Cuddle song

Sławomir Bobola

Marcin Barski

Art & Science
Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien
Kazimierz Dolny - Vienna
2014 - 2015

and she is never rude;
she never thinks just of herself
or ever gets annoyed.
She never is resentful;

Paul the Apostle. (5458). 1 Corinthians 13:5. The Holy Bible. Yorba Linda, CA U.S.A.: International Standard Version (ISV).

(...) we've been to Cortona many times together; there was a summer school there, organized by Krzysztof, and – as it happens in Italy – the building is built of stone, and the floors are of stone; and in the afternoons, usually, as it happens in Italy, too, we were taking a nap, and then waking up. And I heard, as usually we were staying on the same floor, Krzysztof's clogs' stomping, Krzysztof was walking. And once I couldn't stand it, I went out from my room and I ask him – why do you walk so much? And he says: - Because I'm thinking, and I say – What are you thinking about? (...) And this is his answer: - And what if Paul the Apostle lied?

Król, M. Kurhaus Publishing (Producer). (2104, February 5). ( M. Barski trans. 2015 ). Dyskusja o Krzysztofie Michalskim, pt. "Filozof, który zmieniał przestrzeń". Podcast retrieved from


Love. Maternal love. Eternal love. Paternal love. Parental love. Love game. Physical love. Psychological love. Spiritual love. Brotherly love. Delusive love. Infantile love. Love song. Love letter. Love poem. Art of love. Accidental love. Predestined love. Delight of love. Pain of love. Loved one. Lovably. Lovely. Love forever. Love affair. Lack of love. Lovefeast. Love thy God. Love thy neighbor. Love thy woman. Love thy animals. Love thy sister. Love of desire. Courtly love. Love at first sight. Love ballad. Biological love. Love of knowledge. Love of money. Love of pain. Love film. Love story. Love novel. Confession of love. Memory of love. Selflove. Shared love. Love to you. Love for the rest of life. Love relation. The only love. I am love. Knightly love. Demonic love. Lost love. Struggle for love...

Bobola, S. (n.d.). Dziennik. Unpublished manuscript. (M. Barski, Trans., 2015).

Love: how numerous its forms, how various are all those aspects and moments of life to which we apply that word. Any attempt to reduce them to a common denominator would be foolish.

Michalski, K. (2007). The Flame of Eternity: An Interpretation of Nietzsche's Thought (B. Paloff, Trans. 2013). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press


You called me today, your voice was like a melody, light, warmth. I was speaking to you calmly and lovingly.

Bobola, S. (2014, June 14). List. Unpublished manuscript.(M. Barski, Trans., 2015).


- writing about love is writing (...) Open writing. It begins somewhere – here and now (KD 14.II.15) – and (will) end somewhere. Open in this sense: - not closed. This here: apparent „beginning”, and that other one, would-be, unrealized and equally apparent „end” - they're not beginning and end in common, trivial meaning. Like in a game, which „begins” and „ends”, and where the „score” is countable. (...) The author of hereby work emphasizes then, that he does not assume common and trivial rules, coming from the concepts of beginning and end. In the name of openness -

JULIA: What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.


ROMEO: With love’s light wings did I o'erperch these walls,
For stony limits cannot hold love out.

Shakespeare, W. (1599). The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedie. London, England: Cuthbert Burby.

Rose is the name of a flower
or a dead girl

Różewicz, T. (1947). Niepokój, Róża. Sobbing Superpower. Selected Poems of Tadeusz Różewicz (2011). (J. Trzeciak Trans.). New York, N.Y.: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

EINSTEIN: We do not know whether or not this ambition will ever result in a definite system. If one is asked for his opinion, he is inclined to answer no.

Einstein, A. (1936, March 5). Physics and Reality. (J. Picard, Trans.). Princeton, N.Y.: Journal of the Franklin Institute.

FEYNMAN: First, we do not yet know all the basic laws: there is an expanding frontier of ignorance.

Feynman, R. (1936). Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher. New York, N.Y.: Basic Book.


How do I write then? Since the work has no „beginning” nor „end” - it cannot also have an introduction, explication..., (center)..., conclusion... Openness, meaning no established rules – throws us „somewhere further”, „somewhere else” (where? towards the river – Wisła, KD 22.II.15) – into a text (writing-reading) or outside of it... [To myself/yourself I turn]. Memory, emotions. It's love that tears apart the rules (beginning, explication...), laws (a+b=c), manners („towards the river” romanticism), styles (to write in one style like (as) who?). And what happens: look – love – tears openness apart (!). What is a deconstructed openness? Closeness? Open, openness? It pushes us (throws) somewhere further, somewhere else... Not here and not now – somewhere there... Love is pulsating (somewhere) outside of text – words – therefore every writing „about love” pushes us outside of text – and thereby (being aware of it) leaves the subject, the person writing about love, in critical (tragic) situation. (Let's) Imagine a desert – sheet of paper, sand (spilled) alphabet, water – love (we don't have) – a mirage. I'm dreaming.

The word says less than we would like to communicate but the fact that there is no way of expelling misunderstandings from life, shows that it is not about a technical imperfection only, but about the most primal paradox of language, of communicating oneself; words disclose little because they contain too much content; whatever we say, whatever we talk about, our words express more than we would like to communicate. There is another world hidden in their depths, untold world which brings life to words. We can of course comment on this world but by doing so we won't terminate it, we will only widen its limits, shift the horizon, the horizon that we will never reach anyway.

Földényi, L.F. (2011). Melancholia, (tłum. R. Reszke; Trans. M. Barski, 2015). Warszawa, Poland: Wydawnictwo KR.


I am alone. Alone with others.


Let's name two subjects. Subjects writing, writing these words (thesis), writing about love:

1. Me. Loving subject. Cherishing subject. Intimate subject. Subject writing poems, yearning subject. Subject weeping, possessed with ressentiment, with memories. Subject suffering, possessed with anger. Subject sentencing himself to banishment, to solitude... Subject dreaming of death. Dreamy, phantasmagoric subject. Sick subject, coming back again and again to the same thing: - himself? - love? - you? Subject in love. Subject inside of love. In the void of love. Love subject. Living love – as own, only, unrepeatable. (Particular?) Subject of emotions. Subject of desires. Of lust. Subjective. Subject in himself.

2. Me. Subject writing about love. Reading about love. Subject thinking about love. Subject listening to love stories. Subject writing down aphorisms about love. Subject seeking love in books, cinema, science. Subject analyzing love, subject deconstructing love. Subject listening to songs about love, listening to people's confessions about love. Subject asking: what is love? Subject looking for an answer to the question: what is love? Subject „on love”. Outside of love. Objective. Subject looking at his own love through the lens of stories / discourses „about love”. Subject universalizing love.

There is also third subject:

3. You.


Sobbing, gasping, lo... crying, howling slobbering trembling, losing my breath, choking, sounds coming out from my body that I've never heard before, never knew. Tears are rolling down, saliva's gushing, mucus dropping from my nose down to the floor (is it still earth?). You are not or is it me (who is)? Is anybody (you) here? You are not, noone is. (...) I'm wriggling, convulsions, crying, howling, sobbing strange words declaimed in moaning, yodelling of sadness, pain, scramble, anxiety... (...) I'm dissolving in my own (or your) excretions – mucus/grief. Roar, despair (...) Sprawled, resentful, broken, stabbed, scattered, melting away, losing breath, losing shape. Smoke. Can't write. Moaning and groaning. Sickness. (...)

(…) That, what we call creation is a kind of a cosmic imbalance, cosmic catastrophe. That things exist by mistake. (…) Isn’t love precisely this kind of a cosmic imbalance? (…) I was always disgusted with this notion of “I love the world”, “universal love”. I don’t like the world. I don’t know how I – uh – I’m basically somewhere in between “I hate the world” or “I’m indifferent towards it”. But the whole of reality, it’s just it – it is stupid, it’s out there, I don’t care about it. Love for me is an extremely violent act. Love is not “I love you all”. Love means, I pick out something and—you know it’s again this structure of imbalance. Even if this something is just a small detail, a fragile individual person, I say, “I love you more than anything else.” In this quite formal sense, love is evil.

Žižek, S. Hidden Driver Productions (Producer). Astra Taylor (Director). (2005, September 5). Žižek!. Podcast retrieved from:


Naked in my bed
and lacking
it hurts
and you are right
i need

G.G. (08.09.12). Personal communication. (M. Barski, Trans. 2015).


Today's (2015/5775) differences in views and in ideologic / religious / rational convictions, which are subject of common discussions / arguments / wars, dependent on individual nature - culture of the antagonists, in my opinion are rooted in love of own truths/ideas/beliefs. In love of I – I who establishes them. In love of own ideas-convictions. Of being (with) this love. Of being-faithful-to-it. Of readiness to defend and fight for it. We are, it seems, „too much” in love with our own ideas from which truths and arguments on the nature of all things arouse. The technocracy that we experience nowadays is partially a result of: love of power, and partially of love of knowledge; it moved us away from nature, today called „nature 2.0”. It reminds me of bracket fungi. In this perspective we tend to forget how our nature (1.0 sic!) influences our culture (manmade: house, scripture, robot) and how „in return” the culture influences our nature. Us. For example: 500~300 centuries of speech/orality, compared to 100~70 centuries of signs/literacy, creates in approximation the phenomenon of dysphasia. We (slowly) lose the ability of talking, discussing, engaging in conversation. Living sound replaced dead symbol.

At the Egyptian city of Naucratis, there was a famous old god, whose name was Theuth; the bird which is called the Ibis is sacred to him, and he was the inventor of many arts, such as arithmetic and calculation and geometry and astronomy and draughts and dice, but his great discovery was the use of letters. Now in those days the god Thamus was the king of the whole country of Egypt; (…) To him came Theuth and showed his inventions, (…) when they came to letters, This, said Theuth, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories; (…) Thamus replied: (…) you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. (…) they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.

Plato. (360 B.C.E). Phaedrus. (2006). (B. Jowett, Trans.). Teddington, U.K.: Echo Library.


What remains for the one whohasnothing, who-has-nothing-left? Nothing? He still has Flesh. Nothing beyond flesh? - Words? If word is flesh, then there is nothing, nothing beyond flesh; - he has fles-hword, or is it word-flesh. However if word is something more, „something” different from flesh, something symbolizing flesh, (that means)... It redirects beyond flesh... - He has something more, something more than flesh. Word. When the flesh disappears, is the word left? Does word vanish together with the flesh? If word is flesh, then word leaves with the flesh. However if word is something more than flesh... Something more... (something that lasts independently from flesh...) He's left with something more, something much more... Word... Words.

(…)"We are beyond words, now," writes Abraham Lewin. And yet - in spite of all - he writes it. He even writes that all around him "everybody writes," because, "despoiled of everything, only words remain for the condemned Jews.

Didi-Huberman, G. (2012, May 9). Images in Spite of All. (Trans. S. B. Illis). Chicago, U.S.A.: University Of Chicago Press.

The unnamed I can name with a word
I can name it fatherland
Love gold a rose
I can call out or be silent.

Różewicz, T. (2007). I name it silence. Poezja, cz. 1 Utwory zebrane, tom VII. (T. Z. Wolański, Trans.). Wrocław, Poland: Wydawnictwo Dolnośląskie.


I am exhausted. Weary. Tired. Bored. Had enough. Want no more. Want no love (anymore). Love, no. Not love. Love. It overwhelms me, sucks me in, spits me out, squeezes me, plunges me. Love, love, love... Makes me sick... the very thought... the very idea... the very word. Lo... ehh. No, please. (...) I'm writing on the verge of sorrow, ignorance, disdain. Seems like one moment more and I'll fall into the black void of strength; now I'm fighting, wouldn't give up without a fight – I'm writing. I can see my weakness, lameness, foolishness. I'm aware of it, that's why I choose the void – consciously, to get rid of that awareness. To enter the „unconscious”, the illogic, to feel love once more, the hell of love (...) And this terrible irony, disdain, words not worth reading – writing. I can't write.

2 November (1911)

This morning, for the first time in a long time, the joy again of imagining a knife twisted in my heart.

Kafka, F. (1988). Diaries 1910-1923.(J. Kresh, M. Greenberg, withe the cooperation of Hannah Arendt; Trans., 1948). New York, N.Y.: Schocken Books.


So, I am sick. Sick from love. What kind of sickness it is – I ask myself (yourself) for over a year now, and I am still not in a position (nor strength) to find out, to understand... the truth... Whatever it is – but it is – as I can feel it constantly, daily, in my life. The only thing I can, and what I'm trying to do, is to note down its symptoms (signs) – that is to diagnose it, which is, as I hope, what I'm doing within this work. What are love's causes then, and what are its signs (results)? One cause is a so called psychic event, an affection, in result of which I have been deprived of the object of (my) love. By „deprived” I mean – the absence, the absence of possibility of relation (presence) with the object of love. This relates to the psychic aspect (words, silence, sleep...) as well as to the physical one (touching, having breakfast together, walking...). By „object of love” I mean the actual person, whom I love. Those symptoms are permanent, recurring thoughts about the object of love. Thoughts coming in impossible to unify (to universalize) moments: waking up at night, traveling by car, walking, resting... It seems to me (now) that what they have in common is the lack of clearly defined (conscious, that is aimed at precise, decided with free will, goal) psychophysical activity. Those thoughts are characterized by certain sentiment, melancholy, sadness; awareness of solitude and helplessness against the recurring thoughts – despite the will – for them to stop recurring – that is the will of health (freeing from the symptoms of the sickness). Since, as I mentioned earlier, I don't know „what-kind-of-sickness-it-is” (I'm not able to understand, rationalize, overcome it), I don't know the cure, the antidotum either.


Placing a strawberry in your mouth. Removing seeds of watermelon for you. The sun exploded with midday when you asked: quietly, happily, intensely: Here in the street? We remember, it was precisely there. We were caressing our souls.

What is lacking to the one is not there, hidden in the other. This is the whole problem of love.

Lacan, J. (1960–1961). Le Transfert: Livre VII. (G. Cormac, Trans. 2002). Paris, France: Éditions Du Seuil (2001).

True, love is sweet and - its absence leaves bitterness. But this bitterness is not simply the taste of absence, a sense of missing something, as bitterness brought on by a lack of sugar in the organism. On the contrary, this bitterness is symptom of being sick with eternity, of the stinging awareness of a wound that will never heal.

Michalski, K. (2013). The Flame of Eternity: An Interpretation of Nietzsche's Thought (B. Paloff, Trans.). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press


You see, it was only sex.

Bobola, S. (b.d.). Personal communication.


For I think I have found... I don't have it, though... You. I found what (who) does not exist!

SOCRATES: (…) Would not any one who was himself of a noble and gentle nature, and who loved or ever had loved a nature like his own, when we tell of the petty causes of lovers' jealousies, and of their exceeding animosities, and of the injuries which they do to their beloved, have imagined that our ideas of love were taken from some haunt of sailors to which good manners were unknown - he would certainly never have admitted the justice of our censure?

Plato (360 B.C.E). Phaedrus. (B. Jowett, Trans.). Teddington, U.K.: Echo Library (2006).


Cruel Truth! Sweet Truth! Eternal Truth! It feels wonderfully… amidst pain, hurts, lies; ah, how blissful it is to fall (...) I write with blood, faeces, saliva, I write with Myself! (...) I am alone here and this is why I write! I want to write it down in the same breath. Get rid of it and be able to live again (..) And it seems to me (...) that I won't make it, that I am eternally condemned! And that I will suffer forever.

Night has come; only now all the songs of lovers awaken. And my soul too is the song of a lover.

Nietzsche, F. (1883-85).Thus Spoke Zarathustra. (W. Kaufmann, Trans. 1966). New York, N.Y.: Viking.


It's raining and it gets more peaceful, your image has somewhat melted away (...) Fog and heavy rainfall. Dew on leaves, succulence of senses. Solitude. (...) The wind got stronger. Blew the last drops off the trees. Their falling to ground reminds me of you. Sound.


S: - Do you know what is love?
J: - I do
S: - So, what is it? Tell me
J: - Nevermind


Oh (!) I saw a butterfly over there, behind a tree

Bobola, S. & Nowakowski, J. (n.d.). Personal communication. (M. Barski, Trans. 2015).


Cuddled up to you. You're asleep and I sense: kindness, beauty - there no such words. I never felt so good before. Never. I can't sleep, I can not. And I'm not afraid - not afraid of anything. Cuddled up into you. That it will pass. That it's already passed. I felt heaven there - heaven here on earth.


I have chosen afterword instead of preface so that you, my dear reader, had a possibility to immerse in the words of this literary collage as directly as possible. The title of the work is „Cuddle Song”. Synonyms: lullaby, berceuse, croon. Cuddle song is a common name related to songs – musical pieces, referring in the first place to love, to the experience of love. Such as Glenn Medeiros' „Nothing's Ginna Change My Love For You”. Another thing one can cuddle is a teddy bear: young children usually cuddle their toys before falling asleep. The cuddle song plays in the background. Cuddle song is also a form of a sleeping pill. The musical characteristics of a cuddle song is a slow tempo, harmonic structure, warm timbre. They emanate with certain romanticism, sentimentality but also with existentialism – related to the experience of love. Cuddle song has one more hidden layer: the body, the corporeality. It is important for this work in which it is noted that love is embodied. It's the key. For here open the gates of Eros' garden. Have we opened also the ones leading to Agape?

Love is – that's the thesis of this work. And the hypothesis is the question if we, people, are able to define it, to determine it. Pros and cons are the contents of quotations and the contents of personal experience of love; collected „together” in a form of literary collage. In this work I have assigned three subjects. These words (the Afterword) are written by subject nr II (see in the text), that is subject who objectivises love. Who is seeking the definition of love. Subject responsible for this work's hypothesis. Subject nr I is the loving subject, the one who subjectivities love. Subject verbalising his own love. The author of letters, diaries. (…) Subject responsible for this work's thesis. Subject nr III is You. „I cannot say anything more about You” - says subject nr I. Subject nr II also gives up here. But this is not the conclusion. In this work there are more subjects: all quoted authors are subjects. The narration of the work and the final conclusion are built by the resonance of pulsating meanings, emanating from particular blocks of text and from the spaces in between them – arranged together within one composition. Named „Cuddle Song” that is a song about love.

Finally, let's allow the loving one speak! (Subject nr 1).

The loving one says: I feel fine, the symptoms of the love disease are gone, even if only yesterday I wanted to kill myself. My body is alone. Without you. It hurts. How sweet is your body. Your word. Their absence saddens me. It's beautiful how love sneaks „here” into the language – to body, that can be heard and felt. The idea embodies. The body fills with the idea. The idea thrills me; I can feel, hear the faster rate of my heartbeat. I tremble as if some kind of coldness-warmth was penetrating me.

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