The Sound is the Thing
I’m off to the realm of pure experience! What I’ve left and what I have departed from is as small as a cookie—a sizeable drum. Drum me off to my arrival and in Illyria they’ll say:
This is the country of your experience you will know it by its sound.
Tonight I saw Camille Claudel. There is a scene in the movie that is the most intense spiritual impasse, which could and could not be an impasse and must be one.
I am so sad.
I am appreciating I am not crazy (that I am not in some way worse than in prison). And was Claudel very proud??
Yesterday I missed class! Amelia said she—the teacher—didn’t even notice. But alas I arrived too late and sat in a Barnes and Noble reading an article about Matana Roberts instead of listening to a lecture on William James.
I decided to listen from a far.
You were going to let me sit in on your class on Pure Experience but I have decided to do some investigative work, in the stead of that place where I was supposed to be.
I gather you teach a class so that we can listen to the sound.
The night before the last class I crouched down in a row of Barnes and Noble over “Experience”—it went under me, under my hips on the carpeted ground. I felt, as I was hovering above it, like I was singing in a round.
Everything began, for me, because of invisibility.
Sometimes I feel that it would be necessary to write as if it were impossible, like the transmutation of sound.
That’s because of the spiritual necessity you spoke of, of altering neuronal pathways.
I see Roberts as exploring this possibility, through history, poetry and sound.
I cannot afford to traffic in any sign, Olson said, than the one.
Emerson said he believed that it would not be necessary to be in the same place at the same time for his friend to feel the effects.
Everything I get I get from a magazine, from Barnes and Noble
My solitude pains me but it is not as unsettling as sound.
Have you read a book? I care about it. I speak clumsily but am unsettled, that much is clear.
Caring is not like hurting. What I’ve gotten and should remember in the middle of pictures of dead authors and nameless other people on the wall.
Roberts says: If it wasn’t for these things happening. What would have happened to me?
But who is it that I cannot see but intuit.
I live in the Starbucks. I take off my shoe and drink from the bloody shoe. Through lunacy I examine a religious experience. Up close I disturb myself.
I am not comforted by sound as I am comforted by Starbucks but know, as the cookie was known or knew, before it disappeared, I mean broke down, this pure experience—where—in the realm of a giant’s bum like the play by Nathaniel Mellors, an actor’s sound through Peach Blossom:
Peach Blossom Pool is deep,
A thousand change, so they say…
…But it’s nowhere as deep as the love
you show me, just to see me off so
Trish Aherne is a visual artist and fiction writer living in San Francisco. Aherne lives with her cat, Mouse, and roommate of 7 years. “Saint Margaret in the Belly” is a part of a story collection Trish is working on centered on the theme of saints.