mMyth is is
In Her Interior
mMyth is is is an experimental poetic work in the traditions of écriture féminine or writing from, with and through the body. It highlights the (im)possibility of writing the body, while remaining deeply situated in the body. In this work bodies move in and out of focus, in and out of each other: becoming-text, becoming-i, unbecoming-i, becoming-mother, becoming-other. mMyth is is disorders the equilibrium of order words, decentring the impossible I. The work is troubling for the tongue when spoken out loud, as if resisting intelligibility, resisting sedimentation. In this way it remains always in flow.
Écriture Féminine; Collaboration; Poetics; Experimental Memoir; Nonsense
this is my this is
thisisme failing, sis
his men smyling
as they thus and therefore
“i am what i am,” sings Popeye, in a text of men and patriotism
this yawn in the flicker is an O of fear
sucking myself in
eating what i don’t want to look at too closely, alive
here in the present
and there, in the past, but not yet anywhere in the future
this is some tricky wording, wording myself through time
writing a false text
(what is failure that is not even failure?)
mMy after after-body
mMy before before-body
my unholy body eats itself
looks like a yawn, but this is me turning myself inside out
my left leg
i don’t look anymore at my left leg
i don’t look anymore at my leg
i don’t look anymore at my face
at my lips
i look at my mother’s lips, sucking, snacking
she never complains and she smiles blind, smiles blind, staring dark but seeing – what does she see?
then i look at my lips reading
the text i already am
but i’m blind and cannot read braille.
cannot feel my signifiers
i’m deaf and can hear no song of the skins.
there’s a fingernail moon in her eye
there’s a sundog in her eye
there’s an abyss in the jelly of her eye
my page feels empty
today i forgot all the words
discarded before I can hold the invisible ink of experience to the flame
to sour it, sear it, into vision
all the words, all the words
they fly up and out
like small balloons they fly out of a small window up the top
a small window that swings open with a long string attached
a small window you can’t reach to close
it’s in a hall with high ceilings and it’s a swing window
and the words like unfurling smoke threads
strings the words like strings fly up and slip like fish
out the swing window in the hall with the high ceilings
painted particular shade of blue no green no blue.
i am already text
but spoken in a tongue foreign to me
i do not recognise myself in word and sounds unfamiliar
all the things i can’t say, all the words i have forgotten
i think you know it too, hear me losing all the words
i am implacable!
(i’m scared, she says)
my body of work is the work of my body
of a hand that holds a pen
in the moment before touching paper
or of two hands, two sticky fingers
stick figures typing quickly and clumsily
creating strings of errors coiled around little ideas.
from a back that arches forward from coccyx, to dissect the space,
separating body and machine.
every story that my mother wrote upon me and into me
i forgot, i forget i
every story that my father untold me, untooled me
i, my eye, i looking at i with my eye
every recrimination that my son slid my way as casually as passing the salt
every cruel word his father uttered
every embrace, shove, push, unseeing glance directed my way
by other written bodies,
every epithet hurled from a car window
co-write the text that i am
i stand in the hall always already dead, wearing the skin of my mother
the skin of my mother opens up easily, splits, shinyshiny
opens up to let out the malignancy that nestles like a pearl in the flesh
glistening and wet and pustular and with delicate tendrils
the spiderpearl nestles
i wonder if my mother wants to fuck? i don’t ask
instead i ask myself:
do you want to fuck, in your mother’s skin?
bodies running, yelling, roaring in broken rounds
hands are the same as my mother’s hands, with the knob of bone
a ganglion some would say
smash it with a bible
in the hotel room
where my body no longer fits
the indecent hotel room
it’s hard to sit still with the terror of thinking about another body close to mine
the dead rabbit in the handbag, the baroque vertigo, doubled infinity
what does it mean to be inside this infinite body?
i will die. i am already dead
this all means nothing
i will never become more useful
i will become more useless
i will lose my friends
i will lose all the words
i will have no home
the text that i am will become
full of spaces, gaps, strange markings
the spellings will be of the crypt
of skin flakes in the air between us
did i know i was in a dream?
a dream of a snake that crawled upwards between two walls
near its head it had two sting-ray shaped flattened triangles
and perhaps at times i was eating the lower parts of its brown body
this body opens up like a fig full of fruit fly
this body is intoxicating in the way that rotten fruit is
i was already text
in a book that only i could write
nobody will ever read me again
i am already text.
my name replaced by that strong singular pronoun “i”
it’s a person with its feet solidly on the ground
a head pushing up into the sky
i [a drawing here]
or it’s that younger version of itself, rake-like body
its thinking head separated from the part that walks through space
a newt, a neophyte, part cocoon
a small sun on a stick
a bat and ball
a game waiting to be played
play with me, the i entreats.
i [a drawing here]
wait! it looks like a person
a person looking backwards
i [a drawing here]
and now, with a slight inclination
a person looking, leaning,
into a future not yet written
in the future i am blind already, and the words go away
in the future i am prone to aphasia.
i am prone to death and dying.
writing is impossible, writing is as impossible as this unsound, unbecoming body
andyet seek-soo declares, again, i am already text
words blister and carbonise
dribble from my mouth, inky
a self-eaten self
ERA RESEARCH STATEMENT
This text is the result of an experiment in co-creation, mobilised by a workshop writing exercise set by Dr. Quinn Eades at the Articulating Violence conference in Adelaide, 2017. The text moves concentrically, eccentrically in and out around two core quotes given by Eades as writing prompts—“I am already text. i am already text.” (Cixous in Eades 2017) and “a drop-by-drop nomenclature of bodies, a list of their entries, a recitation itself enunciated out of nowhere, and … announced, recorded repeated…” (Jean-Luc Nancy in Eades 2017). The resulting text was re/written, and subsequently performed, through the eventspace of collaboration, and was the outcome of a current passing through the assemblage of Virginia Barratt and Francesca da Rimini (Deleuze 1995, 141). Barratt and da Rimini are long-term collaborators.
Following Jean-Jacques Lecercle’s idea of the linguistic “remainder,” the work utilises devices such as repetition, circular statements, syntactical chaos and nonsense words to create an affective register at the level of the body, a text which operates as parole parlante always “at the stage of coming into being” (Merleau-Ponty 1995, 197).
Repetition of the “I” is excessive to the point of abjection, an “I” which highlights the (im)possibility of writing the body, while deeply situated in the body, specifically an écriture féminine. In this text, bodies move in and out of focus, in and out of each other: becoming-text, becoming-i, unbecoming-i, becoming-mother, becoming-other. A univocity of troubling bodies.
“mMyth is is” is performative and performed, troubling for the tongue when spoken out loud, as if resisting intelligibility, resisting sedimentation. In this way it remains always in flow.
“mMyth is is” is an experimental collaborative poetic work. The work adds to the corpus of Australian feminist experimental writing in the traditions of écriture féminine or writing from, with and through the body.
The work instantiates collaborative writing practices, and critiques notions of individual authorship proceeding from Barthes’ seminal work on the death of the author. As a text for performance, “mMyth is is” an example of polyphony in univocity, enfolding the voices of the unnamed.
Deleuze, G. (1995). Negotiations 1972-1990 (trans. Martin Joughin). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Eades, Q. (2017). “Articulating the Body” workshop with Dr Quinn Eades. SA Gender, Sex and Sexualities Studies Postgraduate Conference 2017. City West Campus, University of South Australia.
Merleau-Ponty, M. (1995). Phenomenology of Perception (trans. Colin Smith). New York, NY and London, UK: Routledge.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.
© Copyright 2015 La Trobe University. All rights reserved.