A trunk and a package of junk, tied with string. Let’s go. They do not move. ‘S’ is the letter that denotes me in this glossing game. And here is ‘my’ letter stencilled on a cardboard box flattened to provide some loose casing for – what – wrought iron gates, a fence? This picture, which falls to me by the law of numerical series and sequencing that allots my place, has ‘my’ letter on it prominently placed and underlined. But of course this picture has absolutely nothing to do with me. I have never seen this alley, street or those objects. Then again, what does the letter ‘S’ have to do with me? Arbitrarily, according to the rules of the game, I am put into the picture as the letter ‘S’, a letter as alien to me as this picture. Has someone arrived or are they about to travel? Has someone died? (1) ‘S’ is visible but at the expense of ‘me’ who am absent, like the owner of these objects. ‘The signifier, whose first purpose is to bar the subject, has brought into him the meaning of death. (The letter kills, but we learn this from the letter itself’) (Lacan). The letter marks the point of division wherein one locates one’s place as an effect of the chain, SAEND, arranged in couples at four corners, ‘in a form homologous to a pyramid’, a tomb. It is this form of fatal couplings that determines the destiny, if not the destination, of ‘my’ desire in the context of this game. Appropriately the image seems to comprise, again, of a series of dualities: a dark alley, an opening, where all the lines tend, into the light. Propped up against the wall, the objects look set to travel, but just sit there. This could simply be a pile of rubbish. I see a couple, although there are many more than two objects: the sealed trunk, smug, inscrutable, sphinx-like; the other(s) ragged, dishevelled, letting it all (nearly) hang out. A game of even and odd couples: Oscar and Felix, Jacques and Jacques, Félix and Gilles, Didi and Gogo. Didigogo? No, he did not move. Yet desire is movement even in stasis; it is anticipation, imaginary flight, fantasy; La lettre volée, while the objects remain. (2) I see a trunk and a wrought iron-cardboard-string machine bearing a letter that has arrived by chance, as always, at its destination. S
(1) When I first saw this image I was reminded of Freud’s tattered hat and coat that hangs above a weather-beaten monogrammed suitcase in the Freud Museum in Vienna. These signs of imminent departure are virtually all that is left of Freud in the house from which he fled from the Nazis. Almost everything in that house is now in Hampstead. But these objects did not leave, they were abandoned.
(2)‘By The Time I Get to Phoenix’ is a song of imaginary flight. It is another repetition in a series of failed departures – ‘I’ve left that girl so many times before’. His anticipation is always displaced by nostalgia, the (love) sickness for home. ‘By the time I get to Phoenix, she’ll be ...’ but he never gets to Phoenix.