In ec[o]topia, I immerse myself in the many displacements that linger over and up through the wasted, devastated spaces of dead and dying dreams of progress. I imagine dwelling in the dumps littered with tiny technological shards of rare earth. Pressed and electrified, they belong to the waste pickers now, they are a livelihood. I don’t answer my obsolete cell phone if it still knows how to ring. In ec[o]topia, I seek the full ethical and political expression of an ontology of displaced desire. Everything which desires, displaces. And I ask: If this is true, how do we denounce displacement? How do we place desire? We rethink that most humble form of life: The plant. The plant is desire mobile, globalized, and nomadic, not for the sake of mobility, globalization, or nomadism, but as a mode of struggle attached to spaces of mourning, drawn to melancholy natures, to what will have been. This is desire which listens closely for the life that overcomes death on terms dictated by that to which dreams abandon themselves. It makes an atmosphere from air, it breathes itself into existence from the vast undoing of its ancestors. It does not forget because it does not remember.
If the ruin is a metaphor for hope, as María Zambrano tells us, it is so because it is left to other devices, to be determined by the underdetermined, that first wave of weeds waiting there, always, our botanical kismet. The ruin is precisely that which is unimproved by the impossible dream of invulnerability, of an ever-better life. The weed does not know a better life, only this life and this place, where it waits for decades before emerging. The ruin calls it forth to carpet over the false dream of progress, that dream which concentrates vulnerability elsewhere at uncalculable cost, the dream that creates destruction as a nihilistic mode of renewing demands for improvement. This is not something of which we dream. If there is no possibility of stepping outside this dream, no freedom from its incessant demand to try again later, when the market is better, when the weather makes sense, when the server is back online, then I affirm my desire to be as far away as possible. To be a seed, waiting not for my messiah to come, but for my displacer to move on; to not be underfoot anymore. I seek the freedom of emergence. And as I drift like the angel of queer history, out of the past, I call out the policies of renewal, redevelopment, and revitalization for what they are: Death unaccounted for, murder by other means. I say, with anyone whose displacement is mandated, that this is not new, this is not developed, this is not vital. It’s the same old story, dressed for the promised apocalypse. We don’t need it, we’re already living it. So, move on, and let us grow in our own way.
“…Anyway, the press is unbearably stupid and conformist, don’t you find?” he insisted.
“I don’t know, really, I don’t read it.”
“You’ve never opened a newspaper?”
“Yes, probably,” Jed said good-naturedly, but in fact he had no memory of ever doing so. He managed to visualize piles of Le Figaro Magazine on a coffee table, in his dentist’s waiting room; but his dental problems had been solved a long time ago. In any case, he never _felt the need_ to buy a newspaper. In Paris the atmosphere is saturated with information. Whether you like it or not, you see the headlines in the kiosks, you hear conversations in the supermarket lines. When he went up to Creuse for his grandmother’s funeral, he’d realized that the atmosphere density of information diminished considerably the farther you got away from the capital; and that, more generally, human affairs lost their importance and gradually everything disappeared, except plants.
From Michel Houellebecq’s The Map and the Territory, pp. 89-90
I’ve kept notebooks about nothing in particular for years now. I rarely read them. Tonight, I’ve made a small indulgent return to the archives – which I’ve made for nobody in particular. Here’s something that I found.
It flows out of my fingertips, this river. It bubbles and whirls and it doesn’t hesitate at obstructions. It knows nothing of stone; soft in its fury. And then, twenty miles down stream, it all cascades into the whirring turbines. My river, stolen by the brazen intervention of a dam. Contained only momentarily, but robbed of its rightfully gentle decline into brackish sea waters.
How flows it? Asks the river. Without knowing which language might reveal my response, all I can do is spin on the shores. I’ve pulled up a canoe here, on the banks of the slowly filling placid lake. I have given nothing of myself to this diminishingly shallow pool. I can no longer see the bottom. But, like Burroughs, I might imagine that there is a creature, translucent, who prowls along these wooded shores. It can smell and taste more than it can see or hear. The creature, invested in touch, cannot tell me anything of its past or of its future. But in that touch, reluctant or otherwise, it reveals to me an entirely sedimented present. What boundary between us? I am enveloped here, into this skin, and without knowing where I end I cannot possibly pull myself apart from it.
He makes me something to eat, but I barely eat it. I am morose and it is beautiful outside. I am smoking and drinking coffee and feeling badly for myself because I am overcome with his beauty. His is a quiet and calm beauty. I want him to teach me peace. I want him to teach me simplicity. I am yearning and I cannot stop myself from revealing the reality that I want him. Sedimented in my touch, every layer of my present, are the traces of an imagined enfolding. My words turn themselves into coded expressions of the deepening care that I feel for him. I am melted into a version of myself which does not discern differences between emotion and thought, which does not lend itself easily to letting go, which cannot figure out how to be washed over by the reality of a respectful limitation. It is too difficult for me to imagine that I would not know how to feel differently. I cannot feel differently because, as the sanguine flow spells itself in splattered waves of fluid, I lay there, receiving it. I am not in a position. I am not propped up. I am naked. I am naked. I am naked.
What have I wrought.