Mausoleum of Lovers
T. and Z., who have gone on tour, don’t send news (it has been a week or more since they last called). I can tell myself that T. is for me “the most cherished person in the world”: he isn’t here, and yet I continue to live, his absence is not unbearable, he could not exist, I would still be alive.
On the other side of this window, I feel as though I am being observed, and I defect. I could easily close the blind, but I will crouch in the bathroom. I decide to watch myself without ever turning my gaze toward the observer, from the outside so as to have his impression: but it is precisely a gesture which, as I accomplish it, seems very foreign: I unseal an envelope, I pull a white page from it that I set about reading, then I put it back in another envelope, that I then seal. What meaning could such a gesture hold for the observer? Other than a gesture without usefulness, premeditated with the sole purpose of misleading him.
Each injection is nonetheless an attack against the body, even if it doesn’t hurt: I am afraid that as the liquid cambers the skin it will split the flesh, and that, contrite, it will reject the liquid it must accept, that it will turn blue, stagnate, that it will no longer be able to assimilate it, and that it will remain like a wound, a bruise, forever: after this scar on my forehead, I imagine that I am fabricating my dead body (my trafficked body: death, pending).
Evening just the same. I would like for a hot body to crush me gently and push into my ass, penetrate me slowly, lick my neck, and only detach from me after having come with barely a groan, and fall asleep: T.
(I dream of myself as a persecuted hero that a jury of gangsters and cops, powerful men, judge to put me to death, until the last moment I know I can get out, they have guns in their sleeves, to break me they forced me to beat my mother, I want to stun them with the overturned table but it goes limp against their heads (at the beginning of the dream I saw a barely lifted airplane crash, sever in two and catch fire, then I saw the surviving children), I fly away through a window to escape them, I say to them: “Idiots, I am God.” I realize that I can only be God if I have thus come to do justice on Earth, denounce corruption, and fly away. They will fire at me, I turn back to look at them, minuscule with their guns pointed. I think: they are sharpshooters, they’ll have me yet. Some time will pass between the sound and the report, and the moment at which the bullet reaches me. I wake very affected by the dream.)
Idea for a letter to T.: imagine that your silence is burying you in my heart: memory of defunct affection, and I don’t know if my sadness comes from there, or elsewhere.
(Good sign that this notebook is very quickly crossed out, that the writing isn’t applied).
Insomnia, despair: all those purchased syringes, distributed beneath paper bags, injecting air bubbles into one’s blood.
I catch everything I read: I read an article on syphilis and am immediately convinced I have it, I recognize the symptoms when I have not slept with anyone. I cling to the last gaze (in desire), the last encounter.
I finally have that mannequin, B.F. delivered it last night, and right away I couldn’t stand it. I turned it in every direction, I moved it around, I observed it for a long time, I moved the wooden arms and fingers, hooked, skinny, phalanx by phalanx, finally I removed the head (which is neat, a bit irritating, the head of a stilted and pretentious little pupil, with spiked, crimped hair) and I put it elsewhere on a shelf, punished, its face to the wall. Now with one hand it gropes its chiseled, cylindrical neck of narrow wood, on which the passage of the blade is still visible, as if to verify the disappearance of the head, and with the other, whose stiff arm is poorly articulated, it caresses its stomach, or hides its chest. Its torso is completely black, with black fabric glued to the skin, frayed at the wrists. The legs have been repainted, the white socks slouch a bit over small lace-up shoes. I will have to get used to its presence, otherwise I will get rid of it.
It’s a real wool cast-off, full of holes, with torn stitches, which serves as a girdle for the balls, with the prick threaded through the successive holes, a hot package that fits snugly, scrapes nicely, has good weight, is cum-stained, and yellow from shit one time because the finger cast in the angora entered the ass, then tossed to the back of a closet, after each manipulation, in its small, rustling, paper bag.
Saturday night around 9 p.m. the doorbell rang at M.F.’s, he was alone. He thought it was me, or T., a ‘familiar’. Two boys entered, their faces hidden, pushing him inside they slapped him, knocking off his glasses, with a blow they opened his nose, he fell to the ground, they pummeled him with kicks, he lost consciousness. They didn’t ransack the apartment, they didn’t pull out the telephone cord. When they left, he got up, blood pissing abundantly from his nostrils. Several days earlier someone had told him the story of a man who had died within eight days of a cerebral hemorrhage provoked by an emotion, a disagreement with his wife. Seeing the blood run abundantly like this from his nostrils, he thinks: “I, too, am having a brain hemorrhage, I’m going to die in the night.” He doesn’t think to call someone, not the police, not a friend, no one. He cleans up, puts everything away: he wipes the blood stains from the floor, he puts the books back into piles, he changes his shirt, and he goes to bed. He didn’t leave a note, nothing. In the morning, he wakes up with black crusts on his nose and skull, a bump on his cheek, astonished to be alive.
Gray afternoon: desire to jerk off, to pull on my cock, to slam the hammer. Desire to be jerked off. Desire to have a cock in my hand. I hesitate over whether to go to the Brady, or some such theatre, I know it’s a waste of time, a waste of energy (transit, the métro all the way to Strasbourg-St-Denis, etc.) and I’d rather satisfy myself, and then read. And I don’t regret it: as it happens, T., whom I have just filtered through other unknown, ungraspable figures and postures, calls me on the phone: “Will you come to Metz to sleep with me?”
So many solitary habits, that on the night on which I invited four people over for dinner (which only happens roughly once every two years), I am anxious for just one thing: barely have they arrived, I want them to leave, and as soon as they have left, I rush to close my blinds, I put the table back in place, I immediately throw out all the food, I fall asleep discontented. The next day, M., one of the guests, says to me on the phone: “You were truly pathetic.”
That Pierre F. (already writing his name, as though to cast a spell on him: the certainty that one day I will have him in my arms) opens his mouth and pours out of a small paper wrapper a strawberry flavored red synthetic powder (forbidden powder, he tells me) and I extend a hand, to suck from my palm the same crystals that immediately give the impression of having a wad of cotton in the mouth, and rustle at the back of the throat: the attraction of the kiss (like a kiss this simultaneity of taste and sensation). Finally the unexpressed impression of desire.
Fatigue of the head, which it should be possible to clean: walking alone in Paris almost amounts to that. No money to leave, work.
Last night, after having walked, in effect, at length and alone, through eventual cruising grounds, but without really stopping, an idea forms in my head, the idea that the sting of love (which comes of the need: “What am I missing?”), the story then develops almost on its own, mathematically from the clause root, which is this lack, and I go home to write it. I have the impression that I am setting about writing, also, in rebellion against my condition (journalist, hack).
The point of the injection (to prevent the hair from falling) is foremost to deliver oneself from the anguish of hair loss, an anguish which must certainly accelerate that loss. Now I don’t think of it anymore: it is now of the realm of an inexorability that escapes me, I leave it to the needle, it abolishes the anguish by taking it on. Thus is another obsession created: that of the needle, the syringe, the hole pierced in the skin, the blood that must stain the pieces of cotton.
Rilke’s unpleasant voice (the sermonizing of Letters to a Young Poet that I bought to read the same thing as T., at the same time).
B.F. while listening to my voice on the telephone recalls a dream in which I appeared to him, in the distance, alone on a boulevard (he only indicates the shot: low-angle), with an alarmed look in my eyes.
One by one I began to rip off in chips the made-up skin of the little mannequin, and this gives him leprosy by leaving the exposed white wax on his cheeks, it gives him a more bearable albino face.
Thus my mother whom I just saw, and whose face I also found more bearable, who is moving toward a relaxed old age, no longer tense. Downright disfigurement.
Tonight I had to dine alone with my parents, without too much of the pretense of silence, or only listening to their conversations, without resting on the presence of my aunts, because Louise was bedridden with the flu, coughing in the next room, and Suzanne, in the lower apartment, paralyzed in her bed (the doctor came yesterday to do an instillation in her knee, which was horribly painful, tonight the impression of burning acid woke her and she cried out to Louise, who couldn’t hear her upstairs: “You see, I didn’t want that needle, it injected poison into my bones!”, and while taking her bath this morning she dislocated her knee again, and can no longer set her foot on the ground, she is apprehensive of the night, in case she has to urinate, she has refused to drink at dinner because of it.) My relations with my parents have been reduced to expressions of attention, fear, reciprocal worry. I am extremely cold with them, they don’t dare ask me any questions. But I think: just letting them see me, and still alive, is the greatest gift–the only one–that I can grant them. My father, without discontinuing, back-lit in the darkness of the kitchen, speaks to me in figures of his new job in Arras, his big office, his thirty-five employees, his three secretaries, his two company cars, his offset photocopy machines, the slaughter of animals suffering from aphthous fever, brucellosis or tuberculosis, slaughtered on the spot, buried in lime, and carted with bulldozers, speaks of the billion he has to manage to deliver compensation to the farmers, I am touched when he speaks to me of trifles, in the middle of this organization which seems to dismay as much as it reassures him, of a ray of sunlight that filters through the blinds in his office, every day at the same time, and which comes to touch his face. I am astonished, as he leaves me, that he doesn’t slide a hundred-franc bill in my hand with an apology.
I offer to carry Suzanne in my arms up to the third floor so that she can eat with us, normally, in the kitchen, but my father is opposed, and almost gets angry: “I could catch a hernia, I could drop her”, but I protest: “She only weighs fifty-three kilos, I can easily lift Z., who weighs more than a hundred.”
And at night, alone, at the bus stop, before the obviousness of the death (of these two women), the thought of crying comes to mind (without pleasure): I am helpless.
Dream of a car accident at the side of the road: the three passengers, all three of them dead, but without mutilation, without even the trace of blood, are three nuns whose torsos emerge absolutely intact through the broken windows of the little car (a deux chevaux: it’s a realistic dream, because nuns always travel in deux chevaux), and it is customary, in the dream, when people die in a car accident, to blindfold their entire faces, there, beneath their veils. And it is customary yet again for the people herded around the car to ward off a curse, or to bring themselves good fortune, like those who touch a sailor’s pompom or a hunchback’s hump, to pass their hands through the broken windows, these hands are extraordinarily long and emaciated, all bones, already the hands of death, and wag their fingers at length, tapping aquatically (image of an aquarium).
To fight against the general noise of the neighbors, and the distraction it incites, I produce a greater noise (Rigoletto plus the hammering of the typewriter).
Sunday afternoon: work, then music (Supertramp). T. is leaving late with C., for fifteen days, he didn’t even come by to see me (I haven’t seen him in a month) and on the phone I didn’t reproach him for it. I don’t know if I should be sad, give myself over to moroseness. I dance alone in front of a mirror, I want to find myself happy. I vamp, I smile at myself and the smile suits me: I should perhaps be an insouciant boy.
Easter eve: my father sends me an envelope with two-hundred francs to “buy myself a little something”: I can’t help but think, perfidiously, that this money given by my father will serve to buy me a body (what I am lacking: kissing a skin), a sex (penis).
Suzanne on the telephone says that she is afraid of breathing, because, she says, old women give off an odor: she cannot walk anymore, so the possibility of gestures and movement is diminished, and it takes her longer to enumerate them, she repeats them, and details them one at a time: effect of shrinkage around her (words that account for gestures that are more and more slight, but which are inversely amplified).
Dinner with my mother. I didn’t go to meet her at the train. I brought her a button to sew. She had cotton in her ears. As she was leaving, she said: “You know that I love you very much.” Over the meal she told me that she slept in the afternoon, when she was bored, so as not to suffer, and she imitated the gesture of curling up to show how she slept, several times she repeated the same words which rang strangely (too big, suddenly shocking in the clutter of the conversation, ‘refuge’, ‘forgetting’, regarding sleep). Me, I declared that this morning J.S.’s wife, who works at the paper, threw herself under a subway train, and I couldn’t help but think that she was my mother’s age.
These two days of Easter, when I was alone (T. in Rome, Z. in Venice, Y. cloistered without a telephone) and when the weather was so beautiful, suddenly so mild, in the end, were quite pleasant: these “closest” friends were not there, but I found myself free of their absence. I walked, I wandered, I saw friends of an “inferior” level of friendship (which is to say more serene, more ephemeral, less passional and dramatic): M., B., I smoked up, in the car I pressed my thigh against X’s and I didn’t unharden for the whole trip (and the erection, once again, was a properly “fantastic” state), at the club I became very moved at the sight of that boy with his boyfriend, sitting face to face and each tapping his hand on the thigh of the other as on a drum, and in time with the music (sudden, in duration, in isolation, much more erotic, the gesture of those two boys, than everything that could take place that was obviously sexual in the club). I said to M., and this made him laugh a lot: “Finally I am free, in other words, used to, and quite happy about T.’s absence. When I see him, I want only to die in his arms. I don’t really think he’s seen me happy.”
Impromptu return of T.: He speaks to me on the telephone, it’s his voice, he is in Paris, I wasn’t expecting him, I wasn’t expecting to see him again so soon, I am surprised, almost mute, he reproaches me for my indifference.
Meeting: I decide not to coat anything, no rancor, no accumulation during this encounter, not to imagine him, to be completely level: I tell myself “I will not lie, I will be neither too joyful nor too disagreeable”, I will see how I will be (reduce oneself to the degree zero of emotion, after one’s premature inhumation, and let it resurface on its own, or exhaust itself, but I don’t think it will exhaust itself so soon). I’m early, he enters the café wearing that green jacket he brought back from Italy. His beauty pulverizes my soliloquy.
(We had lunch together, we walked a bit in the Tuileries, we stopped by the Louvre but the line at the cashier was too long, we went to play pinball at Tabac des Sports, finally we went to my place.) The most beautiful, the most unforgettable moment, when we had just laid down side by side, in profile, each turned toward the other, our faces so close, and when we look at one another, when we meet again, a smile, limitless, covering the face, then the first kiss, feeling his lips, his mouth, the inside of his mouth……..)
Writing to T. (regarding others…): “I know what excites you, a certain spread (taut half-circle) of the legs and the thighs in close-fitting jeans, a round well-muscled buttock, a package of sex at the front, overflowing, before which you may kneel…”
Seeing T. again: becoming a boy again, a body, a heart.
(I like the way T. holds me, after having come behind me, standing, seizing me by the waist, arms crossed over my chest, and trembling, marking a pause. I like for him to moan when he comes, he rarely moans with me.)
I know that these are all notes, ordinarily amorous, without pretensions, like letters I would leave him, so that he can come read them: and this banality does not displease me (to love like everyone).
(Nothing to note: the trip to Nantes, the purchase of perfume, a desire for inertia upon returning, the unpleasant taste of money and mercury mixed in my mouth (fillings).
Getting back to work on La mesquinerie, and stopping almost immediately: I tell myself that this project is stricken with a curse. I have only typed one page, and I’m still not happy with it. And what if this text disturbed me so much that I did not want to ‘tidy’ it up? What if I carried out, upon myself, a sort of censorship, which is erasure. Truly, there’s no way out.
Nth telephone call from François P., who irritates me considerably: he says he loves me, and that he’ll never call me again, because he is going to kill himself tomorrow, I don’t even want to believe him or not to believe him, I remain indifferent, barely irritated: let him do as he will, I don’t know him.