contingent identity dogs
There are four holes in the world, places where the world can escape through and escape to, and when he is with her it almost feels as though the world were seeping in like honey through the seals of a mason jar. He says to her, “This is what we do, we taste honey first by putting our fingers here, we’re taking the poison for her, in case this is poisoned.” He is telling her too many things, and sometimes these things border on secrets. There may be one other person in the world who could get him to speak as though his tongue were split down the middle and then healed over to become something else, a fissure that might not like salt water, but would respond to desire or difference in language. He is about to tell her that there is a relation between the tongue and language that is more obvious even than the root word or the root of the organ, but she has already started to spin stories of desire from the orchids that are out of sight but not out of reach. It’s terribly interesting that anyone could affect anyone in this way, even though it’s all part of a very old story that doesn’t seem to care much about the contingencies of history, or race class and gender, it comes like water and rolls over anyone who’s in the path.
This becomes problematic, because it sounds universal. Things like love and floods might hit everybody, but perhaps people do perceive them differently, or learn to define them according to certain culturally-conditioned behaviors or something that sounds intelligent but is really obvious. Not everyone drowns in water, because some of us are mermaids, is what she would say, and she would of course be correct. Whenever she talks like this, he feels like his breath is being replaced with warm water, and he knows this feeling is one that he stole from her, and he likes to give it back whenever he can. It doesn’t feel like giving in a sense that the continental philosophers might criticize, and relate to a neo-liberal nightmare. They do understand they are living in a neo-liberal nightmare. They get that. And in such economies, they know they have to be at least a little careful, because identities are connected to definitions, things that can start to stand for something else, and it becomes especially close to the bone when there are things that are happening right now, and nothing right now really needs a definition.
Living in a space without definitions is the only way to be in a space without feeling like choking (the bad kind). The days move slowly, because they have their own peculiar rhythm, and they have their own rhythms to write on the spaces of these days. He starts to remember that something about second sight allows him to see gender condition as the first band of the aura, the one that leads into other spheres of the spirit, and that this suggests to him that gender conditions are the beginning of the outline of the spirit. Figures walking on the street often reveal their internal condition before their enacted situations become visible, and the internal condition is often a situation, contingent on so many other factors. He sees people in their multiple forms when the light is just right, and it seems as though it might be very complex. He wants to tell her that she often projects multiple situations at once, and that this has opened up some hidden channels in him that make him a little nervous, because it means his own definitions are changing.
In the room, it’s always a different story. The complexities fill the air like shooting stars, and there is no confusion, only wishes. She is like a shooting star for him, capable of granting an apparently limitless answer to his wishes. The only real complications, the ones that stun the body into delay, are when lovers from the past enter into the room, like ghosts. He was surprised to see them when they first started to appear, because he expected them to show their faces much earlier. He wants to tell them the things that are true, things like, “I know this is what you wanted from me, but I didn’t know if I could do it, because I was never sure of your definitions, you said you’d tell me one day, but you never did.” This just seems a little inappropriate, however, but mostly because it is not polite to talk to ghosts when they are not really dead. And then he remembers that he likes her definitions so very much that the ghosts can wait for another night. Her definitions come from the part of her tongue that is connected to the root, because she is speaking herself into being, and he likes it when she materializes, when the orchids cover everything and her body shines in the dark like a shooting star that is resting.
During the evenings, when he is falling through starlight and definitions, the things of the tongue become as real as the ghosts of old lovers, and they take form. The wishes are like dogs that are waiting outside the door, looking a little guilty for the things that they want, and a little bit concerned that someone will look them in the eye and see them in all the dimensions at once. The dogs like to hide, and their first place of refuge is in their tongues, which work to bring the world inside the body, like it were honey and they were mason jars. He wonders how it could be that he is becoming dog in both daylight and nighttime, and he begins to move through the world as if he were someone who doesn’t want to be caught by anything, and its a weightlessness that makes sense only when he tries to describe it to her. His voice is starting to become more solid, and this makes him more vulnerable to colds, or gossip, or the million pins that run through her body when she is wishing she were asleep. It’s as if their voices were acting as harps by the window, playing to the movement of the wind, and all the while becoming more material, but only visible in the body when the music starts to play.
He wants to tell her about how the wind is blowing today, and it’s much stronger that the day before, before she left, and how this means something that has something to do with bones, and bones don’t need definitions. But there are loose pieces of marrow that are left, things that need to be put into the muscles of the tongue. He wants to tell her that he didn’t mean to avoid these things of the tongue, and that every situation and condition is suddenly necessary and contingent, and that these threads of bone might serve as useful maps, and guides to how the days can be written upon. He also wants to tell her that his throat is loose, and when the sounds come out, they don’t leave with a stutter, but resound like a howl, or resonate like the wishes of a puppy, and that this is just one of the gifts that he wants to return, so it can replicate itself on the film that is capturing the movie of them. He wonders about how a real dog might respond to distance, and he wonders if he might be the kind of dog that can see the dead in the dark. It’s very likely. Given how things are these days. And in one singular spectacular moment, he sees that the identity of becoming, when it moves toward the dog realm, is not terribly concerned with authenticity, but understands itself as contingent, and that this is a situation, and that this particularly contingent situation feels particularly real, and perhaps even contingent on race, class, and gender, and perhaps even still is perfectly at home with shooting stars. They remind him of her, of her situation, and of the multiple ways that tongues can write on bodies, and how some marks are only visible under the cover of darkness.