You are currently viewing Already Dead by Germán Sierra

Already Dead by Germán Sierra

we imagine ourselves already dead—the soft mirrorettes that used to look at you in amazement have long since broken, while the hand … bah, who cares what those ignoring-it-all scarecrow-grass fingers ever did—no one alerted, or bothering to check out, not even to take note or for routine certification; corpses like toads gobbled up by right-angle snakes armed with sharp jewelry and deadly enzymatic compression; exquisite putrefaction in the intestines of bare, elemental apartments, which have been modestly comfortable graves all along—the walls, white—the shelves, ossuaries of paper—the few pieces of furniture, improvised catafalques—this laptop, a tombstone—the music that lights up, a requiem—passwords, an epitaph—the views, a purgatory—work, unfinished—the unknown, not cleared—the puzzle, unsolved—the reward, not collected—, having presumably gotten rid of, as it is customary in certain coldern countries, almost everything superfluous; secret socialites, old clothes and shoes, archaic computers, a jukebox and a Japanese-made typewriter, badly screwed and crumbling furniture, costume jewelery, talismans, an endless sequence of fractal fantasies, objects abandoned by those who had temporarily stayed in our place (friends, or people who had nowhere to go, or whom we fucked, or we desired, or who wanted to fuck us but we didn’t realize or didn’t want to find out and decided to offer them the bed while we stayed on the couch appropriating the guest’s intoxication to suck his dreams, feeding ourselves with the fantasy of a severed throat uncovering a stream of blood), the remains of a whole pharmacopoeia for minor and temporary ailments, magazine and newspaper clippings that echoed of our incessant activity, gifts never removed from their box, one of those lamps called flexos, never scrubbed teapots, a videotape player, albums with photographs already digitized, a bicycle wheel, a bevel, kitchen utensils that we never got to use, some whose usefulness we still don’t know and only remind us of the fascinating surgical instruments in a Cronenberg movie; quilts and blankets worn out by the surge of the muscles, by the sequential impact of waves that dragged innumerable bones eroding all the surfaces and edges of the house until they were curved and smooth, by the rhythm of dreams of agitated bodies; frayed rugs, ripped curtains, exotic liquor bottles, statuettes, scribbled notebooks, odd and impure numbers, various works of art we did not attribute value to, toys left by the children of others, a checkerboard without chips, a tamagotchi, nuts and screws, a collection of plastic ashtrays of different sizes and colors, the shell of a turtle, a rifle bullet without powder or sheath, a pair of ping pong rackets, a microscope with broken lenses, matchboxes from restaurants, phones from way before they were smart, instruction manuals for home appliances starting to rust around their corners, three hats, canning cans, an umbrella, a dowsing pendulum, a stuffed piranha, an alpine knife, an ivory mouthpiece, a cardboard box containing fossils and Lego pieces, an orb, sheet music, a small glass jar full of spare change from another era, coins with little value but a million vernacular nicknames, coined in alloys so light they looked like paper buttons; having considered lighting a pyre or throwing everything out the window like vomit, the undigested by time, enjoying the destruction of the meteorological past crashing onto the also dead asphalt, hoping that, with the objects, certain habits and obsessions would also go away —or maybe not, maybe what we were longing for was to get closer to extinction with our vices intact and the satin shroud attached to the skin, superimposing folds to wrinkles, transforming us into a macabre instrument of crisscrossed strings that could, perhaps, incite a manic pizzicato fetish—; algorithms concealing our silent desertion with their crude but effective imitations, responding to the falsified messages that will continue to arrive as if they were still us; posting pre-programmed videos; plants watering and sunning themselves; our clothes, ironed, lightly scented, impractical, hanging in the closet; a suit that we haven’t worn since the day we were awarded a distinction; the frozen wind of the arctic hurrying farewell to the terrors that it will be depositing in the mailboxes; our credit cards paying automatically all those invoices from companies that provided us with a service and will not pause to consider the death of a debtor without heirs or fortune; profiles and avatars, still active, twinkling, hoisting our retouched covers, trying in vain to seduce in our place, the place of those archaeopteryxed on the oakwood floor of the living room, those laid on beds like mummies, livid rag dolls unraveling on an old black leather sofa while beyond the window the helicopters sing, cooking us in our own juices in the bathtub, deceased alive in the Internet Hades like the fabled feline in the quantum story;

when dying, we will undramatically stop being anyone and will become variety, maybe a multitude, because multiplicity is one of the most common disguises that nothingness adopts for itself; a jumble of pinches of confused subjects scattering through the air like corkscrews of a metallic vapor, glitter sneezed by a brass statuette; there are words that darken the air’s gaze; why when we fantasized about transforming ourselves into something—a zombie, a wolf, a cyborg, a machine, an insect, dust—were we always confident to remain the same on the other side of the metamorphosis? the possibility of dissociation, if ever considered, triggers extreme dread; however, when examining the past, it is impossible to speak it in the singular; every moment dreams an infinity of past premonitions; the phantasmatic is more a swarm than a miracle; There is no monadic subject from which preaching as if it were the imaginary center of an ideal geometric figure, but a multipole projection, a dimensionless outburst of selves and non-selves and anti-selves vibrating with variable intensity, spreading throughout the hell invading all times and all spaces; light, when decomposed, produces colors; our brains will be made of insects that will devour each other, that will parasitize the rotten ganglia of their own cannibal larvae, and we will be convinced that we were more than that anthill of images squatting on paper and pixels trying to represent the same face once and again across the years; years that will not always have happened one by one as it might be expected from a mandatory chronology (if it were our business, we would divide duration in a different way—in chants or connections, for example), but that sometimes might have collapsed and fallen in unison, a rupture of the skies, as during the avalanche—dates do not matter, it is enough to know that it will last forever—when at the end of an adolescence hypnotized by the neutrality of animals and plants chattering in fractured tongues, a whole decade fell over us, a shower of cold world, just like one of those buckets of water that jokers placed in balance on the the upper crossbar of a half-open door; all that music that had been accumulating in spirally-scratched capillary grooves on circles of black paste like clouds gather in the sky until they unload a flurry of pellets, and all those books so recently papered and glued, and the toxic distillate flowing through the avenues of an empire erased from history like after the ash snowfall in Pompeii, embalmed and silver-covered assassins emerging from the sewers, honey swept by streams of dirty water, ominous symbols and a black uniform that we would never take off anymore, we would only put the white coat on, like the robe of a cosmic judge or the costume of a supervillain; ten years, suddenly, of sound and dreams, from when decades were forged in iron and weighed like buses instead of being light puffs of stinking air as they were later, and a whole century of mad philosophers and suicide poets, and we thought that it had been a decade or a century when it was actually half a millennium what fell and crushed us, leaving us without buildings, without roads, with only the late tremor of seismic aftershocks to guide us in the darkness of a reborn universe;

we will not be, thus, just a summary of that file of snapshots of castaways with their eyes lost in the void, but also many others, possibly some of you, our memory will have appropriated your identities, your disguises, your being-thus instead of being-there; or, better, it will have been built with their raw mass—indistinct and amorphous cement or collection of elusive objects according to your ontology of choice—with their and your dreams sealed with tears of mastic and digital viscosity and the bittersweet touch of the ancient materials and the rebellious flesh merging into the fruit that returns with each season; hence you cannot, for example, call us Ishmael—which would be much easier for you but inaccurate—or by any other name by which we have been unknown;

following the decadent and wise peoples we had piled wood, marble and ivory around a bundle of gods in order to interpret a prediction despised by statistics; the last general cleaning had been more the beginning of an epilogue than of a new life, an essay for that end of days that will not be an explosion but a sigh, that will not stamp its indelible mark on the universe as when a star and the echo of its agony floats forever in the form of a subtle radioactive murmur—or, conversely, the final whimper triggers a ventriloquism of minute vibrations in the air that amplify into a cosmic storm light years away of our blackout, like the flapping of wings of the usual butterfly or the bitter and screeching song of disciplined mosquitoes, and the end of our days might cause the collapse of the universe in millions of years from now, when there will be no years or days because there will be no earth, no sun, no rotations, and there will be no science left for you to write down a birthday card; in either case, hydrogen won’t end as dust; how long has it been since we’ve had a good portion of baked lamb, toro sashimi, a stew?; we will arrive at that autumn of winter that heralds spring and the blood of the day will drip again through grooves and cracks that have remained—shadows, wrinkles and imperfections hidden by makeup—in singular lethargy for several months; nothing will enter the retinas against the light of the eyelids; only, perhaps, some animals will pay attention to the immobile bodies; depending on our previous zoological inclinations, we will be quickly detected as available food by friendly domestic carnivores—cats, dogs, ferrets, mongooses—or a little later by our friends the severe sewer rats, perhaps accompanied, depending on the latitude of the funeral event, by other scavengers and opportunists, including non-mammals; in the case of people like us, who have never surrounded ourselves with pets, being eaten by urban rodent tightropeers seems like an equitable revenge, because throughout our long professional career we have sacrificed heaps to science, with the mitigating effects of anesthesia and controlled conditions, purposely bred for the experiment in sterile plastic drawers, transported from the animal houses, through corridors with satin white painted walls to the illuminated laboratories where they would be disposed as if they were identical pieces of an immense global puzzle, their lives as simulations of the life we had tried to compose and then whisper the instructions to the number-sewing machines, summaries of the arcane existence of the phenomenon, footnotes to our mental image of the human condition, that kind of molecular salvation so set in motion, questioned by love to last, to be restored in the icy privacy of the operating room; it could well be said that we were specifically bred to scamper around the earthly maze of the mass market, to enthusiastically respond to invitations to consume as much as possible, all the time, pushing bright buttons from inside our cages and sometimes producing any thing—a result, a provisional conclusion, a transparent crime—; as Wistar, BALB/C and Sprague Dawley as they are; but we will be dead, we will be gone and not objecting to the dubious architectural mess caused by the multiple gnaws of nervous and hungry jaws, lips painted with decomposed blood; we will not ask for shapes and styles to be respected or appearances to be preserved, we will no longer have the option of consenting to be tasted or not, possibly with an enthusiasm that we had forgotten, first the juiciest parts torn—lips, eyes, nipples, genitals, those perky fruits of meat, always so perfectly ripe and so tempura and so prone to swelling and so on the verge of bursting by themselves even without the internal pressure of fermentation and fly larvae—, before going on to taunt the crunchy cartilage of slightly acromegalic ears and noses; in the absence of animals in residence everything will depend on pure chance, on the solidity of the walls and partitions, on the height of the floor in which, suddenly but not unexpectedly, we will have stopped using oxygen, on the diameter of the pipes, on the season, on whether or not we’d closed the windows before collapsing, before starting to stink of a mixture of balsam, hydrocarbons and garbage; before running out of reason, of monsters, of sleep