August 23, 2009

The panel was called "Influence and Originality." I gave this talk:

Influence & Originality


I was walking along the street. I wasn’t doing anything. I was looking for some action.

It was night, late at night, Times Square. The blue yellow green red white and violet neon lights were still blinking. They wouldn’t stop blinking for another two hours. And it would still be dark. It’s always dark on Times Square: only rats live there, rats and some of those creepy insects that only come out at night.

My name is Jacqueline Onassis.

I kept walking down the slightly wet shining street. The neon lights were blinking at me, winking, inviting hot desires I had never known existed. In one dark alleyway, seven naked women are waiting to slowly peel off my clothes. One has her tongue under my left arm. One has her hand buried in the soft flesh of my thigh. Hot. There’s a woman waiting for me who’s madly in love with me. In fact she can’t live without me. Every waking minute of the day she sees my face, my face twice its normal size hovering in front of her eyes, my hands tangled in, pressing, messing her wet cunt hairs. She dreams that I’m wet: my thighs are pillars. Joined at the top. Water streaks down their insides. I’m so wet and anxious that sweat’s pouring out of me. “Come get me,” I whisper to her. “Come get me and handle me.”

The street was still wet and shiny. I felt a hand lightly touch my shoulder.

I quickly turned around.

“Look,” a young dark-haired man said to me, releasing his erect cock from his pants. “See what you do to me? Every moment I see you. Three nights I’ve been following you. Three times I had to relieve myself.”

I laughed. “Didn’t anyone tell you that was bad for you? You could stunt your growth doing it so much.”

He didn’t laugh. “When are you going to spend a whole night with me? Just one time that we could make love…”

I laughed again. “You’re too greedy. I’m a married woman was responsibilities. I must be home every night so that I see my children when I wake up in the morning.”

“What would be terrible if you did not?” He pouted.

“Then I’d be remiss in the one duty that my husband demands of me,” I said. “And that I would not do.”

“Your husband does not care. Otherwise he would have come to see you and the children at least once these past three months,” he said.

My voice went cold. “How do you know that? What my husband does or does not do is none of your business.”

He sensed instantly that he had said too much. “But I love you. I am going crazy for wanting you.”

I nodded slowly. Relaxing. “Then keep things in their proper perspective,” I said. “And if you’re going to keep playing with your cock, you’d better get to the nearest bar before a cop arrests you.”

“If I do, will you suck me?”


As a child in sixth grade in a North American school, won first prize in a poetry contest. In late teens and early twenties, entered New York City poetry world. At first sight everything seemed to revolve around the theme of plagiarism as the key to a renewed understanding of the literary. Then prominent Black Mountain poets, mainly male, taught or attempted to teach her that a writer becomes a writer when and only when he finds his own voice. Since wanted to be a writer, tried hard to find her own voice. Couldn't. Writer thought, all these male poets want to be the top poet, as if, since they can't be a dictator in the political realm, can be dictator of this world. Want to play. Be left alone to play. Want to be a sailor who journeys at every edge and even into the unknown. See strange sights, see. Want to focus less on the kinds of interests and beliefs formulated on the basis of identity claims and more on precarity and its differential distributions, in the hope that new coalitions might be formed. If I can't keep on seeing wonders, I'm in prison. Claustrophobia's sister to my worst nightmare: lobotomy, the total loss of perceptual power, of seeing new. Wanted to be a writer. Didn’t want to be restricted to purely literary questions about originality, the cult of genius or the modern invention of the rights of the author. Wanted a series of concepts and doctrines—the beautiful soul, purity, sincerity, the abolition of the new and the persistence of the old, good faith and bad conscience, the logic of melodrama, etc.—that, in reality, can be read as responses to a question about literature and politics that stills remains open. Since couldn't find 'her voice', decided she'd first have to learn what a Black Mountain poet meant by 'his voice'. What did he do when he wrote? This world both represents and is human history, public memories and private memories turned public, the records and actualizations of human intentions. Decided, no. To hell with the Black Mountain poets even though they had taught her a lot. This understanding would situate the act of writing between the two extremes of originality, which turns out to be undesirable aside from being an illusion, and falsification, which becomes deliberate to the point of turning into an authentic duty. Later she would think about ownership and copyright. I'm constantly being given language. Since this language- world is rich and always changing, flowing, when I write, I enter a world which has complex relations and is, perhaps, illimitable. Everything as a two-way affair, about erect and sucking participation, not merely consumption. Motherhood and making love and tongues under left arms. By using words arranged by Harold Robbins attempts to close this gap between the autonomy of the text and its social and political inscription. Went out night after night to lightly touch the shoulders of others from behind and keep playing with my cock in the nearest bar. Used the exploration of the limit of misogynist discourse to explore other boundaries and borders, like that of literary ownership. I didn't create language, writer thought. I can't make language, but in this world, I can play and be played. Realized that to refuse to write “literature” but to continue writing “criticism” implies withdrawing the former from bourgeois thought but leaving the latter well anchored in it. Realized that what I call my own writing appears perhaps at times as something that I author or, indeed, own. But the terms that make up one’s own writing are, from the start, outside oneself, beyond oneself in a sociality that has no single author (and that radically contests the notion of authorship itself). Decided that since what she wanted to do was just to write, not to find her own voice, could and would write by using anyone's voice, anyone's text, whatever materials she wanted to use. By way of a new practice of storytelling to try and demonstrate the fallacy of these oppositions, together with others such as the one between commitment and vanguardism, such would finally have been the ambitious project made possible by the idea of plagiarism—all this, it seems, without having to exceed the limits of the literary itself, with everything this notion promises or threatens to convey. Had a dream while waking that was running with animals. Wild horses, leopards, red fox, kangaroos, mountain lions, wild dogs. Running over rolling hills. Was able to keep up with the animals and they accepted her. Pleaded come get me and handle me and then build a bottom-up, participatory structure to society and culture, rather than a top-down, closed, proprietary structure. Realized that if we are to make broader social and political claims about rights of protection and entitlements to persistence and flourishing, we will first have to be supported by a new written ontology, one that implies the rethinking of precariousness, vulnerability, injurability, interdependency, exposure, bodily persistence, desire, work and the claims of language and social belonging. Claimed from now on she would read only things that have come from somewhere else, which would be easy because everything written comes from somewhere else because everything is written in language, one of the most open source open content tools ever. All the while, she continued to use language to write, had to use language to write, and so continued to contribute, discuss, annotate, critique, improve, improvise, remix, mutate, and add yet more ingredients that she could not own, things that are beautiful, revolutionary, and irretrievable.

Blog Archive