by ariana reines, published in Mary Magazine,
to be read aloud, three or more voices, as one: in unison
your mother and i
feel it is important
to share our view of the world with you
before we go.
the physical world which is to say
the planet as it is for us
will have dissolved or become translated
before you reach proper dying age
although now it seems merely covered over
things will get worse.
ask anyone whose intelligence
you respect. for the time being though
i want you to know
what information technology means
in our estimation, your mother’s and mine,
because it is, we think, what will continue to flow for a while
when all the rivers are dry and the oceans are fetid and rotting
and the sky is opaque both for real and in all minds
your mother and i have discussed this
at length throughout our marriage
though especially recently
and we feel as christians
that it will have been more important to have left you
with what we can tell here and now from our perspective
than having taught you how to ride a bike
so i am simply going to tell you what we think.
information technology has brought about
a proliferation of relations between the first
and the second person above all else.
if this seems hard to understand, son,
think of the words of jesus christ
sometimes so elliptical
just take them into yourself
and let your body meditate on them
your mind will mould itself toward the revelation
you won’t even have to try.
what this means
this constriction of minds
into relations between a first and second person
what this means is all ideas and events
are consigned, doomed, to exist as though they
were interpersonal, one-to-one
and this levels all enormity
into a billion billion versions
of something somebody thinks they think.
understand me son, this is not liberty.
this is a grave limit to all things. the lord,
what atheists might be willing to call something deep in us no matter what
a something that is also general, perhaps unprovable, but felt
like life itself
is an antique referent difficult to integrate
when things of the public sphere are received in private
and the most excruciating intimacies are easily uploaded
when all things exist to stand in reserve
for the first person
son, understand me, the first person is anyone,
for whom truth and real things get rearticulated into something odd
that is neither near nor far enough away.
i think you will say that i make no sense
and am behind the times.
we are people.
we do good things if they make us feel good.
we are limited.
naturally your mother and i have had our doubts
about earth and heaven and other things
but it seems to us that the righteous will not be separated
from evildoers in heaven or hell. the separation is and has always been mental
and must be. nevertheless, we feel, your mother and i, that
there must be something beyond
what makes us feel interpersonally good
or bad. one almost expects that god
might one day call one on the phone or cause
the electricity to shudder in a significant way
we, your mother and i, have in our lives
continued to search for signs almost against our will
in for example
or sex acts
signs of the all-knowing, the universe itself or creator
against our better judgment
we have also searched for this
or something resembling it—for what is the difference—
in our own feelings, in what we lack.
we cannot verify what is in our hearts
nor can we excise it. what people on earth have done
as they have moved across and covered it
is to disperse what is in them. this dispersal
is called culture.
information technology promises
that everything secret shall be disclosed
everything hidden shall be extracted
the promise of disclosure however
does not draw us nearer to grasping
death, or life for that matter. god remains
a nice thing to think.
in the spirit of disclosure
although your mother and i believe
that there is a good power in secrets
but let me not digress. in the spirit of disclosure
for this is the spirit of the times
i will tell you what there is to be told
what might otherwise recede into comfortable and
more elegant mystery
my manhunt screen name is juicytroll13
the password is now1964
i like to be fucked by big men
over 200 pounds is what i like
i like to feel a weight that can crush me
i like to wear a ball gag when they do it
because drooling makes me feel humiliated
and this is exciting because unfamiliar
i like to be fucked by pos men
(son,. if you don’t know, this means men who are HIV positive)
because it is more exciting
than smoking cigars or golfing and i like
to have them degrade me so i can pay
in my mind and through my body for
my impotence and mediocrity and failure
ever to have transcended contingency in the choices
i have made in this life.
all these feelings participate in my pleasure and magnify it,
believe it or not.
you may or may not grow old enough to know
what i mean.
in spite of all this or rather to be fair
in addition to this
i am a good and well-adjusted person
by our society’s standards
and perhaps even a little more thoughtful
and successful than most who come from my social class.
i do not mean to suggest that that your mother and i
do not love each other and one thing is for sure
i am not gay. let me tell you.
your mother likes to begin on top of me
she rides me very hard and comes, usually twice, three times.
then i flip her over and throw her legs
over my shoulders and i watch my cock go in and out. she loves it.
or rather, she loved it, but it has been several years since, well.
what i mean to say is, son,
your mother had a beautiful pussy, pink
and symmetrical, smooth and wet,
not wrinkled and rubbery like the pussies in pornography.
although she no longer stimulates me,
her body having become what you of course know well
despite her cruelty-free lifestyle.
i respect her for the pleasure i have taken with her
and for her other good qualities, in spite of all the bullshit
she has put me through.
we made you in the manner i described. i have burned a dvd of this
for you. now son, you know that we are not perverse individuals.
it is our hope, your mother’s and mine,
that in your life you will experience not only your own
sensations when you become a man,
if there is time enough for that, but also, too,
that by watching our recording, which was easier
to digitize than we had anticipated,
that you shall see
what we have felt and done and perhaps
feel some of it too, and be filled with a wonder
at the beauty of creation and the panoply
of human frailty that, finally out in the open
and in the relief of something so general it cannot disappear,
is to be your brief inheritance.
though sex is visible we reckon it is somehow
and what can be seen and heard or known by proxy
which is to say transmitted technologically
of love boredom enthusiasm
or any other feeling
remains a question too, we feel. your mother and i
wish to illustrate
that the technology clearly works
while also warning you
that we, your mother and i and everybody else,
do not. not merely.
son, it happens that
we recede from one other
and from ourselves
does it not,
despite the presence of everything in us and around us.
and there is a blindness or deafness in this asymmetry
that we suspect is past all danger, that is simply mortal.
it is our conclusion
that the mind must cultivate a secret
on which to live.
people have died
of seeing one they love or merely have
in sex acts with another
on a recording. a recording that remains exclusive and total
in its partiality. believe me, son,
jealousy is a revulsion worse
than there being a war on
and all the injustices of human history that have ever existed
when it is bearing down on you
i have lived through it and i am telling you now
i would prefer to degrade myself than be dragged through the shit
by your mother or any other
but that is neither here or there
i digress again.
listen. i am speaking as clearly as i can.
mother brother sister father or baby
everything will become visible
audible and knowable
everything, more and more.
the details will mass on the horizon of what you can understand
and you will adopt various attitudes through which
to assimilate, absorb, and deflect
but the world will remain
a mystery. it will probably become even
more mysterious as it ends.
this is why it is lucky that we are little
and that our lives are small too.
son, i swear on my life
i am speaking as clearly as i can.
it is what flows between us that is dangerous
and that, though beautiful,
has bombed the world.
your mother and i are ready now
having exhausted our knowledge of one another
withstood it and survived our way into
a kind of dismay that’s also boredom.
all things seem equal to us now
arabs, meatballs, 401ks.
our task is complete.
we want you to know that it is mutually
that we have decided to have died of it
and that we hope this will confer a worth
onto our very painful and but we admit it futile struggle.
your mother and i want you to know
that love has taught us nothing
outside of its own terrific force
which though we have withstood it
cracked us open
and made us spill
it is in the design of what i have called love
to not be able to be completed.
it is this incompleteness
that has brought about the spillage
and leftovers that for millions
of years perpetuated the world
and it is this selfsame
incontinence if you will
that will end it
very shortly, son,
ARIANA REINES is the author of the cow (alberta prize, fencebooks: 2006), coeur de lion (mal-o-mar: 2007), and the forthcoming translations my heart laid bare by charles baudelaire and little black book by grisélidis réal, published by mal-o-mar and semiotext(e), respectively. her first play, telephone, was commissioned by the foundry theatre and presented at the cherry lane theatre in new york in february 2009. “your mother and i” was performed by abram coetsee, norman windsor waters iv, denis yurichhkov, and kevin zeidler at small press traffic on january 30, 2009.