Aquinas forgot to include in his magnum opus is here included, which is to say among other things, hamburger sandwiches, collar buttons, poodle dogs, slot machines, grey bowlers, typewriter ribbons, oranges sticks, free toilets, sanitary napkins, mint jujubes, billiard balls, chopped onions, crinkled doylies, manholes, chewing gum, sidecars and sour-balls, cellophane, cord tyres, magnetos, horse liniment, cough drops, feenamint, and that feline opacity of the hysterically endowed eunuch who marches to the soda fountain with a sawed off shotgun between his legs.
The before-dinner atmosphere, the blend of patchouli, warm pitchblende, iced electricity, sugared sweat and powdered urine drives one on to a fever of delirious expectancy.
Christ will never more come down to earth nor will there be any law-giver, nor will murder cease nor theft, nor rape, and yet…
And yet one expects something, something terrifyingly marvellous and absurd, perhaps a cold lobster with mayonnaise served gratis, perhaps an invention, like the electric light, like television, only more devastating, more soul rending, an invention unthinkable that will bring a shattering calm and void, not the calm and void of death but of life such as the monks dreamed, such as is dreamed still in the Himalayas, in Tibet, in Lahore, in the Aleutian Islands, in Polynesia, in Easter Island, the dream of men before the flood, before the word was written, the dream of cave men and anthropophagists, of those with double sex and short tails, of those who are said to be crazy and have no way of defending themselves because they are outnumbered by those who are not crazy.
Cold energy trapped by cunning brutes and then set free like explosive rockets, wheels, intricately interwheeled to give the illusion of force and speed some for light, some for power, some for motion, words wired by maniacs and mounted like fake teeth, perfect, and repulsive as lepers, ingratiating, soft, slippery, nonsensical movement, vertical, horizontal, circular, between walls and through walls, for pleasure, for barter, for crime; for sex; all light, movement, power impersonally conceived, generated, and distributed throughout a choked, cunt-like deft intended to dazzle and awe the savage, the yokel, the alien, but nobody dazzled or awed, this one hungry, that one lecherous, all one and 91 the same and no different from the savage, the yokel, the alien, except for odds and ends, bric-a-brac, the soapsuds of thought, the sawdust of the mind.
In the same cunty deft, trapped and undazzled, millions have walked before me, among them one, Blaise Cendrars, who afterwards flew to the moon, thence back to earth and up the Orinoco impersonating a wild man but actually sound as a button, though no longer vulnerable, no longer mortal, a splendiferous hulk of a poem dedicated to the archipelago of insomnia.
Of those with fever few hatched, among them myself still unhatched, but pervious and maculate, knowing with quiet ferocity the ennui of ceaseless drift and movement.
Before dinner the slat and chink of sky light softly percolating through the boned grey dome, the vagrant hemispheres spored with blue-egged nuclei coagulating, ramifying, in the one basket lobsters, in the other the germination of a world antiseptically personal and absolute.
Out of the manholes, grey with the underground life, men of the future world saturated with shit, the iced electricity biting into them like rats, the day done in and darkness coming on like the cool, refreshing shadows of the sewers.
Like a soft prick slipping out of an overheated cunt I, the still unhatched, making a few abortive wriggles, but either not dead and soft enough or else sperm-free and skating ad astra, for it is still not dinner and a peristaltic frenzy takes possession of the upper colon, the hypo-gastric region, the umbilical and the post-pineal lobe.
Boiled alive, the lobsters swim in ice, giving no quarter and asking no quarter, simply motionless and unmotivated in the ice-watered ennui of death, life drifting by the show-window muffled in desolation, a sorrowful scurvy eaten away by ptomaine, the frozen glass of the window cutting like a jack-knife, dean and no remainder. Life drifting by the show-window …
I too as much a part of life as the lobster, the fourteen carat ring, the horse liniment, but very difficult to establish the fact, the fact being that life is merchandise with a bill of lading attached, what I choose to eat being more important than I the eater, each one eating the other and consequently eating, the verb ruler of the roost.
In the act of eating the host is violated and justice defeated tempor- 92 arily.
The plate and what’s on it, through the predatory power of the intestinal apparatus, commands attention and unifies the spirit, first hypnotizing it, then slowly swallowing it, then masticating it, then absorbing it.
The spiritual part of the being passes off like a scum, leaves absolutely no evidence or trace of its passage, vanishes, vanishes even more completely than a point in space after a mathematical discourse.
The fever, which may return tomorrow, bears the same relation to life as the mercury in a thermometer bears to heat.
Fever will not make life heat, which is what was to have been proved and thus consecrates the meat balls and spaghetti.
To chew while thousands chew, each chew an act of murder, gives the necessary social cast from which you look out the window and see that even human kind can be slaughtered justly, or maimed, or starved, or tortured because, while chewing, the mere advantage of sitting in a chair with clothes on, wiping the mouth with napkin, enables you to comprehend, what the wisest men have never been able to comprehend, namely that there is no other way of life possible, said wise men often, disdaining to use chair, clothes or napkin.
Thus men scurrying through a cunty deft of a street called Broadway every day at regular hours, in search of this or that, tend to establish this and that, which is exactly the method of mathematicians, logicians, physicists, astronomers and such like.
The proof is the fact and the fact has no meaning except what is given to it by those who establish the facts. The meat balk devoured, the paper napkin carefully thrown on the floor, belching a trifle and not knowing why or whither, I step out into the 24 carat sparkle and with the theatre pack.
This time I wander through the side streets following a blind man with an accordion.
Now and then I sit on a stoop and listen to an aria.
At the opera, the music makes no sense; here in the street it has just the right demented touch to give it poignancy.
The woman who accompanies the blind man holds a tin cup in her hands; he is a part of life too like the tin cup, like the music of Verdi, like the Metropolitan Opera House.
Everybody and everything is a part of life, but when they have all been added together, still somehow it is not life.
When is it 93 life, I ask myself, and why not now? The blind man wanders on and I remain sitting on the stoop.
The meat balls were rotten: the coffee was lousy, the butter was rancid.
Everything I look at is rotten, lousy, rancid.
The street is like a bad breath; the next street is the same, and the next and the next.
At the comer the blind man stops again and plays “Home to Our Mountains”.
I find a piece of chewing gum in my pocket -1 chew it.
I chew for the sake of chewing.
There is absolutely nothing better to do unless it were to make a decision, which is impossible.
The stoop is comfortable and nobody is bothering me.
I am part of the world, of life, as they say, and I belong and I don’t belong. I sit on the stoop for an hour or so, mooning.
I come to the same conclusions I always come to when I have a minute to think for myself.
Either I must go home immediately and start to write or I must run away and start a wholly new life.
The thought of beginning a book terrifies me: there is so much to tell that I don’t know where or how to begin.
The thought of running away and beginning all over again is equally terrifying: it means working like a nigger to keep body and soul together.
For a man of my temperament, the world being what it is, there is absolutely no hope, no solution.
Even if I could write the book I want to write nobody would take it -1 know my compatriots only too well.
Even if I could begin again it would be no use, because fundamentally I have no desire to work and no desire to become a useful member of society.
I sit there staring at the house across the way.
It seems not only ugly and senseless, like all the other houses on the street, but from staring at it so intently, it has suddenly become absurd.
The idea of constructing a place of shelter in that particular way strikes me as absolutely insane.
The city itself strikes me as a piece of the highest insanity, everything about it, sewers, elevated lines, slot machines, newspapers, telephones, cops, doorknobs, flop houses, screens, toilet paper, everything.
Everything could just as well not be and not only nothing lost by a whole universe gained.
I look at the people brushing by me to see if by chance one of them might agree with me.
Supposing I intercepted one of them and just asked him a simple question.
Supposing I just 94 said to him suddenly: “Why do you go on living the way you do?” He would probably call a cop.
I ask myself – does any one ever talk to himself the way I do? I ask myself if there isn’t something wrong with me.
The only conclusion I can come to is that I am different.
And that’s a very grave matter, view it how you will.
Henry, I say to myself, rising slowly from the stoop, stretching myself, brushing my trousers and spitting out the gum.
Henry, I say to myself, you are young yet, you are just a spring chicken and if you let them get you by the balls you’re an idiot because you’re a better man than any of them only you need to get rid of your false notions about humanity.
You have to realize Henry me boy, that you’re dealing with cut-throats, with cannibals, only they’re dressed-up, shaved, perfumed, but that’s all they are – cut-throats, cannibals.
The best thing for you to do now.
Henry, is to go and get yourself a frosted chocolate and when you sit at the soda fountain keep your eyes peeled and forget about the destiny of man because you might still find yourself a nice lay and a good dean lay will dean your ballbearing out and leave a good taste in your mouth whereas this only brings on dyspepsia, dandruff, halitosis, encephalitis.
And while I’m soothing myself thus a guy comes up to me to bum a dime and I hand him a quarter for good measure thinking to myself that if I had had a little more sense I’d have had a juicy pork chop with that instead of the lousy meat balls but what the difference now it’s all food and food makes energy and energy is what makes the world go round.
Instead of the frosted chocolate I keep walking and soon I’m exactly where I intended to be all the time, which is front of the ticket window of the Roseland.
Henry, says I to myself, if you’re lucky your old pal MacGregor will be here and first hell bawl the shit out of you for running away and then he’ll lend you a five-spot, and if you just hold your breath while climbing the stairs maybe you’ll see the nymphomaniac too and you’ll get a dry fuck.
Enter very calmly.
Henry, and keep your eyes peeled! And I enter as per instructions on velvet toes, checking my hat and urinating a little as a matter of course, then slowly redescending the stairs and sizing up the taxi girls all diaphanously gowned, powdered, perfumed, looking fresh and alert but probably 95 bored as hell and leg weary.
Into each and every one of them, as I shuffle about, I throw an imaginary fuck.
The place is just plastered with cunt and fuck and that’s why I’m reasonably sure to find my old friend MacGregor here.
The way I no longer think about the condition of the world is marvellous.
I mention it because for a moment, just while I was studying a juicy ass, I had a relapse.
I almost went into a trance again.
I was thinking, Christ help me, that maybe I ought to beat it and go home and begin the book.
A terrifying thought! Once I spent a whole evening sitting in a chair and saw nothing and heard nothing.
I must have written a good sized book before I woke up.
Better not to sit down.
Better to keep circulating.
Henry, what you ought to do is to come here some time with a lot of dough and just see how far it’ll take you.
I mean a hundred or two hundred bucks, and spend it like water and say yes to everything.
The haughty looking one with the statuesque figure, I bet she’d squirm like an eel if her palm were well greased.
Supposing she said – twenty bucks! and you could say Sure! Supposing you could say – Listen, I’ve got a car downstairs …
Let’s run down to Atlantic City for a few days.
Henry, there ain’t no car and there ain’t no twenty bucks.
Don’t sit down …
Keep moving. At the rail which fences off the floor I stand and watch them sailing around.
This is no harmless recreation…
This is serious business.
At each end of the floor there is a sign reading “No Improper Dancing Allowed”.
Well and good.
No harm in placing a sign at each end of the floor.
In Pompei they probably hung a phallus up.
This is the American way.
It means the same thing.
I mustn’t think about Pompei or I’ll be sitting down and writing a book again.
Keep moving Henry.
Keep your mind on the music.
I keep struggling to imagine what a lovely time I would have had if I had the price of a string of tickets, but the more I struggle the more I slip back.
Finally I’m standing knee-deep in the lava beds and the gas is choking me.
It wasn’t the lava that killed the Pompeians, it was the poison gas that predpitated the eruption.
That’s how the lava caught them in such queer poses, with their pants down, as it were.
If suddenly all New York were caught that way – what a museum 96 it would make! My friend MacGregor standing at the sink scrubbing his cock…
The abortionists on the East Side caught red-handed …
The nuns laying in bed and masturbating one another …
The auctioneer with an alarm in his hand …
The telephone girls at the switchboard …
Morganana sitting on the toilet bowl placidly wiping his ass …
The dicks with rubber hoses giving the third degree …
Strippers giving the last strip and tease… Standing knee-deep in the lava beds and my eyes choked with sperm; J.
Morganana is placidly wiping his ass while the telephone girls plug the switchboards, while dicks with rubber hoses practice the third degree, while my old friend MacGregor scrubs the germs out of his cock and sweetens it and examines it under the microscope.
Everybody is caught with his pants down, including the strip teasers who wear no pants, no beards, no moustaches, just a little patch to cover their twinkling little cunts.
Sister Antolina lying in the convent bed, her guts trussed up, her arms akimbo and waiting for the Resurrection, waiting, waiting for life without hernia, without intercourse, without sin, without evil, meanwhile nibbling a few animal crackers, a pimento, some fancy olives, a little head cheese.
The Jew-boys on the East Side, in Harlem, the Bronx, Carnarsie, Bronville, opening and dosing the trapdoors, pulling out arms and legs, turning the sausage machine, dogging up the drains, working like fury for cash down and if you let a peep out of you out you go.
With eleven hundred tickets in my pocket and a Rolls Royce waiting for me downstairs I could have the most excruciatingly marvellous time, throwing a fuck into each and everyone respectively regardless of age, sex, race, religion, nationality, birth or breeding.
There is no solution for a man like myself, I being what I am and the world being what it is.
The world is divided into three parts of which two parts are meat balls and spaghetti and the other part a huge syphilitic chancre.
The haughty one with the statuesque figure is probably a cold turkey fuck, a sort of con anonyme plastered with gold leaf and tin foil.
Beyond despair and disillusionment there is always the absence of worse things and the emoluments of ennui.
Nothing is lousier and emptier than the midst of bright 97 gaiety clicked by the mechanical eye of the mechanical epoch, life maturating in a black box, a negative tickled with add and yielding a momentaneous simulacrum of nothingness.
At the outermost limit of this momentaneous nothingness my friend MacGregor arrives and is standing by my side and with him is the one he was talking about, the nymphomaniac called Paula.
She has the loose, jaunty swing and perch of the double-barrelled sex, all her movements radiating from the groin, always in equilibrium, always ready to flow, to wind and twist, and clutch, the eyes going tic-toc, the toes twitching and twinkling, the flesh rippling like a lake furrowed by a breeze.
This is the incarnation of the hallucination of sex, the sea nymph squirming in the maniac’s arms.
I watch the two of them as they move spasmodically inch by inch around the floor; they move like an octopus working up a rut.
Between the dangling tentacles the music shimmers and flashes, now breaks in a cascade of sperm and rose water, forms again into an oily spout, a column standing erect without feet, collapses again like chalk, leaving the upper part of the leg phosphorescent, a zebra standing in a pool of golden marshmallow, one leg striped, the other molten.
A gold marshmallow octopus with rubber hinges and molten hooves, its sex undone and twisted into a knot.
On the sea floor the oysters are doing the St.
Vitus dance, some with lockjaw, some with double-jointed knees.
The music is sprinkled with rat poison, with the rattlesnake’s venom, with the fetid breath of the gardenia, the spittle of the sacred yak, the bolloxed sweat of the musk-rat, the leper’s sugar-coated nostalgia.
The music is a diarrhoea, a lake of gasolene, stagnant with cockroaches and stale horse piss.
The drooling notes are the foam and dribble of the epileptic, the night sweat of the fornicating nigger frigged by the Jew.
All America is in the trombone’s smear, that frazzled brokendown whinny of the gangrened sea cows stationed off Point Loma, Pawtucket, Cape Hatteras, Labrador, Camarsie and intermediate points.
The octopus is dancing like a rubber dick – the rhumba of Spuyten Duyvil inedit.
Laura the nympho is doing the rhumba, her sex exfoliated and twisted like a cow’s tail.
In the belly of the trombone lies the American soul farting its contented heart 98 out.
Nothing goes to waste – not the least spit of a fart.
In the golden marshmallow dream of happiness, in the dance of sodden piss and gasolene, the great soul of the American continent gallops like an octopus, all the sails unfurled, the hatches down, the engine whirring like a dynamo.
The great dynamic soul caught in the click of the camera’s eye, in the heat of rut, bloodless as a fish, slippery as mucus, the soul of the people miscegenating on the sea floor, pop-eyed with longing, harrowed with lust.
The dance of Saturday night, of cantaloupes rotting in the garbage pail, of fresh green snot and slimy unguents for the tender parts.
The dance of the slot-machine and the monsters who invent them.
The dance of the gat and the slugs who use them.
The dance of the blackjack and the pricks who batter brains to a polypous pulp.
The dance of the magneto world, the spark that unsparks, the soft purr of the perfect mechanism, the velocity race on a turntable, the dollar at par and the forests dead and mutilated.
The Saturday night of the soul’s hollow dance, each jumping jigger a functional unit in the St.
Vitus’ dance of the ringworm’s dream.
Laura the nympho brandishing her cunt, her sweet rose-petal lips toothed with ballbearing clutches, her ass balled and socketed.
Inch by inch, millimetre by .millimetre they shove the copulating corpse around.
And then crash! Like pulling a switch the music suddenly stops and with the stoppage the dancers come apart, arms and legs intact, like tea leaves dropping to the bottom of the cup.
Now the air is blue with words, a slow sizzle as of fish on the griddle.
The chaff of the empty soul rising like monkey chatter in the topmost branches of the trees.
The air blue with words passing out through the ventilators, coming back again in sleep through corrugated funnels and smokestacks, winged like the antelope, striped like the zebra, now lying quiet as the mollusc, now spitting flame.
Laura the nympho cold as a statue, her parts eaten away, her hair musically enraptured.
On the brink of sleep Laura stands with muted lips, her words falling like pollen through a fog.
The Laura of Petrarque seated in a taxi, each word ringing through the cash register, then sterilized, then cauterized.
Laura the basilisk made entirely of asbestos, walking to the fiery stake with a 99 mouth full of gum.
Hunkydory is the word on her lips.
The heavy fluted Ups of the sea-shell.
Laura’s lips, the lips of lost Uranian love.
All floating shadow-ward through the slanting fog.
Last murmuring dregs of shell-like lips slipping off the Labrador coast, oozing eastward with the mud tides, easing starward in the iodine drift.
Lost Laura, last of the Petrarques, slowly fading on the brink of sleep.
Not grey the world, but lustlack, the light bamboo sleep of spoon-backed innocence. And tins in the black frenzied nothingness of the hollow of absence leaves a gloomy feeling of saturated despondency not unlike the topmost tip of desperation which is only the gay juvenile maggot of death’s exquisite rupture with life.
From this inverted cone of ecstasy life will rise again into prosaic skyscraper eminence, dragging me by the hair and teeth, lousy with howling empty joy, the animated foetus of the unborn death maggot lying in wait for rot and putrefaction. Sunday morning the telephone wakes me up.
It’s my friend Maxie Schnadig announcing the death of our friend Luke Ralston.
Maxie has assumed a truly sorrowful tone of voice which rubs me the wrong way.
He says Luke was such a swell guy.
That too sounds the wrong note for me because while Luke was all right, he was only so-so, not precisely what you might call a swell guy.
Luke was an ingrown fairy and finally, when I got to know him intimately, a big pain in the ass.
I told Maxie that over the telephone: I could tell from the way he answered me that he didn’t like it very much.
He said Luke had always been a friend to me.
It was true enough, but it wasn’t enough.
The truth was that I was really glad Luke had kicked off at the opportune moment: it meant that I could forget about the hundred and fifty dollars which I owed him In fact, as I hung up the receiver I really felt joyous.
It was a tremendous relief not to have to pay that debt.
As for Luke’s demise, that didn’t disturb me in the least.
On the contrary, it would enable me to pay a visit to his sister, Lottie, whom I always wanted to lay but never could for one reason or another.
Now I could see myself going up there in the middle of the day and offering her my condolences.
Her husband would be at the office and there 100 — 158 them were brilliant, some of them were even famous, but none were alive and empty as Grover was.
Grover was inexhaustible.
He was like a bit of radium which, even if buried under a mountain does not lose its power to give off energy.
I had seen plenty of so-called energetic people before – is not America filled with them? – but never, in the shape of a human being, a reservoir of energy.
And what created this inexhaustible reservoir of energy? An illumination.
Yes, it happened in the twinkling of an eye, which is the only way that anything important ever does happen.
Overnight all Grover’s preconceived values were thrown overboard.
Suddenly, just like that, he ceased moving as other people move.
He put the brakes on and he kept the motor running.
If once, like other people, he had thought it was necessary to get somewhere now he knew that somewhere was anywhere and therefore right here and so why move? Why not park the car and keep the motor running? Meanwhile the earth itself is turning and Grover knew it was turning and knew that he was turning with it.
Is the earth getting anywhere? Grover must undoubtedly have asked himself this question and must undoubtedly have satisfied himself that it was not getting anywhere.
Who, then, had said that we must get somewhere? Grover would inquire of this one and that where they were heading for and the strange thing was that although they were all heading for their individual destinations none of them ever stopped to reflect that the one inevitable destination for all alike was the grave.
This puzzled Grover because nobody could convince him that death was not a certainty, whereas nobody could convince anybody else that any other destination was an uncertainty.
Convinced of the dead certainty of death Grover suddenly became tremendously and overwhelmingly alive.
For the first time in his life he began to live, and at the same time the dub foot dropped completely out of his consciousness.
This is a strange thing, too, when you come to think of it, because the dub foot, just like death, was another ineluctable fact.
Yet the dub foot dropped out of mind, or, what is more important, all that had been attached to the club foot.
In the same way, having accepted death, death too dropped out of Grover’s mind.
Having seized on the single certainty of death all the uncertain- 159 ties vanished.
The rest of the world was now limping along with dub-footed uncertainties and Grover Watrous alone was free and unimpeded.
Grover Watrous was the personification of certainty.
He may have been wrong, but he was certain.
And what good does it do to be right if one has to limp along with a club foot? Only a few men have ever realized the truth of this and their names have become very great names.
Grover Watrous will probably never be known, but he is very great just the same.
This is probably the reason why I write about him – just the fact that I had enough sense to realize that Grover had achieved greatness even though nobody else will admit it.
At the time I simply thought that Grover was a harmless fanatic, yes, a little “cracked”, as my mother insinuated.
But every man who has caught the truth of certitude was a little cracked and it is only these men who have accomplished anything for the world.
Other men, other great men, have destroyed a little here and there, but these few whom I speak of, and among whom I include Grover Watrous, were capable of destroying everything in order that the truth might live.
Usually these men were born with an impediment, with a dub foot, so to speak, and by a strange irony it is only the club foot which men remember.
If a man like Grover becomes depossessed of his club foot, the world says that he has become “possessed”.
This is the logic of incertitude and its fruit is misery.
Grover was the only truly joyous being I ever met in my life and this, therefore, is a little monument which I am erecting in his memory, in the memory of his joyous certitude.
It is a pity that he had to use Christ for a crutch, but then what does it matter how one comes by the truth so long as one pounces upon it and lives by it? AN INTERLUDE Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
I like to dwell on this period when things were taking shape because the order, if it were understood, must have been dazzling.
In the first place there was Hymie, Hymie the bull-frog, and there were also his wife’s ovaries which had been 160 rotting away for a considerable time.
Hymie was completely wrapped up in his wife’s rotting ovaries.
It was the daily topic of conversation; it took precedence now over the cathartic pills and the coated tongue.
Hymie dealt in “sexual proverbs”, as he called them.
Everything he said began from or led up to the ovaries.
Despite everything he was still nicking it off with the wife – prolonged snake-life copulations in which he would smoke a cigarette or two before un-cunting.
He would endeavour to explain to me how the pus from the rotting ovaries put her in heat.
She had always been a good fuck, but now she was better than ever.
Once the ovaries were ripped out there’d be no telling how she’d take it.
She seemed to realize that too.
Ergo, fuck away! Every night, after the dishes were cleared away, they’d strip down in their little bird-like apartment and lay together like a couple of snakes.
He tried to describe it to me on a number of occasions – the ways she fucked.
It was like an oyster inside, an oyster with soft teeth that nibbled away at him.
Sometimes it felt as though he were right inside her womb, so soft and fluffy it was, and those soft teeth biting away at his pecker and making him delirious.
They used to lie scissors-fashion and look up at the ceiling.
To keep from coming he would think about the office, about the little worries which plagued him and kept his bowels tied up in a knot.
In between orgasms he would let his mind dwell on some one else, so that when she’d start working on him again he might imagine he was having a brand new fuck with a brand new cunt.
He used to arrange it so that he could look out of the window while it was going on.
He was getting so adept at it that he could undress a woman on the boulevard there under his window and transport her to the bed; not only that, but he could actually make her change places with his wife, all without un-cunting.
Sometimes he’d fuck away like that for a couple of hours and never bother to shoot off.
Why waste it! he would say. Steve Romero, on the other hand, had a hell of a time holding it in.
Steve was built like a bull and he scattered his seed freely.
We used to compare notes sometimes sitting in the Chop Suey joint around the comer from the office.
It was a strange atmosphere.
Maybe it was because there was no wine.
Maybe it 161 was the funny little black mushrooms they served us.
Anyway it wasn’t difficult to get started on the subject.
By the time Steve met us he would already have had his workout, a shower and a rubdown.
He was dean inside and out.
Almost a perfect specimen of a man.
Not very bright, to be sure, but a good egg, a companion.
Hymie, on the other hand, was like a toad.
He seemed to come to the table direct from the swamps where he had passed a mucky day.
Filth rolled off his lips like honey.
In fact, you couldn’t call it filth, in his case, because there wasn’t any other ingredient with which you might compare it.
It was all one fluid, a slimy, sticky substance made entirely of sex.
When he looked at his food he saw it as potential sperm; if the weather were warm he would say it was good for the balls; if he took a trolley ride he knew in advance that the rhythmic movement of the trolley would stimulate his appetite, would give him a slow, “personal” hard-on, as he put it.
Why “personal” I never found out, but that was his expression.
He liked to go out with us because we were always reasonably sure of picking up something decent.
Left to himself he didn’t always fare so well.
With us he got a change of meat – Gentile cunt, as he put it He liked Gentile cunt.
Smelled sweeter, he said.
Laughed easier too…
Sometimes in the very midst of things.
The one thing he couldn’t tolerate was dark meat.
It amazed and disgusted him to see me travelling around with Valeska.
Once he asked me if she didn’t smell kind of extra strong like.
I told him I liked it that way – strong and smelly, with lots of gravy around it.
He almost blushed at that.
Amazing how delicate he could be about some things.
Food, for example.
Very finicky about his food.
Perhaps a racial trait.
Immaculate about his person, too.
Couldn’t stand the sight of a spot on his dean cuffs.
Constantly brushing himself off, constantly taking his pocket mirror out to see if there were any food between his teeth.
If he found a crumb he would hide his face behind the napkin and extract it with his pearlhandled toothpick.
The ovaries of course he couldn’t see.
Nor could he smell them either, because his wife too was an immaculate bitch.
Douching herself all day long in preparation for the evening nuptials.
It was tragic, the importance she gave to her ovaries. l62 Up until the day she was taken to the hospital she was a regular fucking block.
The thought of never being able to fuck again frightened the wits out of her.
Hymie of course told her it wouldn’t make any difference to him one way or the other.
Glued to her like a snake, a cigarette in his mouth, the girls passing below on the boulevard, it was hard for him to imagine a woman not being able to fuck any more.
He was sure the operation would be successful.
Successful! That’s to say that she’d fuck even better than before.
He used to tell her that, lying on his back looking up at the ceiling. “You know I’ll always love you,” he would say. “Move over just a little bit, will you …
There, like that…
What was I saying? Oh yes…
Why sure, why should you worry about things like that? Of course I’ll be true to you.
Listen, pull away just a little bit…
Yeah, that’s it…
That’s fine.” He used to tell us about it in the Chop Suey joint.
Steve would laugh like hell.
Steve couldn’t do a thing like that.
He was too honest – especially with women.
That’s why he never had any luck.
Little Curiey, for example -Steve hated Curiey – would always get what he wanted…
He was a born liar, a born deceiver.
Hymie didn’t like Curiey much either.
He said he was dishonest, meaning of course dishonest in money matters.
About such things Hymie was scrupulous.
What he disliked especially was the way Curiey talked about his aunt.
It was bad enough, in Hymie’s opinion, that he should be screwing the sister of his own mother, but to make her out to be nothing but a piece of stale cheese, that was too much for Hymie.
One ought to have a bit of respect for a woman, provided she’s not a whore.
If she’s a whore that’s different.
Whores are not women.
Whores are whores.
That was how Hymie looked at things. The real reason for his dislike, however, was that whenever they went out together Curiey always got the best choice.
And not only that, but it was usually with Hymie’s money that Curiey managed it.
Even the way Curiey asked for money irritated Hymie – it was like extortion, he said.
He thought it was partly my fault, that I was too lenient with the kid. “He’s got no moral character,” Hymie would say. “And what about you, your moral character?” I would ask. “Oh me I Shit, I’m too old 163 to have any moral character.
But Curley’s only a kid.” “You’re jealous, that’s what,” Steve would say. “Me ? Me jealous of him ?” And he’d try to smother the idea with a scornful little laugh.
It made him wince, a jab like that “Listen,” he would say, turning to me, “did I ever act jealous towards you? Didn’t I always turn a girl over to you if you asked me? What about that redhaired girl in S.U.
Yon remember …
The one with the big teats? Wasn’t that a nice piece of ass to turn over to a friend? But I did it, didn’t I? I did it because you said you liked big teats.
But I wouldn’t do it for Curiey.
He’s a little crook.
Let him do his own digging.” As a matter of fact, Curley was digging away very industriously.
He must have had five or six on the string at one time, from what I could gather.
There was Valeska, for example – he had made himself pretty solid with her.
She was so damned pleased to have some one fuck her without blushing that when it came to sharing him with her cousin and then with the midget she didn’t put up the least objection.
What she liked best was to get in the tub and let him fuck her under water.
It was fine until the midget got wise to it.
Then there was a nice rumpus which was finally ironed out on the parlour floor.
To listen to Curiey talk he did everything but climb the chandeliers.
And always plenty of pocket money to boot.
Valeska was generous, but the cousin was a softy.
If she came within a foot of a stiff prick she was like putty.
An unbuttoned fly was enough to put her in a trance.
It was almost shameful the things Curiey made her do.
He took pleasure in degrading her.
I could scarcely blame him for it, she was such a prim, priggish bitch in her street clothes.
You’d almost swear she didn’t own a cunt, the way she carried herself in the street.
Naturally, when he got her alone he made her pay for her high-falutin’ ways.
He went at it cold-bloodedly. “Pish ‘it out!” he’d say opening his fly a little. “Fish it out with your tongue!” (He had it in for the whole bunch because, as he put it, they were sucking one another off behind his back.) Anyway, once she got the taste of it in her mouth you could do anything with her.
Sometimes he’d stand her on her hands and push her around the room that way, like a wheelbarrow.
Or else he’d do it dog fashion, and while she 164 groaned and squirmed he’d nonchalantly light a cigarette and blow the smoke between her legs.
Once he played her a dirty little trick doing it that way.
He had worked her up to such a state that she was beside herself.
Anyway, after he had almost polished the ass off her with his back-scuttling he pulled out for a second, as though to cool his cock off, and then very slowly and gently he shoved a big long carrot up her twat. “That, Miss Abercrombie,” he said, “is a sort of Doppelganger to my regular cock,” and with that he unhitches himself and yanks up his pants.
Cousin Abercrombie was so bewildered by it all that she let a tremendous fart and out tumbled the carrot.
At least, that’s how Curley related it to me.
He was an outrageous liar, to be sure, and there may not be a grain of truth in the yam, but there’s no denying that he had a flair for such tricks.
As for Miss Abercrombie and her high-tone Narragansett ways, well, with a cunt like that one can always imagine the worst.
By comparison Hymie was a purist.
Somehow Hymie and his fat circumcised dick were two different things.
When he got a personal hard-on, as he said, he really meant that he was irresponsible.
He meant that Nature was asserting itself – through his, Hymie Laubscher’s fat, circumcised dick.
It was the same with his wife’s cunt.
It was something she wore between her legs, like an ornament.
It was a part of Mrs.
Laubscher but it wasn’t Mrs.
Laubscher personally, if you get what I mean. Well, all this is simply by way of leading up to the general sexual confusion which prevailed at this time.
It was like taking a flat in the Land of Fuck.
The girl upstairs, for instance…
She used to come down now and then, when the wife was giving a recital, to look after the kid.
She was so obviously a simpleton that I didn’t give her any notice at first.
But like all the others she had a cunt too, a sort of impersonal personal cunt which she was unconsciously conscious of.
The oftener she came down the more conscious she got, in her unconscious way.
One night, when she was in the bathroom, after she had been in there a suspiciously long while, she got me to thinking of things.
I decided to take a peep through the key-hole and see for myself what was what.
Lo and behold, if she isn’t standing in front of the mirror stroking and petting her little pussy.
Almost talking 165 to it, she was.
I was so excited I didn’t know what to do first.
I went back into the big room, turned out the lights, and lay there on the couch waiting for her to come out.
As I lay there I could still see that bushy cunt others and the fingers strumming it like.
I opened my fly to let my pecker twitch about in the cool of the dark, I tried to mesmerize her from the couch, or at least I tried letting my pecker mesmerize her. “Come here, you bitch,” I kept saying to myself, “come here and spread that cunt over me.” She must have caught the message immediately, for in a jiffy she had opened the door and was groping about in the dark to find the couch.
I didn’t say a word, I didn’t make a move.
I just kept my mind riveted on her cunt moving quietly in the dark like a crab.
Finally she was standing beside the couch.
She didn’t say a word either.
She just stood there quietly and as I slid my hand up her legs she moved one foot a little to open her crotch a bit more.
I don’t think I ever put my hand into such a juicy crotch in all my life.
It was like paste running down her legs, and if there had been any billboards handy I could have plastered up a dozen or more.
After a few moments, just as naturally as a cow lowering its head to graze, she bent over and put it in her mouth.
I had my whole four fingers inside her, whipping it up to a froth.
Her mouth was stuffed full and the juice pouring down her legs.
Not a word out of us, as I say.
Just a couple of quiet maniacs working away in the dark like gravediggers.
It was a fucking Paradise and I knew it, and I was ready and willing to fuck my brains away if necessary.
She was probably the best fuck I ever had.
She never once opened her trap – not diat night, nor the next night, nor any night.
She’d steal down like diat in the dark, soon as she smelted me there alone, and plaster her cunt all over me.
It was an enormous cunt, too, when I think back on it.
A dark, subterranean labyrinth fitted up widi divans and cosy comers and rubber teedi and syringeas and soft nestles and eiderdown and mulberry leaves.
I used to nose in like the solitary worm and bury myself in a little cranny where it was absolutely silent, and so soft and restful diat I lay like a dolphin on the oyster-banks.
A slight twitch and I’d be in the Pullman reading a newspaper or else up an impasse where there were mossy round cobblestones l66 and little wicker gates which opened and shut automatically.
Sometimes it was like riding the shoot-the-shoots, a steep plunge and then a spray of tingling sea-crabs, the bulrushes swaying feverishly and the gills of tiny fishes lapping against me like harmonica stops.
In the immense black grotto there was a silk-and-soap organ playing a predaceous black music.
When she pitched herself high, when she turned the juice on full, it made a violaceous purple, a deep mulberry stain like twilight, a ventiloqual twilight such as dwarfs and cretins enjoy when they menstruate.
It made me think of cannibals chewing flowers, of Bantus running amok, of wild unicorns rutting in rhododendron beds.
Everything was anonymous and unformulated, John Doe and his wife Emmy Doe: above us the gas tanks and below the marine life.
Above the belt, as I say, she was batty.
Yes, absolutely cuckoo, though still abroad and afloat.
Perhaps that was what made her cunt so marvellously impersonal.
It was one cunt out of a million, a regular Pearl of the Antilles, such as Dick Osborn discovered when reading Joseph Conrad.
In the broad Pacific of sex she lay, a gleaming silver reef surrounded with human anemones, human starfish, human madrepores.
Only an Osborn could have discovered her, given the proper latitude and longitude of cunt.
Meeting her in the daytime, watching her slowly going daft, it was like trapping a weasel when night came on.
All I had to do was to lie down in the dark with my fly open and wait.
She was like Ophelia suddenly resurrected among the Kaffirs.
Not a word of any language could she remember, especially not English.
She was a deaf-mute who had lost her memory, and with the loss of memory she had lost her frigidaire, her curling-irons, her tweezers and handbag.
She was even more naked than a fish, except for the tuft of hair between her legs.
And she was even slippier than a fish because after all a fish has scales and she had none.
It was dubious at times whether I was in her or she in me.
It was open warfare, the new-fangled Pancrace, with each one biting his own ass.
Love among the newts and the cut-out wide open.
Love without gender and without lysol.
Incubational love, such as the wolverines practise above the tree line.
On the one side the Arctic Ocean, on the other the Gulf of Mexico.
And though 167 we never referred to it openly there was always with us King Kong, King Kong asleep in the wrecked hull of the Titanic among the phosphorescent bones of millionaires and lampreys.
No logic could drive King Kong away.
He was the giant truss that supports the soul’s fleeting anguish.
He was the wedding cake with hairy legs and arms a mile long.
He was the revolving screen on which the news passes away.
He was the muzzle of the revolver that never went on, the leper armed with sawed-off gonococci. — 294 flesh and blood? Can you imagine how he might be trained to pull a trigger and see pigeons flying at the same time? Frankenstein is not a myth: Frankenstein is a very real creation born of the personal experience of a sensitive human being.
The monster is always more real when it does not assume the proportions of flesh and blood.
The monster of the screen is nothing compared to the monster of the imagination; even the existent pathologic monsters who find their way into the police station are but feeble demonstrations of the monstrous reality which the pathologist lives with.
But to be the monster and the pathologist at the same time – that is reserved for certain species of men who, disguised as artists, are supremely aware that sleep is an even greater danger than insomnia.
In order not to fall asleep, in order not to become victims of that insomnia which is called “living”, they resort to the drug of putting words together endlessly.
This is not an automatic process, they say, because there is always present the illusion that they can stop it at will.
But they cannot stop; they have only succeeded in creating an illusion, which is perhaps a feeble something, but it is far from being wide awake and neither active nor inactive.
I wanted to be wide awake without talking or writing about it, in order to accept life absolutely.
I mentioned the archaic men in the remote places of the world with who, I was communicating frequently.
Why did I think these “savages” more capable of understanding me than the men and women who surrounded me? Was I crazy to believe such a thing? I don’t think so in the least.
These “savages” are the degenerate remnants of earlier races of man who, I believe, must have had a greater hold on reality.
The immortality of the race is constantly before oar eyes in these specimens of the past who linger on in withered splendour.
Whether the human race is immortal or not is not my concern, but the vitality of the race does mean something to me, and that it should be active or dormant means even more.
As the vitality of the new race banks down the vitality of the old races manifests itself to the waking mind with greater and greater significance.
The vitality of the old races lingers on even in death, but the vitality of the new race which is about to die seems already non- 295 existent.
If a man were taking a swarming hive of bees to the river to drown them…
That was the image I carried about in me.
If only I were the man, and not the bee! In some vague, inexplicable way I knew that I was the man, that I would not be drowned in the hive, like the others.
Always, when we came forwards in a group I was signalled to stand apart; from birth I was favoured that way, and, no matter what tribulations I went through, I knew they were not fatal or lasting.
Also, another strange thing took place in me whenever I was called to stand forth.
I knew that I was superior to the man who was summoning me! The tremendous humility which I practised was not hypocritical but a condition provoked by the realization of the fateful character of the situation.
The intelligence which I possessed, even as a stripling, frightened me; it was the intelligence of a “savage”, which is always superior to that of civilized men in that it is more adequate to the exigencies of circumstance.
It is a life intelligence, even though life has seemingly passed them by.
I felt almost as if I had been shot forward into a round of existence which for the rest of mankind had not yet attained its full rhythm.
I was obliged to mark time if I were to remain with them and not be shunted off to another sphere of existence.
On the other hand, I was in many ways lower than the human beings about me.
It was as though I had come out of the fires of hell not entirely purged.
I had still a tail and a pair of horns, and when my passions were aroused I breathed a sulphurous poison which was annihilating.
I was always called a “lucky devil”.
The good that happened to me was called “luck”, and the evil was always regarded as a result of my shortcomings.
Rather, as the fruit of my blindness.
Rarely did any one ever spot the evil in me! I was as adroit, in this respect, as the devil himself.
But that I was frequently blind, everybody could see that.
And at such times I was left alone, shunned, like the devil himself.
Then I left the world, returned to the fires of hell – voluntarily.
These comings and goings are as real to me, more real, in fact, than anything that happened in between.
The friends who think they know me know nothing about me for the reason that the real me changed hands countless times.
Neither the men who thanked 296 me, nor the men who cursed me, knew with whom they were dealing.
Nobody ever got on to a solid footing with me, because I was constantly liquidating my personality.
I was keeping what is called the “personality” in abeyance for the moment when, leaving it to coagulate, it would adopt a proper human rhythm.
I was hiding my face until the moment when I would find myself in step with the world.
All this was, of course, a mistake.
Even the role of artist is worth adopting, while marking time.
Action is important, even if it entails futile activity.
One should not say Yes, No, Yes, No, even seated in the highest place.
One should not be drowned in the human tidal wave, even for the sake of becoming a Master.
One must beat with his own rhythm – at any price.
I accumulated thousands of years of experience in a few short years, but the experience was wasted because I had no need of it.
I had already been crucified and marked by the cross; I had been born free of the need to suffer – and yet I knew no other way to struggle forward than to repeat the drama.
All my intelligence was against it.
Suffering is futile, my intelligence told me over and over, but I went on suffering voluntarily.
Suffering has never taught me a thing; for others it may still be necessary, but for me it is nothing more than an algebraic demonstration of spiritual inadaptability.
The whole drama which the man of today is acting out through suffering does not exist for me: it never did, actually.
All my Calvaries were rosy crucifixions, pseudo-tragedies to keep the fires of hell burning brightly for the real sinners who are in danger of being forgotten. Another thing …
The mystery which enveloped my behaviour grew deeper the nearer I came to the circle of uterine relatives.
The mother from whose loins I sprang was a complete stranger to me.
To begin with, after giving birth to me she gave birth to my sister, whom I usually refer to as my brother.
My sister was a sort of harmless monster, an angel who had been given the body of an idiot.
It gave me a strange feeling, as a boy, to be growing up and developing side by side with this being who was doomed to remain all her life a mental dwarf.
It was impossible to be a brother to her because it was impossible to regard this atavistic hulk of a body as a “sister”. 297 She would have functioned perfectly, I imagine, among the Australian primitives.
She might even have been raised to power and eminence among them, for, as I said, she was the essence of goodness, she knew no evil.
But so far as living the civilized life goes she was helpless; she not only had no desire to kill but she had no desire to thrive at the expense of others.
She was incapacitated for work, because even if they had been able to train her to make caps for high explosives, for example, she might absent-mindedly throw her wages in the river on the way home or she might give them to a beggar in the street.
Often in my presence she was whipped like a dog for having performed some beautiful act of grace in her absent-mindedness, as they called it.
Nothing was worse, I learned as a child, than to do a good deed without reason.
I had received the same punishment as my sister, in the beginning, because I too had a habit of giving things away, especially new things which had just been given me.
I had even received a bearing once, at the age of five, for having advised my mother to cut a wart off her finger.
She had asked me what to do about it one day and, with my limited knowledge of medicine, I told her to cut it off with scissors, which she did, like an idiot.
A few days later she got blood poisoning and then she got hold of me and she said – “you told me to cut it off, didn’t you?” and she gave me a sound thrashing.
From that day on I knew that I was born in the wrong household.
From that day on I learned like lightning.
Talk about adaptation! By the time I was ten I had lived out the whole theory of evolution.
And there I was, evolving through all the phases of animal life and yet chained to this creature called my “sister” who was evidently a primitive being and who would never, even at the age of ninety, arrive at a comprehension of the alphabet Instead of growing up like a stalwart tree I began to lean to one side, in complete defiance of the law of gravity.
Instead of shooting out limbs and leaves I grew windows and turrets.
The whole being, as it grew, was turning into stone, and the higher I shot up the more I defied the law of gravity.
I was a phenomenon in the midst of the landscape, but one which attracted people and elicited praise.
If the mother who bore us had only made another effort perhaps 298 a marvellous white buffalo might have been born and the three of us might have been permanently installed in a museum and protected for life.
The conversations which took place between the leaning tower of Pisa, the whipping post, the snorting machine and the pterodactyl in human flesh were, to say the least, a bit queer.
Anything might be the subject of conversation – a bread crumb which the “sister” had overlooked in brushing the tablecloth or Joseph’s coat of many colours which, in the old man’s tailoring brain, might have been either double-breasted or cutaway or frock.
If I came from the ice pond, where I had been skating all afternoon, the important thing was not the ozone which I had breathed free of charge, nor the geometric convolutions which were strengthening my muscles, but the little spot of rust under the clamps which, if not rubbed off immediately, might deteriorate the whole skate and bring about the dissolution of some pragmatic value which was incomprehensible to my prodigal turn of thought.
This little rust spot, to take a trifling example, might entrain the most hallucinating results.
Perhaps the “sister”, in searching for the kerosene can, might overturn the jar of prunes which were being stewed and thus endanger all our lives by robbing us of the required calories in the morrow’s meal.
A severe beating would have to be given, not in anger, because that would disturb the digestive apparatus, but silently and efficiently, as a chemist would beat up the white of an egg in preparation for a minor analysis.
But the “sister”, not understanding the prophylactic nature of the punishment, would give vent to the most bloodcurdling screams and this would so affect the old man that he would .go out for a walk and return two or three hours later blind drunk and, what was worse, scratching a little paint off the rolling doors in his blind staggers.
The little piece of paint that had been chipped off would bring on a battle royal which was very bad for my dream life, because in my dream life I frequently changed places with my sister, accepting the tortures inflicted upon her and nourishing them with my supersensitive brain.
It was in these dreams, always accompanied by the sound of glass breaking, of shrieks, curses, groans and sobs, that I gathered an 299 unformulated knowledge of the ancient mysteries, of the rites of initiation, of the transmigration of souls and so on.
It might begin with a scene from real life – the sister standing by the blackboard in the kitchen, the mother towering over her with a ruler, saying two and two makes how much? and the sister screaming five.
Bang! no, seven.
Bang! no, thirteen, eighteen as twenty! I would be sitting at the table, doing my lessons, just in real life during these scenes, when by a slight twist or squirm, perhaps as I saw the ruler come down on the sister’s face, suddenly I would be in another realm where glass was unknown, as it was unknown to the Kickapoos or the Lenni-Lenapi.
The faces of those about me were familiar – they were my uterine relatives who, for some mysterious reason, failed to recognize me in this new ambiance.
They were garbed in black and the colour of their skin was ash grey, like that of the Tibetan devils.
They were all fitted out with knives and other instruments of torture; they belonged to the caste of sacrificial butchers.
I seemed to have absolute liberty and the authority of a god, and yet by some capricious turn of events the end would be that I’d be lying on the sacrificial block and one of my charming uterine relatives would be bending over me with a gleaming knife to cut out my heart.
In sweat and terror I would begin to recite “my lessons” in a high, screaming voice, faster and faster, as I felt the knife searching for my heart.
Two and two is four, five and five is ten, earth, air, fire, water, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, Meocene, Pleocene, Eocene, the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, red, blue, yellow, the sorrel, the persimmon, the pawpaw, the catalpa .. .faster and faster…
Odin, Wotan, Parsifal, King Alfred, Frederick the Great, the Hanseatic League, the Battle of Hastings, Thermopylae, 1492,1786, 18l2, Admiral Farragut, Pickett’s charge.
The Light Brigade, we are gathered here today, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not, one and indivisible, no, 16, no, 27, help! murder! police! – and yelling louder and louder and going faster and faster I go completely off my nut and there is no more pain, no more terror, even though they are piercing me everywhere with knives.
Suddenly I am absolutely calm and 300 the body which is lying on the block, which they are still gouging with glee and ecstasy, feels nothing because I, the owner of it, have escaped.
I have become a tower of stone which leans over the scene and watches with scientific interest.
I have only to succumb to the law of gravity and I will fall on them and obliterate them.
But I do not succumb to the law of gravity because I am too fascinated by the horror of it all.
I am so fascinated, in fact, that I grow more and more windows.
And as the light penetrates the stone interior of my being I can feel that my roots, which are in the earth, are alive and that I shall one day be able to remove myself at will from this trance in which I am fixed. So much for the dream, in which I am helplessly rooted.
But in actuality, when the dear uterine relatives come, I am as free as a bird and darting to and fro like a magnetic needle.
If they ask me a question I give them five answers, each of which is better than the other; if they ask me to play a waltz I play a double-breasted sonata for the left hand; if they ask me to help myself to another leg of chicken I dean up the plate, dressing and all; if they urge me to go out and play in the street I go out and in my enthusiasm I cut my cousin’s head open with a tin can: if they threaten to give me a thrashing I say go to it, I don’t mind! If they pat me on the head for my good progress at school I spit on the floor to show that I have still something to learn.
I do everything they wish me to do plus.
If they wish me to be quiet and say nothing I become as quiet as a rock: I don’t hear when they speak to me, I don’t move when I’m touched, I don’t cry when I’m pinched, I don’t budge when I’m pushed.
If they complain that I’m stubborn I become as pliant and yielding as rubber.
If they wish me to get fatigued so that I will not display too much energy I let them give me all kinds of work to do and I do the jobs so thoroughly that I collapse on the floor finally like a sack of wheat.
If they wish me to be reasonable I become ultra-reasonable, which drives them crazy.
If they wish me to obey I obey to the letter, which causes endless confusion.
And all this because the molecular life of brother-and-sister is incompatible with the atomic weights which have been allotted us.
Because she doesn’t 301 grow at all I grow like a mushroom; because she has no personality I become a colossus; because she is free of evil I become a thirty-two branched candelabra of evil; because she demands nothing of any one I demand everything; because she inspires ridicule everywhere I inspire fear and respect; because she is humiliated and tortured I wreak vengeance upon every one, friend and foe alike; because she is helpless I make myself all-powerful.
The gigantism from which I suffered was simply the result of an effort to wipe out the little stain of rust which had attached itself to the family skate, so to speak.
That little stain of rust under the clamps made me a champion skater.
It made me skate so fast and furiously that even when the ice had melted I was still skating, skating through the mud, through asphalt, through brooks and rivers and melon patches and theories of economics and so forth.
I could skate through hell, I was that fast and nimble. But all this fancy skating was of no use – Father Coxcox, the pan-American Noah, was always calling me back to the Ark.
Every time I stopped skating there was a cataclysm – the earth opened up and swallowed me.
I was a brother to every man and at the same time a traitor to myself.
I made the most astounding sacrifices, only to find that they were of no value.
Of what use was it to prove that I could be what was expected of me when I did not want to be any of these things? Every time you come to the limit of what is demanded of you, you are faced with the same problem – to be yourself! And with the first step you make in this direction you realize that there is neither plus nor minus; you throw the skates away and swim.
There is no suffering any more because there is nothing which can threaten your security.
And there is no desire to be of help to others even, because why rob them of a privilege which must be earned? Life stretches out from moment to moment in stupendous infinitude.
Nothing can be more real than what you suppose it to be.
Whatever you think the cosmos to be it is and it could not possibly be anything else as long as you are you and I am I.
You live in the fruits of your action and your action is the harvest of your thought.
Thought and action are one, because swimming you are in it and of it, and it is 302 everything you desire it to be, no more, no less.
Every stroke counts for eternity.
The heating and cooling system is one system, and Cancer is separated from Capricorn only by an imaginary line.
You don’t become ecstatic and you are not plunged into violent grief; you don’t pray for rain, neither do you dance a jig.
You live like a happy rock in the midst of the ocean: you are fixed while everything about you is in turbulent motion.
You are fixed in a reality which permits the thought that nothing is fixed, that even the happiest and mightiest rock will one day be utterly dissolved and fluid as the ocean from which it was born. This is the musical life which I was approaching by first skating like a maniac through all the vestibules and corridors which lead from the outer to the inner.
My struggles never brought me near it, nor did my furious activity, nor my rubbing elbows with humanity.
All that was simply a movement from vector to vector in a circle which however the perimeter expanded, remained withal parallel to the realm I speak of.
The wheel of destiny can be transcended at any moment because at every point of its surface it touches the real world and only a spark of illumination is necessary to bring about the miraculous, to transform the skater to a swimmer and the swimmer to a rock.
The rock is merely an image of the act which stops the futile rotation of the wheel and plunges the being into full consciousness.
And full consciousness is indeed like an inexhaustible ocean which gives itself to sun and moon and also includes the sun and moon.
Everything which is is born out of the limitless ocean of light – even the night. Sometimes, in the ceaseless revolutions of the wheel, I caught a glimpse of the nature of the jump which it was necessary to make.
To jump dear of the clockwork – that was the liberating thought.
To be something more, something different, than the most brilliant maniac of the earth 1 The story of man on earth bored me.
Conquest, even the conquest of evil, bored me.
To radiate goodness is marvellous, because it is tonic, invigorating, vitalizing.
But just to be is still more marvellous, because it is endless and requires no demonstration.
To be is music, which is a profanation of silence in the interests 303 of silence, and therefore beyond good and evil.
Music is the manifestation of action without activity.
It is the pure act of creation swimming on its own bosom.
Music neither goads nor defends, neither seeks nor explains.
Music is the noisdess sound made by the swimmer in the ocean of consdousness.
It is a reward which can only be given by oneself.
It is the gift of the god which one is because he has ceased thinking about god.
It is an augur of the God which every one will become in due time, when all that is will be beyond imagination.
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