“The good news is that your path led us through the woods.
The bad news is that the Virgin Sacrifices are at dawn.”

“How is this bad news?”

“You’re the first Virgin.”

Step One: Preparing your virgin

It seems to me that every virgin feels like the first.
It must be so.
Even if she watches ten thousand mount the alter before her,
How can she know, when her time comes,
in what ways she must adjust her veil,
how she must lie upon the stone,
and will she move her arms to fit into
places she cannot see from the ground
in the dim torch glow, among the chanting and
painted faces,
How can she know?

Though she watches, she cannot feel
the notches where ancient masters carved the stone,
now perhaps worn smooth from ten thousand rivers pouring over them.
She cannot feel that there are cradles to lay her wrists and ankles,
though she knows they must be there,
must be—
How else would all those virgins before her know how to lie
so that the High priest
can bury his dagger up to its hilt in her?

Every Virgin is the first.

She wonders if this pleases the God she is prepared to give herself to
so completely.

Step Two: Ingredients

It seems to me
that every step nearer to that exquisite moment
is a place no one has ever stepped before.
In all the generations, not one
has ever walked where she walks now.
For even if they have, she cannot experience it.

And that is the essential measure of the immeasurable.

Step Three: Heat

She is determined
to serve her God.

Whether since infancy she was raised in anticipation of this night,
or surprised by sanctity,

Whether she ascends grasping her overflowing soul
in the basket of her upraised skirts
so that her desire to dedicate her death
will not overwhelm the reality of life,

or is hesitant,
or afraid
of herself
or the sword,

she ascends.

Step Four: A Note on Presentation

Standing before the alter, she notes
how very like an alter it appears.

She has seen alters—and perhaps
when no one was watching,
she did lay herself flat upon them,
Sometimes she pressed her belly to the cold stone as
with her palms against the alter she lowered her breasts
until all of her bones were still.

Sometimes she tried to sculpt her back to the line of the rock,
the laughed as she arched bridge-like in defiance of it.

Sometimes she did not lie down at all.

Standing before The alter, she notes
how this time, someone will be watching.

When she lays down her flesh,
no one has ever done so before.
She is the first virgin, though above her
the knife is still stained with blood.

Step Five: On Butchery

There are no words, no words,
for she is not only the first virgin,

but also
the last.



December 10, 2019

Black holes are the seductive dragons of the universe, outwardly quiescent yet violent at the heart, uncanny, hostile, primeval, emitting a negative radiance that draws all toward them, gobbling up all who come too close. Once having entered the tumultuous orbit of a black hole, nothing can break away from its passionate but fatal embrace. Though cons of teasing play may be granted the doomed, ultimately play turns to prey and all are sucked haplessly ― brilliantly aglow, true, but oh so briefly so ― into the fire-breathing maw of oblivion. Black holes, which have no memory, are said to contain the earliest memories of the universe, and the most recent, too, while at the same time obliterating all memory by obliterating all its embodiments. Such paradoxes characterize these strange galactic monsters, for whom creation is destruction, death life, chaos order. And darkness illumination: for, as dragons are also called worms, so black hole are known as wormholes, offering a mystical and intimate pathway to the farthest reaches of the cosmos, thus bring light as they consume it.

Robert Coover
A Child Again

Oh, dear…

December 10, 2019


December 10, 2019

The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide. In this sense, truth, even if it does not prevail in public, possesses an ineradicable primacy over all falsehoods.

Hannah Arendt
Lying in Politics: Crises of the Republic

Good art

December 10, 2019

All art deals with the absurd and aims at the simple. Good art speaks truth, indeed is truth, perhaps the only truth.

Iris Murdoch
The Black Prince

like a box

December 10, 2019

There are, you see, two ways of reading a book: you either see it as a box with something inside and start looking for what it signifies, and then if you’re even more perverse or depraved you set off after signifiers. And you treat the next book like a box contained in the first or containing it. And you annotate and interpret and question, and write a book about the book, and so on and on.

Or there’s the other way: you see the book as a little non-signifying machine, and the only question is “Does it work, and how does it work?” How does it work for you? If it doesn’t work, if nothing comes through, you try another book. This second way of reading’s intensive: something comes through or it doesn’t. There’s nothing to explain, nothing to understand, nothing to interpret.  It’s like plugging in to an electric circuit. I know people who’ve read nothing who immediately saw what bodies without organs were given their own “habits,” their own way of being one. This second way of reading’s quite different from the first, because it relates a book directly to what’s Outside.  A book is a little cog in much more complicated external machinery. Writing is one flow among others, with no special place in relation to the others, that comes into relations of current, countercurrent, and eddy with other flows – flows of shit, sperm, words, action, eroticism, money, politics, and so on.

Gilles Deleuze