Monster of the Sea


I stay up until 4 looking for signs of you. You see, I don’t know what it’s like to live without your voice anymore.

Now, absence can only exist as a consequence of the other: it is the other who leaves, it is I who remain. The other is in a condition of perpetual departure, of journeying; the other is, by vocation, migrant, fugitive; I — I who love, by converse vocation, am sedentary, motionless, at hand, in expectation, nailed to the spot, in suspense — like a package in some forgotten corner of a railway station. 

– Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments


Re-reading favo…

Re-reading favorite fragments from A Lover’s Discourse again.

The Other’s Body
corps / body

Any thought, any feeling, any interest aroused in the amorous subject by the loved body.

1. The other’s body was divided: on one side, the body proper–skin, eyes–tender, warm; and on the other side, the voice–abrupt, reserved, subject to fits of remoteness, a voice which did not give what the body gave. Or further: on one side, the soft, warm, downy, adorable body, and on the other, the ringing, well-formed, worldly voice–always the voice.

2. Sometimes an idea occurs to me: I catch myself carefully scrutinizing the loved body …  To scrutinize means to search: I am searching the other’s body, as if I wanted to see what was inside it, as if the mechanical cause of my desire were in the adverse body (I am like those children who take a clock apart in order to find out what time is). This operation is conducted in a cold and astonished fashion; I am calm, attentive, as if I were confronted by a strange insect of which I am suddenly no longer afraid. Certain parts of the body are particularly appropriate to this observation: eyelashes, nails, roots of the hair, the incomplete objects. It is obvious that I am then in the process of fetishizing a corpse. As is proved by the fact that if the body I am scrutinizing happens to emerge from its inertia, if it begins doing something, my desire changes; if for instance I see the other thinking, my desire ceases to be perverse, it again becomes imaginary, I return to an Image, to a Whole: once again, I love.

(I was looking at everything in the other’s face, the other’s body, coldly: lashes, toenail, thin eyebrows, thin lips, the luster of the eyes, a mole, a way of holding a cigarette; I was fascinated–fascination being, after all, only the extreme of detachment–by a kind of colored ceramicized, vitrified figurine in which I could read, without understanding anything about it, the cause of my desire.)


I have on my lap right now The Wild Iris and here is something from it.

The Hawthorn Tree
by Louise Gluck 

Side by side, not
hand in hand: I watch you
walking in the summer garden–things
that can’t move
learn to see; I do not need
to chase you through
the garden; human beings leave
signs of feeling
everywhere, flowers
scattered on the dirt path, all
white and gold, some
lifted a little by
the evening wind; I do not need
to follow where you are now,
deep in the poisonous field, to know
the cause of your flight, human
passion or rage: for what else
would you let drop
all you have gathered?


Those you’ve let drop, are they really worth picking up again?

Moving on.

In your house

I plant small things all over your house. A pack of mints by the sink, an old receipt under a pillow, a pen on your table. Things that could belong to anybody. I haunt your house like this.

4:35 PM

Neighbor starts playing With or Without You and it sounds like it’s coming from another point in time. I almost see you standing beside me singing the same song in a karaoke bar and I am thinking that your voice sounds nice. “This is for you ___” you say to a friend who isn’t there, whose name you saw in a list of casualties of a shoot out in Davao.


Whitey came to us by sea. Or over the sea. I was six. The family that gave her to us saw her clinging on to a jetty with half her body in water. Last time I saw her, I was 21. I was on my way to school. She was breathing very faintly under a bench full of shoes. My father said she waited for me, managed to get to the door of my room, before the vet finally arrived to put her to sleep. I still call my other cats by her name sometimes.

Burger Machine

You start missing people at the oddest times of the day, even those who don’t deserve to be missed. I remember one early morning, sitting at the counter of a Burger Machine. We were waiting for our orders. My head was on your shoulder and you were holding my hand. You were telling me a story about your gangster father and his hitmen. If there was anything to love about you, it was your voice. I always pass by that Burger Machine on the way home. Some nights, I slow down and in the bright light, I look for you and you are not there.