I HOPE DEATH ISN’T LIKE THIS

Alienist Broadsheet #4 (February 2018) download PDF

Self be your sooner. We held once fast yet abandoned. We are exclusively oriented. What counts most is the sentence in which this subtle interlacing of ‘use’ and ‘mention’ is exploited. The mirror in the salon next door was encrusted: flyblown abattoir of our youth et cetera. I have decided to give you an hour of new literature.

I begin at once with a song today: all men are of the fibre of the living mass — imagine blood aerosol in zero gravity. There is not any other theme upon which our thoughts and feelings have changed so little since the earliest times. Discarded forms have been completely preserved under a thin disguise.

‘They stitch you up, don’t they,’ she adds, tongue probing to inner ear. The mediaeval notion of history as a malfunctioning translation has never been bettered — by this I evoke the emancipative character of our relationship, that disfigured spectre: the insect becoming unto itself.

The retail where she worked slash died was a poisonous mass of incompetence and sabotage. It can only be assumed that they bring the remembrance of their species with them into each new existence — that is, they have preserved memories of what was experienced by their ancestors. I remember that final day. She looked at me in the half light.

‘Did you see it splitting? Did you see your spine going scream?’

‘The only true initiatives involve ourselves, alone. It’s vital to understand that home is a place where you have never been, and never will be.’

See, there’s a limit to the precision with which the position and momentum of a particle can be simultaneously known. The fact that nothing ever stands fast for me is grounded in my quietude.

Lie still, at the precise median between points W and X. In the snowfall, the tree outside is so white, I can hardly look at it. A hare flashes across the shingle. I am exiled from today’s anticipations, I am exiled from today’s promissory promise. They had the smallest teeth.

We were conveyed on a parallel journey at the same instant, some of us lost among the stars — a yellowing half-moon swollen through the cloud base — others crossing a stormy sea in a papier mâché catamaran. Then she says, your pietà, that policed agon that seems to follow you around, I cannot bring myself to look upon it, thou tramelled through such pain et cetera.

They used a three-layered dragnet, designed such that a man entering through one of the outer sections will push the razor-mesh core through the reticulum on the further side, forming a snare in which he is trapped. The four points of the compass slid together to draw an ellipse. Origin is early, so named because the motion of the brain is restricted by its serpentine grooves.

This is not to say that Chronicle B fares any better. His remedies were weak: sage and wormwood, some kind of marsh plant, hyssop and blind faith, all in minute quantities. It is not the violence that sets a man apart, it is the distance that he is prepared to go. I too am a descendant, the offshoot, origin obscure; I am named from one of the hills that encircle the lough. Physical nature encroaches on world history, indeed, the man in whom I placed my hope has enlarged his heel over me, that is, he has trodden down.

I am founding a system of what claims to be knowledge but has no basis in scientific fact: a shadow, a raised track across low wet ground, an island breached at low tide. A large number of treatises have survived thanks to the refusal of his disciples to burn them in compliance with the edicts of the law. The story is told.

 

PLOT

While they were on the journey they all fell asleep. Suddenly they woke. The carriage had come to a standstill in the depths of a wood — not a path as far as eye could see and no one understood how they had got there. One among them looked around and cried watchman.

Who goes the answer came from the thicket.

The pharmacist.

The voice replied this time but never again.

A road opened up and the carriage drove on. The travellers recognised the region, but had never seen a wood in these parts. They did not dare to look back.

See, a land of future promise or return: exile hostaged for exile, a ransom pay-off — being here persists, gently hammering, gently lamenting itself. Only the innermost keep survives in ruinous fulfilment. The advertised dolmen eluded us, as did the septic tank.

We have reached an extreme limit of revelation — a simple figure of ourselves, forever snared by the complacency that we have victoriously faced down all comers, every limb cued to a mistimed defence. I don’t have an inner, being total threshold.

There are no less than thirty-six of these stratagems. The same may be said for the various knots of this intrigue, those false proofs, diabolic suggestions. I set off to meet some ancestors of my own; one pressed close and asked who the fuck are you and where the fuck are you from.

 

ASH OF LITHIUM

To wit, the curvature of light rays by the gravitational field of the sun. I am the hoax that is forever anticipated: I was suddenly recognised in the remote silver mines of the Sierra Madre. I replied. While disruption will not be the final purpose of an enemy attack, it can be an effective means of forcing the defender to retreat, and in the process sacrifice other strongholds.

So far so good. I am the one who is always stationed beside, before the fading light at ruinous cove — thunderheads torn at distance, beyond which nothing but sunken ships of the old line, our emigrants and exterminators. Polyethylene and algae of rust lapped at the shoreline. Then another came, stealing in behind as we stood at arms, he gracious in his own wake, a fitting spectre of the rebel count.

 

THE DISTRACTS

The better of the two prints has ‘shell,’ the other has ‘reason.’

Total mobilisation of the populace, smart schizophrenia at the core of a forced-leisure economy. I am detonating non-violent crime. I am detonating violent crime. I am the violence you refuse to acknowledge, an untimely reminder of your own capabilities. I am committed to your fraud. I have no need to justify anything: my time in the dock was a deliverance, thank you. Did you have a convincing reason for your actions? Were you aware of what you were doing at the time?

Time? I thought we were going to kickstart a family — arson, pets, malignant cells and everything.

When the anatomical or genetic approaches cannot get to the cause, as had been hoped, then the pathological bias must attack its problems through invented measurements. Yet, these numerous gambits fail to swerve the family from its failure to accommodate the average incendiary. I am self-legitimising. I am the given proof. You will have already begun the slow decline into insidious competition with yourself, choking on your own corpse gas. Is that your id all over the floor?

See, he has already made several important contributions to mathematic logic, especially the incompleteness. And there is still no algorithm to solve the halting problem.

 

A BRIEF HALT AT A NEIGHBOURHOOD WASTELAND

For years they lived in a wilderness. He survived off her drippings alone, strung as she was across the bough of a tree, burst from the epicentre of trinity’s neat lawn, trunk swollen at the base to scrotal sac. A causeway of gravel formed the only exit, where oily rotting leaves of some titanic carcass sucked at the quicksand. We staggered across the boardwalk spanning a tar-pit. There was a circle of stones; I refused to kiss them. The only waterfall fell close by at the head of a cobbled alley, where I was identified as the mutineer that I am — a heavy hand upon the shoulder and it all flooded back: the inquisitory cell, untold deferrals of a courtroom, the final decree.

The poisoned garden we could not find. An arc lamp swung, the cone of its beam criss-crossing the camp from high in a watchtower. There was a ruined icehouse to which the roots of native trees clung gnarled and defiant — even the white, which is still clear in the torrent of drapery, had a liverish colour about it.

The wooden jetty on the lake roiled beneath our feet. She recited. There were rumours of an oubliette, the perfect signal of our lassitude: one way in, no way out. Stranded at the shoreline, storm under storm shuddered through our head — the sea was black and lights of the port emerged as we sought landfall, the prow of our ship veering silent to a deserted wharf. The tram to the centre surrendered at the periphery. Every surface was etched upon, a swarm of copperplate graffiti, burnished bone across the ancient darks. Hail drove horizontal. From the murder hole things were flung — the spiral stair crushed the breath from me as I clung to its rope. You could see for miles, see absolutely nothing. The homeward track had been forsaken to a trespass of sallow mud.

Evening had fallen when we woke and the sand and arid grasses glowed no longer. The centre was shut. There were rumours of a horse graveyard, prehistoric ferns, a dungeon with surgical alter, the ulna of a griffin — everything one could possibly need. The keep had been used in feudal times for the worst purposes, and in later days as a place of deposit for some highly combustible substance. We struck camp at the frontier, forever on the move, perpetual motion made flesh; it’s moot whether we were even alive. Blanched ivy crawled veinous across the facade of a disused limekiln.

Beyond the rampart of the fort was an isolated cemetery, set aside for the dispossessed of that redoubt. The light faded, taking its time: defensive wooden spikes were driven into the counterscarp and ignited. At the parapet she asks, are you with the vertigo once more? I peered down into the grey-green mist, and whispered.

 

THERE’S NO ‘I’ IN ASSASSIN

A story set in the seventeenth century but which ends in poison and tragedy. Memory is possessed, it is therefore such deathless publics that we shall encounter — the pragmatic human, vacuum packed and volunteering for surveillance. Always be prepared for a long siege. Never assume a quick rescue. You can tell they’re having fun.

Of unknown derivation, a perennial herb of the genus so called, belonging to the family and bearing spikes of purple-white flowers. (He’s just going to walk into a field like that and fire off a gun?) These libations can remind us. Our second pointer is afforded by the observation that states such as joy and exultation and triumph, which give us the normal model for mania, depend on the same economic conditions. Whereas in the field you must travel light to maintain mobility, in your home you have the luxury of storing and maintaining a plethora of weapons. Emancipative thought is impossible. There is a sector of the mind in which the instinctive pulse and contingent process engage ceaselessly in games of chance. Apart from the purpose of absolute defence, each of these forms may have a further one: that of feigned defence. An empty show of resistance can, of course, be used in connection with a number of other measures, with any position that is not simply an overnight neurosis.

The conflict between my personal drives and the demands of the cultural superego are forming nouns all about me in the air. Biology forms names of spectral constituents. Botany forms names of roots with a name ending in idiot (your genes are stupid et cetera). Zoology denotes an animal belonging to a family without a rating. A fast-running beetle of our tribe headlong covers the predatory ground: scorched earth retail. Origin is late century, from modern pleurisy, denoting a kind of crabwise gait.

From my room at night I could oversee the estuary with its string of orange burn-off flares, punctuating the darkness. Everyone wanted to go. I ended up. I had my favourites. I had nothing to wear. I said one more before I go. But I can remember turning around and around in the centre with embers floating down about my ears and the snow so deep as far as the eye and a single gunshot that echoed in the silence of the forest.

I am denoting the memory of a dynasty, astrology insisting upon a meteor sent from a specified constellation. (Fuck your skill-set.) We are evaporating from a great height. When I hate, I hate myself — I hate my voice, hate the vapour of my breath that escapes the petrified lung. Then again, my voice probably hates me.

Take a deep one: the dimension of resistance follows directly from the chosen dimension of form. My own nerves were tearing open the flesh, wave upon wave unendurable. If indeed they had arranged the megaliths into an astrological clock, their primary goal was usurpation — the disappearance of a celestial body in the shadow of or behind another.

R. Makin

February 2018

 

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