On a sunny day, in the courtyard of my ancestral home, where I have never been, a swing swings. My ancestor swings on it. He is wearing purple and green—the space between the two bares his obsidian stomach. A yellow drapes him, diagonally, from shoulder to waist. His hair is dark. It has silver jewels in it. It is wet at the ends, because it is so long it reaches the floor. The floor of the courtyard has been inundated—submerging our ankles, or maybe more. His pristine toe grazes the water as he swings, and projects into the air a drop or two, sometimes high enough for me to drink. I am satisfied. The swing hangs from the grey sky. A crocodile waits on him.

He is birthing now, continuing to dance above the water. The head of my ancestor emerges from him, and now arms of my ancestor. He rips its arm and feeds it to the crocodile. I am still whole. There is no blood, but I have stopped drinking the water he would give me. I wonder what I will do when I am thirsty.

Variations/Circumlocutions on a Theme in Camus

  1. The only true philosophical problem is that of spermicide. Where and when all are consumers and producers, where changing it rests, and oblivion is impossible because all absence is simply modified presence, how to kill the seed?
  2. The only true philosophical problem is that of pesticide. Agrarian populations, driven to misery by globalized circuits of capital, ingest farm pesticides. Pesticides are a necessary means of producing food today worldwide. They are also a means of killing, of administering deaths quick and slow. These gas chamber chemicals are thus the necessary condition of both the possibility and the impossibility of life: of the food surplus of capital-intensive agriculture, and of toxins in streams of water and blood. On both ends, of dying farmers.
    How does the world make possible death and death make possible the world? How does it touch and rub against the world? Socrates’ death was about philosophy and hence philosophy was about death, but he was also sentenced to death. Thus, one of the founding myths of western philosophy is at once political, philosophical, and fatal. Three blackholes in a cosmic dance of a ternary star system whose ripples through spacetime scream: who are you. When some (Socrates, Achilles) die, they are immortalized, memorialized—their who-ness ever strong. When 28 farmers in India kill/conquer/destroy/sleep/obliviate/murder/slaughter themselves every day, their who-ness so diffused, their whatness/quiddity outshining, such that only the type (the Indian farmer) is utterable. We cannot even number them (“28 a day” is a statistical abstraction), let alone name them.
  3. The only true philosophical problem is that of bedside. What do I read to put myself to sleep?
  4. The only true philological problem is that of beside. There is one and there is another; are they equal? Or is one beside the point? how do I touch the other? You who is next to me, how are you? What are you thinking? Contiguity in time is too limiting: before and after, prior and unimportant. Contiguity in space has so many questions: you before me means responsibility, you next to me is love. You on top of me is just grand. This is the point of being beside.
  5. The one real philomathematical prolegomenon is that of suicide.