An excerpt from The Complete Fear of Kathy Acker, published by Semiotext(e), 2023.
I’m sick to my stomach. I’m writing these words and I’m sick to my stomach, but I keep writing, and I’m writing about greed and jealousy and corruption and my sadness over lost loves, relationships that should have worked out and made me and Girlfriend happy forever but didn’t because I fucked‑up. I was selfish and wanted every girl in the world at once, and wanted to fuck every woman I looked at through my windshield, because I’m so full of the sex‑as‑material bullshit of the culture that makes me want glossy images of Girls—when all the time the most beautiful, sweet, loving Girlfriend in the world was on the car seat next to me. And she was my little Girl, and she was my little baby, and she was my sweet little darling baby Girl that I held in my arms all night long, and I held her little head in my arms and I held her little round ass in my hands all night, and fucked her again in the morning. She was good to me. She just wanted to love me and be good to me, but I fucked‑up the whole thing because I’m so fucked‑up in my head and I’ll probably never have a wife because even though I know what I do is stupid and fucked‑up I’ll never stop because I can’t help it, that’s the way my Mom and Dad and the Catholic Church made me, I guess. I don’t know. Is there a shrink in the house?
Shit! It’s all a bunch of fucking shit. I mean, this is supposed to be love. I said “I love you.” And she said “I love you.” But sometimes it sure didn’t feel like love. It felt like burning anguish and all sorts of bad stuff baking in my brain; like just let me out here, this is too stupid and much too painful this love, just get me away from it, I’m tired of the whole thing. I’m tired of you, you fucking bitch. I’m tired of you bitching at me, giving me all this shit because we’re supposed to be in love. I’m tired of fucking a fucking bitch every night.
Let me fucking out of here, out of her, out of this vagina tunnel to nightmares with stalactites like piercing doubts and guilts, out of this chamber of horrors in my lonely mind, my lonely cave where figures from my Catholic past flit like phantoms across my dreams and desires, like long lines of Catholic kids: the boys in one line in salt-and-pepper slacks, the girls in another in blue plaid jumpsuits, all with their hands pressed together to keep the Devil out as they march into First Communion with the nuns hovering like lanky black spiders around a web that links young minds to the deep, awesome and evocative Catholic Archetypes—Christ’s naked bleeding body nailed through the palms and hanging on the cross, or the blue ethereal Virgin Mary standing on the World and crushing the Snake, or the emblem of Jesus’ Sacred Heart, burning through His breast and hovering above brave souls throughout Eternity—all the Holy Mysteries distilled through thousands of years of holy mumbo jumbo and injected‑infected into kids’ minds as they pass down the church aisle, or sit down in class hearing Sister Rachel describe how when the Communists come they’ll line us all up and ask each of us if we believe in God and if we say yes they’ll shoot us on the spot, and if we say no we’ll burn in hell, thus we must keep alive this mortal fear of bad thoughts, nasty thoughts: Bad boys, don’t touch the girls, keep away from the girls, the girls are beautiful but not to touch, not to think about, I must not think bad thoughts, I must not think bad thoughts, I must not think bad thoughts.
But I can’t stop thinking about all the girls in the world. Cuties of the universe, come on! I’m driving in my car and I see YOU. I’m looking out my window and I see YOU. I’m talking on the phone and I hear YOU. I’m walking through life and I see YOU. My soft little sister of the Universe. Hot babe, sticking out through your moon roof. Hot Sister Little Baby GIRL Honey.
Come stand before me, bend and twirl below me, my ardor stands strong and trembles in a pink light with pink lips that grab, a heart‑shaped pout that parts and widens, eyes loosened to ascend into black fluttering lashes, a set of fingers with hard nails that hold me, long ladies’ nails I can crunch into, Bang Bang Bang them in the bed, this soft collapsing that won’t stop, rhythmic whirlpool, and all that glorious sexy stuff.
You come crawling around here, you come walking in and stand before me in your white skin and try to whisper things I’ll never understand by hearing them, by you loosing them in my mind, until you lose them in my Spreading Soul, or something Big I bleed into, a Body, because I love it All. I seem to seep out and blend into the Universe that blinds me like these bright piercing eyes that talk to me, tell stories through the skin, and I LOVE the UNIVERSE. I want to talk back to It. I want to listen to the soft whimperings of this moistened‑ass‑fucked cutie of the Universe. Doll, Girl, Thing of the World. Make it make me happen all over the place all over again.
And I shudder with things about Love, strings of inarticulated signs and sounds, needing you to touch me like Vanna and bring them up; touch the notes within me and revolve them out and into the air; release the words silent inside me. My Lady of the Court calling me forth, calling me up, my Virgin on the World, holding her Serpent, waiting in her chamber in the night. I’m crawling through a soft Castle looking for a light. Until Desire I sought not, BANG, enthralled me, and I am the vassal appointed to fill this my female vessel, haloed by the moon, and I moan and I holler at home and you’re there, YOU, baby of the world, little girl, your head ducked in my chest, your legs riding me to the expanding music, the Jah Love trance dance, when the Rastafari stop singing and the drums are banging in synch, and the dub‑echo guitar is ringing out beyond the limits of time,
that’s the way you love me in the pinch, make me sing about it,