War, or The Art of Failure

Inspired by a ghost of a friend, a shadow of a dancer, a fellow mumblr-in-theory

brian muraya

This was supposed to be about the art of war. It became a note on the art of failure. Somehow these terms crossed paths on the tip of my tongue. Somehow I made them make a sweet embrace.

Today, I learned something about the art of war. Failure is constitutive to and of its proceeding. There are no victors in war. Only the repositioning of locations in a battlefield. Only the death and murder of many. Who redeems the dead? Resurrection mustn’t be the only redemption. For even a ‘return’ does not repress the wound. Nothing returns what has been loss. The dead are gone and gone forever. But who redeems the dead? Who carries them with them?

“I fail you every single day.”

An essential way of being non-being. Being the ‘Øn3’ who fails. I split my tongue on that sentence. It bled on my lips. “I fail you every single day.” How might ‘I’ who am not so certain as to whether this noun might pronounce my feeling of self, become anything but a failure? How might ‘I’ become ‘somebody’? In this World, it would appear that war hides in the shadows of every brush with greatness. “Injury is the consequence of a tongue.” Thus, this note is written with the petrichor of falling tears. Hidden underneath a shadow of every encounter is the prediction, promise and possibility of war. War as world-maker and destroyer beckons behind every call.

Every day I have not put a stop to this war.

I have failed.

For: all the losers are at war.

“Shake. Shake. Shake.”

This world is a world built all over with walls, borders, fences, lockdowns, incarcerations, and quarantines. It is a world fanatic with the distancing of Self and Other. It is world that would never touch the Leper, faintly love the Stranger, and burn down the house of thy Neighbor. It is a World at War. What is war but antagonism made extreme? And what is extreme if not our normal state of affairs? An age of catastrophe everlasting. Catastrophe ad infinitum. Catastrophe made into normal state of affairs. This was always Black life. “here – you must be nothing.” That was always Black life, though – “here – you must be nothing.” Every catastrophe makes a nothingness of ‘human’ being until non-being is its normal state of affairs. Death doesn’t ring the alarm no more. Death doesn’t ring a hollow bell. Death is but a number, on a spreadsheet, for an algorithm, a data point of a ‘human information.’

What would it to take to shake the World?

To wake the Dead, and no longer pray the prayer of redemption. “Perhaps the living dead could take some solace in the half-thought that there were so many other dead with them.” The dead-with-me, the dead-in-me, the death I am and carry. War is a fanatics’ peace. There is not much to be done for a fanatic. It is in war that they seek peace, it is through the mass production of death that they purchase solace.

“A nightmares. Screams. The sun still shines,

and ‘still’ is the ghost you must unsee. Here.”

There is war ‘still.’ The war is ‘still’. Here. “This is about obstruction and obfuscation: opacity.” How does one speak about an opaque war? A war waged loud and in the dark. The war that finds itself never ending. Politics is nothing but war without bloodshed and war is nothing but politics with bloodshed. Fred Hampton was onto something. The world – as a sequence of dis/positions at odds and at war, as series of dis/positions transposed into a battlefield with all sides aiming at all or nothing. The redemption of the dead begins the moment one is willing to join them. To become, like a ghost, a being that is not. To join the reaper in the shadows of woe, and dance with death as a friend – not a foe. This World is a World at War. To be in it is to be of it. It is to be affected by its violent sway. To be caught up, in the winds of its chaos, drowning in the waters of its hurricanes, gasping in the smog of its air and the spreading of its viruses. This catastrophic failure we found ourselves in forecast no resurrection, and yet, we need not a resurrection to feel the immortality of the One’s who are not One, who in their not-Oneness – their non-Being – persist with/in us like a scar on the tip of a knee. These scars are no phantom limbs, they are phantoms. Phantoms of past that are not past, that persist as real fantasies, real experiences, of trauma – real legacies of war. Wars that never end. Wars that go on and on. The militant who dares ask, “And then what?” to war must be neither a roadblock to a movement nor a pariah to a theory of action. For this question burns at the heart of every liberation dream. “And then what?” The ‘Messiah’ comes, “And then what?”  Time stops or ‘Time goes on’ and yet, it is the going-on of Time itself that makes for war’s inevitability. If we could put a stop to Time, we might have a chance to not be failure’s anymore. To end this War – once and for all. But instead: TIME GOES ON.

“Shake. Shake. Shake.”

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