Friday, July 19, 2013


I want to construct an emotion of such lucidity that it will mediate between the world at large and my own personal perspectives. The emotions I now have are murky and unserviceable. They obfuscate. They stretch out of shape and tear. They leave me feeling dark and unprecedented, like Baudelaire.
But this presents a philosophical problem. Feelings are a response to the world. How can I construct a feeling in advance of an experience? It’s like trying to taste your food before eating it. Before putting it into your mouth and chewing it. Like laughing at a joke before you hear the joke.
A lit candle will paint the walls with a buttery light. That’s the feeling I like. That’s the feeling I want. That mellow, golden light. That’s a feeling where I could linger and daydream. A feeling in which I could get along with the world and speak peaceably and tolerantly with people. A feeling in which I could accept all the burrs and injuries of human behavior. But one cannot ingest such a feeling like a food or a drug. I suppose codeine and Valium come closest to substituting for such a feeling, but they are, after all, synthetic and addictive, a false paradise.
And since feeling has neither form nor substance, the idea of constructing a feeling as one might construct a birdhouse or violin gives rise to a problem that walks a thin wire of flimsy conceit. Its being, its existence as a sensation is partly vibrational, partly neurochemical, and partly a manifestation of language. That is to say, it’s a form of light sloshing around in the bucket of a sentence.
In the same manner that a certain arrangement of molecules will create a certain drug or chemical, a certain arrangement of words will create a particular image or idea, or a rearrangement of letters will create a different word.
The world is in continual flux. Language is a reflection of continual process and modulation. Emotion is an ocean caged behind the ribs. If the metaphor is mixed, it’s because emotion makes a mess of everything, including T-shirts and planets.
There is the emotion of distance, which is an emotion of stratospheric calm and maneuverability. Radical emotions give steel. If I insult a pickle, the pickle will not explode, not because it’s a pickle, but because it’s not a hole. Holes explode because of the sticks of dynamite that have been placed there. In mining, this is called blast design and is a way to minimize ground damage.
The present tense is recommended for enduring pain. Do not put pain in the future. The ideal place for pain is in the past, where it can be forgotten, but this is hard to do without a sufficient quantity of garlic and opium.
Unfathomability can be achieved through the frottage of Max Jacob and eating lots of scallops.
If you slice a bean in half, you will discover a personality. It will help explain polygamy, and the structure of protein.
Grumbling is a good way to attach the truth to gravity.
Rage can be remedied with bromides, brochures, and the syntax of acceleration.
I will sometimes goad pronouns into action, or drift among the skeletons of shattered greed, reflecting on the futility of corduroy.
The circus will hurt your eyes if you break it into jokes. Rise peremptorily during a float. Milk opinion with whatever incentive urges, be it embodiment or infantry, truffles or ratiocination.
Language disintegrates when it eats itself.
Emotion is old and pressed into generation where it must visit caf├ęs and grow thick with excuse. It is here that we must suppose diving into the bald powder of participles. For what paragraph floats unexamined beneath the world without a rudder or frequency? A wade through the small waves striking at our legs reveals the various flavors of consideration. Let us grip the handle and wheel our thought forward into further reflection. The zoom lens merges with the horizon and the emotion emerging in the distance is crumpled and ripped by a storm of livid violet.  


Anonymous said...

Nice piece, John. CE

John Olson said...

Thank you, CE!