The Staircase to the Forest

Susanne Rempt-Staircase 2018
Susanne Rempt-Staircase 2018

The way out is through the door
verging on a vertiginous staircase
the only way is down though from
this skewered perspective that may
paradoxically lead you upward
so ever onward begin the descent,
quickly take the steps but careful
mind the gaps widening fissures
leading you into the dense forest
so easy to lose your bearings here
the sunlight barely penetrates
this vast twilight realm of hidden
dangers patiently waiting preying
in the branches, undergrowth
did you forget your thread, crumbs?
Compass or maps are no use here
in this contorted maze old as time
if by chance you ever do stumble into
the sacred point, the absolute centre
what you will find is a jumble of stone
slabs stained by millennia of sacrifice
the enactment of hushed mysteries
performed to the veiled huntress
forever unrevealed, unknowable
the sacred cannot be witnessed
any verification is defilement
of a majestic divine inhuman purity
transcendence is transgression
punishable by transformations
inexorable sarcasms of fate
so move on, there is something
to be seen here but not by our eyes
let’s just scatter to the wind
stand by the towering waterfall
that pounds, pulverises, wears down
the landscape changing eventually
courses streams you can’t
step in here twice so float flow
towards distant mother pre-adamic
hold hands jump into the swell
feel the caress of the dark masseur
the currents riptides the source
of life an unconscionable dream. .

A Ritual Assignation

Alison-Blickle
Alison-Blickle

You’re looking out of the window
seeing all the opportunities spread
before you like a heavenly banquet
and you’re wondering whether
to dare and make that leap.
Well do you believe in what I say?
Have you faith in my vision?
Will you be ready intime
for our long delayed assignation
to give yourself completely
Over to the dream I dreamt for you?
Falling is such bliss, those seconds
Of recall, clarity, then impact.

You’re trembling like a fine-veined
leaf in a lashing storm, come,
no need to be nervous though
it does initially add to the frisson.
Still I understand your concern,
you’re unsure whether I will be
cruel, tender, or even distracted.
You gather from some of my actions
that I can be wanton and crude
or maybe wayward and perverse.
However if you want the exaltation,
(and I know that’s your desire,
I’ve been around, I know
a thing or two and you wouldn’t
be the first that I have turned
inside out and tied up in knots)
then you must relax and let
what is going to happen, happen;
whether I serve you like royalty
or you find freedom in sacrifice,
the ecstasy of divine debasement,
a savage joy in effacing and erasing
the burdensome wearying self.
I will let you play your games
until it is time for the ritual
to commence in earnest,
revealing the solemn mystery,
contained in your unveiled body;
both the map and the territory:
the exit and the gateway.

Acéphale

Cover of Acéphale-Andre Masson 1936
Cover of Acéphale-Andre Masson 1937

By 1935 Georges Bataille and Andre Breton, after both being disillusioned by their dispiriting experiences within various leftist organisations and dismayed by the rise of Fascism across Europe, decided to bury the hatchet and they found common cause in the founding of Contre-Attaque, an anti-fascist movement outside of Stalinist control. Although Contra-Attaque only lasted eighteen months, Bataille and Breton would remain on good terms, even collaborating together on the Encyclopaedia Da Costa after WWII.

Bataille’s other projects around this period included the College of Sociology, which featured fortnightly lectures by members and invited guests between 1937-1939 and was attended by leading intellectuals of the day including Jean Paulhan, Walter Benjamin, Jean-Paul Sartre, Claude Levi-Strauss and Theodor Adorno (co-author of Dialectics of Enlightenment, a book that has gotten under the skin of the New Optimist High Priest, Steven Pinker). However the College of Sociology was the exoteric manifestation of the secret society Acéphale. Little is known of the goings on within Acéphale as the strict vow of secrecy was mainly adhered to by its members, yet it appears to have been preoccupied with the concept of sacrifice.

Acéphale was also the name of a review published between 1936-1939. The term Acéphale comes from the Greek and translates as ‘having no head or chief’. The figure of the Acéphal is headless; not only man escaping his thoughts, logic and reason, but also a headless organisation, one that foregoes hierarchy. Bataille asked Andre Masson to design the cover and Andre Masson produced the above drawing on the spot. Commenting on the Acéphal, Masson said, “I saw him immediately as headless, as becomes him, but what to do with this cumbersome and doubting head?-Irresistibly it finds itself displaced to the sex, which it masks with a ‘death’s head.’ Now, the arms? Automatically one hand (the left) flourishes a dagger, while the other kneads a blazing heart ( a heart that does not belong to the Crucified, but to our master Dionysus). The pectorals starred according to whim. Well, fine so far, but what to make of the stomach? That empty container will be the receptacle for the Labyrinth that elsewhere has become our rallying sign.”

Bataille was delighted with the drawing as it neatly summarises his negative mysticism, a mysticism based on the body and the earth as opposed to the head and the stars. Bataille inverts the classic dictum of Western Esotericism, “As above, so below to as below, so above. This would form the basis of his theory of expenditure, excess and waste outlined in his most important philosophic work, The Accursed Share.

 

 

 

The High Places

bcc59fae0e039feded930f3ce458dc5a1
Sammy Slabbinck

I seek the high places
Where the atmosphere scarifies the lungs
Nothing moves here except the play of
Vision inducing light indicting the unknowing;
And the sombre ballet of the cloud-sculpture
That dissipates and re-forms to always return again
But down there below teems with a writhing life
Paying homage to King TrickTrick
Everything that breathes
Worships at the altar and places offerings
To the Father of this World and Our Lady of Pain
Because Nature is his Church
A ceaseless sacrifice of
Endlessly flowing blood and decaying flesh
Ensuring the constant renewal of their pleasure
And their eternal vampiric existence

I am past such concerns
No longer weighed down by
The weightlessness of Being and Becoming
I await the necessary forgetting
To repeat again the same mistakes
At some other time, in some other place.