not for that one, true love, that tender trist…that havoc state of soul-mate, an attachment so infinite and unsurpassed.

Ask not for true love, deep love, everlasting love, love that lasts...

Ask not for that.

If you must ask for love,

Above all, ask not for a love like that.

--Erin Wheeler--