Derrière le Miroir

The sun burns callous behind these eyes. Eyes of lithium saltwater & blue perfumes. Eyes of mylar flux revolving planetary. Dark cybernetic ritual of mind’s eye drowning in soylent dreams of Alhambra, Alcatraz, Alameda. Heraldic eyes draped in dead hair. Eyes grey as overboiled eggs. Bette Davis eyes. The eyes of Dora Mars, cut from a face in which nothing reflects. Eyes from beyond the time barrier, declaring “the final call of mad History” (Corso). Eyewhite of retrospective luneshine. The hour of confrontation arrives: three=eyed Martians / intelligent amoebas / rat=monsters / plagues of locusts bats frogs / alien spores turning humxn flesh to fungus / watermelon space=eggs incubating eyelike in abandoned tropical island quarantine stations for purposes of body=snatching planetary colonisation / flashing lights & control panels / testtube de=evolutions / lunar cycles bringing about strange transformations of womxn into blood=hungry vampyrs – all accompanied by the soul=sucking strains of Van Helsing’s FULL MOON MAMBO in head=on quadraphonic Dolby Surround Sound. FOUR BILLION YEARS IN THE MAKING! Not just another depressing satire about the End of the World, but the Real Thing’s real THING eyeing you off (Samuel Z. Arkoff producing)! See History give up the ghost! See moon monsters fight atomic submarines! See Wild Grrlz battle to the death! “Too tough for any man! They’ll beat ’em, treat ’em & eat ’em alive!” Everyone wants to be in the movies & now’s their One Big Chance! Just smile & say cheese! Well, who’s that pretty picture on the wall there, kiddo? Cld that be YOU? Wld they insert the usual cowardly happy ending or just let it all run on till the audience gave up in despair? “GET UNDRESSED!” they screamed, at the point of an ICBM (y’ve got to realise it’s all or nothing with these people, everything in proportion, hahaha). It’s one of those deepspace horror flix where you find out y’re the first one to wake up dead. Hello? Is that you G.O.D.? (that cis=het uncut salami is a sure giveaway) & humxnity thereafter destined [doomed?] to repeat its one overwhelming question: WAS I ONLY CREATED TO BE AN ANIMATRONIC SEX DOLL? Is that what Spinoza wld’ve done? Do not assign to G.O.D. inhumxn attributes! Beauty, my dear vampyristas, is in the eye of the beholden. That mirrormirroronthewall paranoid schizophrenia designed to send the kidz off to sleep with. Soporific psychobabble of the altered egoless verisimilitude, stuck there on the OTHER SIDE. Under its doleful gaze, a body is corpselike when a) splayed across a bed? b) across a sidewalk? c) across a stitch in time? At this 13th hour of this 13th month of this 13th dimension. Lying on the tideflats in a plastic sheet, watching the satellites drift overhead, the vivisected night, stars burning in atomic=coloured eyes. Life is what repeats itself with unironic force, hungry for reflections. Gaze upon me, it says, as y’d gaze upon the impossible, pauvre con. I, Offensia, have seen what I have seen & it was enough. Posterity’s a bum act. None of this will get you anywhere unless you do it with the fortified belief of a lunatic. Yes, I’ve looked upon the face of G.O.D. & recall being immediately struck by it: a pinkeyed albino rat’s. For anyone who didn’t have a stash of family bullion stuffed down their pants it was the kind of face that cld only be a disadvantage in life. In fact, He looked like a giant lab rat with its brain wired to its arsehole, & a piece of indefinable technology clamped round its neck, doing a Houdini impersonation about to be kicked overboard off Duhomey’s Jungle Cruise & washed up, piranha=pecked, on the Gibbet Marsh with all of History’s other incurables, like some transmogrified halloween cutesypie Baby Jesus. Uwu. Shed a tear why don’t you? But this isn’t yr ordinary vertebrate dumping ground – only willing victims here, kidz, legally confessed, parental consent forms duly rubberstamped, sentenced with all the loving solicitude the Patria doth possess. If it’s limelight y’re looking for, y’ve come to the right place. No photosensitives allowed! Just flamingos with Fabulash! Leave yr blinking myopic vampyr blues behind & plug into the IMAX ignis fatuus! Even those dungbeetles munching on yr intestines are groovy as shit in bespoke Raybans & Eau=de=Kafka. Not enough oxygen in the blood? Someone parboiled the saline solution? The prose don’t parse? Give us a break whydoncha! The sinister projectionist is spinning the reels for the midnight matinee – it’s gonna be a helluva show: THE 13 PLAGUES OF POLLY MAGGOO! (Serial atrocities count for nothing unless it’s carnage you can sink yr teeth into, none of that pay=as=you=go crap.) Darlings, it’s time to let all yr cares wash away. The gentle Lethe waters of Casa Cyprine, cured for all eternityyyy! Seas of blood! Pink neon dusking through pixellated haze! The brainwombed bliss of an orgasm’s phenomenology! Or: The celibacy of a narcissist, determined to created a universe in His own pestilent imago (everywhere you look!). Cue: electric pipeorgan torture fugues / monkey vivisection pix / barbiturate Tropicana Nights / automated dancefloor neuroses / memoirs of sexual underdevelopment / a Judas goat / unresolved questions, e.g. “was Odradek ever really humxn?” / inverted penises / alleys weaving away from the Malecón darkened by squatting figures of misery… The seductions of fiction are never as far as they seem – the more you look, the less you see: eyes that eventually become used to the dimness at a point where all thought stops & only the inert & inanimate have time to appear? Subthermic quantum gravity ESP & other flatline constructs of a flagrant cinéromanticism – like the one Offensia is presently (though perhaps for the last time) “re=living” inside her head, in what you might call posthumous detachment? [Does somewhere the child Offensia still lie sleeping in untrammelled innocence?] The word DISEMBODIMENT floats across the screen. For indeed, Orpheus=like, only the head, cellophane=wrapped, with pink waterlogged ribbons, strings of seaweed, threads of effluent, has come to rest ’pon that forsaken shore – the sainted corpus otherwise predisposed, Commissariat guards having made of a meal of it [comme on dit dans les classiques], such that Offensia’s all too sham “propria persona” is very much more a figure of speech than a prototypical fact. She is what’s called in the industry an avatar’s avatar – a birdseye view out the kazoo, Mamalujo! – flushed down the chute like a jpeg compression artifact. Was her disappearance itself about to disappear? Lost within a minor extinction event’s picture paradigm, never so much as to turn an eye, humxn, vampyric, or otherwise, a vivisected macaque’s even? The New Myth, inshallah! Orphensia by any other name. Before you know it the peanut gallery’s barracking for that melodious motorised kopf to charm the buzzards from the sky with its laryngectomised soprano – far cry from the patent Van Helsing congenital travesty y’d be forgive for expecting, peddled by every record industry pimp this side of Plague Island. Yeah yeah yeah I like my life like there’s no tomorrow…* (Rimshot.) Offensia’s ghosts take their cue to materialise one=by=one from the miasma & join in –
              Nyx gLand: At this point in History, tomorrow’s just kapitalist slut=shaming!
              Crispr: The proverbial Arsehole of Nowhere.
              Spinoza: Methinks of too=oft maligned orifice.
              Nyx gLand: The dream of democracy begins in the anus.
              Don Quixote: And expires on the lips.
              Crispr: G.O.D. was the first coprophage.
              Spinoza: But not the last.
              Wyrd Sisters: Every 13 moons they elect another in His place!
              Juulz Ebola: Eternity is an empty signifier.
              Odradek: A bottomless chamberpot.
              Madam Guyotat: A redundant intestine.
              @RealPresidentChloroqueen: Do vampyrs shit?
              LaMosquitaMuerta: Caramba!
              Hershell Gordon Lewis: Hey, ever hear the one about,
Golem walks into a bar?
              Vance Duhomey: Man of Clay!
              Wyrd Sisters: Let us make the sacrifice!
              Pandemonium. Jungle drums echo the dangers of ruthless fortune=seekers! Death to the kapitalist dollar! G.O.D. asleep at the wheel driven over the bones of the recently deceased. When we dead awake the vultures plunge down upon us. The terrifying arbitrariness. The Father for harvesting. The reverse (also) is true. But a system in which a lunatic is permitted to toy freely with the fate of the world isn’t a corrupted system, it is madness itself. Staring the monster straight in the eye, mesmerised by the hundred thousand fractal fjords & lava lamp blobs drifting through its void. Time’s prehistories & posthistories like bits of detached retina. And somewhere the glint of Offensia‘s revenge, long in the blood, the Promised One, neither humxn nor unhumxn He created her. A fine balancing act of the vampyr libido, coursing through deepest space in various enzyme torque processes unknown to science, crashing through the idolosphere, to end up facedown in a swamp full of toxic holes, just like baby Moe in an intergalactic orphan module. Welcome to the shithole often described by its inhabitants as This Earthly Paradise, googooing & gaagaaing, till the sempiternal Vampyr Queen did manifest from the mists in the persona of Armandine Van Helsing, no less, to claim Offensia for her own. The sacred infant’s small cry of pain under her mother’s lips’ ministrations, gloom of tongue, the Sign of the Blood Ϟ serpentine upon her neck. And thence, attended by the vaporous forms of Marsh spirits, she did stalk the badlands, calling all things names by their names, tending her parasites with childish affection. Each with a prime number tattooed on it, their separate identities, from which the abject chronicle of existence cld be told. To bide their time, till the narrative fortuitously provided occasion? To bury themselves in shame from which they must await redemption like the slow onset of terminal disease. Stealing the labour of resurrectionists, crow food, discards of bioengineered redundancy. Perhaps they had other plans? Here, too, the fact of being awake to permission’s mischance. A bowl of spilt blood, not to cry over, but thieve into the breeding ground, their NON SERVIAM sprouting like nettles, as from the grip of a sentence that will never be served=out (timescale posits matter exactly the wrong way round) vs the great mass of lobotomised public opinion. Just as cinema begins with an absence of light. If this is incomprehensible it’s because G.O.D. / the Corp[orate]=$[tate] / humxnity, is held to rights only when it rains on occasion the entrails of prince & priest till, inundated, the City’s annals, lingual though their spill, do account a more primordial substance to that which is disputed just? All hail the Pax Vampyrica! It’s in this respect that hostility isn’t the same as antagonism, the eternal contraries? In this briefly shining light, something happened to the sky: something else. A paroxysm, discharged into the ether, presaging a cataclysm none shall survive? Eeny, meany, the soothsayers dip their beards in writing ink & sway their heads in catabolic unison. The 3D=printed image swirls! Hark! They are fastforwarding to the END as already countless times before, only this time expecting the Final Glitch that’ll bring their juggernaut crashing to a halt. (If not, what then?) The film unspools, the screen blurs in pure HypnoVision! Monsters, rodents, bats! Every rotten special=effect ever committed to celluloid comes rushing back! Timelapse of the travails of Offensia, ingénue, revanchiste, revolutionary, madwomxn upon the scaffold of History undoing! Will death yet prove its indomitability? Will justice be done?† Meanwhile, on the other side of the City, @RealPresidentChloroqueen is still ensconced on the toilet of the Presidential Palace bunker while vengeant macaques continue undiminished their epic rampage, a seeming eternity having passed in the space of 13 days or 13 hours, the few humxns left standing reduced by starvation to eating every last roll of toiletpaper & contemplating autocannibalism. On his presidential cubicle CCTV monitor @RealPresidentChloroqueen thinks he’s watching a cast of B=movie & TV standbys star in some low=budget psycho action thriller, ZOMBIE MACAQUE MADNESS! TERMINATOR GENE! or THE BRAIN THAT WASN’T THERE! Funny, though, how the faces all look so familiar (must be one of those inhouse productions his press secretary’s always cooking up!). Ayn Rand is next to go, screaming as vampyr macaques chew her face off & devour rancid grey matter w/ a gut=churning lack of basic etiquette. Much seething & hissing, the soundtrack not up to snuff as usual. Suddenly the image cuts out & the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is staring wildeyed into the camera: “We’ve got to evacuate!” But where to? The Control Tower’s no longer transmitting, even G.O.D. isn’t taking their calls any more. @RealPresidentChloroqueen shrugs at the screen, dialling down the audio so he doesn’t have to listen to his last five=star general blubber & squeal as he’s being ripped apart. Flips channels & there’s a drone=eye view of the Presidential Palace lawns strewn with body parts. (More mass hysteria!) Probably the best ratings they’ve ever had, but what good if they wldn’t be around to enjoy the big moment? By the time reinforcements arrived, the real action wld be all over bar the Fat Lady part. Sighingly he switches channels again, but the image seems frozen in brainshocked limbo, as a crazed macaque suddenly comes thrashing out of the toiletbowl, chewing its way straight up @RealPresidentChloroqueen’s intestinal tract till split=seconds later it’s staring out a pair of ruptured eyesockets, a terrible simian shriek of triumph splitting the air. Fastforward to the LAST DAYZ, after riot squads & martial law, Š.V.Ǝ.J.K. pseudo=insurgents & Wild Grrl terror gangs spreading gender panic & glitch hypoxia. What? G.O.D. can’t breathe?‡ Gagged choking in the dark bitter humours bound ungainly or improbably or absurdly the bile rising in the throat the gorge the acerbic ridiculous laughter of this desire to be the object of its own tyrannicide?

* Well aint that a bummer?
† Hold that thought!
‡ Another social=justice imposture!

Louis Armand is a Prague writer, theorist & visual artist. His novels include GlassHouse (2018), The Combinations (Equus, 2016), Abacus (2015), Cairo (2014), Canicule (2013), Breakfast at Midnight (2012), Clair Obscur (2011), Menudo (2005), & The Garden (2001) recently re-released by 11:11 Press (2020).

His theoretical works include Videology (2015), Helixtrolysis (2014), The Organ-Grinder’s Monkey: Culture after the Avantgarde (2013), Solicitations (2013), Event States (2007), Literate Technologies (2006), Incendiary Devices (2001), & Techne (1997).

He is the editor of Mind Factory (2005), Pornotopias (2008), Avant-Post (2006), Hidden Agendas: Unreported Poetics (2010), Pornoterrorism (with Jaromir Lekel; 2015), Technicity (with Arthur Bradley; 2006) & City Primeval: New York, Berlin, Prague (with Robert Carrithers; 2017).

This excerpt is from the forthcoming novel VAMPYR: A Chronicle of Revenge (Alienist).

*Image credit: Still from Stephen Sommers’ 2004 film ‘Van Helsing