Nothingness, or the void, or others, are all equally close to an impersonal fullness – which is unknowable."
— Georges Bataille, Literature and Evil
— Georges Bataille, Literature and Evil
— Kathe Koja, The Cipher
We remember journals
We remember worlds
We remember pulse-spiking
monsters, basement TV light.
We remember symphony
in thunderstorms and
running hours over time.
— Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
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Him, lipless remainders of sad songs wordless, a stomach bone white like parchment.
Her, grace in fractions, in books not fully read, books then savaged by his death drive eyes.
Him, the sickness of half-thoughts expelled, abject, the shades of better minds, like a petal too ill to consummate.
Bites, timid, the building of worlds in light electric, phantom slaves to the great symbolic.
Her, the image of tomorrow blinking, blinking silent, bodies at work, an economy of wits drawn thin.
1. What is the category of 0? The subject that J has selected or, rather, that he has been assigned with, does not believe in a type that belongs to nothing, or to a logic belonging to 0, a world existing within the confines of nothing, absence, non-number.
2. This is what J stops to think when he sets his Robert Bloch paperback on the coffee table, when he crosses the room with aspirations of liquor and serious literature. Read Borges, said K, when she used to answer his calls. Strive for Kafka, she said, Read Faulkner, read McCarthy, hell, read Oates… we’ll discuss theory some other day… right now you’re thirsting for some real fiction, babylove.
3. J drinks one beer over the legal limit of two drinks before operating a motor vehicle down the poker-limits lane outside his residential bar. He hums a song he cannot name, an old song by the Supremes, smoking a cigarette with the window down, wincing with tearless sobs. Whenever J drinks over the legal limit, he drives under the legal limit. Whenever J drives or drinks, J thinks of K, and K makes J dry-cry.
4. K drove along at 50kms against her will, as the posted limit was 50kms. K thought to herself, What would it matter if she drove 51kms, or even 52kms? K pushed down on the pedal, accelerating to 51, 52kms, 53kms, accelerating even past 54kms, surprising herself in this moment of daring. She thought of death and she thought of J as she drove past the police at a speed that was over the posted limit by 3 or 4 kms, too slow for them to notice.
5. K imagined the protozoa, K imagined the infinitesimal machinations of a brake pedal unattended, K saw the accursed face of her gray-faced world in the blotted, calculatron instant of yellow-going-red, and she accelerated. She was out of cigarettes and besides, the world would end at some point anyway.
6. K looked at boys like J and she saw the source of their plight before they could voice it… a singular, homogeneous, constructed plight. K drove vintage automobiles with new engines, she played old songs on high-tech audio systems. She sat in her garage, engine off, radio on, and reflected on gaps in her genealogy as a reader. She wondered where her thinkers came from, wondered where her theorists planted their ontological roots, and she sang baby love, my baby love, I need you, oh how I need you, but all you do is treat me bad…
7. J enters the room: his thousand mile stare iridescent as if he is looking at the rising sun; new dawn a cataract, a fault line, his will whispers. All he is thinking of is K, alone, at the back of the bar, her drink in hand and her eyes quitting his.
8. K pushed down on the pedal, accelerating to 51kms, 52kms, 53kms, even past 54kms. To whom did she owe this newfound taste four death? J, she answered, as if it were as evident as a mathematical constant, say 2 + 3 = 5 or that the value of π is 3.14 repeating… repetition was like death in that it tasted sweet on her tobacco coated tongue, or so she imagined, rather poetically, as K thought herself a poet in the world, unhinged, spreading pestilence and love-in-the-end-of-times, collecting her teeth as they fell, becoming-woman, becoming-her.
1. A wary bystander, senses parked in impenetrable cold. Every streetlight a gray halo, a fog suspended: the image outside experience, outside text.
2. We grab him by his neck hairs. He has nasty neck hairs, teeming with lice eggs, curling at the ends. We grab his neck hairs and sling his face into the steel doors. He is silent. Submissive.
3. The subordinate counterpart of our improvised binary. The shivering body, homesick and bleeding. He has a nicotine-yellowed Selby paperback in his bag, but we/they are too stoned on glue to notice. Identity through identification, subservient acceptance of top-to-bottom systematics, the initiation of rehearsed discourse through rape and shame.
4. A great oracle. A profound truth is projected onto a silk screen; it slips farther away as the desperate spirits chase it. They fail to realize that its motion is initiated by theirs. Through their desperation, it is given the power to flee. If they could all just sit and wait, the answer would come to them.
5. The harpsichord drops into the street. It is not an act of God. We remind ourselves of this because we can no longer accept duality as it is written. We are charted on the moral summit, submitting to the continuum of mischance. The spider skitters across the reader’s insight to imbue the rape with visceral focus on sensory detail: the razor-burned blotches below patches of missed hair, the sick stench of food that’s been expired for months.
6. It is the clamour of a buzz saw or the pungent smell of an unwashed foot. It is a root with carpeting the texture of cat litter.
7. I hold the gun tighter; press it firmer against his temple. The way he looks up at me, I see he’s one o’ the weak. The weak are the ones afraid to die, ya see? They got no fuckin’ spirit, no will to live. That’s why you gotta beat it into them… or just rid the world of the fuckin’ waste of space.
8. Blood and pus, the yellow shade of a dandelion, streaming from his flaccid manhood into his hands. A conundrum of fluid and ecstasy, pain so intense and brilliant they lock hands and twist.
9. Psychoactive animation of the arachnid. Four rapists compare their gun specs in waning dusk light while passing a bowl of today’s hallucinogenic. Chance by way of mischance. The horror in laughter. The temporal complication of being God, hovering like foggy light to survey the vices of the weak.
10. This cyclone is perpetual, spinning and spinning. The absolution of free energy; it’s finally been discovered. But it only exists in hell. And the matriarch watches from her throne. She picks human flesh from her teeth with blackened claws and swallows. Digests every last bit.
11. You’re such a loser, man. You’re the same routine, a tie in the mirror, a coffee-less drive down Blackfoot Trail, a stomach curdling after you wolf down your sausage and egg McMuffin.
12. Reality has become a full-fledged illusion; it has never been anything else but this idea is now illustrated, well defined. The boundaries that define my body and your mind are connected on some sort of profound level. We paint with the fifth element to capture something truly unique.
13. The same bleak obsession, the same spider regurgitating poison into her hypothalamus. “Take me.” It is a lust that nearly makes her wet, a puddle forming around the crotch. “You cocksucking cunt.” The spider spewing splurge, spewing spit, hacking pieces of her brain into small and symmetrical cylinders.
14. When does the nightmare end? When do the deities exit the stage? When does the lamplight—that flickering and dauntless mediator—finally flicker into blackness? When do we/they drain the abscess, spilling the muck of excess into the void? When does it end?
AFFECTUS: An Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy and Theory emerged out of an inter-institutional seminar led by Mount Royal University students during the summer of 2013. The journal will be published online biannually, that is, once in January and once in September. Currently, 17 undergraduate students are involved with the journal.
Mount Royal Undergraduates Humanities Review (MRUHR) has published its inaugural issue.
It features essays by Mike Thorn (“The Relocation of Monstrosity: An Analysis of Horror in Brian De Palma’s Carrie”) and Kyle Kinaschuk (“Derrida’s Secret and Symptom: A Certain Impossible Possibility of Writing the Event”).