Saturday, December 31, 2016

Film 4

video

Early evening, final day of 2016, Kreuzberg with fireworks and much bitterness.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Our Death 24 / The Torture


They draw a red line across the neck. It is a map, of sorts. The beginnings of a map. The marks there, they are apartment blocks. But they are also alphabets. No, not alphabets, magnetic clouds. In each of those clouds there is a vowel, and those vowels are in the hands of the enemy. You are inside one of the apartment blocks. There are two of you in the room, but you are only aware of a third. It is the third that speaks to you now. The questions it asks are ridiculous. Are there ghosts on wasted planets. There are no planets. No vowels. Just a wet crack when they remove the head.

Here are three chords, three marks on the calendar: Occupy, whenever that was, Seattle 1999, and whatever it was happened in London in June 2005. They may be separated electric strings, or optional planets, or the thoughts of liberals, or basilica, or chromatic meat. Who cares what they are, play them loud. Think like a gun as much as you like, but whatever you do, don’t form a band.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Our Death 23 / "We Are The Dead"


This is a different landscape. There is a desire to kill here. And this desire ties us together as sinister brothers of the sinister failure of an entire social system. - Pier Paolo Pasolini, November 1st, 1975.

“Defeat is among us, and war, and prophecy.” That’s a line from Muriel Rukeyser. I was thinking about it a couple of days ago, asking myself whether the words followed a sequence, or whether they could only be taken simultaneously. That is, were they like marks on a calendar, or were they a kind of cacophony, a form of sky, an enormous black sky at that, in which we are all basically like haloes or pinpoints or stars, and so to be destroyed. There are no simple answers to questions like that. To try and find one I walked up to Sebastianstraße, and I roamed up and down for around three hours, screaming Rukeyser’s line over and again until my voice began to fall apart. Luckily, there was no-one around, because in the third hour things began to go wrong. Rukeyser’s words had started to become weird shreds of impossible meaning that once spoken could never be repeated because once they had been spoken all else would disappear. The sky was a hoax. The stars were border guards. Etc. I held my hand in front of my face and could see nothing but a bland white light, like a murderer’s mirror, a vicious and impassible glass. Not glass, a gaze. Not a gaze, a glare. Not light, but “Prophecy”, a word that for the past few months I’ve only been able to associate with surveillance, with cameras and with judges. Why? Well, if you have to ask, etc. Put simply, “prophecy” implies a prediction of the future via excessive and possibly aberrant interpretation of all available elements of what we like to call the present. And who are the current powers that survey and interpret the present to such an aberrant and excessive extent? It isn’t poets, and it isn’t mystics either. Anyway, whatever. I kept screaming, past all voice, all body, all of my borders. By borders, of course, I mean senses. And I thought at this point of Marx, about what he said about the five senses, imaginary or otherwise. You know the passage I mean, I’m sure. And the cut that it implies in the sensory calendar. Because these days I very much doubt that I can say with any certainty that I have five senses. Certainly, as I screamed out Rukeyser’s line it seemed I had only three. That’s right, surveillance, cameras and judges. Actually that’s not three senses, that’s just one. One enormous black sky, one enormous pit of cancelled language, one enormous voice rasping out one final, incomprehensible sentence. And it was mid-day. It was very dark. There were no stars. I think the buildings were burning. There were a few of us there, standing outside them, inventing language. We were wondering if that bastard the sun was ever going to return, and what it was planning on doing when it got here. We were talking about prophecy, about defeat and war, about how nobody knows what those words really mean, and what they will come to mean.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Film 3

video

A sub-zero evening in Kreuzberg. Quiet, slightly agitated, refusing to be fearful.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Our Death 22 / Georg Trakl's Psalm




as I imagine it spoken by the ghost of Anita Berber 

It is a light gone out forever.
It is a bar that’s never opened never closed.
It is a vineyard it is a black hole it is a mouth full of spiders.
It is an abandoned room, sprayed with burning milk.
The maniacs have died. It is an undiscovered island
It is the sun as it is in nightmares. They are smashing the drums
They are inventing war.
Here they are wriggling their hips here they are buying smack
Oh the screaming ocean. Paradise is catastrophe.

It is all porn especially the fairytale forests.
Here they are they have buried the refugees. Oh my its raining again.
Nasty old gods are digging the ditches
They are all asleep in the boring city squares and bombs are falling.
It is chemical rain it is little girls it is poverty and celebrity and crocodile tears.
It is rooms filled with impossible chords it is your tedious record collection.
It is shadows it is Air BnB it is mythological mirrors.
Here are the inmates they have burnt the hospital down.
Here is your favourite dealer, here are the latest plagues.

An invisible person has appeared in everyone’s simultaneous dream.
Oh look here I am. Fuck the police.
It is the surveillance laws. All ages are not contemporaneous.
We are outside this century. We are very glamorous. We are waiting in the hall.
Somewhere near Moritzplatz the adepts are getting sick.
It is the stupidity of gardens. I love the tiny sparrows.
The janitor’s kids are not playing they are digging up gold.
It is the last song you will ever hear. It is horrible blind children waiting in the alley
Their shadows are climbing the wall, it is poisons and fascists and fairytale roses.

It is a tourist boat on the Landwehrkanal.
It is the building where I live, it is valium and speed.
Here are the dead refugees, piled up inside the walls.
It is our smug little rooms it is our wings stained with shit.
It is the western border it is what you want it to be it is England controlled by maggots.
Here I am, in love with this city. It is peaceful like my childhood dreams.
Here we are choking our memories to death.
What if this year never ends.
Here are the experts being fed to the dogs.

In America a very boring lunatic opens his eyes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Our Death 21 / Vitriol


The buildings collapsed inside the ruins a black light shining.
One day we fall down In the street Great waters are growling.

*

There is no rain inside the invisible creatures
their sounds are not ours -
                                                   bullshit, try and say
poison is mathematics As evacuation
of all known cities Say it once and scream it
Our ghosts are going nowhere

                                        are waiting to burn out our houses

*

Were lying inside a system of ashes a System
of nothing but teeth were Trapped
                             in something’s willing mouth

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Our Death 20 / Carrion


It’s all visible now. Everything. Its just that all the meanings have changed, and the names no longer apply. We lean against walls, our hands over our faces, and watch the parade. We are naked and frightened. Everything that passes before us we name and the names mean nothing. We mention old publications, old musical forms, and our voices sound like shredded paper in the archive. I would like to gather that paper. I would like to write upon it a charm to the ghosts of the suicided. Those who walked into the oceans. Those who clambered out from their windows. I would like to write this so they might have some form of revenge, but I don’t know how. We pull our hands from our faces. We have no faces. The names we gave ourselves remade as a very ancient form of plague.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Our Death 19 / Anywhere Out of The World


“The hospitals are empty. We, the patients, are still inside them. It is nothing like they said it would be in the films: the shutters are drawn and we converse softly with our souls, that is to say, the shattered pieces of equipment our enemies have left behind. How dearly we would like to leave. We list cities. Ruined ones. Imaginary ones. The ones in which we think we might have been born. If we could draw them on the walls, they would look like a collection of demons, some kind of cosmos of trivial monsters. We think we are probably very far from home. We talk of suns and minerals, of monotony and fear. Of settler colonialism, of capital and slavery, and of the seventy-nine royal bastards that block out the lights of Heaven. But screw Heaven. All its lights ever amounted to were screams of contempt and pain, lodged in our trachea and in the centre of our names. It is so silent here, so gentle. Nothing left to do, but awake from our dreams of ourselves, and walk on the earth like reflections of the fireworks of Hell”.

(after Charles Baudelaire)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Our Death 18 / Orchids (after Anita Berber)

I am not a garden
there are no orchids
I will never kiss them
these women and boys
their spectral offices
they devour me
this storm of ghosts
I am cold as silver

*

Take this man. Draw a diagram of the catastrophe.
Draw as many borders as you can, across the various states of his body.
Fill his mouth with contraband. Take his borders. Contravene them.
Draw our lives across his body. The catastrophe that is his body.
When he shits gold kill him.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Two Films

video
video

Recorded at my desk in Kreuzberg, early evening.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Our Death 17 / "Thrash Me!"

These days everyone is writing their final book. Whatever. I’ve lost everything as well. My body is made up of three needles, several coins, a system of nitrates and something wankers would call ‘a philosophy’. I see in the dark and like to smash mirrors. For many other people things are far worse. I roam around the town, reciting an old poem by Anita Berber: CORPSE. KNIFE. CORPSE. KNIFE. LIGHT. There are moments each evening when I think I can see that light. It shines inside all the rooms I have lived in, all those rooms and cities that we have always despised. COINS. MIRRORS. LIGHT.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Our Death 16 / Further Notes on Teargas

Meanwhile, tourists will stand far outside any clouds of teargas that may appear. It is part of what defines them. They might want a trace of the smell on their clothes, but still it is the avoidance of pain that is the central fact of their collective dream. Nothing will cause them to disperse. They hold maps. Here is the factory. Here is the museum. Here is the hell of stars. They talk to the cops without fear of death, but without this fear they will never know or remember a thing. Teargas is the only mnemonic that counts. It’s system of recitation a network of broken bones. But tourists don’t want to know about this. Instead, they want to take photos of graffiti, the shattered images that taunt them in their dreams. They don’t remember their dreams. They don’t know that remembrance is premonition, that their names are premonitions of death, are the encrypted dreams of judges, of obituaries and rainwater and pink filth. They only know what the cops have told them to know. Refuse to give them directions. Refuse all interpretations. Your exploded lacrimal gland is not a symbol of their despair.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Our Death 15 / Black Cocaine (after Anita Berber)

Walls are partially imaginary
One table
Several shadows
Everywhere I see eyes
Black eyes green eyes
Scarlet
I have abolished my sex
I have no desires
Only incidents and burning flies
Shadows are partially walls
There is someone here
Wants my shadow
Eats it
Fucks it
Steals my shadow
My cocaine my shrieking
I’m drunk right now I'm in pain
There are many types of pain
And many eyes
Many animals
Many mice and many stars
Shadows
Scarlet shadows

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Our Death 14 / Note on the Hallucinations

“The false structure is collapsing. Move as far away as possible, into tradition, into strangeness, into the supernatural; then you will not get hit”. I read that somewhere in Hugo Ball’s diaries, guess from somewhere around 1915. I repeat the words to myself, “you will not get hit”, make a scornful face, turn out the lights and get into bed. Somehow I manage to sleep, and dream that I’m some kind of hunted, carnivorous animal running through a moonlit, abandoned city. I run past the illuminated, already ruined new developments. The rings, the spirals of lights around the towers. The scrub lands. I follow some kind of malign, illegible map. I gather stones and rags, stained with shit and gold. There are no people. There are no parades. I wake up and for a second I think I can see some kind of beast staring at me from the corner of the room, but when I hit the light I know that I’ve been dreaming, that everything is exactly the same as it was before. I walk over to the window, making an inventory as I go. Shit, gold, rags. Tradition, strangeness, supernatural. What is the meaning of any of those words, I ask myself, other than that of a chain being whirled round and round by a maniac, a maniac whose reserves of cash and blood mean the right to acquire all language, all meaning, every vacant spot in every city on the so-called earth. And that includes the one that I’d just been running through in my dream. Hugo Ball, of course, was a draft resistor, a refugee. I find that a lot more interesting than whatever happened with his “sound poetry”. It puts me in mind of a poem by Ingeborg Bachmann, where she speaks of exile, of feeling like a dead person, of languages that you can’t understand passing through you like ghosts. And I guess those ghosts exist at the point where “tradition” and “strangeness” meet, where all that is defined and foul and murdered and imprisoned becomes synonymous with all that is still uncharted and unexplained and wonderful. I stare out of the window. Everything is dark. Even the lights on the new developments have vanished. Its so quiet here. I think of my favourite passage in William Blake, where he writes of the moment in every hour that cannot be found, not by the devil nor by the cops. I think about those moments. I think about the summer, that already seems so far away, when the sun would spin round and round so fast that everything would glow to invisibility and I would rant to anyone who’d listen about the need to construct a huge chart of those moments, and that somewhere within the shapes those moments made we would find the place where the catastrophe was formed, and by god knows what mixture of alchemy and amphetamine we could thereby uncover the anti-castastrophe and, well, I think of a lot of things. I press my hands to the window and hang my head. I know that somewhere in the darkened city there is a silent place where a tiny, frightened animal is scratching at the dust and earth, and it won’t stop until it uncovers some kind of burning rock that will illuminate the entire structure, and in the midst of that illumination all of our languages will sparkle and burn and words we have never spoken will lacerate the air. In the meantime, let none of us wipe the blood from our faces. Let none of us claim a difference between day and night, between nightmare and daily routine.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Our Death 13 / What If the Summer Never Ends

None of us have slept for a long time. How could we. There were fires up and down the Charing Cross Road. Mumbled conversations about Apartheid. England was damp, was possibly leaking. We followed tiny trails of liquid waste across the city. Called it aesthetics. Called it action. We all fell down. Some of us voted. Some of us put on balaclavas. There were several earthquakes. Endless strategies of tedious indifference. Some major buildings and some statues defaced. Declaration of endless war. Parties in the park. Criminalisation of drinking. Several dead friends. There was experimentation with make-up and electricity. Occupation of a number of universities. Fist-fights with cops and fascists. Talks on Russian Futurism in squatted pubs while central London burned. Distress. Hate speech. Consolidation of royalty. Running for our lives. It’s difficult now - all of that stuff is piled up like a heap of expressionist rubble in a semi-imaginary alley somewhere far away. We argue endlessly about whether it was us who died or them, but the one thing we all agree on is the barbed line that separates us. Sometimes we pluck that line. It makes a high and barely audible electric screech, like some useless old record. It puts immense pressure on the inside of our skulls, like boiling bleach, like the abolition of all memory. Its speaks of heartbreak, of denial, of new advances in somnambulism. Of revenge fantasies and drug addiction. It has nothing to say about where to go from here, about the day we crawl out from under our scattered rocks, and burn their border controls to the ground. One day our eyes will close. One day the sun will finally go down.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Our Death12 /// What Teargas is For

Cops, being neither human nor animal, do not dream. They don’t need to, they’ve got teargas. Don’t expect me to justify that. I mean, you know as well as I do that cops have got access to the content of all of our dreams. And you probably also know that a fair amount of the planet’s teargas is supplied by the Westminster Group. Their non-executive chairman, whatever that is, is a member of the household of, ahem, Charles Windsor. He probably thinks of teargas as being somehow related to the Cloud of Unknowing, and, in a sense, he’s kind of right. You come to a very real understanding of the nature of things, both visible and invisible, by having your sensory system hijacked and turned against you by a meaningful dose of teargas. It is the anti-Rimbaud. The absolute regulation and administration of all the senses. I mean try it. Next time things are starting to kick off a little bit just go out on the street and run straight into the middle of the biggest cloud of teargas you can find. Bang. Sight. Taste. Smell. All the rest of them. All turned into confusion, loss of geographical certainty and, most importantly, pain. Don’t freak out. In the centre of that pain is a small and silent point of absolute Unknowing. It is that Unknowing that the cops - and by extension Charles Windsor - call knowledge. They want it. They’ve got scalpels if necessary but teargas is cleaner. Its not clear what they want it for but any epileptic or voyant or drug addict could tell you what it is. It’s there in Blake. Christ, it’s there in the sleeve-notes to Metal Machine Music. What’s it mean? Who cares. It answers no questions. What does Charles Windsor want with us. The cops will not tell us what they don’t know and what they think we know.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Revisions

8. “It Hurts to be Murdered”

You know how sometimes the dream cycle comes to resemble the inner workings of a solar cop. That lucky old sun etc. Like for instance its night-time, no-one around, and you’re kicking in a door. No particular reason, just kicking. Then light. Everywhere. All of a sudden like completely out of nowhere you’re surrounded by cops and they’re smashing your head into it, over and over, the light, the door, dragging you off, smashing to pieces. And there you are are kind of screaming, yeh. Yeh I admit it you scream. I was probably doing whatever it was you said I was thinking. And as you scream that they just hit you harder, these, the cops of the living, banging your face into the astral sky and celestial dirt, until you’ve no longer got a face just a heliograph of recent incidents, a howl of anciency, a system of exchange. One segment broken glass equal to seven burnt souls. One mathematically transmitted disease. Its a city plan, this is. Its an angle of light its a map of the stars, the pigs of hell and the pigs of the ocean floor. You wake up in some kind of cellar. You wake up and you think its the shithole of the universe you’re in. You wake up surrounded by dead cops. They want nothing. They want you to talk and your skin is on backwards you put your hand wherever your mouth was and. All I’ve got is I know I’m a bone. All I’ve got is I know who you are, bastards, kids of bone. Nothing. One black hole equal to one crowbar. A million incidents. All of them. The screaming laughter of the dead. The border controls of the dead. You never sleep. You don’t complain. Most mornings you’ll settle for nothing less than the obliteration of the sun.

after Roger Gilbert-Lecomte’s “Le fils de l’os parle”.
title from Diane di Prima’s “Thirteen Nightmares”.



9. Approximations of the Solar Enemy
 
Things are stirring dangerously around us, we who want to explode our darkness - Ernst Bloch

I don’t look in the mirror very often. Can you blame me? Black rings under my eyes almost as ominous as what Shelley called the “gigantic shadows that futurity casts on the present”. Yeh, I was reading him this morning, Shelley, 5 o’clock or something. “Poets”, he writes, are the “mirrors” that reflect those “gigantic shadows”. Quite a job description. But kind of outdated. I mean, its been cancelled hasn’t it, “futurity”. You’d have to be some kind of imbecile not to have noticed. And if that’s true, then the same will soon be so of the “present”, of Shelley’s “mirrors”, of their “gigantic shadows” and, come to that, the rings under my eyes. Whatever. I manage to laugh about it most of the time. I joke to friends about how much I’m looking forward to sitting on my balcony and watching the mushroom clouds. We all have a laugh. After they leave I close the curtains and sit there on the floor with my head in my hands. I have no idea what I look like when I do this - I possess one mirror, and I spent most of last night crouched on the bathroom floor, scratching intricate little diagrams into it as a means of warding off something or other. Some aspect of my reflection, probably. Perhaps the bit that laughs at the prospect of mushroom clouds. Because whatever it is I see when I look in the mirror, it is not something I wish to accept. I don’t recognise it - its a crude calendar of incidents both real and imagined, both forgotten and remembered. And they make sounds, those incidents, and they sound like the endless grinding of teeth, the fingernails of ghosts, decommissioned utopias, locks of hair, receipts, letters, documents. If I wasn’t so superstitious I’d smash it all up and leave the pieces at random spots across the city. The reflections would be preposterous. Abandoned factory architecture and the bathroom floor all split and entangled into a sheer beam of spectral anti-light splitting Europe to a set of embittered funeral knives. Deep silence etc. For like seven years or something. And in the meantime I would have no face. How I long for that, for a mirror that reflects nothing. A piece of carnal glass, cutting our shadows from whatever remains of the prisons of the sky.

10. A Reference to the Voices
 
I have been living for several months in a supernatural state of mind - Charles Baudelaire

It is not a question of a belief in ghosts when you’ve been walking around with one strapped to your back for as long as you can remember. When you remember nothing but whatever the ghost thinks to whisper into your ear, softly, on eternal repeat. When you’re lost in one of the more troubling sectors of a city you lived in two decades ago, confused by subtle shifts in the angles of the buildings, the wraith-like irritability of its invisible crowds. When the exit routes have been replaced by the endless grinding of teeth and solar waste, when the voice in your ear, like the infernal tour guide that it is, mumbles on about street committees, about phone-trees and safe-houses, bailiffs and picket-lines. When you almost remember what those words mean. When you can almost smell the glue and the petrol. And the voice in your ear is a system of lines and threads, a storm of dates and songs, and you can almost make out the language, as it tells you the catastrophe is a depth-charge concealed in the spaces between the buildings, and that those spaces are as endless and as bleak as the sound of a stopped clock. And you remember walking up these same streets two decades ago, dressed in a green trench-coat, clutching a broken wing mirror, demanding that strangers read their faces and their systems in its cracks, and you recognise that memory as armageddon itself, as the moment when all stopped clocks start up again, an impossible syncopation, a new kind of darkness, a new kind of flame flickering just outside your sight.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Our Death 11 / The Ignoble Fate of Rock n Roll

I live on the top floor of one of those strange post-war tower blocks you see near the centre of Kreuzberg. Lately I’ve been starting to think that the whole place might be abandoned. I never hear a sound from the other apartments and I never see anyone in the stairwell. The elevator is always empty, the identical green doors on each landing always seem to be closed. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t bother me. I get home each night between roughly one and two, sit down on the floor and arrange the various unpleasant tasks I have had to do throughout the day in an only partially figurative diagram in front of me. A small blood-stain here. A slice of wage-labour there. A flash of paranoia. A wistful incidence of mistaken identity. All of them, I arrange them on the floor, and then by an improvised technique of compression, overdrive and sheer noise I try to neutralise them. Impossible task, obviously. The noise in the stairwell must be unbearable. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong. The wage-labour and the paranoia blend into one, as do the blood-stain and the mistaken identity, and they stand at opposite ends of the room howling at each other with the archaic sound of heavily amplified guitar strings, or rather the sound those strings used to make before, I dunno, 1985 or something. And within the sound of those strings I can make out certain shapes, certain used garrottes, certain unfinished rhythmic ditties. The Plague Doors Waltz. The Orgreave Boogie. The Poll Tax Strut. Etc. Maybe I wish this happened more often. Maybe I can remember being a kid. 16 years old, first time I listened to “I Heard Her Call My Name”. First track side two, “White Light / White Heat”. About two minutes in. Slight pause, weird silence. And then some kind of guitar-shriek, like the entire sky had compressed itself to an almost microscopic dot and had then reinvented itself as a huge library of, what - lightning, sunglasses, everything. I spent my late adolescence living in that silence like it was some kind of utopia, a vacuum, anti-sexual, epileptic and serious, absolutely nothing to do with rock n roll. Whatever that is. Anyway. The Downing Street Foxtrot. The Watt Tyler Cakewalk. The Roy Walsh Shuffle. All of these shapes signal through the silence of my apartment like some kind of counter-calendar until the sun comes up like a blast of entirely normative guitar noise and. Blah blah blah. I guess you know what that means. Your fetishised punk rock youth reduced to a small blood stain. Amplified electricity as the story of the wage relation. Utopian raving as a brief flash of paranoia, your own memories as a wistful incidence of mistaken identity, all of it rolling together in some kind of pornographic implosion on my apartment floor. And there I am, unable to do anything but rummage through my record collection, gaze with unease at the dawn sky, and listen obsessively for the sound of footsteps in the hall outside my door.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Our Death 10 / A Reference to the Voices

I have been living for several months in a supernatural state of mind - Charles Baudelaire

It is not a question of a belief in ghosts when you’ve been walking around with one strapped to your back for as long as you can remember. When you remember nothing but whatever the ghost thinks to whisper into your ear, softly, on eternal repeat. When you’re lost in one of the more troubling sectors of a city you lived in two decades ago, confused by subtle shifts in the angles of the buildings, the wraith-like irritability of its invisible crowds. When the exit routes have been replaced by the endless grinding of teeth and solar waste, when the voice in your ear, like the infernal tour guide that it is, mumbles on about street committees, about phone-trees and safe-houses, bailiffs and picket-lines. When you almost remember what those words mean. When you can almost smell the glue and the petrol. When the voice in your ear tells you there was a time when glue and petrol were something other than metaphoric obfuscation, that street committees and safe-houses were holes in the calendar, that bailiffs and solar waste were targets for more than melancholic metastasis. And the voice in your ear is a system of lines and threads, a storm of dates and songs, and you can almost make out the language, as it tells you the catastrophe is a depth-charge concealed in the spaces between the buildings, and that those spaces are as endless and as bleak as the sound of a stopped clock. And you remember walking up these same streets two decades ago, dressed in a green trench-coat, clutching a broken wing mirror, demanding that strangers read their faces and their systems in its cracks, and you recognise that memory as armageddon itself, as the moment when all stopped clocks start up again, an impossible syncopation, a new kind of darkness, a new kind of flame flickering just outside your sight.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Our Death 9 / Approximations of the Solar Enemy

Things are stirring dangerously around us, we who want to explode our darkness - Ernst Bloch

I don’t look in the mirror very often. Can you blame me? I’m not what you’d call a good-looking person, black rings under my eyes almost as ominous as what Shelley called the “gigantic shadows that futurity casts on the present”. Yeh. I was reading him this morning, Shelley, 5 o’clock or something. Poets, he writes, are the “mirrors” that reflect those “gigantic shadows”. Quite a job description. But not quite right. Kind of outdated. Because you’d have to be some kind of imbecile not to have noticed that whatever “futurity” might be taken to mean, its been cancelled, yeh. And if that’s true, then the same will soon be going for the “present”, for Shelley’s “mirrors”, for their “gigantic shadows”, and come to that, the rings under my eyes. Whatever. I manage to laugh about it most of the time. I joke to friends about how much I’m looking forward to sitting on my balcony and watching the mushroom clouds. When they leave I close the curtains and sit there on the floor with my head in my hands. I have no idea what I look like when I do this - I possess one mirror, and I spent most of last night crouched on the bathroom floor, scratching intricate little diagrams into it with a razor as a means of warding off something or other. Some aspect of my reflection, probably. Perhaps the bit that laughs at the prospect of mushroom clouds. Because whatever it is that I see when I look into the mirror, it is not something I wish to accept. I don’t recognise it. A small constellation of cells and forces which from one angle looks like a cruel approximation of whatever it is I think of as “my face”, and from another like a peculiar calendar of incidents both real and imaginary, both forgotten and remembered, transformed in the darkness of my apartment into the implosion of an obsolete sun or the thought patterns of a human monster or some eerie combination of the two. I sit on the bathroom floor and grind my teeth. The sounds they make mimic the diagrams I’ve been scratching into the mirror. They sound like how I imagine the edges of the cosmos must sound, mumbling wraiths, vastly incompatible alternate realities scraping together like some kind of hideous sorcerer’s rattle, the recitation of a catalogue of human incidents that I want no part of, human history as a vast accumulation of butchery and idolatry. If I was a beautiful person I would simply be a butcher. How I long for a mirror that could reflect nothing. Something sharp enough to scrape our infernal shadows from whatever remains of the sky.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Our Death 8 / "It Hurts to be Murdered"

You know how sometimes the dream cycle comes to resemble the inner workings of a solar cop. Know what I mean. Like for instance its night-time, no-one around, yeh, and you’re kicking in a door. No particular reason, just kicking. And all of a sudden like completely out of nowhere you’re surrounded by cops and they’re smashing your head into it, over and over, into the door, dragging you off, smashing you to pieces and there you are kind of screaming, yeh, screaming something like yeh yeh I admit it I was probably doing whatever you said I was thinking and as you scream that they just beat you harder, these, the cops of the living, banging your face into the astral sky and celestial dirt, until you’ve no longer got a face just a heliograph of recent incidents, a howl of anciency, a system of exchange, the decay and collapse of the profit motive. Ha. Its a city plan. Its an angle of light its a map of the stars, the gendarmerie of hell and the pigs of the ocean floor. You wake up in some kind of cellar. You wake up and you think its the shithole of the universe you’re in. You wake up surrounded by dead cops and your skin is on backwards and. They want your language. They want nothing. They want you to talk you put your hand wherever your mouth was and mumble something like but all I’ve got is a bone, all I’ve got is that I know who you are, bastards, kids of bone, cops of bone. Nothing. Like the movement of the centuries cancelled and dissolved. Nothing. Crowbar. Like a black hole or crowbar. Whatever. You list a million incidents. The squealing laughter of the dead. Whatever. The border controls of the dead. You don’t complain. Most mornings you wake up and will settle for nothing less than the obliteration of the sun.


after Roger Gilbert-Lecomte’s “Le fils de l’os parle”.
title from Diane di Prima’s “Thirteen Nightmares”.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Our Death 7 / On Being a Good Person


Time and again I tell myself I’ll stay clean tonight - David Bowie

It is important to be on good terms with the neighbours. To discuss with them your fears about the meaning of your passport. To share with them the results of your investigations into the meaning of the rent equation. It is important to explain the central mathematics of the noises they’ll have heard coming from your apartment at random hours of the day and night. To demonstrate both the internal and external nature of those hours, and their connection with the signals you receive from the lights in windows you can see from your balcony, and how those signals reflect the secret passions contained in your passport, and how all of this determines how many times a day you think about suicide, and murder. Think about, not contemplate. That’s a very important distinction, and one not unrelated to the enormous electronic screech you sometime hear coming from what you can only assume must be the centre of the earth. Always make it clear that the centre of the earth is more than likely not where they think it is. That there are storms that have been raging there for longer than the collective age of everyone who lives in this city, both documented and undocumented. That you love only sex workers, drug addicts, refugees and the terminally ill. That most mornings you think they are the only people deserving of citizenship. That you are disturbed by the hatred continually emitting from the drawer in which you keep your passport. It is important they understand how that hatred’s foul metallic shriek is in no way connected with the way in which you would like to continue to conduct your business. That your business is somehow connected with the scorched and horrific colours the sky produces as it sends murderous darts through your window each evening between the hours of 8 and 9. The reasons you have for burying those darts in the shallowest earth. The meaning of the gentle sounds you make as you do this. It is important to be on good terms, to share your knowledge, your sugar, your brightly coloured powders.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Our Death 6 / On Throwing Bricks

“Some things are reserved for the dead and they can’t imagine them”. That’s either Artaud or Heraclitus, or more likely a combination of both, I don’t remember, but anyway its been echoing around whatever remains of my skull these past few days as I wander around the neighbourhood trying to work out exactly when it was the catastrophe took place. My routine is simple. I go to the cafe. I order breakfast. I usually eat it. I sit by the canal. I go to the bar. I talk to people. I want things. I never fuck. I’m not bothered. At some point I make minor adjustments to the flow of red and white corpuscles through my body. Eventually the day stops and I sit around in Kotti and drink beer and sometimes I spit blood and I wonder what, if any, micro-social effects my corpuscles might have on the cobblestones, kind of like if you threw a brick at a window and both of them shattered, both brick and window, and the pieces then combined and mutated and split apart and cut across corporate time and un-lived time and un-dreamt time and, well, yeh, the catastrophe, whatever that is. We all know its happened. We’re all pretty sure what it means. Most of us know that most of its light has yet to reach us. Britain’s preening little act of self-destruction was one of its more minor manifestations, of course. And the sound of the word “Britain” ringing inside my skull forces me to my feet, and I stare at the faces of a few passing strangers and wonder about the ratio that must exist between the precise number of blood-cells tormenting my body, and the precise number of unidentified stars in what we still so un-precisely call the sky. Somewhere down near the bridge I pick up a brick. It’s rough and smooth in my hand like the bones of a murdered aristocrat. I drop it again and it breaks into two pieces. I pick up those pieces. I drop them again. I keep doing this. I start to scream. I arrange the pieces on the ground. With each scream I name one of them. The bones of Boris Johnson. The face of Theresa May. The sudden screeches of a million birds descending on the broken alchemical stench of what was once called London. One of those screeches is called the Human Rights Act. One of them is called Immigration Policy. Each of them sounds like the noise I imagine a comet would make as it slammed into the earth, and smashed into roughly the same number of pieces as there are blood-cells in my body. I feel the need to sleep. I pick up another brick. I stare at nothing. Everything is silent now, silent like the noises the canal sometimes makes at dawn. Of course, none of this actually happened. I live a quiet life, and it is many years since I threw a brick through a window. I am, as the saying goes, “worried but outwardly calm”. I lean against the wall of the elevator as it carries me up to my 6th floor apartment in this more-or-less modern building in this still more-or-less working class part of Kreuzberg, and I wonder about the sounds the dead would make if they could imagine the light that surely does reach them from whatever future still remains to us. I open the door to my apartment and sit there in the dark. I feel old and tired and deeply afraid of my dreams.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Our Death 5 / About the Weather

Sometimes the heat gets so much the earth becomes invisible. This is the meaning of symbology. The imaginary walls of the city become real, become a hell of blinding mirrors and we do not know if we are gazing at those walls from the inside or the out. Everyone talks about the weather. So do we. Its been coming on with the speed of a feral hadron collider, a viscous amalgamation of water and glass, where the calendar of British incidents becomes transformed over and again into a posse of burning ballerinas advancing on the city across the landscape of some kind of scorched moon. Nobody can see anything except the murderous glare of the sky, the entirety of human history split to a constellation of more or less inaudible sound particles. The scrapings of giant beetles up and down Karl-Marx-Straße, for example. Or a righteous triangulation of the ghosts of Jean Charles de Menezes, Nat Turner and Lucy Parsons, injecting a supra-imaginary strain of Martian scabies into the collective body of the property developers of Berlin. That type of thing. Or the haunted secret corridor that leads from doing Special Brew screwdrivers in some godforsaken English town to lighting disposable barbecues under the wheels of parked cars in Friedrichshain. Or a meteor of pure plutonium smashing into the intersection of Parliament Square and Kottbusser Tor. Etc. It is difficult, in this heat, to know what a calendar or a nation is, beyond a shower of deafening bells, alterations in the so-called blood supply, corpuscles as expression of the rent equation, other specious horrors, that moment when the heat fades, and what was invisible becomes visible once more, and what was irresistible becomes unbearable, and everything is completely different to what it was before, and we wonder worriedly through the streets of the un-nameable city until the stink of dawn arises and everything vanishes once again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Our Death 4 / A Butcher's Lullaby


Even in Kreuzberg I can smell the burning remnants of Britain. Each morning I’m out here on my balcony, as the sky flashes from red to white to deepest black, as strange patterns of geometrical dust settle across the body of the city. These patterns I think of as a calendar of British incidents, some erased, some imaginary, some appalling. I feel like a crater as I scratch small counter-patterns into them, something equivalent to the stark anger of the circling birds, the swifts and the sparrows that shriek like shattered human things all through the morning, or whatever it is we can call the strange glow of the sky in these peculiar, hijacked days. It’s all so quiet. The shrieking is quiet. The blank statistics of the calendar are quiet. The obsolete sigils scratched onto my window are quiet. Kreuzberg is beautiful in the summer. The sounds from the canal are ever louder, the screeching of invisible time-zones blocking out the shapes of the sun.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Our Death 3 / A Note on my Recent Poetics

I stopped smoking pot a few months ago because it was making me paranoid, but since then most days I’ve been taking potentially fatal doses of amphetamine. Its almost certainly making me psychotic, but it does at least have the advantage of saving me from the vast cataclysm that sleep has become. Most mornings I feel uneasy, visible and invisible at the same time, trapped between the proverbial two worlds, neither of which I’m prepared to accept or even tolerate. I can’t tell them apart anyway - everything’s functioning at some kind of stroboscopic level, where the invisible world is populated by a gaggle of flesh and blood insomniacs staggering around after a shipwreck, and the visible one by a weird star-map, a network of knots and tumours that up until now have been locked somewhere in the centre of the earth, a hell of alphabets and spectral injustices that we can summarise as a string of cysts arranged in strings along the chronology. Lets see. There was the poll tax revolt. There were punk houses. There was ecstasy and acid and free parties. The criminal justice bill. Britpop. The rise of the ironic wank. The phrase zero tolerance. The boredom of enforced hedonism. The skeleton of Tony Blair. The flames of humanitarian intervention. The inevitability of jihad. And thats just one more or less arbitrary little cluster, a hall of various mirrors that every morning I chop and snort increasingly gargantuan lines from until, in the words of Ernst Bloch, “years become minutes, as in legends where, in the apparent time span of a single night, a witch cheats her victim out of a long life”. And I don’t know whether I identify with that witch or not, but I do know that there are some mornings when I consider the possibility of powdering Blair’s bones, and then casting them at the feet of various monuments - say for example the statues that encircle Trafalgar Square - so as to transform them into real demons. The crisis, or whatever it is we’re supposed to call it. The ruins of the Ritz, for example. The broken glass of Millbank. The jail terms of the rioters. Ah shit. The smell of blood is overpowering. I have very serious doubts that my body will survive the current catastrophe but, what the hell, I know for a fact that my shadow will never be seen inside the Cities of the Dead. My skeleton, however, and those of my friends, may well one day be seen dancing on their embers. Their ashes. See you later. It is becoming increasingly clear that Thatcher faked her death.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Our Death 2 / From Deep Darkness

The violent disk in the centre of the sky and the coins in my pocket both radiate the same infernal energy. I know this because I have been awake for five days. I know I’ve been awake for five days because when I went out onto my balcony this morning all the buildings in the city collapsed. This seemed to me to be something of a cause for concern, so I sat down to write my will. Here goes. My coffee cups and typewriter I leave to, I dunno, whoever can scream the loudest. My collection of empty beer bottles I leave to my landlord. My library I leave to the homeless of Kottbusser Tor. My credit card likewise. My sexual uncertainty I keep to myself. My love I leave to the suicided. My drug habit I leave to cops, let them wither, mutate and die. My hatred I keep close to my heart. My heart I leave to the centre of the earth. My grief. Gah. My grief which is the size of the tiny racist island on which I was born, I compress it, I transmute it into something like the wild and collectively inhuman joy of the swifts that circle the city with a frenzy wilder than. Oh whatever. The heart is such a lame metaphor. And so pathetic, the idea of  burying it in the earth, when I could just as easily fire it into the centre of the red spot of Jupiter. For example. My sensory system. For example. My five senses I leave to the invisible moons of Pluto, like a cluster of burst and eclipsed stars, like the city’s swifts, flickering in and out of calendrical time, where coffee cups and typewriters and habits and all the rest become a violent disk of knots and tumours trapped somewhere far outside of the known world, because obviously after five days without sleep your heart gets into some fairly interesting unknowable rhythms and your connections with the earth and its five senses become increasingly tenuous and I think at this point of Will Alexander’s essay “A Note on the Ghost Dimension”, I don’t know if you’ve read it, he writes in it somewhere about the missing five days of the Mayan calendar, which apparently is a time when monsters and poisons will appear, and I don’t know much about the Mayan calendar, but after five days without sleep I know a lot about ghosts and monsters and poisons, and a lot about how the missing five days could be taken to mean the fate of the five senses themselves, and how those missing five senses have been kidnapped and held for no ransom on some irrelevant island deep within the centre of some capitalist astrological system. My tiny racist island I leave to the monsters and poisons. The ghost dimension I leave to my dearest friends. My knots and tumours I leave to those who would form a new government, that they might learn just how tiny, how rabid and lost a hijacked sensory system can become. Ah fuck it. I leave the look on my face to my enemies. I leave the red spot of Jupiter to the unemployed, I’m sure they know what to do with it. Screw my heart. Resist death by water. By fire and rope also. I am fearful of nothing. I love you all so fucking much.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Our Death 1 / Letter in Turmoil

“It is no longer possible to have a balanced relationship with the world”. I read that somewhere in Ernst Bloch, throw the book at the wall, scream for a while, then run down six flights of stairs to the street below. This seems to happen just about every morning. I head to the canal and stand there staring at the swans, and pronounce certain words of shrivelled power. Theresa May, for example. Stephen Crabb. Of course, these words only have purchase in the land of the dead, but still I recite them, their syllables grinding together like the ghosts of medieval machinery, like a parade of headless skeletons or the wonder of a ghost train perfectly preserved in post-apocalyptic brine, the auditory bleach we bathe in every day. The canal is called the Landwehr and is famous. On June 1st 1919 they dragged Rosa Luxemburg’s insulted body from it. It had been there for six months. I think about that as I stare at the swans. I also think about the well known poem by Paul Celan that alludes to that incident, and about how he talks about the silence of the canal, or at least about how the canal has become silent, and I think about how wrong that is. Its inaudible radioactive signals never stop shrieking, an impossible music I’ve been unable to stop dancing to for days now, each of its notes the representation of an impossible world flickering somewhere just outside the borders of the known imaginary spectrum, those impossible borders, those ridiculous walls. We scratch ourselves to pieces on those walls. Or rather we write there. And what we write there would explode all known dictionaries were it not for the foul neoliberal glow of the so-called sun transforming all we have written into, once again, those aforementioned words of power. May. Crabb. Dirt and bones and gas. Yes every morning I sit there by the canal and when the panic has passed I murmur softly to the swans, and then I go home and dream that I have befriended them and they have flown high across the border and into the land of the dead, and there they have torn out the throats of all of our tormentors and they have passed a soothing balm among the souls of all those who continue to live but are trapped in that land, and obviously by soothing I mean usefully corrosive and deadly, and it is rare that I don’t wake up in tears. I’m trying to stop that shit. I’ve been studying magic, utopia and weaponry. I’ll keep you up to date with my progress.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lyrics for Kruk //// Hölderlin after Meinhof


Fuck it. The sun is doing whatever suns do
The citizenry all creeping like flowers.
Idiots. The sky is grey on further grey and
The haunting, its sharpened hail, never stops.

*

Oh wow. A single life-time. We crawl about the earth
As if the sky were an image, or something special, as if
Never mind. Flowers for example. Try eating one. But
Don’t get me wrong. I’m just like everyone else.
They keep their gold in me, the dullness of riches. Beware it.

*

What did we really expect. I mean, we look at clouds
Are impressed by thunder and
                                                                     The invisible.
People eat it like they do famous persons.
Carbon. Indigestion. Property. Watch that shit.

*

But it was only pills made me queasy. That
and flames underfoot.
                               The cities have almost vanished
we list them like molecules. Lesions. We list them
every morning like describing a shadow is mania
To inhabit a name. To eat human flesh.


*

You think its imaginary. Maybe so. Try telling that
to the fortune tellers. You know the ones. Those
who never think or say an original word. Their
vocabulary is monstrous.
                                       Ours too. I love the cities
as they so predictably burn, the sound of ash and
yes this talk. Of music. Of soul. This so brief life.




Sunday, March 20, 2016

grievance: three after Katerina Gogou

Our houses are packed so close
They are no longer houses. Get that.
These our beds these our scraps of food
We eat with the same mouth. We no longer
Use our bones. We are desperate we are fabulous
we are Possibly dead.

                        4 in the morning. Sleep fuck get high
and that monster in the sky taking our details.

Ghosts walk at noon. Everyone’s a weapon.

*

                            There is no time. Our houses
concealed, like songs, mumble to themselves
The stars are not stars, the city sounds not
city sounds. The sirens, the cops, however,
they are real as algebra or teeth are real like
Lazarus who never even lived & like a plague
or like a loved one’s shadow Here I am alone

*

this is me puking in the metro

my name is Katerina I have been dead
for all your life. you can buy my clothes
if you like, in the vintage stores, in the
renovated flats, you will find them, in

my senses, enraged, form cracks
the cities I sleep in no longer there


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

serotonin: after Katerina Gogou


Today they cancelled the carrion birds
and we are in love and sleep in peace.
There are cops inside our pillows.
Try and say their assassins work for us.

*

He chooses things. My things. The
men I fuck and. Thing I know is
               your thighs are my thighs
He’s behind me. Walks toward me
his head is shaved. There are no stars.
Took pills. He’s on the stair is. Took pills.
Says he’s an anarchist. Knows nothing.
He’s a British cop he’s. I don’t give a fuck
you see I. Kind of love Him he tells me
things I have never owned A mirror.
No. I won’t go out tonight. Never.
Don’t speak. It’s not going to be ok.

*

Three days awake I can’t find the door
already morning half the people here
totally on fire. The rest are made of stone.
Me too. Three days awake. Three days dreaming
scratches our faces this place too. Talk
of bones and fire in the suburbs. Don’t change.
Don’t worry. If you don’t sleep you won’t see it.

*

Please don’t cry don’t. Music is lovely and
Show me the money. Talk about
the rent. That thing. Photosynthesis. Piles
of money-rent. And pills and arching bones
no. Not even bones. Just cracks. Don’t
answer the door. These constellations.
Don’t open it. That legitimate star.
These bills these final demands.

*

Every day I wake up everyday inside the wage system
inside all its houses, never paid rent on even one.
Sleep nowhere. Every morning inside my wages
I lie in wait for those who sleep, I sleep
on their chests and never speak. Never
Take this as spectral evidence. Meaning. Fuck death.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Letter Against the Language

God has chosen precisely what does not exist in order to reduce to nothing what does exist – St Paul

The criminals of the Vision are a totally different matter – Pasolini

So I moved to a new country, a new city, and I have to admit I like it very much. The effect is not dissimilar to tearing your name off your face, to finally stumbling onto the secrets of archaic techniques of invisibility. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’ve been awake for several days. Invisibility being, in its simplest meaning, visibility amplified to the max. Anyway, when I first arrived I walked everywhere, at absolute random, sometimes with eyes closed, sometimes open. When you feel that alive, meaning not alive at all in any sense that you’ve become used to, meaning absolutely and utterly lost, well, the distinctions between dreams and sight, between whatever it is that waking and vision are supposed to be, become pretty much meaningless. For a long time I was simply scrambling around in the more popular parts of town. Not really sure, to be honest – I mean, they’re popular for a reason and its not necessarily one I’m particularly sympathetic with. So I started venturing further out to the strange external circles with the weird unpronounceable names – and by that I don’t mean unpronounceable simply to a person who doesn’t speak the language, but even to the people who live there. There are some strange red doors out there. Some pretty strange landscapes. For some reason I started thinking about Pasolini. To be specific, the scene at the end of Theorem, where the father – having given his factory away to the workforce, and then having tried and failed to pick up a boy at a railway station, takes off his clothes and wanders off into some strange volcanic or desert landscape and, as he enters that landscape, he screams. I was ranting on to a friend a few days ago that I take that scream to contain all that is meaningful in the word ‘communism’ – or rather, what it is that people like us mean when we use that word which is, as we both know all too well, somewhat different to whatever it is the dictionary of the visible world likes to pretend it means. You know what I’m saying. A kind of high metallic screech. Unpronounceable. Inaudible. I’m obsessed with Pasolini. I stuck a naked picture of him on my office wall earlier on today – it helps, it helps when I’m trying to think about that scream, about toxicity and audibility, about the weird silence I live inside right in the middle of the deafening din of this city I’ve convinced myself I might have come to love. Some academic once wrote of Pasolini that we “should turn down the volume on his political sermons and listen to what he whispered in his work”, which is obviously pretty stupid because the politics are precisely within those whispers or, rather, those barely audible screeches. I guess you must be familiar with his unfinished St Paul screenplay – the bit where he quotes Corinthians on “hearing inexpressible things, things we are not able to tell”. I got really obsessed with that for a while. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to disappear into some kind of cut-rate Cloud of Unknowing, or worse, some comfortably opaque experimental poetry. I mean, fuck that shit. In the last essay he wrote, Pasolini made it pretty damn clear what might be implied by “inexpressible things”, things “we are not able to tell”. It is names. “I know the names”, he wrote, in that essay published in 1974. The names of those who sit on the various committees. The “names of those responsible for the massacres”. The names of power. The forbidden syllables. The names of those whose names it is impossible to pronounce in certain combinations and continue simply to live. And obviously, this has very little to do with what certain idiots still call “magic”, which means it has everything to do with it. But anyway, I was thinking about all of this and all the while I kept walking further and further out of town, in wider and wider circles, until my own interior dialogue, if I can even be accused of having such a thing, seemed to come at me in a language I could no longer commit to, or comprehend, or even hear. Perhaps I could smell it. The limitations of the olfactory spectrum don’t get nearly enough attention in all the chatter we endure about the “theoretical senses”, logically deranged or not. But anyway. Things we are not able to tell. Inexpressible things. Accountability. Transparancy. Blah blah blah. Hölderlin called it the nefas. You know? Mystery cults and so forth. Revealing the secrets etc. The saliva of judges. Chewing on gristle and bone. And we could, if we wanted, I thought to myself, spinning round and round in 920 degree circles, we could translate that whole thing into geography, so those spittle-flecked unpronouncable syllables would become the sheer disks of unliveable landscape. The death-cell. The plague-pit. The city of the sun. Utopia. All of the dreams of all of those dry fuckers who neither believe nor remember their dreams. “For that is the tragic with us”, wrote Hölderlin, sometime before he wandered off into the mountains and had his head split apart by god knows what infernal statistic, “to go away into the kingdom of the living in total silence packed up in some kind of container, not to pay for the flames we have been unable to control by being consumed in fire”. Quite a metaphor, yeh? And one whose implications go further than anything Hölderlin would have been able to recognise. I mean, right now. “The kingdom of the living”. “Packed up in some kind of container”. “In total silence”. As the borders are going up. As the teeth are being sharpened. And as I walked I wondered whose “the kingdom of the living” was, and whose was that “total silence”, and if the inexpressible names that Pasolini had almost uttered were of that silence or not, and if those who had, or possessed those names, were of the living, or not. Because sometimes in Pasolini’s work, in the late work, it seems as if utopia itself is the necropole, a ring of slums, a circle around the city, a “force from the past”, tearing up the present, a fever-desert, coming from the future, at inexpressible distance, inconsolable. And that screaming factory owner, in the last scene of Theroem, was he screaming because he was entering the “kingdom of the living”, or because he was leaving it. I don’t know. It isn’t even a scream, not really. More a dead thing, a powder-rasp. And as I was thinking this I suddenly realised I was no longer walking, because there was nothing to walk on, or through, or anything. Vague impression of a ring of houses or bones. Vague sense I could enter into any one of them. That no-one would stop me. That I would be as invisible as any living person, as any corpse. That’s right. Rimbaud. Anyway. Like the bourgeois I am I went looking for a bus-stop. But I couldn’t find one, so like the person I used to be I lay down in the filth of the road and did my best to ignore whatever conformist signals the stars were trying to throw my way. As in, none whatsoever. Like a rough and aged bedlam sheet. The wage relation. The pennies on my eyes. And the sun coming up. Or maybe it wasn’t. Maybe someone had smashed it. Like the blinded eyesight of the living has been smashed. Like the ‘total silence’ of Hölderlin, ecstatic and packed with noises, has been smashed. But whatever. It seemed I was sitting on a bench somewhere, with some old guy, sharing a beer with him, all thin and vacant bone, and the language we were using wasn’t English or German or whatever the fuck language a person is supposed to use in this the kingdom of the living or this the kingdom of the dead and, well, I was ranting on to him about Pasolini, about how in the last interview Pasolini gave, just hours before he died, he did admit to a belief in magic and how that magic was not simply in knowing how to pronounce the so-called unpronounceable names but, more to the point, in knowing how to translate those names into sheer anger, which means the knowledge of how to inhabit the word “no”, its landscape and its geography. Not of course the pinched “no” of border-guards and the rest. But “no” as in the opposite of the sun. And I don’t know if I was even using words at all, or just some kind of structure of barely audible screeches, but I was still going on about Pasolini, about his poem “Victory”, where he has the bodies of the Partisans crawling out from their graves and marching, with all the silence of that simple word “no”, into the cities below. Horrified by what they find there, by the residue of what they thought they died for, they turn around, clamber back into their holes in the earth. And though its a poem of great bitterness and defeat it still carries within it a sense of how to continue, of how not to capitulate, in the face of whatever it is that is breaking our names apart, our names, shattering them, until their meanings change into something terminal and alien, alien as the pitiful groan I mumbled as I stood up and staggered back to my temporary flat in one of the more fashionable areas of this hopelessly gentrified and haunted city. I did a shit-load of speed, stared into space for a while, then wrote you this. Hope you don’t mind that I haven’t been in touch for so long. We are not completely defenceless. We have not yet been consumed in fire.