My Comedown

“For the sake of my health,” I think automatically each time I pour frozen peas into my instant noodles.

Then I lie in my sarcophagus, which is my bed when it’s covered in linen sheets, when the blackout curtains are drawn and it’s dark and soft in the room like a soft grave. As the poisons leave my body, a throbbing lump of pain is formed behind my right eye, the size of a grape. Sometimes when it’s gotten really bad I’ve put a bag of frozen soy mince on my eye and felt it slowly thaw as I count down the hours. Time, my saviour. As long as the clock keeps going forward I’m not trapped in an eternal now which feels unbearable but which will be borne and over. 

It could have been worse. 2013, after an illegal rave in an abandoned mail center where malicious hallucinations chased me and spoke to me, I took a sip of orange juice in front of the mirror and spat it out immediately. It felt like my throat was closing up. I thought I was about to die. It was the acid in the oranges; I studied my palate and throat in the mirror with my mouth gaping wide. I’d smoked and gurned so badly with my tongue against the roof of my mouth that it had filled up with blisters, which had now burst. Full of little burn holes, like Freddie Krueger’s skin. 

Burnt. Everyone says they’re about to change, but they never do. The pendulum swings from action to regret. It does not go forwards, only side to side. 

Mike often used to call me late at night when he was anxious because he was coming down. He partied loads, many days in a row, because his parents lived far away from the city centre and it was so expensive to travel home. I liked his calls, I was an hour ahead of him timezone-wise and besides I was lonely in that bourgie neighbourhood where I didn’t have any friends and it was so quiet at night. I brought my phone with me to a bar and drank wine there while I talked to him, like I’d gone to the bar with a dear friend. I was happy to soothe his anxieties. I’ve got to change the way I live! he’d always say to me, but the next week he’d call again.

In my head, I see visions of gross primordial creatures, like my visual imagination is trying and not quite succeeding at remembering how things fit together. It invents living beings from scratch with only the vaguest frame of reference. Humans with too many eyes and weird tubes in their skin, or little creatures that are nothing but these weird, fleshy tubes. It’s important not to get scared by what your own mind shows you, regardless of how nasty it is. There are things you cannot help.

It’s easy to fall into a self-analysis spiral and question everything you’ve done the previous night. For most halfway functional people, booze and drugs are a way to get close to other people in an uninhibited, unforced way, where social contact becomes more open, more honest, more positively emotionally charged, and above all more stimulating. You can say anything. Right then and there a space is opened for the meeting between two souls – so it feels at the time – but afterwards, once the meeting’s over, you bitterly regret having flaunted yourself, agonizing over ugly sounds made while laughing or if you’re bad at fucking. Better not to think about those sorts of things, because it doesn’t help to obsess over yourself.

When I was around fourteen my only friend and I thought all people who drank and partied were worthless bimbos. The funnest thing we knew was eating about a kilo of pick’n’mix and playing Playstation 2 until we passed out from the sugar crash. High school was a whole different story. Indeed. Because they told me I had ADHD and prescribed me a medicine which was a slow-release amphetamine. I was so depressed that winter that I couldn’t do anything. It was so dark and cold, inside and out, and every lamp shone with a sickly yellow light that gave me nightmares about evil incidents in obscure bowling alleys and rollerskating rinks. It hurt so much. “It” was nothing in particular. “It” was everything. Sometimes I took 5-6 methylphenidate pills at once, to have the energy to perform socially, like when my friends were celebrating their birthdays. I remember once, after such a celebration, sitting awake until 6AM while everyone else was sleeping, shaking with diffuse fear, writing rambling and paranoid diary entries about a guy we met on the bus on the way home. I wrote them in Japanese, looking up each kanji individually. It was important to keep my observations top secret. When you’re coming down, you can get all sorts of strange notions. 

Methylphenidate is the worst when it comes to paranoia and anxiety during the comedown. Well, perhaps meth is worse – I don’t have a lot of experience with meth, but I definitely don’t recommend getting high on ADHD meds. They make you walk around like a robot, only talking about yourself with thousands of strangers while your heart remains ice cold and selfish. Later I started taking it just to be able to drink for longer without throwing up or falling asleep, and it worked so well I managed to give myself alcohol poisoning a number of times. Lying in bed and throwing up for days, unable to take a painkiller or even drink water, until Rhiannon came home to me with a bottle of Milk of Magnesia which tasted like mint and chalk. 

My childhood friend and I took some kind of potent dark web speed which you had to wash beforehand not to burn your nostrils. 48 hours later we still weren’t sleeping but were both paranoid as hell with our hearts thumping out 120 beats a minute. What helps against a high heart rate? we googled. Or something like, “How to support your heart”. There was something about Omega3, or maybe Omega6. Canola oil has a lot of omega fats in it, so in the end we downed a couple shots of straight cooking oil each.

All’s well that ends well. 2015, in the depths of Deptford we dressed up for Halloween and snorted really lousy MDMA and then Zeynab and her psychotic girlfriend went climbing on the scaffolding on the house next door. Her girlfriend rushed in and told us Zeynab had a fall and “bonked her head” so hard on the cement floor that she’d lost consciousness. 

“It’s cool, it’s cool!” said Zeynab and climbed through the window, then suddenly started cascade vomiting liters of hot pink Cherry Lambrini across the floor. We took her to ER and left her there, along with her psycho girlfriend, then Rachel and I went to a catholic mass, still in our halloween clothes, gurning. We thought it’d be a “funny thing to do”, but there we were, coming down in a congregation so warm and welcoming that we felt like villains. So when the socialist pastor offered me the sacrament, I said, no, just give me your blessing. Are you sure? he said so quietly no one else heard, and then he blessed my brow. I really felt it in me – that blessing. 

Writing’s always possible, once I could draw, too, but I’ve forgotten how. What people write when they come down resembles what they write when mania fades. They pick fights with their own anxiety, argue with it, try to make deals. My friend showed me a text they’d written on a comedown, four tight, incoherent pages where they’d written about me, that we were obviously both in love with each other and may God let me read their thoughts. I really got the hint and we fucked the same night, but then I went home, and came down.

Swedish teens got pissed like they wanted to die. My friend threw up on Walpurghis night, about 5-6 cigarette butts. Those of my friends who were really mental – there were a few, and they really were mental – were put into psychiatric hospitals, always in the section for psychotic patients, because nowhere else had any space. They’d end up befriending the only other normal people in the ward which were the people selling coke and heroin. 

The least you can do for yourself when you’re about to come down is taking a proper shower and then make the bed you’ll be forced to lie in. To come down is one thing, but coming down on twisted sheets, with the smell of ciggies still in your hair, is really tormenting yourself more than you’ve deserved. Oh, and it’s lovely to have a few popsicles in the fridge. Eat a salad, perhaps, but let’s be real with ourselves about who we are and what we’re going to do. If we’d been the kind of people who pick salad over instant noodles I suppose we wouldn’t be lying here now, in the dark. 

“I’m never going to drink again after last night,” Ian writes to me. But he will and I will too. Some are hit by a terrible sense of guilt whenever they’ve done anything debauched. You think you ought to be a certain way, act a certain way. During the comedown, you pray to God for forgiveness, but a week later you’re ready for the same thing all over again, you’ve already forgotten. I don’t understand why you even ought to be ashamed, what good it’s supposed to do. Shame and regret aren’t strong enough to make you change anything. Partying really can be a total riot. 


Text & Image: Zola Gorgon

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

Love of my life

A friend told me that for her dad, transitioning to female meant being allowed to do whatever you wanted. I used to think the same thing about being a guy, that’s the way I pictured it. Once I saw a goth bartender smoking morosely, leaning against the counter, completely indifferent to me. It was as though the clouds parted above my head – divine revelation. The wrist of a louche goth bartender smoking – imagine possessing such a thing!

I thought: Thank you for smoking, thank you for not smiling.

Margaret Atwood said one good thing about guys: “My love for them is visual; that is the part of them I would like to possess.”

I sought the love of my life tirelessly in the mirror. Every time I remembered I couldn’t be that boy, I was devastated, as if I’d been given a hard right hook by God father himself. The point of the Quixotic project was to make the impossible real every day, for myself if not for others; to realize what being “a hot guy” meant to me and to take that into my life, that freedom –

To feel joy, to enjoy sex – to be allowed to do whatever I wanted.

Where’s the line between wanting to have and wanting to be? Do people figure that shit out on their own?

Of course, plenty of men were boring. I saw them… the men… on the street, or on the Ubahn, and I thought, I’d never want to be that one, it’d be just as bad as being me. And if I’d had to be myself but as a man – awful! I’d be short, and probably bald, like all the men in my family, with a genetic tendency to put on a beer belly and… no, that wasn’t what I wanted at all. And I know myself, so I’m sure I’d have had some sort of hang up about my cock too. 

Actually I don’t have any hang ups about my cunt which is essentially perfect.

The hottest guy I ever fucked, I mean girls went home with him if he just talked to them on the street, he had a hang up about his cock too – his cock which was essentially perfect.

A trans feminine friend told me there’s lots of things men feel they can’t do. Fair enough – lots of men are scared of being fags, for example. I would have liked to be a fag. Gay men seem to like each other and themselves and to fuck without feeling degraded by it. No one really seems to love women; not heterosexual women, not heterosexual men, and not queers either – definitely not them, for whom being a woman is cringe and basic. 

Scared of faggotry, yes – what scared men don’t understand is that fags are naturally cool and besides seem comfortable with each other and like they’re having fun, while lesbians and queers on the other hand spend most of their energy accusing each other of emotional abuse; constantly calling for retribution which will not arrive, as if the world was just, as if there was a judge or teacher who’d listen when you say what’s been done to you and dole out punishment to the deserving.

But since the people who’ve cemented their traumas left the game long ago, they only punish each other. No, it’s not as much fun to be fettered to the ground with a heavy, aching body and think about your marginalisation, as it would be to skate recklessly, do an ollie high above the setting sun – to suck cock in the gardens of paradise, before shame or misfortune.

No one knew what “nonbinary” was when I was in my late teens, fortunately, but I just refused to tell people if I was male or female, and so I lived in a true autistic one-person utopia. I loved not having to tell or to know, pure subjectivity. Then nonbinary people came along and crushed my dream by realising the project in the lamest possible way and I’ve never forgiven them for that.

The dream had something beyond that, not to put your finger on… rather to escape the finger, and the mortifying eyes of others. No boxes checked at all, rather than begging for a third choice, as if any part of your innermost soul could be validated by a form.

The joy in my life depended on how well I convinced myself that my fantasy was or would be real, to what degree it went from my dreams and into my understanding of reality. I was waiting for something good, for which I’d wait my whole life. Like awaiting the saviour. Is that what it means to have faith?

That faith is lost to me. I’ve learned a few things about men and they’re not what I thought; the woman who best can embody the glint in the eyes of a really mischievious faggot is a cool dyke who truly doesn’t give a fuck. Imagine seeing your face every day and never seeing anything, only what you wish it was. The wasted beauty of that unloved face. Instead of seeing yourself in the mirror and thinking – ah, there you are!

The love of my life.

If every soul cracked and the boundaries between the inside and the outside finally collapsed, no identity would remain, just a core of pure yearning too supermassive to fit into a human life.

At last you’re on the frequency of angels.


Text & image: Zola Gorgon

The Comedown

One must, in one’s life, make a choice between boredom and suffering.

Madame de Staël, 1800

Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won. Win some, lose some – you do a bunch of speed and later pay the price. Flourishing decadence and drug abuse – inspired, undoubtedly, by a network of fallen angels – IS on the rise again. At Purgatory Magazine, we’re starting to believe there must be something more to the Comedown, something more to this suffering. It’s through suffering we are born; with your sacrifice, you give life to life itself. Could it perhaps be a good thing to… come down, every once in a while? After all, God himself didn’t refrain from teaching us how to snort. Together with our council of gays, Ukrainian supermodels, and other wise people, we’re going to try to answer this question once and for all, as well as provide the best tips and remedies on how to ease The Comedown. Let’s begin:

As you know, we pay a price for almost everything we get in this life. The price of fun is suffering. The price of shamelessness is shame. If you respect yourself, you will respect your own choices, pay the price and know why you are paying it. Never pretend that you didn’t have a choice.

It seems our brains are incredibly susceptible to chemical manipulation. We know this even just from personal experimentation. There are many truths available to us, like different frequencies on the radio. When you are high you are tuned into a certain frequency; the comedown tunes you into another frequency. But it is not the frequency.

Don’t think about things you said and how they were perceived, if your face looked sweaty or your breathing sounded weird. Everyone was sweaty and talking nonsense. They will not remember what you said. You do not remember what they said either. Forget trying to understand why you behaved the way you did while your your limbs were moved by a parallel power. You probably didn’t act half as badly as you think you did, but if you did do something really bad, and if you do this all the time when you’re drunk or high – stop partying with substances, because the party takes you over on its own terms and sometimes those terms are contrary to the norms of civilization.

Friendships can be – and are – forged in these circumstances,

But only some friendships.

Magnesium is always helpful, but any fool can tell you that. I recommend finding something soothing, yet boring, but not boring enough to torment you. Perhaps a podcast about the history of the Byzantine empire? A significant amount of podcast listening happens when the listener is asleep.

You will cherish this relief.

You may receive the greatest understanding from prophetic or therapeutic dreams where you relive childhood feelings of boundless rage and hopeless abandonment. It’s normal to wake up confused. The mind is hard at work. You may be asking yourself, as the night comes to its inevitable conclusion and the rude sun, however much postponed, rolls over the grey horizon – you may be asking yourself, “what am I doing with my life?”

I’m asking you this too. What are you doing with your life?

Lie in bed and really think about it, soberly, without panicking. Are there things you can do? Perhaps you can start writing your dream diary again, or rediscover your love for the violin. Remember what it was like when you were a child and you didn’t need illicit things. You could trip out in front of a VHS tape of the Moomins. But we’re not children anymore.

So, what do our battles today even amount to? What did you think real demons would look like? It was for your benefit that they fought you so fiercely. Ketamine was a divine invention, the vehicle for a fire that will destroy the fallen world. You were kicked out from heaven and down to earth, then kicked off the earth into hell, then kicked out of hell, into the club – your final battleground. When Greta Thunberg says that the world is going to end, it doesn’t mean the planet earth will cease to exist. The “world” is the world of the Demiurge; things like TikTok, war, lying, drug cartels, tinder, organized criminal gangs, seed oils, all evil, rent, Berghain, etc, will be eliminated. We all know the way Berlin was seduced with G when it snuck itself into the clubs and tempted good people with demonic possession, so stick to speed, the hot burning light of the seraphim.

The only people who are spared the worst of the Comedown are the people who are the loudest in saying that a great comedown will happen to them. As for the rest – wake up, everybody else has already gone through it! It’s over, sorry you missed it, be happy you were spared. The battle has been won.


Text: Ian Memgard & Zola Gorgon
Image: Zola Gorgon

The Music

What do you mean by that? You said I was joking about your new shoes. Why does the person who knows you so well say you’re a cheater? I’m a man who cares about you. I think you’re my dear darling. Something surprised me today; you came to kiss me on the mouth. You put your dick in my hand and called me your little shepherd. What are you looking for? I’ve met the other men and they say you’re okay. Stop cheating. If so, maybe it’s time to divorce her and move on. You personally inform me that your wife will send me an email to educate me. Please, tell me that story again. The Burning of the Red Lotus Temple. You’re just like that. You treat me like your very naughty child. 

My God, what a mess it is to follow you all around Berlin. My poor legs always yield to your ways. I want to tell you about all the bad things you do. I tried to do it once, on the side, after work. I hold on to Jesus and flee. I see you’re an idiot. What can I say about you? What example can you set for married men? No example. Could love be more beautiful than people consent to make it? You ask what has happened to my attitude. I’m still the same man who dies for you. The other people see us. I’m not lying to anyone. Why are you sending me an email saying you’re just kidding? Not to mention that your wife is in the hospital. You’re doing a terrible thing. You’re doing something wrong. 

The matter is set before your eyes. The matter was with the roses. The fire broke out, and you almost had us killed. The matter was settled for you to follow. Why are you with your back to me? The politics of the world has no place here. The word, the word is used interchangeably with the word. You are a swindler. Peace be upon you. In the game of, in the face of promiscuity, your hands are pale, and the bells are ringing. Why aren’t you listening to me? Some of these musicians, they become our lovers even before we meet them. Now imagine sitting in a pub somewhere in downtown Nairobi, watching him dance. 

All childhood memories come up in these songs. I was 7 years old. I wanted to quit school because of these songs. I forgive you everything when the music starts to play. That is why you want me to visit your wife in the hospital, the one with the newly installed music system. Music heals the sick you explain to me. You say you are not well briefed, so telephone me. I’ll speak to you and brief you completely until you understand. My God, I don’t know what to do. Your name is Yatsko. Have you ever heard of a man called Yatsko? Your middle name is Fabrice, so that is what I call you. You tell me you are from Venice. You say you will take me there one day. I know you are from Granada. Stop lying to me, Fabrice.

You act as though you are fighting with Napoleon. Why did you deceive your wife? You started yelling at me. Who were you challenging? I decide to leave you and you turn ill. Your complexion is now similar to that of a banana. I don’t think I’ll ever see you again. The only sorcery I have known has been to pray. You search for my replacement in vain, my dear. I hear your wife is doing better. Thank you for the photos you left me. I have certainly come to live the experience. Always faithful to your hunger, you’re still hanging around town. The taxi drivers always know where to pick you up. Having once satisfied all of your desires, in the bars that you always like to visit, the walls still report to me what you do. Good luck, Fabrice. Find a way to forgive me. 

You were not easy to deal with, but I’m the photocopy, very much your boy. What use is beauty to me when there’s no one around to admire it? You used to film me and all the funny things that I normally would do. Someone told me you were making a movie. I anticipated the situation by calling the producer at 6am to ask him if he could burn the film. He did. You want to hang me for what I’ve done, but it doesn’t matter, I already have everything. It is useless to try and remember me. My mother calls me everyday to ask me how I am doing. She makes sure that I am home by that time to answer her calls. Have you quit smoking? Are you drinking less? Are you studying? My dear son. Will you be okay? Are you still hanging around with that man? Do you need some money? I start to laugh. Don’t worry about me. Rumors.

I turn myself into a ship captain and dock at every port, where my lovers are waiting for me. We almost started a riot in Porto because we were carrying guns inside our shopping bags at the Castelo Vermelho. Big mistake. The courts will close during the day. Many people thought they would die. They saw we were looking for violence. Their hearts were pounding for us to love them. They were not afraid to eat of their love. If I love them, and they love me, where will we go for all this love? The real thing is what wonderful people they are here. The men are drunk, their brown eyes shine with… I decide to find out. It would be a crime not to go dancing with them. There’s something about his nose. I look back to the past. He reminds me of Fabrice. I push forward. The music moves me. I reach out my hand. The music moves me to do stupid things. 


Text: Ian Memgard
Image:  Juliusz Lewandowski

Incel mind tricks

om man hatar sig själv kan man förälska sig i någon i hoppet om att de ska erkänna något i en som man inte vågar tro på.

sök folk som väcker en känsla av mindervärde i dig, så att deras kärlek för dig ska visa, bevisa ett värde. men det blir aldrig så, för vem vill älska någon som uppvisar en uppenbar känsla av mindervärde? bara psykopater vill vara med någon som uppenbarligen ser sig själva som mindre värda än dem själva.

och om de älskat dig – då frågar du dig vad det är för fel på dem, om de är villiga att förnedra sig till att älska dig, en värdelös person.

man sätter en fälla för sig själv – och det är också tricket. att skapa situationer som aldrig kan lyckas. uppfinner ekvationer som oavsett hur man löser dem alltid slutar på noll. 

de som fått en att känna sig värdelös, dem älskar man mest och alldeles förtvivlat., för i ögonblicket ens ego krossas får de ett enormt värde som de enda som kan sätta ihop det igen.

du ser dig själv som svag och du föraktar de svaga. du slår dig an de starkares sida. du blir mobbad och du önskar att du vore en av mobbarna. du vill varken hjälpa eller bli hjälpt av andra som lider. deras lidande gör dem svaga och fula i dina ögon; lika svaga och fula som du själv, lika hjälplösa.

man förstår inte gränsen mellan sig själv och andra. tror att andra människor bevisar något om en. att en snygg flickvän bevisar något om en: att man är den sortens kille som har en snygg flickvän. eller den sortens tjej som den sexiga killen vill ha, mycket mer än vad han vill ha andra tjejer, fastän han kan få andra tjejer. 

om han inte kan få andra tjejer, vad är han då värd?

vilken sorts kille hade behövt vara med dig? inte en kille som vore värd att ha. 

de som är värda att ha, de vänder sig bort… mot andra vyer du inte kan se men desperat vill blicka; vyer utan dig, oförstörda snölandskap utan smutsiga mänskliga fotspår.

du vill inte ha den tjej som är nördig och osäker som dig, du vill ha den tjej som den killen du önskade att du vore som har, för då hade du varit som honom, utvald av den kraft som skapar och formar världen. 

du ser tjejer eller killar som är som dig och du vämjs, du äcklas, det är som när man hör sin egen röst inspelad för första gången – låter jag verkligen sådär? ser det ut så när jag skrattar? fruktansvärt. man vill inte känna igen sig själv, man vill bytas ut. det man saknar söker man i andra. 

och vad är det de har som man själv inte har? det där undflyende ljuset. du, som för alltid går bort ifrån mig, du som aldrig kommer. det som skiner, kraften att revolutionera världen. guds andedräkt, skönheten. att inte bara känna den utan att vara den. att vara den utan att veta att man är den och leva i evig nåd.

är det inte underligt när man märker att någon projicerar saker på en? när de ser en är det som en månförmörkelse; något annat, mystiskt, rör sig över ens ansikte, i utrymmet där betraktarens ögon träffar det som strålar. där och då vet man: jag kommer att göra dig besviken, för det du vill att jag ska ge dig är ingenting som någon människa kan ge. 

allt jag kan ge dig är detta: att jag är den jag är, och att jag är det när du är med mig.

blir man väl älskad tänker man att man måste ha lurat dem. att man fått dem att tro något om en själv som inte är sant; att man är bättre än vad man egentligen är. och hur mycket man än har önskat att någon annans kärlek för en ska bevisa just detta – att man faktiskt ÄR bättre än vad man tror att man är – så känns beviset plötsligt falskt och opålitligt. och återigen måste kärleken bevisas, under svårare och svårare prover.

så du tror att du älskar mig? det tror du? men hade du älskat mig om jag var otrogen mot dig? om jag hånade dig framför dina vänner? om jag sårade dina känslor och ignorerade dig när du ville komma åt mig? är jag så älskvärd att jag är värd det? hade du älskat mig om jag sket på mig, hällde syra över mitt eget ansikte, blev nazist? nähä? då har du väl aldrig älskat mig. 

först vill man vara så vacker att alla som ser en måste älska en. sen säger man, sviket och misstänksamt: men älskar du mig bara för att jag är vacker?

den villkorslösa kärleken. att söka en kärlek som aldrig kan förnekas. man kunde kalla den gudomlig om man tror på att den finns. men

det är det som är grejen – hur många gånger nån än säger “jag älskar dig” kan såna människor inte tro det i mer än tre minuter. så de söker obesvarade känslor och dödlägen, för att vänta på frälsning håller hoppet om frälsning vid liv. de vägrar erkänna något så bräckligt och alldagligt som den verkliga mänskliga kärleken.

inte bara våra älskare eller kärleksobjekt får lida; alla andra våra nära får lida, eftersom de står nära oss och vi avskyr oss. hade du inte stått så nära mig och visat vart jag slutar, då hade jag varit oändlig; då hade jag kunnat vara det jag önskar att jag vore, men du, med din kärlek för mig och dina töntiga intressen och dina brister – du ringar in mig mig. 

visst är det sant att jag med djupaste desperation och förtvivlan älskar en värld som varje dag går förlorad, att jag älskar friheten när den slipper ur mitt grepp. men vad kan mina vänner råda för det?

är man inte den bästa, coolaste, mest åtråvärda, då måste man vara en total nolla. det kan inte bara vara det att man är normal, emotståndlig för många, för andra tilltalande nog. då vore man ju som alla andra, och det kan man inte tolerera; man måste bevisa att man är något mer, oemotståndlig, och om inte det, odräglig, ohjälpligt fördömd.

så tror man att man tar sin plats i himlen, bredvid upp-och-nervända helgon, som helgonet av den eviga förlusten. ett idiotiskt trick egentligen; att sumpa sin enda chans att uppleva, om bara för en kort stund, det som mest liknar paradiset på jorden. att aldrig ge sig själv den kraft som skapar världar.

vi tror att vi inte är älskade. problemet är inte det. problemet är att vi inte älskar andra människor. vi är inte villiga att ge dem någonting. visst, man kan tänka att “om de bara gjorde så och så, då skulle jag älska dem”, som att man behövde tillåtelse, men låt oss vara ärliga – hade de gjort som du önskade, då hade målstolparna ändå flyttats, tills de äntligen når det dödläge du söker, där ingen kan göra dig nöjd. man måste älska dem först. vare sig man vinner på det eller inte. som att vinst eller förlust skulle betyda något. vem eller vad räknar egentligen poäng? den enda verkliga förloraren är den som inte spelar.


Text och bild: Zola Gorgon

Incel Mind Tricks

If you hate yourself, you can fall in love with someone in the hope that they’ll recognize something in you which you don’t even dare to believe in. 

Seek out people who trigger your insecurity, so that their love for you will show and prove your value. But it never works out, because who wants to love someone who obviously sees themselves as inferior? Only psychopaths want to be with people who see themselves as less worthy than themselves.

And if they do love you – then you’ve got to ask yourself what’s wrong with them, if they’re willing to degrade themselves enough to love someone like you – a worthless person.

You put a trap for yourself – and that’s the whole trick. You put yourself in situations which cannot go well. You invent equations which, regardless of how you solve them, always come out to zero. 

Most of all and most desperately you love the ones who made you feel worthless, since the moment they crushed your ego, they gained immense value as the only ones who can restore it.

You see yourself as weak and you despise the weak. You take the side of the strong. You’re bullied and wish you were one of the bullies. You neither want to help or be helped by others who suffer. Their suffering makes them weak and ugly in your eyes; as weak and ugly as you, and no help to you whatsoever.

You don’t see the boundary between yourself and others. Think other people prove something about you. That a hot girlfriend proves something about you: that you’re the kind of guy who has a hot girlfriend. Or the kind of girl that the hot guy wants. Wants much more than he wants other girls, even if he can get other girls. 

If he can’t get other girls, what is he even worth?

What sort of guy would have to settle for you? Not a guy worth having. 

The ones worth having, they turn their faces away… towards other views which you cannot see but desperately want to catch; views that exclude you, untouched snow landscapes without dirty human footsteps.

And you don’t want the girl who’s nerdy and insecure like you, you want the girl that the guy you wish you were had, because then you’d be like him, chosen by the power that creates and shapes the world. 

You see guys or girls like yourself and you’re repulsed, like when you hear your own voice recorded for the first time – do I really sound like that? Do I look like that when I laugh? You don’t want to recognize yourself, you want to be exchanged. You seek what you don’t have in other people.

And what is it they have that you don’t? That elusive light. You, who always walk away from me, you who never comes.The shining thing, the power to revolutionize the world. The breath of god, beauty. Not just to feel it but to be it. To be it without knowing that you are it, living in eternal grace.

Isn’t it strange when you notice someone projecting onto you? That they look at you, and it’s like a lunar eclipse; something else, mysterious, moves across your face, in the space where the eyes of the observer meet that which shines. There and then, you know: I will disappoint you, because what you want from me can’t be given by a human being.

All I can give you is this: That I am who I am, and that I am that when you’re with me. 

If someone loved you, you’d think you must have fooled them. That you must have made them believe something about you which isn’t true, that you’re better than what you really are. And regardless of how much you wished that their love for you would prove this – that you actually ARE better than you think – suddenly the proof feels false and unreliable. And once again love must be tested by more and more difficult trials.

So you think you love me? That’s what you think? But would you still love me if I cheated on you? If I made fun of you in front of your friends? If I hurt your feelings and ignored you when you needed me? Would you love me then, still,would I be worth it? Would you love me if I shat myself, poured acid over my own face, became a nazi? No? You wouldn’t? Then I guess you never loved me. 

At first, you want to be so beautiful that everyone who sees you has to love you. Then you say, hurt and suspicious: but do you only love me because I am beautiful?

Unconditional love. Seeking a love which can’t be denied. You might call it divine if you believed in it. But —

That’s the thing – no matter how many times someone says “I love you”, people like that can’t believe it for more than three minutes. So they seek uncertainty in unanswered feelings and deadlocks, because being uncertain, awaiting salvation, keeps the hope of salvation alive; refuses to recognize anything so brittle and mundane as actual human love.

Not only our lovers and love objects get to suffer; everyone else close to us gets to suffer, because they’re close to us and we hate us. We think, if you hadn’t stood close enough to me to show me where I end, then I would be infinite: then I’d be what I want to be, but you, with your love for me and your lame interests and all your flaws – you’re the one who limits me. 

Admittedly it’s true that I, with deep desperation and despair, love a world that is lost every single day, that I love freedom when it slips out of my hands. But what can my friends do about that?

If you’re not the best, coolest, most desirable, then you’ve got to be a total nobody. It can’t just be that you’re normal, resistable to many, to some people appealing enough. That’d mean being like other people, and that’s impossible to live with; you’ve got to prove that you’re something more, irresistable,and if not that, loathsome, helplessly damned.

So you believe you take your seat in heaven, next to up-side-down saints, as the saint of eternal loss and losing. An idiot’s trick, really; to waste your only chance to experience, if only for a short moment, what’s most like paradise on earth. to never give yourself the power that creates worlds.

We think we’re not loved. That’s not the problem. The problem is that we don’t love other people. We aren’t willing to give them anything. Sure, you can think that “if they only did this and that, I would love them,” as if you need permission, but let us be honest – if they’d done what you wanted, the goalposts would be moved again, until they finally reach the deadlock you seek, where nothing can satisfy you. You’ve got to love them first. Whether you gain from it or not. As if gain or loss would mean anything. Who or what is even keeping the score? The only real loser is the one who won’t play.


Text and image: Zola Gorgon

How the sausage gets made

All my life I’d escaped, with a mix of effort and luck, from learning anything at all about what it was to work, but one day someone called me on my landline and told me my parents’ helicopter had had a critical error just at the border between Brazil and Argentina and crashed straight into the Iguazu falls. A final, extreme vacation experience, I thought, with a bittersweet melancholy. My parents had truly been crazy.

They held a closed-coffin wake. What actually had happened to my parents bodies was impossible for the human brain to imagine. Things like that you don’t even see in films. After the funeral, everyone mingled, eating bitter little biscuits and drinking coffe and speaking in quiet voices. My uncle, a pragmatic man who ran a little tourist buss operation, came over with a grim look on his face. He’d always had a kind of reserved distaste for me, since I didn’t work, but spent my time like this:

In the morning I woke up on my own, and left the curtains closed. Then I spent a good long time thinking about what I actually wanted to do with my day, because each day was like a jewel which someone had dropped into the palm of my hand without telling me anything about what they wanted from me in return.

Often I went onto the streets and walked without any particular goal until I found an old-fashioned, shitty bakery where you could buy a coffee and a croissant for less than two euros. I didn’t eat a lot, because I wasn’t missing anything, and I didn’t shop a lot either, so don’t think I was living in some sort of material luxury. I didn’t want anything I didn’t already have. I hadn’t developed the habit of craving.

My parents paid the rent for my little room like a gym membership they’d forgotten to cancel but never used. I really had no reason to complain, and every time a postcard from faraway countries turned up I felt wrapped up in a down duvet of their distracted, unconditional love. The closest I came to actually working was spending a few hours a week filling out and sending back the forms that various authorities sent to me, in exchange for them sending me money for croissants and coffee, besides which I was completely busy writing my dream memoirs.

I never looked at the clock.

I spent many, many years like this. If I wanted a vacation I just walked as far as I could without stopping in any direction. I had a lot of friends, and sometimes I ran into them on the street, drank beer with them and played pool with the neighbourhood. We found a lot of things on the street, furniture, books, porcelain, and sometimes we even found unlabeled VHS tapes, smoked weed and went home to the one who had a tape player and watched blurry figures move across the screen, guessing together what the film might be about. We helped each other with all sorts of things. Those who’d left the country sent me letters, and I wrote them letters back, long and descriptive, with illustrations, and sometimes they called me and told me about their lives through my white landline phone which had given me almost nothing but joy until the day it rang and ruined my life.

“I’m very sorry,” is what the person at the other end had said, “but I have to inform you that your parents passed away in an accident on the border between Brazil and Argentina, two weeks ago.”

“I forgive you,” I said. “I knew this day would come. Nothing’s for certain when your parents spend their time on extreme travel experiences, and besides they were both over 85.”

There I was – standing there at their funeral, when my uncle, the tour bus operator, came up to me with a little cup of black coffee in one hand and a bitter little almond biscuit in a napkin in the other one. “Terribly tragic, all of this,” he said, though his tone made it sound like it was my parents fault that they’d died, which in a way it was. “I can’t imagine they left much of an inheritance, either.”

“No,” I said.

“Then of course there’s the trouble between you and your half-brother, the lawyer costs…”

“Yes, indeed.”

“Sure seems like you’re all alone in the world now,” he said, and I sensed a certain hint of schadenfreude in his voice, which he’d had the opportunity to develop and perfect during his 40 years in the tour bus industry and which now had its chance to shine. “Oh well, I’m afraid you can’t have fun forever, not in this world. Party’s over! Time to learn how the sausage gets made, isn’t it? Nothing to do about it!”

How the sausage gets made… already as a child I’d suspected from the intimations of adults that sausage, something very tasty, on another level was very, very nasty.

It was something to do with the way they made it. Nobody wants to know how the sausage gets made. Later I heard it was made from the parts of the animal you wouldn’t have wanted to eat if you’d known what they were, assholes and things like that, ground down and pressed into intestine tubes. But there must be something more to it than that, something in the sausage’s very creation that people really shut their eyes to.

“Yes,” I said meekly. “Now it’s time for me to learn how the sausage gets made.”

I’d been orphaned, only 43 years old. My uncle was right – it was time for me to learn how the sausage gets made. But how? I didn’t have any work experience, and I didn’t have a real education either. Of course I had a close communication with the Job Center, but the Job Center felt pretty far away from everything to do with work, and besides I found that their letters to me had developed a sort of demanding, threatening tone lately which I didn’t appreciate in the least.

One day, during my anxious evening walk, I happened to come to a stop in front of the lit up window of a butcher shop. What had caught my attention was the cheerful and plump little porcelain piggies standing in the window and who, wearing chef hats and aprons, offered passers-by kassler and ham on silver plates. I contemplated them for a long time, raised my gaze and saw a piece of paper where someone had written:

THE SAUSAGE FACTORY IS RECRUITING
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY
CALL NOW

and a phone number, which I wrote down on my hand and called as soon as I got home. Even at night they picked up. Perhaps they took calls 24 hours.

“Good evening,” they said, “how may I help you?”

“I’m looking for a job,” I said. “Are you the ones who make the sausage?”

“That’s us! Actually, we’re famed for our sausages. We have some of the biggest factories in the country. We make everything from cocktail wieners to chorizo, sucuk to kielbasa, blood sausage and bratwurst, halal and haram, kosher and kashrut, pork sausage, chicken sausage, soy sausage, christmas sausage, breakfast sausage, wedding sausage… well, not all in the same facility, of course.”

“No, of course not,” said I, who didn’t know much about the sausage industry.

Even before you reached the factory, you could feel the smell of smoked meat in the air. In a little concrete building by the entrance a man in overalls smoked cigarettes and read a porn rag. He opened a squeaking gate for me, and I walked onto an enormous space where grim-faced workers loaded dozens of trucks with sausage deliveries. The factory was as wide and solid as a romanesque church, with high, narrow windows and three chimneys spewing smoke.

“We had a lot of applicants, of course, but when we heard about your education we felt you would have potential in the role of project consultant. Well, it’s a junior role, of course, but it’s nothing to sneeze at. You can get far in a career like that. Not a lot of people with a family background like yours look for a job at the sausage factory.”

“Oh, really,” I said. My education had only covered post-colonial South American literature. Would I have to prove that I knew something about sausage manufacture? I examined my memories for information. A pale childhood memory came back – how my parents maid, Marisol, ground meat in great grinder and used another machine where she put pale white intenstines over some sort of metallic mouth and filled them with meat slop. How could I demonstrate this knowledge, which was really only a picture in my mind?

“How did your parents make their money?”

“In oil.”

“Doing what to oil?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Of course background’s not the only thing that counts,” the interviewer said. “We’re looking for somebody who’s team-oriented but simultaneously explosive. Solution oriented. Good at thinking quickly under pressure. Creative. Passionate. Are you someone with a great passion who’s on fire for managing projects and solving communication problems?”

“Oh, yes,” I said, “I burn with a great passion.”

“That’s wonderful to hear,” the interviewer said. “It’s all about one thing – to take passion and turn it into sausage.”

He explained to me several times the function of my position, something about group-oriented problem-solving, but I was distracted by the heavy, grinding noises coming from the factory equipment, grinding away in in a room I hadn’t been allowed to see. As soon as I came home, the phone rang. Could I start the next day?

“The thing is…” I said, looking for an excuse and not finding it.

“Or have you got other plans?” said the voice on the other end of the line, through so much static that I couldn’t tell if they were male or female.

“I… no,” I said, and had a sad vision of croissants, wine glasses, and pool tables fading away in the distance.

“We’re pleased that you’re so flexible. Could you be there at eight in the morning?”

From that day on I had to get up early in the morning. I didn’t remember my dreams anymore, but turned into one of those people with dark rings under their eyes on the underground. It was like travelling between two fish bowls, office and bedroom, where I fell into a shallow sleep, dreamless besides the deep grinding pulsations of the factory and a vague sense that…

Those who actually made the sausage apparently tended towards laziness, because someone had developed a system to analyze how productively they worked, how many sausages were made in how much time, when so-and-so was sick or home with a sick child, who took toilets breaks the most often and how long the toilet breaks lasted.

I hadn’t seen the production yet. I sat alone in an office with frosted glass windows and saw the silhouettes of the big machines like dark ghosts on the other side and I heard them grinding. I looked at a screen with different numbers and tried to interpret the numbers and how they related to the people who worked on the other side. Some numbers meant something good and some meant something bad; I noted all of the ones which stood out.

I basically never met my colleagues, so I was surprised when my manager gave me a Lidl gift card and said, “Great work- we’ve managed to make this factory a lot more efficient, thanks to you. You’ve really picked up your education. Are you ready to take this to the next level?”

“The next level?”

The next level was for me to not only point out the people who would be fired but to actually fire them myself. Now I saw the sausage makers. They came into my office like nervous chickens. I’d have liked to crack open a beer with them, but that wasn’t my job. And I said, “According to our productivity data this would be a more efficient factory if we optimized away your job,” and so on; sometimes they looked hateful, sometimes they cried on the way out of my office.

“I don’t understand why you have to fire me,” one said. “I’m here on time every day and I work as hard as I can. The sausage does get made. Why does the work have to be optimized?”

“I don’t understand why I have to fire you either,” I said. Regardless of how many people got fired, work on the whole didn’t seem to go any faster. The longer people were there, the slower they began to work; sooner or later they made a mistake, fell ill or were late, except for when someone had just been fired and fear whipped everyone to work as hard as they could until they couldn’t anymore. Then a new person would be hired, and with time the new would become just like the old, and then they were replaced too.

“Then why are you firing me?”

“I’m not firing you, it’s the computer,” I said.

“What cowardice!”

I could only agree. The machine stood on my desk and sometimes bleeped angrily. What could a machine really do to me? I was a human and mightier than it.

Sometimes I took a wrong turn in the subway and ended up in filthy tunnels which smelled like human feces where rags littered the ground and where people lived in filth and garbage, people who were superfluous. How could I be happy about anything when people were just about the same as old clothes which were left on the street and pissed on by dogs until there were nothing left but rags? Croissants and wine all turned to dust in my mouth, it was hard to look people in the eyes, I kept the radio on while I was falling asleep.

I started ignoring the numbers on the screen and for a while my life was full of a sort of peace. I drank machine coffee “with white” and peered through the break room window, onto the parking lot covered with rime where an anxious sinking sun slipped beneath the houses. Perhaps nobody would have to be fired again. In which case it was lucky that they hired me, instead of someone more dedicated, who could have effectivized away dozens of people in the time it took me to go to the coffee machine, put in a coin, and press the button.

My manager called me to him.

“How come the effectivization process has fallen behind?” he said.

“People have become a lot more efficient,” I said, “everyone works as hard as they can.”

“I just can’t believe that,” he said. A thumping sound came from the great room behind him. “We haven’t raised our productivity at all in the last week.”

“But we’re already productive.”

I might as well not have said anything. He said, “We’ve looked into your numbers and unfortunately we can tell you haven’t been efficient enough in the effectivization process to justify your position.”

“I thought perhaps we were done effectivizing.”

“Of course we’re not done effectivizing,” he said testily. “Not only that, but your inefficiency has already slowed us down massively; now we’re a whole week behind. We do, of course, take that seriously. But don’t worry, we found a replacement for you already. I’m sorry, but we have to ask you to go.”

“You don’t at all have to ask me to go,” I said, “you’re the one who decides.”

“Don’t be naïve,” he said. “It’d look terrible for my own stats if I let you keep on like this. You think nobody’s got their eyes on me? No, it’s not an alternative.”

“So what’s the alternative? I do need a job.”

“There is no alternative,” he said. “Well, besides…”

“I have a wish,” I said. “Let me know how the sausage gets made.”

They let me into the thundering heart of the sausage factory. The smell of smoked meat made my eyes tear up and my cheeks itch; the smell of sewage and menstruation; rails in the ceiling where lumps were moved from one side to another; an inside with a ceiling as high as a train station, where metal beams disappeared in a rust red fog and yellow lamps blinked like malicious stars; no sky visible outside the window.

I thought I heard a woman singing, in Spanish as it’s spoken in El Salvador, nothing is more beautiful than the eyes of my true love, his arms are like… but then I couldn’t hear anymore, not over the noise.

“As the farmer slaughters his pigs, one must slaughter ones desires,” a voice said. Who? Who said that? Who whispered into my ear? Nobody led me anymore; the hand on my shoulder was gone, but I went forward anyway. Everything around me moved; the workers at their stations, with lowered heads and plastic covering their faces; they didn’t see me, and before I could recognize a single face they’d gone; in the other direction, high above, lumps of meat were jerked back and forth, pigs and cows and horses and other animals I didn’t recognize, meat juice dripping from the ceiling and rising again like steam, sticking to my hair. The grinder excreted an unrecognizable pink mass from its enormous holes.

Everything in my life had led to this, the rail and grinder and assembly line, behind the line another line, above the manager another manager, behind the grinder another grinder, and above the grinder a platform where a pig sat, larger than a human, with four legs and four arms, a bloody apron and a chef’s hat in gold. It sliced off its own legs with an electric knife, but immediately the spurting stumps grew back, and the severed limbs ended up in the grinder. The pig held plates with fat, swollen sausages in two of its other hands, and with the fourth arm it constantly stuffed its mouth, chewed and swallowed, crying and laughing on a throne of pigs and humans.

Now I knew all about the world.


Text: Zola Gorgon
Image: Pieter Aertsen, A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms

Bladee

Marknaden var kaotisk och suddig. Men även på en sådan plats hade de handlande människorna en viss definition. Fastän de uppenbarligen existerade i samma utrymme som jag, så verkade de alldeles för vackra för det. Marknadens verklighet kom endast till mig när jag prackade på människor andrahandsteorier jag snappat upp från böcker som “Marknadernas historia” och filmer som “Markus på marknaden”. Marknader är som egna moderna samhällen i miniatyr, tänkte jag. Och i dagens samhälle ansågs jag vara en lite tråkig person. Jag hade varken modet att röka cigg på toaletterna på rasterna, eller att shotta tequila med resten av mina kollegor på våra after work-fester. Kanske hade jag bara nyss fyllt 20, men jag förstod redan att saktmodets dygdighet var en ren och skär lögn. Vilken sorts framtid väntade mig om jag redan, även i detta miniatyrsamhälle, var helt oanmärkningsvärd? Omkring mig gick coola unga par runt och letade efter retromöbler att fylla sina vackra lägenheter med. Vad gjorde jag egentligen här? Vem var jag? Min föraning om att jag skulle komma att leda ett fullkomligt trist liv fyllde mig med en förtvivlan bortom alla ord. Jag skulle precis bege mig tillbaka hem, när jag hörde någon ropa mitt namn.

De säger att livet är en slump, men jag tror att mitt möte med Cameron den dagen var del av något mycket större än vi två. Man hade kunnat säga att det var som det efterlängtade svaret på mysteriet Julius Ceasar viskade när han blöd ihjäl på senatens golv. Eller var det mer som svaret på Sphinxens gåta? Jag antar att det inte spelar någon roll. Du förstår, om jag var tråkig, så var Cameron spännande. Det roliga och det skrattliga vandrade vid hans sida vart han än begav sig. Som om han rest världen runt växte Cameron upp och blev den starkare, mer solbrända, och betydligt mer självsäkra av oss. Folk tyckte att han var sexig, och han sågs alltid med ett leende på läpparna. Det blev vår plikt som bästa vänner att undersöka alltingtillsammans, att dra varje värja som gick att dra. Men var det verkligen en bra idé?

En viss “Bladees” uppdykande hade fångat mina vänners uppmärksamhet den sommaren. Han var det enda de pratade om, och det enda de lyssnade på. “Så imponerande är han faktiskt inte,” brukade jag säga, för att övertyga både mig själv och mina vänner, men sanningen var att jag var mer än imponerad. Jag…

Jag…

Jag tolkade helt enkelt Bladee självständigt, och observerade honom från andra, mycket märkligare vinklar. Kanske var det fånigt at mig, men jag fann honom fascinerande. Jag minns en kväll på en hemmafest, då en vän till mig satte igång låten “be nice to me”, och en underlig röst i mitt huvud svarade, “det ska jag.”

Bladee var så fri… fri på ett sätt jag inte var. Skulle jag någonsin bli så fri som han? Jag måste försöka. Han som är fri från rådande moral och förnuft kan åstadkomma vadsomhelst. Precis som Marquis de Sades hjältinna Juliette, måste jag befria mig själv för Bladee.

Natten innan jag stötte på Cameron på marknaden hade jag det galna infallet att be till Gud innan jag gick och lade mig. Hur går det nu igen? frågade jag mig själv, men sen kom orden till mig.

“Fader vår,” började jag, “helgat varo ditt namn. Må ditt rike komma, må din vilja ske…”

Vem kan säga vad som hände sen? Allt jag minns är att jag hörde samma fruktansvärt underliga röst som på hemmafesten. Den verkade komma från inuti mig.

“I anden! I kroppen! I ögonen! I båda händerna! I blodet och andedräkten! I klingan!” ekade den genom min själs kammare. Min hjärna tömdes och jag störtade ner på sovrumsgolvet i djup sömn. Jag minns inte vad jag drömde den natten. Bara den där rösten – den där underliga rösten… Oskyldigt undrade jag om orden fortsatte att formas inom mig. Märkliga tankar och vansinniga tankar och allegoriska tankar spred sig. Om jag bara vetat vad som väntade.

“Hallå, Ilia!”

Jag vände mig om och såg min bästa vän, lika munter som alltid.

“Hej Cameron,” sa jag, “hur är läget? Jag skulle precis gå.”

“Redan?” sa han besviket. “Jag skulle ha älskat att hänga med dig, bro. Jag letar efter ett uråldrigt svärd att hänga på väggen i min nya lägenhet. Du är alltid så bra på att hitta sånt.” Sen lystes hans ansikte upp. “Du kommer aldrig kunna tro vad jag ska göra ikväll!”

“Vadå?” frågade jag. Cameron gjorde många otroliga saker och det verkade troligt att vad han skulle berätta för mig, vad det än var, faktiskt skulle låta trovärdigt. Men vad han berättade därnäst var verkligen förbluffande.

“Jag har biljetter till Bladee-konserten,” sa han.

“Du skojar,” svarade jag, och min hänryckning måste gjort intryck på honom, för han bjöd mig direkt att följa med.

Den kvällen, när vi förfestade hos Cameron, så insåg jag att det var ödet snarare än slumpen som fört oss samman, och med samma människor som jag mött hundra gånger förut, på andra hemmafester och häng. Alla verkade ovanligt intresserade av att konversera med mig, mycket mer än vad de någonsin varit tidigare. De kommenterade till och med min utstyrsel, och sa, “du ser jättebra ut ikväll, Ilia!”

Om det fanns en gud som slängt mig, så var detta en gud som plockat upp mig igen. En gud som förstod mig och mitt djupa behov av frihet. Av att vara fri för Bladee. Var det samma gud som besvarat min bön natten innan? Vad den rösten än var för något så bestämde jag mig att tro på den. “Ubern är här om fem minuter!” sa Cameron. Brum brum – så var vi på väg.

Jag minns inte mycket av konserten. Vem skulle kunna minnas sådan ekstas efter att den är över? Men efteråt, när konserten var över, så la Cameron armen om mina axlar och viskade i mitt öra: “Det finns en överraskning åt dig. Gå upp för trappan och knacka på den gula dörren.”

“Vänta, varför det?” sa jag, men Cameron bara blinkade åt mig.

Vad överraskningen än var, så lydde jag. De väntade på mig i mitten av ett enormt rum med en underbar utsikt över natten. En stilig kille i en röd tröja erbjöd mig den ultimata frestelsen. “Bladee är här. Du måste ge honom ditt hedrande.”

“Du vet vad du måste göra,” uppmanade hans följeslagare mig.

“Snälla!” svarade jag utan att tveka. “Jag ska göra det.”

Bladee, du kan komma in nu,” sa en av de unga männen på svenska. Jag var stel av förväntan. En minute senare kom Bladee in i rummet.

Ibland sägs det att vissa kändisar är “trevliga och jordnära”, men nu förstod jag vad det verkligen betydde. För i hans ögon såg jag inte den trendiga unga stjärnans kyliga glans, utan värmen som återspeglades från ögonen hos de ödmjuka kor som hans förfäder en gång måste ha fött upp, i sina små stugor, i det lilla kalla landet så långt borta.

Det måste vara du som är min väpnare,” sa Bladee (på svenska), och jag nickade eftersom jag förstod av mig själv vad han menade, fastän jag inte förstod hans språk. “Men även den mest trogna väpnare förtjänar en dag att själv känna riddarens vansinniga beslutsamhet.” Jag knäböjde framför hans klappstol och förberedde mig på att ta emot hans svärd, som skulle dubba mig in i hans värld. I andra ord så sög jag hans kuk. Och när han kom i min mun, med ett stön som verkade komma från själva djupet av hans varelse, så fylldes min hjärna av ett bländande vitt ljus; där var det, klarhet, intellektuell och spirituell styrka, som om varenda hudcell – inte bara i min kropp men även i min själv – plötsligt hade blivit fullständigt återfuktad. Och då visste jag det. Att jag aldrig skulle vara tråkig.

Jag såg upp med tacksamhet och torkade mig om munnen. Men vad hade hänt med Bladee, plötsligt så tömd på kraft? Han såg fullständigt utmattad ut när han lutade sig tillbaka igen mot stolen, oförmögen eller ovillig att resa på sig igen. “Tack… och varsågod,, sa han, och när han talade verkade han kollapsa in i sig själv, som en ballong några dagar efter festen. Och precis som en ballong tömdes han plötsligt på luft och skjöts genom luften, ut genom det öppna fönstret och in i den stjärngnistrande natten utanför. Jag tappade hakan för andra gången – denna gången av vördnad. Skulle han någonsin synas till igen? Kanske skulle hans resa fortsätta på en annan plats, i en annan stad; kanske på en annan planet. Allt jag visste var att min resa bara precis hade börjat. 

text: Ian Memgard & Zola Gorgon
översättning: Zola Gorgon
bild: Ian Memgard

Bladee

The market was chaotic and blurry. But even in such a place, there’s a certain definition to the people buying and selling things. Even though they clearly existed in the same space as I, they appeared to be too beautiful for it. The reality of the market was only provided to me by cornering people with second hand theories I had picked up from books like “A History of Markets” and movies like “Markus at the Market”. Markets are like self-contained, modern societies in miniature, I thought. And in today’s society, I was considered a somewhat boring person. I didn’t have the courage to smoke cigarettes in the restroom during breaks, nor to do tequila shots with the rest of my colleagues at our after work parties. I may have just turned 20, but I understood that the idea of meekness as a virtue was a bold-faced lie. What sort of future could await me if I was already unremarkable even in this miniature society? All around me were cool, young couples looking for retro furniture to fill their beautiful apartments with. What was I really doing here? Who was I? My premonition that I would lead a totally boring life filled me with a despair beyond words. I was just about to head back home, when I heard my name being called.

Life is said to be a coincidence, but I think that my encounter with Cameron that day was part of something much greater than the two of us. One could say it was like the long awaited answer to the mystery whispered by Julius Caesar as he bled out on the senate floor. Or was it more like the answer to the riddle of the Sphinx? I guess it doesn’t matter. You see, if I was boring, Cameron was exciting. The fun and the laughty stayed at his side wherever he went. As if he’d travelled the whole world, Cameron grew up to be the stronger, more tanned, and significantly more confident one of us. People thought he was hot and he was always seen smiling. It became our duty as best friends to investigate everything together, to draw every blade there was to be drawn. But was this really such a good idea?

The appearance of a certain “Bladee” had caught the attention of most of my friends that summer. He was all they would ever talk about and all they would ever listen to. “He’s just not that impressive,” I used to say, trying to convince both myself and my friends, but in reality I was more than impressed. I was.. 

I was.. 

I was simply interpreting Bladee independently, observing him from other, much stranger angles. Maybe it was silly of me, but I found him fascinating. I remember how one night at a house party my friend put on the song “be nice to me”, and a strange voice inside my head answered, “I will”.

Bladee was so free… free in a way I was not. Would I ever be as free as him? I had to try. He who is freed from existing morals and reason can accomplish anything. Just like the Marquis de Sade’s heroine Juliette, I had to free myself for Bladee.

The night before I met Cameron at the market I had the crazy idea to pray to God before bed. How does this go again? I asked myself. Then the words came to me. 

“Our Father,” I began, “hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…”

Who can say what happened? All I remember is hearing the same terribly strange voice I heard at that house party. It seemed to come from inside me. 

“In the spirit! In the body! In the eyes! In both hands! In blood and breath! In the blade!” it echoed through the chambers of my soul. My mind went blank and I crashed onto my bedroom floor, fast asleep. I don’t remember what I dreamed that night. Only that voice – that strange, strange voice. I wondered innocently if those words were forming within me even after. Strange thoughts and mad thoughts and allegorical thoughts scattered themselves. If I only knew what was to come.

“Hey, Ilia!” 

I turned around and there was my best friend, as cheerful as ever.

“Hey, Cameron,” I said. “How’s it going? I was just about to leave.”

“So soon?” he said, disappointed. “I would have loved to hang out with you, bro. I’m looking for an ancient sword to hang on the wall of my new flat. You’re always so good at picking out things like that.” Then his face lit up. “Oh, you’ll never believe what I’m doing tonight!”

“What?” I asked. Cameron did many unbelievable things and it seemed likely that what he was about to tell me, whatever it was, would, indeed, be believable to me. But what he told me next was truly astonishing.

“I’ve got tickets to the Bladee concert,” he said.

“No way,“ I replied, and the rapture on my face must have impressed him, because he invited me to come along.

That night, after pre-drinks at Cameron’s, I realized that there was fate, more than coincidence, entangled with our encounters, the very same people I’d met a hundred times before at different house parties and hangouts. Everyone seemed oddly interested in making conversation with me, more than they ever had made known to me before. They even commented on my outfit, saying, “you look really good tonight, Ilia!”

If there was a God who had thrown me away, here was a God who had picked me up. A God who understood me and my deep need to be free. To be free for Bladee. Was it the same God who had answered my prayer last night? Whatever that voice had been, it was a voice I decided to believe in. “The Uber is here in 5 minutes!” said Cameron. Wroom wroom – and we were on our way.

I don’t remember much of the concert. Who could possibly recall such bliss after it’s gone? 

But afterwards, when the concert was over, Cameron put his arm around my shoulders and whispered into my ear, “There’s a surprise for you. Head upstairs and knock on the yellow door.” 

“What, why?” I said but Cameron just winked. 

Whatever the surprise was, I obliged. They were waiting for me in the middle of a huge room with a wonderful night view. A handsome guy in a red shirt offered me the absolute temptation. “Bladee is here. You must pay him tribute.” 

“You know what to do,” his companions urged me. 

“Please!” I answered them without hesitation. “I will do it.” 

“Bladee, du kan komma in nu,” said one of the young men. I stood frozen in anticipation. A minute later, Bladee entered the room.

People sometimes say that certain celebrities are “nice and down to earth”, but now I truly understood what that meant. For in his eyes I saw not the cold glint of the trendy young star, but the warmth reflecting from the eyes of the humble cows that his ancestors must once have reared, in their little homesteads in that small cold country far away.

“Det måste vara du som är min väpnare,” he said, and I nodded because I understood intuitively what he meant. “Men även den mest trogna väpnare förtjänar en dag att själv känna riddarens vansinniga beslutsamhet.” I kneeled before his folding chair and prepared myself to receive the touch of his sword, which would dub me into his world. In other words, I sucked his dick. And as he came into my mouth, with a groan that seemed to come from the very depth of his being, a blinding white light filled my brain; there it was, clarity, strength of spirit and intellect, as if every single skin cell – not just in my body but in my soul – had suddenly become perfectly moisturized. And I knew it then. That I would never be boring.

I looked up in gratitude and wiped my lips. But what had happened to Bladee, suddenly so drained of his power? He looked completely exhausted as he fell back against the chair, unable or unwilling to rise again. “Tack…. och varsågod,” he said, and as he spoke he seemed to crumble into himself, like a party balloon left out a few days too many. And just like a balloon he suddenly deflated and was propelled through the air, through the open window and into the starry night outside. My mouth dropped open for the second time; this time, it was with awe. Would he ever be seen again? Perhaps his journey would continue in another place, in another city; perhaps, on another planet. All I knew was that my journey had just begun. 

text: Ian Memgard & Zola Gorgon
image: Ian Memgard