In a world
Where all others
Seek perfect love,
--Sam O. Rolhds, dated November 13th, 2017
This poem was sent to my house (back in Shreveport) some time ago. Only on a recent trip back was I able to collect this mail meaning I’ll have to make several more trips back out, considering this Sam O. Rolhds character doesn’t yet know of my real address. All his (or her) communiqués are being sent to my old address—how, exactly does s/he know of my old address? How does s/he know of me at all and why are we communicating? What does s/he want me to know? The mystery remains—and my conspiracy matures and solidifies constantly.
I want to know if this person is actually H. Moss in alibi.
This poem deepens my belief that Moss is truly trying to communicate with me from some (obviously metaphorical) afterlife. Though, perhaps to him—considering the schizophrenized tone of the letter I received from his Moss’ parents (another unignorable clue)—Sam O. Rolhds really is an afterlife: a life after his own. For, you see, Moss was never known to hold typical beliefs concerning love. I’ve learned over the years, after consistently and consecutively unsatisfying trysts that the formal and conventional notion of ‘love’ is not meant to express or convey pleasure in its most animal sense—rather, ‘love’ as a convention is meant to impede pleasure, to justify it in some throwback Judeo-Christian value system so deeply entrenched it permeates all sectors of society. Though Moss has given me several valuable insights into the imperfection of ‘love’ (Disneyfied love) I can’t say I’m totally beholden to him as the progenitor of such ideas in me.
This poem reflects, almost to a ‘T,’ Moss’ ideas of love as they came to a head right before his (alleged) suicide.
Now, you may be wondering if I indeed called Disneyfied love ‘imperfect’ why this poem criticizes (for it indeed criticizes) “perfect love” (ln. 3). Isn’t a love that is “perfect” the goal in our culture (read: the west, or really any other culture which still doesn’t practice coupling for economic purposes?)? Aren’t we supposed to find “the one?” Yes, in that perennial fixation and thrust to find “the one,” we always presuppose the relationship with “the one” is the perfect love. A perfect love is one with “the one.” However, “the one” presupposes there exists some other single individual which will provide perfect love—as though they “complete us”—suggesting there is someone out there who will provide the perfect love, like it is a resting quality in them, as though they are essentially made for us and us (supposedly) for them. Yet, this “oneness” we believe others to have (i.e., made for us, essentially-for-us) always actualizes asymmetrically—some are “the one” to one person and the other is no “the one” at all. Perhaps then that “the one” was not really “the one” but an imposter “the one,” a thief of one’s time and libidinal investment—in short, an asshole, a crazy bitch. But, the weird thing about designating someone “the one” is that we always believe someone to be “the one” far too early in the game. Libidinal investment is always incredibly strong in the early stages (the so-called “honeymoon phase”) where the person can do no wrong. It’s only during the late-stage of the game when we realize the error of our sexualized/libidinal thinking and see the other for what they really are: an asshole, a crazy bitch. While it is true vanity comes to the fore in the “honeymoon phase” for evolutionary purposes as a lubricant of reproduction and coupling, and slowly dissipates over time, our incessant need for a perfect person to provide perfect love—a subjective qualifier; I’ll get to that below—transforms the other into “the one” at first, our habituation slowly reveals or transforms the other into the asshole/crazy-bitch. So, it’s not enough to simply say that one person is either “the one” or an “asshole/crazy bitch.” It’s rather a timer of libidinal intensity and habituation. I risk saying all love is a timed process of habituation where novelty initiates it.
To say there is “the one” is to presuppose, as I mentioned earlier, a person who is essentially-for-us; in keeping with the disgusting, mushy cliché, someone who “completes us.” If you can imagine it, the way we formulate coupling in this culture is to imagine everyone is like a magnet: attracted to one another based on opposing poles (+/-). Love is more so a mathematics of coupling, where certain variables fit inside of a fixed equation: x+y=z. Positive and negative cancel out and create the naught of love itself: 1+-1=0. However, the negation inherent in our current conception of love should be seen more as 0.5+0.5=1. Instead of being complete people with both (+) and (-) qualities, that is to say with both “male” and “female” (ick, ick, ick) qualities inherent (bisexuality or even polysexuality), we see ourselves as perpetually lacking a quality within ourselves—that the other person definitely completes us. No wonder people meander around the hallways of schools bemoaning loneliness (mostly boys): because they feel as though there is something missing from them! The real equation (‘real’ should be taken with a hypertensive serving of salt) should look something like: 1+1+…+…+…= n.
Attraction has no limit to its affectability—for the polysexual character of all reproductive beings is one that merely looks toward reproduction—not that reproduction is the end of any coupling; it is merely a consequence of coupling. The reproductive act, yes, was designed to further a species which requires a “male” and a “female” (ick, ick, ick) part (+/-) but the attraction which engenders and energizes the reproductive act is necessarily 1 + 1 + 1 +…+…+… = n. These roles of (+/-) are not essential qualities inherent in any reproductive being; they are merely consequences of biology—they have no bearing on attraction which is multifaceted. The equation 1 + 1 + 1 +…+…+… = n is one that is not a plug and chug kind of equation of coupling—it is more so a nomadic game of numbers. The end result (that is to say, n) is merely the culmination of attraction as actualized by partners. This ‘n’ value is determined by the 1’s desire as well as the other 1’s present in the equation and their desire as they intermix. My formulation is one that includes the other rather than negates it (as in +/-). Others are found, but the self that finds them is likewise an other to the other self—a literal 1-to-1 ratio that extends across the entire earth and history of attraction. This theory is represented in when the speaker says “the inadequate/will find/ other sojourners” (ln. 3-6). It is a bit rhetorical to say that the 1+…+…=n as it applies to attracting reproductive creatures is indicative of “inadequa[cy]” but, it’s purpose is pretty obvious: those that do not conform to the (+/-) formulation so common, nay required in monogamous relationships are always seen as “unfaithful, strange, unconventional” any word you’d like to use to express discredit. Anything outside of the fixed walls of the monogamous territory is seen as beyond reason—improper, wrong, schized. Yet, the 1+…+…=n subscribers know the (+/-) formulation, the law of monogamy, is not the only path of attraction (and, if I can be a bit inflammatory here, I’d say it is a trap of attraction, a premature scission of the direction of attraction. Digression: the reason, I would say this formulation is ‘premature’ or does not work is because the +/- assumes the two, only two, characters have inherent functions, roles to play. The only way +/- works is if the two characters are actually polar—in which case, the two must be made to reflect one another as opposing terms. In the monogamous register, yes, of course this works. It’s supposed to work. However, we all know from experience, this is not the case. Because this +/- is ideological in nature, it is removed from the material reality of reproductive attraction: 1+…+…=n. Most damningly in this assumption is that, when a +/- coupling doesn’t work, it is not the misgivings of the equation, of the ideology, it is the lamentable lack of the other: the asshole/crazy bitch. When the roles malfunction, act according to another formulation, the whole system falls apart—the formulation, as tenuous as it is, does not complete—or rather does not hold firm. The inability to hold the equation firm is attributable to the asshole/crazy bitch is always, I’ve noticed the asymmetry between two people is always based off the asymmetry of values between the +/-. The subjective nature of what we know love to be causes the asymmetry—we all see what love is, how it’s supposed to play out—excuse me for this piece of academia bullshit, but—the narrative of love in a completely different way. Therefore, no two people can have relational and proportional conceptions of love—no love can be perfect.) But monogamy is the only coupling form most articulated in our symbolic relational register. They ‘seek’ something more ‘spiritually’ satisfying, chasing a different calling—in keeping with the terms of the “Sojourner.” The sojourner does not complete a requirement but simply seeks knowing there may not be a final form or perfection down the line.
This being the case, the formulation of 1+…+… = n, does not require essential roles or fixed values in order to operate; it requires that attraction exist and nothing more. It assumes there are whole individuals with reproductive attraction and that attraction is not limited, but polysexual.