Hotel Palenque /3 — Louis Armand

“In some cases an inhibition becomes completely & firmly established after very few repetitions of the inhibitory combination.” A species wracked by the inner convulsions of obscene pleasure. Describe yr reaction to the following words: Hollow. Mocking. Lame. Bored by now in transit between surrender & bondage, waiting for the connections to be signified. In one scenario y’re standing in a public lavatory, gazing w/ a kind of religious ecstasy into a cracked & filthy mirror. The tenuous hold the mirror has on the reflection. In the next y’re kneeling in a chapel, at the foot of a coffin draped in white latex. The hiss of an electrical cable slicing the air. The coiled welt as it forms on the skin. Across the scapulars. The ribcage protruding from yr back. Supplicant at the prayer stool, the raw crease of the exposed anus. Benedictus, benedicat! A hundred thousand Virgins gazing from every inch of Baroque wall-space in a vertigo of piety. “The eyes of the first creature one has loved are unnatural things.” Intense feelings of involuntary arousal: Y’re looking down at a child’s effigy laid out in a coffin. Coiffured. Epicured. Pink taffeta skirts & pink bodice. Virgin of Guadalupe. Tonantzin. Ancient fertility goddess. Glorifica mi alma al Señor y mi espíritu se llena de gozo al contemplar la bondad de Dios mi Salvador. Porque ha puesto la mirada en la humilde sierva suya y ved aquí el motivo porque me tendrá por dichosa y feliz todas las generaciones. Pues ha hecho en mi favor, cosas grandes y maravillosas el que es Todopoderoso y su nombre infinitamente Santo. Cuya misericordia se extiende de generación en generación a todos cuantos le temen. Extendio el brazo de su poder y disipó el orgullo de los soberbios, trastornando sus designios. Desposeyó a los poderosos; y elevó a los humildes. A los necesitados los llenó de bienes y a los ricos dejó sin cosa alguna. Exaltó a Israel su siervo, acordándose de él por su gran misericordia y bondad. Así como lo había prometido a nuestros padres Abraham y a toda su descendencia, por los siglos de los siglos. Amén. The white funerary roses w/ which the child is wreathed. Sunk beneath the shallow waters off the Isla de la Roqueta. The maiden’s voyage is crystal & glass. Watery arbours & veils. Only god creates the sexless. An aborted zero. Arcane suns in a fever of mirage. In hallucinations, the eye of a needle sharpened in black light. “I imagine fucking X while being fucked by Y.” That isn’t what I meant, he says. Drawing out each of the syllables to stress the fact that he’s bored w/ this game. Impersonating always the most unreal biographies, the sainted kitsch of those who only bleed for the edification of god. Bleeding vulva of Christ’s heart! Perfumed, depilated, as pure as the most pristine hysterectomy! A crystal aspersorium. The laity genuflect, avid fingers dripping on the floor. Despair is the nearest thing to home! “Come to me, father, come to yr son.” God’s dentures are silent. The old cunt’s saving his laughter for the crucial moment. Perhaps he thinks of killing him. As soon as, in a second, the first stroke, the idea, the word KILL divides itself. In my mind it was already finished. I’d thought out the imaginary drama to its imaginary end. I, between the initial consonant & the terminus. The terminal sickness. Another hour on the clock. On the cock. The terminal bliss. Death is ridiculous unless it accrues. Caught in that amber light the knuckles are pale. Clenched. The blood all but drained out. What’ll they call it this time? Murder-suicide? The Hand-of-God manoeuvering him expertly towards his destiny? “Fuck me right here.” Or alone in a room, gun-in-mouth. Perhaps he’s thinking. Perhaps this is how he thinks. Hearing nothing. Not the sound of the clock. Not the wind outside. Not the creaking of the stairway. Or everything is still & it’s only the sound of his own blood that he doesn’t hears. The sound of his nervous system. Perhaps the constant beating & ringing has deafened him. Perhaps he’s become entranced by this internal cacophony. The taste of metal on his lips. The vertigo piercing his guts. Slowly moving his hips to its rhythm. A marionette’s dance. A guignolade puppet. The rope burning his wrists, throat, ankles, groin, anus. But the fact that I’m tied to the consequences of my actions isn’t enough. What are the dreams of objects? Balanced upon inertia’s pinhead between the congruous world & the incongruous. The stairs become wider & wider as you approach & they recede. Dilated in the too-harsh light of a naked bulb hanging from a ceiling wire. Footsteps down the corridor. Insect repellent. Carpet frayed along the skirting boards. He looks closely at the scratch marks around the keyhole. Soot matting the doorframe in expressive sfumato. Los siglos de los siglos. They seem to be trying to tell him something. The tattooed lips parting onto a blackened mouth. Its slithering concatenations. The room swells, outgrows itself. Its elastic walls slip away beneath the slightest touch. Veils & mists. Such stuff as words are made of. It’s not necessary to believe in them: They exist despite you. In spite of you. Observed by an expressionless eye as they turn to mucous, slime, blood. Lying there arse-up to be fucked, like some fantastic imago, by whoever comes along. A body dragged from the sea & resuscitated solely in order that it may be violated while still living. A child w/ a bleeding rose, naturally. At one moment a symbol, in its most obvious metamorphosis. The next, barely a thing or even the image of a thing. Stiffened bodybag protrusions, hands lopped, feet tied, shattered groin. Some ancient vengeance killing. Its stone lips’ gargoyle’s spout. A guttering of vowels, consonants, demented registers. Zanate! Zanate! Sodden plumage & mock moon. SPARE NO ONE! it shrieks. Waves crashing against black portholes. And the eyes, when the world isn’t watching, begin to move. You swear y’ve seen them. Once aboard a ship in Vera Cruz w/ the bulkheads eaten away by rust. Smuggling the hidden relics from one secret location to the next. A stagehand in an invisible theatre. Arranging the props. Swapping the corpses. This one’s grinning. This one’s lower jaw has fallen away, as beautiful as when it first blushed. This one has a flower behind its ear. A smell like waxworks oozing up from the floor. WELCOME TO THE MUSEUM OF FATALITIES. Toiling under the huge spotlights. Everything is beginning to melt. Animatronic gadgetry visible through deliquescing facial features. Exposed wires. Naked mouldings. Glass eyes. Stitched roots of hair. The light changes. A row of sexless mannequins in a display window. Sunlight reflected in a tinted windscreen. A pair of sunglasses. A rear-view mirror. From the back seat of a taxi everything blurs into a single line. Slows down. Comes almost to a stop. Plastic tables & chairs scattered on the sidewalk. A man reading a newspaper, smoking. In front of him, a glass of rum. Black ceramic ashtray w/ cigarette butts. The sequence reverses. Frames run into one another. Overlap. The window opens outwards & projects into the objects themselves. Looking up from within a glass on a table under a palm-frond awning. Pale fringe of sky. Birdless. And looking down from above, the faint circle of the glass. A checked, red & white table cloth. The white exposed corners of a moulded plastic table. The foreshortened newspaper, tilted towards the viewer. The man’s eyes are fixed motionlessly on a point somewhere far off beyond the newsprint. Between his lips, a cigarette is slowly burning down. It’s hot but he’s shivering. He’s wearing a black coat & black trousers. A heavily soiled white shirt. The inside of the collar almost black. Cuffs frayed. A pair of black leather boots, heels trodden down. From one coat pocket a piece of quadrille notepaper protruding. A hesitant, uncertain script in blue ink: “As it determines this moment in time, the mind necessarily withers away. And stretched to the limit, it desires this withering.” At the last moment, before the camera pulls away, he looks up. Shot, reverse-shot. His doppelgänger watches back from the taxi, marooned in the traffic, a locus of empty agitation. Streaked windows reflecting white midday glare. A lethargy of car horns. Blast of a radio. The Leviathan crawls on its cogs & wheels. About to break down again at any moment. Perhaps next time come permanently to a standstill. The crossed glance is undone. A boy approaches at the intersection, hawking gorditas tamales sincronizadas. He waves his hand in front of the windscreen. The gesture is unreal. The air thick as boiled ash. Gets out at the lights & stoops towards the shade. Curtains hanging limp in open windows above the web of power lines. Everything under the sign of a general lethargy. The movement of a hand, raised to wipe the perspiration from the forehead. The same movement gains a massive inertia. He took his hand away from his face. Cadaverous & wet. His hand was shaking. No puedo parar. “I can’t stop.” Fingernails bitten down to flesh. The scene itself seems to shudder. Violently removed from the field of vision. He’s standing on a balcony looking down at the sea. He’s wiping perspiration from his forehead w/ a white towel. A shadow cuts across his face. It’s late afternoon. Beside him, lying sideways on a wooden deckchair, an older man is reading a book. He looks intently down at the reclined figure, resting his hand upon the nape of the neck. The other’s hand closes over his. Cigarette scars on the back of the hand like prison ornaments. Five inscriptions, each attesting to an elemental truth. “What allows the remote to be near & the near to be remote, is pain.” The manifestness of the body, present & unknown. A voice. A word leaves the tongue, penetrates the ear. There’s no permission. Pain tears asunder. It separates. Yet at the same time it draws everything to itself. “Its grave eloquence.” Words which seemed like the mumblings of a prisoner. Inarticulate. Repeating again & again a dimly focused obsession. Something which gnawed away inside him. The armature of that invisible world which begins to impregnate all the things we see. In the visible there’s never anything but ruins of the spirit. The world will always resemble the exposed foundations of an archaeological site. Its labyrinths. And despite its mystery appearing obvious & quaint w/ time, you still find yrself becoming lost. Wandering into successive dead-ends. Unable to retrace the steps which led you there. Each panicked turn drawing you deeper in. And the minotaur of some inner anxiety waiting at the very heart of the subterranean night. Among a pile of broken images. At the bottom of a shaft. How to fit all of the pieces together? A continuous dark line uncoiling through space & time. What could they belong to? That writing which comprises a tangle of serpents. Plumes. The emblem of the eagle which refers to the sun. Reason itself. That most precious stone. LAPIS PHILOSOPHALLUS. A stone that can’t be reached. Inscribed by the hand of myth for the eyes of apocalypse to read. Hablan con una lengua adormecida desde mucho tiempo. Son póstumos como los ecos del trueno. No living thing inhabits that lost time. On the temple wall a large death’s-head. Who asks about the unknown artisan who carved it? A system of subterranean chambers, running beneath the city. The sound of water jamming in a pipe overhead. A door closing. Footsteps over an iron grate. Hum of a fusebox. The constant dripping of water from the points of luminous stalactites. Shapes carved from the rock in a labour of millennia. A large upright figure in profile. There’s no subordinate figure, but all the space in the background has been filled up w/ hieroglyphs. “The upper half is formed by two ovals, each containing a small human form.” Eyes caught in an unreal space. They shared the same strange colour & looked similar. The floor was covered w/ crumbling limestone. Cracked & fallen from the ceiling. Behind the ruined temple, a basilica. The scent of candle wax & acrid snuffed-out candle wicks. Narrow, deep-shadowed arches. Tocan la campana del vacío. Outside, a white statue of San Pedro leaning from an alcove high up in the façade. Convulsed by the sunlight. The hard luminosity of its sculpted form. At its base, however, it has already begun to come away. Sifting a white powder through the cracks in the wall. Dust of mortality. “That I die, & w/ me, whatever’s incomplete…” A pale & random human destiny like moth-light. Enzymes, amino acids. One form of extinction fighting for survival against another. Spiralling cycles of exhumation. Future archaeologies. In his mind he’s playing a game of places, names, divisions in time. Remaking everything in a different order. Different beginnings & endings. You try to remain concrete, safe behind all those shifting exteriors, within the act & its repercussions. W/out analysing too much, lest the images produced should be made empty. Devoid of their nerve centres. Pumice. Basalt. The stone is a surface of effacement. A counter-sign. Graffiti-covered toilet walls. An abandoned construction site. Gang totems. Illegible palimpsests of human usage. The exit sign has the character of an epitaph. ESTOY SOLO. There but not there. The street is being stubbed out on a cigarette. Life vanishes from the dark screen, the parallel lines in which all geometry is abolished. Tainted by its opposite. We’d be better off, for the time being, just to fade till we’re out of breath. Neither one is the dream or the reality. The dream of reality or the reality of the dream. Standing there bleeding all over himself in the middle of a crowded sidewalk. In shades of agua-de-jamaica naranja piña-con-chaya guanábana sandía horchata. The colour of rumours, left-over vendettas. Blind alleyways opening onto grinning corpses. Dead witnesses. Tape-recorded forced confessions. To know the exact moment rigor mortis enters the body. To take possession of it. “Naked as the Body of the Lord.” He lies, prostrate, divided in the senses. (My silence buys more than words.) Above the bed-head a candle flickered on the windowsill. Beside a row of old tequila bottles filled w/ urine. A glass menagerie w/ torch dancers luminous in yellowed celluloid. The film unspools across the walls. Staring at it long enough might give rise to fanciful ideas about “composition.” At a particular point in the evolution of the work you begin to withdraw. To insist that the image must stand on its own. Detached from the initial intention. To be able to “speak,” but not in order to illustrate a point. What sort of message is this? “Something moved in space.” My tools & materials have been near misses. Chance. Coincidence. Whatever is at hand. Lost or discarded objects. Human detritus. Forgotten identities. Time is not a measure but merely a condition. Nothing is fixed. No present which is not an imperfect preterite. The first lead is from the symptom. Working back through divisions in time. What came before? After? Suggesting an analogy to the lower animals. “The reproductive system can be shown to be susceptible, to an extraordinary degree, to changed conditions of life.” At the end of an hour they exchanged glances. There’s no particular diagnosis, only a series of disclaimers. “If we say it has movement in it because of what it has caused, we are only condemning ourselves.” Infecting the thought processes. A red haze of unbearable heat. The parasite is transmitted by drinking tainted water & enters the body via the intestinal tract. Typical symptoms are septic temperature, pain & swelling of the liver. Diarrhoea w/ stools containing mucous & blood. Weight loss. Anaemia. Sometimes perforation of the intestine & peritonitis. Diagnosis is made by finding the parasite in the stool. The organism is recognised by particular movements noticeable only when a fresh specimen is analysed in close detail. The patient should pass the stool in a warm bedpan. A particle of mucous, bloody, placed on a warm slide. It’s immediately examined w/ a microscope. The eye fitted to the lens. And that same voice as though issuing from nowhere, telling him what must be. The numbing succession of those words. A superstitious offering in place of what? I give up this part of myself in order to be well & whole. I, fragment of a fragment. The scarred siglum. “And my covenant shall be in yr flesh.” The decrepit body. The weak body. In place of anything that we are seeking, there are only these mortal ruins. Relics of what can no longer be encountered here. Not even a monument. The barely recorded details of an absence. Architecture of an ongoing disappearance. Erasure. Erosion. And what remains among the excrement & decomposition. The traces of a regular form. Geometrical figures. Lintel. Stone relief. Shadow writing. Deciphering them. Enumerating them. Reading them back into the oblivion to which they cling. Drawing us down. Obliterating us. Unwriting us. The one undoing the other. “The vaults had mostly fallen & debris covered the projecting masonry. Through a small passage into the interior it was possible to see that the walls projected life size enthroned figures.” Bolontiku. Lords of the night. A portion of a snout & eye of a mask. A row of disfigured heads. A proscenium stage beneath a corbelled arch. “The front is sculpted w/ human figures. Hieroglyphs in low relief. The sides & back being plain.” In this place everything appears in two dimensions. Forms traced on an imaginary wall. Cave paintings. Mosaics. An apparatus of impressions. Produced by means of waves or rays or mysterious forces. Projected in the mineral substance, what effigy of man? Through an archway a long procession has begun to pass. Children in blue & white uniforms. A marching band. A crowd of onlookers. People w/ closed faces & indirect glances. Three groups of devotees pass in succession, bearing on their shoulders a series of wooden effigies. A black Christ. A white blood-spattered Christ. A brown Christ w/ a crown of hypodermic needles. Lanterns & bouquets of hibiscus. Bougainvillaea. JÉS NAZ REX IUD. At every fourteenth step the litter bearers rest their burden on wooden poles. “The absence of god is not a closure. It’s an opening up to the infinite. The absence of god is greater & more divine than god.” Cold, standing on the street. Walked from the Alameda where they burned heretics. A five-storey apartment building a block from Hidalgo. Arrived, fifteen minutes early. Left & came back. Nobody. Then, at the precise time agreed upon, he appears. I didn’t notice him approach. Inside the building, a courtyard filled w/ a densely cultivated arrangement of earthquake debris. The twisted remains of an elevator cage. I follow him through a locked gate & up three flights of stairs. The stairwell winds through a concrete trelliswork from which the chaos below acquires the appearance of a regular geometrical order. There are broken surveillance cameras at each landing. Only once we are inside the apartment does he speak. His face is slightly disfigured, but also difficult to see under the angle of the light. The apartment itself is untidy. Stale air. Dark. Muted grey light outlining two curtained windows at the far end of the room. Dust & human hair collecting on the floor. Contrary to the effect of the exterior architecture, the rooms convey the sense of a geometry in process of disintegration. A baroque of the non-descript. Entropy spilling out on all sides. It evokes Ministry buildings in a state of siege, abandoned control centres turned to doss houses for itinerant rioters, re-education fodder for whatever regime comes to replace the one they’ve just executed in the courtyard. Their stale farts light the way of an interminable counter-insurgence. Choking in zones beneath sleep. Decayed asbestos dreams. Did the image record anything beyond the blankness of those eyes. How up-close their faces glistened in the blue light. How, apart from the rain & the mosquitoes, everything was silent. X shifted his gaze from the photograph to the room, as if to determine which had betrayed the other. For the duration of that moment the sound of buzzing in his ears fell silent. The fluorescent lights stopped flickering. He lay down on the floor where the corpses had been laid. Were they conscious in the last moments? Did they see the room as he was seeing it? At first it was as if the walls was spinning & that only the ceiling fan was still. Then it was his mind that was still & only his thoughts were spinning. It’s only a matter of time now, before everything closes in. The whole effect was too ceremonial & lacked the brutality it required. He felt too much like a narrator in a novel: “I dispose mentally of my possessions. Personal affects. Wrist watch. Wallet. Passport. An old handkerchief. The notebook in which accounts would have been kept. Disposing of each page, individually. All of the lives accumulated there. Un-written. But this process, too, is interminable. It will go on. That much is certain.” Staring at this same floor. These walls. That ceiling. The television in the corner. The bank of filing cabinets behind the desk. The splintered doorframe. Washbasin. Curtain rail. Telephone. Barred window. Plastic sheets. Everything has been arranged exactly the way you remembered it. By means of an act of replacement, I defer the act of killing myself “once & for all.” Another is given to take my place in the macabre dance. The familiar posture of the victim. Bound, prostrated. Blood gorging the flesh partition. Fingers prying apart. The knuckles. The hand. The brutalised & insatiable flesh closing over, seaming at the wrist. And then, as though a breeze had disturbed the curtain, a weightless incurving of pale muslin. Light falling in patterns across the bird cages. Strangely illuminated forms. Walls covered w/ uncountable Chac faces. A rusted hinge sobbing or shrieking as a loose shutter opens or closes in the wind. A record player someone had forgot to switch off. A coarse metallic voice & then, a dull perpetual hiss. An uncertain note wavering in the night. A fragmented aria. The almost imperceptible strains of a cello. A tense cry augmented by the sound of an object falling & breaking on the ground. The muscles in the neck tighten of their own accord. In the courtyard banana trees thrash engorged leaves in the wind. The sound of waves crashing. An interim. An undertow. The clock ticks audibly in the outer room. Patterns of rippled half-light play across the ceiling. The sound of an orchestra played at half-speed. Gradually mounting. Fortissimo. Silence. Someone is over him. Is drawn back suddenly through the open window. A figure tangled in the curtain, back arched, head & arms thrown back. He closes his eyes. Opens them. The curtain hangs limp against the window pane. It has grown darker. The light above has been extinguished. A piece of netting hangs close to his face & a web of dark squares frames or confines vision. The tension moves upwards from the base of the spine. Lungs. Neck. Exhalation. First shot followed by second shot. A facile methodology. A voice counting. Holding in the breath. Exhaling again. Inhaling. As air enters the lungs, the lungs expand in proportion to the amount & pressure of the air. One minute appears to follow another. Follows the one before. The second hand pursuing an otherwise meaningless hypothesis. The mind is blank. Or it’s occupied w/ absent, vacant thoughts. The head is placed underwater. Another minute passes & then another. Is he breathing yet or only imagining that he is? In the place of masks, he’s screaming. Bashing his mouth against the rigid wooden handle of a toilet plunger. They’re reducing him to the sound of dog words & dog phrases. Figures like underwater chess players poised over a distended chess board. Their sodden uniforms lifting in the current like strips of flesh coming away from the bone. What sort of game is being played here? The feared & hated scapegoat. Myself. Himself. He’s holding his breath. The water, dark & warm. Amniotic. Or he couldn’t feel it. Y’re growing numb. Fixated. Withdrawn from all purpose. A figure, lying on the floor, on a plastic sheet. A body surrounded by inscriptions that are not intended to be read. Or their meaning is that we can’t endure what they convey. Something addressed to the species & not to the individual. They’ve passed from human time to geological time. Their extinction is the measure of ours also. Outlines shifting in peripheral vision. The eyes of strangers. Strange men & women. Thrust close & then recede. A dark street broken by headlights. Streetlights. The faint orange light of a cigarette approaching beneath an archway. Neon hyphenating the cobblestones. The wet stairs leading down to the metro. Shop signs reflected in pools of dark water, underfoot. To direct a glance. To anticipate its trajectory. The point at which it alights on its object. Or a hand raised to strike a blow. But what one seeks to foresee in time, the other seeks in space. A counterpart. A translation of the senses. The mouth opens & an image falls out. The head is swimming in an unlit room. The body weighing on it. Anchored at the feet. A precarious anchorage. Collision of two or more solid objects. Set adrift. Swimming again. Smell of disinfectants. Ammonia. Bleach. A lightbulb over a mirror, its glass opaque. Face barely visible in it. The resistance of the tap. Water sputtering into the basin. Blood from the mouth. The air is hot & dry. Or hot & humid. The room is very small. Someone else’s clothes hang on the back of the door. The washbasin stained from urine. He falls asleep. He wakes up. If there’re dreams he can’t remember them. Forms shift in the half-light. Tattoos on arms, torsos, necks. Strange, dislocated bodies. A variegate. A spectacle. A transformation. A ceremony. Statuesque, cataleptic forms of smooth, hairless bodies. Sexless. Tied & spread-eagled. Transpierced. Eyelids sewn back & leering out of sleeplessness. Sutured mouths. Ears. Webbed fingers. Grotesque mannequins animated on the ends of intestinal strings. Mojigangas. Judas figures. Guignolade puppets. Gargoyles. He felt a hand on his shoulder. Someone was standing above him, lips curling in an obscene grin. His entire body went limp. He felt hair being wrenched. A rough hand grabbing at his throat. Punching his groin. He felt ashamed. Aroused. Null. Glass slicing across his hands. The exposed underflesh. Incisions. Everything, blood & corpuscle & flesh, suspended in an instant of time. Frozen. Then all of a sudden it begins to come apart. Symptoms of hallucination. Delirium. Misrecognition of objects. People. Places. Disorientation. As the condition persists, mania develops. Succeeded by depression. Melancholia. “To eat my own flesh.” Like the vulture tearing out the liver. Hyenas gnawing at the bloody femur. The neck & genitals. Insects burrowing down through the eyes. Larvae spilling from the ears. Y’re shivering. He says: I’m cold. He seemed to lose control over his facial musculature. “I was convinced my face had grown stiff. Completely expressionless. Mask-like.” It begins w/ delirium. Memory loss. No longer aware of the days. Weeks. Months. He’s in a different place & time. The other leant over & touched his arm. He turned & looked up. A blank face almost the double of his own. Deadeyed. The bleak striptease of the shadowed screen reflected in each blacked-out orb. Disarticulated tracking shots. Colour saturations bleeding off the lens. Capitalist metaphysics. If they’re going to fuck you anyway, you may as well profit from it. “That isn’t what I meant.” He was smiling. Lying on his back on the damp mattress, a shabby intoxicated body. As one laid out for the embalmers. “You want to be a commodity or a piece of art, hahaha.” The screen flickers. He’s too exhausted to care about adjusting the reception any more. These ghost transmissions only ever point to aversion. Why become inveigled in language any more than he already is? On the table, between the shaving mirror leaning on its stand & the glass of tonic water, there’s a white, circular mark. A stain. The regularity of the figure’s circumference occupies his thoughts. It suggests, by a curious thread of association, a thickened egg white. The albumin separated from the protein-saturated yoke. The face of the wrist watch, set down closer to the edge of the table, is also white. Circular. Just as the glass is circular. The base of the reading lamp. The lampshade itself, a half-conical form completed by an even cylinder. A cylindrical lightswitch & the table, also, circular. The vicious circle. “To dilate the body of my internal night.” El sol negro. The manure in which a secret truth is nourished. Bursting like a flame upon the level, monotonous façades. In their mind-panopticons there’s nothing BUT secrets. Why else do they keep half the nation on the payroll to stool for them? A welfare state for paranoiacs. Listen, if they say X has joined the opposition, it means he’s dead. Of course they were waiting for him, just as he’d been waiting for them. 

Louis Armand is the author of THE COMBINATIONS (Equus, 2016), THE GARDEN (11:11, 2020) & VAMPYR: A CHRONICLE OF REVENGE (Alienist, 2020). He lives in Prague.