MEMENTO MORI

by blackdrop

Once again our paths cross. I had glimpsed your unearthly glowing profile in the window of Demel’s Vienna, the light from a discreet table lamp intersecting with the sodium haze flushing up from a rain-drenched street. You turned and seemed to look directly at – into – me but, ensconced in shadow as I was, you could not possibly have seen me.

In Prague I observed from a distance as you entranced a room full of young designers, unaware of the danger they were courting, your deaths head beauty had mesmerised all of them and I too knew what it was to desire ones own demise at the whim of a capricious goddess.

I’d heard rumour of your reign as Imperiatrice at a week long equinoctial ritual in honour of Astarte in Mirenburg, it was said a dozen beautiful young women had sacrificed their virginity simply to make you aware of their presence.

You held court in a sumptuous brothel on the Rosenstrasse, catering for the needs of a succession of elderly and dissipated Dukes, debased and syphilitic Princelings and eros-engorged Contessas, all of whom were willingly reduced to dribbling idiocy simply to spend a half hour at your mercy.

Shuddering with barely-repressed desire I watched you slip on a succession of fanciful shoes and absurdist boots in an impossibly up-market boutique in Frankfurt, your opalescent limbs and feet were encased in – one after the other – leather, suede, vinyl, plastic, then snake, alligator and pony skins. It was a moment of unbearable ecstasy that delivered me on to a plane of excruciating sensation I had never imagined to be possible ­– I burned for you.

A week after this debilitating episode I stood in your just vacated hotel room in Warsaw and then lay on the extinguished body of the young woman you had spent the night feasting upon. I knew now that you were aware of my existence and deliberately teasing me with your leavings, goading me into ever more dangerous proximity and opening the path to my own self-willed annihilation.

In Dublin that Autumn your presence at an avant-garde festival had caused a decisive break between two opposing literary factions – the Transcendental Orthographers and the Visceral Realists – leading to several wounding’s and a series of near riots.

I watched as you prepared a meal in the kitchen of your apartment in Berlin, your glimmering silver dress in counterpoint to the gleaming knife that you were using to dissect a Guinea Fowl. I yearned to be under that rising and falling blade myself, being opened up for inspection by that efficient and merciless hand – a doomed divinatory seduction.

A general ‘tinkling in the ears’* announces your presence in the city and the people find themselves to be at once obscurely aroused, morbidly obsessed with trivialities and prone to unlikely fixations – a young man creates an elaborate altar to his long dead mother-in-law using purloined black lingerie, an ageing roué unaccountably finds himself at the doors of a church begging forgiveness for minor ecclesiastical infractions, a naked man is discovered rooted to the spot and in a state of priapic excitation whilst staring fixedly at a modernist tower block, an internationally renowned architect is struck down by a debilitating case of stereo-blindness, two sisters bake and consume an enormous pie using their father as the main ingredient and a number of schools experience a reversal of roles with pupils taking control and inaugurating endless playtime.

These incidents, amongst countless others, drew me in your wake until finally, in a discreetly recherché bar in the bohemian district your gleaming golden eyes beheld me, the lych bell tolled and we are a star within a circle placed upon the horns of a crescent moon.

 

*cf James Hogg, the ‘Ettrick Shepherd’.

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