My Life My Death By Kathy Acker: A Love Letter from pr
PR: Dear Kathy, you are dead. Here is a link to your supposed last writings that I found online. I like it. You are very unclever in it. People want to make you clever, and you are, but I prefer where your cleverness takes you, rather than the cleverness itself. Here is some art inspired by you. I don’t find you clever as much as desperately searching for comfort and truth and honesty.
Kathy: I just write the truth. I don’t write fiction. I write out of need. Culture is that which falsifies.
PR: You’ re a part of culture now, Kathy. Not all culture falsifies. Some bits bleed the truth. Shit all over us. Your books are a part of our culture. You just shit and bleed and come all over us.
Kathy: I can talk by plagiarizing other people’s words that is real language and then…I make something.
PR: Why, though, do you think you need to do this? You talk so well without this framing and plagiarizing. Kathy Goes to Haiti, for instance. Well, I guess you talk about yourself in the third person in a way that isn’t typical use of third person. So, I think…
Kathy: You try and invent something! Always naysaying! You try and invent something like inward singing! Like Post-Modernism! Like pro-sex Feminism! You write a book that chews on nominalism! Fuck! Fucking cockass!
PR: Sorry, sorry. I just love you and I think I understand you, how you write the truth. No one deals with sexuality better than you. When you write about fucking, it’s like I’m fucking. When you write about suffering, I feel pain.
Kathy:I think writers make themselves sick to write. I spent today crying. In a movie on TV and English-earl-giving-a-little-boy-everything-he-wanted was my mother, but I wasn’t included in this circle of giving because my mother gave me nothing. Whenever I don’t do anything, I cry. I have to work as much as possible.
PR: But is it hard sometimes? Is that why you invent “new” ways of telling? I feel you are trying to trick yourself into writing, because if you don’t, you’ll cry?
Kathy: The less I talk to people the less I want to, so this wanting solitude or solitudinous is a sickness. The next thing I say to myself is: I’ve lots of friends. The next thing I say to myself is: the reason all the parts of me don’t fit together is that I’m not fucking enough.
PR: I don’t have lots of friends. I have massive anxiety attacks in most social situations. I force myself out sometimes, especially for the things my kids need me to do- conferences with teachers, open class day, and so on. Usually I am pretty hungover from the drinking too much the night before to medicate my anxiety that I sort of get though the situation in a haze.
Fucking is my medicine, too. Fucking IS medicine.
Kathy:Whenever I talk to one of my friends I perceive my friend is even lonelier than I am because he’s less willing than I am himself to see the lonliness horror and awkwardness: solitude: nothing: what I call the actual state of existence”.
PR: But that’s why fucking is your medicine. It’s a state of existence, fucking is, the state of joining to another’s body. That’s why you’re so good at it, because you need it.
Kathy:People have to act normal to avoid seeing what really is, because if they did see like my father the day he was dying they wouldn’t be able to bear it because it’s not bearable.
PR: I cannot disagree with you that our nothingness and death is anything but unbearable. But the opposite is true, too. The unbearable beauty and awe and mystery, the gorgeousness of making love and eating and getting high. The brute force and gush of blood and guts that is giving birth, the suckling and carrying around our young. And it all goes away. Our tender flesh and wiry muscles. Our tongues and fingers. Every day, it goes away some more. And if you think- this is all passing, nothing will hold, your bodies grow and leave me my children, my body gets pulled and pulled down back to earth, and there is nothing I can do, to make this great beauty stay, this too, this celebration and joy and love is unbearable, too. No one can think about it all the time- it will kill you. So we do things to not think about not just death, but the opposite and same as death, the preciousness of our lives. So we fuck, drink, clean the toilet, watch sports, run until our joints wear down, complain about the mildew, the rot, the neighbors, the pimples and we dance and write.
We do shit.
Kathy: What is writing? This is writing. When I write you I just blab at the pen so I tell you all my grotty faults the awful despair: The French men I know acting as thy want to fuck or are fucking me whenever they are alone with me no matter how they feel about me, my hatred of the intellectuals on the Upper West Side of New York City, walking down black Orchard Street…These writings are the fuel of love. Each statement is the absolute truth—and an absolute lie—because I’m always changing.
PR: Close your eyes, Kathy, imagine your pink lungs, your exhaling liver, vibrant with duty. I do. And then I shove waste into it all. Because it all will rot someday, you know? You spew. You spew and spew. And I’d rather read your spewing than most stuff these days. You don’t want to be scared. But you are.
Kathy: When I was seventeen, my father tried to fuck me. Hart loved fucking his daughter so much he wanted to run away wit her. She could try to get away from him only by keeping everything a black secret and acting in blackness. Cindy, your second husband these past four years has been fucking your daughter. He loved her, not you, because she’s young and you’re old.
Cindy wanted Ross to fuck Sally so he wouldn’t fuck her. This is too grotty to believe. Do people really act like this?
PR: People do really act like that. People are capable of more than our imaginations can conceptualize. I’m sorry you got so royally fucked.
Kathy: Flies are feeding on someone’s blood. Isn’t it kind of just like love–Do they ever get enough?…I take what I need, spit out the bones and seeds…I don’t listen to the preachers to .. the doctors… to the leaders…
PR: I thought that I would call on you, Kathy. I’m looking to you for comfort and guidance. Would that make you laugh at me? I would hope not. But I’m afraid of you. Sorry, but I’m pretty stoned…. You were the only one who knew me.…there could be no one who’d ever touch you. I would give anything… I’d give you everything I own.
Kathy: It’s me, I’m Kathy, I’ve come home and I’m so cold. Let me in your window.
PR: Of, course. Of course I’ll open my window for you.
Kathy: I’ve traveled over hell and high water to bring you my love. Climbed over mountains, traveled the sea, cast out of heaven, cast down on my knees. I’ve lain with the Devil, cursed God above, forsaken heaven, to bring you my love. To bring you my love. To bring you my love!
PR: That you have, Kathy. That you have.