Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ernst Junger, from Annaherungen: Drogen und Rausch (1970), trans. Gerhard Loose

(On Teonanacatl)
Everything was skin, and it was being touched, the retina too. Touch turned to light. This light was multicolored; it formed strings, gently swaying to and fro like the glass bead strings of an oriental curtain. They formed the kind of door through which one enters in his dreams--curtains of lust and danger. Wind moved through them like a raiment, like the string skirts of a dancer, opening and closing to the swaying of the hips. The beads gave forth murmuring sounds, playing on the sharpened senses. By contrast, the jingling of the silver bracelets and anklets was too loud. A smell obtained, of sweat, blood, tobacco, chopped horse hair, cheap attar of roses. They must be carrying on in the stables, but who knows?

It must be a huge palace, of the Mauritanian kind, a disreputable place no doubt. Rooms adjoined the dance halls, whole suites extending to the basement. And curtains everywhere, glittering sparkling radioactively. Also this murmuring of glass instruments, coquettishly enticing...Now it ceased, now it started up again, more importunately, more insistently--almost certain of my yielding. Then things became distinct: historical collages, vox humana, call of the cuckoo. Was it the Whore of Santa Lucia thrusting out her breasts at the window? ...Salome dancing, her amber necklace emitting sparks, her nipples rising to firmness. What doesn't one do for his John? Damn this obscenity! But it wasn't I who said this; it had been whispered through the curtain. 

The snakes were filthy, lazily lolling on the floor mats, barely alive. They were studded with diamond slivers. Some, eyes red and green, peered from the ceiling. And all this glitter, this whispering, hissing, blinking...Silence, and then it came again, softer but more importunate. They had got me...

The madam came in through the curtain, a busy woman, passing me obliviously. I saw her red-heeled boots. The garters cut deep into the fleshy thighs. Huge breasts, the delta of the Amazon; parrots, piranhas, semiprecious stones everywhere. 

Then she went into the kitchen--or were there cellars too? The glitter, the whispering, the hissing and blinking became indistinguishable, but also more concentrated and, finally, expectant, jubilant. 

It became hot, unbearably so. I got up...

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