avec La Chasse spirituelle (part 1)
A book fair, an opening of an art exhibition. An ageless hippie sits on a podium, clutching a wireless microphone. It is Patti Smith. A banner hangs overhead, boasting:
MAKING VULGAR CHIC AGAIN
SMITH: Every time I'm coming down with the stomach flu, I use the social media. I kneel in front of the toilet seat and talk to it. No, seriously. That's what internet and virtual reality, whatever, means to me: a drain, a place where to place your vomit.
I wrote a preface to the English translation of Une saison en enfer, the best or second best work by my favorite pet, Arthur Rimbaud. In it I said,
The alchemist must descend within himself, a journey more terrifying than trudging the White Pass or scaling the immense, tragic cliffs of Butane.
Yes, butane. You know the gas that they use in lighters?
No, I don't use it much. I need life around me, events. Things happening. Which reminds me. I must take my medicine. I fell in love with a boy at the pharmacy, and subconsciously... fuck it, on purpose, lost all my pills. So I can go back, and ask him out for a cup of coffee.
Do you think he'll come? Go? Oh no? Oh no!
Too bad, then. But you won't be able to say I didn't try.
You see, that's the problem with the internet. Can't fall in love on the internet, no matter what you say. Say it German, in Deutsch. Say NEIN, MEIN FRÄULEIN. Say it German. Please, I need to hear something on your beautiful language. Come on! Light my fire.
A city where multiple tongues flourish in flames is a city of God. Like Frankfurt. I like Frankfurt a lot. I love Fatih Akin. He's from Hamburg? Well, what the hell? We're all Americans here. I believe Fassbinder said that. Not Fassbender, whom I'm sure you guys know a lot better than I do... well. Alright.
That was the introduction. Which is followed by the world premiere of the lost masterpiece of Arthur Rimbaud, La Chasse spirituelle, dramatized by me, Patti Smith.
Dear friends. And lovers... friends: we have assembled around this ancient and insane pastime to propagate our lust for life and seek justification for our pathetic day-to-day existence. As drivel. As Goo... Gog? Mother of Gog thou aren't in heaven, as Bolaño put it. Or did he? Nobody knows but me. Feel free to laugh whenever you find it impossible to endure otherwise. My English has gone the way of all flesh these days... Why? I'm writing a play in Finnish at the moment. About my visit to the Dock of the Dead. No duck. "Laituri" in Finnish: duck. So, I'm gonna switch to the Tongue of the Dead now, if you don't mind, and if you do, I'm gonna do it anyways. You have your Dada Translators and whatnot, all the gimmicks of the Evil Empire. So fuck it. I'm the Priestess of Punk. I do whatever I want!
Robert said to me... Mapplethorpe, that is. He said, Robert said, "The purpose of Art is not to create more divisions in this world, but to annihilate the ones that exist, some a them at least. There are too many," he said, "too many." He was so naïve, my Robert was. That was a splinter of genius, his charm. The man-child who was also the Devil at times. Or a Demon, to be more specific. That's what he was, a Demon Child. You can quote me on that.
The epitome of protestant ethics, which Robert knew zilch about, the crooked Catholic that he was, the bottom is: feeling guilty about not being reckless enough. Another thing Robert didn't have to worry about. But I do. Pathetic, beyond help. A pariah. A leper, patient with HIV.
She takes a revolver from her coat pocket, puts the barrel to her temple.
No pharmacy boy shall want any part of this.
Ask the ones who truly know me, and they say that I have two virtues which stand out from the whole mess.
I'm a caring and devoted mother. To Gog. No, seriously... and?
There is no other. There is none! That was two. One, two.
She laughs, lowering the revolver.
I never read anything where anybody talked about my sense of humor.
Why is that?
We have gathered around this ancient and insane crossword puzzle to escape the swarming wisdom of the streets. Wrong address, I'm so sorry. This ain't it, Jim. Follow him down.
Suomessa olen minä syntynyt,
tuolla kauniissa Karjalassa.
Like that great Finnish pet Pentti Saarikoski, my latest discovery. My boy. My gog. Like one in the artery.
She recites the rest of the stanza.
Sinisen järven rannalla,
tuolla majassa matalassa.
You're supposed to repeat the last two lines of each stanza, but I don't have time for that now.
Raising the revolver.
I have some pressing matters to address.
Lights fade out. A video starts to roll. Smith speaks from the dark.
Everything's an introduction. Remember that! The world is an introduction!
Descent into the Inferno
We have killed those who are upon the earth. Let us now kill those who are In the sky and they would throw their arrows towards the sky and the arrows would return to them besmeared with blood. And in the narration of Ibn Hujr (the words are): "I have sent such persons (Gog and Magog) that none would dare fight against them."
To be continued.