Sunday, July 29, 2012

Selections from "Body of the Text"

"... The act of masturbation, originally merged with sleep and dream, is progressively distinguished by the need to dispose of the costume the organs involved before going to sleep. Marking in this way a material boundary between consciousness and uncnsciousness. Because all operations had to be carried out as silently as possible, I became more and more skillful in making them coincide with one of the predictable sounds in the dormitory--for example, the rustle wriggling out of the costume with the rustle of the priest's cassock against the curtain during on of his rounds of inspection (since my session always took place before he retired to his alcove for the night)--or with unpredictable sounds (outside, a succession of dogs barking, or a sudden shower) which served as damper or muffler for my breathing, and diverted attention from the heaving of sheet and blanket. Once costume removed, a hand drawing it up along the body weighted with warmth and the latest odors, it was slid under the mattress. As I suffered from somnambulism at the time, I was afraid of falling asleep before hiding it. Or walking in my sleep brandishing it. This fear, too vague to recall, never prevented the daily session. Should this be seen as an early mark of confidence in my unconcscious body. In the power of control (not of self-effacement at that particular epoch) or of guilt feelings, inevitable in the atmosphere of cultural viscerality produced by the practice? Unless, the profound prostitutional drive to which I was prey at the time, prevented my sleeping body from making a bawdy stroll between beds and bodies.

"Tonight. Orgy. / "Tomorrow night. Use the plaster costume." / "Tighten the costume." / "Let the sperm run down my legs" / Tread in it on the tiles" / Eat the sperm." / "Next morning. Examine through a magnifying glass." / "This summer, smear sperm on my mouth." / "Tonight tie the costume round my neck"/ Etc. These resolutions alternating with others about my writing, fictitious lists of records to buy, or some mechanical problem (repairs to the bike, invention and fabrication  of imaginary machines, etc.) Perhaps this system of resolutions can be seen as the beginnings of a dramatisation then taking textual, social, and political form: it also, I think, provided a solid corporeal basis for my writing, still so frail and unrecognised. Finally, it should be said that these resolutions called forth and prepared the longest possible scenario: now, the first orgasm destroyed the imaginary edifice (those that followed immediately served to prolong the text as far as possible and at the same time efface, if possible, by muscular fatigue, both the "despair" of the disguise and the post orgiastic relapse into a saving mysticism), and of this exalted resolution nothing subsisted in my eyes except a ludicrously truncated scenario: but on reflection, what more brutally exciting spectacle could there be than a child masturbating in costume with his left hand, and writing with the other?

Initially, orgasm is followed by a relapse into mystical and liturgical phantasies. This switch, at the very moment of orgasm, from a mentality and a body stretched to the limits of prostitutional desire to a mentality and a body slipping back into the visual, tactile, auditory and olfactory sensations of a society liturgically immaculate, a process so imperceptible in its switch of energy, of forces, crowds, and rituals, that it has always convinced me, not only of the energy of my drives, but also of the drive behind all human and material activity. It is this conviction that, once the costume and notes rolled up, restores me to equilibrium. But even before that, between the first orgasm and the rolling of the cloth, clear-headed moments intervene: after the transport of the first orgasm, because of the switch in my thought process, the costume still girding me seems like a horrifying dereliction by comparison with the immaculate linens of liturgy (lit-orgy); then, at a later date, the costume stuck to my flanks with semen feels like the pestilential cast-off of a decadent west as opposed to linen and objects restored to pristine whiteness after each bomb, each splash of mud or blood by a revolutionary vietnam, as revealed in films by Joris Ivens and others. 

Glimpsed one summer evening returning from a pilgrimage on foot to some "grotestque" cavern of a miraculous virgin, the bitter taste of a drink distributed by the guardian nuns still in our mouths... torso bare, wearing a pair of tight blue linen shorts soaked with sweat between the thighs, seated in front of a house inhabited by slav workers, his legs so wide apart I could see the white edge of underpants that moulded a precociously developed virility, head thrown back, throat pulsing, black curls stuck to his brow with what I imagined was sperm, or fluid belonging to a woman in a full dress and white kerchief leaning, laughing over the ballustrade of a rough wooden balcony above him--a man suddenly looming up behind the boy from a dark passageway, broom in one hand, knife in the other, in pursuit of a rat--rat jumping over the boy's bare neck, splashing him with its blood, veering back to the wall, squealing, trying to scale the coal-blackened stones--and suddenly, the shower that has been threatening, breaks over this suburb hanging along a schist of rock, where families living in cellars and at ground level have to clean up the shit themselves, that pours from burst sewers into their one and only living room.

Among other real or imaginary bodies, women, very sexy of breast, already looked on as "servants of the male body." Wearers of masculine attire removed for "intercourse") more familiar to me at that moment as an ensemble of social postures than an act of penetration). Pushers of orgiastic bodies, mender of prostitutional garments torn during "intercourse." The frequency of this sexual choice should be set against another very definite tendency of my fifteenth or sixteenth year: I remember it, three quarters of my waking thoughts are busy plotting "homosexual" scenarios, while sleep and dream afford me only confrontations, in the nude, with the bodies of very real and bawdy women, quite early in the pieces, both male and female scenarios take a turn toward slavery in antiquity (the latinised or grecian names of bodies constituting by their sole enumeration all the text required to stimulate desire): then the theme changes to prostituional as I learn from radio how sexually charged certain obviously modern names can be. Their hackneyed, common sound evoking a prostitutional "soap opera." I have always considered that he names integral to the french language carry with them the desuet atmosphere of a western civilisation which, at that time, was trying to impose on me the most insipid and superficial of its productions.

The irregular alternation narrative/speech should also be seen in relation with the positioning of organs and costume, or with the degree of the member's erection. For example: pronounced erection accelerates orgasmic urgency, which means the text has to be written in haste; this haste only allows for words to be put on paper, or fragments of words, interjections without syntactic links--only speech, therefore; but gradually, as I got my "tongue" into the writing of french, so to speak, familiarity and ease in handling its rhetoric gave my hand the speed necessary. In case of a pronounced erection, to write a narrative sequence. I played on this exchange: having wedged the erect member into the costume by impressing on it a propulsion that reminded me of a cog-wheel or a screw, I abandoned it, directing my thoughts toward non-sexual zones, my eyes beside the bed, or better still, a page of philosophy or history of philosophy, allowing the member to subside, and writing as much text as possible before it rose again. This I could do several times until the moment came when the member, over-stimulated by repeated manipulation, erection/rejection/re-erection, discharged it's jet before I could summon up all the mental and corporeal tensions that usually presided at he moment of orgasm. On the other hand, the stricture or laxity of the costume moulding the text made it either tough or tender, even comic, if I let the costume hang loose on my loins, the manipulation of the penis inside the uninhibited cloth produced a relaxed text, speech and narrative written without thought of the prostitutional situation; whereas the tight lacing of the cloth on the member, its erection screwed down, or forced to the back, induced a text of narrative and speech with the hard economic facts of prostitution (sale, hire, price of bodies, cost of manipulating these bodies, accountancy of the number of times, etc.) found their expression in the handwriting itself, cramped and more deliberately vertical. 

The manuscript (1962-1969) bears graphic witness not only to the detail and chronological curve of this process of interaction, bu also in its writing, of a progressive convergence between the "decent" (that is to say publishable or published) text with the great sexual swell. From the meeting of these contradictory currents, "decent" text/indecent masturbatory, results the abundance, in this manuscript, of variations, repetitions, overlapping of sequences, nominal confusions, etc. During this period which I remember best, from one night to another, from afternoon to evening (at certain times, the resurgence of desire accelerates. Hence, the exaltation of certain texts, no doubt) I have to interrupt what threatens to become a physiologic danger-pulmonary, cardiac, renal-and bring my body back to what I believe is a cruder, more common reality: desire and its resolution in the orgasm; the style changes, a fragment of rhetoric chosen for it's quasi-banality to fit the "decent" text succeeded by a fragment of speech or narrative textually complex and elliptic in its jargon. It should be noted that the textual and masturbatory session above all one that produces writing-jargon, is prepared "textually" long hours in advance of the session: rhythmicals, modulations, words of this jargon themselves, are invented simultaneiously with work on a "decent" text, which may subsequently entail making certain cuts. Finally, a number of notes from this period, when I was assailed by the difficulties of publishing even "decent" texts, let alone a literary publication of the notes, are unreadable today: stuck and unstuck by successive orgasms, all that emerges through the faded mixture of ink and semen, are fragments of sexual words, insults, apostrophic punctuations, or prices of the sale and hire of bodies, and nominal appellations, principally because when I was writing names and numbers I pressed hardest with the nib." 

Pierre Guyotat

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you