Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pieces of Me

If it’s not the hunger and lack of interest in any of the food I find on the streets here—I mean there’s only so many cheese pizzas, cheese sandwiches, tomato salads, falafel pitas, and gummy, cheesy pasta dishes with limp vegetables I can stomach—that will kill me, then it will be the utter inexplicability of my inability to sleep throughout the night. Last night I went to bed at a reasonable hour (11:30), but I was wide awake (again) by 12:45, and I couldn’t get back to sleep until almost 3:00. In the meantime—and I mean this in its meanest and most unreasonable sense—I began reading another life-changing essay by Derrida about Gadamer and the poetics of Paul Celan. And then I took out my iPod and listened to some tracks from my Lazy Sunday Afternoon playlist, just allowing my mind to drift and reflect in a letting-be (perhaps—as if—a move toward Gelassenheit). Perhaps it will be the anticipation of the arriving/letting-go that will finally do me in.

“There are pieces of me you’ve never seen. Maybe she’s just pieces of me you’ve never seen.” These lyrics by Tori Amos continually float through my head. Knowing that people—and ultimately all things, including the great to be (it)self—are ultimately unknowable, I know that I don’t even really know myself. So, how can anyone else know this me that I don’t even know, this no-ing, unknowable I that reverts to a me when faced with the face of the radically alter in its (own/un-owning/un-(kn)ownness) radical alterity? A good question to reflect upon and face at two-fucking-thirty AM. Kids: don’t try this at home without adult supervision. I am a trained professional, and it still hurts when I do it.

I like the subtle subversion of irreplaceability these lyrics hint at: as if to say, you don’t need to replace me with her because we are the same. Do you not see that which draws you to her is also present here in me? Do you not see that the continual/continuing race toward the (metaphysics of the) new is just as questionable as the issue of knowledge of self and other (it)self? We are ultimately reflections of one another, each other: “The killer in you is the killer in me.” (Lyrics by Smashing Pumpkins. Maybe I should just stop listening to music altogether.)

I like how da in German can mean both there as well as here. I like how nach can mean both to(ward) as well as after. This is a great language in which to lose oneself, especially when the first person-pronoun is never capitalized (except, of course, as the first word of a sentence) and the second-person polite Sie is always capital(ized). But true Gesprach takes place only between (ein(e)) ich und (ein(e)) du....

Speak my language.

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