reading for january 18th or 25

depending on when we do the presentations night.

here is the poem, with two different intros (!) and at the end, what a friend had to say about it…

Publisher’s Preface

I received the Italian translation of Gherasim Luca’s The Inventor of Love upon which this English translation is based shortly after reading a rather mediocre, prosaic English translation of this poem/manifesto on the internet. Upon reading the Italian version, I discovered that this internet version also left out more than half of the original text. I won’t speculate about reasons, but it leaves out everything in the piece that could be offensive, everything that would be considered “politically incorrect”. This totally undermines the aim of the piece, eradicating its central point. Gherasim Luca was a member of the Rumanian surrealist group. One of the main projects of this group, to which his ideas and activity were central, was to attack and undermine the Oedipal conception of desire and sexuality that dominated in Europe at the time. This poem is an expression of that project. Such a project requires “the return of the repressed” – opening the gates to all the suppressed desire (in this case, specifically sexual) that churns within us. And, of course, repression deforms desire, and it can become quite monstrous. But continually hiding, denying or moralistically condemning it makes it still more monstrous so that we continue to be unable to master it (and I use the term master here quite consciously…). Of course, the specific forms of repression that Luca was confronting in Rumania in the 1940s were different than what we face now. We have gone through a liberalization (not at all a liberation) of sexuality (and other aspects of life) and a backlash against it since his time. One part of that backlash is political correctitude, which parallels the repressive practices of Luca’s time in certain ways, particularly in the attempt to control of language and tastes. This is why I think Luca’s piece remains relevant. Aside from being a convulsively beautiful poem, it offers an unflinching critique of these tendencies through its refusal to soften its language or hide the monstrous aspects of unleashed desire. I think we are in a time when the battle against puritanism in all of its forms is particularly important to any anarchist revolutionary project. Puritanism always demands some sort of authority, some sort of protector of the propriety it seeks to uphold. So an anarchist revolt is not just a revolt against the state, class and other hierarchies and capitalist society. It is also a revolt against every moral order. Thus, it must also be a pitiless frontal assault on political correctitude. In this project, we can plundering from Sade, Blake, Stirner, Nietzsche, Bataille, Luca, Anais Nin, Annie LeBrun, Rikki Ducornet and others who have dared to explore the varied reality of the repressed, often dark and monstrous, sides of desire in order to find tools, weapons and toys for really making our desires our own.

Introduction to the Italian Edition
Everything is unattainable in hateful class society, everything including love, respiration, the dream, the smile, the embrace, everything, except the incandescent reality of becoming. – Gherasim Luca
Salman Locker (who would later take the name of Gherasim Luca) was born in July 1913 in Dudesti-Vaccaresti, the Jewish quarter of Bucharest. Raised in a liberal family and in a country that was a crossroads for various civilizations, he came into contact with many cultures and languages in childhood. Besides Yiddish and Rumanian, he knew French and German, and it is likely that learning several languages so early influenced him in his repudiation of a static identity.
While still an adolescent, he began to collaborate with a few avant-garde magazines in the early 1930s, like Alge, Unu and Punctu. These were publications of frenzied prose, animated by the desire to subvert the academic sphere of literature following in the footsteps of Dada. Luca’s brief texts were accompanied by intentionally childish drawings that bear witness to the same love for scandal. In those years, Rumania was still recovering from the wounds inflicted by the First World War, but at the same time it was slipping under the talons of the Iron Guard, fascist legionnaires under Codreanu’s command.
While nationalist ideology caught on throughout the country, Luca decided to renounce his mother tongue and began to write in French. This was a gesture against all patriotic, religious and linguistic identity. In his eyes, the refusal of any writing subjugated to the authority of the vernacular language was the indispensable premise for struggling against the calcification of meaning, for freeing oneself from stereotypes. For him, as for an entire generation of young poets animated by internationalist utopia, this ideal of freedom and culture had a precise geographic location: Paris. Not the Paris describes in history books, the Paris of battles or Enlightenments, but the cosmopolitan city perpetually hovering between trance and ecstasy as well as the capital of revolution. Surrealism, with its effervescence, with its stubborn search for a way to reconcile dream and action, would seduce Luca and his friends Paul Paun, Gellu Naum, Delfi Trost, Perahim, Virgil Teodorescu. In those difficult years, they would give life to the Rumanian surrealist group that, in the words of Sarane Alexandrian “was the most exuberant, the most adventurous and also the most delirious group of international surrealism”.
Conflict with the nationalist regime was unavoidable. Luca directly attacked one of the historical spokespeople of the Iron Guard’s ultra-nationalism, Nicolae Iorga. He ended up in prison for his action. There he met a printing press worker who convinced him to collaborate with Free Speech, a newspaper edited by socialists and communists. When he was released, he went to Paris as the paper’s correspondent. In the French capital, he found old friends like Victor Brauner and Jacque Hérold, but refused to meet André Breton who he also valued and with whom he was in correspondence. The outbreak of the Second World War forced him to leave France. After traveling through Italy, Luca returned to Rumania in June 1940 along with Gella Naum. This was the same year as the pogrom in Iasi, and the Jewish community fell into a state of terror. Antonescu’s anti-Semitic politics and the constant threat of winding up in a concentration camp interrupted almost all public activity.
Only in 1947, with the proclamation of the Rumanian Democratic Republic was Luca able to make use of a print shop and open a gallery. The Rumanian surrealist group formed again and multiplied its activities, even though it was far from homogenous. Divided on many theoretical points, its members still participated in the International Surrealist Exhibition organized in 1947 at Maeght Gallery in Paris with the collective work Nocturnal Sands (a camera oscura populated by sixteen strange objects that on was supposed to travel through in search of new desires). Meanwhile in Rumania the air was becoming unbreathable again. After the fascists, it was now the task of the stalinists to repress freedom, instituting a harsh censorship. The Rumanian surrealist group was completely prohibited from publishing. Luca tried to escape in the company of Delfi Trost, but they were stopped at the border. The only hope for leaving the country was a visa for Israel, a document that would only arrive in 1952 thanks to the intervention of some French friends. After a few months traveling around Israel, Luca finally reached Paris where he could begin publishing again. These publications were rare and demanding works, authentic “book-objects” realized in collaboration with artists such as Jacque Hérold, Victor Brauner, Max Ernst, Wilfredo Lam, Piotr Kowalski. In fact, Luca – whose drawings and sculptures also come to mind – was no longer satisfied with printed paper; his poetry needed to go beyond the narrow confines of the page.
Following this path, in 1967, he began to read his texts publicly. His words shattered the silence of reading in this way, embodied in his voice. Some of the recitals that he gave throughout the world will never be forgotten due to the evocative force of his phonetic cabala, full of babbling and glossolalia, “in this physical relationship with words where sounds produce ideas”. Despite some false steps, like his visit to Cuba at the invitation of the Castro regime, Luca maintained a certain independence and fidelity to his form of solitary rebellion, refraining from accepting literary awards that were offered to him and refusing to respond to letters he received. Not even clamorous public recognition that was paid to him, from Gilles Deleuze who described him as “the greatest living French poet” to transalpine television that dedicated a program to him, seemed to touch him.
At the age of 81, putting what he had theorized many times into practice and following the example of several other surrealists, Gherasim Luca killed himself. His body was found in the Seine on March 10 1994.
In a letter dated February 9, the day of his disappearance, he made it very clear that he intended to abandon “this world in which poets have no place”.
The Inventor of Love originally appeared in Rumania in 1945, and it is one of the few works that Luca published in his mother tongue. It is one of the texts, written immediately after the war, in which the author affirmed the need to invent new desires and rouse them in all their explosive charge. One of these texts was the First Non-Oedipal Manifesto, now lost, in which Luca demanded the social disappearance of all family behaviors and their perversions. Another is the manifesto, Dialectic of the Dialectic, which he published in France with Delfi Trost. It was addressed explicitly to the international surrealist movement. In it the two authors lashed out against the neutralization of the movement’s subversive tension, denouncing the “artistic deviation” that “risks… making it acceptable to our class enemies”.
To ward of this recuperation by the culture industry, Luca and Trost (who became its psychoanalyst) relaunched the effort by once again posing the old surrealist project of uniting Sade’s contributions to those of Freud to subversive ends. They maintained “the destructive potential of love in the face of all established order” and looked upon “erotic magnetism as our most valuable insurrectional support” because only by freeing love “from its social and individual, psychological and theoretical, religious and sentimental constraints” can we reach the “the unlimited eroticization of the proletariat”, that is “the most precious token that can be found to ensure … a real revolutionary development”. This was only possible starting from a “non-oedipal position”, in other words refusing to be children of this world in love with their parents since “as long as the proletariat keeps the fundamental initial complexes we are fighting within itself, its struggle as well as its victory will be illusory, because the class enemy will remain, hidden in its blood, unknown to it. Oedipal limitations hold the proletariat in a position of symmetrical negation with the bourgeoisie, which manages in this way to instill its repulsive fundamental attitudes in it, in a manner all the more dangerous because it is unrecognized.” The two surrealists announced that they had “posed the problem of the complete liberation of man by also making this liberation depend on the destruction of our initial oedipal condition” precisely in Luca’s work that we are publishing here.
The Inventor of Love is a long monologue full of black humor, a vampiric hymn to the beloved woman. A woman absent in reality, that is not found in any of the feminine stereotypes that are offered to us, but that is invented through sacrilege, through destruction.
This is why in a world in which “everything must be reinvented” – since nothing belongs to us, being the product of the domination of the economy – it is necessary “to be ever more scornful, cruel, irreconcilable”.

The Inventor of Love
From one temple to the other
the black blood of my virtual suicide
flows

in vitriolic silence.

As though I had actually committed suicide

bullets criss-cross my brain
day and night

uprooting the ends of my optical,
acoustic, tactile nerve
– these limits –
and spreading throughout the cranium
an odor of detonated gun powder
clotted blood and chaos.

I carry this suicide’s head
on my shoulders
with a special elegance
and walk from place to place
with an infamous grin
poisoning
the breath of all beings and things
within a range of several kilometers

Seen from the outside
I seem to be someone falling
under machine gun fire

My uncertain stride recalls
that of the condemned man
of field mice
of wounded birds

Like a tightrope walker
hanging on to his umbrella

I cling
to my own imbalance

I know these unknown
routes by heart
I can wander them
with eyes closed

My movements
lack the axiomatic grace
of the fish in water

the vulture or the tiger

they seem haphazard
like something that one is seeing
for the first time

I am forced to invent
a way to move
to breath
to be

in a world that is neither water
nor earth, neither air, nor fire
how can one know ahead of time
whether to swim
or fly, walk or burn

By inventing the fifth element
the sixth
I am forced to revise my tics
my habits, my certainties

because trying to pass from an aquatic life
to a terrestrial life
without changing the determination
of your breathing apparatus
means dying

The fourth (5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th) dimension
the fifth (6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th) element
the third (4th, 5th , 6th , 7th ) sex

I greet my double, my triple.

I observe myself in the mirror
and see a face covered with eyes
mouths, ears,numbers

Under the moon
my body casts a shadow
a dusk
a moat
a quiet lake
a beetroot

I am truly unrecognizable

I kiss a woman on the mouth
without her knowing
whether she was poisoned
locked inside a tower for a thousand years
or whether she fell asleep
with her head on the table

Everything must be reinvented
nothing exists in the world anymore

Not even the things
we cannot do without
those things our existence
seems to depend on

Not even the beloved
this supreme certainty

nor her hair
nor her blood that we spill
so voluptuously
nor the emotion that her cryptic
smile rouses
every afternoon at four o’clock

(four o’clock
this pre-established figure
would be enough to put any further
embraces of hours in doubt)

everyone
absolutely every human initiative
has this limiting
and premeditated characteristic
of the number four

even certain chance encounters
great loves romances
the sudden great crises of consciousness

I see man’s filthy blood
full of appearances, of roles
of ripened love affairs
of fatal complexes
of limitations.

With a disgust I have learned to ignore
I move among these pre-formed faces

infinitely recognized

man and woman
dogs, schools, mountains

mediocre, worn-out
fears and joys

For a few thousand years now
the axiomatic man, Oedipus
has spread
like an obscurantist epidemic

the man with the castration complex
with birth trauma
on whom love affairs
professions
neckties and purses
progress, the arts
and churches are based

I detest this natural son of Oedipus
I hate and refuse his fixed biology

And, if man is this way because he is born
then all that remains to me is to refuse
birth
to refuse every axiom
even if it has the appearance in itself
of a certainty

Endlessly bearing this rudimentary psychology
as a curse
determined by birth
we will never discover
the possibility of coming to the world
outside of the birth trauma

Oedipal humanity deserves its fate

Since I am not yet
freed from the maternal womb
and from its sublime horizons
I seem drunk, drowsy
and always elsewhere

This is why my gestures seem
blocked, my words rambling
my movements much too slow or much to fast
contradictory, monstrous, adorable

This is why throughout the street
nothing, not even the shameful spectacle
of a priest or a statue
irritates me more than encountering
a child

I continue along my path
only because killing it would be a gesture
already done and far too vague

I prefer to remain among the people
as a potential danger
rather than as a murderer
as a provoker of slow agony

From this non-oedipal position
in the face of existence
I observe with baleful black eyes
hear with non-auditory ears
touch with insensible
artificial, invented hands
the thigh of this woman
whose perfume I don’t preserve
nor her bloom – the constant attractions
of her magnificent body – but rather the electric
spark, the shooting stars of her body
lit and spent only once
in the course of eternity
the fluid and the magnetism of that hip
its cosmic radiation, the inner
light and darkness, the surge of blood
that flows through it, its unique position
in space and time
that reveals itself to me under the monstrous
lens of my brain
of my heart and of my inhuman
breath

I am not able to understand
the fascination of life
beyond these unique revelations
in every moment

If the woman we love
isn’t invented before our eyes

if our eyes don’t abandon
the old stereotypes
of the image upon the retina

if they do not allow themselves to go beyond
to astonish, to draw us toward a region
never seen

then all life seems to me like an arbitrary fixation on a moment of our infancy
or of the infancy of humanity

a way of mimicking
someone else’s life

Indeed, life becomes a stage
where we interpret Romeo, Cain, Caesar
and other macabre characters

Inhabited by these corpses
like coffins we travel along
the path that links
birth to death

and it is not surprising
to see images
of life after death arising
from man’s abject mind

this repetition, this habit
this hateful exaltation of the familiar
and of counter-revolution.

I smell my beloved’s hair
and everything is reinvented

Smelling the hair of the beloved
with the subconscious and degrading idea
of then kissing her on the mouth
of passing from the preliminaries to possession from possession to a state of relaxation
and from this to a new state of arousal
summarizes the entire restrictive technique
of the congenital stereotype
that is human existence

If in carrying out this simple act:
smelling the hair of the beloved
one does not risk his very life
does not involve the destiny
of the last atom of his blood
and of the most distant star

if in the fragment of a second
in which we carry out anything
on the body of the beloved
our questions, our disquiet
our most contradictory aspirations
are not resolved in their totality

then love is truly
just what the pigs consider it
a digestive function
for the propagation of the species

For me the eyes of my beloved
are as somber and veiled
as any star
and one needs to measure
the radiation of her gaze
in light-years

It could be said that the relationship of causality between the tides
and the lunar phases
is not so strange
as this exchange of glances (of lightning)
where my destiny
and that of the whole universe
make a date
as if in a cosmic bathroom

When I reach out
for the breast of my beloved
I am not surprised
to see it immediately
covered with flowers

to see night suddenly fall
or to receive a letter sealed
in a thousand envelopes

In these unexplored regions
that the beloved continually
offers us

the beloved, the mirror, the curtain
the chair

With pleasure I darken
the eye that has already seen
the lips that have already kissed
the brain that has already thought
like matches sticks that serve only once

Everything must be reinvented

Before the body of the beloved
covered in scars
only an oedipal thought
has tried to enclose it
in a sado-masochistic formula
only a thought already thought
is content with
a statistician’s label

I find pleasure in certain knives
on which the manufacturer’s trademark
humorously revives
ancient medieval inscriptions

I find pleasure in allowing a knife to wander
over the body of the beloved
on certain overly hot afternoons
when I seem sweetest
harmless and tender

Her body suddenly flinches
as it always does
when she receives me between her lips
like in a tear

As if I were dragging
my hand in the water
while riding in a boat
her skin opens from every side of the knife
causing that dreamlike bloody stroll
to slide into her flesh
that I kiss on the mouth

From here I spot
the satisfied brain of the man
who denounces me to psychology
as a vampire

From here I notice on other afternoons
when my love is a flame
lost in its own darkness
pursued by its own restlessness
while by itself it launches mild and
bewildering snares, questions
and answers simultaneously
long corridors
stairs that go round and round endlessly
bricked up rooms where
I have committed suicide so many times
wild vegetation, a river
from here I see the simplifying
proud and cynical
convolutions
that discover a narcissist in me
and still a narcissist, still a fetishist
a coprophage or necrophile or somnambulist
or sadist, and still a sadist

With a secret and incomparable voluptuousness
that recalls the disguised existence
of the conspirator and the sorcerer
I allow myself to torture the beloved
to torment her flesh and to kill her
without being sadistic

I am sadistic precisely to the extent
to which one can say: he killed her
because he had a knife with him

I have a sadistic psychology with me
it may surprise me
while I violate a woman
but in this act
in which my entire being takes part
not all the possibilities
of my being take part

No single act can have the final word
but in any act
even in the most elementary
I risk my life

I love this peaceful summer evening
in which I watch the sky
from the window

While my eyes are attracted
by a single star
(I don’t know why I fix on it
with such fidelity)
my feverish, subtle, bewildering hands
the true hands of a murderer
peel an apple
as if they were flaying a woman

With my sex fully erect
a cold sweat all over my body
breathing more and more rapidly
I bite into the fruit
continuing to gaze from the window
at the distant star
with a demonic innocence

Without any reason
now I think of two sadists
of vegetation
William Tell and Newton
but if the law of gravity
can be deduced from Newton’s
legendary apple and the acceleration of motion
from Tell’s arrow
then maybe my love can be
described as sadistic
like every mythical
and legendary simplification

I love this invented beloved
this heavenly projection
of my hellish brain
with which I feed my demon

I project endlessly
onto her angelic flesh
convulsions, poisons
rage
but above all my great
my terrible passion for sacrilege

This unlimited passion for sacrilege
keeps all my boundless hatred
for absolutely everything that exists
at the temperature of negation
at the temperature
of the negation of negation
because everything that exists contains
in its subterranean possibilities
a tomb that we must profane
since we ourselves
at this moment
have the corpse-like tendency
to accept ourselves
to make axioms of ourselves

I love this woman who with her veins
so precious
prepares a warm blood bath
for me every afternoon

After this elementary bathing
of my demon
I no longer recognize anything
not even my own blood

*

If love is to lose
the paralyzing character
of the traumatic mother
and her threatening and castrating accomplice
the father

the beloved for whom my shaken
crystallized and devoured being yearns
from an unquenchable thirst for love
can only be a non-born woman

I am not talking about a woman
who is not yet born

one of those perfumed tumors
of the philosophical idealist
that every one of us conserves
in the bottom of his heart
like a nostalgic wound

this ideal, defined, distant woman
that the romantics have made
almost accessible to us
in their lyrical opium den
and that is sought in vain
in the four corners of the earth

this absolute woman is sought in vain
because her reason for being
is to never be encountered

Gradiva or Cinderella
once encountered
cease to be equal
to their perfume
becoming merely two model
wives and mothers

just as the least theoretical error
is a victory for death
this ideal woman who is yearned for
only with the desire of not finding her
or, once she is found, of losing her

with the desire of feeding
the religious and so deplorably
human idea
that love is the fount of sorrow
and vain illusion

this eternal woman of our dreams

that continues to dig out
the chasm between day and night
instead of filling it

making its duality
and the motionless agitation of man
at the bottom of his prison eternal

The coexistence of the banker with the poet
has ceased to be contradictory
and so the idea of deserting to the poet’s side
seemed that much more ambiguous to me

In this world where I am surrounded by
simultaneous, dominating, tyrannical
antinomies that I nourish

the most enlightened poet
seems like an excrescence
at least as purulent as
the greedy banker

the life of day and night
man’s dreaming and waking
irreconcilable
because they are already reconciled
in this perennial promiscuity
in which our endless little desires
our polite subversive ideas
our modest incestuous immoral dreams
our perennial immoral dreams
and the stupid and arrogant obstacles
of the external world
made ridiculously eternal

they quietly bring this smothered
and uselessly wasted life into agreement
with the mocking dream
that replaces it

the dream on which the oedipal man
is definitively based

that tremendous vicious circle
projected on all existence

The non-born woman
who alone has forced out
my boundless rage against man’s perennial
immobility in the great astral revolution

escapes that limiting
and smothering vicious circle
that insists upon the treacherous snare
of man’s maddened biology

a biology that still swings
between normal and abnormal
and whose dialectical solution
can change nothing
in the precariousness of existence

Precisely because I refuse
the precariousness of existence
in all its aspects
I view human liberation
as intimately linked
to the simultaneity of solutions

the leaps of man within
his destiny
will resolve at one time
all the demands of the moment

In this simultaneous correspondence
of our most varied
revolutionary aspirations

among which we necessarily include
the way of combing one’s hair, of kissing
of looking

(no one can persuade me
that after the first murder
the eyes of a woman
who walks down the street
look in the same way)

in the maniacal preoccupation not to leave
any desire waiting
to decide completely
in each moment

to be ever more scornful
cruel, irreconcilable

the guarantee that freedom once attained
will never again be taken away
from us is contained

Omitting the precariousness of man
his rudimentary, reactionary
funereal biology
in the vague and progressive hope
that it will be resolved the next day
knowing well that tomorrow
is slow to arrive
precisely because thanks to good sense
modesty and rationalism
we prohibit every tendency
to surpass ourselves and break through
our limits

And having dared to break through
those oppressing limits
that interfere with total
human liberation
at the moment when my apparent peers
lamentably commit suicide together
for abstract ideas
like beauty, justice and honor
I awaken alone
alone in the middle of a huge graveyard
without knowing whether
in touching these cold corpses
my hand brings them
a miraculous solution
or if it is limited to imitating
the lascivious quiver of the necrophile
but with the hope
with the irrational certainty
that in its decisive multiples
the most favorable of which
are of astral origins
my appearance in the world contains
the disintegration of this world
and that this solitary traveler
who carries a profanatory and furious
melancholy
into the peaceful paths of the graveyard
is a mere lover

A monstrous lover
in love with a monstrous unnatural
inhuman non-born lover
in love with this outsider
to the natal graveyard
from which we derive all the stereotypes of love
all the predetermined gestures whose refined
but modest diversity is not able
to feed the remote hope in the future
of this gloomy species
because the lone birth
makes its repetition, death necessary
because with the lone birth
man prepares his place in the graveyard
and the tomb stone
that he always carries
on his chest
limits the number of his movements

under the tomb stone
that we are accustomed
to carrying on our chests
as a necessity
man’s imprisoned lung suffocated
it repeats itself

this fatal paralytic will fatally love
a single woman in anyone
the woman that all love, the mother
as if he were locked up in a tower for life
with a woman, any one
he will love her fatally
fatally the arts and the ugly
human thing flower
fatally people get married
live together and carry out
a few hundred sensual
and emotional motions
that mark their limits
and even so-called
sexual psychopathology
that introduces a certain variety
into this rigidified world
even this cheery negation
that is sexual madness and vice
doesn’t seem sufficient to me
or rather it is only thanks to this
that I can still look man in the face
with a certain indulgence

these few hundred tics
that make humans resemble
each other like two drops of sweat
contain the germs of their decomposition
in the maternal image
in maternal causality
and little complications
contributed by the other sinister personage
that is the father
only make the landscape of this condemned species
even more monotonous
ruining it further

and I will never cease to ask myself
how one makes himself bear
this fate of galley slaves
and how it is possible
for the numbers of the desperate
of suicides and of murderers
to be so meager

In love with this beloved
only after having refused
the axiomatic condition of existence
accusing the authors of my days
in the same way that I killed the Creator

I take the liberty not to love
an image preformed by the Creator

and to follow the arrival of this beloved
in the world
in the same way that I might watch
in amazement
as a distant planet emerges from the chaos

to witness the attraction
and repulsion
that the different parts
of her always amazing body
bring to bear on one another

the dissociation
the crystallization
the simultaneous cooling
and combustion
of this adored nebula
that is my beloved
in perpetual becoming
in sublime negation
of her perpetually invented being

awakening me each morning
with a new image of love

since in this always invented beloved
all the living fragments
discovered under the biological ruins
of vanished humanity
arrange to meet

fragments of body
of aspirations
of love’s fossils

and not the entire body of woman
in which small virtues are locked up
together in a distressing promiscuity
renewed by small vices
hot and cold
troubles and exaltations
tears and joy

These women, these women’s bodies
that arrange to meet
in my beloved
abandon everything known
their preconceived ideas of love
the things they expected
to find in my room
behind them at the door
like useless rot
discovering (with bated breath
and with the wonder one feels
in seeing a charming, incomparable
stranger in the mirror
where one doesn’t see the time
to recognize oneself
in order to lose oneself again) the fluidity
of their blood in the depths of their being
buried under the dust
of so many centuries of waiting
under the thick, musty layer
of fatal, ancestral custom
of reaching for the maternal womb with nostalgia
when this womb would be accessible
in its daily, current
and total presence

These women’s bodies, these fragments
diamonds, mouths, eyelids
hair and veils
losing a part
of their defined individuality
renouncing the old
fatal formula
of the beloved
who is wanted as beloved
just as she is
even if those things that one loves in her
distance her from herself

in exchange they gain the freedom to escape
from the tragic limits of the initial complexes
that make them seek in me
the same gloomy personage
from the thousand masks
that is the father

These women’s bodies that I have dynamited
fragmented and mutilated
with my monstrous thirst
for a monstrous love
finally have the freedom to seek
and find beyond themselves
the marvelous at the depth of their being

and nothing will make me believe
that love can be anything other
than a fatal entry
into the marvelous
into its lascivious dangers
into its aphrodisiac, chaotic
underground
where the never encountered and the never seen
have the current character
of a continuous surprise

this entry to life and death
in the marvelous
is the key point
of existence for me
the ultimate point of departure from which life
begins to be worth the trouble of living

since this ultimate point of existence
contains in its secret warnings
the overcoming of the human condition
in all its oppressing aspects
the solution to the great oedipal drama
that mauls us, smothers us
that buries us alive
in our own tomb

The five women that come around
in the most unexpected
most singular and absurd
circumstances
my voluptuously amorous desperation
renders this tentacular and radiant
beloved malleable
as she impregnates my existence with her perfume

In certain hours of the day and night
while my peers
with a titanic effort
crawl toward the initial condition
which they are not able to reach

while on the terrestrial surface
the initial scene is mimed with
stereotyped, sublimated
or direct gestures
that are sensual, emotional
cultural, warlike or religious
its incendiary pleasure
has left a burn in the memory
that will never heal

while man pays the consequences
of his partial amnesia with his blood
in my dialectical reality the initial relationship
is reestablished by itself
the relationship of water with fire
of flesh with ectoplasm
of life with death
of love

In certain hours of the day and night
drawn by a phallic divinity
in whom love and magic
meet never again
to separate
unknown women appear in my life
unrecognizable in their own eyes
with a black velvet mask on their face

They carry out the ritual of love
with gestures that could recall
anything
even a death sentence
or a disappearance at the bottom of the sea
or the destruction of a precious papyrus
but in no case the elementary practice
through which man frees himself
with equal ease
in bordellos, in churches
or in his degrading passional dramas

Like mythical figures of love
of a kind that is invented before my eyes
these women carry out gestures
whose immediate or
hidden meaning escapes them
but whose demoniac resonance
fills them with voluptuousness

These women sign the pact
of blood with me

I draw their signature’s blood
out at random
from the dream, from the hip
from the finger, from the temple

Only after I have taken from them
the few drops of blood
with which they give themselves to me
as to a demon
only in the moment
when they no longer belong to themselves
do these women start to find themselves again
and to enchant and bewitch
through their inner murmuring

They unite their destiny
their shadow and their flesh
and by completing each other
one would say that they become
still more charming
with their ragged cloaks
only then
do they have the exalting sensation
of being unique, favored, irreplaceable
something that would never have happened
in those amorous practices
in which a man and a woman
cling to each other
to mutually reflect the void

These women escaped
what appearances
the street and customs
seek to point out
like village idiots

they cause the sumptuous beloved
invented and inventable
to whom I link my life
to endlessly emerge
on the screen of my heart

And I find that the end of this phrase
in which I confess eternal faithfulness
to the beloved
has a unique flavor
at the moment that I pronounce it

because I see from here
the worried expression of my peers
who would like to cast my effigy
in bronze
among the corpses
of their customary trivialities
among the familiar stereotypes
such as Don Juan and Casanova

disappointed by my devoted gazes
that caress a woman
with infinite love
that I will never have the impression
of knowing for too long

disconcerted by this romantic
innocent and childish repetition
of my satanic faithfulness

I am sure
that it would have been more reassuring
for the fine development
of human turpitude
if I had been a savage murderer
or an absurd arsonist
in this case I could have been reduced
to one of their predictable facts

but I will never be pardoned
for the quicksand of my agile gestures
frightening and dizzying like volcanoes
the shifting of the terrain
between one encounter and the next

this vibrant confusion
of fragmented women
barely known or totally unknown
that are attracted to me
with irresistible force
in circumstances
without any equivalent
in the preconceived world of common
or exceptional phenomena
but that sometimes recall
the process of displacement
and condensation
to which dream life is subject

a dress, a light veil
a green eye, a blue eye, a scent
or a slow poison, a fainting
a wound on the hip
of tousled hair
equally vague and distant allusions
equally favorable currents
that make this shadowy head bloom
on the surface of the water
the head of the beloved enshrouded in a nebula
the head of my adored beloved
tentacular, radiant, never born

and whose supreme affirmation
is the immense umbilical cord
through which I suck her heart

<em>Actually since Anti-Oedipus is a tediously written, post-structuralized, neo-marxist interpretation of a piece written by a Romanian surrealist in the mid-1940s called “The Inventor of Love”, I think it is much better to go back to the original (by Gherasim Luca). It is much better written, lacks the egregious neo-marxists concepts (like the “desiring machine”–a concept difficult to understand in Deleuze and Guattari, but quite clear in Negri who was a co-academic with Deleuze from about 1983 until the mid-1990s when he decided to go back to Italy, serve his brief prison-time and go out to formulate his utterly recuperative theory for social movements of the late 1990s-the present) and has concepts of interest (as well as aspects worthy of critique). But a number of folks in the reading group would probably find the fact that Luca wrote it as a long poem inexcusable. Luca and another Romanian surrealist, Trost (I forget his last name, actually seem to have been the first to come up with the idea of “anti-oedipus” (or at leat were the first to express it in writing). They were pretty clear (in a surrealist way), unlike Deleuze and Guattari.</em>

Notes on the State of Exception – Claire Fontaine

1. War happens. We know nothing of war, as they constantly remind us. War – always one and multiple – has been on our plates, since childhood, in what mustn’t go to waste. They resented us for our presumed ignorance of war, as if we were ignoring pain or an illness, or simply as if this forever absent war was now over for good, and it had to be remembered as one remembers a dead family member. Through grief.

2. Well-being. All those born far from war, or after it, know quite well that it isn’t over. They know it as possibility, as a nightmare that might come true. And this knowledge turns disquieting when war explodes in the distance, laying the childhoods, the kitchen smells, the bed sheets of others to waste. The past has dug a grave in the present and is again burying the living there – so they say — but it’s a lie. Because war is really one of the names for our present, and not a tale of days-gone-by. It lives in bodies; it flows through institutions, traverses relationships between strangers and acquaintances, even here, in this moment, for a long while now. And the more we pretend to be innocent and alien to events, the guiltier we know we are. Guilty of not being present where blood is shed, and yet somehow we are there…They used to tell us, “you kids have it all” as if to say “you sons of bitches,” yet who has raised and built this affluence, this inexhaustible source of war? Sometimes we have even suspected that if war is elsewhere, then life must be too.

3.Rest in peace… We know everything about war just like we know everything about prison, without having been there, since they are at the heart of “peace” and “free life,” already implied in them. Just as we know that nobody in our system is innocent, that only power relations exist, and that the losers and not the guilty are the ones being punished. That is why war has become someone else’s dirty job, which we are obliged to ignore. On every street corner they ask us to forget its possibility and its reality, to be surprised by it though never complicit in it. We are thanked in advance for our vigilance. Our choice is between collaborating in the social peace or with the partisans of terror. War is no longer concerned with us, we look at it and it doesn’t look back, it is too close. Its distance from us is not the same as that between a spectator and a football match, where we can still desire victory for one team and defeat for another. It resides in the limbo of things we would like to abolish. So we never have to take sides or believe that words have a weight that can be felt in the body, or that life has a meaning and that this meaning can also lead to its sudden end.

4. …and live in war. If we don’t know what it means to live in war it’s because we don’t know what it means to live in peace. The more we are governed, the more we live in fear and the more we need other people to arm themselves in our place, and that’s how war continues. We do not know past struggles for rights and freedoms of expression as experience (of conflict and victory), but only as a result. We are nothing but the dazed heirs to a fortune that is impossible to spend: an archaeological inheritance that crumbles a bit more day by day, of no usevalue. Those old victories are not even established, but already lost, because we do not know how to fight to defend them whenever they are threatened. Revolutionary becoming is a process that seems to exclude our participation now. It is by forgetting the oppression of control in exchange for the guarantee of protection that we have expelled ourselves from our own history. And so we mistake the struggle for the war, and we allow it to be simultaneously criminalized and delegated to professionals. While the struggle is what looms up from the discrepancy between what governments demand and what the governed can give them. In struggles we seek those who will accompany and support us, whereas we go to war alone and come back alone (since it’s always the others that die).

5. The game of war. Historical avant-gardes and war: a love story and not even a tormented one, an almost smooth-sailing romance, apart from a few expatriations. One could still – before the state of exception – play the exceptional singularity, play the game of war with one’s friends and rivals. But this is no longer the case for us. The war paradigm of rivalries between small groups, the war-matrix of the guerrilla’s imaginative, paramilitary strategies, the surrealists, the situationists, the Mao-dadaists (and the list goes on) lived in a world where words and experience carried on a passionate conversation that could be turned to the extreme, erupt into a scandal or even be interrupted for good. These were toy-wars, wars for snobs. Nowadays we can frame and exhibit these lovely gesticulations and return to the curfew of our already-filmed everyday lives, to surfaces saturated with advertising images, to our socio-economically integrated solitudes. And understand for once and for all that the battleground has changed, that we need to invent much more ambitious derives if only in order to escape the amplified normalcy of our perceptions.

6. Visions of the world. Our consciousness now disarmed, we’ve been comfortably tucked into the nightmare of an illegible, deaf-mute present, in a territory marbled with anxieties. The cells in which the presumed guilty have been locked up and forgotten, the bare rooms with chairs and a desk where tortures result in confessions, these continue to exist, and even though we can’t see them, we perceive them. Their smell, their silence, their white lights populate the invisible, administrative levels of everyday life. They have not disappeared. The eternal night of the television news brings us this intuition along with images of the actual theaters of war. From the police stations, hospitals, motorways, schools, prisons, high-security zones and barracks, to the trucks, trains and planes exporting hatred in the name of war, or what we agree to call war – all these things fill us with fear. Because they contain us and we contain them.

7. Coherences. Sometimes, in the insecure rhythms of our lives, we recognize a line of coherence. It’s the same line that transmits the knowledge of a war we haven’t experienced but whose effects and affects circulate within our bodies. The line that connects the most common gestures of our everyday life here with the disasters that happen elsewhere – an electric line, a paratactic line conveying this link made of a lack of links. Eichmann lined up numbers upon numbers without ever being bothered by the idea that they represented human beings sent to the slaughterhouse. Contemporary art has even made this habit of participating in the disaster without being able to question it into its basic, structural principle. It builds surfaces of coexistence between incompatible elements, it questions what we can’t understand, and nevertheless it contributes – as much as these lines do – to the functioning of the machine. The means to either halt our becoming or to transform our subjectivity don’t seem accessible to us any longer. Somebody else has designed the form of our lives: now we are only free to choose the form of our products and to hope that our private property will protect us from war. Meanwhile, private property is itself the first stage of war.

8. The night where all singularities are whatever. The simple soldier or the armed partisan of a cause are always represented as anonymous, as cannon fodder. Doomed to be pulverized for a nation or an ideal, they are abstract bodies, clockwork lives. The simple citizen, or the free civilian, on the other hand, is the unique individual, different from any other, involved in the specificity of his social relationships, which are supposed to isolate him from his neighbor, to magnify him in his irreducible identity. Nevertheless, we can look all over for this truly human individual without meeting him or her in any region of the working world: over the counter, in the supermarkets and in the offices, we interact with interchangeable and insignificant singularities, all reproducing the same task so as not to be expelled from the productive process.

9. Exceptions. On the other hand. Experience, as impoverished as it is, teaches us that love is not an attachment to a pre-defined subject, that what we love or what links us to the other is their singularity as such, their whatever-singularity. Because love does not have a specific cause or a reason that can be communicated. The more we are governed or integrated into a discipline, the more controlled and isolated we are in our performances and our behaviors. Government sees the masses, but only looks at individuals. A loved singularity is whatever and non-interchangeable, whereas a productive singularity is isolated and individuated, and yet replaceable at a moment’s notice. The productive rules of universal substitution cause our certainty to vacillate. The knowledge that the organs of control possess of our lives makes us all exceptions in the eyes of power. And when we meet the arm of the law, what it does with us will not depend on established conventions, but on the contingency of this particular friction. Our present has become unpredictable, each instant a potentially exceptional moment. This is precisely the new configuration of war, that of Identifying Power versus whateversingularities, which leads some to guerrilla suicide, and others to an anonymous solitude surrounded by objects.

Oh Good, The War – Tiqqun

The Conscious Organ of the Imaginary Party Exercies in Critical Metaphysics

One begins with principles. Just action follows.

When a civilization is ruined, one declares it bankrupt.One does not tidy up in a home falling off a cliff.

Ends are not lacking, nihilism is nothing. Means are cleared in advance, impotence has no excuse. The value of means correspond to their end.

All that is, is good. The world of the qelipoth1,the Spectacle, is bad, through and through. Evil is not a substance, if it were, it would be good. The mysterious effi cacy of evil resolves itself in that it has no being per se, existing rather as nothingness become active.

Evil consists in failing to distinguish the good. Indistinction is its kingdom, indifference its power.

Men do not love evil, they love the good that is in themselves.

In the Tiqqun2, being returns to being, nothingness to nothingness. The fulfillment of Justice is its abolition.

History is not finished, for that, it would require our assent.

A single free man suffi ces to prove that liberty is not dead.

The question isn’t whether or not “to be of one’s time”, but rather to live for or against it. No argument.

Anything which boasts of some temporal innovation declares only its own inferiority to time.

The new, the original, so many alibis for mediocrity. Up until the present, progress has only connoted a particular accumulation of trivialities. The essential has remained in infancy. Men have moralized, but they’ve yet to think. Negligence for which they no longer posses the means. Here, history begins.

The catastrophes of history demonstrate nothing against the good. Revolutionary movements have not suspended “the normal course of things.” To the contrary. It is the normal course that is the suspension of the good. In their linkages, the revolutionary movements constitute the tradition of the good, up until now: the tradition of the vanquished.

This is our possession.

All of history is encapsulated in this, that a great city had been besieged by little kings. The rest remains unassailable.

Before time, absolutely, there is sense.

A clock that sounds nothing. To which, the crown.

We must act as though we were the children of no one. Men are not given to know their true descent. It is the historical constellation which they succeed in grasping. It is good to have a pantheon. All pantheons are not to be found at the end of Rue Soufflot.

Platitudes are the most beautiful things in the world. They necessitate repetition. Truth has always said the same thing, in a thousand manners. At a given moment a platitude has the power to make worlds oscillate. Besides, the universe itself was born of a commonplace.

This world is not adequately described because it isn’t adequately contested, and vice versa. We do not seek out a knowledge of accomplished states, but a creative science. Criticism has nothing to fear, neither the weight of foundations, nor the grace of consequences.

The age is furiously metaphysical, tirelessly striving to forget itself.

By casting off Critical Metaphysics, one embraces it.

Some have put forth that truth does not exist. For this they are punished. They do not conceal themselves from truth, rather, truth conceals itself from them. They bury not that which will bury them.

We have only to groan, there will be no charitable tailor-made revolt. You will have to put everything back together yourselves. This world requires truth, not consolation.

One must critique domination because it is servitude that dominates. That there should be “happy” slaves is not a justifi cation for slavery.

They are born. They wish to live. And they follow out their moribund fate. They even wish a bit of rest, and leave behind children, so as to birth other deaths, other destinies of death.

Here then, the time of larva, they even write little books in which they speak of their geneology. Since there have been men, and men who’ve read Marx, one has known that it’s a question of the commodity, but one has yet to be fi nished, practically, with all that. Those there are who, of other times, have made a profession of its critique, going so far as to propose that the commodity would constitute a second nature, more elegant and more legitimate than the first, to whose authority we ought to bow.

Their metastasis spread to the ends of the earth; one does well to recall that an organism riddled with cancer collapses in little time.

The old alternatives and the erstwhile disputes have been bled dry. We reimpose them.

Reject one side as you reject the other. Love only the rest. It alone will be spared.

Men are responsible for a world which they did not create. This isn’t mysticism, it’s a given. Let the satisfied feign surprise.

Hence, the war.

The enemy does not posses the intelligence of words, it tramples upon them. Words desire to be avenged.

Happiness has never been synonymous with peace. One must wield happiness offensively.

For only too long sensibility has been a passive disposition for the experiencing of pain, it must become the very means of combat. The art of recasting suffering as a force.

Liberty does not accommodate itself to patience. The former is the practice of history in deed. Inversely, “liberations” are merely the opium of naughty slaves. Critique is born of liberty, and gives birth to the latter.

One is more certain to fi nd liberty in the self’s undoing than to fi nd happiness in receiving one.

“Once, a certain society had attempted, through innumerable means, repeated endlessly, to annihilate the most living among its children. These children have survived. They desire the death of this society.”

Pursue liberty, with it you shall have all the rest. He that wishes to keep himself shall loose himself.

As everything whose existence must be proved a priori, life, as it’s accorded by the age, is of little value.

An ancient order survives in appearance. In truth, it only subsists so as to be documented in all its perversity.

One says that there’s no danger as there isn’t any unrest; just as one says that the absence of material disorder at the surface of society implies that the revolution is far from us. But the forces of annihilation gather upon a path very different from that where one had once thought to find them.

Burgeoning imbeciles, wee cads, obtuse realists, understand that there are more things in heaven and earth than you might dream in your inconsequential solipsisms.

This society functions as an incessant appeal to the restriction of one’s mental faculties. Its best elements are completely estranged from it. They rebel against it. This world turns around its margins. It knows nothing of its own decomposition. All that continues to live, lives against this society.

Abandon ship. Not because it’s sinking, but to make it sink.

Those who don’t understand today have already exhausted all their force so as to not have understood yesterday. In his heart of hearts, man is quite familiar with the state of the world.

All things radicalize. Stupidity, like intelligence.

Tiqqun draws out the lines of rupture in the universe of indifference. The element of time reabsorbs itself in sense. The forms take life. The fi gures are incarnated. The world is.

Every new way of being ruins the preceding way of being, and it is only then, on the ruins of the old, that the new begins. It is known as “the pains of birth”, signifying a period of great upheaval. The old way of being in the world will be ruined, things will be altered.

Once, a certain society had attempted, through innumerable means, repeated endlessly, to annihilate the most living among its children. These children have survived. They desire the death of this society. They are without hate. It’s a war that was never declared. We do not declare it either, we simply point it out.

Two camps. Their disagreement turns around the nature of the war. The party of confusion would like there to be but a sole camp. It directs a military peace. The Imaginary Party understands that conflict is the father of all things. It lives dispersed and in exile.

Outside of the war, there is nothing. Its war is an exordium where forces are composed and weapons are found.

Leave it to the century to combat its specters. We do not fight against phantoms. We brush them aside to lure the target.

In a world built upon lies, lying cannot be vanquished by its contrary, but only by a world of truth.

Complacency engenders hatred and resentment, truth assembles friends.

“We,” which is to say us and our friendships.

Intelligence must become a collective affair.

And the rest is silence.

Venice January 15th, 1999

1. Kabbalistic term meaning “husks of the dead”, the condition of a body that has outlived its soul.
2. A concept issuing from Judaism, often used in the kabbalistic and messianic traditions, which indicates all at once reparation, restitution, redemption, and which covers in large part, among others, the Jewish conception of social justice. “The tiqqun is the becoming-real, the becoming-practical of the world; the process wherein everything is revealed as practical.” (Introduction to Civil War)