The complex of melancholia behaves like an open wound.
—Sigmund Freud, “Mourning and Melancholia”
The patience of the scream has no limits.
—Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions
I have been writing the wound and the scream. Possessed by the thing I invited to haunt me because it needed a habitation, a place from which its scars could be traced through language. It is a long-memoried thing, a deeply pained thing, a scream comprised of a chorus of echoes long believed to have faded. But the wound remains and the scarring is partial, and it pulses with the anger of being forgotten, refuses to remain silent, screams persistently, patiently, longingly.
I have been writing the sounds of whispers from deep night conversations, whispered so softly they barely exist, with such hesitation that language fractures, with such pain that meaning cannot bear the weight of the word “is.” I have been writing the sounds of whispers issued so reluctantly, and so insistently, whispers I am urged to forget, whose tellers look away rather than admit the truths they dare not inhabit.
I have been writing the tearing of grief, the flesh held together by thorns. A song beyond the registers of hearability, in the microtonalites of grief, hums persistently. It presses on the now with its insistent, arrhythmic beat. In the abyss there is madness. In the void there is losing. In the darkness there is threat. One risks being unraveled. I am disorganized. And still the scream persists.
I have been writing fragments I was never supposed to know and stumbled upon in the petrified bark of long-forgotten trees. I chase after minims in passing winds, quavers in whirling dust, and dare to promise I will listen to the chorus of patient screams. I search for notes long enough and deep enough and strong enough to index loss. I look for scores that will not crumble when confronted with screams lingering as echoes, instruments that will not shatter when playing impossible screams.
And the wound remains to be written.
The wound in its persistent wounding. The wound that will not heal. The wound that is continually wounded. The wound that is layered by the impossibility of scarring. The wound as fresh now as it was in a then that cannot be remembered. The wound of time in time. The wound that is now and seems to have always been.
We have forgotten the time before the wound. Are unable to imagine the wound has not always been. Are afraid to imagine a world without the wound. Fear losing the wound we have always been carrying around.
I have been writing the wound whose persistence we crave and fear. I have been writing the persistent wound we dare not admit exists. The wound whose collective forgetting allows our collective being. The wound that stitches “I” to “we.”
I have been writing the wound and the scream, the precarious “we” and the unraveling “I.” I am gazing into the void, and I am still scared.