Nietzsche, these are just words
The mirror shoots a startling reflection back through my eyes to my brain; I am exactly the opposite of what I see on this side, but I am there, that’s me. Nerve stimulus and then I produce an image, not unlike a camera, not upside down, but the opposite of an objective signifier; I am a metaphor, in words. This mirror metaphor is made up of words and language that do not actually describe me, but defer me against something else. There are urinals in the background between dated tile and seldom scrubbed walls, all green and white, and some sort of brown fake marble as stalls–the cheaper for those to write on. Toilet poets, oh, we love thee. Now I stand staring at pinked, speckled, shiny, wide-eyed flesh, the pale face of endless winter, whatever you want; me in 3D, doesn’t get much better. I am just an entity, an unter-subject living within the frame of Eurocentrism, in the time of Greenwich, 2014- whatever you think. The big reality is a fake, a metaphor of a metaphor based on words: metaphors on metaphors; sedimented on those same beliefs, those “truths”. Really, though, they are based on “lies”. It is just easier to understand that way. But who knows. One might ask: what is a Mosquito to a Man in relation to Nietzsche? We ask questions, but we don’t necessarily need the answers. What we need is the process of thought which comes with searching for the answer, because besides that process there is no really, truly, definitive, discrete, and concise answer, absolutely. Though really? Probably not, but that is a figure of speech. Nietzsche, these are just words.
An image flashes in my mind: Nov. 1994, I am moving documents in the women’s lounge of VM, trying to waste time, trying to stay busy, trying to do what I am paid for. The old photo is curled a bit, but remains impeccable in shape. I think of the girl on the bus with the plastic leather light-tan coat and how she looked French. Something, an idea, she nor I would ever know. I think of her long toes tied tightly in sandals, which symbolize- apparently extra-sexual ability. The sun is out, it is “seventy”, and I am in a dusty room moving paper that of which has not been printed on. It will be inked someday. I come back and move again. This time I am taking shredded paper to the recycling. It has been printed, viewed, absorbed, and then (because of privacy reasons) destroyed responsibly, apparently, by someone like yours truly. I look in the mirror and think about the photo. Nietzsche, these are just words.
Freddie Mercury was dead at the inception of these photos, The Notorious B.I.G. was “blowing up like the World Trade [Center]”- even before it happened, Pepsi was the shit- at least the cans looked better back in the day. I hear shitty radio, I am at the pool in a small town, in the sun getting burnt, under blue skies, with my mom, about to dive into chlorine saturated water, only to have my eyes reddened and hurt. Just before, I probably ate subway “kids” sandwiches and drank those soft plastic Kool-Aid things that were packed with sugar and packed in lunch bags while I was being packed on the school bus. I am somewhere between skinny and young to tortured and fat with acne. This was back when one could purchase Ray Ban’s at a gas station for “cheap” and get terrified during the day just by watching syndicated television. This photo reflects none of the day described, it was just at a similar time. Nietzsche, these are just words.
In the photo there are no cellphones, tablets, Music-pods, or computer screens. A pizza sits in front of the young men. I wonder what they stare at. We stare at computer screens; things which a legislation of people deem interesting enough to interest others, so they share. All of the faces seem happy and relatively trendy for the time. What time is it? Some wear striped shirts, very bright, with an unmodisch airs. There are no lights in the lounge so I move towards the window. The sun is bright hitting the distant redbrick buildings which face the one I am presently in. There is a painting on the wall from 1962, of some flowers, white, of some growth behind them, green. The room is dim, dull, and dirty (alliteration). No surprise, it seems it hasn’t been cleaned in a while. I walk out and wash my hands in the bathroom where I encounter the mirror. After, I walk to the computer and start to type. I am thinking, back to the bus, before I came, before Ms. French, back to class. I am raising my hand, no one calls on me. I shut a window, someone opens another in protest. I think of a Rolling Stone’s song. I speak of the moon, the waxing and waning, the idea of being a “poet”; as in, I write one thing I call myself a “poet” (not really), or I write a million things and other people call me a “poet” (sort of, but I earned it. Not really). There are ten million things to do, see, read, and produce. I avoid social media. Nietzsche, THESE ARE JUST WORDS!
The people in both of the photos are sitting. One photo is at a house. The other photo is at a community center. The former photo is at a very “homey” home. It may be dirty to some, but peaceful and unostentatious to others. It may be welcoming, friendly, and quaint. A strung together sign in the back, in green, reads: Merry Christmas, or Happy Birthday, ich habe das vergessen. The strung out words are hung across a mirror. There is no photographic image of the photographer in the mirror, it is empty. Unfortunately, there is no “selfie”, or “photo-bomb”. The image in the mirror is as startling as it is lacking. There is nothing to describe what the mirror projects; an upside down, inverse opposite image of nothing. Nothing to go on- and always* the people appear happy. There is no food on the first photos table. The latter photo has cans of Pepsi next to the pizza (two pies), I would prefer beer and pizza, but this Home Alone throwback will do, how apropos. The men are happy, they wear glasses framed for the time, and they smile wide. I wonder if science has made their teeth better, or if they will learn someday. There is no mirror in the second picture, just rows of books, all brown, very dark, and a bit depressing. Nietzsche, these are
If only mirrors could capture our attention like social media, like the trivial and paltry lines of digital traffic minded media marketing entities labeling and lying attempting to turn humans into zombies hoping they click and see. Do we examine the lines on our faces with such patience and admiration? Do we see the change, the sedentary lack of movement bestowed upon our bodies for being interested in such paltry endeavors? Can we measure the inches of fatty flesh layered on our stomachs and at our waists, the amount of muscles we’ve lost, brain cells left to rot pondering shit over vast amounts of our lives? Is it positive in a negative way? If only we could spend as much time looking at ourselves as we do looking at the fabrications of others. Empirically and objectively look at ourselves, not unlike Nietzsche’s “glass-case self”: objectively view something that is subjective. It is said to be impossible, but I have been told nothing is impossible. Yet, then again, those were just words. Nietzsche, these are just words.