For we cannot define everything & must begin somewhere. The atoms whirl about, a picture forms. A hole that is no longer bottomless, contemplation of which, carrying the first sky, falling(mouthless)upon the first watcher…

A few points in suspension tending as indicated: the road to be taken but also the road not to be taken. All directions are metaphors. Let them cut & sew their organs in place, they grow much larger than life where death is more rarefied in mud & flowers. Each replaces the other with their own symbols, amplitude & pitch. In the first place, the problem of consistency, being in the glowing ph[r]ase of our existence. (We must replay everything exactly as we’d forgotten it.) A pulsing brain afloat in a fishtank. There will be no more psychologisms after this – white moons black moons blood moons bile moons. (From the ads: LITTLE VOICES INSIDE THEIR HEADS TOLD THEM TO KILL KILL KILL…)* Early in the evening in Golem City, with the Malécon barricaded & under siege by riot cops, fires were lit. The Proletkult’s annual jamboree. A quayside band playing a pantheistic samba. Thus is the stage set for killer creatures from an alien world to descend upon the Earth, exhibiting mental damage & emotional burnout. The entire wage-earning population is immediately hospitalised, given tranquilisers, soporifics, comforting words, yet still they perish. A mysterious illness is haunting Mitteleuropa. Tapeworm in the psychosamosas? Avian swine flu? LSD in the water supply? A million TVs light the blacked-out sky where G.O.D. in cretinous halo is smiling benevolently down. I’D JOIN YOU IF I CLD, KIDZ, BUT I’M FIGHTING ZOMBIES ON MY OWN UP HERE, SO Y’LL JUST HAVE TO OUTSMART ANY THAT MAKE IT THROUGH, OK? (GIVE ’EM HELL!) @RealPresidentX: Mainlining Clorox is a sure cure for this Weirdo Disease. (If you’re joining us from another timezone, please note that all apparently bizarre & frankly insane goings on reported in this programme are in fact an antic disposition put on by our Belovèd Leaders in order to beguile these alien invaders into a False Sense of Absurdity!) >We must be prepared to give up everything! >Cure worse than the disease? >My brain, my choice! This is the cue for a song: Billy Joe Royal sings, “These are not my people.” Stock riot footage & dubbed-in sounds of protest & love. They are bombarding the virus with gamma rays, quantum induction beams, screeds of doom & tax returns & cold-hard metaphysics. Nostradamus was right! This is not a political horror, this is vampyrs spawned from interstellar RNA! 100 trillion Earth dollars not enough to buy the patent? They are broadcasting their demands: PAY-UP OR G.O.D. GETS IT IN THE NECK! It’s a bloodbath. Well you wldn’t guess from appearances that they’re homicidal freaks one & all, expecting giant paste-up eyeballs spewing radiation & not that Wild-Grrl-Queen-of-Outerspace S&M chic. Vampyrs in latex & polychrome explaining to the cameras, “Earth’s a strange place to live, all those cars, all going someplace, all carrying humans…” Vampyrs hanging with the protest kidz. Molotov happy hour! Disembowelled riot cops screaming through the teargas. In & out of the shadows the hooded anarchistas with gleaming flickknives collect their trophies, ear, scalp, scrotal sack. Mist rolling off the sea. Searchlights x-ing at random the City streets. @RealPresidentX: I am once again demanding to be Zsa Zsa Gabor. (Where the hell’s Batman when we need him?) >By adjusting our temporal mechanics we may accelerate all past effects of boredom to generate a truly spectacular onceinalifetime Extinction Event like no other. The air inside the machine grows heavy, then gold, radiant plasma, again they talk about resurrection – it’s only physics, the dream isn’t a river nor the elementary moral particle you seek like a swimmer giving birth. (One thing at a time please.) I breathed out, there was no going back. Coming to the end in a mute uproar, pure hemibrain reflex. The carp flaps on the chopping block, the Divine Artifex. Necessity is a word not divisible by any other word than itself & so on. For too long the plot had been monotonously spreading, a ventriloquist dummy’s well-oiled voice in the clouds – broad daylight being never quite broad enough, the walls sliced open to provide additional perspective – “a hole that’s no longer bottomless,” etc. We’ve been here before. The Gödelian Knot in the forking path, where phenomena conjoin nakedly. Eyebeam, fang, razor of Okham, cutting a glitched corpse-swathe. The very meaning of things arises from their ruthlessness! And from this point hence, never the twain again. In other words, the axiomatic method – concerned with the shallwesay relations of dependence. Dear Guyotat, we have finally consented to being made an example of the reductio ad absurdam. This time will be definitive, nothing will be spared! It isn’t a question of finding a cure but a more efficient mass extermination. The Final Solution of the Alien Problem! Feeling like you was losing yer nerve boy? It’s one hell for them & another for us, hahaha! (Believe me when I say THIS WILL HURT.) Well they’d hack their own bollocks off if they thought it’d get them into Heaven. All those cybernated shemales with pure battery acid in their veins. (Try getting a bite of THIS!) The vampyr exists only as a rhetorical category at odds with an ontology that situates it within an organic continuum. Those baleful eyes. Those frozen lips. And something else, like ectoplasm searching out the imponderable crux. How, you ask, in the midst of all this, can anything proceed, other than by a surrogate insufficiency? Picture the scene: A postcard with lighting effects. Lofty palmtrees all down the Malécon, every one of them cast iron. Is this any place for a vampyr to set up shop? No hairshirt & exterminating angels? No rarefactions of bloodless flesh in glib chiaroscuro? Here, the sea whispers its soft calypso tune to sunnily moronic dispositions, quiescently rotting in the canned subtropical heat. Mad dogs & slave men. Antipodeans seeking shade beneath their own feet. La Côte Bohème in its decadent hayday. (Since the coming of the Plague, nothing is what it was: fish do fly, the seasons are inverted, a too-facile air of complicity has settled over everything like an embezzled pension plan.) It follows (?) that the word vampyr isn’t correlated the way it once was, meaning a hellmouth cropped out with vented teeth, necrotic flesh hungry for blood, an embodied sexual revenge. Instead, suppose it now correlates abstractly to the letter V. We thus pose the question: Is V vampyric? Cleansed of an unhealthy sentimentality, vampyrism is no longer a state-of-mind, magnified & turned inside-out, but a symbolic function. Because even the sucking of blood affirms progress. Antidote of living death, time’s abortion-made-flesh, penultimate parasite, ligament of tremors, sanguine algorithm. How endless would be totality were it not for the need to consume! Hahaha. The moon shines bright upon its shadow. In the name of their logic we say to them: HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A PARADOX SCORNED!

* Are these the angry daughters of the bourgeoisie your daddies warned you about?

Substituting one thing for another amounts to very little. An eye for an eye, an idea for a blubbering logos.

Louis Armand is the author of the novels The Garden (2020), The Combinations (2016) & Cairo (2014). In addition, he has published collections of poetry, including East Broadway Rundown (2015) & Monument (with John Kinsella, 2020). He lives in Prague.

Artwork by Jacqueline de Jong,

Kobü, 1995, oil on panel

Courtesy of the Artist and James Velaise