The Physics of Summer
by CHARLOTTE CLARKSON
The sciences are founded upon formulaic explanations for consciousness, emotions, and the seasons. Emerging from the motions of minds that think and hearts that feel, people as intimate subjects suffer a recognition of their disreality. Reality implies a system of power, familiar objects and encounters.
Intimacy creates a world that is neither fact nor fiction. The lover is neither a victim nor leader, but a complicit, powerless upon meaning. Matter shapes and defines the composites of our existence, and yet the experience can only be understood only through the attribution of words that define the object without the satisfying explanation of self-definition. The space that encloses the two parties rely on utopic utterance, an acknowledgement, recognition, acceptance. It’s an amorous space that encloses around the two parties.
The exaltation of intimacy demands a greater expression and readiness to which no body has been subject. It is a breaching force on new matter. Bodies and minds are fluid with the movement of real events conflated on to memory and idealism. Falling outside of yourself through the glass that is both so close as to condense your breath and so far as to suggest a mirage, a ravenous exhaustion replaces logic, the inexplicable vouloir-saisir remains imprisoned behind lips, relentless.
Ideas and expressions regarding intimacy are insistent, enunciation a simultaneous censure and homage to feelings of disappointment and exaltation, an encyclopedic representation of figures bundled into sentences of self-sustaining causality. It is a lover who speaks, inseparable from words and yet through them the words have changed, endowed with amorous episodes of psychological portraiture.
Affairs of the heart are probably called such not because we are unfaithful, but because we cheat ourselves.
Ever since we met, I wake each morning feeling like a fraud in the heat of summer that I have come to believe is not warm because of rays and stars, but because we are all trapped, boiling in a mortal, erotic fever. The easiest of lies are the ones we tell ourselves, the global phenomenon of self-deception and economics of appearances stemming from a fear of knowing too much or too little. A world formed by physical entropy, everything inclined towards chaos, moving faster and faster trying to break free whilst simultaneously connected in a state of reactive flux. Our meeting sparked the damnation of all the lies I had ever told myself, and the most intimate reaction took place in the form of transparent self-recognition.
Perhaps the altitude was to blame, lungs filled with the rebirth of golden hours. But I was overwhelmed by the complex simplicity of beauty in the intricate constructs of nature, examinations of identity, reflections on substance and the organic properties of the valued. He seemed to come from another world, and I wondered if the greatest journeys of all are people, rather than places.
What is to be expected from intimacy, then, but the creation of the wordless that is spoken with the initial pretext of indulgence, and yet through fear, ultimately demands explanation? Surrounded by the green miracles of the landscape, falling into the murmur of a form that pressed against me, the blood that burned with the miracle of an encounter ran in the vessels of the air from my heart and into his hands. Our voiceless experiences and fevered longings were spoken for in the silent metronomic breaths of two people whose thoughts raced faster than a tongue that chokes on enunciations of things they should or should not say. We spoke a mutual, unsolicited language of passion and feeling and dreams and hope based on the grandeur of ideologies and romantic sermon. There rose the thirst of many years restrained in my body. Chained words which I could not say except in the fragmented images of dreams, whispered by the tongues of Byron, Eluard, Neruda. At that instant still full of sensations, the oblivion of words formed the exact language for understanding the glances of our closed eyes.
Language and the human mind eternally act and react like atoms upon each other in a frantic, scrambling search for validation, familiarity and understanding, producing the infinite complexity of pain and pleasure. The mechanical language which objects suggest — since objects themselves are not the words they represent,themselves. Ultimately, to possess a sensation of intimacy is to speak of what cannot be understood. In secret epitaphs as indecipherable as equations, the silence was sensual, our hands embroiled with an urge to possess in the sun-soaked darkness. Suddenly the list of unusable words was the only ones I could access to describe what I was experiencing. Words were no longer necessary. We clung together in the unifying embrace of recognition and understanding.
For intimacy also involves an aspiration for a narrative about something shared, a story about both oneself and others that will turn out in a particular way. Fickle appetites of prisoners that burn Dante’s Inferno have been replaced with the hopeful illusion of what you can create with the embers of these brilliant flames. What remains is potential, eternity, a conferring of parts onto one another in blind, mechanical compositions that obey the metrical impulse of the lover’s sensibilities.
Intimacy is the inmost, inner sanctums, back rooms of recognition and rejection, solitary confinement, confinement in general, you and them, only. Intimacy is seeing, senses, reaction, about what two people can say to each other if they agree not to or simply cannot have sex.
Because sex is physical, a means of fulfilling the desire to feel the peaks and troughs of a body beside you, on top of you, beneath you, not for any other reason than to dull the reminder that we are alone and that it feels good not to be and I deserve to feel good, you owe me that. And yet, a conversation that went, “I prefer doggystyle because I don’t like looking at faces” glimmered as a front to the fear of intimacy, a staring into the eyes of a lover. Perhaps it is not tenderness, or affection, but an intimacy of life itself that you find.
You could argue that sexual promiscuity qualifies as bona fide ego-divesting discipline — triumph, conquest, colonialism — since unlimited bodily intimacy is obviously impersonal. Intimacy does not demand entitlement. Instead, you begin lying on the floor, naked, breathless, shaking with the climactic search for the hands that will fill the gaps between your fingers not because you need them to but because that’s where they ought to be. You search each other’s eyes not with lust but for understanding beneath the swirling pool of haze anticipation. Intimacy, intimus, the intangible essence of the interior, caged inside a passionate discourse only it is you who has swallowed the key. Intimacy encourages sex, but ultimately becomes an art, shifting the emphasis from passivity to a state of being with someone in a supplemented, unspoken union.
In the morning I would wake to his absence, which would spring trembling in the ticking of the clock, in the pulse of light that rose around us in the mirage of our ruin. The root of intimacy has the quality of eloquence and brevity. It is private and personal. In the place of understanding we discover acknowledgement of beauty, vision sensitive to the grand elementary principles of the world through which one now knows, feels, and moves. The universe would never implode and time would continue to ceaselessly drag its chains towards mankind’s affirmation. Within the intimate lies the unknown, the reactive, the flames that begin and the explosions that end. It isn’t physics, but in the motions through space and time we uncover familiarity in the strange shapes that extend from our bodies like limbs, a common thought, an intimate vulnerability.
Charlotte Clarkson is a contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in London.
“Cold Blooded” – Gary Clark Jr. (mp3)