Hotel Palenque /7 — Louis Armand

Already in the afternoon the campfires are visible from across the valley. As we descend, the smell of the burnt maize begins to grow stronger. The sounds of numerous birds & animals. The sky heavy w/ darkening clouds. As we approach the southern excavation site, the vegetation begins to thin out. There are numerous mounds on either side of the path. A broken stairway descends steeply to a small plaza. A trail leading further on, past more rubble, to a row of corrugated iron houses. Unfinished concrete w/ exposed re-enforcement. Rusted steel. Weeds & vines growing from cracked adobe. Cardboard boxes sagging in the humid swamp air. Canned heat. Piles sinking into the ground. A wall of rubbish slowly liquefying. In a doorway, a figure w/ eyes swollen shut from insect bites. From both outstretched hands his blood flows into a basket. A form appears in the narrow partition to the right of the basket. Outlines of the skyband w/ pendant deity heads & two ancestor cartouches can be seen above. Near a large anthill on the terrace, close to the first doorway. Behind the structure there’s a ruined plaza paved w/ limestone. But the building faces away from this space & has no entrance leading onto it. The terrace in front of the building is very narrow. Below it there’s a space used for public ceremonies. The building itself is composed of a single vault, divided by transverse piers. Two attached to the rear wall & two to the side walls of the outer entrances. Only some of the frieze remains, on which are mortises for tenoned sculpture. Red bands over white stucco. Traces of red paint remain on the lintel. We look out over the plaza, at the same time allowing that we arrive at “it” by accident or purpose. A small park w/ rows of benches facing one another across gravel pathways. A pavilion w/ iron latticework. Shoeshine men lining one side of the park, sitting on their footstools reading newspapers. Drivers waiting & talking at a taxi stand. Salvation Army organ-grinders. A clown holding a bunch of balloons on a string. An old woman selling tamales. A package wrapped in filthy wax paper at her feet. A boy catching sluggish flies in the air. Dark hair combed back behind the ears. Lips full, finely cut. Behind him, a broad stairway running the length of an old colonial hotel. At the far end, a comida under an arcade. Tables covered in white tablecloths. A tiled pathway led up to a narrow staircase opening onto a terrace. Next to the upper terrace was a fish pond. A sloping pavement of red gravel. The lower terrace was shaded by ahuehuete trees. Bougainvillaea. Fuchsia. Midday & the awnings around the plaza glimmer in the full glare of the sun. Heat rising off the pavement. Where the market stalls end, the streets are suddenly empty. Away from the plaza, in the shade of a church wall, a curandero w/ a large plastic bag on a table under a canopy of nochebuenas. Wizened grey face. In his mouth, a pipe w/ half a cigar sticking out. Blackened fingers gripping the bowl. W/ his left hand he felt the notes & folded them under his belt. Half crooked grin. He reached into the bag, offered him the bitter, stringy meat. TeonanácatlTeonanacátl. X pushed the black substance into his mouth & chewed. It stank of dampness. The smell of crumbling logs or an old basement. I watched his laryngeal cartilage rise as he swallowed. Afterwards, in a room w/ a door that’s unlocked & opens inwards. Everything’s visible. Nothing that occurs is left to the imagination. Opposite, a pool of green, blue, or colourless liquid. Sometimes reflects sometimes invents. In it a scene is resolving itself. Dissolving. A surface effect in which everything seems to momentarily overlap. One time impressing itself upon another. Places lanced through by unexpected communications. Light raining upon the retina which is the sky of its own reflection. An aperture. The frame scored into the sensitised film. Succumbing to the effect of its anaesthetic. Mildly nauseous. Detached. Staring at a pallid web of sea lilies in the depths, that scarcely trembled from the beat of the surf. Time was active in this creation. It had circled it. Encinctured it. Wreathed it. Space too revealed itself in the fibrous work. The nervure, which stretched & unfolded in the height. In a vast number of filaments. Vast over-arching canopies. The tendrils of vines hanging down from branches to the waterline. The tides stirring the leaves washed out from the estuary. Somewhere in the back of his memory, he had been there before. In that place. Where the river slowly uncurled into the ocean. The broad sandbanks between weathered limestone outcrops. How long ago? Sitting on a rock ledge watching X as he swam out into the stream. Only a moment earlier he had been standing beside him. Slowly unbuttoning a white shirt. Hands parting the loose fabric. His lips moved strangely as he spoke. Words which passed over him. Soundlessly. Raising his arms above his head. Then arching over into the water. Each movement seemed to happen in a dream. A dream that slows the beating of distant waves. An obscuring of time. Arms sweeping through the water. Arms & then hands. Parting the dark folds of the water. For a moment the figures became frozen in time. The sound of distant waves broke over them. And then the two composite halves entwined. Waves meshing into one another. Arching. Breaking. Bodies in seething chaos. As suddenly parted. Swept off by invisible undercurrents. Sluiced down the recapitulation tube to ancient mid-brain projection rooms. Snake-time. Fish-time. Down through giant jungle-palm time. The time of roots & subsoil. Deep strata of geological time. The physical laws no longer acted under the veil of appearance. Matter was inert & vapid. Numbers. Masses. Weights. Abstract qualities which stood out from matter. Reduced to a periodic table. Pyramids describing arcane formulae. Secret knowledge. The armature of numberless possible worlds. Destinies rehearsed in advance of themselves. On the other hand, a fundamental question: Whether the use of substances that so deeply affect the mind does not represent a forbidden transgression? Whether the core of one’s being undergoes alterations? – , 17 January. “To intervene in the mind’s evolution.” I turn the glove inside-out. It’s a new world, which begins to act evolutionarily on the prototypes. Animals. Plants. The atmospheres & surfaces of remote planets. Everything communicates simultaneously. We don’t progress from point to point. We cross a line. It’s already in every aspect of our existence. The common denominator, now here, now there. But if this is an experiment, it has nothing to do w/ any scientific method. There’s no control. No stable points of reference. Only variables. An unstable field of action. In a darkened room, a lone figure hunched over a desk. The desk lamp casts a distended shadow against the ceiling. A sheet of paper lies in front of the figure seated at the desk. On it is written: ¡EN GUARDIA! Un alienista es una persona que lucha con armas no convencionales, usando metodos no convencionales. Tenemos que ser buenos estrategas para compensar el hecho que las defensas del totalitarismo  económico-cultural son de naturaleza asimétrica. Las armas del alienista puden parecer inferiores a las del enemigo, pero desde el punto de vista semántico, tenemos una superioridad indudable. La severa limitación puesta sobre la conformidad, significa que el alienista debe ser imaginativo y creativo. El Alienista debe poseer iniciativa, movilidad, y decisión, así como versatilidad para crear situaciones ventajosas. Nuestro deber es actuar, analizar y planear, o improvisar soluciones a cualquier problema que se presente, para disentir efectivamente. Golpear y reorganizar rápidamente. Es mejor errar que no hacer nada. El alienista debe saber cómo esconderse y mantener su vigilancia. Nunca debe temer al peligro, nunca debe perder su motivación. Enfrentando las mayores dificultades, el alienista permanece en estado de resistencia, estudiando y preparando nuevas tácticas. El trabajo de contra-expropiación se extiende a todos los aspectos de la vida diaria, y permite al Alienista un alcance ilimitado para las actividades subversivas. Pero estas actividades necesitan estar acompañadas de disciplina teorética, para que el Alienista pueda dañar fatalmente, en vez de fortalecer, al sistema de totalitarismo cultural y económico. La cuestión básica es que la preparación técnica del alienista es, sin embargo, saber como manipular y contrarrestar – dañar, imposibilitar y destruir – el lenguaje del poder en su amplio espectro. El arma más efectiva del alienista, es la expropiación de los elementos fundamentales del discurso totalitario, sobre el cual, secretamente, es imposible mantener el auto-control. La explotación radical de la ambivalencia expone el principio de debilidad de cualquier sistema totalitario y de su significación , y tiene la capacidad de reducir los intentos del enemigo contra la insurgencia a una parodia de si mismo. Las tácticas del alienista deben ser siempre ofensivas en su naturaleza: la acción defensiva significa la muerte. El análisis perpetuo sólo impide la acción y le ofrece grandes medios de preparación al enemigo. Similarmente, el combate abierto y el combate decisivo solo mantienen la ventaja del enemigo. El alienista debe mantener el elemento sorpresa; conocer el terreno semántico; tener más movilidad y rapidez que el enemigo; tiene que estar constantemente informado; sembrar confusión; ganar control sobre cualquier situación; mantener un estado no-verificable. Las operaciones siempre tienen un límite temporal que no puede ser extendido sin arriesgar su efectividad. Los recursos superiores del enemigo deben ser contrarrestados al impulsarlos hacia la incertidumbre de los acontecimientos, despojandolos de su iniciativa. En muchos casos, la efectiva subversión de las fuerzas enemigas puede ser lograda por un sólo alienista, paciente, solitario y anónimo operando en absoluto secreto, y a sangre fría. Some of the words have been underlined or scored-through for no apparent reason. A masked face sketched in the margin. At the bottom of the page, a diagram of an incendiary device, each component traced in fine ink-strokes w/ the scrupulous attention of an entomologist. As X reads, his lips move, a faintly insect-like murmur. “The serpent is water demon. Eats dust.” This is the moment they’ve been waiting for, the admission of guilt. In flagrante delicto. The statues in the corners of the room come alive. The temple cops converge upon the infidel. ¡DIABOLO SUB SERPENTIS SPECIE SUASORE! The die is cast. Snake eyes! Somewhere in a far-off distance he felt their presence. Bodies moving. Their slow, tempered breaths. He lifted his eyelids cautiously. A silhouette against the curtains. “What’re you thinking about?” I don’t know what to think, or what I’m thinking. Everything became skin & was touched, even the retina. Strings of glass beads hanging loosely in doorways. They formed into heavy glass curtains. Curtains of lust & danger. The wind stirred them like a garment. They fell down from the belts of the Dancers. Opened & closed themselves w/ the swing of the hips. The chime of the metal bracelets on the ankles & wrists. A clairvoyant, menacing tone. The room smells of sweat. Blood. Tobacco. Ozone. Phantasms in a delirium of camera-angles thrust into close-up. A striking of implements against flesh. Throat. Cheekbone. A mouth opens but no sound emerges. Teeth & lips. Are they the same lips as a moment ago? Between two shots, a whole drama is interpolated. Cut to a random street-view from a grime-smeared window. Above a rows of arches, a sea of roofs. Waves segue into images of vivid blooming flowers. They drift over a pair of enormous slumbering bodies. The waterfront of an old colonial city. Floating in the torpid waves, a ruined stone building w/ limestone columns in green underwater light. A montage of the Palacio de Belles Artes in slow dissolve. In place of it, a wedding cake of ornate, half-petrified meringue. Rotting inside a broken down refrigerator. A swarm of ants transforms it into a microcosm. Panning back to reveal a mountain of landfill. A shanty town. The panorama of México spread out in the distance. A pack of stray dogs scavenging through the rubbish. On a billboard a faded advertisement for bottled mineral water is slowly peeling away. Beneath it, layers of expired images like callused skin. An election slogan. A fragment of an alpine scene. An ancient school bus rattles past on a dirt road. Sunlight cuts through the windows onto the crowded faces. The bus winds slowly down the hillside. Fade to a newspaper stand at a bus terminal. Figures crowding past w/ plastic bags & suitcases. Somebody reaches across & begins flipping the pages of a magazine. A series of unrelated images. Photographs of interior scenes resplendent w/ the kitsch of a pawnshop window. Sweeping staircases. Balustrades. Corridors luminous w/ burnished copper & bevelled glass. Varnished 17th-century oil paintings. Mahogany cabinets, carved & polished, cushioned in velvet. Stuffed birds & glass domes. Vases. Brass ornaments & cut glass. The locations shift. The scenery & the props appear real & tangible. A large antique clock set in a recess, ticking audibly. A long gallery w/ a mural depicting La Noche Triste. At the end of it, glass doors open onto a terrace. Light from chandeliers is reflected in the glass. On the far side of the terrace, large double-doors reveal a parlour w/ a very high ceiling. In the centre of the parlour there stands an amber sphere, supported on a bronze tripod. Suspended inside the sphere are three figures, each more curious than the one before. A naked dancing boy. A hairless dog. The preserved head of Porfirio Díaz. – , 2 February. Disturbed to see covers placed over the bird cages in the courtyard last evening. Explained that he experienced the irrational fear of being blinded. Dark water of the aqueous humour. “Mystical fluid.” Blindness & drowning. I look up & see a hand reaching out of the night. It’s too late. The hand clutches, pushing me under. Whose hand is it? The one I’m drowning (or the one I’m) trying to save? Their voices whisper of the agonistic principle, whose inner tension & fragmentations it was impossible to dissolve by means of a simple opposition. The chain is joined that ties the thousands of past generations to the thousands of generations to come. The origin & the fall. Instruments of an unendurable punishment. The bodily incarceration. And here, at the far end of the museum, a baroque alcove w/ a narrow, arched ceiling. On a shelf against the wall, the cross-section of a human brain suspended in a jar. The yellowgrey tumorous outgrowth. What’s being documented here? Suspended animation expanding the scale of present time to the scale of dead time. Having emerged long ago from primeval miasma. Fought. Dominated. For this it needed weapons. Leverage. Blood money. ¡PALMA NON SINE PULVERE! (Irony, which is the last stage before extinction.) Bodily death. The numerous, conflicting symptoms of the “human condition.” Corruption of flesh. Crucifixion. Matter clarified through isolation. First by taking pieces out of it. Dividing it. Reducing it to the magic formula, hung like a promise of disaster over the world. The tree of man. – , 14 January. A note on the previous evening’s “séance.” Afterwards, sitting alone at an identical table. The terrace seemed deserted. The waiters also had disappeared. “Half an hour passed in silence. Then came the first signs. The cutlery on the table began to flare up & sent out flashes.” It was time to leave the restaurant. Outside the streets were being swept. The brush strokes invaded the silence painfully. A flashing orange light. Brushing & scraping. The pounding of the engines. Rumbling & hammering. Mysterium tremendum. Fear & trembling before god? “God who communicates w/ man only in order to put him on trial.” To “make his punishment known to him.” Was he himself on trial? Perhaps he imagines above him the weight of a pyramidal silence. Its black, pitiless eye. The submission of the weaker to the stronger. “A father has a right to kill his child. But children are forbidden to kill their fathers.” The words “jealous,” “murderous,” “vengeful,” “insolent,” “deceitful,” “fearful.” A street corner. Under a lamppost, a figure in a dark shawl. There’s no-one. The figure moves off. Turns a corner. Passes through a door. A box covered by a piece of dark cloth. An old coat slung against the base of the lamppost. He sees himself approaching, looking into an empty space. He is that space. The time which unfolds in his mind is the time of that emptiness. Gradually this thought takes over him, encloses him in its inertia. But this separation of mind & body can’t be reduced to a philosophical abstraction. It’s a physical state, brought into being under duress. He mimes the vacancy of the other, the one who no longer recognises himself in his own image. There are no longer thoughts & actions. He has become incapable of reaching them. The body empties itself of the world & each thing is made to disappear. He goes numb, blank. Not because of any external cause, but from some internal compulsion. Only to find himself so close to the things he’s not, that he’s almost within them. Their very density seems to suffocate the possibility of life. Between awareness & inertia. He must stop, for as long as it takes to unmemorise himself. Approach truth. And yet there’s no truth which, passing through awareness, doesn’t lie. There was a weariness in his expression. Particles of dust hung in the air. Sifting down from the ceiling. Rising in clouds from the floor. Taste of dust. Dust entering the lungs like the stale scent of old, disgusting memories. I feel his hand grasping my wrist. An old man’s hand, but strong. Fired clay. Hardened, like obsidian. The almost human figurines that take our place in the world. Wading through the tunnels of this long night. The metal screech of subway cars. The braking & coupling. Freight wagons. Signal crossings. A riverbed, grey w/ chemical waste. Sewage. A cracked membrane. Dead skin. A toxic slough of discarded matter. Language, used up, a dark viscous flow. Wading through it. Further & further. If only to reach a border of refuge. Isla del Purgatorio. The black sun on its subterranean course. We mount the steep slope of the bank. The unrelenting grip of that hand, dragging upwards. Through the mesh of thorn bushes. Rusted scaffolds. Tunnels of corrugated iron & cardboard. Ur-slabs of broken concrete. Paths littered w/ potsherds. Piles of cracked stone pediments. Vines hung w/ plastic bags. Newspapers. Bottles. Stele w/ serpent heads, gathered from the jungle. Dark figures surfacing at the margins. Among the vines. Tree trunks. Green grey boulders. The hand gripping ever harder. Red eyes in a tangle of web. A canopy of rotting, organic matter. How many points along the way had they arrived at before? Only to succumb. To wake where they had begun. Their thoughts & memories annihilated. A black wall, covered w/ indecipherable inscriptions. Perhaps, in those crouched, distended figures, they themselves were signs. Each night deciphering the one before. Accumulating. But they were signs w/out any meaning. Unless their meaning was what we accomplish in imagining them. Writing them out. The words were still there on the other side of that wall, waiting to menace him. Whose words were they? Luring him on, drawing him towards them. He wants to stop. He doesn’t. The path is interminable. A path that isn’t a path. A destination which isn’t a destination. It exists in order to disprove him. To place him in question. To find an end to him. Perhaps, at the limit of what I am, the world will disappear. Here, where the world escapes all witness. Nowhere. As if this were a beginning. The very first time. To be seen. Here, for example. But the eye has never been enough. Emptiness & immobility. It imposes itself. Even in darkness. In the pitch of night. Invisibility. There’s not nothing. Even where everything has disappeared. And it will go on. At least for as long as it takes to kill him. The body traces a movement it has traced countless times before. Rehearsing itself. Or there’s this distance to be crossed. A different space that opens before the eye. In the place where memory inhabits him. – , 26 February. An old, dilapidated building. A command post, left over from the civil war. The room had nothing but a cardboard mattress & a lousy blanket. Smell of animal & human faeces. A cracked washbasin w/ no water. A circle of flies turned slowly above the dirt floor. Behind the first room, a tiny concrete cell. The bars rusted away from the iron pins in the doorway. No window. Outside the road dropped away at its edge. Needle cactus like tensile hairs raised on the neck. Red earth. Light gleaming on shards of exposed ironstone. Scrubgrass. Mesquite. Yuca. A wrecked outhouse half-suspended from the hillside. Lines of exposed concrete reinforcing. A brown, rust stained wall covered w/ outdated slogans. Para el bienestar de tu familia. Coming slowly up the hillside, a group of campesinos. Each one is carrying a small bundle. Some carry musical instruments. A flatbed truck follows behind. The back of the truck is strewn w/ roses. Standing atop a tiered pedestal, a child in a green robe covering a pink dress. Hands folded in prayer. Head tilted forwards. Solemn eyes gazing upon the figure of a boy dressed in a white shirt. Trousers. Peasant sandals. He too was frozen in position. Kneeling on one knee w/ his sombrero placed to the side. In the distance, the blue outline of the sierras. A jagged line where the sky & the earth seemed to have come together in a violent collision. Two bodies, one penetrating the other, penetrated in turn. “The desire for reversal. For destruction of the entire established order.” Revolution for its own sake. There are no laws in nature. The absurdity revolted him. Turning his back on the unreal procession, he began to walk away from the road. Following a dry riverbed, winding upwards to The Mountain. Soon a constant pain in the muscles of his arms & thighs. Sweat between his shoulder blades. Stubble & parched lips. A tongue lulling against the back & roof of the mouth. The riverbed, grey & cracked. The skeletons of trees, burning. A lancinating pain. Needle cactus piercing the sky like hypodermics, each one a metallic eye glinting in the omnipresent sun. Something’s urging him on. The sun at his back. His shadow before him. Driven by a shapeless animosity. The knowledge of that other. The adversary of life which seemed to invade everything & parch it dry. The same impression dragged out. As though time itself had staggered to a halt. Was again retracing its steps like Sisyphus. Towards a scene of compulsive violence. A gorge opening like a brutalised mouth. As if some god had taken hold of a sledgehammer & bashed it in. And as he climbed further, the causeway narrowed to an escarpment of serrated granite. Lungs heaving the dry air. Stripped raw. Heat leaching the last moisture from the eyes. Nose. Mouth. – , 7 October. Dreamt again of the mountain. We are approaching it from a distance. The summit’s almost visible. As we ascend, we pass a figure chained to a pole. A cripple kneeling on ulcerated stumps. A wooden crucifix several metres high. The flayed skin of a mule. García Lorca’s corpse exhibiting its bullet wounds like clotted anuses. As if these apparitions were meant to symbolise the unavailing division of inner & outer, hung w/ shadows. The affliction of light slowed to a mineral scale. “To the eye, the smallest parts of movements are not movements but static.” Below the summit the air suddenly becomes too thin to breathe. It’s cold although the sun is burning. Smoke trails in the sky. A tremor causes the ground to fissure in several places. Through the cracks it’s possible to see the steps of a great pyramid. Excavating through the volcano’s mouth. We are descending now through an underworld of frozen strata. Time brought to a standstill. The molten floes of creation & uncreation. Pyramids of obsidian. Black spheres piled atop one another. “Each one represents a possible world.” And the blow of the archaeologist’s hammer which will return everything to the chaos from which it was born. Once again, it’s only a dream. Standing in the midst of those ruins. What took place here? Before the cities & temples were abandoned? Left to the jungle? The air fills w/ night birds & insects. A storm gathering above the mountain. The secret inner rage has its mirror but does not resemble what’s reflected there. A stone falling & cracking open. An echo within the ruined structure, dispersing & returning, before the sound too is absorbed into the forest. But nothing’s moving beneath the unexcavated mounds. Except the worms. The larvae. The ants. The nocturnal scorpions. The burrowing rats. “Y’re shivering.” The other gripping his arm. If one night’s ending, it’s so another may begin. Repeating the words & meanings of their dead progenitors. Some unavoidable & repulsive incarnation. The other had indeed to be there already, so near. He had to be waiting. Indivisible from the world. Long before us, it had already begun. Under the earth. In the darkness of the seed we are still learning to become. A rumour grown out of what has been effaced. To become the fathers of our fathers. “Go to the dead & love them.” (When will the dream end? A voice. A menacing, oppressive sound. Silesius: THE EYE BY WHICH I PERCEIVE GOD ISN’T THE SAME EYE BY WHICH HE PERCEIVES ME. I’m nothing. Perceive nothing. The negative wisdom of the blind. YOU CAN’T SHOW TO SOMEONE WHAT HE HASN’T SEEN. Standing in the shadow of a doorway, hands black w/ scabs clutching a plastic bouquet. GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO. The obstinate resolve in the obscurity of god’s mind. NECESSITY’S BLIND ONLY INSOFAR AS IT’S NOT UNDERSTOOD. Its sublime destitution: to create & to uncreate. As though god, attesting that he is, attests who & what he isn’t. Even the divine spectacle must have its end, exhausted by itself. Lord have mercy. That they’ll remember us. In this place. Now put out the light.) – , 3 February. “They’ve forgotten their gods & prefer their bad imitators.” A figure holding a bloodletting bowl, a bearded serpent from whose mouth emerges a human head. Ancient rumours of the present time. The silhouettes of several men, each identical to the others. Like the stereography of Le Plongeon. 1875. Each pair of images separated by a barely distinguishable gap in verisimilitude. The optical mechanism. Superimposing one upon the other. Illusion of volume. Depth of field. Space itself takes form. A virtuality. An architecture of failed correspondences, stretching all the way back to the horizon point. Like parallel lines always seeming about to converge. In the first set of images, an archaeological party standing among overgrown ruins. A single stele rises from the low vegetation. The figures are out of focus. Three Europeans among a group of Itzá people. The location not identified. In the second set of images, a similar group is standing in front of the central doorway of a temple. The façade stands out in bass relief. In the right hand margin a series of annotations have been added in non-descript handwriting. – , 26 January. The first lintel was lying unbroken, w/ the sculpted side facing downwards. The second lintel was also lying w/ the sculpted side facing downwards. It was broken cleanly in two pieces, one larger than the other. Beside it a large pile of rocks. Broken stele, lintels, statuettes. The only fragment upon which any detail can be discerned shows the lower portion of a single, frontal figure. The figure stands w/ feet pointed in opposite directions & wears heel-guard sandals w/ elaborate tassels. A loin cloth, decorated w/ a large circular medallion. Matting. Serpent snouts. Human profiles. Their sculptural ornamentation is in a constant metamorphosis. A continuous flux of geometrical motifs. Between a grating of small beams & tendrils appear similar caricatures. Idols. Masks. Childish drawings. The terrace itself is a long, low platform, w/out a visible substructure. To one side of the masonry terracing large fragments of other stele are still visible. Their relief is very difficult to read. Older descriptions show a figure standing in profile, wearing a human head. Hands extended & liquid flowing from them down towards a kneeling figure, whose torso is frontal & whose head is also in profile. A human figure robbed of breath & speech. The turn of breath, the turn at the end of inspiration. The figure groans in the humid air. A mouth sealed in stone for hundreds of years. At some point life ceases. There are no explanations.

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.