Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Wild Boys 2 by Elijah M. Burgher

Chapter N: A Portrait of JCDC as Many, as Multitude, as Anon. & On & On.

To the North: Liquid helium barfed on gated gardens.
To the West: Jean Genet, Chicago 1968: I can’t wait for this city to rot. I can’t wait to see weeds growing up through empty streets.
To the South: Floods of rotten blood & gusting halitosis reek on White House lawn Easter egg hunts.
To the East: We will rewrite all the wrongs of history. We will kill all the shits before they can be born.

Weimar Germany, 1920s. Countryside. Roamers stray from foot-bitten paths. Members of hiking clubs remove their patches, drop their flags and emblems, forget pledges and club songs, chuck their scripts in the campfire. Identity laundering begins. Too many Big Pictures. It doesn’t make sense. So I am an Apache. My name is Winnetou. I ride an eight legged steed. I am a Templar Knight. I am drunk on Kvasir’s blood. I am a Universal Monster. I am The Entity, I am From Beyond. Make time machines and grave-rob feelings and sensations lost in dirt of overturned decades.

A photograph: That one wore a cloak of dark blue and he carried a traveler’s staff in his hands and walked with the Sorcerer’s Gait. This one wore Bavarian Wandervogel outfit: lederhosen, embroidered shirt with collar open at the neck, a jacket green like hunters wear, through the front of which there showed a band on which stags were embroidered. Those ones: bulky and sundry loads swaying on their backs. Enormous hiking boots. The most bizarre coverings on their heads. Black or gray Chaplinesque bowlers. Old women’s hats with the brims turned up in “Amazon” fashion adorned with ostrich plumes and medals. Proletarian navigator caps decorated with enormous edelweiss above the visor. Handkerchiefs or scarves in screaming colors tied any which way around the neck. Bare chests bursting out of open skin vests with broad stripes. Arms scored with fantastic or lewd tattoos. Ears hung with pendants or enormous rings. Immense triangular belts daubed with all the colors of the rainbow, esoteric numbers, human and animal figures copied from cave paintings, drawings of UFOs, sigils and runes. Enormous leather bracelets and plastic spangles. The whole lot, a bizarre mixture of virility and effeminacy.

They hang from trees, shaking down twigs and dead branches. Crouching, they crowd about the strewn bits, attempting to read the marks and shapes they draw on the packed black soil and red pine needles. They close one eye, the better for scrying; they say it “strangles the aperture.” The twigs and branches spell out a secret alphabet, but they must wait for the meaning to be clarified, for the message to be delivered. Sometimes they mutter, “You Forgot to Answer.” Their painful waiting in the face of an inscrutable picture is dangerous waiting: the patience excruciates. Deep Depression Ecology. Their gestures of mimicry are Sympathetic Magic. They disarm their opponents by surprising them with displays of WONDERFULLY cute violence.

They have no books or DVDs, so they recite weird tales and slasher flicks and other stories from memory. Soon they’ve stripped the stories to lists of names and attributes. They’ve boiled off the plot: I am an Apache. A Templar Knight. A Universal Monster. The Entity From Beyond – I’ve survived the Event Horizon. [Each speaks in turn.] I am a Fox. A Raven. A Wildebeest. A Salamander. A Snow Leapord. A Red Panda. I’m a Stealth Bomber. An Improvised Explosive Device. I’m the Large Hadron Collider. I am Ginnungagap, Chasm of Chasms, World-Swallower. I am Artemis, never shall I marry. I am Lydia Lunch. Kim Gordon. AA Bronson: Healer. I am Mictlantecuhtli, Red Skeleton, my name is Death. I am a Mugwump. I am Secession 2012. I am Close to the Night of the Long Knives.
They put the words in a time machine. The words return from antiquity, 1930s Schwarzwald, New England witchhunts, scenes of Spaniards melting off the soles of Aztec feet, AIDS plagued gay ghettoes in 1980s USA, they return from prehistory, from the company of dinosaurs, chilled by the Ice Age. The words return as pictures. They return pulverized, like a litter of kittens microwaved on high for five.

A photographer and a poet in a wrecked room. Both consider themselves conscientious objectors to the small minded Big City art world. This is the basis of their friendship. The photographer removes his glasses and wipes at his sweaty brow with his shirtsleeve, replaces his glasses. The other one doesn’t know what to do with his face: he is concerned, of course, but also incredulous and very curious too.

“What was he like?”

“WONDERFUL!” he said again. His eyes were open very wide.

“What was he like then?”

“Oh, he was WONDERFUL! He was like a dark angel of destruction. Look around this room and you will see what he was like.” His eyes glowing – a producer, a showman. Removing his glasses again, he jumps about the studio, playing the different parts. Feet stomping, with an exaggerated deep voice, he goes: “Since you have desecrated my party outfit, now we shall desecrate your studio.”

The narrator rushes to the kitchen: “He rushed to the kitchen and took a hammer out of a drawer and he gave one of the others a clasp knife. They high-fived and then mewed like kittens.” He pantomimes doing all of this. Now twirling about: “Then he rushed around like a dervish, smashing the glass of all the lamps in this studio and the mirror in the bathroom and the bookshelves.” He makes smashing sounds with his mouth. Everything has already been smashed to bits. “Then he started wrenching the chairs out of shape.” More crashing and smashing sounds with his mouth. “He must by WONDERFULLY strong.”

The photographer replaces his glasses and assumes a professorial air. “The cliques are nothing new. They are born out of the chaos of peacetime inflation, ongoing conflicts abroad, housing and credit crises, high unemployment rates, the collapsing dollar, student loan debt, workplace raids, ETCETERA. These movements aspire to a better future, for which their adherents are willing to work, mainly by destroying what exists. They usually dissolve at the beginning of winter and celebrate their ‘rebirth’ at Easter time.

“For the uprooted and frequently homeless, they offer a communal way of life, camaraderie, and a sense of danger and adventure. To escape depression and suicide, they create a fantasy world for themselves.

“The names which the cliques give themselves are meaningful only to them: Blood of the Indians, Blood of the Carcasses, Magick Vs. Technology, Black Love, The Dark Ages of Love, The Temple of Psychic Youth, Bloody Carcasses, Pirates of the Forest, the Invisibles, and J├Ąger Guzzlers. They’ve all read Crowley, Blake, and National Geographic.”
The photographer lowers his voice: “There are secret initiation rites … at night, in some deserted forest, Humboldt Park, along the lakeshore … dreadful trials …” His voice attenuates to silence as he hands the other an envelope containing some photographs.

A collection of naked adolescents hanging from branches by their wrists or tied up at the top of a tree with their hands behind their backs while members of the clique, also naked, brandish phallic emblems around them. Some draw a circle and invoke the four cardinal points. They mouth the words without speaking them aloud: I can’t wait for this city to rot. I can’t wait to see weeds growing up through empty streets.

1 comment:

Bo said...

Hello Elijah.

My interest in "wild boys" drew me to this page. In addition to Guerin, Burroughs, etc., I want to mention Guy Hocquenghem's "Race d'Ep: Un siecle d'images de l'homosexualite" (Paris: Editions Libre / Haller, 1979). Pp. 116-121contain more photos and text about the Weimar-era wild gangs.

Mel Gordon's "Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimer Berlin"
(Venice, California: Feral Press, 2000) also has photos and text about the wild boys and the gay subculture. The two books overlap somewhat.

Your writing and visual art are intriguing.

I found the link to be dead.

--Best regards.