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Stations of the Cross photo

part 1


And it sometimes happens, with mutual climax perhaps less than a minute away, that you start to feel an insane depthless empathy for this person, this increasingly contorted person, whose face is being pulled in all sorts of strange directions, as though there were a system of hooks or screws or something, by means of which they were attached to the four corners of the room, by the face, you look closely at them, at their reddening face, and you start to feel that they are undergoing a sort of facial crucifixion, and it’s your fault, you start to believe it’s entirely your doing, even though it’s probably what they wanted, as their face bends you think you can see the ghosts of their ex-lovers leaving it, torn off by the commotion, and what’s the point, really, of casual sex, except to melt the ghosts off someone’s face, as the same thing, presumably, happens to you, instead of seeking long term political realisation you’re seeking short term facial dissolution, instead of working to further the various political and spiritual goals, which are increasingly in need of dedicated attention, here you are, trying to crack your identity open like a nut between the legs of this person – person D – and the closer you get to the ever widening horizon of mutual climax, the more obvious it becomes that they’re doing exactly the same thing, they’re trying to dissolve the memory of their previous sexual partner in the convenient acid bath of your body, perhaps their previous sexual partner, not unlike yours, suddenly left one morning on account of a mysterious team meeting, a team meeting of almost infinite duration, a team meeting that for all intents and purposes took place in a different universe, from which you were excluded by some mysterious ontological rule


but it’s getting a bit much and you look off to the side, to buy yourself a few seconds, after all it’s a particular memory you’re trying dissolve, not your actual existence, which is always a danger in these encounters, you try to see what’s going on through the window, through the emotional support window, and you feel a sincere gladness that you left it open, or they left it open, or you can’t remember, but you feel a sincere gladness that somehow the window got left open, because otherwise there’s a real risk you’ll be tricked by what’s happening inside the room into thinking that nothing beyond it can possibly exist, and you try to slow things down, at least your experience of them, by looking intently at one of the road signs, if only you didn’t know the language, then you could pass the time sounding out the words, trying to infer their meaning from the ‘context’, as they say, it would be great to have some context to pay attention to, you think, but that’s not how this works, because proper casual sex between mature and emotionally healthy adults involves the complete destruction of context, it’s really just a kind of manic hoovering up of any contextual clues as to what might actually be going on, and what can you do with these incredibly simple words, on these incredibly simple signs, there’s something repellent about them, you feel a kind of energising disgust at these ridiculous words which, despite everything, retain their useless, dusty meanings, and when you feel sufficiently refreshed you turn your head back to the left or right, depending on how the physics of it have played out, and it seems to you now that their face is getting pulled not just towards the traditional four points of the compass, but also towards an additional four points in time, towards four people, four ghostly coordinates on their sexual history, you’re watching their face get crucified on an eight-pointed spatio-temporal cross, and yet you’re still going, even though it’s obvious that they’re being pulled back by the face towards these undoable knots in their sexual past, which they probably believe themselves to be in the process of carefully dissolving


and the more you think about it, the less optimistic you feel about the whole situation, you’re trying to unload yourself of all your possessions by putting them all in someone else’s basement, so to speak, meanwhile that very person is filling up your basement with their amassed and unwanted possessions, and there’s every chance that their unwanted possessions, to be specific the mass of traumatic memories they are slowly transferring into your basement, will bring you no more satisfaction than your own traumatic memories, which are now being slowly stacked up in their basement, you’re behaving like two removal van companies, both specialising in the traumatic memory transference, which are pretending not to be in competition, despite desperately struggling to occupy the same physical space, but despite your clear-sighted realisation that what you’re doing is i) futile, ii) perverse and iii) nothing short of interpersonal consumerism, despite all this you’re positively encouraging them, you’re yelling at them to keep going, to move as many of their traumatic memories as possible into your basement before you run out of time, and you’re hurrying to do the same, and despite the fact that on a practical level you are paying complete attention to this person, you’re being absolutely accommodating to their needs and requirements, to say nothing of their concrete requests, despite all this you’re feeling extremely accountable, and it seems to you that the last one hundred or even a thousand years of thought have been in error, all leading up to this wrong idea, that this particular look signifies pleasure, whereas in reality all this look signifies is that it’s their last chance to turn back, and the closer you get to the point of climax the more clear-sighted the ideas of not only Jesus but also of Lenin become, confronted by the horizon of mutual orgasm you start to feel a quasi-bolshevik sense of universal solidarity, you can’t tell if this overwhelming feeling is primarily Christian or primarily communist, but you’re so excited by it that it doesn’t matter, you start to feel sorry not only for your current sexual partner but also for their previous sexual partners, who they are betraying, and your previous sexual partners, who you are betraying, and also for everyone your previous sexual partners are no doubt also betraying, in a similar fashion, we all decided this was the only possible solution to our problems, forgetting about the theories not only of Lenin, which we gave up on all too easily, but also of Jesus, we agreed that those solutions were not going to work, we were too mature and healthy for those solutions, so we have chosen this solution, everyone running around their increasingly secular and mutually exclusive market towns, dissolving the memory of person A in the acid bath of person B, and the memory of person B in the acid bath of person C, and the memory of person C in the acid bath of, why not, person A again


part 2


And it occurs to you that you should tell them, at your earliest convenience, that actually it wouldn’t be so difficult to turn back now, that this is the best time, actually, for them to change their mind, now that they’ve almost completely dissolved the memory of their previous sexual partner it will seem all the more meaningful to stop, to go back and see what’s left among those ruins, rather than having to confront these new ruins, which will be crystallising into their final form in a few seconds, those ruins have surely benefitted from being partially forgotten, perhaps in the absence of your sinister attentions those ruins have transformed into a veritable forest, you want to say, conversely I have pathologically accurate blueprints of these ruins, they’re taking shape right now inside my eyes, it’s not looking good

if they could only stop this now, and there’s still time, there’s always still time, and it’s getting to point where it will be practically newsworthy if they can stop now, and give their previous sexual partner a call, probably what they did was not so bad, it was probably just a simple misunderstanding, in the end human communication is just a series of variations on one originary, inviolable misunderstanding, laid down like a lodestone at the beginning of time, for a reason so complex that even Lenin-Jesus – you’re so close to climax now that they seem like the same person – couldn’t explain it, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s very simple, when you’re about to cum it’s suddenly very obvious that your current sexual partner should get back with their most recent ex, because everything good in this world happens backwards, happens as a result of people turning back at the last possible moment, you have to live life forwards but you have to think it backwards, that’s just how it is, and you start thinking a certain sentence in your head, a sentence which seems incredibly familiar to you, it seems as though you have had this sentence memorised for years, since adolescence or perhaps even earlier, I think you should call your previous sexual partner now, or at least send an SMS, you feel that it’s incredibly important that you say this sentence, but you’re running out of time, and you start to worry that you won’t be able to say it properly, that you’ll bungle the crucial sentence, moreover you worry that they won’t hear it over the gothic symphony of your now fully enmeshed bodies, your now nearly indistinguishable bodies, and what if you start the sentence but don’t manage to finish it in time, what if you interrupt yourself at its most crucial part, after ‘sexual partner,’ but before ‘SMS,’ then you’ll both be left hanging over the abyss, the abyss that you’re making, or unmaking, or a bit both


and in the end of course you don’t say it, you don’t even try to, it’s too difficult, you weren’t ready for the challenge, there’s too much at stake, there’s actually – so it seems to you at the time – less at stake in cuming inside your current sexual partner than in saying this Christian-Socialist sentence that has so much ideological meaning that you can’t, so it seems, even fit it in your mouth, the truth is you weren’t brought up properly, you were misled from the first moment, there were too many sofas for you to sit on and not enough time spent moaning in the desert, you should have been dumped in some ancient community of dead-eyed Cappadocian monks, left at the doorstep of their lifelong orgy of starlit compassion, you should been abandoned not to yourself but to those insufferable desert monks, who spend half the year blinded by sand, it gets so bad they have to close up their eyes for days, until they understand that there is nothing more worth seeing than the inside of their hearts, that what matters is what they remember, not what they might one day be able to forget, those monks, who remember every fly that ever landed on their faces, those monks, whose faces are an uncontorted welcome sign, or simply a human surface, ready to receive anything, alive or otherwise, those monks for whom, when they are sufficiently starved and sleepless, the earth begins to open a little, in recognition of their having never forgotten a single thing, for having drunk only their brothers’ urine for sixteen days, for being so thirsty they could have sucked the tears from their brothers’ sand-shut eyes, they could have and they also did, and they enjoyed it, not in a perverse way but in the simple, participative manner characteristic of a true human community, which gets its kicks where it can, which never pushes the point further than it needs to go, those monks, they could have taught you how to behave, but it’s too late now, you weren’t abandoned in the desert at a young enough age and as a consequence you’ve overshot the mark again, you weren’t able to choose between love and betrayal because frankly you don’t know the difference, and you close the door behind you as gently as possible, as though if you added just one more sound to the world it would collapse under the weight of your helpless participation

image: Otto Mueller