Saturday, October 15, 2011


« La follia è una condizione umana. In noi la follia esiste ed è presente
come lo è la ragione. Il problema è che la società, per dirsi civile,
dovrebbe accettare tanto la follia quanto la ragione, invece incarica una scienza, la psichiatria, di tradurre la follia in malattia allo scopo di eliminarla.
Il manicomio ha qui la sua ragion d'essere. »

(Franco Basaglia)


from the inside of inside, from a place inside each of us where no other approaches, i speak with a voice that demands quieting, even if such a voice can’t be heard outside, where we are all vulnerable, in our uniqueness, in our power, in our heartbreaking desire to desire, to be other than what we are by being with another, where we know we are like no other and can never be, because we speak, from the inside of inside, among the drowned, even as they try to save us, because we are outside of belonging, inside belonging's power but outside of its truth, inside an inside, put away, hidden even from the city that surrounds this city, the speaking deafness of our outward personae, the curse of humankind, drown in our own individuality.

there is a burning red wound in the night, a lamp lit before the madonna, another imagined other that some can hide inside themselves, here, where to make a sound would be a sacred taking up of sides, drowning in refusal, another symptom, the inability to take part, more than a simple silence, our fear turned outwards, from inside this inside, an internal escape, an illusory impulse to flee, down this tree-lined avenue, its omnipresent dogs, its expected squatters' graffiti, these desperate political measures, and the walking dead, its walls a monument to hiding my refusal.

survivors have some nerve, surviving, but the drowned drown easily, in politics, la lotta, in protest, committed to their causes, the ends supplying the means, mouthing others' words, other rooms, other voices, so many agendas, so many programs, we being committed because of our effects, the abandoned church here becoming central to our twilight perambulations, bleeding red and luminescent the whole sleepless night through, some nerve, surviving, our effects confiscated, in the belly of firenze, in the womb of the city, in san salvi, where they think that they're saving us from ourselves when really they're saving us from their own indignation, what they might do to us, and their church, built to faith, belief in something that they know to be impossible, the uncertain certainty that there is something called reality that we all know too much about, that could be squashed with a faked miracle or two.

i, on the other hand, have no faith, not in their science nor their god, their sacred belief in conquering disbelief, or the red wound they would cut into the night in the name of his mother, offer up to his mother, against the night's natural darkness, this voice spits on their desire to quiet the inside of inside, even though its speaking tortures me, i know that its silence tortures them, once and for all, the voice of trauma, the voice of protest, the wound, refusal and resistance, abnegation and fear, even in this tree-lined avenue, even in this garden-filled fortification, a silent fortress walled into the heart of the city, into the mind of the city—i will not say soul—images imagined or born of the day-to-day, the real, what does it matter? inside the inside, interiority itself, a new-town of non-belonging and refusal, an outsider internalized, encircled by san salvi, san salvi's walls, the drowned saved, drowned again in other voices, other systems, out of sight, misunderstood even as we un-wall our voices, from inside, speaking the speech of disagreement, to imagined companions, the freedom of non-communication.

but i will not be drowned, they tell me, i will emerge eventually and speak the fear of my naked aloneness in their world of agreement and reality, to their world of agreement and so-called reality, spitting, croaking, bleeding out beneath this abandoned madonna in a city of new uses, her candle slitting the night open, the night that must fall, a languishing wound in its comforting darkness, a world that must drown such voices before they are heard and cause some poor woman to abandon home and hearth by loving me and all of my quiet madness.

inside the inside speaks an isolated voice of disagreement, of madness, yes, and sometimes listening but never hearing itself.


there's so much more to me, though, both inside and out, to my voice and my refusal, back when no sides were drawn, before dew was shed, when i put up this wall, back before ever dew was fallen, when they encircled me, put me between walls, in the city of my imagination, in florence, in chains, between walls, in a city within a city within a city, the church into which i retreated, where the drowned salvage something surely, our humanity? our individuality? the curse of being oneself offended? humankind offended? assaulted? where mortality defines us, where madness speaks, the wound revealing itself shining red through the night's relentless blanket, trains rolling by at all hours, down these white-washed halls, between the transom and the door, between the trees that line the avenue circling elliptically, where the doctors speak of straight lines, of vanishing points, and of time as a process of liberation, of release.

i walk, talking to my imagined self, my imagination producing words to say to my imagined self, another listening self, hypocrit lecteur, in a verbal encounter that demands no images, except a madman out walking, this tree-lined avenue, between the villas of the nineteenth century, their cornices defining a certain stature, a respectability, erecting this hospital in progressive axes, compartments of disturbance, tranquili, semiagitati, ed agitati, their vision supporting a prison's authority, the hospital's image of itself as an institution, its internal spaces enclosing, collecting, me and my refusal, these people i have created by my mere presence, personalities, situations, some salvation perhaps between the gatehouse and the back archway, the garbage and syringes in the tall grass, walls that crumble, so many years later, torn down and rebuilt by the comune, re-utilized, ricoperti d'intonaco, two squats still at the back, hidden and defended, one foreign the other infectious, casa kabul and casa panico, the body turning on itself in protest of unity, of privacy, when we can no longer afford a lifestyle, the eggs, carrots, consumer incentives, the mortgage, rent.

wearing saris, their dark, suspicious eyes veiled to the light, in doorways, at twilight, men lounging in the august heat, dressed western, lawn chairs, laundry, silent children, satellite dishes, abandoned cars, our very own ambulance, the fading traces of finger paint therapy on the walls, speaking to these ghosts wouldn't work anyway, their refusal is other, politicized from outside, that much in common, 1978, the punk rockers keep to themselves, the doors were opened, as they say, hiding from the light, perhaps they beat them as well, the fascists have been here too, casa pound, and that's a lot of flesh to keep, put it in a jar, doctors surround, doctors and their shingles, a world of signs, without that rude slice, if i'd only had a shingle, that inconsiderate cut, villas both renovated and non, signs, more signs, arrows and names, a passion for naming things without identities in which to trap them.

at any rate, i am living and this insistence on survival and movement is one obsession i cannot afford, walking and breathing, after all, i haven't fucked much with the past but i will fuck plenty with the future, inside this inside, from this space that i define, inhabit, dwelling in their rooms, walking around and around this tree-lined avenue, trains passing south to borgo san lorenzo, to arezzo, to umbria, to rome, a close white-washed room, graffiti on the church, in the center, at the heart of san salvi, the chapel, one edifice lost to the new surrounding science of society, caught between other walls, even as it names itself for the savior, the savior of the saved, was jesus himself ever lost? It saves itself with its very name, here among the drowned, with some nerve, surviving, sunk deep in the once walled, once fortified, once sieged city of florence.

like the man escaping from the deep sea that nearly swallowed him, turning back to gaze upon his own shipwreck, i don't fuck much with the past, i inhabit now, inside this inside, an outsider, by virtue of silence, of non-communication, talking rather to imagined interlocutors, fucking with the future, buried in its baroque folds, laughing, forgotten and abandoned to my senseless perambulations, in this election year, neither squatter nor renter, just passing through to the baseball field, swallowed whole by my own culture, neither native nor foreigner, neither cittadino nor extracomunitare, published, erased, ignored, educated, re-educated, indoctrinated, formed, informed, reformed, misinformed, lied to and given therapy, cataloged, forgotten, labeled “a visionary,” in this my blakean year, living in spaces well beyond wealth or poverty, in a refusal beyond squatting or buying, rinchiuso as they say, locked up in an effort to bring me out of myself.


this voice still, speaking still, from some inside, demanding silence, silence from which to speak and silence as an end to torment, to being different, indifferent to my fellow man, because i cannot love conformity, because i cannot bless the cocks of the grandfathers of kansas, cannot accept violence, exclusion, adhesion, us-ness, nor unity as answers, when mussolini is speechifying outside, when florence is listening to him with open ears, another savonarola, the bourgeoisie are listening, radio tubes glowing against white-washed walls, all night long, always listening, taking in the news of the world, while i walk alone, fireflies hovering in the august heat, silently not listening, unheard, speaking still to no one in particular, to phantoms born of my desires—hear that?—i don't need you, either.

perhaps there was one face, the gatehouse twenty yards off, who, in her own desperation, to be other than who she is, as i have lost myself, in silence, would look kindly upon my refusal, pretending to understand such incoherence, inside again, with such seductive neurasthenia, who needs enemies? as if love were possible among the non-communicant, the down-toned, tri-tone, captivus, cattivo, the catatonic.

but bodies are only bodies, and i, on the other hand, am speaking from the inside of impenetrable insides, out of unheard silences, out of my many refusals, out of my utter resistance to speaking, the uncomfortable silence that i generate in answer to their questions, behind their penetrating looks, the silence surrounding their impatient floor gazing, their fear to look upon me, upon my sickness of being, me, the silence of offices and waiting rooms, interrogations, therapy, group therapy, hydro therapy, shock therapy, any old surprise that might bring us back around to emulating our fellow man, the cure, their care and solicitude, treatment.

i remember all of this even as i remember nothing, my pride as tall as any mountain, even as my beatrice approaches, surrounded by such cruel and curious dwarfs, and a wall, here stripped, here made to stand, masons building, rebuilding, demolishing, our city within the city, the memory of our interiority, our own prisoners, before being committed, our refusal to be free among them, our resistance, our radical self-hood, not outward enough to be egotism, tearing down, the refusal to construct ourselves outside of ourselves, through or in the eyes of others, all of our inabilities denounced, under observation, all of our failings exposed, in a foul caress, externalized between walls, like a racetrack, this circular interior journal,  a record of sorts, incarceration.

but what right have i to suffer, to abide, a burden on the state, watching two cancer victims slowly subside, what right, some nerve, surviving, living on, ignoring death, daring to remain silent, to refuse their help, in whatever form, conformity or scienza della formazione, my multitudes contained, formed and deformed, taking pleasure in drowning, in postponing the point, waiting to exhale, vitriol mixing, a burden on the working class and the tax structure?

white doves outside the silent squat this morning, in a swampy centerpiece of mud, mismatched chairs and white plastic tables abandoned for the night, a woman sleeping under a bush in the afternoon heat, in all this humidity, the grass dead and yellow, smelling of musty thunder, hills of masonry between the abandoned homes reclaimed by human squalor, presence, toilets, even more conventional trash, odorless in the heavy air, in the damp air, before ever dew was fallen, bright gods and tuscan, abandoned by all outside agencies, willing my own abandonment still, having chosen experience over belief, daring to suffer, surviving, living on and speaking to the other not at my side, on another uninterrupted perambulation around the avenue.

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