Baskets of Words

I have been gathering baskets of words—livability, killability, disposability, intimate diversity, intimate surveillance, intimate heterogeneity, dissident embodiments, extinguishment, potentiality—to think with and around and about “being-here-now” or “being:here:now” or “being/here/now” or “beingherenow.” To engage the peculiar-particular “archive” that both floats and sediments as “the quotidian” or “a quotidian,” as I struggle not to mistake “a” for “the” or “the” for “a.”

Repetition, with variation, has become a method, a practice, a habit—a moment to catch a breath, lose all ground, dig deeper into life-saving trenches, only to discover the unhidden bodies, unconsumed by hyenas or quicklime. (One might add morbid embodiments, undead proximities, dead-dead vibrancies, and seeming-dead frequencies to this ever-expansive, very leaky basket of words.)

It has seemed necessary (and ethical) to leave the basket leaky as I travel from place to place, to let words leak out, bleed out, dry and desiccate, only to return where I have already been to re-collect the words—the words will not stay in the basket long enough to arrive at “the situation” or “the scene,” which might be my way of saying that I have yet to arrive at “the situation” or “the scene” where the words might “speak” or “work,” even as the leaky basket will not allow “hoarding.”

Words dry on the way from “source” to “destination,” but never into re-constitutable concentrate.

It has seemed urgent to keep returning to word-sources, to keep using “a/the” leaky basket, in an attempt to “localize,” to speak from and with the floating-sedimenting here-now. I have hoped, perhaps foolishly, that gathering enough words or too many words might allow some to remain as others leak away—I have hoped that “leaking away” is also a kind of work, a kind of necessary labor. Even as I contend with the inevitability of ephemerality.

(What, I wonder, is the relationship between “ephemera” and “stickiness”? Which words “stick” to which situations? How do they stick? What does “stickiness” do to ephemera? Do situations make words “sticky”? Do situations make words “ephemeral”? How might the resources of ephemerality frame [or re-frame] how words can be “sticky”?)

This is not about finding the “right” words: it is about trying to find words elastic enough (not the right description) to “do something” as they leak away, disappear from view, are re-gathered, and leak away again. Accepting that the basket must always remain leaky, cannot be other than leaky.

I want to think with leakiness and stickiness, with slipperiness and ephemerality, to push against the conceptual-political ossification that we now understand (and use) as “history,” as “strategy,” as “possibility.”

What are the possibilities of “slip-away” words?

But, also, what potential might “gathering words” have? Words that assemble people and places and times, practices and habits and procedures, words that collectivize the never-weres and cannot-bes alongside the here-nows? Words that might weave a being-together in a “possible.”

(to think of the “leaky” and the “sticky” is also to think of the “residue,” to imagine a “social” as this interaction with and through “residues,” to think of the relationship between the social-enabling residue and disposability, but also the residue that might never be vibrant matter)

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