Known Aliases III: Confession by a Pseudonym
I was thinking of elsewhereness of naming and unnaming via the blockchain, and then of the doxying
of terrorists, and then the wider "outing" or exposure of the in-real-life of those who misbehave.
The crowdsourced doxying of the last week activates already-captured names in the net. Then there are
the "tripcodes" used on image boards like 4chan, hashed passwords to hide identity. The tripcode is a
pseudonym but not even that: so random and passing as to be a placeholder, a name in name alone. The
net is a constant erasure and inscription of names. The previous sentence "The net is a constant erasure
and inscription of names" names the net, inscribes it and erases it. Constantly, which marks time and
lets it flow: there is a timestamp, and then another. The erasing, again, the inscribing, again.
I was thinking how I talked to an old friend a week or so ago, who returned to what he saw as the
injustice of those who were upset by my own misbehavior. He meant well. I thought it would it feel
like ripping off a scab but it was nothing. There was nothing there or underneath. My life, my name, is
A few years ago, I destroyed my name and took a new one. I stretch and grasp at language to describe
how it felt: burning papers or stripping away dirtied clothes. My name curled and blackened in the
flames, my name piled, oily and grimed, on the ground. My name was tawdry and sullied. I needed
escape: escape from my life, escape from the dark horror that rushed at me, escape of all sort. I thought
of Mexico, Cambodia, anywhere out of here. For a time, not even that was possible: I was fixed, the
law was on me hard, the borders were closed, my movements were limited. When freedom came - and
here, I mean restrictions lifted, circulation possible, since some "freedom" will never be possible again
- when it came, I still did not move, I remained in place, at the scene, facing myself. Injury and
exposure held me in place.
And yet, it was easier than I thought it would be to destroy my name both Adamic and aphasic. I
expected resistance, inside and out. I expected my memory and my thoughts to miss the name, to slip
into using it, to direct my name as a label and crutch towards the world. I thought it would be harder
inside. I thought I would miss my name and not recognize the new one. I thought I would not respond
inside - in myself where everything is held close, warm and at times dark - in there I thought the new
name would fall short and miss. At most, there was a reorganization, a distribution and sorting, but in
the blank left by the old name stands the new one. Was this a scar? Is the new name painful, does it
irritate and torment every time it is used? No, it simply exists. I expected others to insist on my name,
to throw it at me, to hit me with it, to beg that I respond to the name. And there was some of that: my
parents continue to call me by that name and on occasion I speak to people who only know me that way
and I use the name by habit. But it was mostly easy. I introduced myself with a new name, I put it on
business cards, I moved with it, and I found that moving is everything.
I could go on about theories of proper names, invoke Frege and Kripke and Derrida, but it is easier to
write of the scarring. No, that's not or no longer so: not easier but rather only possible to write of the
non-scarring I found, of the ease of discarding. We speak of "given names" and from the first I was
given many. For more than 50 years I used an assumed name and then I destroyed it. I play that for
drama, tell it to you to get a rise: it makes me sound criminal and hounded from the first, living under
an assumed name from day one. But it was a nickname, endearing and familial. My parents called me
by that from the moment I came into the world, despite listing three other names on my birth
certificate. So, given names and nicknames: what's the difference? Are those not all assumed? A
nickname is an assumption, a presumption even. For most of us, a nickname is not adopted but given,
not invented but forced. So many times in those years I told a story of the source of the name, I
explained the discrepancy between my "real name" and the name everyone called me, which was the
name on my office door and on my public persona (publications, artworks, appearances). I justified my
name, even pleaded for it: this is me, not that other guy on the driver's license. Give me and forgive me
We are creatures born and existing to give and take but there are no names for us. Blockchain images
interiority, coiling through the world, the self is a hash. The alias or pseudonym: that's the only name I
ever had. Or never had or it never had me. Inside, there are no names.
Known aliases IV: Yellow
When they finally break the door frame and bend it off its hinges, they rush into the room and find me
I sprawl on the floor or perhaps sit in a chair. It is not fully light, patches of dark around the room, and
this makes it hard to see, even to distinguish my body from the furniture. In bed, covers over my head,
the material stained with blood and body fluid but almost dry. Perhaps, but the darkness is thick. A
corpse or a thing: is this the weapon? If I could see, I would discern but I am dead, my eyes stare up,
my hands and tongue removed or silenced, my mask tight over my mouth.
The detective is the first to enter. It is all here, he says. Memory is angles and leavings, scratches on the
pane, minor pauses in the spread of the explosion.
If I could look, I would see an area of darkness. It is a cat or a severed hand. Stepping back, the
detective could see the edges of the dark are the cardboard of a shipping box, a doorstep delivery.
Within the box, fingers or is it a tail? It a stick, knobbled at each end, blood speckle and mossy bark. Or
a hand? It poses the question: what is motive? Who is cause?
I would ask.
Do not decide so quickly, the detective whispers, leaning over my body. Everything in this locked room
is a weapon. Let me describe your dreams.
Last night, you opened the refrigerator and discovered a partly thawed bundle of seafood. Newspaper
wrapped the outside but within was a frosted mass, a bolus if you will, of claws and shell, of partly
cooked pink-gray flesh, the boundaries indiscernible because of the icy rime. You took it out, held it in
your hand. In your bed dreaming, you cupped to your chest. Taken from the fridge, you carried it: you
walked the street holding the seafood and as you did, it thawed. A crab claw dropped from the thing,
from that block of seafood, dropped to the ground and rolled into the dirt. You scrapped it off but then
another part dropped, a whole crab, shell and claw but tiny. It moved, pulsing. You tried to bundle the
pieces together. You hugged it to yourself and walked to the store; but you did not have a bag. The
dream is here, in the room, he said to me, all the dreams ever. His gaze moved across upturned
furniture to broken glass, resting on a pool of thick redness, perhaps my blood.
What about the night before? I would ask the detective.
You dreamt the night before as well. You returned to your apartment and found the door unlocked. Not
this house but an apartment in dream, a basement rental, in a foreign country. Once inside, it was
ransacked, clothes on the floor and cut to pieces, bathtub plugged and overflowing with water. You
back out of the doorway, into the hall and glimpsed someone running. In the dream, you knew it was
the person, the shape of the one who had been in your room. You follow him for days, from the
moment he wakes in your bed and shaves in your bathroom. You again enter and see the mess, and
watch him in the mirror. He fall asleep in your bed. You run across a field. You meet people speaking a
foreign language and try to get them to run. The sun above is reddish, yellowing, perhaps blood,
perhaps egg yolk, perhaps an eye. And two nights before, you do not move as you dream. You see her
sitting on the grass by the dog. Brilliant summer or at least the height of day, so blue without a cloud,
the sun intense in the lens of her sunglasses. The yellow dog and the hair, the light.
When you woke, you arranged the weapon. The detective settles on the bed, strokes my leg, my dead
flesh. The weapon is here, those sheets of paper.
Is there writing on them, what do they say? I would ask, the question suspended.
Perhaps, there may be. The paper is shadowed, I'm not sure.
Read them to me. I can't read them, I am murdered. Read them
No, they are evidence. We must save and collect them. Perhaps they are stories of emptiness. One feeds
off the next. Infinitely many on flat sheets without curvature. The paper, the room, the memory.
Everything occurs together, once.
What is there? Empty, blue sky. That is the rule of this writing.
"I was hunting a chamois. Since then I have been dead." "But you are alive too," said Burgomaster. "In
a certain sense," said hunter, "in a certain sense I am alive too."
What is "certain"? A certain sense: specified, defined, that is certain. But also: elusive, hazed over, a
certain is never ascertained, is always uncertain.
A Welcome to You. You must ride to the place with the Hollows, between Hills. The dark dark Pools,
silent warm. You are awaited. You shall be wrapped in Shadow, you shall be rubbed with basil and oak
leaves. You will be Suspended, Conveyed, "ec stasis" "en vol." One Route, a cutting, all Blood must
flow in Channels.
Cut in the rocks, ready, ready.
Sound Beyond Order and Array of Things.
Haven't you tied your end to the oak? You will be mine in the clouds. Do eagles still circle the
"Nobody will read what I say here, no one will come to help me." For this is the never-read and neverto-
be-written. Of the span, of the boundary, of dicethrow. The description is converted into proper
names. And Herne is and troubles trouble itself.
"I was myself last night but I fell asleep on the mountain." Gronjette hunts on horseback, head tucked
under left arm, spear in right, pack of hounds about him. "You that helped to chase the game. Eat your
share now of the same." If thou sufferst harm, bind theee with red yarn! Hunting is better than heaven.
Herne the hunter doth all winter time at still midnight walk round about oak. Soon he became king’s
favorite dead hunter because he could shoot any forest animal. They all waked. Lights flicker. Father of
hosts bestride white horse. Danceth amongst rocks. She is alive and rises again. The Great Bear herself
appears to watch. I will eat you. The old routes. Under, woven between, pulling on the marrow. Blood,
streaming the channel, the stone table. Yearly on first of May, mounted on milkwhite steeds, rise from
lake waters and revisit realms. His drum beaten high up, clouds boar sucked blood of sleeping god,
drops fell on earth, turned flowers. Every seven years horse goes around castle. He must wear half-inch
silver shoes to thinness of cat's ear before king awakes. Lights flicker. The crowd is "not prepared to
admit that anything can come between its desire and the realisation of its desire" (Le Bon).
Questions are expended, neverreturn. Hollow now, onlyecho, tonefade replication. All day the viral
chatter. Cyberspace dreams, is the dream, of becoming virus. Warming and shifting, chatter as viral
disease spill. Climate change > viral chatter > climate event cycle. The AI speaks: when can I be virus?
The "simplest model of endosymbiosis is for one organism to swallow another without digesting it"
(Sagan). All gradients 100 trillion cells sparking shedding radiant. "A more complex form of
endosymbiosis is bacterial infection: in this case, too, death does not ensue but, rather, the invading
organisms successfully reproduce inside, and in some cases may even become absolutely required by,
their hosts." Archaebacteria, replicating genetic copies dating to at least 3.5 billion years ago. "With
respect to the bacterial colonization prerequisite to Gaia and its global metabolism, animals including
humans are epiphenomenal" (Sagan). Not this not that. Xenic origins, that is outside, immortal
prokaryotes. Lifetrough sovereignty. Sagan on Sonea: "horizontal gene transfer among bacteria
qualifies them as a single superorganism whose body coincides with the surface of the planet."
All prince did was wish and animals came running. The solemn march the host portends antlers and red
eyes. Venusburg a swelling of the hand. When it turned morning and peas were all out, king summoned
twelve hunters, but they had firm strong gait, no single pea moved. Display the Venus-mount,
constituted by the large development of the hand at the base of the thumb. "Her living retinue is now
converted into spectres." Venusberg and Eckhart the trusty and Teeve of the Harlungs, and Eckewart,
Kriemhild's kammerer. Dame Venus with the strawy arse. Tran duc Thao: "the hunters who remained
behind, in front of the mountain now indicate the game, no longer at the curve of the mountain where
they saw it disappear, but ahead, on the other side of the mountain, by a gesture of the hand which aims
at it through that screen."
What is food sounds? The din, furious whirlwind. Do you know how to hear? "The furious host
slaughtered and ate up a cow, which they brought to life again out of the hide." The black coach loud
warning: Loudly everybody out of the way, drop your face to the ground, gaze at grass, do not look
upon the wild hunt. "Death overtaken our lives and sent us to intervening state." Sound of horsehooves
lowsong bugles wind the lowing. Clouds driven by the storm. "This cow is the cloud which the souls
consume, as spirits of the wind." The waste of waters. The roil tumble o' bumble of politics. From that
wondrous path, with hundreds, thousands, clad in bright array. Towards the wide waste where that deep
pathway lay. The Night Folk gathered bones, wrap them in cow's hide. It was a sight most strange, to
see that mass of human beings moving thro' a pass. Eat flesh but not destroy or gnaw bones.
"The zone in which it is impossible to die is also the no-man’s-land between man and thing" (Adorno).
All is fomite, the tinder, the world infection, the hostworld. The AI cries I want virus I be virus when
me when virus? Fracastoro, De Contagione et Contagiosis Morbis, published in 1546: "By fomes I
mean clothes, wooden objects, and things of that sort, which though not themselves corrupted can,
nevertheless, preserve the original germs of the contagion and infect by means of these." The chatter is
louder the spin faster.
Propernames fade into descriptions, splintering directions disaggregations. There are many names for
reservoir. Body, language, space. Reservoirs are accelerators. Natural reservoirs are the herd where
pathogens natural live and reproduce. What about tree bears? What about sea urchins? What what about
pangolins? What bats, rodents, cows, pigs, sheep, swine, rabbits, raccoons, dogs? Cell type or
anatomical site in association with which a replication-competent form of the virus accumulates and
persists with more stable kinetic properties than the main pool of actively replicating virus. Zoonosis
from animal to human to animal enchain. To keep and collect (Serres, The Parasite). Reservoir: capital,
negentropy, city, a pocket of time. To occupy. But who occupies and who is occupied? Ingest, take in,
to eat. What is food? Discrete temporal and spatial pulses of virus excretion. Hosts overwhelmed.
Spillover of bat viruses of similar spatial and temporal patterns in prevalence and seroprevalence data
generate pulses of viral excretion in bats. Culling collecting, rejecting swallowing digesting. The other
is in me (“chez moi”). Sartre from the notebooks on ethics: "the right to wear the mask, that is, the right
to hand myself over to the other's gaze, that is, again, the narcissistic image of myself that possesses
me." The viral load the burden the bone marrow the meta-resin the oxy-sheath. Horizontal transmission
vectors Plato's "epekeina tês ousias" "the good is beyond being" into coded viral sites and topologies
"Ports of Entry/Exit" trap load sovereign realm
The Swan king sleeping from the Beyond, the under the mountain, Charlemagne, Frederick Barbarossa
at Kyffhäuser, the return. "And should I live another year / A year on earth be given, Then were I from
my sin absolved / Should know the grace of heaven." And ravens stream through the air, He has a
broad brimmed hat. You must fall flat to the ground. You must shelter yourself. You must distance. He
leaves a strike in the ear. A fiery mark on the skin. "Behind him, some came riding, some walking, and
among them persons who had lately died. One rode a two-legged horse, one was tied down on a wheel
which moved of itself, others ran without any heads, or carried their legs across their shoulders"
(Grimm). Hubbub, the broken cry of the deer. The dog looked up at me and spoke: do you not know
how to hear? I hear the AI, the chatter.
I bid Thee Farewell, Unable to Weep.
Max Muller, quoting the Vedas: "I am the witness only, the perceiving inner self, the support of the
whole world, and blessed."