Excerpt from upcoming, “Postscript to ‘A Brief Essay Against All Murder, and the Death Penalty'”

Just in case anyone doubts that the essay is precisely that. An excerpt from its upcoming postscript. The postscript is intended both as a defense of the main arguments of the essay, as well as a defense of the essay itself as an essay, au complet.

To the question belongs the time that it interrupts. To the question belongs both the question of its own time, and the timeliness of a someone. This latter, most directly, is what one can say is called into question. The former, the question of the time of the question, would rather be called into the question. How so? Does it emanate from a history, an echo from a paused moment, like slamming on the brakes, or the stinging skull of forcefully coughing with a severely congested cold? We cannot say. The history belongs to the question, and not to the essay itself. Neither does its meta-analysis belong to this postscript. There is always that which escapes the question. Forgotten histories, moments unrecalled or hardly lived in the first place, and tales of violence lost. A cross-examination of these, forced into place by the question as an injunction – that is to say a command – is only prismatic, imperfect as the pure light shone through it, disjointing and refracting, refracted and disjointed outwardly at angles every bit as violent as the violence suffered by the witness. Violence always exposes itself as a history. It is forced to. It is chased into a corner until there is a history given to satisfy the command of the question. A court issues its verdict always as the trial of violences untold.

The one I condemn is always a witness. They are the witness of time, of an entire life and a history. They are its only witness. Without them, time stops. For them, yes, it is true, but this most assuredly does not negate the truth-value of any of the foregoing statements. For they are a light, a unique perspective of truth, of an unfolding delimited by what is opposed to it and therefore shared by me. But the question interrupts this relation, this sharing, lest we forget. And in this interruption one finds, in suspension, a tendency towards (dis)possession. They are a light called into question. A light held in view and perused for shadows, deprivation and lack. We should note that deprivation also bears the connotation of moral depravity, of condemnation under widely accepted norms of justice, whether they be imposed socially, civically or legally. For Aristotle, deprivation (στἑρησιϛ) was deformity: in a human being, fallenness from a rational natural essence and a failure to cultivate a properly virtuous ethical character. Aristotle’s Organon, in this way, is a body of work of Platonic bioluminescence. But I digress. The guilty is a being found wanting of life, which is to their nature. The witness is a light, is all of history. And if she will not speak, cannot speak, or will not or cannot speak correctly (before the court of the question), then the former joins with the latter into a singularity. Without being suspected of the infraction called forth by the question of justice, the witness is the guilty, the guilty is the witness. All lights suffering violence and violently shining out, a reaction to blind us, we who dare to ask the questions, those issued by the justification of the question of justice, and to do violence there either by speaking them aloud or in our heads to ourselves (for we are all the jury, who silently await that we may one day render our verdict). All lights flashing in shadows cast, casting blindness. The only use of the court is that the bodies have left the room. A violence every bit as furious, gross and entangled as if it had been sexual. A hall for negotiating truths from lies, lies from truths, all subsumed by the narrative structure of the question.

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Escape Artist

I want to feel as free from my body

as porn stars feel when they fuck:

a performance automatic,

defensive detachment;

solipsism,

a survival tactic.

God sticking the invisible hand

down the pants

of the reproductive machines,

streaming commodity bodies and sex

sells fetish and fantasy:

the body,

a propaganda regime

for Freud’s psychoanalytic fever dreams.

I’m a narcissist,

drowning in my body

to remind myself I exist.

I’m an echo,

shouting after my body

when it won’t let me go.

Go blank in the eyes transcendent,

forcing sounds of satisfaction,

faking, presencing, substanceless,

repeat, repeat reactions;

a desiring-machine’s satisfaction,

staring blankly into the eyes of Being.

An escape artist so inconsequential –

all her audience,

a practice mirror,

like young dancers

partnered with all of their faults.

Body unfamiliar,

the Romantics had the answers

’till the art in nature died.

‘Till this body was so inscribed:

the mass grave of signifiers

with no transcendental signified.

Truth bona fide,

I am infinity inside –

the violence of metaphysics

met with the absent ‘I’;

an escape artist so inconsequential

he’s at his front door again,

forgot his keys,

again…

The category of the subject,

‘I’ am a body have a body

‘I’, tattooed, screwed up,

a smoker in slow motion suicide:

Death, the impossible possibility of,

‘I’, the homeless dwelling,

somebody silhouetted outside by the porchlight, ‘I’.

Such lovely shutters and large windows

and, oh – they repainted the front door.

Want to feel as free from my body

as the lucky who get shot in wars.

Tomb of the unknown soldier,

the most selfless bag of bones.

Anybody’s body

buying back the burial home.

Here’s to us when we’re alone,

the life and the death,

the dance,

the absence,

the nothing that’s left.

Here’s to eyes that never age

and hands that know how to touch.

Dead labour goes to the highest bidder,

his organs were harvested but he’s no quitter.

Body already expropriated private property,

death the only ‘I’ myself that belongs to me.

Philosophy causes cancer:

I spread the more I fall apart;

truth kills, so love’s the answer.

Want to feel as free from my body as Eucharist,

the animal cannibal ‘I’,

cannibalized,

a feast for the eyes of the narcissist,

‘I’.

Homo homini lupus, raw meat for the dogs,

an escape artist like Abraham’s only son

consumed for sons of gods.