Friday, November 13, 2009

An excerpt from Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn [1938]

...Again the dance hall, the money rhythm, the love that comes over the radio, the impersonal, wingless touch of the crowd. A despair that reaches down to the very soles of the boots, an ennui, a desperation. In the midst of the highest mechanical perfection to dance without joy, to be so desperately alone, to be almost inhuman because you are human. If there were life on the moon what more nearly perfect, joyless evidence of it could there be than this? If to travel away from the sun is to reach the chill idiocy of the moon, then we have arrived at our goal and life is but the cold, lunar incandescence of the sun. This is the dance of ice-cold life in the hollow of an atom, and the more we dance the colder it gets.

So we dance, to an ice-cold frenzied rhythm, to short waves and long waves, a dance on the inside of the cup of nothingness, each centimeter of lust running to dollars and cents. We taxi from one perfect female to another seeking the vulnerable defect, but they are flawless and impermeable in their impeccable lunar consistency. This is the icy white maidenhead of love's logic, the web of the ebbed tide, the fringe of absolute vacuity. And on this fringe of the virginal logic of perfection I am dancing the soul dance of white desperation, the last white man pulling the trigger on the last emotion, the gorilla of despair beating his breast with immaculate gloved paws. I am the gorilla who feels his wings growing, a giddy gorilla in the center of a satin-like emptiness; the night too grows like an electrical plant, shooting white-hot buds into velvet black space. I am the black space of the night in which the buds break with anguish, a starfish swimming on the frozen dew of the moon. I am the germ of a new insanity, a freak dressed in intelligible language, a sob that is buried like a splinter in the quick of the soul. I am dancing the very sane and lovely dance of the nostalgic gorilla. These are my brothers and sisters who are insane and unangelic. We are dancing in the hollow of the cup of nothingness. We are of one flesh, but separated like stars.


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