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The Lords

Look where we worship.

We all live in the city.

The city forms - often physically, but inevitably

psychically - a circle. A Game. A ring of death

with sex at its center. Drive toward outskirts

of city suburbs. At the edge discover zones of

sophisticated vice and boredom, child prosti-

tution. But in the grimy ring immediately surround-

ing the daylight business district exists the only

real crowd life of our mound, the only street

life, night life. Diseased specimens in dollar

hotels, low boarding houses, bars, pawn shops,

burlesques and brothels, in dying arcades which

never die, in streets and streets of all-night


When play dies it becomes the Game.

When sex dies it becomes Climax.

All games contain the idea of death.

Baths, bars, the indoor pool. Our injured leader

prone on the sweating tile. Chlorine on his breath

and in his long hair. Lithe, although crippled,

body of a middle-weight contender. Near him

the trusted journalist, confidant. He liked men

near him with a large sense of life. But most

of the press were vultures descending on the

scene for curious America aplomb. Cameras

inside the coffin interviewing worms.

It take large murder to turn rocks in the shade

and expose strange worms beneath. The lives of

our discontented madmen are revealed.

Camera, as all-seeing god, satisfies our longing

for omnisciece. To spy on others from this

height and angle: pedestrians pass in and out of

our lens like rare aquatic insects.

Yoga powers. To make oneself invisible or small

To become gigantic and reach to the farthest things.

To change the course of nature. To place oneself

anywhere in space or time. To summon the dead.

To exalt senses and perceive inaccessible images,

of events on other worlds, in one's deepest inner

mind, or in the minds of others.

The sniper's rifle is an extension of his eye. He

kills with injurious vision.

The assassin (?), in flight, gravitated with

unconscious, instinctual insect ease, moth-

like, toward a zone of safety, haven from the

swarming streets. Quickly, he was devoured

in the warm, dark, silent maw of the physical


Modern circles of Hell: Oswald (?) kills President.

Oswald enters taxi. Oswald stops at rooming house.

Oswald leaves taxi. Oswald kills Officer Tippitt.

Oswald sheds jacket. Oswald is captured.

He escaped into a movie house.

In the womb we are blind cave fish.

Everything is vague and dizzy. The skin swells and

there is no more distinction between parts of the

body. An encroaching sound of threatening,

mocking, monotonous voices. This is fear and

attraction of being swallowed.

Inside the dream, button sleep around your body

like a glove. Free now of space and time. Free

to dissolve in the streaming summer.

Sleep is an under-ocean dipped into each night.

At morning, awake dripping, gasping, eyes


The eye looks vulgar

Inside its ugly shell.

Come out in the open

In all of your Brilliance.

Nothing. The air outside

burns my eyes.

I'll pull them out

and get rid of the burning.

Crisp hot whiteness

City Noon

Occupants of plague zone

are consumed.

(Santa Ana's are winds off deserts.)

Rip up grating and splash in gutters.

The search for water, moisture,

"wetness" of the actor, lover.

"Players" - the child, the actor, and the gambler.

The idea of chance is absent from the world of the

child and primitive. The gambler also feels in

service of an alien power. Chance is a survival

of religion in the modern city, as is theater,

more often cinema, the religion of possession.

What sacrifice, at what price can the city be born?

There are no longer "dancers", the possessed.

The cleavage of men into actor and spectators

is the central fact of our time. We are obsessed

with heroes who live for us and whom we punish.

If all the radios and televisions were deprived

of their sources of power, all books and paintings

burned tomorrow, all shows and cinemas closed,

all the arts of vicarious existence...

We are content with the "given" in sensation's

quest. We have been metamorphosised from a mad

body dancing on hillsides to a pair of eyes

staring in the dark.

Not one of the prisoners regained sexual balance.

Depressions, impotency, sleeplessness... erotic

dispersion in languages, reading, games, music,

and gymnastics.

The prisoners built their own theater which

testified to an incredible surfeit of leisure.

A young sailor, forced into female roles, soon

became the "town" darling, for by this time they

called themselves a town, and elected a mayor,

police, aldermen.

In old Russia, the Czar, each year, granted-

out of the shrewdness of his own soul or one of

his advisors' - a week's freedom for one convict

in each of his prisons. The choice was left to the

prisoners themselves and it was determined in

several ways. Sometimes by vote, sometimes by lot,

often by force. It was apparent that the chosen

must be a man of magic, virility, experience,

perhaps narrative skill, a man of possibility, in

short, a hero. Impossible situation at the

moment of freedom, impossible selection,

defining our world in its percussions.

A room moves over a landscape, uprooting the mind,

astonishing vision. A gray film melts off the

eyes, and runs down the cheeks. Farewell.

Modern life is a journey by car. The Passengers

change terribly in their reeking seats, or roam

from car to car, subject to unceasing transformation.

Inevitable progress is made toward the beginning

(there is no difference in terminals), as we

slice through cities, whose ripped backsides present

a moving picture of windows, signs, streets,

buildings. Sometimes other vessels, closed

worlds, vacuums, travel along beside to move

ahead or fall utterly behind.

Destroy roofs, walls, see in all the rooms at once.

From the air we trapped gods, with the gods'

omniscient gaze, but without their power to be

inside minds and cities as they fly above.

June 30th. On the sun roof. He woke up suddenly.

At that instant a jet from the air base crawled

in silence overhead. On the beach, children try

to leap into its swift shadow.

The bird or insect that stumbles into a room

and cannot find the window. Because they know

no "windows."

Wasps, poised in the window,

Excellent dancers,

detached, are not inclined

into out chamber.

Room of withering mesh

read love's vocabulary

in the green lamp

of tumescent flesh.

When men conceived buildings,

and closed themselves in chambers,

first trees and caves.

(Windows work two ways,

mirrors one way.)

You never walk through mirrors

or swim through windows.

Cure blindness with a whore's spittle.

In Rome, prostitutes were exhibited on roofs

above the public highways for the dubious

hygiene of loose tides of men whose potential

lust endangered the fragile order of power.

It is even reported that patrician ladies, masked

and naked, sometimes offered themselves up to

these deprived eyes for private excitements of

their own.

More or less, we're all afflicted with the psychology

of the voyeur. Not in a strictly clinical or

criminal sense, but in our whole physical and emotional

stance before the world. Whenever we seek to break

this spell of passivity, our actions are cruel and

awkward and generally obscene, like an invalid who

has forgotten how to walk.

The voyeur, the peeper, the Peeping Tom, is a dark

comedian. He is repulsive in his dark anonymity,

in his secret invasion. He is pitifully alone.

But, strangely, he is able through this same silence

and concealment to make unknowing partner of anyone

within his eye's range. This is his threat and


There are no glass houses. The shades are drawn

and "real" life begins. Some activities are impossible

in the open. And these secret events are the voyeur's

game. He seeks them out with his myriad army of

eyes - like the child's notion of a Deity who sees

all. "Everything?" asks the child. "Yes, every-

thing," they answer, and the child is left to cope

with this divine intrusion.

The voyeur is masturbator, the mirror his badge,

the window his prey.

Urge to come to terms with the "Outside," by

absorbing, interiorizing it. I won't come out,

you must come in to me. Into my womb-garden

where I peer out. Where I can construct a universe

within the skull, to rival the real.

She said, "Your eyes are always black." The pupil

opens to seize the object of vision.

Imagery is born of loss. Loss of the "friendly

expanses." The breast is removed and the face

imposes its cold, curious, forceful, and inscrutable


You may enjoy life from afar. You may look at

things but not taste them. You may caress

the mother only with the eyes.

You cannot touch these phantoms.

French Deck. Solitary stroker of cards. He

dealt himself a hand. Turn stills of the past in

unending permutations, shuffle and begin. Sort

the images again. And sort them again. This

game reveals germs of truth, and death.

The world becomes an apparently infinite, yet

possibly finite, card game. Image combinations,

permutations, comprise the world game.

A mild possession, devoid of risk, at bottom

sterile. With an image there is no attendant


Muybridge derived his animal subjects from the

Philadelphia Zoological Garden, male performers

from the University. The women were professional

artists' models, also actresses and dancers,

parading nude before the 48 cameras.

Films are collections of dead pictures which are

given artificial insemination.

Film spectators are quiet vampires.

Cinema is most totalitarian of the arts. All

energy and sensation is sucked up into the skull,

a cerebral erection, skull bloated with blood.

Caligula wished a single neck for all his subjects

that he could behead a kingdom with one blow.

Cinema is this transforming agent. The body

exists for the sake of the eyes; it becomes a

dry stalk to support these two insatiable


Film confers a kind of spurious eternity.

Each film depends upon all the others and drives

you on to others. Cinema was a novelty, a scientif-

ic toy, until a sufficient body of works had been

amassed, enough to create an intermittent other

world, a powerful, infinite mythology to be dipped

into at will.

Films have an illusion of timelessness fostered

by their regular, indomitable appearance.

The appeal of cinema lies in the fear of death.

The modern East creates the greatest body of films.

Cinema is a new form of an ancient tradition - the

shadow play. Even their theater is an imitation

of it. Born in India or China, the shadow show

was aligned with religious ritual, linked with

celebrations which centered around cremation of the


It is wrong to assume, as some have done, that

cinema belongs to womenn. Cinema is created by

men for the consolation of men.

The shadow plays originally were restricted to

male audiences. Men could view these dream shows

from either side of the screen. When women later

began to be admitted, they were allowed to attend

only to shadows.

Male genitals are small faces

forming trinities of thieves

and Christs

Fathers, sons, and ghosts.

A nose hangs over a wall

and two half eyes, sad eyes,

mute and handless, multiply

an endless round of victories.

These dry and secret triumphs, fought

in stalls and stamped prisons,

glorify our walls

and scorch our vision.

A horror of empty spaces

propagates this seal on private places.

Kynaston's Bride

may not appear

but the odor of her flesh

is never very far.

A drunken crowd knocked over the apparatus,

and Mayhew's showman, exhibiting at Islington

Green, burned up, with his mate, inside.

In 1832, Gropius was astounding Paris with his

Pleorama. The audience was transformed into

the crew aboard a ship engaged in battle. Fire,

screaming, sailor, drowning.

Robert Baker, an Edinburgh artist, while in jail

for debt, was struck by the effect of light shining

through the bars of his cell though a letter he

was reading, and out of this perception he in-

vented the first Panorama, a concave, transparent

picture view of the city.

This invention was soon replaced by the Diorama,

which added the illusion of movement by shifting

the room. Also sounds and novel lighting effects.

Daguerre's London Diorama still stands in Regent's

Park, a rare survival, since these shows depended

always on effects of artificial light, produced

by lamps or gas jets, and nearly always ended

in fire.

Phantasmagoria, magic lantern shows, spectacles

without substance. They achieved complete

sensory experiences through noise, incense,

lightning, water. There may be a time when

we'll attend Weather Theaters to recall the

sensation of rain.

Cinema has evolved in two paths.

One is spectacle. Like the Phantasmagoria, its

goal is the creation of a total substitute

sensory world.

The other is peep show, which claims for its

realm both the erotic and untampered obser-

vance of real life, and imitates the keyhole or

voyeur's window without need of color, noise,


Cinema discovers its fondest affinities, not

with painting, literature, or theater, but with

the popular diversions - comics, chess, French

and Tarot decks, magazines, and tattooing.

Cinema derives not from painting, literature,

sculpture, theater, but from ancient popular

wizardry. It is the contemporary manifestation

of an evolving history of shadows, a delight in

pictures that move, a belief in magic. Its

lineage is entwined from the earliest beginning

with Priests and sorcery, a summoning of phantoms.

With, at first, only slight aid of the mirror and

fire, men called up dark and secret visits from

regions in the buried mind. In these seances,

shades are spirits which ward off evil.

The spectator is a dying animal.

Invoke, palliate, drive away the Dead. Nightly.

Through ventriloquism, gestures, play with objects,

and all rare variations of the body in space,

the shaman signaled his "trip" to an audience

which shared the journey.

In the seance, the shaman led. A sensuous panic,

deliberately evoked through drugs, chants, dancing,

hurls the shaman into trance. Changed voice,

convulsive movement. He acts like a madman. These

professional hysterics, chosen precisely for their

psychotic leaning, were once esteemed. They

mediated between man and spirit-world. Their mental

travels formed the crux of the religious life of

the tribe.

Principle of seance: to cure illness. A mood

might overtake a people burdened by historical

events or dying in a bad landscape. They seek

deliverance from doom, death, dread. Seek posses-

sion, the visit of gods and powers, a rewinning

of the life source from demon possessors. The

cure is culled from ecstasy. Cure illness or

prevent its visit, revive the sick, and regain

stolen, soul.

It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator

in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes.

The spectator cannot exist without it. It insures

his existence.

The happening/the event in which ether is introduced

into a roomful of people through air vents makes

the chemical an actor. Its agent, or injector,

is an artist-showman who creates a performance

to witness himself. The people consider themselves

audience, while they perform for each other,

and the gas acts out poems of its own through

the medium of the human body. This approaches

the psychology of the orgy while remaining in

the realm of the Game and its infinite permu-


The aim of the happening is to cure boredom,

wash the eyes, make childlike reconnections

with the stream of life. Its lowest, widest

aim is for purgation of perception. The happening

attempts to engage all the senses, the total

organism, and achieve total response in the face of

traditional arts which focus on narrower inlets

of sensation.

Multimedias are invariably sad comedies. They

work as a kind of colorful group therapy, a

woeful mating of actors and viewers, a mutual

semimasturbation. The performers seem to need

their audience and the spectators - the spectators

would find these same mild titillations in a freak

show or Fun Fair and fancier, more complete

amusements in a Mexican cathouse.

Novices, we watch the moves of silkworms who excite

their bodies in moist leaves and weave wet nests

of hair and skin.

This is a model of our liquid resting world

dissolving bone and melting marrow

opening pores as wide as windows.

The "stranger" was sensed as greatest menace

in ancient communities.

Metamorphose. An object is cut off from its name,

habits, associations. Detached, it becomes only

the thing, in and of itself. When this disintegration

into pure existence is at last achieved, the object

is free to become endlessly anything.

The subject says "I see first lots of things

which dance... then everything becomes gradually


Object as they exist in time the clean eye and

camera give us. Not falsified by "seeing."

When there are as yet no objects.

Early film makers, who - like the alchemists -

delighted in a willful obscurity about their craft,

in order to withhold their skills from profane


Separate, purify, reunite. The formula of

Ars Magna, and its heir, the cinema.

The camera is androgynous machine, a kind of

mechanical hermaphrodite.

In his retort the alchemist repeats the work of


Few would defend a small view of Alchemy as "Mother

of Chemistry," and confuse its true goal with those

external metal arts. Alchemy is an erotic science,

involved in buried aspects of reality, aimed

at purifying and transforming all being and matter.

Not to suggest that material operations are ever

abandoned. The adept holds to both the mystical

and physical work.

The alchemists detect in the sexual activity of

man a correspondence with the world's creation,

with the growth of plants, and with mineral

formations. When they see the union of rain

and earth, they see it in an erotic sense, as

copulation. And this extends to all natural

realms of matter. For they can picture love

affairs of chemicals and stars, a romance of

stones, or the fertility of fire.

Strange, fertile correspondences the alchemists

sensed in unlikely orders of being. Between

men and planets, plants and gestures, words and

weather. These disturbing connections: an in-

fant's cry and the stroke of silk; the whorl

of an ear and an appearance of dogs in the yard;

a woman's head lowered in sleep and the morning

dance of cannibals; these are conjunctions which

transcend the sterile signal of any "willed"

montage. These juxtapositions of objects, sounds,

actions, colors, weapons, wounds, and odors shine

in an unheard-of way, impossible ways.

Film is nothing when not an illumination of

this chain of being which makes a needle poised

in flesh call up explosions in a foreign capital.

Cinema returns us to anima, religion of matter,

which gives each thing its special divinity and

sees gods in all things and beings

Cinema, heir of alchemy, last of an erotic science.

Surround Emperor of Body.

Bali Bali dancers

Will not break my temple.


suck eyes into the head.

The rosy body cross

secret in flow

controls its flow.


in body weights dance

and music, mimesis, body.


entertain embryo

sweet dangerous thrust flow.

The Lords. Events take place beyond our knowledge

or control. Our lives are lived for us. We can

only try to enslave others. But gradually, special

perceptions are being developed. The idea of the

"Lords" is beginning to form in some. We

should enlist them into bands of perceivers to

tour the labyrinth during their mysterious noc-

turnal appearences. The Lords have secret entrances,

and they know disguises. But they give themselves

away in minor ways. Too much glint of light in

the eye. A wrong gesture. Too long and curious a


The Lords appease us with images. They give us

books, concerts, galleries, shows, cinemas. Es-

pecially the cinemas. Through art they confuse

us and blind us to our enslavement. Art adorns

our prison walls, keeps us silent and diverted

and indifferent.

Dull lions prone on a watery beach.

The universe kneels at the swamp

to curiously eye its own raw

postures of decay

in the mirror of human consciousness.

Absent and peopled mirror, absorbent,

passive to whatever visits

and retains its interest.

Door to passage to the other side,

the soul frees itself in stride.

Turn mirrors to the wall

in the house of the new dead


The Lords / Doors

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