COPY LEFT DI GEST
Forty-five issues of the CopyLeft Digest have been produced. This issue marks the forty-sixth or, somewhere around that number. Real Talk: I began arbitrarily numbering them somewhere in the thirties, or what I took to be the thirties. Let us simply avoid the entire subject and disregard numbers in our effort to determine the age of the CLD. My brother asked me to describe the CLD is to my mom. I told her it was a weekly email that contained links to specific films, books, and music. I asked her to think of it in terms of an art gallery, whereby the curator acts as an aggregator and the recipients act as patrons. Her response was “LOL WUT?” I reckon she is more right than I am in terms this matter. Where does the CDL go? Or, stated more particularly, what is the point of sending it out? That is to say what takes it in? I have no idea and I reckon it would be presumptuous for anyone to claim to know.
Aphoristic Ethics, Ethical Aphorisms
“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
Executing the projective project of anticipation demands a review of the past. Such is the testimony of the aphoristic thinker, whose vernacular indulges in only the pithiest of truthclaims. Winston Churchill is alleged to have coined this expression, though it hardly matters now who said it first. The aphoristic machine overwhelms its inventor with its insatiable desire to be spoken and spoken of time and time again. By colluding in its repetitive drive, I have reduced Churchill to but a specter of his truism; transcribing the aphorism above—reenacting its rhetorical script—makes me an accessory to its discursive inclination, which is to elude intellectual ownership by way of rhizomatic proliferation. Transmitted and channeled ad infinitem through its bodily hosts, aphorisms aim at universal recognition and acceptance, rendering moot the etiological impulses of citationality. Its contagious spread thrusts toward a horizon of assumed, rather than acquired intelligibility—toward an epistemological state of certainty, obviousness, and indisputability. In observing cursorily the action of aphoristic transmission, one notes an uncanny parallel to the rhetorical operations of ethics. Ethical frames carry their own affects of self-propagating assurance, and threaten to cast off their ostensible authors with frightening regularity and rapidity. As ethics concretize as social mores, they take on the style and shape of truisms
whose origins are untraceable. A disembodied voice cries out, “Love thy neighbor!” And to whom do we owe this impassioned prescription? The ethicist or the aphorist? The point at which ethics and aphorism become impossible to differentiate marks out the tendency of conditional prescriptions to solidify as absolute impositions. Nuance is sacrificed for accessibility. This is not, however, to say that one can or should avoid codified claims altogether. Truth-claims condense as truisms as they acquire broad cultural capital. Aphorisms, thus, are worth interrogating insofar as they intimate normative modes of thinking and doing. An aphorism is a discursive artifact fraught with ethical import. Though one should exercise wariness when confronted with its staged presence, one cannot reject its value outright. Even constructs as codified as aphorisms may be mined for material. Let us return, for instance, to the adage inscribed at the outset of this cautionary tale: “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” Its message, presumably, is that one’s degree of hindsight will determine one’s degree of foresight, such that what has come to pass may indicate what will come to pass. Taken as simple suggestion or prescription, it has little critical value. However, approaching the aphorism as a codified truth-claim—one that has been legitimized and systematized as a banal standard—alludes to the temporal dimensions of ethicality. The aphoristic appeal to “look back” in order to “look forward” implicates the temporal processes of remembrance and anticipation as ethically-engaged.
What Are We and What Are We Doing Here?
As couples navigate the tricky territory of post-modern relationships, they face an increasing challenge in accessorizing their arrangement. The garden of earthly delights presents them with an overwhelming assortment of mortgages, sex toys, pets and flavors of civil union. Throw in the logistics of adding a third wheel or frequenting a swingers club and even the most adventurous duo/trio/platoon will have little energy left to duly consider their existential status. Unfortunately, tired Victorian-era euphemisms and doublespeak have clung to our language like dog hair to a tuxedo. If we are ever to cast off the shackles of prudishness, we will have to get under the hood of our collective lexicon and start messing with stuff. We must clear the linguistic deadwood, return expressions to their rightful owners, and create new terms for types of relationships. If the pharmacology industry can create new names for things day after day, surely people who want to enjoy each other’s company can create names that won’t be confused with other things. To aid in categorizing relationships for subsequent naming, I propose the establishment of Quantum Linguistics of Pleasure. This new field will be charged with maintaining linguistic distinctions between all possible permutations of the following variables: number of people involved in the pleasurable relationship duration and frequency of pleasure (ie. Whenever drunk and lonely or ‘til death do us part) how much pleasure (limitations, or lack thereof, of the combination of body parts) While ordinary citizens can comfortably leave the wordsmithery to the professionals, we must make a pointed effort to rework the meanings we associate with the following terms: Dating – this is something best left to paleontologists. Most couples have a difficult enough time keeping track of birthdays, let alone carbon isotopes. A feasible exception to the abolition of this term is in Arab countries, where dates (the fruit) are exchanged by bride and groom to stoke the libido. English-speaking couples should feel comfortable trying this as well, but should try to keep the terms clear. Seeing One Another – blind activist groups throughout the world have lobbied against this one for decades. Let’s put it to rest. Then we can all risk opening our eyes and seeing everyone around us with no strings attached. Sleeping Together – this is nothing more than a lazy attempt to be polite. Come to think of it, this could be the most insidious conflation of two worthy activities. It’s quite apparent that the over-emphasized association of sex and sleep has led to a lot of underwhelming sleepy sex (but a curious lack of sexy sleep). It has also unnecessarily confined coital creativity to a ridiculously small set of coordinates in space-time. If the vast majority of lovemaking is happening in bed just before bedtime, how much variety are we really enjoying? After we untie this bed-sex neural knot, we can perhaps enjoy a good night’s sleep in a motel once again without being grossed-out. Roommates should reclaim this term at that time, because frankly we’re all ‘living together’ in the historical sense. Going Steady – thankfully, this one is already dying of natural causes. Can we agree to a mercy killing to ensure it doesn’t linger in bastions of soda fountains and drive-in movies? Frisky teenagers must have commandeered it from maritime navigation, so let’s give it back to the admiralty. In return, they may let us borrow more cool expressions like ‘three sheets to the wind’…. Just Friends – Friends are a great thing to have, let’s not demean them by adding the patronizing ‘just’. Just Fucking – Fucking is also a great thing, let’s not diminish it either.
Just Fucking – Fucking is also a great thing, let’s not diminish it either. Just Married – If your friends wrote it on your car with shaving cream, tell them to be more creative next time. Rather, if the ‘just’ indicates that you’re using the legal system against itself to evade the Immigration Police or taxes, you’re ahead of your time. Keep up the good work. Boyfriend/Girlfriend – English is notoriously short on gender-specific nouns. For the sake of all the ESL students struggling to learn our language so we don’t have to learn theirs, we should ditch the non-literal implication. We’ll all welcome the return to a literal meaning here. We can have all the boyfriends and girlfriends we want without them getting jealous of each other, and when they reach maturity they can be our manfriends and womanfriends. Friends with Benefits – Lets be fair here, all friends have benefits, that’s why we call the one with the truck when we have to move big shit. The situation isn’t really that different than with the friend we like exploring with our mouth. Lovers – although it is relatively unambiguous, the root of this term has earned it its place on the chopping block. No one seems to agree on what love is, so lovers are dangerously close to having their label co-opted. I love the smell of seaweed, next thing you know I’ll be claiming that the smell and I are lovers. Leave this one before things get weird… Partners – also not the worst of terms. The GLBT community was certainly onto something in popularizing it, although it’s not known whether they borrowed the term from law firms, beat cops or high school chemistry classes. We should make an effort here to disambiguate – it will surely not go unappreciated by gay lawyers and homophobic detectives. Doing It – the vaguest of the vague. This should only acceptable when accompanied by vigorous air-humping or the more subtle hand gesture (extended forefinger into thumb-forefinger ring on opposite hand).
a gchat conversation we had about how you’d met someone in madrid
you said you could only love people that you couldn’t talk to i said that sounded like love to me i asked you what you were thinking without wanting to know what you were thinking you said your life was boring i said it’s okay i feel you like the time we went to taco bell you admitted you liked budweiser and i laughed but kind of understood because i liked budweiser too the way it tastes of peanuts you said you’d never see him again and that was heartbreaking or a relief i said heartbreaking is good you said something about madrid and bullfighting i said that’s funny bullfighting is a funny thing until one day someone tells you it’s cruel and shows you the wikipedia entry for bullfighting and you don’t want to talk about bulls anymore you said you were sublimating your literary fantasies i said something about the sun also rises which is a good book to bring up if you want someone to know you’ve read some books you said it’s too obvious i said that’s not how sublimation works i told you to read some fucking freud you called me an asshole i said haha in the way that means ‘okay’ or ‘i’m still here’ then i left to make some toast i wanted to take a bite of toast and make some little grooves and say to those little grooves: “i made you with my teeth.”
Photographic Prizza Paganism
“Photography is about a simple point of a moment. Its like stopping time. As everything gets condensed in that forced instant. Photography has a kind of a reality which is almost illusion. Shooting makes you aware of this. But if you keep creating these points, they form a line which reflects you life.” -Araki Nobuyoshi Serving as an organizational principle for understanding and puntuating existence, abandoned pizza boxes become holy shrines and should worshipped accordingly. In this form of Paganism, everyday consciousness is analogous to the mentality of the Catholic approaching the alter to take the Eucharist. In preparation to witness the miracle of God made flesh, the Catholic readies himself, and so too do I remain in this state of cosmic anticipation whilst enjoying the movement of the sun and moon. The play of these celestial bodies is indeed holy as they illuminate the pilgrimage between these sites. Fate, in this paganism, is the same for all insofar as all share the same one: chaos beyond the possibility of balance presupposed in the term “chaos”. The ubiquity of the shrines made by a discarded pizza boxe reflects this perfect determinism. A pizza box, empty, discarded and on the ground shall stir the passions, for it is the manifestation of a birthright extended to all beings. To revere the perfect boxness of these boxes and the magnanimity of their jealous wraith, one must take a photo (real or imaginary) of them every-time they are encountered. The faithful observation of this ritual orients life around the numinous that makes existence worth continuing. Currency, holy books, assignments, politics, televisions... these are the idols which this Paganism interrogates and laughingly dismisses. What can they offer a man whose unrestrained laughter transmits the knowledge that the absurdity of infinity can best be expressed by taking a photograph of empty pizza boxes? Art as religion, as something you do on occasion, as something that does what it needs to do in doing it. In seeing a box of pizza filled with pizza, we are analogous to the Protestant in that the box full of pizza is, like the wine and bread in the Eucharist, a mere symbol of this Paganism. The hidden knowledge within the full box reveals itself to those who can understand and appreciate its power when emptied. In the face of such power, we must admit that these notes are mere hymns to this power. The snap of the shutter is both the Call to Prayer and the prayer itself and the ever-ending, ever-renewing commitment to beauty amid a world steeped in the sludge of banal thoughts and actions.
A CHINESE PAINTING
wheel wells, deep grooves and dark rivulets of water slipping silently down grey green, red green, green green moss and cool stones, again to the moss, the carpeting of the forest floor, because we must make everything part of our interior, everything part of something we can design and own and sit on and lie (and also lie) on and gaze at ceilings, gaze at a canopy, the canopy of trees, yet again something we can have and hold within our own four walls, fourth-walled so that you can’t see me and i can’t see you, but we’re both watching, gaze fixed for cracks in plaster, cracks in adobe, cracks in eggs, because when you crack an egg you can make a pigment and then you can paint the crack as you want it, acme supply company style, breaking forth with reckless abandon from the nooks and crannies of that english muffin stucco wall, painting it buttery yellow and egg white, eggshell off-white, robin’s egg blue, sky blue (imagine the life of a paint color titler), bringing the outside in, in to you, now i never have to leave, four walls or three, whoever is watching, as long as i know about the watching i will perk up, i will perform the part of the watched, the alert, the casual, the blase, but heightened, my teeth being brushed with sly wrist circles, my face being washed with picturesque water splashing and tender towel, the slip between the sheets with extra satisfaction, under this canopy, on this carpet, the jostle jangle of wind outside on loosening windows, if i dream it just right the windows will blow in and i will be outside, but with walls
(and wind in the leaves, and leaves) are meant to be hearded in the mind. As the yolk, sight of them (so many in fact they sound like one animal) fits snug atop the shoulders, behind the face; yolks, like eyes, are weigh bearing technology and meant to be used as such, to do otherwise is simply too playful to keep up all the time (but perfect for long walks home in the dark). And our movement as we travel in these woods, these nights, these sounds, are sounds, in that they always jostle while they jangle until we plunge our heads into the river of thoughts afield, farther up the mountain, deeper into the woods. But afield, like up and deep is a poem addressed to the present and as a poem it words are bells which jingle, more leaves, more wind, more presents. This present, unfortunately both now and not now, notices a june bug in it. This bug has escaped the everything world of things that you never notice. You love it and it is fascinating. It has a piece of string attached to its leg and the end of this string is dipped in black ink. The wind picks up and blows the bug deep into the circulatory system of tree roots that line the river, leaving you to think, “Exactly as I would expect”. It is not long until more wind comes and scatters the leaves of your expectations along across the face of this great hulking woman of a landscape. If only she would cease, if only the wind would die, then we could feel her embrace and the jingling would stop. Which is the way the sound of leaves under foot and wheel and it’s up the driveway (and is my crutch, the beginning that suggests a before, an interruption, in media res, don’t you wish you knew what came before) which is crunching underfoot like so many glass shards, obsidian glass, trodden and trodden until the crunch, a faint crunch, is all that’s left, and through some gates, nothing much to say about them, sufficiently creepy, suffice it to say (sufficiency, deficiency, efficiency), and into the building you’d only seen from between trees, fragments of roof bared when the trees lose their limbs, and you know where you’re going, immediately you know, up those stairs, down that hallway, obsidian meridian, and here, unmistakably, the butcher’s refrigerator, only sinister things can be here, disguised enough to seem only slightly odd, but you know, you know, that it is what it is, and you open that door, secure in the knowledge he’s not here, not today, you would know, you’ve done your reconnaissance work, and you expect the worst: but what you get is a room full of june bugs, spinning lazily throughout the room; at first you think they are covering something, is that a figure, no, it’s a pile of string, and you understand what you’re meant to do. you pick up the string and reach up, bear salmon river, you clasp a june bug, you tie that string to its leg, you release, repeat, repeat, repeat, so many to string, sometimes you grab one you’ve grabbed before, sometimes even by the string, but you can’t stop this pace, this reach, grasp, clasp task, until the room is swarming with their beating wings on shellacked bodies, the whisper of strings slapping each other in passing, everywhere on your face the strings drag across like they’re wiping the tears you aren’t crying, constant long fingers drawing over you, drawing on you, if you could dip them in ink you could paint the landscape, a great hulking woman of a landscape, where her crouched and dipped back would crumple over the plateau and she would sleep, and things would grow, lichen, moss, at first, then ferns, then scrubs, then trees and trees and trees, and her gaping maw would loll lazily beside what had become a river, and tow tiny tiny men would cross a tiny bridge as they made their way next to her, next to the trees and trees and trees and scrub brush and furling fern fronds and mossy banks and lichen, salt lick lichen, theirs is not to scale it, and then a slash of inked string, and the river would become wilder, savager, the trees and trees and trees taller, the whole seeping into black, and you would look up at the buzzing forest of stalactite? stalagmite? strings, threads really, and laughing you would need to grab them, one, two, four, seventeen, whatever your hands can grab, and then they would circle, unconcerned, this is the same as it ever was, they just can’t go over there, but did they ever want to go over there, in particular, or were they not, after all, in this room with its closed doors where all they could do was fly and buzz and bump wings and bodies and self-reflect their greens and golds and blues and reds, although this lighting makes them mostly blue, and then we pan back, out of the room, away from you, the door stays open, we recede down the hall, down the stairs, through the door, out the gates, soundlessly across the obsidian driveway, and.
Before it publicly collapsed into bankruptcy in 2007, NOVA was the largest English language school in Japan. Employing over 15,000 English teachers, NOVA stood as the de facto conduit for Westerners to live in Japan. Not two months before NOVA closed its doors I had tendered my resignation at the Shinjuku school in the heart of Tokyo’s red light district, which is where I had been working for the past ten or so months. I quit for the simple reason that I had made enough money to pay back the debts I had accrued in the United States. In fact, after taking up a night job at a juku, which is a ‘cram school’ that high school kids have to go to after the school day finishes, I had more than enough money to pay back my debts. Stated bluntly, for the first time in my life I was paid. I shared a closet sized bedroom in Nakano, which is one train stop away from Shinjuku, and it was not long until my roommate quit his job too. What followed was something that can best be related through analogy. There is something misleading about the weekend in that it is not the open, free-for-all wherein any thing can be attempted and desire runs unchecked. In many ways the weekend is simply time in which one is simply not working, and as such, it is still a part of a never-ending work schedual. The way we talk about the weekend bears this out insofar as the time you are not working is indeed understood as ‘time off ’ so as to insinuate its lesser relationship to being ‘on’ as in ‘on the job’. In this sense, in quitting our jobs my roommate and I were not taking “time off ”, we were doing away with time (understood in the “on/off ” sense) all together. The closest I can come to relating this feeling is by referencing the mid-point of summer break between middle school and high school. The prospect of returning to school never even occurrs to a child during those glorious, mid-point summer days. Time was something that I simply did not regard whilst playing with my brother or sleeping in the tents we pitched behind our house during those days. Think of us quitting our job as transforming this memory of Summer into a state of mind.
Nomihodai is the Japanese word for “all you can drink” and it is very common to see this option on menus at Japanese drinking establishments, which are called izakayas. Over the course of what must have been two and a half weeks my roommate and I had basically lived in izakayas, karaoke joints, and bars, drinking all we could and loving anyone who would join us. While those days and nights exist only in the snap shots that remain online, we nevertheless made lots of friends. I still keep in touch with some of them too. At any rate, it is now somewhat of a truism, but moderately good looking Western men do not have a hard time picking up Japanese women in Tokyo and thus our time drinking was punctuated with romantic liaisons of every flavor. While it may offend the more Victorian sensibilities of the reader, sharing a room in these circumstances very quickly turns into sharing women and sharing woman in this fashion leads quite quickly into sexual adventurism. Peppered with a stead flow of amphetamines, hash, and tantakatan (a Japanese liquor made of Cherry Blossoms)we may as well been counted among the lotus-eaters Odysseus found. All of this changed the morning I woke up and found blood in my underpants. Moments after this discovery I located a more or less uniform line of bumps, open soars really, running from the head of my prick about half way down to the shaft. My first thought was the girl I met in Yoyogi park, she was far too easy and far too ready not to use a condom, the standard size of which runs from ‘miniscule’ to ‘barely fits’. I woke my roommate by frantically apologizing, for I knew the sign of blood meant I came into the STD game somewhat late and no doubt brought my best friend along with me. Lacking insurance, my first doctor was WebMD and accordingly I narrowed it down to genital warts, herpes or early HIV. My dad is a D.O./family doctor, and so I sent him an email that read in its subject line: THE NEXT EMAIL YOU GET FROM ME WILL CONTAIN PICTURES OF MY DICK, DO NOT OPEN IN FROM OF MOM. I sent the email on a Friday evening his time. I did not hear back from him until Monday morning. I took this as a sure sign that his response was weighed down by grief. How could he tell his second born child that in his flight to distant lands he has contracted a fatal disease and that he may very well die on foreign soil, rotted from the inside out? Hours passed like days, days past like months. The bumps were begging to scab. My roommate took the news nobly: he offered to buy the man who killed him the first drink at every bar we went to. Ignobly, I accepted. In those two days, life glimmered like the sun on still water. On Saturday night we stumbled into karaoke and sang ‘dust in the wind’ with tears rolling down my cheeks. It wasn’t just the amphetamines and sake. On Monday morning I check my inbox and found a message from my father. It had no subject line. The body of the email read: “hahahahaha, that is not an STD, it is truma.” Like the sudden in-breaking of enlightment, my mind went direct back to Thursday night in the bowling alley bathroom where after taking a magnificently long piss I had zipped my dick all the way up in my zipper. Upon returning to reality, I promised to change my life after that. Two weeks later I was on a plane to Amsterdam, I was going to find out if summer was actual temporal or more geographical.
1. A condition in which a stimulus, in addition to exciting the usual and normally located sensation, gives rise to a subjective sensation of different character or localization; color hearing, color taste. 2. From a neurolinguistic perspective, it describes stimulus-response conditioning such as seen in a phobia. MTV’s The Grind was cable television show broadcast between 1992 and 1997. The premise of the show was to feature better-than-average looking people dancing to the popular hits of the day. However, in 1997 MTV studios moved to 1515 Broadway, where, due to a lack of space, the producers were forced to tape episodes of The Grind on the roof of the building. Along with constant weather problems, city noise ordinances prevented the show from playing loud music while taping outdoors. As a result, the show was taped without music. It had to be dubbed in later. In May of 1997, I appeared on an episode of The Grind. While it did not change my life, it was the first time I was forced to reckon with the fragility of human identity, the possibility of living a life different then the one I am living now, and, perhaps more importantly, the grandeur of the body. The opening notes of Warren G’s song “Regulators “ are unmistakable. Likewise, so was the response it garnered when it played, albeit softly, to those who had been gathered to ‘grind’. Following the convention of the day, when the song first started the men lifted their bent elbows as if guiding an invisible orchestra while jerking their shoulders forward and back. The women were wholly more unpredictable in their moves, with some combining the natural impulse to thrust one’s pelvis with what looked to be the last remnants of the abandoned dream to become professional ballerinas. Fashion, alcohol, and eroticism vivified the crowd’s undulations, and it was under the spell of this rhythmical alchemy that I had finally reached the Archimedean point between somatic stability and synesthetic crisis. Until Warren G’s song, I ignored the unusual sounding abdominal rumbling my stomach had been issuing.
until the horrible feeling passed. So, despite the rogue strings of hot flatulence (to which I would crab walk away), I assured myself that I had it under control. Hubris. By the close of the song I knew I was wrong and was gingerly making my way to the bathroom. Unfortunately, any signage for the restroom remained discrete on account of the filming. The mounting expectancy of my search for a toilet paralleled my rising feelings of anxiety, which in turn, manifested in a gait that had transformed from a casual saunter to a determined march to a panicked hunt. Moments before reaching what I thought would be the point of no return, I caught sight of the universal symbol for toilet, to writ, an image of a toilet. I rushed headlong in the suggested in direction. Upon first sight of a rest-room door, the body reacts quicker than the mind, whereas, metaphorically speaking, the former is the speed of light, the latter is the speed of sound. That is to say, before my mind had the chance to interpret the pictorial constellation of squares and circles located upon a placard as it was fixed above to the bathroom door, my body had already entered the launch code. The realization that what laid before me was in fact a hermetically sealed portal to the women’s room was nothing short of pure transcendental terror. In her mocking expressionlessness, the two-dimensional image of the generic goddess (my own personal Siddha-guru) awoke the dormant kundalini shakti at the base of my muladhara chakra. I turned from the bathroom door, took two steps, and shit my pants. In an instant, I became something monstrous. But I was elsewhere when I drew my first postlapsarian breaths. In that indeterminate, Schrödinger’s cat moment between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of the movement, I was in the undetectable no-place place where conventional distinctions dissolve into a comprehensive unity from which our reality, as it is orientated in the linear unfolding of time, is merely a spectral expression, an echo. The clouds outside moved. The wind picked up. Thousands of unnoticed leaves rustled. Then, panic set it. With the entirely innocent accident, I had forfeited my place at the table of Western Civilization, least to say MTV’s The Grind. So, with the conversion of my pants into an Everglades-esque bog, the hunt for the men’s room changed dramatically. No longer was I the veteran bomb-defuser working against the clock, I was a stool pigeon wearing a wire. The flight or flight instinct mobilized my shell-shocked consciousness into action. I was on the move. The men’s room stall became my own private ER as I treated the source of the contamination. Like the best of WWII field medics, I methodically attended to the source before moving on to anything else. Once attended, I morphed into a cold-hearted problem-solver, like the Wolf from Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Deodorization, scrubbing, and moistening ensued while the truth that I would not be clean until I was in the shower lurked. With underpants jettisoned, and pants sanitized the stall became the mountain fortress of Alamut, where, like a guerilla leader, I weighed strategy against impossibility. Shitting one’s pants is not an accident in the same way that getting killed in a drunk driving ‘accident’ is not an accident; while accidental, these acts simply cannot be contained or labeled appropriately by such a word. Accident. Bullshit. What occurred was not an actualized potential, but a cultural phenomena as expressed in the saying, “I SHIT MY PANTS I WAS SO EXCITED!” Thus, one thing became clear, in my present state a return to the world of humans was not an option. I was behind enemy lines. My fortress then became a spider hole. I had to get out. While walking in soiled pants one must be attuned to a hierarchy of priorities that pertains to sight and smell, where any hint of irregularity may become detrimental to social standing. Locked in such a situation, one be
comes closer to feeling Lady Macbeth’s lament, “Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!” Now, whenever I see a bank or a jewelry store I cannot help but feel like I did before I turned the corner to the women’s bathroom. I have, as writer James Baldwin once wrote, ‘step out of the lukewarm bath.’ Upon returning home unnoticed, I did not feel defeated like Che in Bolivia, or successful like Lenin in Moscow. I was profoundly bewildered at the precarious limit of what is sanitary, and the human body’s potential to wreak havoc on the space demarcated by these boundaries. What happened to me was a bodily mishap, but in describing it as such I neglect the fact that it is my body, and that the operant ‘my’ used in conjunction with ‘body’ is an anachronism. The entire ordeal left me (my body) thinking of magnified equivalents of the accident, and the possibilities that they invite. How is my (body’s) life, as I understand it now, not the same state of existence that preceded my taking a dump fully clothed? What happened to me after? What was that shift that occurred between a life that I took for granted and one where I gave (took?) a shit? I am haunted by the moment I experienced outside the women’s bathroom, as it was also outside of profane time.