otic diary/
records of touching

 

Betweenity is membranous.  Immeasurable and momentous, so barely made

from out of the minimal  duration--the slightest sliver of space--a thing needs

so it may be said that it’s had a life at all.

 

Relentlessly I go about touching the world, trying to get something of myself across. 

All we are ever up against are surfaces, yet we endlessly imagine and work to evoke

an essence, or to pry loose an inside, from a rigid world of others.

 

    Often touching makes a sound.

    Wood touching skin,

    A rusted disc touching sand,

    Maple stems touching a flat rock.

 

A residue collects at the thresholds of our relationships.

Communication is stricken by a certain desperation

which stimulates an excess of words, gestures and signals. 

Much of these leave marks like crude disquieting drawings.

 

A metal rod dragged across a cinder block leaves a powdery trace.

A round stone ground against a clod of moldy brick

leaves a corona of tiny loops.

 

It is almost like there is some membrane that intercedes in all our acts

of communication, an infinitesimal distance in which is eaten up a bit

of each transmission between two surfaces believed to be touching.

Recognizing membranes, am I able to relieve communication from its potential futility?

 

   A tympanum touched by speech,

   A sheet of paper brushed by a wrist.

 

I am continuously in some field or another and I suspect these fields

are determined by various experiences of my subjectivity.  Insulated,

cut off from the world from some reason, unable to impress

myself upon my surroundings, to express myself to the others, I am

subject to my skin, which is a surface I may touch from either side.

 

The pores of certain stones ring like tiny resonators when activated by

a circling metal pin held lightly between the fingers.

 

How am I an opening that may be poured over and into?

 

Subjectivity matures as it empathizes with and is subsumed by a landscape.

I am given presence by the gravel on the path and the light on my face.

Afterwards, this presence becomes remote through the records of what I’ve touched

and have been touched by.

 

      All I can ever do is make half a sound

      be it my mouth or my palms

      pressed against the membrane of living things.

 

Once I commit to communicating with it, the object (or even a place)

is somehowobliterated.  It becomes imbued with my subjectivity.  I

cannot completely tell myself apart from it.  Across a surface there is

a sort of depth to be plumbed.  Finding a radius and looping my hand,

tracing a shape, giving in to a grain or line, I begin making a rubbing,

an exfoliation and a slight swapping of skins.

 

Often the paper that has been placed between things is left marked

with faint trajectories and whirls, is patterned, perforated, wrinkled,

frayed or torn.  When a rubbing results with the paper in relief,

a dimension has been added to the betweenity, making it a place of

its own.

 

Pockets of air between grains of sand conduct sound beneath the surface

of the beach.  I discovered this with my ear pressed to the towel, my

hand scratching the dune.

 

Another rubbing results from an action of the hand upon the planks of

a fence, a stone or a patch of ground.  Crushed petal or leaf matter

crumbles, secretes, reddens, greens.  A time vaguely presses itself in

layers.  The nature of the marks refers to a material, a set of actions,

and points out some places in the landscape.

 

Late in the day, from the latitudes of the object,

a vowel sprung to distinguish my breath.