Hell is other people – Part II

From an untitled event held in Belfast on 4th November, 2012. By Cary Gibson.

Hell is other people. Other people are mind-bendingly beautiful. They twist and turn our words and gestures into their own. They colonise our desires and bring us to our knees. They take pleasure from our pleasure and pain from our pain. They don’t know when to say yes or no or stop or start or touch or refrain or speak or hush. They arrive unasked and too early or too late. They touch something deep in us with no permission and draw our deepest longings up from our insides like moths to a flame. They leave us gasping for more and aching for more. They are puzzles that we did not ask for and can never solve. And on the day that we come across the answer – finally a way to understand, to make better contact, to know, to hold to possess – it is not enough. We stand helpless as the answer turns to dust in the face of the ‘thing’ that is THEM. The labels wash out. Categories won’t extend. Classifications buckle.

Nothing works. The other is other is other is other is other. They will not submit.

And then a voice. Listen to it. It rises from somewhere you do not understand. But you do not have to struggle. You do not have to strain.  You do not have to understand, to translate, to transpose, to negotiate, to contextualise, to apply logic, to display serious interdisciplinary concern, to squeeze between dialectical tension, to synthesise, to apologise, to undertake hermeneutical analysis or to smile through gritted teeth.

The voice speaks a word and the word is…..

Sssshhhh…..don’t say it. Watch it work….watch it bind your neighbor to his enemy; watch it open like a prayer on your white,  white bedroom sheets; watch it walk through this world in way you never can or will.

Watch how they are separated by skin. A skin you cannot get inside and to feel the deepest confession they utter. What a magnificent, terrible gift that separation is.

The word is…the word is many words…delight, dignify, celebrate, welcome, befriend, uphold, remember, embrace, bless, create, … listen.

And when you have submitted, when you have given up your secrets, your claims, your voices….then it will be cacophonous.

This is how to be here. When you hear you will be here.

Look around…they are among you….the others. They are a terrible & beautiful gift to us, the others.

Do not let them get away.


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