Glimpse of you.

My chin is smooth, though I know you prefer it rugged against your skin when the lights go out and there are only tactile elements left for the orientation of body parts. But it doesn’t stop you–my smooth chin–from scaling me, moving your own soft parts against me as we turn limbs into webs and find ourselves caught in constellations we neither can nor want to break free from. I just pull you closer, my chin resting against the side of your neck, and place my mark on you.

I tremble. I feel your lips on me too.

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Machine lifeform.

I wish I had something to write here. Something worth more than just a few lines. That I could somehow create a tale from my heart, just by putting my words out there. But I feel empty. As if the stories have been told. I’m uninspired, and the inspiration I do receive, I forget to put down in time, and it leaves me remembering only that there was something, but not what that something was.

My dad is on ventilator support. He’s fallen ill, but the doctors do not, as of yet, know what the cause is. They’re looking for a virus to treat, but the virus is hiding somewhere in his body that they have yet to locate. It’s all gone both extremely fast and very slow at the same time. He’s been rough on himself, drinking and eating strange mixtures of pills to battle anxiety, depression and physical pain. So in that regard, it’s quite impressive that he hasn’t been hit by a truly difficult virus or other form of organ failure until now. But seeing as I saw him Sunday, and just the next day he’s being admitted to the hospital, delivered there unconscious, things have just suddenly sped up.

People, the staff and my family and friends keep telling me that I’m being admirably calm about it all. I’m the primary visitor seeing as I’m the one who’s had the closest contact with him the last years and I’m the one living nearest to the hospital. I am calm. But I don’t know if I’m admirably so, or if it’s more a lack of sympathy on my side. I’ve been expecting this route for a long time. I don’t believe much in fairness and karma and God’s will. But it’s obvious to everyone, even the staff at the hospital who’s only “known” him for days, that he’s been less than caring with his body and less than caring towards us, his children, when he’s been on drinking binges.

I’m hoping for the best. But I don’t know what the best is. This is becoming a very honest blog post. I just know he’s been complaining about his life quality for years. And though I feel like I’ve been trying all in my power to show him different paths, open up new possible interests for him, he’s always extremely on-guard and unwilling to try new things or new ideas.

So I don’t know what the best outcome is. As a philosopher I’m inclined to weigh all possible scenarios, but I’m also restrained to only try to make informed judgments. So far there isn’t really conscious contact with him. He’s very far away. And I guess the sad thing is that it doesn’t really sadden me to see him like that. He looks peaceful, sleeping while hooked up to the machines — becoming the machines.

I visit him every day. And I’m interested in his recovery. I hope they figure out what virus he has, and that it’s treatable. But my focus quickly shifts to the machines and systems. It sometimes takes a visit to a hospital to realise how far modern technology is. It gives a different perspective when you see it used for a purpose like this: mapping out all the vitals of a person in real-time.

The staff there is such a kind group. I really like being there, talking to them and hearing all the inside-knowledge on how everything functions. Is it ironic that in my uninterested dad’s demise I happen to rekindle my love of machines?

This whole post sounds like he’s dying. I don’t think he is. But who knows, really. Things can always move so quickly at hospitals. Him being on ventilator support for days definitely isn’t a good sign. But at the same time it keeps him still and gives the doctors a fighting chance to locate whatever virus he might have in his body. It’s all just very wait-and-see. Especially for the non-doctor me.

I wish I had something different to write about. But my imagination feels tied down. I’m feeling alright. I’m feeling a bit stuck, but I’m feeling alright.

Desire as love.

Oh, you’re gonna love me
You’re gonna wanna hurt me
And scream

(Against All Logic: “You Are Going to Love Me and Scream”)

The candles have come back. Tropical summer of 2018 drawing to a close. The day is drawing to a close. Hello darkness, my old friend. Hello candles, we’re at it again. I switch between complete solitude and extreme socializing. I have a hard time figuring out if I’ve come to love the extremes, or if I’ve always been like that. Or if, maybe, I’m simply used to them by now. Not a lot of Aristotle in this one these days.

What can truly be said of the relationship between love and desire? Except for love to be longer lasting and the morally preferred. Love being the candle, desire being the flame. Longevity versus heat. It’s so easy to burn the fingers on desire when not handled carefully. It leads you down paths that your logical sense tells you are bad, and it doesn’t care if it leaves you stranded there. It only cares to be fulfilled. To be chased down and won over. And then to do it again. And again.

I’ve always been one for desire. I don’t know what that says about me. That I like pleasure? Or that I’m a weak soul? Maybe it says that my moral compass is ill-calibrated. Or maybe I’ve just not grown quite into an adult yet. Maybe what I long for just isn’t longevity, but the fleeting moments of bliss. Maybe what has tied us together so formidably has been the string of all those fleeting moments, coupled with a deep shared understanding, and an almost mad want to be together, against all logic.

Desire is able to verge on love when it’s treated — or when it instantiates itself — as the foundation of a relationship. As that which we keep coming back to when life tries to show us the untenability of our choices. Thou shalt not look for the illogical love. Okay, but can we kiss now? Thou shalt not marry outside of your religion. Fine, so, you, me, bed, now? In the face of opposition, follow your desire, for that is a much stronger force than the weight of the opposition and the societal norms. And when done right, it’s love.

Five Years.

When I first picked up a copy of Sartre’s La Nausée (in a Danish translation), it was nothing more to me than an odd book by this recognisable-name author. The first few pages, setting up the premise: a collection of diary notes put together by an editor, almost had me putting the book away, thinking that it seemed overly concerned with itself. But I read on, while putting on Tame Impala’s InnerSpeaker, and found myself getting slowly immersed in the fragmentary narrative. The story of this French man trying to understand what went on in his mind, after one day being hit by a sudden feeling of nausea (nausée) while sitting in the park, got to me, and the short chapters/diary notes kept me moving forward at a time where I was yet to become the avid reader that I am now. The book opened up for me, and in return I was opened up by it.

Looking back, I can make all sorts of stories about how my life has unfolded. The choices I’ve made, the chances I’ve taken or missed. But few things are as clear to me as the influence this book has had on me. This book not just opened itself up to me, but it opened a new world: Philosophy.

This was the first time I had tried tackling one of the great minds of philosophy. Mind you, before this I hadn’t even given philosophy a thought. It wasn’t on my radar. I’ve never been a fan of larger theoretical frameworks, of drawn out thinking, of the complex. I like to think that I’m able to grasp the complex, but mostly I’m a person who likes things to come about quickly. I write poems, not novels. Even if I attempt a new novel each month, I can never get past the initial chapters. I lose interest with the stories I’m trying to tell, because I’m not going deep enough in it. I’ve yet to crack the code on the complex narrative, the multiple storylines, the character gallery.

And like the missing novel, I never thought of myself as someone who’d be into serious academia like philosophy and psychology and sociology. I always envisioned myself as a journalist, churning out articles and features, never staying in one topic too long. But reading La Nausée, I found myself immersed in the world of philosophy as this whole new thing that I’d never experienced before. Philosophy as a novel. Deep thinking disguised between common words and everyday observations.

It’s in all manners a strange book. It’s slow, it’s jumping from here to there. It’s dealing with subjects still largely unknown to me. But more than anything, it’s an interesting read, and one that I keep coming back to, either as a reading experience, picking up the book at the library whenever I come across it, or just as a fleeting thought in my mind, about this book that once started all of this for me.

Because it truly is on the legs of La Nausée that I ended up applying for the philosophy major at university, and it was my only truly serious point I could make in my application: I’ve read Sartre — let me in.

They heard my banging on the door, and they opened up. Allowing me to apply despite a highly failed high school career where I’d ended up getting grades too bad to post here. But university was a new deal, a fresh deal. This was all subjects I cared about. Human understanding in epistemology. Views of life and being in metaphysics. The power structures of political philosophy, and the question of moral right in ethics.

The only tragicomic thing, of course, was that my university almost didn’t touch upon Sartre or others who had used the novel as a vehicle for philosophy, and so, even though I’ve been taken by my studies through all five years until now having graduated as an MA, I’ve always been left wishing more. Wishing philosophy would get back to what I originally experienced it as.

My hope now, post-academics, is that I can get back to enjoying philosophy as I did back when I first picked La Nausée from the shelf. And I recently got a sign telling me that that’s exactly what will happen. The book is criminally hard to find in Denmark, and even more criminally overpriced at second-hand book stores. But then, a week ago, walking my dog, I come by a tiny little private book auction outside of a house, and lo and behold, just a month after my graduation, I find in all its wonder La Nausée being sold there for a mere 10 DKK.

I felt a rush of joy, adrenaline, longing, all at once, and I grabbed it and immediately transferred the money to the seller, and off I was with the book that started these last five years of my life.

It seems a perfect ending to a chapter gone by, that it’s bookended by the same book. During my time in philosophy, especially the first years, I’ve most definitely experienced the nausea of the book in myself, and I’ve been reminded continuously of Sartre’s words, almost working as a comforter for me, when I’ve felt philosophy might not be for me.

When the discussions have run deep or broad, and I’ve felt myself unable to follow the topic, or when some have questioned a professor, and I’ve felt my mind drift back to the original thought of the topic, I’ve reminded myself that philosophy, as life in general, is different for all. And I’m still not a great large-scale theorist. I don’t think I ever will be. But I’m as sharp as they come when dealing with communicative efforts, weeding out the waste of political communication, getting right to the heart of an argument and not letting someone get away with an attack on decent morals for a personal gain.

Philosophy for me has evolved, and I’ve evolved with it.

And I don’t know what the true subject of this post is. It has evolved as well. But I know these last five years have been good to me in many ways. And I appreciate them.

And I’m ready now to take the next step into the open, out of the book.

You got a face with a view.

Apart from the sun and the moon, those star-crossed lovers reigning over each of their domains, the brightest object on the sky these weeks is Mars, the red planet of dust and dreams, hanging low on the southern night sky of the Northern hemisphere. If our eyes could see far enough, we could see rovers working tirelessly as the only agent lifeform on the surface. If our eyes could see far enough, we could see aching hearts in real time.

The heatwave continues on. Sweden’s forests are on fire. There’s red in every direction, even painted on the underbelly of the clouds above as the daylight fades to the horizon.

I battled with nature on equal footing today, swimming in the open ocean where the modern human is as vulnerable as it’s always been. Only arms and legs to propel, only eyes to see, with the big blue hiding enough wonder to inspire monsters and continents for the ones who dare exploring far from shore.

I keep looking for branches to lead me to you, as if I’m a shadowtail, able to travel between the four worlds and reach your harbor in the blink of an eye. But my hands can only feel the unbending fabric of the world in view when I place my palms against it.

I hear you in songs and I read you in books. And I admit I’ve become infatuated with all that you are, both real and myth and the parts I can only describe as magic. I tried to learn your tricks, uncover your secrets, but they only left me twice as tied to you as I was before.

I’m just an animal looking for a home. If someone asks, this is where I’ll be.

Blues are just watercolours.

Green fields yellowing in the drought, yellow fields whitening. Private swimmingpool unused in the outskirts of the road, lying as the fatamorgana of a dormant oasis in the middle of the desert, not yet active for the taking, not quite there yet. But close. So close. See it for only a stretch of time, ten metres at 26 km/h. A fleeting glimpse of the most immediate cure for this unbearable heat beating down on my back. And then it’s gone. And then it might as well have been a dream or any other kind of make-believe. And I might just as well have been lifting you in that water, holding you by your waist and letting you drop softly down against me. It’s the magic of the human mind that every wild idea can assume a convincing shape. Sometimes what’s real and what’s imagined gets twisted in my head and so I just have to award reality to it all. Everything happens, in some way or other. Everything can be felt, even the things that don’t happen. Especially the things that don’t happen. I think my most constant feeling is of the minutes we’re not spending together. They dig into my skin, unnoticed at first, just slowly gathering as events that might have been, then twisting as a knife, drawing my blood from within this beating heart that’s been following your rhythm since our first mutual beat. And it feels as if there’s no cure, as if these darkest moments will become the new normal. But then the world opens when I’m on my bike, traversing the landscape through these newly formed deserts and their brick and mortar oases. My head clears like the sky, and I come back to why I keep coming back to you, to all the positives of you that far outweigh this clouded mind that sometimes seems like the only weather forecast worth studying. I come back to realise that blues are just watercolours, and when applying them to the world they will be spread transparently thin. If we open our eyes, the warm colours still shine through. And I open my arms, smilingly expecting you.

Nonattended.

Haley Heyndrickx played an amazing set, just as I had hoped for, on the best stage of the festival, at the slot my buddy and I have come to know as the Julia Holter slot. Early morning in the middle of the festival, in the cool shade of Gloria, which quickly turns into a heated area as the songs progress, suitable for the most intensely introspective experiences of music. She captivated the room, making people stand on their toes for the last spoken lines of her songs, falling hand-clenching to the floor on their flat feet once the guitar rung out. Young lovers kissing in the corners and kissing right in front of the stage. The age presidents of the festival shedding a tear over the continuous talent that keeps forming in front of their eyes year after year at this very stage. But of course, this year, me at home instead of in front of that stage.

There’s always the post-Roskilde blues, the days after the festival when you get back home to the normal life, typically less hectic than usual in the summer break season. Rarely there are any plans set in stone for the week after Roskilde, other than getting back on your feet, literally and figuratively, and assessing in which ways your life changed this year. It’s been so long since I wasn’t at the Roskilde Festival, 2011, that I had forgotten the post-Roskilde blues hit just as hard for the ones who didn’t go but wanted to.

It seems my plans come crumbling down this month.

Is this what it means to be an adult? That the real world hits you. I don’t want to be an adult. I never did. I don’t think I ever will. I fiercely dislike responsibility, plans, structure, money. I wasn’t made for the adult world. I was hardly made for the young adult world.

And what sucks is that I know I can tune myself into it. I can put on a mask and pretend to be an adult, and I will be accepted as such. And I will land the job of my dreams. And I will be comfortably affluent. I can do that. I can use my acting skills to make those things come true. And lots of people will be proud of me. But they’ll proud of me for reasons I despise. And I’ll despise myself and the mask I’m wearing.

I’ve only ever wanted love. Now I’ve found it, but apparently I can’t have it. Circumstances. I feel like circumstances are a big part of the adult world. The way I see it though, circumstances are the least adult thing in the world. “Circumstances” is the lack of resilience to find a solution to a problem. Circumstances is the bad excuse for lack of will or lack of want.

It was because of circumstances I didn’t attend Roskilde this year. And I’m regretting my foolishness, knowing I’ve missed out on an experience I would have kept with me for the rest of my life, regardless of whatever tiny problems it might have caused for my other adult plans.

It’ll be because of circumstances if you don’t let me visit your part of the world before summer is over. And we’ll be regretting that foolishness. We’ll miss out on an experience to keep with us for the rest of our lives, only risking the most minor of issues along the way.

If I ever said a prayer, it was for you to change your mind and be less adult, and instead be more wanting.

If I ever said a prayer, it was for us.