The film was over. We had been sitting through an endless barrage of brief moments
of torture, rape, mutilation, masturbation. A few corpses. The director leaned
against the wall. He had a slight beer gut and the cotton shirt of an average
guy who wants to appear employable.
Someone from the audience What was that about?
The director shifted his weight. You tell me with a sneer.
The slack jaws of the audience members betrayed a vague uncertainty. They were
very good at watching. Watching was what they did best. But this man seemed
angry at them for watching. Before their very eyes he grew a white lab coat
and clipboard, but they were too comfortable to move.
Then someone asked a technical question and the director became very suave.
He stressed how long the film had taken to compile, how interminably boring
the process was. He seemed slightly offended that no one in the audience had
walked out. I fully expect to be charged for obscenity for this film. And
it would really bother me if a child got hold of it.
Outside on the night street a few drunks and junkies were weaving in and out
of crowds of teenagers. Metal rings protruded from all parts of the faces. One
woman was dressed as a cow in black and white spots with and enormous bullring
through her nose. Her hair was bleached blonde.
Our friend went to the apartment of a woman who asked him Aren't you afraid
I will castrate you? It was naturally the furthest thing from his mind,
he just wanted to rent a room.
There were hiccuping people at the table behind us and I went into the bar after
no one came to take our order. On the wall behind the bar there were pornographic
posters of the most explicit sort, women with mutant breasts holding their vaginas
open and fingering them. The bar was filled only with men drinking beer. The
pornography was their wallpaper. I asked for coffee. The bartender said We
don't have it.
I will hide this film from my children. Then I will fly to Europe and show it
Sometimes you see a taxi driver here on the street sitting in his taxi listening
to the radio and the bare butt of a woman is wiggling from the rearview mirror
on an air freshener. All the taxi drivers with the stickers of breasts spread
over their dashboards are always the most anal. Don't bring your bags and boxes
in their taxi. They need to keep it clean for of those civilized people they
Outside a bird is warbling. Talk about adaptability. Take away the trees and
give them stoplights to sit on they keep on singing.
The film was over. We had been sitting through an endless barrage of moments,
brightly colored like the best beer ads, showing the supposedly zany spree of
two men with terminal diseases fulfilling their last wishes to a soundtrack
and reducing, in the end, the splendor of life on earth to a list of credits
and a good investment. Free tequila was served in the lobby; the characters
had drunk nothing but onscreen.
Outside on the night streets it was eerily quiet, very peaceful, like everyone
had gone to their summer houses and the city was ticking on to itself like a
clock that would need winding.
My friends all ended up in advertising. No one knows what they want anymore
so they must be advertised to, they must be seduced toward an image. Grotesquely,
the image is not only possible it is probable. Look at the person next to you:
a mannequin? This is with absolute seriousness the goal of existence, to push
into the mold and let it merge with your own skin.
Our friend works eighty hours a week. She has to take pictures of the models,
the men come in and she examines them critically like proportions, like pure
forms. She hates it. Sometimes her boss says Yes and now here we will put
the figure of the woman - in the bath, naked, sprawling, available. And
he laughs and all the other men laugh and she has to write it down and do it,
she has to manipulate the figure of the woman on the screen. And she hates it
and she can't stop.
When you come from the furthest Western border where the East has wrapped around
to meet itself what do you do and what does the West mean? The Marlboro ad with
the bucking broncos, the beauty of the desert spread out over the screen? Clocks
and time keeping? The ideal of achievement, of success? Life insurance? Boredom?
Weekends? Labor laws? The future? The West is the future and only the future.
Tomorrow the future will be Mars and the West will be Mars and Earth will be
One day the West will go into orbit, all of it. The trains and the cows and
the grass will jet up slowly sailing above a cavernous hole in the ground, out
into orbit, and what will be left will be the great scrapyards of the iron curtain,
and small hovels with lace in the windows and people who scrape the dirt out
of the gutters with shovels.
I used to live across from a movie theater and we would watch the people leave
the theater like a current that suddenly splits into two directions. No one
ever moved straight out ahead they either turned left or right. Every time.
And the film
was over and
we had been gazing very steadily at a likeness of our own fragility, impermanence,
temporality, sweetness. Outside on the night streets it was gently raining,
more a mist that drifted through the air, and it was good to be alone together.
Western decadence. Western sterility. Western arrogance. Western ignorance.
Western standards. Western ideals. Western philosophy. Western world. Perfection.
Continual improvement. Limitless growth. Unending expansion. Markets. Money.
Western writing the written word. Western history. Discourses. Notions. The
secret love affair of the humanist and the Nazi. The blind eye.
To assign importance to your actions, like the child who is convinced that because
he bumped the table the whole Titanic sank. The return to the body, the stinking
and sticking of cameras up the nostrils. The nails through the sex. Crucifixion
of the sex. Because it's MINE. Putting your own brand name on your parts. Your
own inimitable logo. Personalizing the body. The narcissism of the end, the
consumer yawning at his terminal. What kind of food do you want tonight?
The narcissism of coffee and cocaine.
I drew a line through the Greenwich meridian and measured the exact angle of
incidence of every point westward in relation to our present position. Our present
position filled me with hope. Here, people are returning to the nomadic state.
Oh spirit that remains inside our cells, even as the amalgam of the tooth filling
seeps into our saliva, changing chemically and altering our DNA, fucking up
our sleep, oh cells which abscess and mutate, spirit that resides in oxygen,
that purest drug whose existence we spurn, without which we could not carry
on, oh water in our cells oh believed information about fossils and bullshit
about stars, spirit that lives on, why are you so difficult? We do not want
to be compatible with silence, we want to be in the world bravely like those
who spill sand onto the motorways and stop traffic, we want to stop traffic,
to stop the mechanized movement of the automatic lever. Come through us when
it is the right moment,
make us good for something besides watching