On Fissure (from Monika Weiss, with permission)

From: Monika Weiss <gniewna@monika-weiss.com>

To: Alan Sondheim <sondheim@panix.com>

On Fissure

Fissure, an opening that doesn't want to close. Leakage. Porosity. Agamben's enunciation (going through the opening, coming, pouring out). Permanent state of disappearance (choking, inability to speak in face of the ?horizon?, aporia). The idea that we must forget about our conditionin order to ?maintain normalcy?. To survive (in regular, ?American? way) means to leave behind our memory of death. Yes, I agree, pain is private,enclosed, inarticulate, silent, like a stone, yet loud as it breaks our inner walls. And yes pleasure is ultimately forbidden as well, sexuality as a lack of control over one's body. But there is possibly a memory of pain and of death that is shared regardless of experience, a kind of immediate recognition. When we write pain, when we write disaster, we perform it. I think mourning is a form of writing, giving (con)text to the memory of dying that we are born with. In many cultures, especially ancient, only women were allowed to lament and to take care of the dead. Because they were already "dirty" through the touching of the other side, through giving birth, through bleeding inside out--the surface of the skin corresponding with the membrane dividing here and there. Why is not semen considered 'dirty' with life/death as well, as breaking the boundary of here and there? The oldest forms of tragedy--lament in fact--were always dialogues, between the one here and the one no longer here.  Perhaps an internal dialogue. I have been working with lamentation for that reason, for that desire to approach the membrane in performative way. Yes, we ought to feel guilty for writing/performing death. Because of pleasure and beauty, because of a sense of relief, release. Always the other's death, not my own, that we discuss, describe, un-describe, inscribe. But isn't writing/performing it the only thing we own, for a brief moment between the two dirty openings/closures?