far less killed one.
They left their cattle in the stables
dinner on the tables
of those who had fallen
not all were dead,
some were clawing at their clothes
or crawling over the motionless bodies of those who were dead
some spurting blood
hands clutching at their torn flesh
arms moving puppetlike
We paused for a moment by the river of time,
as they say,
sucked the honey from the bone-marrow of some strangers
and smeared it across their faces
Stirred up some blood.
And on the day of judgment
my fellows and I who fought in this war
will collect our scattered bones
and submit them for roll-call,
and we will be told to advance--
and we'll do it!
Man is spirit, but what is spirit? Spirit is the self, but what is the self? The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the relation but consists in the fact that the relation relates itself to its own self. Man is the synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity. So regarded, man is not yet a self, but may become a self in relation to another, as in war.
What a lie to say that fortune favors the bold.
Fortune favors the cretins and the madmen.
Fortune is on the side of the savages.
What would you know?
Thrown into an army in the field a man is weaned from whatever excess of tenderness toward his precious person he may bring with him
These are visions I can see
at any time of night or day
eyes opened or eyes closed
Where there were houses
we left rubble,
ulcers festering on naked terrain.
We smashed our way into crowds
of men and women
raging and beating and hunting;
we drove them across the fields
like frightened horses;
we set fire to their houses;
we hurled their corpses into wells;
everything that came to hand
our hearts were emptied of human feelings;
we burned whatever we could.
There comes a time
you can't distinguish the images of day from night.
The body is nothing
but a product of semen and of blood
which then becomes a meal for death
a dwelling place for suffering
a tavern for disease.
A man may know all this
from lack of judgment
drowning in a sea of ignorance,
he yearns for love, for women, and for power.
In the aftermath,
one feels the chill in the countryside,
the low-lying white mist,
shards of farmhouses in the haze,
no living thing
no bird, no animal broke the silence
not one stone left standing on another,
rather a wilderness of stones,
even if one could trace it for a distance,
there would be a danger of getting lost,
because there is no sign of direction.
No one knew what was happening
those were the rumors we heard back home--
or who had a chance to survive and who didn't
where the safe places were
who was born under a lucky star
It's all very complicated.
All a matter of the complicity of "all parties"
a result of ancient feuds
difficult to pin the blame.
a light ash of gold
covering the fields
the victors covered in glory
dust to golden dust
this is precious dust
One had the impression
of having passed out of the modern world
back into a vanished civilization.
The color of the dead:
I could have killed him with hammering in his head
I could have killed him driving nails into his chest
I would have split him with an ax
right up his buttocks
I could have hung his torso from a meat hook
The swift cutting of his throat
was an act of euthanasia.
Think no more about it.
What's done is done.
Let's not wallow in the past.
Let's put all that behind us
and move on.
[And what follows is pornographic, not tender--
or tender, and also pornographic.]
I know how to
soothe your anguish,
make you forget.
I know how to hold you
my head on your breast
fingers twined in your hair
to kiss your breast
caress it with my tongue
I know how to slide my hand
down to your thigh
let my fingers wander up inside you
and with my hand thrust deep inside
to talk with you
that moment when
whatever it is I ask
you speak the truth to me
as you have always done
in these years past
when Agamemnon was away.
I know how you would be comforted
to feel the ache of longing
the satisfaction of love.
A hand slipped round your buttock
coming to you from behind
as though you were a girl again
making love for the first time
a thirteen year old
in her father's arms
Come with me then
and come again.
Let me hold you
in my arms.
If men and women knew true love,
they would know true peace forever.
[Clytemnestra turns and goes with him.
All the things of the world
come into being by themselves
and so they are immortal.
Life itself is eternal.
But our individual lives have beginnings and ends.
And this individual life
is distinguished from all other things
by the rectilinear course of its movement,
which cuts through the cycle of biological life.
This is mortality:
to move along a line
in a universe where everything,
if it moves at all,
moves in cycles.
And all things that owe their existence to men,
all works, all deeds, all words,
unless men may endow these works and deeds
with some permanence
by making them forever memorable:
and then these things
may enter the world of everlastingness,
and mortal men and women
may find their place in the cosmos.
This is the riddle of time:
the human capacity to achieve remembrance
is the capacity to transform time
Nothing human is forever;
except the human heart
that has the capacity to remember
and the capacity to say:
And so it is
that our own hearts
and nothing else
are the final arbiters
of what it is
to be human.
A NOTE ON THE TEXT:
The text for this piece was written under the direction of Brian Kulick and with the assistance of Greg Gunter as dramaturg. Composed the way Max Ernst made his Fatagaga pieces at the end of World War I, some of the texts were inspired by or taken from the work of Hesiod, Herodotus, Thucydides, Homer, Aeschylus, Artemidorus, The Book of Revelations, Philip Vellacott, Slavenka Drakulic, Zlatko Dizdarevic, Zbigneiw Herbert, Pierre Klossowski, Georges Bataille, Sei Shonagon, and Hannah Arendt.