Prudence in Hell 044
In memoriam Peter Brook, king of empty spaces
There are five types of fever:
intermittent, remittent, continuous, hectic, relapsing.
No one will tell you this in the heat of the moment, but pyrexia is a rhythmic category. Where fire can be gifted, it can be stolen.
A fever is often caused by an infraction. A fire can be multicausal.
All models are wrong and some are useful, but most models are flammable.
I know this because I was courted with fire. I didn’t want presents: I wanted aftermaths and eucatastrophes and consequences. The white cold fever dream followed by the blunt force object; the collapsible distance between the esoteric and the erotic.
—How old were you then, when you had your first taste of arson?
—15. I have never turned my back on an explosion.
—The question is, of course, contagion, not crime —no matter how Promethean. The mimetic element to fever, its proportionate response-ability to match, then best, infection. Fever exists for a reason.
—And for unreason. To fight infection, to let us be as gods. Why must it only ever be one thing? I have seen sense succumb to fever, but poetry: never. Overcome the infection, by all means —first things first— but keep a whiff of the delirium if you are granted access to it.
A man traverses an empty space. There is nothing left for him to set alight but space itself.
The story that I close my first book with is Rimbaud’s dying fever dream. It ends with these words:
“De súbito, recuerdo amargamente —aunque el buque no ha partido y en verdad, no es tiempo para andar pensando en esas cosas— mi última noche en Adén, la noche para la que vine y esperé en Adén, cuando el viento se erizó sobre el desierto y la muerte se me apareció, arrastrándose, para rendirme pleitesía. Se detuvo, con atípica modestia, bajo el techo de mi casa y de mi vida, y reconocí en la silueta antropomorfa del chacal a eso que llevaba tantos años cortejando. Arrastrado por el hábito, la desesperación o el entusiasmo, senté a la muerte, ¡a mi muerte! en mi regazo y la desprecié.
Es la primera —y última— vez que me arrepentiré de algo.”1
Richard Fallon, Georges Corraface and Jeffrey Kissoon in Peter Brooks’ The Mahabharata. 1987. Brooklyn Academy of Music. Photo by Martha Swope / The New York Public Library.
Mónica Belevan. “Trouvez Hortense.” Díptico gnóstico. Lima: Hueso Húmero Ediciones, 2019.
“All of a sudden, I bitterly recall —though the ship hasn’t sailed yet, and it isn’t the time to consider such things— my last night in Aden, the night I came and waited for in Aden, when the wind bristled up the desert sands and Death appeared, on hands and knees, to worship me. With uncharacteristic modesty, it stopped at the threshold of my home and life, and I acknowledged the anthropomorphic contour of the jackal I had courted so assiduously over the years. Driven by habit, by enthusiasm or despair, I sat Death —my Death!— on my lap, and I despised her.
It is the first —and last— thing I’ll ever regret.”