if the Kaiser had said No

November 11, 2019

“But what I would like to know,” says Albert, “is whether there would not have been a war if the Kaiser had said No.”

“I’m sure there would,” I interject, “he was against it from the first.”

“Well, if not him alone, then perhaps if twenty or thirty people in the world had said No.”

“That’s probable,” I agree, “but they damned well said Yes.”

“It’s queer, when one thinks about it,” goes on Kropp, “we are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who’s in the right?”

“Perhaps both,” say I without believing it.

“Yes, well now,” pursues Albert, and I see that he means to drive me into a corner, “but our professors and parsons and newspapers say that we are the only ones that are right, and let’s hope so; – but the French professors and parsons and newspapers say that the right is on their side, now what about that?”

“That I don’t know,” I say, “but whichever way it is there’s war all the same and every month more countries coming in.”

Tjaden reappears. He is still quite excited and again joins the conversation, wondering just how a war gets started.

“Mostly by one country badly offending another,” answers Albert with a slight air of superiority.

Then Tjaden pretends to be obtuse. “A country? I don’t follow. A mountain in Germany cannot offend a mountain in France. Or a river, or a wood, or a field of wheat.”

“Are you really as stupid as that, or are you just pulling my leg?” growls Kropp, “I don’t mean that at all. One people offends the other – “

“Then I haven’t any business here at all,” replies Tjaden, “I don’t feel myself offended.”

“Well, let me tell you,” says Albert sourly, “it doesn’t apply to tramps like you.”

“Then I can be going home right away,” retorts Tjaden, and we all laugh, “Ach, man! he means the people as a whole, the State – ” exclaims Mller.

“State, State” -Tjaden snaps his fingers contemptuously, “Gendarmes, police, taxes, that’s your State; – if that’s what you are talking about, no, thank you.”

“That’s right,” says Kat, “you’ve said something for once, Tjaden. State and home-country, there’s a big difference.”

“But they go together,” insists Kropp, “without the State there wouldn’t be any home-country.”

“True, but just you consider, almost all of us are simple folk. And in France, too, the majority of men are labourers, workmen, or poor clerks. Now just why would a French blacksmith or a French shoemaker want to attack us? No, it is merely the rulers. I had never seen a Frenchman before I came here, and it will be just the same with the majority of Frenchmen as regards us. They weren’t asked about it anymore than we were.”

“Then what exactly is the war for?” asks Tjaden.

Kat shrugs his shoulders. “There must be some people to whom the war is useful.”

“Well, I’m not one of them,” grins Tjaden.

“Not you, nor anybody else here.”

“Who are they then?” persists Tjaden.

“It isn’t any use to the Kaiser either. He has everything he can want already.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” contradicts Kat, “he has not had a war up till now. And every full-grown emperor requires at least one war, otherwise he would not become famous. You look in your school books.”

“And generals too,” adds Detering, “they become famous through war.”

“Even more famous than emperors,” adds Kat.

“There are other people back behind there who profit by the war, that’s
certain,” growls Detering.

“I think it is more of a kind of fever,” says Albert. “No one in particular wants it, and then all at once there it is. We didn’t want the war, the others say the same thing – and yet half the world is in it all the same.”

Erich Maria Remarque
All Quiet on the Western Front

SUMMER DEVILRY

November 10, 2019

The sky is very near to me to-night:
It breathes, as from a throat of molten lead,
A damnèd effluence about my head,
An effluence of hell, a fœtid blight:
Dark visions break on my distorted sight
Of bloody lust and cruelty and dread,
Devils unnamed in their own likeness tread
The ways of earth, and are not put to flight.
In rifts of voiceless lightning, such as breaks
This goitrous firmament, have stood revealed
Over the dead in some old battlefield
The ghastly dogs of death, and bloated snakes
Dripping the slime of Acherontian lakes
On some dead sovereign’s blood-emblazoned shield.

L. GIELGUD

The Power of the Witch

November 10, 2019

sacrificial lamb

November 9, 2019

Once every month he visited the woman who wore a carapace of black rubber and a face-mask. She had a room in her house that she’d transformed years ago into a torture chamber. It was in there she did what she did to him, the things so desperately required to replenish his emptiness. Tied to a solid wooden cross, a sacrificial lamb, his head full of silence broken by the sound of her spikey high heels on the wooden floorboards as she circled him, dragging her shadow behind her like a vast, unappreciated weight. He was all appetite. Soon he’d be filled to overflowing with pain. She laughed and he glimpsed Armageddon in her eyes – So his ordeal began.

So that’s the secret –

November 8, 2019

spontaneously combust

November 8, 2019

It makes all the sense in the world. You awaken and smell smoke and see that the cat at the foot of the bed is on fire. And so you scoop him up and race to the bathroom and douse him with the tub. You reassure him that he will be fine – he is fine – telling him that everything’s okay. You hold him firmly but gently under the faucet because you are worried about his burns.

The only thing is, you’re not awake. But you’re not precisely dreaming, either. After all, in the morning the sheets are wet where the cat slept when you both went back to bed, and there is fur in the tub. There are scratch marks on your arms and the back of your hands, because the cat was justifiably resistant to the idea of a shower in the middle of the night. And, of course, the animal was never on fire. Northing in the house was on fire. And you’re a responsible person; you know that cats and dogs don’t spontaneously combust. But in the middle of the night, in the fidelity of that instant, you were saving the cat’s life and that was all that mattered.

Chris Bohjalian
The Sleepwalker

Henry [Miller] returns from his wanderings. We talk about America. I said, “Were you looking for something to love? There is nothing to love here, it is a monster, a huge prosaic monster, buying all the creative wealth of Europe at bargain prices, buying it as they buy paintings, giving jobs to the refugees, yes, but only jobs, only money, no respect or evaluation or devotion, devouring with huge, empty jaws. It is nothing, a void, a colossal robot, a commercial empire, made for caricature, all ugly because it is all materialistic. Every artist born here was killed. You escaped and found yourself, and now you have the strength to grapple with it; it cannot swallow you into its rivers of cement. Look at America for what it is: concrete, iron, cement, lead, bricks, machines, and a mass of blind, anonymous robots. It is a huge monster, but made of papier mâché with marble eyes.

Anaïs Nin
Diary entry, November 24, 1940

Vital to the modern moment…are the novels of Alan Garner and Susan Cooper; especially Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960) and The Owl Service (1967), and Cooper’s dazzling The Dark Is Rising sequence, published between 1965 and 1977. Once read, these novels are hard to forget. They lodge and loom in the memory. Garner turned eighty last autumn, and a volume of essays exploring his legacy, called First Light, is being compiled at present, with contributions from Philip Pullman, Ali Smith and Neil Gaiman among others. I regard the second book of Cooper’s sequence as among the eeriest texts I know; Helen Macdonald is another for whom Cooper’s novels have been imaginatively vital.

It would be easy to dismiss all this as an excess of hokey woo-woo; a surge of something-in-the-woodshed rustic gothic. But engaging with the eerie emphatically doesn’t mean believing in ghosts. Few of the practitioners named here would endorse earth mysteries or ectoplasm. What is under way, across a broad spectrum of culture, is an attempt to account for the turbulence of England in the era of late capitalism. The supernatural and paranormal have always been means of figuring powers that cannot otherwise find visible expression. Contemporary anxieties and dissents are here being reassembled and re-presented as spectres, shadows or monsters: our noun monster, indeed, shares an etymology with our verb to demonstrate, meaning to show or reveal (with a largely lost sense of omen or portent).

Robert Macfarlane
The eeriness of the English countryside

stop for Death

November 4, 2019

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

Emily Dickinson

My fantasy, wish, dream, whatever you want to call it, is of two leather-clad bitch-women force feminizing me one rainy afternoon. After they finish, they invite in half-a-dozen randy studs and tell them to have me as often as they want. ‘Use and abuse,’ they say, ‘to your heart’s content.’

I’m restrained, handcuffed, and these dudes start stripping off my panties. One of them grabs my head, forces my face to his lap. ‘Suck on that,’ he says.

Another behind me thrusts into me roughly. There are cheers and laughter. I’m like a helpless ragdoll as they have me over and over again. They cum inside me, no condoms, cum on my face and in my lipstick smeared mouth. My ordeal lasts most of the afternoon, and when they’re finally finished with me, I’m left as a cum-covered ruin, rolled in a ball on the floor.

SOURCE