Flowers bedeck the fragility of the convict and I garlanded myself, lovingly pursuing a journey through sweat, sperm and blood that led to prison. Without what people call my evil, I am castrated. Un petit-bourgeois rien. There was a moral vigour in the acceptance of my destiny. I was hot for crime.
I give the name violence to a noble boldness that hankers for danger, and I have seen it in many of the pimps and thieves I have worked with, men whose authority and beatific treachery bent me to their will. Rene, Stilitano, Guy … I could describe them, but I won’t. I am too much of a literary outlaw for that. Instead, let me take you back to the Barrios in 1932, where I used to jerk myself off into a sperm-spotted handkerchief, while thinking of my mother.
Oui. I am my own Dieu, I fashion my vanity, delighting in the vicarious transgression that has fashionable artists like those fools Cocteau and Picasso, who have never dared to have oral sex with a leprotic geriatric vagabond.
Is any of this true? Who cares? It is if I say it is, for I define my existential self. Je suis what I say je suis, I beat up queers and stole from churches; burglary became a religious rite, elevating me to poet of the underworld even as I willingly debased myself in pissoirs
Rene jerked himself off in a café full of whores to calm himself down, before stabbing the Gypsy boy through the heart for a few sous. In that moment of love and death, I caught sight of Stilitano looking on and knew I must drink in the beautiful odour of his never-washed body. He was the Sacred Black Stone to which Heliogabalus offered up his wealth and I prostrated myself to his treachery and indifference.
I was born in Paris in 1910. My mother was a whore and I have my roots in the parched bones of the children who were massacred by Gilles de Rais. There was no precise time I became a thief, just a metempsychosis of Uranus that saw me graduate from the Reformatory to the Foreign Legion and thence to the piss and shit of the sewers.
Stilitano and I travelled through Czechoslovakia, Poland, Italy and Germany, becoming spies and finding a purity of evil idealism in the SS. I longed to play with the cellulose grapes that hung from his member while he pushed me away like the bitch I was. I wanted him to beat me. I became his noble valet, reduced to even greater humiliations, and even now I am reduced to verbal automatism in thrall to his deity.
Can you feel the degradation? Allow your hands to wander inside your uptight bourgeois pants and feel the excitement of my squalor. But don’t stop there! I can give you so much more if only you will open your flies to me. Lose your suburban values and embrace the negative hell of the poet of the woebegone.
I dressed as a woman and went to Tangiers with Maurice and Robert, occasionally allowing myself to commit an act the gravity of which gave me consciousness. Oui, I was ennuyé. It is no boast to say I was a clever thief, but still I went to prison where I found security in a world that had rejected me, offering up my mobile buttocks to anyone who showed interest. Michaelis wanted me to love him, yet I taunted him with abstinence when I met Java, a muscle-bound Stilitano. Java still liked to go with whores, but occasionally he would let me thread myself inside him when he was asleep, crying out in anger when I made him come. I then met * – I cannot mention his name because he is still alive, though maybe only in the Sartrean sense in which je suis – and we pleasured one another as an SS guard told us of the joy he got when he could see tears in the eyes of the victims he was about to kill.
My work as writer is mere pleonasm. It passes the time as I pursue the rehabilitation of the purulent, the dark thrills of the interdit. I left Nazi Germany because it no longer interested me; there, stealing did not differentiate me from authority. Where was the liberation in that? My aesthetics of crime were self-creation and I went back to shack up with Stilitano. Carrying packages of opium for him gave me a sense of CAPITAL LETTERS, MY SUBSERVIENCE A PURPOSE.
This is the life I lived and these are the people with whom I was preoccupied between 1931 and 1942. Bof! But I can sense your erection fading. So let me tell you more about the pleasure of treachery, how I bit Lucien until he bled while he opened up like an anemone, how I sucked off Bernardini, the head of the Marseilles secret police. Was I guilty? Who knows? I just became that of which I was accused
Voilà. Vous are encore dur. What more can I say? This book is my ascesis. I wanted to rob cripples and queers, I wanted to reclaim the joy of tragedy. But most of all I wanted to glorify myself. Being a thief is banal but writing about it is magnificent and with this exhibitionist act of tedious subversion, I have recreated myself once more as gullible, European radicals reclaim me for their own.
–Jean Genet 1949
- 01-Sesations Fix // Metafel Mafalac
- 02-Dr Phibes Burning Illusions // Twilight Of The Idols
- 03-Television // Glory
- 04-Renee Hell // ESDes Grauens In Fifths
- 05-Buffy Sainte Marie // Guess Who ISaw In Paris
- 06-10cc // Une Nuit AParis
- 07-Martial Canterel // Sidestreets
- 08-Grails // Future Primitive
- 09-The Electric Flag // ALittle Head
- 11-Marianne Faithfull // Guilt
- 12-Akron Family // Say What You Want To