Robert and Marianne – James Krendel-Clark
February 28, 2020
“you’ve become more aggressive lately” his false friend warned, with a knowing smirk. “oh well” robert thought. if it gets rid of this guy, then i’m glad.
* * * *
marianne twisted the metal staple in a moment of deep, submersive thought. her fingers shaping the staple like it was a piece of minimalist sculpture, an octopus holding a crowbar, or a piece of rebar twisted by the graceful hands of some gargantuan surgeon with subtlety and panache into a cast-off monument to a distracted moment. when a genius continues the canon of another genius, she thought, the world is redeemed. but in between, chaos. she squinted and pursed her lips.
* * * *
“get ready for some of the best writings on early christianity”, the bookseller had said to her as she bought the agamben book earlier that day (the homo sacer omnibus). crack your knuckles it’s still only 6:21 AM, late night at the library, she imagined herself meditating in the center of mariko mori’s dream temple, her chapped lips bothered her, but she was trying to be buddhist so what gives. but who the fuck actually uses chapstick, she wondered, distracted from her zen complacency. i don’t want my lips to look all glossy like they’ve been lasciviously lubricated, like i’m on the cover of the magazine, like my lips are lubriciously softened up for sybaritic kissing and/or sucking of dick. i’d prefer to keep them au naturel, i don’t need to be sluttily adorned, i’m an intellectual, i read adorno. she smirked at the cleverness of this alliteration and kept reading the lorraine daston book she had recently bought. “against nature”.
she tucked in her thorax and tensed her abs while whirling her head around to finally get out all the nasty kinks. this head whirling was a tic, a click, a snap crackle pop in machine components that didn’t quite mesh together, her body, that is, it huffed and chugged and… but she was trying out a new macrobiotic diet and she felt that she was ridding her system of toxins, finally ridding herself of these toxins that everyone kept talking about. but the gesture, going back to the gesture itself, it was also coquettish and naively ecstatic like feldenkreis technique malfunctioning. she rubbed the edges of her strong jaw which made her look very masculine indeed, she was trying to get all the pressure points with her hands. she checked twitter off-handedly, self-consciously concerned and beguiled as to whether all of the au-courant hipsters appreciated her witty digs and her clever ripostes and her dadaist jokes. a gooey slow-motion movement of jaws chewing at stress like a tense wolf trying to devour the flesh of a newly killed deer, or a cow clamping teeth together snarling strings of saliva stranded through gaps of melted cud, gaseous distraction in the stalls of a library, a processing plant for knowledge she had let them lock her in because she had to finish her thesis and she had popped her last adderall, all that was left was caffeine gum and nicotine gum. oh wow gooey wow her eyes rolling back with ecstasy from the rush of slamming the whole pack in her mouth at once like a kid on halloween overstuffed with candy, for good measure she did decided in favor of the quasi-moderation of expectorating part of this immense wad and gluing it to the side of the desk for later. but again, how describe this gesture, this tic could repeat itself indefinitely — god could be staring out of these pupils, this pullulating cosmic double-asshole of her eyes (long-finished cartons of chinese food lay about her, these she had snuck in past the guards, if only she could get outside for a cigarette but the place was locked shit til 8am), groping in spinal slope her back, coiled the snarled scoliosis of it all, the gargling choke of its gnarl, but somehow it all organized together like an organism coiling in its cancer, yes perhaps an organism, all that mattered was her research now and she had just created the most stunning bibliography, but when it came to her physiognomy, her general chemical disposition, she was not unlike georg trakl on coke, say, rhapsodizing wetly about the rain and the ravens and the dead child and the brown fluids and just let it click. clack. satisfied with her spine, she looked almost completely male, so macho was her intellectually futurist forward-jutting aggressive intensity. she may well have had a huge hard on, having injected all that “toxic” testosterone into her made her feel predatorial and she was shaping her husband into a fetishistic bellmer female porcelain doll at the same time (and she was a stunningly brilliant theorist so of course this game was partly philosophical) or that was the fantasy they entertained, total genderswap, genderdance, genderdemonicdualincarnation. they would inject each other with hormones intertwined in a spiral of chemical fissure, fucking on chemical fire. genderchaos, gendergnarl rootfractal genderferal, genderfurl, unfathom genderfurrows, of coral made, ridges of folded gender, engendering gingerly the gorgon gender temple, splendid, incredible gender resonating resounding GOD to the fathoms of GOD to the fathoms of GOD to the fathom fathom etcetera and then, wilfully pushing the fantasy further, it was as if in a rage of chaos, galactic, she threw him against the wall really really hard, like the big bang, the fatal blow resounding and he smashed, resounding, exploding like a star dying, alakazam! “the child’s skeleton shattered against the wall” . trakl had figured prominently in their wedding vows.
finally, she blew a totally evil kiss to no one in particular, she finally smothered those chapped puckering mounds of flesh in lipstick, slathered her hair in product and like some kind of primped whore she delivered a smooch to GOD that said “fuck you i’m an atheist”, and aching shivering nausea performative shitting your pants diarrhea oh mommy momma mom, where was her pepto bismol when she needed it now
her friend the art critic hated it when she sent a bunch of disjointed emails all at once. he told her that if she did that, he would simply delete them and would she please send him one carefully crafted email at a time, thanks. don’t be a hysterical crazy person.
robert took marianne to dinner at the local club/restaurant it was a cool place. but at the moment a guy in overalls was plastering gypsum retarder all over the holes from the roid rage macho fist fight that had broken out the previous night, the walls were riddled with holes from tightly clenched balls of knuckles smashing through the plaster and totally fucking up the feng shui not to mention the decor. another janitor was using industrial carpet and rug dry cleaner (deep cleans large areas and rooms, removes tough spots and spills) which he had a huge jugful of to capture the blood stains on the rug (a rug so expensive it was amazing they hadn’t sent it to some specialist to be cleaned, pleated with large foamy tufts of cloth poking out in fractal clumps, very elaborate expensive roccoco rug-design, foaming glorious curving symmetries carefully machine sculpted, the topology of the patterns so unique, it had been developed algorithmically on the latest design softwares and fabricated by robots, it was italian, shipped special for this ghery-esque palace where the dumbshow of this clockwork-orange esque brawl between nerdy but coked-up and overmuscled design students the previous evening, the owner was explaining everything, “these kids read a little rem koolhaas and they think they own the world”), and marianne was actually dripping with sweat in anticipation of the 7 course meal they were about to sample and all of her muscles were totally tense because she couldn’t usually afford his kind of opulence, her nipples were hard and her mind was racing, not least of which because of the dexedrine she had just railed off of the bathroom sink, but it was so she could accelerate the process of marxist critique which was already churning like mad in her cranium, she took out her moleskine notebook and started to scribble, to the amusement of the more “leisure class” patrons who regarded the punch-holes from the “carnage” with feeble amusement as they went off to order the most expensive wine in the house. robert giggled in a way that got weird fast because it became instantly insincere and experimental and gradually petered out. marianne looked at him suspensefully, raising her eyebrows, first one then the other, was this situationism they were experiencing? was it modernist? she clenched her vagina at him nervously and malevolently. unfazed, he sort of dusted off his shoulders and then flowed his hands down the sides of his torso, propping his fists up just above the upper reach of his sacrum. “we should get our ears pierced together” she thought, “that would be a fun outing; we should get matching buttplugs”. but she didn’t want to say this out loud in front of the proprietor for some reason. meanwhile robert looked deep into at the interior space they were in. the ceiling caved away into ambiguous depth, it was ribbed with yellow veins of neon, which ultimately tangled chaotically into the shape of several christs, an avant-garde sculpture commissioned by the libertine owner, the first neon christ was giving the second one a rimjob, who was giving a rimjob to the third neon christ, etcetera, there were five in total and they formed a loop of rimjobs and also served as a sort of chandelier. further down from that there was a stainless steel statue of moses fucking stalin who was then giving birth to gilles deleuze, which he thought might have been a chapman brothers thing but wasn’t sure, and then, in a sort of mobile/spiral that oscillated above them like a diagram of the circling planets, were gigantic busts of athena, aphrodite, wotan, kali, and hitler.
marianne who sometimes simply struck him as a spooky goth witch continually gave him bad advice. she was a gracious tease and would deign to do a crazyflirt and then withdraw into steamy brooding hysteria for some time now then back for a wildkiss engendering hardon but then oops disappointment, erectile dysfunction from the fantasy, ruined, and then sharded into fractals of shameagain, all twirled up in dark frowns in a hospital, wah wah wah. fortunately he was a very good dancer and an artist. he could flow with the punches, and like muhammad ali, he had a rope-a-dope going, pretty soon he was sure she was going to crack and submit to him. like wind she played wooshingly through the cloth of his pants. suddenly, it occurred to him that god is finite, a nipple of simple circular boundedness. a voice from somewhere in his head suggested that the book on that was probably already written.
the libertine physicist they were dining with with had a fierce, pouting, wolfish look. he was obsessed with david bowie, dr no, and thom mayne. robert wondered if he was genderqueer. he seemed to write almost exclusively about black holes.
ah, the classic lament of the stupid and impotent: “i need a drink.” for it is only said when obtaining a drink is out of the question, or at least inconvenient or hard to do. but now the liquor flowed long and hard, and in dazzlingly intricate and tasty cocktails. robert remembered one time how he had erupted (privately, secretly) in vicious curses, venomous as a priest, directed against (animal, like a lion or a panther, howling and yapping at her ghost) this girl he once had loved but who had betrayed him and who he was now sitting across from (she was a famous theater director). the next time he saw her after he had let flung that curse of animal rage, her flower was decidedly wilted, and he realized it was his fault. but he didn’t feel bad, why would he feel bad about this curse? what’s the point… certainly freud wouldn’t endorse the irrationality of believing in magic. his soul was purged of its purgatory, but no paradise, yet, for the girl was giving him the cold shoulder, still. still deep in the black hole, he chuckled to himself. she was a kind of carefully molded slut, serena she was called, she was an iridescent accordion of crookedness, askew.
this out of place, impotent, nearly middle aged dude who was supposedly an architect and who should probably have been hanging out with people his own age joked that the show maury was deeper and more “mindblowing” than heraclitus’ fragments. i pretended to laugh, but also tried to make it marginally obvious that my weird aloofness was a whiplash of irritation at this buffoonery. for what sad fucked sinner would favor kitsch tv over god? “they always want” thought robert “to drag you down to the same little hell world of inauthenticity that they are in”. but wasn’t he in the very same themepark, wasn’t he deep in the waterworks?
he pondered on this for some time before realizing the uselessness of his endeavor and permanently moving on, new chapter of life. these decadent knobs were shut into special cells of stupidity, and robert would not deign raise them up to heaven. robert was wasted. only when very very drunk and elated by an excess of comfort would he begin to think in these facile, fanatical religious platitudes. marianne always told him it was a betrayal of his class consciousness.
when they both got home he rifled through the pages of la deuxieme sexe and cackled insanely, convinced he had discovered the secret that no one knew as he stumbled across the following passage: “woman is an existent who is asked to make herself object; as subject she has an aggressive sensuality that does not find satisfaction in the masculine body: from this are born the conflicts her eroticism must overcome.” with that he snapped the book shut. marianne scoffed and nudged his cock with her foot.
the book was a holocaust of words, a last judgement of women. and robert would deign be its saint, its st paul… he would mansplain until the cows came home. as he fucked marianne, he realized that the people they had just been having dinner with were so artificial it was almost as if their social media presence, if not their actual physical presence, was engineered by a crack team they hired to do it for them… or more suspiciously yet, they had no social media presence and in real life they were like ghosts. ah but they are all my friends, you take the friends you can get, and the infrastructure and the software embraces me and them together, one big cuddly algorithm hooray. hooray. hooray… even though i am an ignorant chauvinist i am surrounded by beautiful intelligent women to correct my stupidity. he said this out loud. marianne put on her biggest strap-on.
he saw that he was not a friend, a lover, a son, a student, a professional, or whatever else, he was a writer, that was his job, he didn’t even need to say: calling. he was possessed by the demon of writing, of socrates, daemon, of schopenhauer, the same, celine, the demon, same, gass, he was: demon.
gaugin, he admired. he could admire something like that. but klee… klee for him fell flat, flat as hell (but he knew this was his own ignorance, not the fault of klee’s lines). now grosz, memling, but who cares, too obvious. ah… he fondled his nipple as he smoked a joint with marianne and tried to fall asleep.