Diary of a 21st Century Drunk – written when Barak Obama was first inaugurated President of USA in January 2009:
Diary of a 21st Century Drunk
Now transcribed in one place in honour of the Fiscal Cliff (today 7 Nov 12):
DIARY OF A 21st CENTURY DRUNK
I shall untangle knots by first tangling them into knots.
It is a hard world I see. A hard world I hear and feel and smell and taste… taste the world – or in any drunk’s case drink it. Then: another sense, a sixth sense that is all the other senses in a Holy Unity as well as being separate itself within a Sextet of Senses: and that final sense is to live the world to its very dregs. To jump-start it not just into ‘living’ as an economic process but into ‘life’ itself as a graspable object.
I call myself a 21st Century Drunk to protect my name and reputation. So, yes, now, on that note, I am as anonymous as the day I first emerged from my mother’s sanctuary, before she named me with a name I had not chosen. Instead, I choose a name for myself or, rather, a proper descriptive label beyond the scope of any traditional name given to any of us at Baptism or Christening or other Religious rubber-stamping … or by burning brand … or mere legal registration.
‘A 21st Century Drunk’ in all but name.
This is in turn called a diary. But it is not really a diary. Another misnomer that the diarist who gave me birth called me. It is really an account of a world in freefall from the point of view of someone who is also in freefall but not really a drunk that is drunk on drink in the ‘normal sense’.
I am someone who lives between the lines of the writer’s words. A thing with a mission. Not an Oba-Ma. But that word Oba-Ma in itself seems as if a Manitou or other totemic beast lives again to stir this pot of syrupy text.
I am a drunk, though. But drunk on words, not drink. Drunk on death. Drunk on dream. Drunk on despair. Drunk on description of all of these things.
In this my ‘diary’, then (and make no mistake), I shall pull the word-strings, not any writer who claims to write them down from scratch … and I shall do this to tease the limbs of any dark puppet that lurks within the heart of truth-fiction and, in essence, to make the juices of the ‘life’ economy flow again by revitalisation of despair.
I shall over-dose upon the sense of living: upon a sense that becomes a drink impossible not to gulp down as it invisibly fills the air we breathe; making words ‘live’ rather than just ‘denote’ or, at more length, ‘describe’ … by weaving the word-strings in ceremonious serendipity within a texture of many texts in a delightfully sinful syntax of togetherness by the very words eventually to be unstrung.
I am no mere Oba-Ma, I promise you. Perhaps I am the Ooggee-Ooggee Man!
In the second entry, this first knot will be untangled.
I hope to untangle knots; but new ones emerge everywhere I look.
I dreamt last night of Diane Arbus and her bush-baby, and of Mini-Me in Big Brother – and other photographs in the sense-shrinking night.
One choice of the on-screen menu was the Oba-Manitou or Man-Oba as he told me to call him. Yesterday I suspected Man-Oba was actually within me – primed simply to be dreamed. Instead, the dream had me experiencing Man-Oba in the digital form of a separate creature come to save the world from within a puppet-like youtube … a continuing narrative of Government before, during and after. As if that would make any difference!
He had a cigarette going, I simply knew, but it wasn’t in frame. And an invisible drink beside him. Dreams have margins beyond which you cannot see. Photos (colour, sepia and brownie) and videos, too. It is as if our world harbours a monster twitching its old-film feelers over parts of the hidden image – shaking and shivering like a monster’s insect-legs just beyond the frame, but often, fleetingly, within it.
That monster can grow tentacles like Cthulhu … slowly knotting beyond any untanglement by mankind, even by Man-Oba’s planted manipulations.
Even vows are botched. I promised yesterday that I would untangle the knot I tangled into existence. But first I need to know what knot I’m dealing with. Sometimes you don’t know your own intricacies of tangling them. Terminal Knot, Overhand-knot, Reef-Knot, Sheet-Bend, Carrick-Bend, True-Lover’s Knot, Ooggee-Knot, Ligottum, Timber Hitch, Constrictor, The Eight, Bowstring, the running bowline, hangman, the monkey fist, Dolly (trucker-hitch)…
Each has its own end. It’s just a matter of finding it.
I’ve been accused – off piste – with playing with words. But when you’ve got a new world leader whose name resonates with other names-in-frames in more than one perceptibly sinister way, I feel entitled to do so.
And when an important oath is repeated in private to replace a public one, you are also entitled, I’d say, to speculate weirdly on an increasingly weird world.
But the world and those in it have always been weird. Yes, but in the days of my Nineteen Fifties childhood, via a hindsight from an even weirder world (i.e. now), those cloystered animals we once were are animals no longer but multi-connected ‘gods’ in our own right and, by such connections, can monger weirds as well as words…. and everyone’s word is everyone else’s weird.
This mongered ‘diary’ has been so far described in words of ‘mongered connection’ here and elsewhere, viz:
“Reading this was like listening to William Blake comment on a typical 15 minutes of CNN and YouTube”
“I love this Des. Especially this line “I am a drunk, though. But drunk on words, not drink. Drunk on death. Drunk on dream. Drunk on despair. Drunk on description of all of these things.” Hopefully you continue this. Possibly a future novella or in progress?”
But is this a diary or a fiction? I say it is neither. It is certainly not a mixture of both! But what do I know? Meanwhile, Only Connect…
“I ran a new dialogue programme yesterday.”
“It always seems to me that any dialogue that doesn’t actually take place in real life remains inevitably fabricated when, say, used for fiction or drama or even a philosophical Socratic-like dialogue…”
“Yes, you’re right but this programme is the best on the market and the resulting dialogue can be very realistic – so realistic indeed that the conversation that the dialogue represents virtually took place.”
“In some cases, not only virtually but actually.”
”A real conversation?
”Yes, like this one.”
“I see. Please give me the dialogue you said ‘I ran yesterday.’”
“Here it is as a transcription. I’ll read one side of the conversation you the other. I did two copies for convenience.”
“Go ahead, then.”
“Are buildings ghosts in disguise?”
“Does Time to be Time need to have matter as well as mind in motion?”
“Are all statements questions in disguise?”
“Are all Presidents precedents or were they always part of destiny even before they were born?”
“Premises not conclusions?”
“Living in a huge imposing white building rather than in a tiny tradition of backward terraced tunnel-back?”
“Do negative thoughts always begin IR?”
“Irreligion, Irrelevance, Irate, Irony, maybe, but not Irreducible…”
“Stop, this doesn’t sound like a real conversation to me!”
“Hang on, are you the doubter or am I? I think we’ve got out of order.”
“The two towers reflect upon themselves in the Manhattan mirror of time – waiting to be rebuilt by tunnelling back…”
“Who said that?”
”Life goes on, whoa.”
”La, la how their life goes on.”
”Desmond has a barrow in the marketplace.”
”Molly is the singer in a band.”
”Desmond says to Molly girl I like your face.”
”And Molly says this as she takes him by the hand.”
“Sounds like an old song.”
“I ran, I ran, I ran…”
“…a dialogue programme that never ended…”
“…as any real dialogue becomes just another knot…”
“…until the ligature so tightly tangles it strangles the words even before they’re actually used…”
“Who said that?”
“Who said that?”
These are five entry doors from which to choose for anyone seeking a reality where death is fictitious.
The first entry, as you can see, bears the symbol of a frothing tankard of real ale, the second some art by William Blake infiltrated by a Lovecraftian monster, the third a thumbnail you may recognise as a Midnight Child with a large ligottum around its neck, the fourth a photograph of someone you will definitely recognise as the new President being sworn into office by a skilful interlocutor, the fifth a written notice that starts by explaining the purpose of the overall choice.
The notice does not explain the basis of choice or that there is only the single chance of choosing with never being able to open or close any door again. But it does randomly describe what the four wrong choices of entry happen to contain, i.e.:-
Cash salted away as a prize for finding a reality that is fictitious.
A fine-tuned String Quartet playing endlessly late Beethoven with any listener caught up by the music never being able to find any death, let alone a fictitious one.
An intimacy as a means of becoming an entry yourself.
The wording of an oath you will be made to swear voiding retrospectively that very oath.
You obviously chose Entry Five. The door opening made the notice become fictitious or at least vanish behind it.
You suddenly realised there was a sixth entry that should have been ‘doored’ for choice. You watch many people wander around the Economic Forum in Davos in a daze, knowing that one can never make the right choice, that one always opens the wrong door.
The image on the sixth door is a moving one, the others bearing static images like dead things or writing. You know this sixth entry is the only door you can choose because you need at least to mimic moving images during a last glimpse before passing through it so as to be able to pass through it at all. You gather your own life from the life of others seen in motion …. even fabricated or artistic motion … filling your stone limbs with its viewed vibrancy as an assumed reality. But when life does come it comes with its own main drawback. Its end is built in.
Through the door, once opened, you feel it is darker inside than when it was still closed. You can just make out a stimulus package in the form of Mannequin-Oba being picked over by a large Midnight’s Child and a congress of quietly-dialoguing pairs of long-eared puppets separately labelled ‘not what they seem’ or ‘soon he will know about the soft black stars’. The wording on the labels you know by instinct, the puppets themselves by their vague moving shapes. Only in fiction can instinct otherwise work so well.
Oba’s own sensitive points are teased by the stroke of Midnight’s Child and then by the puppets’ own supporting strings creating more strings from a symbiosis with sinewy darkness … tugging at the stimulables inside Oba’s head. But then, your own presence creates a panic, knotting the strings, making Oba sit up briefly without any apparent puppeteering needed to create such a movement from a dead weight like a showy shop-window waxwork.
“Ooggee! Ooggee!” you shout, startling yourself with a new nonsense as well as startling the Child who quickly vanishes within the Oba-head from where you realise it had earlier escaped to avoid harbouring real thoughts inside it like a brain.
“Davos! Save us!” repeatedly shouts Oba’s narrow-shadow mask, having now been repossessed by the Child’s softening pasta of ribbon synapses. The shouts emerge like foul oaths without movement by mouth or body (a pitiful sight, a raucous sound), the many pairs of puppeteering puppets having by now vanished up their own strings like startled rabbits…
The Doctor is so ill he cannot exist … ever.
It is with some strange compulsion that I mock-imagine my diary entries so far. To mock-imagine anything is to create it for real, with two negatives often making a positive.
Judging by the pointless bubbles that swell and burst by means of Optimism throughout history, I wonder if the Pessimist Philosophy (incorporating Horror Fiction and other obsessions with Death) is the most Optimistic by being the most Realistic. Most people fight against the grain of their inner being by following Optimism’s uphill path, brainwashed to believe it as the most attractive. But downhill is more efficient, with the poetic air blowing through what is left of your hair, the pedals free-wheeling…
Hormones do differ and drive us disproportionately one way or another, depending which hormones we naturally harbour.
But, if we want to get to places by following the course of least resistance, some say greed and ambition represent this course most naturally by being the nearest to the broad animal instincts of survival and fulfilment. And greed and ambition feast upon Optimism for their gory fuel.
The best response, I feel, is to mock-imagine making an overall physical audit trail of your motivations and other propensities-for-action-or-inaction, then minutely flaying the resultant ‘rope of endeavour’ (with unkempt overgrown fingernails) into constituent threads … winding the ‘despair’ threads around your neck to see how tight they can be pulled before you expire, weaving the ‘hope’ ones into useful containers to give to charities, and tangling other threads (neither ‘despair’ or ‘hope’ ones) into an artistic knot for a knot’s own sake.
Some of the threads, meanwhile, will probably take on a life of their own, stitching themselves deep under the skin, tugging in one direction or another until your limbs reflect the jumping-jackass hormone map, or follow thought’s ley-lines, or secret desires … tapping the wells of life and death, tapping them not to the optimum for which we originally craved but to what I call the essential pessimum…as the easiest path into the final knot-of-all-knots: the ligottum.
Only by finding myself impossible to unravel, can I travel properly.
Dear Diary, you bear down to give your final birth.
The worst knot the world has ever got itself into. Worse than this Entry’s figure 8 taken to infinity … where man’s many membranous organs knot together like confused Lovecraftian tentacles and create the essential Ligottum stifle-hissing in our ears that working slowly and darkly at catharsis is better than unexpected joy.
And now, here we are, heading towards the Pit and the Pessimum… in slow comings and goings of the Obapa and Obama as they sit their own Midnight Child on its Edgar Allan for potty-training. They tickle it under the chin saying Oooggee OOOOgggeee….
Come little clown,
Can’t you see,
It’s all dark brown,
And steeped in Wee.
Even hedge funds can’t be dragged backwards to the point from where they should never have started. Exits, not Entries.
Dear Diary, even puppets have motions … the soft black stars come out one by one.