Coming Between Self and Flesh: from "of" to "on"

Indigeneity: Theorized Materialised

Billy-Ray Belcourt
This Wound is a World: Poems
"The Cree Word for a Body like Mine is Weesageechak"

its final lines offering a big beginning

was once a broad-shouldered trickster who long ago fell from the
moon wearing make-up and skinny jeans
Form. Disguise. Body shifting.

It is the Epilogue that sparks further consideration of inhabiting a body or being out of one:
This Wound is a World is a book obsessed with the unbodied. It is a book that chases after a scene that can barely be spotted. It is a book that only liked to be written if I stared long enough in the direction of nowhere, which is probably more accurately everywhere. Everywhere, of course, is the space that death carves into everyday life.
Meditations on "unbodied"

Belcourt's essay on self-care and the décrochage offered by the practice of masturbation explores the ontological frontier erected by colonization. See Decolonial Love and the Thingly Future available on line thanks to the library at the University of Alberta.
Decolonial love therefore promises not only to chip away at the corporeal and emotional toll of settler colonialism as such, but also to gestate a wider set of worlds and ontologies, ones that we cannot know in advance, but ones that might make life into something more than a taxing state of survival.
Beyond survival
For me, masturbation is about a strange encounter, to evoke Sara Ahmed's term,44 between the self and the flesh whose form and outcome we cannot know in advance, but that occurs vis-à-vis but also in contrast to a prior and sometimes ghost-like history of colonial rupture that blocked and still blocks our relation to the psychic and the corporeal.

44See Sara Ahmed, Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality
On decolonialization
It is a teleology of the elsewhere whereby new strategies for survival and wanting replace the ones we have inherited in a world bent on our disappearance, literally and juridically.
"Unbodied" raises for me to the question of embodiment and the possibility of thinking sous rature of the phrase "embodiment of" — but instead of this deconstructive move I follow a substitution of prepositions: instead of "of" it is a positioning of "from/to" that recognizes the past and projects a future or should we say "futures" — and again I return to the problematic "of" implying a single source origin — needing to think the multiple plural nature of origin

embodiment: getting into the body instead of unhinging the body marked a bio-politics of my non-indigenous time and place where our models were those of autotelic structures (Maturana and Varela)

back to that "of" — there's a point of thinking the self in terms of textual stemma or the branching of the tree of life that is the self inhabiting an environment (thinking of the thinking done by Robert Bringhurst on this notion that the individual, self or text, arises from an ecosystem) — entertaining the unbodied state is potentially recognizing the boundaries being permeable and that self is not self without a whole host of others (and things) — "of" of course has a sense of belonging (to) but it can also express a relationship between a part and a whole - ecosystems again

[Note the common "mistake" of using "of" instead of "have" in constructions such as "you should have asked" (not you should of asked).] In my reading, this is the grammatical pressure point of "of" - depossession, self-possession, possession - that "unbodied" circles like a strange attractor: a systemic stepping out of the self to repossess a future decolonized self or a set of possiblities of becoming . . .

Last word to Belcourt (last words of the Epilogue): "It [This Wound is World] insists that loneliness is endemic to the affective life of settler colonialism, but that it is also an affective commons of sorts that demonstrates that there is something about this world that isn't quite right, that loneliness in fact evinces a new world on the horizon.

of on the horizon

And so for day 2119
07.10.2012