Putting my Foot in it by René Crevel

-> Experience has, moreover, taught you that each person wants to build, with his own bad odour, a most elegantly ornate little niche, with encrusted rot no less rutilant than the rainbow that hangs from turkeys’ necks. So; advise everyone to wear on their tiepins or, depending on their sex, lukewarm and dripping over the arm, their sweat and their blood. (p.38)

-> Rather than taking a bite out of Primrose’s thigh or Augusta’s breast – pieces fit, if not for kings, at least for marquises or archdukes – he would prefer to eat his own shadow. And he tells himself that he ate his shadow because the sun over his head doesn’t allow the least projection of it on the ground. (p.58)

-> Throb abandon in a jar of flesh, quicksilver erected into a useless column at the crossroads of the thighs, on a pitiful lawn of curly hairs. (p.78)

[Grotesque fascination with the acts of perversion stemming from the body:

Shun Heng: I want to do it because his hands bespoke an idealistic grace reminiscent of the grace sketched by his vague gestures in the classroom; the finger pointed at me, thumb cocked, ready to shoot me into oblivion, which he did, on that hot, sunny day; is fingers curled over the edges of the pages, or splayed across the book’s face to present to me, secretly, the conundrum of knuckles, bones and joints…A quicksilver, blurred gesture grasping air to state a point, the wind fanning my face like a celestial breeze…

Qing Wei: your voice on the phone has stresses and intonations similar to his – and how I know? It plays upon the strings of my inner ear…]

-> No more sun than there are gas lamps. It’s as cold as can be on this planet. The stars? A figment of the imagination. The moon? A cruel invention. He shivers. One more darkness shouldn’t make any difference to a disillusioned fellow like him. Everything has been switched off. An then? Everything must be switched off. Krim’s voice along with the rest. There’s really no reason to get all worked up. She was not the one he had loved, but the one who prevented him from loving others. Henceforth, what body can be expected to furnish this pleasure along the way? Persons, sexes? No use scrutinising their mess in the hope of recognising yourself. Others are welcome to make do with resemblances, stopping at each more or less, wishing for oases everywhere. He’s not the one to persist in the search of the violent perfection for which Krim, before the age of love, has made his daily mediocrity nostalgic.

Krim: head too heavy for her body and, in an alcoholic clown’s face, absinthe eyes in which all the weeds of crazy gardens wave about. No fence protects those tufts. Thus before long, not a single one will remain, all of them uprooted by death. An he who has lost even the right to forget, will tomorrow open his door to find a desolate universe. From the threshold, he will let himself slip into life, losing body and possessions, body and soul, for want of Krim, for want of a life preserver, the arms that she alone could have thrown him.

-> The author is ashamed to admit, ‘Even while in love, I remain a spectator.’ (p.101)

-> It remains to be determined whether, for such an asker of questions, for an asker of questions, every metaphysical question is not the means to avoid other questions, concrete ones.

Detour via the abstract. Evasion. (p101-102)

[Amazing little droplet of clarity and insight! Despite its rather witty-jokey tone, the sentence quickly speeds into the domain of, ‘for such an asker of questions’, more questions about the concrete, for perhaps the asker of such questions saturates himself in jest to escape being concretised, despite no wanting to leave such questions unanswered.]

-> His dreams that wanted to deny the world resuscitated it. On all the street corners, on all the sleep corners, after the thirty-three years of an existence which is not yet blasé with disgust, with hatred at nearly every step, at nearly every encounter, there is a new opportunity for detecting, an opportunity never to be fled. (p.103)

-> A sirocco is a hot dusty wind that begins in the Sahara and moves across the Mediterranean.

-> And indeed, instead of beating around the bush, one mustn’t forget or try to obscure the fact that of the existence of a rich minority implies the misery of the masses, that minority, when it’s a question of preserving its privileges, won’t hesitate to massacre those masses. (p.121)

-> Sentimental tremolo and a decisive arpeggio to this symphony of sumptuous taste. (p.123)

-> From the bottom to the top of each apartment building snakes, rather than climbs, a lasciviously monumental stairway, hundreds upon hundreds of times longer, more corpulent, thus more voracious than the boa that devours an entire ox for breakfast. All by itself, a stairway in a wealthy neighbourhood eats up cubic yard upon cubic yard, enough to house quite reasonably at least ten of these working-class families (father, mother and two children) forced by the present state of iniquity, in order to recuperate from their hours of work on the assembly line, to sleep four hours in a room where a pair of lungs doesn’t even find air to breathe.

[So Crevel is very righteous in declaring that national wealth should be evenly distributed throughout the country, but did he ever imagine if that happened, what the consequences in the future would be? The initial repercussions, as I imagine there would be, would be only a temporary happiness and surreal stability. Sure, the working class just won the lottery, only that everyone of them did, their lives are made much more comfortable, the parents of children can breathe a little easier, untighten their belts a little, maybe even indulge in a washing machine or television, and take it easy at work, even stop working for awhile. The bourgeoisie don’t need to scrimp on buying that Chevrolet or latest HDTV, the bigger the better. The youngest one can go for the riding lessons that she so coveted for, maybe a newer, better cell phone, a thinner laptop… the rich will only have to give up dreams on buying that luxury yacht within the year, or that island off the coast of Dubai for the summer holidays.

When wealth is evened out, the country and its people sink into complacency. Future generations of the proletariat grow up without knowing what hardship is, the bourgeoisie spawn children that are spoilt, degenerate brats in silver livery daydreaming of ruling the world in pyjamas. The rich seethe at night under their brocaded, 32-thread count Egyptian cotton duvet covers at the unfairness of the world, curse silently at the Brazilian-redwood-corniced ceiling in rococo design and think of ways to buy their way out of this ridiculous farce.

Therefore the balance of wealth distribution would always be skewed, the call for equality forever held in limbo, unless the skies rain down currencies free for everybody, and therefore bring down in a post-post-modernist crash the definition of money.

Also, a simple fact, if Crevel, or yourself the Reader were already rich to begin with, there would not be the discontentment that spurned C. or, you, to write the above paragraph.

I am not in favour of capitalism, nor communism, nothing; but it is a truth that things will remain this way for a long time to come. Revolution after revolution, until the revolution becomes a mere simulacra of the actual revolution that it began with.

Step out of it and see, judge for yourself. Neither of us asked to be put on this earth. Parents of the seventies and eighties blame it n=on attractive baby incentive packages from the government and lack of knowledge on contraceptives. Some blame it on love, the want for eternal devotion and the final seal to the consecration of this holy communion of two human beings by the Church, or the Parents, in traditional Asian societies.

They are taken aback to learn that maybe their children do not really want to live in a world like this. To all future parent-wannabes: think before you pop a baby out; there is definitely more reasons to stop procreation than to encourage it.]

[A true follower of God, if one might just for this instance assume that a higher, unknown incarnate being exists but has not made himself known to humanity, is only a true follower/believer of God if he denounces the religion, denounces the origins and class of his birth (since religion in the 21st. century has become political), denounces the face that constitutes his identity, and thus in the end denouncing his very existence with the framework of society.]

-> Then springs forth the vines of mercury, morning glories of quicksilver, palpitating from one pole to the other. The curve extends from the innermost secret to the outermost edges, from the unconscious to the conscious and vice versa. Through things, feelings, sentiments and ideas, how many sizzling comings and goings. Writing is no longer a mere means of expression, but the fault line of a mind constantly in motion, and, just as a shadow clings to a body, it extends man to the knowledge of a poetic necessity, interdependent with all other necessities, and which, by their example, is only illuminated to give glaring proof of all the necessities, deep inside the most secret recesses of communicating vessels.

-> René (to be reborn) Crevel (to die) committed suicide in 1935. He was born in 1900. By Dalkey Archive Press.

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