Reflections On “Submarine”

Climbing up the peak, past where I fell, and reaching the top.  I am happy to be alive, to think, to compose, to pull depression out of the bodies of people whom I love.  Long ropes and metal hooks are my tools and I cast them across the oceans and the deserts, into the busy cities and tiny rooms of their lives.   

A clean vista can feed the mind.       

Circling relevant images around an idea so as to paint an emotion is the task of a writer.  The right images are essential to great writing.  Specks of insanity help in this regard.  Perhaps it is genetic insanity carried across the centuries.  Maybe the mental twist is caused by injury or illness, and the mutation switches on a light of a different hue.  Regardless of the source, the nervous system produces unusual or even unique formations of language in the mind. The words fall upon the page and reflect in your eyes. 

We all should be reading the mountain stream at a high elevation. 

Reality is the father and language is the mother.  The difference between them comes only from our ignorance. My five senses are  lawyers trying to litigate the laws of nature.  I get detained, arrested, threatened … I go to jail, make bail, and everything is a series of trials, delays, judgements, and, if I’m lucky, escape. 

Borders and dreams are particularly enlightening in my world.  Both are mental fictions, and they are the quickest affirmation of my instinct that nothing matters, which means if we pick the most important thing in our life, then surely it must be nothing.  Is nothing a quantity or a quality?  It is, of course, both.  Getting to a state of mind where nothing is everything has been long in coming.  Yet, here we are, together in this moment.

I have a bibliography with a number of sources, but I reject all of that now.  The whole thing is pointless on any day of my life.  Even when I’m dying, waiting for some saving movement, a knock on my door, the bark of my dog.  I can hardly stand to place a footnote on anything.  Nail an event or idea down with a date or a name is anathema to me. 

The truly great ones, not the obnoxious scum who often lead us, all end with comments like these: it was pointless, I made mistakes, who wrote that, I failed you and the unfortunate ones, etc.  Trying to answer the big questions should be seen as a journey of inward dynamics, momentary realizations that change like the growth of leaves, the breathing of a child.  The human mind as kaleidoscope, telescope, microscope … everything a moving image, alive with infinite mystery, an arrow let fly towards the moon.  Any other point of view can be terribly destructive.  Ask a reasonable physicist.  Listen to what he or she says.  The religious and political spotlights are the worst.  Belief without doubt creates the horror of public hangings, squares filled with gunshots, dark cells, the twisted faces of children … all comes from certainty. 

What of insanity?  I am attracted to it.  The girl in “Submarine” had a soaring language, uniquely insightful without context.  She was hyper, addicted, intelligent, reckless, sexual and these have always been traits of interest to me.  She was a kidnap victim as well. At the end of my understanding and patience, she was alone, living at the bottom of a dry well or more likely, she orbited the planet and we could only talk via satellite transmissions.  She was clear cut with sharp scissor, demanding relief and sustenance.  If a waterfall had sprung from her mouth or a flock of birds, I would not have been surprised.  We ate each other on a nightly basis until there was no more.  Yet, she was not the only one.  There was the horse training, the one who jumped from a moving car on the interstate as she wrote a poem in her mind.  The ghost of horses animated her body.  I’ve written about her.  She is there in a different story and then Molly who called one morning and asked if I could come and help her escape from the mental hospital.  She said, the nurses were not careful at lunch and she could get to the corner and I should be there at 12:30 sharp.  I picked her up and we drove to a bank.  I didn’t know how to use the drive through and she laughed at me and said, you’re crazier than me, how is it you don’t know how to use an intercom to talk to the teller? 

You mean the little metal box with buttons?  I’ve never seen one.

She ran out of a movie about space aliens and disappeared into the street. 

There is always that sort of sentence about my lovers who are partly or wholly unbalanced.  Presentation is an important word for me when I find myself in that sort of relationship.  She presents well.  Not all the time, but some of the time.  A friend once told me; it shouldn’t be that hard.  It’s supposed to be easier.  Really, I thought, how could that be during a war, a famine, an epidemic, a genocide?  What of my lovers then?  Relationships during the bad times.  The really bad times.  It seems to me that all of the normal behaviors disappear during great social strife and pressure.  Does schizophrenia have a typical meaning in a city under siege, without sufficient food and water, where people waste away to bones?  Where suicide is a solitary party?  How should we measure depression when a mother has lost all of her children to genocide or war?  What can a psychiatrist do when they find living bodies on top of the dead?  How can one rehabilitate a torture victim?  The walking, talking children of rape?

I’d like some answers.

These are the sort of questions at the bottom of “Submarine.”   Of course, I failed the girl in “Submarine.”  I could only admire and absorb her condition.  She talked in the most curious way. I thought her to be brilliant. I couldn’t save her, but I did want to clarify the context of “Submarine”.  It’s important to me.  Thanks. Duke


6 thoughts on “Reflections On “Submarine”

  1. Yes, mentally ill lovers, I remember those, too, and my own mental illness at those time for one has to be a little crazy to choose some crazy.

    I like the existential predicaments you posed in the beginning. Things are as they seem or they are not. Most likley, not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you can see Najda in this. My own version and if I’d met Breton, I probably would have thought him a prick, but at least an enduring prick, but then aren’t they all? Oh well. Duke


  2. Failed is not the word I would use. You transported her into a piece exposing parts of yourself. Like an agate. We are indeed going into a period of rapid universal mental decline and soon the only really sane people will be locked up and the key … thrown away.


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