ARTS

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October 12, 2001

What Kind of Total Disregard for Humanity Do You Have?

4 October, ——

Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi

My dearest and most revered sister Madeleine, over whom the sun rises and sets and God showers his love,

Our flying coaches arrived on la côté this evening, after only a bit of trouble with the gendarmerie. The security has been heightened because of recent troubles, you see — perhaps the pamphleteers in Paris already have brought you word of this. Though it disrupted our entire traveling party, many were willing to accept the discomfort so that they may travel safely. It is hard to believe that even first class is no longer safe, but, alas, qu'es-ce qu'on peut faire? A servant, Pierre-Paul, was detained, however, and not allowed to leave the coach for transporting a few clusters of some sort of peasant's narcotic with him. I would not even have recognized it! To me, the destructions of the peasants remind me of tea — when they smoke it, it looks like tea leaves. When they drink it, it looks like tea. How droll!

The centre-ville of this city, which the unrefined, ur-Catholic Spaniards named Los Angeles, struck me as how different it is from our pleasant villa among the French pastoral vistas. Truly these Americans have taken their rigid, absurd, heretical, Protestant ethic and, from it, bedamning Christ's Mother, constructed quite an awful testament to the hability of man. Gleaming glasshe towers, it seems, try to create the blasphemy of a city of God in terra, but, still, what rapture watching the clouds slip off the side of each tower! Each sky-scraper leans over the viewer as he looks up. It engulfs and overwhelms your sensibilities, throwing your humours into disarray, dear sister, and acts as gaoler. Its architecture is like tight iron manacles pressed against your supple, white, French skin, cutting in and drawing tiny little droplets of blood from your wrists.

Yet for all the aedifice complices this city can inflict upon her visitors, oh, dear sister, how they lack for culture! Were it not for the library my valet carries with him, I would have been lost. Even with the calm waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the Santa Monica shore, I still needed the comfort of my compleat Jean de la Fontaine by my side to relax my heart, rended sore from the tristesse of traveling without you. This city appeals to many, perhaps, but only partly to me.

I should not complain too loudly, however, and offend my American hosts. After all, we had a pleasant evening tonight, and now I write you these words with a dear acquaintance resting in oneiric peace, quietly, only feet away. Today we devoted on an ethnography of the city as a whole. For the rest of our stay here, we will be focussing on the specific cultural activities of one group here.

I hope this letter finds you well, and I shall be quick with new informations for you soon. Give my best to mama and the servants, and be sure to make certain that young Cecille is not spending too much time consumed by frottage with the stableboys.

Your adoring and loving brother, I remain,

François

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6 October, ——

St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds of Christ

Dearest twin sister whose hair I love to tuck behind her ear just as she steps from the bath Madeline,

This epistle may be punished by the brevity brought on by the severe laudanum abuse to which I have been committed for the past few hours. My beautiful host and hostess, M P—— and Mlle K——, took me (and here crowned Uncle Étienne's letters of introduction came in no help whatsoever, I assure you!) to a festival of half-tranced Gypsified eastern European Lithuanians, still fresh from their days as pagans running through the woods denuded and consuming with flesh-tearing teeth god-fearing Catholics from the West. I was assured that if I wished to see a good time in this city, I should take advantage of the cultural festival these half-Tartar Muscovites would be throwing. Freely flowing, I was promised, would be luxurious blonde locks, finely-crafted beer, and a honey liqueur they called “Krpnkus," which would soothe me as comfortably as the complexly-woven linen sashes which slid along my forearms, exciting my skin, bringing each follicle to attention, each tiny hair a little citizen of l'état de moi, ready to march to their seeming guillotine-like death from the oncoming edge of the sash, only to bend under the soft linen, linen made even more soft by the soft hands pressing it down on my forearm. I was reminded of those times in our youth when we would escape from the governess and run through the gardens back to the nursery, where only sheets of satin, dear sister, separated our naked, budding bodies from one another, fingers tracing each others lips' outlines through the thin pieces of fabric as we roll each other tighter and tighter.

The liqueur, this “Crpnx," distilled in ancient Sudovan manner, is a tart liquid derived from distilled potato and honey. The art appears in how these heathens can mix in spices from the Orient to provide a bite and force to the drink which makes it burn a trail down the throat not like the trail my young finger traced down your tummy that evening after our Confirmations, when we, with the aroma of the Bishop's oil still intoxicating our nostrils, fell into most loving embrace, hidden behind our gowns of celebration from the prying eyes of our jealous younger sister. Remember? When I whispered to you about how I would capture every star in the heavens and affix them to your bare back like every freckle there already placed by our loving God who would promise to keep your deepest maidenhood away from me no matter how hard I tried to drive my way through to it?

As the day progressed, we stumbled through the parish grounds (ah, irony of ironies, dearest sister, the Lithuanians coöpted the Polish Saint Casimir as their own and held this bacchanal at the Catholic Church!), where a huge trade fair had been erected. Various primitive arts were available for purchase, and I have already sent you a jewelbox full of various necklaces and rings made of electrum, those soft yellow drops of the pine tree which wash up on the Baltic shores. Wear them close to your naked, white breast, most darling sister, as the warmth captured in those ingots will carry to you the true love I feel for you now and forever, holding you pressed against me, with comets streaking in their celestial freedom behind your luxurious hair.

After purchasing trinkets from these primitive Jatvingians and Samogitians, and after drinking their sickly sweet liqueur, a certain M J—— provided me with billets for the masquerade ball that evening. He also presented a package with a sticky substance which, as I ingested it, whispered to me, “après moi, le deluge." The effects of the strong narcotic were instant and ongoing. The necklace I handed Mlle K—— in thanks for her generosity glowed a faint blue hue all evening, for example. The music at the ball surrounded me, and I was surrounded by a veritable Walpurgisnacht of young, comely, heathen Lithuanian maidens released from their covens and seraglios for just one solitary night, which they would spend rolling around in dipsomanic trance leading to dyspeptic episodes of emesis over the sides of chariots as the harlots are wheeled home to where they can topple into their beds anticipating the oncoming visits of the incubi which perpetuate this backward culture of excess and disgust.

Speaking of emesis, I received your epistle of the first of this month today, and I am distressed to hear that young Cecille is quick with child. I am certain that I do not need to mention that this news is especially distressing considering her actions with me right before I left for my trip three months ago. I assure you, again, my dearest, most beloved, most yearned for, most wanted sister who shared with me our most beloved mama's womb, that Cecille has never fallen before me for ravishment. I encourage you to seek out my valet Sebastian's alibi — he has been known to dip his quill in ink above his standing.

Speaking of ink, my quill is getting weak from all the pressure it has undergone this weekend from writing to you and to my hosts and hostesses. I miss you tenderly, however, and cannot wait to return to France, so that you and I can sit underneath our most dear elm tree and steal each others' breaths between soft-touched gropes.

Your faithful and loving servant and brother, I remain,

François