I would have fucked a young Michel Foucault
Snorting from the lily-scent, the sweat collects on the inside of my little palm. They roll the dark casket into the forefront and into my mind. What am I but a little lost thing? I am 24. I haven’t had a drink in 8 months. I am distant. I am abstract. I am 8 or 9 years old at a the funeral of my grandfather. I want whiskey so bad it makes my eyes roll in the back of my head. I wanna shoot up and fuck everything that moves. I am 24 sitting at my kitchen table scowling. I am 8 or 9 sitting in a church. I wanna talk about fucking and my grandfather’s funeral in the same paragraph. I am 8 or 9 years old, looking at mortality, but not my own, I am immortal, my mother is a swan-necked Caryatid. My family are like creatures swimming in the warm womb water of this earth, they spend their languished hours in early morning mind-struggles, wrestling blindly with the outcome of their tenure in life, spend unspeakable impulses exploring the nature, and the absurdity of every blink of the eye. Mortality. I am immortal. My grandfather was not. I am 8 or 9, maybe 10, but 24, wanting to drown myself in whiskey.
I hear the words, but I cannot remember them. I see in brilliant ORANGE. I hear the words, but I cannot remember them. I am a lost little boy, smarter than any of the other men in the room. I am 8 or 9 years old, maybe 10, but 24. I am an alcoholic. I am junkie. My grandfather was not immortal, he left this world, went back to place he came from. He heaved a bag of feed over stout shoulder and collapsed, trenchant life, gone. I am immortal. Palpita cuore in me. I am 8 or 9, maybe 10, in that church pew, but 24 at my kitchen table, watching snow fall on Brooklyn: Bed-Stuy.
I didn’t grow up, because I was never a child. I was immortal. I was beautiful. My bed is empty, but I am beautiful. I was born cold with my eyes open. I was never a child.
Everyone is there, all my cousins, all my uncles, all my aunts, my parents. My cousins young and small, the urban ones, the sweet ones, the one with a bastard in her belly. I don’t care. I wanna love them. I’m 8 or 9. I only repeat what I see reflected. I don’t think its bad. Why is everyone so ashamed of her baby? I don’t know any better. I only do as I am told. Too young to see the world for what it is. Too young to rise up singing. My mind already taken up in the sky. I’m just there. I’m in the church, with all my cousins, my uncles, all my aunts, my parents. All there.
I am 8 or 9, maybe 10, but 24, in my kitchen in Brooklyn. Virginia, so far away, and sewn into my skin. Virginia, Virginia, Virginia, Virginian: is there anymore more American than having been born a blue-blooded Virginian? My grandfather, the father of my mother’s father, was there ever a Virginian more august than him?
My mother is a Caryatid, holding up the weight of the South on her exquisite head. My mother plays the piano, but was too contorted with grief to play for her grandfather. Her fingers wouldn’t let her, they weren’t steady. That August, august fever of dizzying floral scents and convulsing gasps of sobs, sobs, wouldn’t let her fingers play, wouldn’t let her fingers play the piano for her grandfather. Her fingers were needed elsewhere, to clasp the back of the pew in agony, to hold my little hand, for her sake, because I see and I feel nothing, then, video et taceo.
It was my great-grandfather’s funeral. I remember well, in concrete terms. I am young, only 9 or 10, no expression of loss, there is no understanding outside of the perplexity of a child, my mind, not yet molded into a faculty that could deconstruct that experience of that memory, just rigid shame, because I was a cold child. I was an immortal child. I don’t know what to feel. I don’t feel anything other than inconvenience. I glower in absurd confusion at the sobs of men, who previously I thought were incapable of catharsis. I am 8 or 9, 9 or 10. Absurd. Wicked. Wicked.
I can’t seem to pick a tense. I have no temporal sense. I am 8 o 9, maybe 10, but 24. I am dual both here and there: both child and wolf.
Fuck, FUCK it, overwhelming smell of flowers, as the tiny church, heaved in a collective wave of coming and going pleasure-yowling, panting over and over. Flowers bursting outward from a room that could hold 50 comfortably, but was pregnant with the grief of closer to 200. I don’t know. I am young. It could have been only 70, but that ugly tiny chapel was groaning with all the world come to say goodbye, come to throw hearts into open-casket, remember an upright Christian and steward of the rolling, swampy meadows of old Virginia, ancient Virginia, a Virginia that flows deep in my veins, like Staunton river. I have no recognition. Flowers. Flowers.
I sweat in starchy black clothes in the unbearable heat, my collar a living thing slowly tightening its grip around my windpipe. I am a little thing, an immortal thing. I am not near my mother, but where is she? She is there, I am with my grandmother, the last time I remember her looking young. Breathing uneasy in the haze, and the assault of perfumes from 300 blooms on wreaths and Leggett’s counter-cologne splashed on the back of every sweaty neck, poised in illusion to appear our bests before God. Is he there? Hovering above his body, but where is my mother? where is my sister? I know they are there but where in my memory. I want whiskey, but I’m only 8 or 9. I wanna drink away those smells and colors that are dizzying, and stretch every second out longer and longer, while a terrifying man recites scripture and speaks about the mystery of states of being and salvation, that a child, like me, has no concept, no language, save the absolute certainty of a perfect fear of Hell, and burning like that slowly, in a little black suit and blue tie, for all eternity. Where is my mother made of fleshy marble? Where is she to tell me that I’m not gonna burn in Hell?
I’m gonna burn in hell. HELL. Fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck, I’m gonna go burn forever…little faggot with whiskey drenched skin, flowers, forever, forever, immortal in death, in hell.
Forever and forever, learning then and there what forever means: the sun rising and setting with no mercy, that this man, my grandfather, my mother’s father’s father. This man in that casket that I barely knew, was gone, and gone forever, returned to the end of the simple, cosmic trajectory that Christianity offers. A ten year old, bored and hot, and not believing even then, that we really would walk on streets paved in gold one day in Paradise, wondering only what happens to our bodies when we are buried in the earth. Wondering if decay, so natural, is more a blessing than a curse for eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. I wanted to decay. I wanted to be a wolf. I wanted to be an animal, and not be there. I’m a little thing. I am immortal, I am hot. HOT. Birds set to fly, and me set to the slather my spit on the flesh of this world and devour it without dignity or grace, but shake my whole body in the bloodbath, cover myself in the ejaculate and flower and fifth of any thing I could get my hand on.
Immortal. Greedy. Immortal. Lusty. hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot blooded. SNARLING teeth. Faggot teeth that either engorge or defend. Faggot teeth bleeding from smoking too many cigarettes. I am 8 or 9. 10 or 11. 9 or 10. but 24, 9 or 10, but 24 My grandfather’s father’s funeral. Where is my exquisite mother? cause all I see now are the blurry Mennonites coming forward to sing their homage and pull the last sense of temperate decorum from everyone’s bleeding bleeding heart…singing something fucked up about heaven. heaven I don’t believe in or want.… …. lose their shit. o. everyone crying hard now. . . … . … . .. .
I remember the faces of all of my uncles, aunts, my cousins, their Southern aristocracy besainted in unashamed pride that shook with sorrow. Most openly crying, looking around like wounded game, hoping that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t over. That through some divine miracle, our patriarch would rise like Lazarus, restored to his stoney youth and burst through heaven-sky to guide us forever into the face of a changing nation that none of them could understand, that none of them was willing to change, because they were gripped, quite willingly, in a comfortable ghast-nostalgia that always was retrospective, with their palms up, facing downstream, stubborn, and honestly believing it was impossible to just turn around, and see the sweetness that the coming flotsam of time would bathe us in Southern grace, bathe us in noble-difference, if we just faced it together.
But no, they could not, they would not, and we were ripped up in the swollen gush of changing culture and anxiety, of selfish retrospection, torn apart like drowning mules in a flood. the last and that last time we were all together, all fucking unified to send off patriarch and father to blinding glory in the firmament.
FUCK I HATE THIS MEMORY SO FUCKING MUCH. Why am I even fucking writing this? What is the fucking point? Further, why are you fucking reading this? FUCK YOU.
and me sitting there, feeling nothing, with no ounce of guilt to show for it. Absurdity. Childlike coldness enveloping me, knowing that I did not belong, knowing that I would break apart and divorce myself from this life, and noticing only, how incredibly ugly the mustard orange upholstery on the pews was. Because I am immortal. I will never die.
I want whiskey. I am 9 or 10 years old. I will never die, and all I want is to see my mother overwhelmed in her youth, teutonic beauty. That speechless Caryatid holding up the weight of the world on her endless neck.
Witness this. Woo me, that this memory is my last second last atom of the childhood I never had, because I was born fully grown, and a cold and distant thing. I was born selfish and hot-blooded. I was born a prince of Virginia and wolf-mouthed. This memory is the last of those. This memory is the instant that one age died. That I was no longer a child asking to be born, I was no longer milking cows, that that day my faggot brow burrowed deep in collision with my eyes and I resolved to leave, to leave them all forever.
and look! look with me now! I sink deeper in the folds of memory, and I lose myself in this! Look with me, fucking LOOK! I am 8 or 9, maybe 10, but 24 and cruciated into the masculine paradigm of perfect beauty, father structure and mother color. LOOK AT ME!!!!
LOOK at 24! Look at 8 or 9, maybe 10, LOOK LOOK
the scene, the church, that fucking church, played out like a coughing spitting drowning cat. Me there, with nothing but future on my back. see me there 9 or 10, immortal at my great grandfather’s funeral
there, there there there there there there there FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUC FUC IM SO FUCKING MAD IM SO FUCK ING SCREAMING IN MY HEAT
FUCK I HATE THIS FUCKING FUCKING MEMORY
that coffin, his coffin, his coffin, his body
That sagging catafalque erected with pastoral achievements of a man who passed his long life before my heart ever even knew what it was to live open and naked. Live with my dreams presented like that coffin, in vibrating sincerity wreathed in August heat and apologizing to no one. Would you know me? Would you see your blue eyes in my skull? See Virginia blooming like a second skin from the gaping of my mouth?
Sobbing now, because I couldn’t sob then. Sobbing now because only with age do we realize that we can never find ourselves, without first knowing where we come from.