This is a little story I like to call The dolorous tale of how the clown once known as Pierrot came to laugh again
After endless searching and bitter sacrifice the clown Pierrot had finally come to the house on the hill. All the greasepaint had been smeared from his face and his once pristine white costume hung in shreds from his lean frame, covered in blood and mud and filth he preferred not to think about. All he had been through would be worth it when he could kiss again the tender lips of his fair Columbine, wrongly taken from him by the heartless Harlequin, lo those many years ago. In his now calloused hand he clutched an iron dagger to even the score.
Though he had been wrong so many times before, Pierrot knew with absolute certainty that he would find his fair Columbine within the wretched walls of this hovel. The house upon the hill was no house at all, but the desolate ruins of a tiny cottage with boarded up windows and a collapsed roof that failed to keep the elements out. Fire had blackened most of it and the rest seemed held together by menacing vines and long-dead vegetation. It teetered precariously on a ledge overlooking an infinite rocky chasm. He saw it move as the wind and rain ceaselessly buffeted it. Every inch of Pierrot longed to flee this place of nightmares and insanity. Instead he tightened his grip on the iron dagger and approached the door which had words scrawled across its surface in a sloppy, frantic hand. The words were brown like dried blood or shit and they read Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate. Pierrot kicked open the door and went inside.
Within he found a mansion. The forecourt was large and well-lit with strange works of ancient art on display everywhere his eyes settled. Further back there was a spiraling marble staircase that wound through the multiple floors above. Though he heard festive voices in the distance he knew that he would find his fair Columbine only by ascending this perilous way and so he took the stairs two and three at a time.
When he reached the third floor his instincts, which had faithfully guided him on his journey thus far, whispered that she was near. The floor was dark with many rooms he could barely see in the distance. He lost count after twenty, but vowed to try them all until he found her.
The first door opened with a long, mournful groan like the souls in Purgatory. Pierrot clasped his hand to his mouth to stifle a scream at what he saw within.
In the second he found a woman dressed in crimson finery lying on a couch with a sumptuous meal set out before her. She raised a goblet spilling over with wine in greeting and moistened her blood-red lips with a tongue impossibly long and serpentine. Mesmerized, Pierrot watched as the woman’s other delicate hand traced the ample swell of her bone-white bosoms that were nearly spilling out the top of her crimson gown, watched them descend and grab the hem and slowly raise it up revealing her virginal thighs and the bare mound between them. She took a long, pleasurable sip of wine and then parted her folds for him, revealing a blood-shot eyeball. Then she spread her long legs lewdly and began to moan like a common whore of the streets which quickly turned into agonized screams as the head belonging to the eye forced its way out of her. The skin of the face resembled brown leather from too long spent under the desert sun; it had long hair in dreadlocks like spider legs and a grizzled beard and a wound at the neck where it had been severed from its body. The woman gingerly lifted it up and kissed the gore-speckled lips and then the head began to laugh.
Pierrot closed the door behind him in wordless horror and continued his search with the next room. There he found only mirrors. Mirrors covered every wall, the ceiling and even the floors, all reflecting his bewildered gaze back at him. In the center of the room sat a child, lost in deep contemplation of his image though Pierrot could see nothing but his own reflection in the mirrors.
“Pardon me,” Pierrot called out to the child. “But I am looking for someone.”
“Aren’t we all?” The child replied tonelessly, without glancing up.
“She is the fairest woman who has ever lived, my Columbine. Perhaps you have seen her?”
The child turned and rose to his feet. With a slow, limping step he approached Pierrot. Once he was out of the shadows he could see that the child had no face, just smooth, empty flesh where his eyes and mouth and nose should have been. Pierrot slammed the door shut, hard, before the child reached him.
In the next room he found a black dog hunched over with a circle of fat, hairy, naked men masturbating while they watched the dog take a shit. Pierrot did not hail them; he prayed they knew nothing of his Columbine.
Pierrot walked down the tenebrous corridor, passing up rooms that echoed with screams and laughter and the sounds of gratified desire. These tormenting visions were not for him.
But then he came to a door at the end of the hall that was painted yellow, and this one he boldly tried.
It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls.
The paint and paper look as if a boys’ school had used it. It is stripped off—the paper—in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach, and in a great place on the other side of the room low down. I never saw a worse paper in my life.
One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.
It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide—plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.
The color is repelllent, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.
It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.
No wonder the children hated it! I should hate it myself if I had to live in this room long.
“Wait,” Pierrot said to himself. “These are not my thoughts. This is not my perception. Whence do they come?”
Then he opened his eyes and saw that the room was dark and empty save for a solitary figure with a yellow crown, a yellow mask and tattered yellow robes. From him seemed to emanate a shrill, piercing whine like a radio improperly tuned that made Pierrot’s stomach churn. Clutching his ears he fled the room, not even bothering to shut the door behind him.
Pierrot decided to try the next floor, hoping that he would have better luck.
He did not.
In the first room he found midget clowns and fire-eaters and women dancing with snakes, but no Columbine.
In the second there were chalk-covered Indian holy men tending a smoldering funeral pyre.
In the eighth a row of silent babies in tight swaddling spun for them by a tremendous spider.
In the eleventh there was a slab of stone and a naked dead man on it. His chest was open and a giggling girl in pig-tails was holding a clump of ivy above him. “My husband lost his heart,” she cooed to Pierrot. “Could you spare yours? If not I’ll have to substitute this.”
In the thirtieth he found drunkards and vagrants and men in animal costumes feasting amid mounds of dirty dishes and rotting food. The stench was intolerable. They offered him wine and riddles but Pierrot declined.
In the hundredth room there was a forest and gay creatures with haunted eyes. They watched him silently until he left and continued watching him.
The final room of that floor had a massive pipe protruding from a wall, leaking water onto the floor which Pierrot found had become soft and unsteady when he stepped upon it. In the middle of the room was a beautiful dark-haired girl hanging from the rafters. Beneath her pert breasts the word Remorse had been written across her distended belly, carved into the flesh by her own hand or so it seemed since she still held an iron dagger rather like Pierrot’s in her limp fingers.
There was a hideous shriek and then something began to emerge from the pipe in the wall – a slimy, white creature that once might have been a man, pulling itself along with its weak, rubbery arms. Once it’s torso was completely out of the pipe spilling the brackish water it leaned over and vomited out pungent black bile.
With a growing sense of melancholy failure Pierrot closed the door and descended the winding staircase. He would never find his fair Columbine in this horrid place.
Then, as he was about to leave the house on the hill for good, he heard the sounds of merry-making that had greeted him when he first came in. Trepidation growing with every step, Pierrot followed them back to their source and found a large banqueting hall with three hundred costumed revelers inside. The feast itself was so grand that even Petronius could not have described it. At the head of the table sat Mad Tom O’ Bedlam, his silver beard stained with wine, and on his lap sat the fair Columbine, drunk and disheveled. She smiled when she saw Pierrot enter the chamber.
“Look! My gallant Theseus has finally come for me.”
The hall erupted in maniac laughter.
“He has suffered much along the way,” Mad Tom observed with a sly fox grin.
“Too much, I fear. It’s broken his little foolish brain.”
“What has this place done to you, Columbine?” Pierrot’s eyes were wet with tears. “Come home with me and I’ll make you whole again.”
“Did you hear that? How rich! Sweetie, just leave. Our life together is over. You never knew the real me. Neither did I. It was only here in hell that I was able to find myself. Nothing happened to me that I did not desire.”
“I will fight this brigand and take you from this wretched place by force if need be!”
“No you won’t. You are too tender-hearted for that. And what would you do with me once you had me? You never had the first clue what to do with a woman like me. You’re a good man, Pierrot. Forget what you saw here. Leave before it’s too late.”
“He thinks he’s one of us because he’s suffered,” Mad Tom drawled drunkenly. “He’s not. At least not yet. Soon, though. Very soon. Let us show him the way.”
From three hundred mouths came the chant, “Let us show him the way.” Over and over again the words battered poor Pierrot until he felt sanity slipping through his fingers. Then silence.
Columbine lifted her head up, eyes rolled completely back until only the whites were visible. Then she looked at him with a predatory grin and Pierrot did not recognize her.
Cette langue entre quatre gencives,
cette viande entre deux genoux,
ce morceau de trou
pour les fous.
L’intelligence est venue après la sottise,
laquelle l’a toujours sodomisée de près, –
Ce quin donne une idée de li’infini trajet.
Je te condamne parce que tu sais pourquoi … je te condamne, –
et moi, je ne le sais pas.
C’est par la barbaque,
la sale barbaque
que l’on exprime
qu’on ne sait pas
se placer hors
pour être sans,
bien crottée et mirée
dans le cu d’une poule
morte et désirée.
Ce n’est pas un esprit qui a fait les choses
Pas de philosophie, pas de question, pas d’être,
pas de néant, pas de refus, pas de peut-être,
et pour le reste
à la fleur de mes nuits
aux amoureux dans l’incendie
à tes yeux qui salivent
à ces choses qui arrivent
aux horizons du soir
pourquoi pas à l’espoir?
à ces vins qui tiennent chaud
à nos ivres bateaux
au plaisir au désir de tout quitter sur un soupir
aux adieux aux toujours aux promesses aux amours
aux noirceurs à nos cœurs
aux lueurs à nos peurs
à ton cœur fatigué
à nos travers, nos libertés
à nos bouches essoufflées à trop les embrasser
à nos bouches essoufflées à trop les embrasser
La médecine soudoyée ment chaque fois qu’elle présente un malade
guéri par les introspections électriques de sa méthode,
je n’ai vu, moi, que des terrorisés de la méthode,
incapables de retrouver leur moi.
Or, je le répète, Le Bardo c’est la mort, et la mort n’est qu’un état de magie noire qui n’existait pas il n’y a pas si longtemps.
le jour se lève et je ne vois
que le silence aux horizons
dans le jardin de mes enfances
je crois qu’il est mort le pinson
bien sûr ça ne sera pas rose
mais les écorchures à nos mains
nous garderons le souvenir
de mon pinson dans le lointain
suivons le chant du vent des plaines
il nous mènera au printemps
et puis qui sait sur le chemin
chanter le chant des partisans
nous serons fiers nous serons un
et notre sang sera du vin
nos amours pour soigner la Terre
nos infinis contre leur rien
notre étoile a le goût du souffre
mais elle éclaire comme un millier
de chandelles en processions
des oriflammes à l’horizon
allumons-nous sous les grandes ourses
non nous ne sommes pas funéraires
nous sommes fils de la renaissance
sous le drapeau des libertaires
Pierrot had reached his limit – he could endure no more. Realizing that Columbine was lost to him forever he fled the dining hall and raced up the spiral staircase, seeking solace in the heart of the house that madness built.
He found it in a small, dank room that smelled of rot and mildew. It contained a bed and a closet and nothing else. He flung himself on the bed and cried in defeat, cried until the sheet and pillow were wet with his tears and he had nothing left to spill. Then he heard the sound of approaching steps and the laughter of Columbine and Mad Tom O’ Bedlam.
Pierrot leapt from the bed and hid himself in the closet like a frightened child as the door creaked open.
Without a word of acknowledgement – for certainly they must be aware of his presence; why else would they have chosen this room among the many thousands that the house contained? – the couple climbed on the bed, which groaned under their weight. From the closet Pierrot heard the muffled sound of clothes being rearranged, then silence for a tense moment and the startled, pained whimper of Columbine as Tom entered her. Once Pierrot had lived for that sound; now it made his gorge rise. But he dared not move, dared not bring attention to himself. Their movements grew faster, fiercer, louder until Pierrot could no longer even hear his own quiet weeping. How beautiful Columbine sounded in the throes of passion; what a virile beast that madman Tom must be. The thought sickened Pierrot and yet he could not stop himself from listening. Eventually he felt his penis spasm and release. He had not even touched himself and yet the front of his pants were wet and sticky. He felt such shame, such self-loathing as he had never experienced before. Pierrot tightened his grip on the iron dagger. He thought of jumping out of the closet, plunging the blade into Tom’s back to stop him from plunging into Columbine. He could do it, too. Pierrot knew that about himself now. He felt only black hatred and a longing to destroy the world and everything in it. But instead he raised his fist and dragged the blade across his own cheek. He drew a red line all the way around his face until it looked like a mask perched precariously on his head. The blood gushed forth in the dark, staining permanently the remnants of his once-white costume. Pain rose in his frenzied mind like the first flower of dawn, like a thousand stars exploding in the sky. He dropped the iron dagger, for he no longer had need of it. The couple did not hear or did not think it worth interrupting their tryst. Trembling, Pierrot reached his fingers into the gash he had created, fingers parting flesh and muscle and fat until he reached bone. Then he began to pull until his whole face came off in his hands. He dropped the worthless thing to the ground and then pushed open the closet door.
Mad Tom smiled up at him. Columbine was too engrossed in her pleasure to notice.
“My name is no longer Pierrot. Henceforth call me the Harlequin.”
“He is now one of us.” Mad Tom observed, rising from the bed to greet him.
“One of us.” Columbine agreed, stretching out her lithe body like a savage, sensual panther.
“Now he may know true joy.”
The Harlequin laughed and has not stopped laughing since.