by Alan Sondheim
When I speak I sound like an idiot. I can't control my words. Thoughts and concepts fluster in and out, a jumble. When I write, things are different; they organize themselves, I am a shepherd. My thinking wears my writing. Words and worlds organize. Work is words. When I speak, things pour forth,uselessly. When I write a letter or email, I continue speaking. The style, content, is absurd, monstrous. No one keeps my email. I am constantly losing posts. There's no reason to keep them; they're incorrect. When I reply online to someone, it's the same thing, ridiculous. I lose track of my emotions, of what I'm saying. I appear stupid. Only when I am writing, like this, through the interior of what might have been my speech - only when I am writing _thus,_ am I satisfied. My words connect; the thought is often brilliant, almost always dense, compact, to the point. Speaking, I can't even defend myself. I am not the other of the signifier I need to be in order to be. If my speaking is becoming, my writing is ontology itself. When I speak, it's strategy, joking. People are surprised at my sense of humor. It's a carapace I wear with delight. It keeps me from death. Death seeps through my writing. Death inhabits my writing; my writing inhabits death. I do not draw a distinction; I write only within the written. When I speak, language disappears into melody. There is a difficulty with melody just as there is a difficulty with cleverness. Cleverness is a proper turn-away from truth towards communality. I speak with cleverness. It comes from the situation of speaking. I write from somewhere else. In my writing cleverness sounds a false note. It indicates I am off track, I have lost myself, I am suturing over the wound of ignorance and existence. There is no laughter in my writing. There is laughter in my letters and email. They are absurd as my laughter is absurd. They attempt to cover my inadequacy. My absurd joking deflects my graceless awkwardness. It goes nowhere, says nothing of any consequence, and says it poorly. I think my speaking and email will be the death of me. They draw attention away from my writing. They undermine it. They say it's not clever enough, intelligent enough. My writing does not respond. My writing sinks, and is writing about that sinking. My writing props up my world it undermines and describes. My talking ignores the whole problem. My talking is that litany of deflections. What I do not understand, I turn into something else. WhatI do understand becomes fodder; it never nourishes sufficiently. My talking implies talking to another limit; there's no etiquette in this. There is no community in my writing; community cannot survive honesty. But my writing is full of subterfuge, is about that subterfuge. My talking carries itself everywhere in order to become pointless. My talking is pointless. My writing is chiseled into a simulacrum construct of the real. The real in my writing has everything at stake. It is at stake through and within the writing. My speaking ignores the real; what is at stake is myself and its alterity. My self is always in the midst of, when I am speaking. My self is absent or boundary, bordering, when I am writing. I write beyond myself; I speak from myself. My speaking is monstrous, self-defeating. My writing is after the fact. If my speaking is central, my writing is peripheral; if my writing is central, my speaking is peripheral. One must read my writing, read my writing with the utmost care. One must never listen when I am speaking.