is jealous of its own motivations. Love is a provisional arrangement with
Love is at home when it is elsewhere. Love is a deliberate provocation of exasperation. Love
is unemployable. Love means justification. Love destabilizes everything language might build.
Love dismisses concision. Love is a disguised crime. Love will open its veins when life learns to
sing. Love cannot bear its finitude. Love is the flight of those who have fallen. Love holds you
in its beak because it has mistaken you for food. Love lurks in the shadows of others. Love
hides its joy in the intractable. Love is a plundered reliquary. Love is a compromised affectation
of subtlety. Love is how we lose sight of death— and this lapse is, for us, an ideal.
I am the sentence love serves.
When I try to find someone to love and who is able to understand me I find no one to love.
When I try to love someone who is unable to understand me I am unable to love. If love exists
it is with one who, for me, does not exist.
As I approach another I am approaching myself. In fact as I approach another I am doing
nothing other than estranging myself from them. The closer I seem to be getting, physically and
emotionally— the measure of this frail and uncertain terrain— the closer I am getting to myself.
The other, the chosen other, the lover, the companion... is the surest path away from everyone,
away from everything and into myself. The world concentrates itself in the form of someone else,
contracts itself into one final and decisive farewell. To hurl myself into my own depths I hurl
myself towards another. Though I can say I am with you I am with no one, no one but myself. If I
want to escape the world I flee into another. If I want to be alone, radically alone, I will love
another. Though the world is full, suffocatingly full, of other human lives these are all just possible
means of escape into ourselves. We forget, or refuse to know, that we can choose any of these
means, and that they are all the same as they lead to the same place, the same end. Personal
labyrinths advertised as intimacy. Abysses dressed up, perfumed, posing, temptations of good
riddance— each a confirmation of the ruin and the groundlessness which is every encounter. I am
this I say with the feeblest voice as I attempt to touch another. But a caress is a collapse and a
descent. I feel nothing but my unsupportable hands, my unsupported being. The weight of myself,
its obviousness and concentration of futility is more than so-called sociability can support. To
approach another is to take leave of them— a truism we have grown tired of repeating; all our
exhaustions are only the result of repeating this banality, of encountering it in everything we do.
To attach myself to another is to promise them only an absence. To reach for another is to dismiss
them. I will never be with you as long as I am with you— this is the achievement of all our learning,
the answer to every question our being presumes. To know less is to know nothing and to know
more is unendurable. I will never be with you as long as I am with you— this is the coin I carry in
my pocket, a coin that is accepted everywhere and whose value is incalculable but whose features
I have worn smooth by my continual anxious and obsessive rubbing. My currency is worthless and
knowing this I do not want to know anything, that much is certain.
Who am I anyway? And what kind of presumption is it to proffer myself to another. To meet
another, is this not an indecency? A transaction of names— that is all it is in the end. And as
names we are nothing. A name, what is it but a convenience which covers something we would
rather not go into.
The error I commit in loving another can only be compensated by the equivalent error, that is,
of being loved in return.
But the chosen are excluded from each other. Their embrace is a search that has completed its
circle and returned to itself with the knowledge that there is something I have missed. And I have
always missed it and I will always miss it. Always too early and unprepared or too late and
encumbered— such is the inauguration of our bitter descent along our quotidian path of prepared
The fact that I imagine love as though it existed is enough to indicate that it is an impossibility.
from The Process
(manuscript in progress)
© Mike Schertzer, 2016