Fiction is Stranger than Truth


“We live in Utopia amongst the shells of the un-dead, / Unseen behind the veils of empire’s walls. / The emperors kill for pleasure and spoils of war bring them bread, / But we have made the laws that bring their fall.” — Gordon Pearce-Lonsdale, Collected Poems, 1924-1977

Technocrats in smart rooms were asleep and dreaming in barcodes and serial numbers, arguing that the end of history and the end of society had brought more effective securitization and a more sustainable repackaging of the consumerist catastrophe with their branding schemes: FreeDomination, Leaphonine, Equipole, etc.

Those kinds of intellectual gymnastics recalled the triteness of that well-known 1960s Pop Art collage by Feigenbaum of the revisionist Joseph Stalin in 1942 as a Buddha with armalite rifles sprouting from his handlebar moustache.

Branding was what used to be done to slaves and livestock but now there were prized consumers to think about, more worthy jobs, enhanced revenue streams and much improved documentation. Also, convenient social applications that would eradicate needless barriers to communication.

Lakshmi took off in a spaceship, blasted off with the stolen poetry. She was outside hierarchy and outside equality. She never found any middle ground and had no equal anywhere.

33. INT – BUS – DAY

Flashback to PORTER on the lower deck of a bus in the morning before the murder. He is staring out the window. Opposite him sits a dishevelled looking man reading a newspaper and intermittently scoffing and snorting.

As PORTER daydreams the light through the window hits his eyes. It sparks a feeling for him, and he drifts off further into his reverie. When he brings his attention back to his immediate surroundings, he realises he is the only passenger left on the bus. He quickly gets up out of his seat.

When day was night and vice versa someone was bound to question the configurations of the social order because they would seem totally out of whack. Indeed, they were because no-one should have served any principle of segregation. The idea that the segregation of nights and days and the consequent demarcation and inhibition of language, mores and customs was true and good placed a severe limitation on inhuman potential. Again, those who would make a prophet out of it were the self-enslaved and their masters.

All the ideals of identity and the naming and seeing and looking and hearing and perceiving the rationale of destiny, like so many operating systems of the propaganda machines, were thrown into the arms of garrulous Psyche.

No gamester could notch up any more points on the points board without a finger or a thumb. No acrobat could swing or trip any light phantastique without moving a muscle.

A mellow melancholia overtook one of the heroines as she sat amongst her collection of papier-mâché masks and pondered another revolution. So much caustic shivering, nerve-wracked, boundless estuaries of timeless marvel were now undone, shorn of the idealism of subjectivity. Made powerless by her own x-ray vision, by lack of power against the power illusion, the ordinary world seemed very, very different to Belladona as the fundamental nature of her perceptual grin turned extra-sensorial.

“Tell that to the neuro-buffs.”

Consciousness was not a principle or facility. It had no origin. It was an increased awareness of something, more of something else that seemed more important. Of course, knowing more of something was better than only knowing what there already was of it, but it was hardly significant unless it pertained to something or other.

Shelley Oxenberg, the daughter of notorious white supremacist cult leader, John Oxenberg, allegedly stole millions of Great British Pounds from local drugs baron, Justin Dunbar, after offering him her virginity. She subsequently persuaded him to send his next-in-command (who cannot be named for legal reasons) to America under false pretences. Dunbar’s colleague had been unable to return to Great Britain after Oxenberg defrauded the police and had the criminal falsely profiled as a dangerous terrorist. Over a period of a decade she had acquired large amounts of filthy lucre from Dunbar’s drugs operation and ploughed them back into her father’s cult. She was later found dead, hanging from a tree on the outskirts of Belfast. John Oxenberg went into hiding and was rumoured to have retreated to somewhere in the Italian Alps. The investigation was ongoing.

Like a dog pissing on a lamppost, the mooted discovery of the origin of consciousness was sprayed in mythical proportions upon the monumental edifice of hyper-capitalism in a bid to leave its stain on history. Scientistic coteries funded by captains of capital manufactured a technology to help the slaveholders identify brains that could be stirred into action even from beyond the colonised reaches of the cyberfield to obey.

B pranced at the gates of dawn, and at the pivot of mountainous night. She had been waiting for so many days and nights and still there was no sign. But without a character still there would be other signs of marvel, of joy and wonder to behold, and still they would bring love to life. She hankered after waiting but found she couldn’t wait. Neither would she allow her nervous system to be commandeered by machines.

My sub-Artaudian posturing was displayed on motorway billboards and in urban streets up and down the country. I intoned guttural throat songs. I claimed to have entered another Ballardian phase in which abstract, erotic sculptures made of a blinding white concrete were all that was left of any ounce of humanity in the suburban gated communities which had sprung up out of nowhere in previously uninhabited no-go zones.

Judeo-Christian so-called civilisation was beginning to pall. I was heavily imbued with Eastern influences and my pretentious art was in any case only an excuse for a new reading of the Otherworld. Maybe I’d just taken a wrong turning down in Hampshire or Sussex somewhere and got bored spinning like a Dervish round the roundabout.

In the Harvard Library some hapless student wanted to think Utopia was just a little bit of hearsay, but the un-Western universities’ pedagogies followed a different tack.

On our morning stroll, my English Bull Terrier had swallowed the front pages of a copy of The Spectator along with some energy bar wrappers from M & S. When he shat it all out the following afternoon in the park some of the shit got on my Asics Gel-Kayanos which I had to drag through a puddle to get clean. I picked up the dogshit with a Walkers crisp packet and as I was about to throw it all in the bin, I found inside a small silver Egyptian ankh medallion. I scolded and praised my boy all at once then we took the piece of jewellery back home wrapped in some leaves. After disinfecting the ankh with Dettol and buffing it up with Silvo polish wadding I wore it next to my pale skin for the next forty-eight hours.

Slowly, the visions came, and I was shunted back to a time out of place where I’d never been, a place out of time long before the conversations that were the novel had begun: Utopia.

Escaped from the servitude of superstitious profanation and Terra Firma’s parlance of false threats, clichés and jargoneering, this time, repressed or unexpressed emotions like joy or happiness became visible creatures that freely roamed the earth.

The parallel universe was a factory of would-be souls, a mockery, a donkey’s straw, ignorant and eager to speak itself to sleep in the night of its own repellent parallel, like a crowd of bystanders stalked by nothing.

B had been embodied in the novel but there were only so many pages and the notion of character was no longer a referent. Random actions and words or descriptions would have to suffice. B was willing to join that part of the novel which may have seemed superfluous but in theory and essence and in a bodily sense was no more than laughing, dining, travelling the global construct and enjoying the fruits of leisure and labour. She retired to the garden and later would invest in a reptile house.

The Psi-Guerrillas had organised a new column in Montreal after they’d been rooted out from Paris and subsequently expelled from Holland. Overseeing the newspapers of the day, it was easy to see that the conniving duplicity of certain counterfeit agents amongst their number must have helped them to obtain diplomatic protection. Members of the group could no longer be traced to Canada.

Stalked by nothingness, the parallel universe was the ticket to everywhere. Its entry sign above a hieroglyph of providence had no alternative. It was baked into a cake and stuffed into the bearded mouth of the promised land’s provider to remind him that the land belonged to none.

“That fear you fear. It’s the fear I’ll tempt you. Do you want to be lead by free reason? That’s where impartiality beckons.”

An absent-minded toy-maker trafficked in toys outside the 24-hour cycle with phosphorescent teeth bared to ravage and consume you, as you multiplied yourselves into the characters of this novel to acquire the novelistic devices utilised to convey the novel.

B felt like a lady detective in a 1950s dime store detective novel, scouring the pages of her new case history like a heroin addict looking for her next fix. She detected a side-effect: consciousness, a fiction you could fold up inside a large handkerchief and place in a musk-scented drawer. It would still be there in the morning, but flatter. The phenomenon of consciousness looked suspiciously like a myth, that is, a misapprehension repeated by consensus.

And after thirty seconds of well-crafted professionalism the sub-text cried out from the gutter, unheard. Its mechanism twitched to a distant, “May-day, May-day, May-day…”

Atop the pyramid of the academy a video game was played only by those in the know, sold at inflated prices in specialist stores, as a sort of simulated wage slave fuel for the intellect at rest.

The violence of the regime was enough to be getting on with, thank you very much, without resorting to violent fantasies incurred by blind belief in it. As B wiped her mouth with a napkin with the blue insignia of Equipole on it she wondered how it could ever be desirable to expose, revel in or otherwise demonstrate consciousness. Pondering the question for more than a few seconds made her brain ache.

Pseudoscience had established its field of endeavour in order to demonstrate that its existence was a genuine social phenomenon with historical continuity. The labelling of articles and personalities had come under the auspices of the branding strategies of vampire-fanged logos.

So, B just crushed the logos under her kitten heels and utilised herself to define other selves for the pleasure of consuming the outlines of their forms. The research she engaged in produced results the efficacy of which was primarily sensual. As she examined the contents of her current case study, a singular point revealed the obvious fact of her research having been carried out.

The march of the living ones through the great zig-zag halls proceeded apace in the glare of the manufacturers’ machines and in the toll-keeper’s stash and in the fabric of a late-night go-kart ride. The march of the living ones at the perimeter of the pyramid was preceded by a skull with eagles’ wings. Without their knowledge it poured scorn on the living things. A wild cat clawed at the mantelpiece and a bunch of necklaces fell off the windowsill.

Pushing against the electrified fence of the schoolyard, poetry claimed it was not over yet. It was not free enough to poison and injure when not in a state of grace. There was no habitual routine for it, certainly not in the frivolity of the academy or in the malevolence of status and riches, not in names or words and certainly not in the presence of cold callers.

“I will not relent.”

B was asked to contribute some of her notes to one of the factions in Marginalia which did provide some legitimacy and plausibility as to the claims made regarding her research. On reflection, the more plausible the claims, the more the faction could appear to have strength in numbers.

Eminently elusive, the character of Nas always made sure never to be seen in places where his enemies would have liked to have found him. Returning to the solace of his Bible, he found therein great chains and whips. The birdcage rattled with seeds of peace and hope, despite the prognostications of the doomsayers and naysayers, despite the political theorists that rose up out of the pyramid of the academy to teach how the wheels of revolution went round and round, as if they sparked rebellion and just to keep it at bay.

A pink flame of aptitude, the crème de la crème, was borne on piggyback through the zig-zag halls of the great mouth of the museum washed out with soap.

The gold of darkness conveyed deliverance, oh, the miracle of love in a cuneiform tablet paraphrased to uphold a holy mental image of a red chaffinch in the morning.

An echo of birdsong from the terrestrial outposts signalled to the celestial outposts. Forbidden clues were found in leaves and barks, in the sheep, in the pigs and goats, and in all the terrestrial kings and queens the chess player had envisioned in omens. The cosmic waters bubbled with delight.

And Magdalena with the antelope heart, ipso facto her great command-presence, would finally turn to face the cultural apocalypse and be immortalised as the seed-bearer for the new planet.

The Conversations 11: Fiction is Stranger than Truth: text & image © A. A. Walker