Süleyman (English)

Süleyman, I cannot be expected to keep track of which dude in your harem is currently greenlit or not, so listen – why don’t you write me a list explaining who is currently good and who is bad?

“I Iove you!” he said. 

1. What you desire, you resolve to pursue; according to your resolve, so is your deed; and according to your deed, so you reap.

I said nothing for a moment, then turned with icy politeness. “Forgive my asking, but what exactly is the source of your love?” 

2. I’m trying to understand things which are really hard to understand. 

“It’s you, of course, you are the source of my love!”

“Me?” I said, trying to sound surprised.

“Yes, you!” he cried out, and looked at me wistfully, like a child asking for something it knows quite well it won’t get. My heart began to beat with pity and dismay, and so I was forced to act out a charade so diabolically improbable that it would seem out of place in one of Shakespeare’s plays.

3. As many animals serve a man, so does each man serve God. Without His sanction not even a blade of grass can move.

27. I’ll pass on, I’ll make triumph on the way. 

85. One should deliberate serious matters first completely possessed by Dionysus, then sober. 

“Sure, I love you too,” I said, hoping to be done with it, go home and get some redeeming sleep. Looking into his desperate eyes, I should have guessed what I had set in motion. Even the most ignorant catch, like dogs, the scent of thunder. A tumultuous wave lifted me onto its crest and carried me away, incessant and demanding. The storm raged on and on, for days, months – a year passed by. All prior knowledge shatters if you forget who you are, but I remembered, and lived to see the end of it. Leaving behind the wicker gate of the Garden of Evil, my heart quickened and my brothers took me in their arms and poured me a delicious wine. 

4. Brothers attended the place where I arrived. From where were they born? By what do they subsist? On what are they founded? By who regulated, can they drink so much, ye wise men?

Your wine is too strong, my brothers, to drink of it often. Still, I will come back for more. Remember, my brothers, hiccups like that are winged prayers, they can be heard even at Baalbek. 

There will always be men like him, or perhaps I should say, boys like him, who take their own measures against what’s great in you, and hate it not for what it is, but for what they themselves are, or aren’t. 

5. When I’m received among the Angels, at what times will he think of me?

They can envy even a child. They talk about reason but theirs is a lunatic sensitivity. May the saints toss them some manners before the fall. 

6. I swear that I will faithfully, loyally and honorably serve my lovers and their legitimate successors, and dedicate myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing, if necessary, my life to defend them. 

In the subway station it’s cold as marble. The jaws of the tunnel are tender and beyond must be the sea, where the storms rage. Hallelujah!

7. Make a pledge and mischief is nigh.

As his kindness ran out, I refused to surrender, no doubt magical and superstitious; nevertheless, I was only trying to be heroic. So, what am I going to do now? I intend to show that my honour is valued more highly than my own life. Love does not change, yet it is the cause of all changes.

11. Marcus, may God bless you. 

I know it’s easier to answer the prayers of a man who has answered the prayers of others.

The goddesses Anath and Astarte were blended into one deity, called Atargatis. 

I know it’s easier to answer the prayers of a man who has answered the prayers of others.

He Who Rides on the Clouds. In Phoenician he was called Baal Shamen, Lord of the Heavens. 

13. What’s the meaning of my name? Gift from God. 

95. Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel wär und wollt uns gar verschlingen, so fürchten wir uns nicht so sehr, es soll uns doch gelingen.

30. Who? Me? Honour, glory, and eternal victory! 

Whenever true love appears (and death shall enter in through my window) it will be its own evidence. He looks Minoan. He looks Byzantine. He looks Bactrian. He’s got the look that I like. There will be no confusion. There will be no confusion. There will be no confusion.

38. When Armenians reach the summit of their climax it really does cascade.   

39. You know, he really could have saved our friendship; he could have restored it to happiness and virtue, but would not. Coward!

62. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.

93. By means of the beautiful lips that He who created me let me possess, I kissed with my mouth: the drug dealer, the bartender, the skater dude, the architect, the painter, the diplomat, and all the other ones too. 

Now he who rose up against you, and there was evil in him, Süleyman – forget about him. Now the cakes of saffron, Süleyman. You fly as a hawk, you cackle as a goose, Süleyman. That secret shape, being your two eyebrows, Süleyman, are like the two arms of the scales weighing each day and night. What then is it, Süleyman? Your eyes flood all of our hearts with light.

Text: Ian Memgard
Image: Zola Gorgon


to be born into the grave
not willing, nor able
the lilacs growing eventually in spring

lulled gently by the cradle
the rotting carcasses of unfulfilled wishes tipping over the edges,
growing like mold

it didn’t have to be that way but it was
and it became the march through the night all of us
like the dance macabre
became morbid figures
dancing the night away

it wasn’t like we had a chance to become
ourselves or anything
after all,

a birth rooted in death is, figuratively, an preemptive strike

like burning candles in the wind
not really understanding the meaning of heat

it is fragile

Text: Beate Björkengren
Image: Alexander Norton, “Was ist loss?”, 2015

Gates of Darkness

I attended a meeting with some psychology students as for a long time I’d felt rather crazy. They showed me drawings I’d made as a child, and asked me about their meaning. They wanted to know who was king at the gates of darkness. “Answer us!” said the leader of the research group, who with his bloodshot eyes really seemed to be at the precipice of insanity. But my child psychology was a fantastic enigma and not so easily solved – neither through image therapy, IQ testing, or mysterious phrenological readings of the shape of my skull. Like when you put something in a safe place, not to lose it, and hide it so safely that you can’t even find it yourself, I’d outsmarted myself along with everybody else.

Instead I started thinking of the day I saw a sexy dad in the full force of the sun while I queued endlessly to pick up a package at the post office. Sometimes it’s so funny to be a man who looks at other men… especially now, when I’ve got a moustache, and because being outside of your home is a little taboo. My gaze penetrated his ass. Neither him, nor his Capri Sonne-drinking child noticed my lustful eyes. I felt the corona dust in the heat and combined with the sweet shame, it made me cough. On my way home, I thought about when Verlaine went to confess, and the priest said, “at least you’ve never had sex with an animal, right?”

I started thinking about tinder. All homosexuals nowadays seem to have very advanced names. Bollo, Trollo, Sonquisolo – those are your names! Without progress, life would be unbearable, and I guess the same applies to homosexual men and their names. This development makes me happy. Sometimes I just walk around in my flat with a glass of plum wine and pronounce their names: “Good evening, Bollo, and good evening to you too, Trollo,” I say to myself and have a good laugh. There’s no doubt about it – I really know how to have fun.

I started thinking about the darkness, about the gates of darkness. My mum once said to me, “All good things start by turning away from the gates of darkness.” But what about all the bad things? I’m starting to think they start with having good taste. The only reason I’ve done the things I’ve done is good taste. When I have sex it’s in good taste. I never lie there after sex is over and congratulate myself and my fucker on how good we’ve fucked each other. The sensation and pleasure quickly fade and often I feel quite alien from what I’ve just participated in. The appeal of the gates subsides as quickly when you’ve taken the step and found yourself on the other side of them – in hell. “Is everything okay?” asks he who lies next to me. I’ve grown tired of being my own life. A person is their life and your life is your self but I’m damn tired of it.

I thought about he who tried to shut the gates of darkness. How the endless light of the sun burnt his skin and turned him into a petrified pillar of salt in the desert. Then I thought about the guy in the döner kiosk downstairs and how his long eyelashes met the skin on his round cheeks, and I thought about many other guys I’d seen, and I thought about what it’d be like to live in the middle ages and maybe only see a new hot guy maybe once a year, like at some annual farmer’s market. What an experience it must have been! Maybe that’s why they wrote epic poems about heaven and hell while we write songs about how wet our pussies are, even though they’re not at all wet but dry like the desert.

Then who was the king at the gates of darkness? “Who can be lord over such a situation?” I said to these psychology students. Nobody can shut the gates of darkness, they can never be closed. No king in the world could have managed it, because the powers of darkness are as eternal as those of goodness, and they both press at the gates from each side. But we, at least, have the choice to turn away from the gates of darkness. Turn away from the gates of darkness, god damn it! I stopped meeting these manic psychology students, and my life once again seemed normal, but in the end nothing is normal neither is God.

Text: Ian Memgard
Image: Zola Gorgon

Purgatorial fires

Dear reader,

Do You seem to find Yourself in a sort of eternal purgatory?

Do You find it hard to turn away from the Gates of Darkness and into the Heavenly Glory, regardless of how hard you try?

Do You sometimes come across people and phenomena You suspect of being cloaked demons sent out on some mysterious mission to challenge You, or perhaps agents carrying messages You don’t know how to decode?

Does Your every day life seem more and more allegorical?

And have You perhaps even started to suspect that You are chained to this earthly existence, trapped in a world made out of dark materia created by a malicious god, with the light of truth nothing but a distant memory, a flickering flame in the soul growing weaker and blurrier?

This text was written for You!

There is a turning point when the tram turns the corner as the bikes ring their bells as someone, in the background, yells – at whom? at you? – and the moment you see the car in the periphery, which desperately brakes not to kill you, at exactly the moment it occurs to you that you might, oh wow, die, exactly in that moment something happens to the light on the corner of the house and you get the same impression of the world as you might have if you were a completely indifferent ghost – not at all bitter towards the living, too immaterial to have any feelings at all, but still in general pretty good humoured in the same way rain or air can be good humoured, plucked out of time and out of everything in human affairs that makes things “matter”.

So you see all of this – the angles of the windows and the balconies, people’s angry or happy or often stressed out faces, the lights, the signs, the puddles, the stores, every vehicle on the street that endangers your life, the dog shit, the trash, the cobblestones, the construction workers, the lanterns, the houses in their silent attitudes – for what it is, as if nothing carried any kind of value. Immaterial and plucked out of time you cannot judge it. And you don’t have to judge it. Everything just is, and extremely much so, and if you could really leave the body, like the dead maybe do, and just fly around and indifferently observe the people and what they do for all eternity it would be… it would be…

Almost like a crack, not in the clouds but in what’s above the clouds and inside the clouds and also everywhere beneath them;

The car brakes an inch before it strikes you, the driver curses and you feel really fucking stupid, for being so close to causing an accident, for always walking around with your head in the clouds instead of in the real world.

Then you think about that instead, and forget about what you’ve caught a glimpse of.

Well, there are many things you can do to forget about what you’ve seen and repressed the knowledge of so hard that you’ve almost entirely forgotten it. You can eat thai food, read things on the internet, think about which fellow travellers on public transport you’d like to fuck, which ones you wouldn’t like to fuck, and why. And you can see your friends, diet, masturbate, remember your memories, wash windows, go to the gym, watch TV shows, learn about the history of nutmeg, and if you do enough things perhaps you’ll be tired enough afterwards to fall asleep like a lil piglet between extremely material, real sheets, and not at all have to deal with THAT OTHER THING which tugs at you like a hook in the heart and leaves you neither sleep nor peace, because moods and impressions can chase you all the way into your dreams.

Okay, and what then? Why would we even have the ability to wish that there is more than “this”, if we aren’t then also able to experience that little extra thing? What a condemned existence that would be, arisen out of something cold hearted and cruel. It takes less than that to make you beg for god, any god, to reach down with a really big fork and impale your heart, to let you know what it really means to be. Let’s say that in principle, like in the corny allegory, there are two wolves inside of you, one that dutifully works on keeping the other chained, like a builder building the same wall every single day, and then there’s the other one which, if you heard it’s ecstatic howling, would drive you so crazy that you could never work again or use a telephone in the socially accepted manner. As to which one wins? Dear reader, choose carefully!

Text and image: Zola Gorgon