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“The gusano is not really a worm. It's a butterfly larva. Think of it as a thing with the potential for great beauty. Go ahead. Do it.” Necrophilia Variations / Necrophilia Variations is a literary monograph on the erotic attraction to corpses and death. Watch Stoya read "Confessions of a Skull Mask" from Necrophilia Variations in Hysterical Literature, the viral video series by photographer and filmmaker Clayton Cubitt. PDF - Necrophilia Variations. Necrophilia Variations is a literary monograph on the erotic attraction to corpses and death. It consists of a series of texts that, like.
It almost tried too hard and lost momentum when the shock value wore off. She cried without stop. About Supervert. My cheeks were probably red too. I knew that they were attractive, but there at the funeral they had become irresistible. Stroking the sand-textured grip enhancers with my fingers, I imagined myself as a Giver of Death. Did it stand out too much?
Preferring to think of their remains as seductive rather than repulsive, they would take an open-minded attitude toward necrophiles coming to disturb their rest.
An inscription might suffice, an epitaph that titillates like dirty talk. And yet for the necrophile it is a time-consuming task to read all the stones in a grave- yard, especially in the dark, and oftentimes these inscriptions are eroded by rain and wind. A better solution might be to transform the gravestone itself into a powerful visual icon. For example, the tombstone of a necro- friendly man could be carved in the shape of an erect penis, and then his coffin could have a little padded hole in the bottom to facilitate a sick sort of sodomy.
And yet, might it not just be the reverse? Is it not possible that necro-friendly cadavers can serve the social good?
Think of it. If you repress a sadistic individual, he only gets worse—meaner, crueler, more vicious, to the point where he just might be headed down the road toward that ultimate act of sadism: But what if you provide a release for his pent-up penchant? Send him to the cemetery to find necro-friendly graves. Let him put handcuffs on the dead and beat them senseless with whips. Who cares? And perhaps the same applies to deviants of every type. Let pedophiles molest the bodies of dead children.
Why not? Here again the shocked and appalled will raise their voices in pro- test. Certainly this is a valid objection, and yet you have to remember: Bury her in an assault-proof coffin? About the best you can hope for is that the necrophile might respect something like the sexual equivalent of a living will. How, then, would I like it? Would it bother me to think of my body having sex without me? In a way, this is a funny question for a necrophile to pose himself.
A pedophile cannot become a child, a shoe fetishist can- not become a shoe, but a necrophile can and does flip over to the other side. Eventually—nay, inevitably—he becomes the object of his own weird brand of perversion: So what then? What does the necrophile want done with his body? He may not insist on being preserved in a pristine condition, for example, because he knows that a cadaver does not have to be a perfect but inert replica of a living body in order to be exploited and enjoyed.
It may not be outrageous hardcore cadaver-fucking, but is it any less an act of necrophilia? After thinking about it, I have decided I want to be cremated—not because I want to deprive other necrophiles of my body, since that would be hypocritical. Rather, I would like to have a tombstone where people could come to pay tribute to me.
And at that site, I would like to have my ashes in a dispenser of some kind, like a bubblegum machine. And from that dispenser I would like my loved ones, my survivors and heirs, my fans and followers, as well as random passersby and genealogists of the future, to take a thimbleful of ashes and sprinkle them inside their underwear.
Every vagina would be my grave, every clitoris my headstone, and by way of tribute perhaps you could even shave my epitaph into your pubic hair. Decorations had been hung but it did not look particularly festive. Primping the room for Christmas was like using wrapping paper for a tourniquet or sewing up a wound with tinsel. It was good cheer misdirected.
There were children dying of incurable diseases upstairs. There was turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce, and a few bottles of liquor to make merry.
A trauma surgeon told a funny story about operating on a drunk driver in the emergency room. Everyone laughed. The radiologist on my right selected a bottle of mescal from the booze on the table and poured some into a clear plastic cup. He tilted the bottle toward me, grinning, and I held out my cup for a shot. A teenaged boy had been brought to the emergency room after trying to castrate himself.
But I once had a man who did the opposite.
He blew his whole body off. I could feel it burn in my throat. All the male bodies had their penises, but we had a penis that had no body. Peterson was perfectly serious. The emergency workers must have missed it. People always claim their dead. He was probably carrying it on a plank or a board in his lap. The plank protected that one area, and everything else was literally blown to smithereens.
Who would? And what would they do with it? I was still holding the bottle of mescal in my hand. Eat it. What would his survivors do with it? Bury it in a tiny grave the size of a beer bottle? Or would his widow keep it on the mantle in a jar of formaldehyde?
For every type of cadaver, I thought, there must be a corresponding type of necrophile. No body is safe. In death we become defenseless and, to necrophiles, irresistible. Every cadaver is a sex object, and in that sense the terrorist who blew off his body is a symbol of our common fate. In the end, we are all of us reduced to a dead genital.
I felt a nudge in the ribs. Think of it as a thing with the potential for great beauty. Go ahead. Do it.
Love is blind. Beauty is relative, you say—but perhaps you should be cautious. Perhaps you have not really thought through the consequences of your words. Beauty is relative—right! Do you realize that that, if true, is a veritable abyss? Beauty is relative—but might it be so relative that some of us plunge right through to the very bottom and end up finding downright ugliness appealing? Like anyone else, I naturally wanted beauty—prettiness—loveli- ness—charm and allure made flesh.
I lived in a culture indicted for its shallow worship of supermodels, beauty queens, starlets and cover girls—and I liked it. I thought it set a standard of gorgeousness by which everyone would do right to abide. In the most mundane advertisements for lipstick and eye shadow, with their pure white backgrounds and precise pictures of exotic hues, I saw a moral value—a lesson—an incite- ment to strive for excellence and perfection. The superficial world of appearances, I thought, was the product of a subterranean world of effort and drive.
Beauty was relative not just to the person who beheld it, but to the one who produced it as well. Accordingly, I took great personal pride in my appearance. I kept fit. I went to the gym. I swam especially, since I thought it more appeal- ing to be lithe than to bulk up like a weightlifter.
I went regularly to a nutritionist, a barber, and a masseuse. I dressed in a manner that was fashionable yet classic. I avoided fads and casual wear in favor of well- made, rather expensive suits. I was—I admit it—rather dashing—a man about town if not a downright cad. There was no need to call beauty rela- tive in the presence of my lady friends. Any man would have slobber- ingly agreed that my women were ravishing.
But let me tell you a little secret. The man married to the most beautiful woman in the world? He cheats on her with crack whores. He goes behind her back with pre-op transsexuals. On his wedding night in Las Vegas, he asked one of his handlers to get him a hooker. The handler was astonished. But why? At some point the Law of Diminishing Kicks sets in.
You go out with an actress—and then you want a model. You go out with a model—and then you want a supermodel. You go out with a super- model—and what do you want then? A super-dupermodel? Tough luck! First you go from a supermodel back to a model, or perhaps to a mere screen queen. Then from there you plunge and keep plunging—a cheerleader. A hairdresser. A waitress. A female construction worker. But where is the bottom? When you try to outdo yourself, the Law of Diminishing Kicks exerts itself—you want more, better, sooner.
And yet you are exhausted—bored—weakened—faithless. Conversely, when you play the Law of Diminishing Kicks backwards—when you stop trying to top the last kick and voluntarily turn around to descend through the depths of the nether thrills—something very surprising happens. You feel stronger—better—harder. The libido is a muscle: And what, to the libido, is resistance? Friends were no doubt shocked to see that, after the construction worker, I moved on to a fat woman—and I do mean fat.
You, no doubt, now know—you can see clearly what it was that they could hardly divine. My obese odalisque was a drill instructor to my libido. She made it lift the barbell of disgust and run the treadmill of repulsion. She made it sweat out its narrow aestheticism and steel itself for erotic encounters with an ever-increasing range of hideous desiderata. Next was a deformed man—an amputee—and after him, a dog.
In bestiality, I felt as though I had neared the bottom rung on the ladder of relative beauties. I was prepared to take a final step—down—down into a realm so far from normal human sensibility that, unlike adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality, it was not even proscribed in the Bible.
Who would have thought to forbid an act—a perversion—that already seemed so inherently repellent? Even for me it remained repulsive—and yet that was precisely what I was after: It needed to be fully itself, with no pretense or gesture of compromise toward the natural predilections of the male libido. I needed something—sick- making. Something not just dead but so very dead that there could be no mistaking it for anything else.
And do you know what I discovered? Rigor mortis, pallor, rot— these too can be sources of exquisite sensation. Flesh that is—shall we say, overripe—can provide a soft, snug embrace, even in places where formerly there was no orifice.
And maggots, however appalling it may at first sound—and I recognize that it does sound appalling—maggots, when they crawl or scamper across your organ of pleasure, send delight- ful tickles through your nervous system, like little fingers or a vibrator. But where do you go from there? Necrophilia is where the relativ- ity of beauty butts up against a limit: What could possibly be uglier?
From there, you can only turn around and begin climbing your way back up the food chain of beauty—but listen. Aside from the cost, it is very difficult to purchase one without first having a corpse to place inside it. The directors of funeral parlors, as I quickly learned, hesitate to sell their coffins without first having some idea where the body is coming from. I presume this is less from idle curiosity than from pecu- niary motives, since the price of a funeral is much more than that of a coffin alone.
If I was enamored of Marisa, Marisa was enamored of death. Everything about her bespoke a self-conscious decadence. She was the daughter of a famous art historian, but the aesthetic sensibility innate to the family underwent a mutation in Marisa herself. Having grown up amid beautiful but inert things, Marisa never learned to appreciate the spontaneity of life, and in its stead she only knew artifice and gesture.
What was connoisseurship in the father became affectation in the daugh- ter. What was history to the father became morbidity to the daughter. She indulged in depression, dabbled in dirges, delighted in decay. She was a dilettante of death. Marisa affected an appearance that was based not on fashion but on the aesthetic of the Pre-Raphaelite painters. Her face was sculptural, like marble in hue and geometry in structure, with dark, deeply set eyes. She was tall but very thin and therefore sinuous, like a vine.
This impression was enhanced by her hair, of which she was particularly proud. In bed I sometimes imagined that it might wrap around me, and I would wake up to find her hair transformed into something vegetal, an ivy twisted in green loops around my white torso. I enjoyed the feel of her long tresses as they dragged across my body, tickling and tingling me, and yet they also caused a certain anxiety. Curled around her own neck, it hinted at suffocation and suicide.
Around mine, homicide and hanging. Because I was entranced by Marisa, really madly in love with Marisa, I hesitated to tell her that my efforts to purchase a coffin were in vain.
I wanted badly to fulfill her fantasy, no matter what it was. I became determined, even obsessed, as only one who fears failing in the eyes of his beloved can become. I contemplated the most foolhardy of plans: I would obtain a job in a funeral parlor and sneak out a casket during the night; I would dig up a fresh grave, return the cadaver to the earth, and steal away with the coffin… But could I possibly make love to Marisa in a used coffin?
Might it not just make the experience a little too real? As I thought about it, it occurred to me that Marisa might prefer just such a coffin. The thrill of her artifice, and perhaps that of making love in a casket, was precisely to push close to the edge of reality—without quite slipping over into it. She did not want to die, she did not want to be buried, she merely wanted to test her own carefully inculcated morbidity, to see if it could withstand an ever-increasing proximity with death.
Determined to satisfy her, I rented a small van, purchased several sturdy shovels, scouted various and sundry cemeteries. I needed some- place that was out of the way, quiet, dark, and yet not too likely to attract other denizens of the night such as ardent teenagers or lonely drunks, since these also attracted police. I climbed over brick walls and iron gates and marble porticoes.
I wandered along green hills and white stones under a black sky. I grew accustomed to that peculiar smell of cemeteries, which is not so much a smell of death as of some- thing else—a profusion of flowers, freshly cut grass, honeybees. I had the place, the time, the determination— now all I needed was a death. This came soon enough. It was advertised in the newspaper: I grew excited, perhaps overexcited, at the prospect of obtaining my goal. I felt like a man grinning and rubbing his hands together in anticipation of some ill-begotten enterprise at which he was sure to succeed.
In fact, I was such a man. I already looked past the unpleasant details of exhuming the body to foresee the moment when Marisa would lay eyes on the coffin. What if she did not recognize the absurd lengths I had gone in order to satisfy this whim of hers? After all, the effort I expended and the risk I took must no doubt be disproportional to the pleasure she would derive from this whim, which was sure to be replaced by another effort at decadence the moment this one had been satisfied.
How, I wondered, could I guarantee that she would acknowl- edge this sacrifice of mine? How could I guarantee that she would recog- nize just how much I loved her? She needed, I realized, to see the coffin in its original location, with its original occupant. Then when the time came for lovemaking, she would recognize it and fathom the extreme measures I had taken to obtain it.
So I called her cell phone and invited her to meet me at the funeral parlor, a white brick building situated at the top of a small green hill. I waited outside, watching a valet wax a hearse, until Marisa arrived in a cab. Stepping onto the black asphalt, she glanced at the shiny hearse, then turned to me with a supercilious smile that said: I want something bet- ter suited to my station—like that hearse there.
Certainly we cut a strange figure entering into this closely knit crowd of mourners. Marisa was tall, aristocratic, dark, beautiful. Her black hair glittered strangely in the subdued light of the room.
It was as though she were less a real person than a personification of mourning or, at the limit, death itself. We seated ourselves as discreetly as possible and listened as the minister praised the dead. I felt an inner premonition and surety of success as I stared at the coffin that was soon to be mine. The funeral was fore- play to a consummation that was devoutly to be wished. And as though she too sensed this—sensed that we had achieved some conspiratorial solidarity in the sadness of another—Marisa squeezed my hand tighter and tighter in her lap, until finally I realized that her lap actively par- ticipated in exerting a pulsing, pulsating pressure against my palm.
She pursed her lips and I thought that, beneath the sweet congestion of the flowers, I could detect another scent, something humid and musk-like. Suddenly she gave a little cry—more a moan than a sob—and the grip on my hand relaxed. But she was smiling, not crying, and it was an arch or perhaps coy smile that seemed to say: The fresh earth yielded easily to my spade, and before dawn the coffin was exposed to full view.
Hopping down into the grave, I worked the metallic rope of a winch around the box. Climbing out, I affixed the other end to the front bumper of the van and slowly reversed. Suddenly there was a lurch such as you feel running over a cat, and then a crunching sound like bones in a trash compactor. I had reversed over another headstone. For a moment I imagined a saddened family standing around the debris.
Death had taken away their loved one, then some inconsiderate vandal—me—had desecrated his grave. And for what? The satisfaction of a perverted whim? Was the frivolity of my cause not disproportional to the cruelty of its effect?
Having been jostled and thrown during the ascent, the body lay like a twisted rag inside the casket. Looking down into the grave, I saw a lone finger lying in a pile of dirt. Satisfied on this account, I set about removing the body. Slipping the shovel under its back, I tried to hoist the cadaver, only to have it tumble to one side or the other.
I almost had the impression that the deceased wanted to remain in its resting place, like a person not ready to get out of bed in the morning. Trying again, I accidentally stabbed the body with the point of the shovel, releasing a vile black fluid onto the white satin lining of the coffin. Fearful of staining it any further, I resigned myself to evicting the cadaver with my hands. Holding my breath, I lifted it out of the box and dropped it back into its hole.
Then, replying to myself in what I imagined to be the grandpa-like tone of the deceased, I laughed and said: Letting myself in with a key, I moved her bed, propped it on its edge against the wall, and set the casket in its place. I wiped the mud from the casket, removed the gore-stained lining, and rubbed all the wooden surfaces with lemon-scented Pledge—this gave it a nice shine and somewhat masked the faint smell of earth it exuded.
About the hole left where the brass handle had been there was little I could do other than remove any fragments of wood that might leave slivers in the vulnerable parts of our bodies. I placed a comforter in the bottom of the coffin, lined it with clean sheets, put a pillow where our heads would lie, and saw proudly that I had achieved my goal.
I had successfully stolen a coffin, and now I could look forward to giving Marisa the pleasure of making love inside it. I was happy but exhausted. Taking an old pillow from the linen closet, I lay down to sleep on the floor. Because of the strenuous efforts of the night, my slumber was profound. It was not the sluggish sleep of inebriation or the dreamless sleep of anesthetic, but a sleep more akin to drowning.
It was peaceful, quiet, amniotic, until I began to dream of plants—great green flora of the deep, long vertical vines that vibrated with the tide. Slowly I tangled in their tendrils, realizing with fear that I could not move—or rather, I moved, but it was the tide that moved me, snaring me in sinuous strands of seaweed. I could no longer breathe, I felt as though the water were rushing into my mouth and pouring down my throat—and then I woke up, only to find myself tangled in long black locks of hair as Marisa bent over me, pushing her tongue into my mouth.
I kissed her and broke through the surface into sunlight glittering on water. Clouds hung in the sky like great white flowers. There was no life anywhere on earth except the life of the kiss, which was eternal, self-sustaining, self-replicating, the great chain of being reduced to a single one of its links. When Marisa finally drew her lips back from mine, it was like being abandoned by God.
There was something overwhelming about it. I felt vulnerable before it, as though beauty alone could overpower me, render me unconscious. She could not have felt the coffin was beautiful in the same intense man- ner in which I found her beautiful. It was impossible. When I said she was beautiful, I meant it in the same way in which, were she to strangle me with her thin white hands, I might have said: For me the word beauty was a cry of despair, an admission of defeat, a surrender.
For her, it was merely an expression of taste. Is she so beautiful herself, I wondered, that it is impossible for beauty to mean anything to her? Is that why she cultivates death—because, like a frame around a picture, it demarcates her beauty and therefore makes it visible to her?
Marisa did not have a fetish for death. She did not want to die. That was the essential thing—not to confront death, but to be seen in proximity to it. It was not death that was real for her, but the outside observer. She was like a person who wants to be photo- graphed with a celebrity, except that the celebrity was the Grim Reaper. I climbed out of the box and, as she lowered herself into it with stylized gestures, I recorded the event for posterity—posterity in this case not being the kind her art-historian father dealt with, but rather a private moment in the future when she would admire these images of herself dabbling with decadence.
Albine on her deathbed? Idols of perversity. I found it both sad and ridiculous. I hated the posing and playact- ing. I longed for a genuine smile or an authentic laugh, some sign of the real person underneath the veneer of morbid artifice.
I reached out and tried to tickle her. Ignoring me, she continued to step through her repertoire. I tried to tickle her again, and yet she remained unassailable, assuming pose after pose with equanimity.
In fact, with each pose her self-assurance seemed to increase, so that finally a look of what I can only describe as hauteur etched itself on her face. I would flutter my fingers in her armpits, twittering aloud like a bird, and yet her face—a mask— would remain unmoved, impassive.
It frustrated me. We were playing a game whose stakes were reality and unreality, and I, the champion of reality, was clearly losing. Desperate, I dropped the camera and climbed on top of her. I dug my fingers into her ribs, nibbled at her neck, teased and tormented the backs of her knees. She twisted and turned beneath me, her hair tangling around us, her lips pressed tightly together in a statement of willfulness and control.
Then the telephone rang. It was as though an air-raid siren had sounded, or a team of policemen had knocked down the door. Our eyes locked, our bodies froze—our hearts beat faster and faster.
What was this intrusion from the real world? Had it come to put an end to the morbid maneuvers of our grotesque game? Marisa lay where she had twisted in the coffin, listening as the answering machine picked up. Are you there? I picked up the receiver and held it to her ear. As she listened, I watched her face crack like a sheet of ice. Water seeped up between the cracks and she began to cry.
Leaning over her, I pressed my lips to her tears, and the saline taste reminded me of an intravenous solution. She was more beautiful than ever—but why? Why did vulnerability and helplessness so become her? Was it the sheer reality of it? She tried to sit up but her head was still held fast. Apparently her hair had snared in the jagged wood where the bronze handle had snapped off the coffin, and every effort to disentangle it only seemed to make it worse.
It would be an exaggeration to say that she struggled with the desperation of a person trying to dig herself out of the grave, since I would imagine such desperation to be very great indeed. And yet, like a girl buried alive, Marisa suddenly found herself constrained against her will in a coffin and, contrary to her cultivated decadence, did not want to give herself over to it.
For posterity? In terms of appearance Rachel is an average girl, pretty at some moments but not at others. She has an intelligent face, olive skin, a wide mouth with thin lips, and dark brown eyes the color of root beer candy.
Black hair curls around her face, sometimes dangles down over her right eye. She has a peculiar habit of wearing a gold wristwatch buckled on top of a long-sleeve shirt or sweater.
This makes her appear too small for the watch, as though she needs the extra padding on her arm to prevent the timepiece from slipping off. In general she is so petite that she seems fragile, like porcelain. Sometimes I watch her, looking for the curve of breast on her slen- der frame, but then she catches me with her eye, peering up through long black lashes. At such moments I find her very seductive. I can make out a few strands of gray in her black hair.
Her complexion is pasty. Dark bags indent the skin beneath her eyes. She has the desperate pallor of someone who smokes a cigarette first thing in the morning. If you kissed her, she would taste of halitosis and ashes. When I heard that her father had died, I wondered if death would push her in one direction or the other—towards either beauty or ugli- ness.
Would sadness make her sexy? Grief make her gorgeous? Mourning make her magnificent? I saw this clearly at the funeral of an aunt. She was still young, fifty- ish, and seemingly healthy. But while stirring a pot of spaghetti sauce, she felt a headache come on.
She lay right down on the floor and never got up. An aneurysm had done its swift work, bursting in her brain. The spaghetti sauce boiled over, leaked onto the floor, and left a gaping blister on her cheek. Otherwise her death was peaceful. She left behind a husband and two teenaged daughters, a redhead and a brunette. At the funeral, the husband appeared tired but business- like. He seemed to have submerged his grief into the work of conducting a successful funeral.
The two daughters, meanwhile, sat huddled together on a sofa in the parlor. The brunette, who was slightly older, cradled the redhead in her arms. The brunette was visibly sad, but like her father she was attentive to the process of the funeral. She was polite with well- wishers, made conversation with relative strangers, all the while solacing her little sister—for this one, the redhead, was inconsolable. She had col- lapsed into herself. She cried without stop. She made no effort to speak or smile or acknowledge a word of condolence.
I knew that they were attractive, but there at the funeral they had become irresistible. I was touched by the maturity of the brunette, and my heart reached out to the redhead in her sorrow and distress. It may be uncouth to say it, but there was something about their mutual involvement that even struck me as lesbian. A sense of profound intimacy enveloped the two girls, an inten- sity that only they could share.
And though I knew that this intensity was made up of sorrow, not libido, I still could not help myself from finding it stimulating. I excused myself to the bathroom—which was awkwardly situated beside a coffin showroom—and masturbated into the toilet, mixing up their tear-stained faces with cum shots and facials I had seen in pornography.
After the funeral I thought about the relation between beauty and sadness. Why had grief made the two sisters so alluring? Did they have any idea how beautiful they were when they were morose? Would they look quietly grim? Would they do harsh renderings to give vent to their heartache?
Would they flatter themselves? Or would they, in order to express their pain, mutilate their painted appearances the same as some mourners tear their hair or slash themselves with razorblades?
I started to contemplate some rather outlandish experiments. I would see a passerby, an average-looking girl, and I would imagine kill- ing somebody she loved. Would it make her prettier? Would it make any difference if she loved the victim with romantic or with familial love? Or suppose you tortured someone she loved in front of her—would she reach an absolute pinnacle of prettiness?
Was pain the best frame for loveliness? With such thoughts in mind, I made a condolence call to Rachel at her family home, a sprawling apartment overlooking the United Nations. Rachel sat with her back to the entry, surrounded by a small group of girlfriends. Her brother slumped on a bench idly poking at the keys of a white grand piano, and her mother perched on a settee like a stuffed bird, eyes closed and hands clasped over her midriff.
Apparently she had cried herself to sleep. Seeing me enter, the brother stood up from the piano and shook my hand. We were the only two men in the room, and he appeared to think it was his duty to accept my condolences on behalf of the family.
He put his arm around my shoulders and guided me into a corner of the apartment. He had the demeanor of a man self-consciously play- ing the role of firstborn son.
We sat in two low Dutch modern chairs covered in black leather. I stared out the window at the United Nations. Probably he had seen a lot of pain and suffering during his travels. When he went to African countries where droughts had caused mass starvation, or when he went to Eastern Europe to investigate charges of ethnic cleansing, did he find any relation between beauty and death?
Were they inflamed by the faces of the dying around them? And what about his daughter, Rachel? I could see her riding in the back of an Army jeep with her British tutor and chaperone, glorious amidst the bony fingers reaching out for a morsel of lifesaving victual. But you want to know something strange?
Four weeks before he died—exactly four weeks—we were walking together, right here on First Avenue. And he turned to me and do you know what he said? Do you know that they were so hungry that if someone had a leather shoe they would boil and eat it? This enabled me to slide my chair around to watch Rachel across the room. I could still only see her from the back, but with every horror he retold, every atrocity he recounted, she positively seemed to glow.
If I thought that the grief she felt from the lone death of her father would make her beautiful, then the inherited sorrow from the deaths of six million of her people made her incandescent. She was a vulnerable little thing tossed up by a tidal wave of blood. I wanted to kiss away her tears, transform her sorrow into joy through the act of passion. I excused myself to go to the bathroom.
I imagined that I was a guard in the camps, Gestapo but a good guy. With tears of gratitude she would fling herself into my arms, and we would kiss in a rain of human ashes that love had transformed into glorious colored confetti… I flushed the toilet and something drained from my body too.
It was only an ounce of fluid, but getting rid of it was like lancing a boil. Suddenly I could smell the lemony odor of the cleaning solutions which had scrubbed the bathroom to sterile perfection.
I could hear the gentle hum of an air purifier and the muffled voices outside. I washed my hands with liquid soap and ran them under the water, which was icy cool. I looked at my watch. I thought of a phone call I needed to make, and I felt a little hungry. When I came out, the brother was standing by the windows over- looking the United Nations. The United Nations—it was a pillar of cooperation, fraternity, fellow-feeling.
And what was I? A cave of bad appetites, Unnatural Needs. It was very nice of you to stay so long. Would you like to just say hello to my sister before you leave? She reached up with her hand to push the bangs out of her eyes.
I noticed the gold wristwatch slipping on her arm. She looked tired. Her eyes were puffy from crying. Her complexion was wan and dull like candle wax. She was so gaunt that her teeth looked too big for her mouth, and in fact her whole skull seemed too large for her head. I could see her tongue moving behind her teeth. It looked prehensile and unnaturally dry, like the finger of a dying man poking at the bars of his prison for the last time. To anyone who has experienced true grief, this may be a counterintuitive—if not down- right repulsive—suggestion.
No doubt there are indeed those whose pulse quickens at the sound of sobbing and the sight of black veils, and yet the arch-sadist himself, the Marquis de Sade, proposed at least one cure for the pangs of irrevocable loss. Few non-sadists would argue that pain should be inflicted upon the pained. If a man were lying in bed suffering from a terminal illness, would you beat him with a whip?
Of course not. You would not want to multiply his distress. Perhaps Sade was right: Of course, this would have radical consequences for death rites and exequies. No longer would clerical figures be summoned to give speeches and eulogies at funerals. Instead, there would be stimulating entertainment. Exotic dancers would leap out from behind bouquets of flowers to create an uplifting atmosphere of sexual license.
A star attrac- tion might pop out of a coffin to do a striptease with shrouds and cere- ments. Instead of tearing their clothes, mourners would pop their zippers and express their laments in sighs of pleasure. Ceremonies might even move from funeral homes to go-go bars and porn emporia.
And anyone so prudish as to cling to their wailing and woe could be slipped a strong dose of aphrodisiac or date-rape drug. Essentially the funeral would become something like an Irish wake, but with fucking rather than drinking. Certainly such a ceremony would ease the sorrow and sadness of bereavement. But what after? Those are the hours when loss crushes you like a displaced boulder and you feel like you can hardly move or breathe let alone touch yourself.
How then do you take the cure prescribed by the divine marquis? On one hand, there is an element of self-discipline involved. After all, it is you who allows yourself to indulge in loneliness and lamenta- tion. Rather than ruminate, you could fantasize about acts of outrageous sexual gratification. Rather than look at snapshots of the dear departed, you could read pornographic magazines or watch fisting videos.
At worst, if you absolutely must cry, you could gather your tears and use them as a sexual lubricant. Mucous accumulated from the sniffles can make an effective replacement for lubes and gels. Try rubbing a soiled tissue in your groin. On the other hand, it may be unrealistic to expect people racked by grief to exercise such self-discipline. For example, the old and the terminally ill should be careful to leave dildos, pocket pussies, and pornography amongst their things in order to lighten the hearts of their inheritors.
Such sexual aids might even become heirlooms, passed from one generation to another. Broader social changes would have to be instituted as well. Memorial Day could become a Saturnalia, with local governments pro- viding strippers to dance on graves.
Celebrity porn stars could autograph tombstones while their fuck films are projected behind them on the white walls of mausoleums. Prostitutes could mingle with mourners, giving away free handjobs. Engravers could volunteer to brighten up old tombstones with new epitaphs of a more titillating nature: Marble is cold and hard, a concrete reminder of the irreversibility of loss.
Why not use friendlier materials? Tombstones could be made to resemble beanbag chairs, so that mourners could lie comfortably on them and drown their sorrows in autoerotic sensations. Of course, this mass alleviation of the suffering of mourners will necessarily entail other shifts in social perception.
Masturbation must no longer be taboo. Sex workers must no longer be impugned since, like the priest, the prostitute provides solace and comfort to the bereaved. And if on a sunny day a man in a trench coat approaches you, unbuckles his slicker and touches himself, you should not leap to the conclusion that he is an exhibitionist creep.
More likely, in the new order of things, he is probably just someone trying to deaden a nerve after a tragic loss, and therefore the moral thing is to give him a hand—or better yet, a handjob. Still, waiting on line with college stu- dents buying textbooks for their new courses, I felt vaguely like a man stepping out of a porn parlor into a busy street.
I was buying the book for a friend—but no one would know that. To them, I was not just a man buying a book. I was a man making a public declaration about his sexuality by purchasing a certain kind of book. I handed it to the cashier without looking at her. I wanted to avoid eye contact. I was astonished. Could it be that I had gone to the one cashier in the world—the one female cashier, no less—who happened to be a fan of the Marquis de Sade?
Justine—so that was it. It would be like naming your daughter Deep Throat. The friendly smile on her face soured as though she had bitten down on a cyanide capsule. The title had excited her. It was like looking in a mirror to see her own name in print. In her heart, she hoped the book would inspire her or tell her all about herself.
But there was that picture of lesbians underneath the title—did she really want to read such a book? How would she feel as she discovered the serial rape and molestation of her namesake? Would it change her entire self-conception?
Would she come to hate her name and perhaps even the parents who had given it to her? She put the book into a plastic bag and handed me the receipt. From the bookstore I walked toward the park. It was an unusually warm day for January. Women were pushing babies in carriages. Retirees were feeding pigeons. I was a little overdressed and sweaty, as though I were nervous about something.
I found the brownstone and climbed the big steps. What if Zak was resting? His mother let me in. I remembered her as a dark, attractive woman with heavy breasts. But the woman who let me in was thin, pale, exhaust- ed. She looked as though she had been turned upside down and shaken like a ketchup bottle. The color had drained from her skin, the fat from her breasts, the luster from her eyes. He needs rest. I recognized it was ridicu- lous, since he knew and she knew and I knew what was what.
But still, I felt compelled to act cheerful, even merry, as though my friend were about to go on a trip, start a new career, get married. I associated Zak with books, erudition, philoso- phy, truth, and here he was amid model airplanes and baseball cards. I drew up a chair by the bed. His mother left, giving me a dark look intended to remind me of my promise not to tire Zak out.
She looks like fucking hell. Sometimes I won- der if it would be easier on her if I just kill myself and get it over with already. I need you… I need you to be yourself, ok? His candor made me uncomfortable. I need someone I can be honest with, ok? I wanted to retreat into that pipe dream of progress, that illusion of improvement, that hallucination of hope. But the eyes said: The situation will not get bet- ter. He seemed both tired but wired, exhausted but fired up.
Maybe it was the medicine. Zak burst out laugh- ing—but laughing gave way to coughing and he sounded like a monkey trying to speak Hebrew. He spit into a plastic cup and looked at me. I could see that he was trying to draw his tired facial muscles into an expression of amusement. He reminded me of someone trying to tell a joke after completing a hunger strike.
This was a man who, when he said music, meant Stravinsky. When he said politics, he meant Sun Tzu. When he said philosophy, he meant Nietzsche. When he said erotic, what else could he mean but Sade? Henry Miller? The red glow in his cheeks looked different, less a symptom of his sickness than a fire on its surface.
He slapped the bed with his hand—weakly, I noticed. It means to die in your prime, full of hormones, unsated urges. I want to fuck in this damn bed, not die in it! You understand? My cheeks were probably red too. Even though I had taken my coat off, I still felt overdressed. The room, I realized, was stifling. I wanted to get out. I wanted to be in the park with the pigeons and babies. Tell her the truth, for all I care! I also brought a cup of coffee and some snack cakes.
I just bought him some maga- zines. You know how he likes the Economist. She poured water for herself from a Brita pitcher and took some diet crackers from a box. It sounded as though she would rather choke on her own tongue than give voice to her grief. But still, it seemed like a helpful thing to say. She was from Jamaica. A very sweet girl, very reli- gious, always reading from a little Bible.
Inside my suspicions are confirmed when it is revealed that every aspect is under the creative shade of Supervert. And he needs to be applauded for such an effort.
The paper is top notch with a thick ivory color, texture, vertical watermarks and a beautiful compact typeface, a bit small for my liking, but I guess one has to strain a bit for the privilege of reading NV.
I don't usually dwell on the way literature is presented but this is one instance when it is as much a part of the monograph as the stories themselves and it needs to be said that, while this book may serve a lot of purposes, a high profit margin at the expense of artistic vision isn't one of them. Necrophilia Variations came at a right time for me. Although I think I have developed ADD because this review was in the pipeline for months and now it's the first time I got enough mental focus to actually do it.
So what is it? Well a simple answer would be: As they should be. No refunds for twilight-fags. An urban book. I might go as far as saying that it has a New York setting but this is because I haven't visited the place so my vision of it is Gotham with bicycles. The characters that inhabit its Universe come across as intelligent and refined, [mostly] introspective who act more on lucid choice or accepted compulsion rather than desperation or animal lust. Like the cover, Necrophilia Variation has symmetry.
It begins with a light hearted necro-manifesto. A draft campaign who appeals to the narcissist in you;the kind of instance where you would like to be seen as sexy rather than repulsive and be ravaged instead of recycledalthough,in a way, necrophilia is the ultimate form of recycling there should be a cash for clunkers where you send your dead spouse to be reused and get a voucher towards a high-end sex doll.
But it ends with what I can only call as buyers-remorse as the author goes through moral backlash only to resurface in a jokers grin confident in the fertility of the little necrodisiac seed that he so masterfully planted in your simple mind.
The first person narration is one of the greatest selling points for this book. Supervert is able to slip in the POV of so many different minds and consciences, ranging from the naive and mundane to the depraved and supernatural.
I love em all. Did I mention that I was and still am terrified of dead bodies? I love grand cemeteries with that air of solemn remebrance and peace but the sight of even a fresh one makes my skin crawl. So it will sound odd when I tell you that I had a choice between NV and his other book,Extraterestrial sex fetish. I went by name alone thinking that if the author had the cojones to splatter that bold title than it can either be brilliant or shite.
If you had the patience to read this text than you already know where I stand. View 1 comment. Feb 11, Fede rated it it was amazing Shelves: Do you realize that that, if true, is a veritable abyss?
What follows is quite logical: We ourselves are basically unaware of what could arouse or disgust us until we are given the chance to test our mind's reaction to a new kind of stimulus. How many times have we surprised ourselves by doing something that " Beauty is relative - right! How many times have we surprised ourselves by doing something that suddenly puts in question all our certainties and convictions?
Beauty is less in the eye than in the mind and - let's face it - in the pants of the beholder. What Supervert deals with is an alternate dimension of beauty; the opening of a new track in the Terra Incognita of eroticism. That's what it is indeed: One can choose between two slightly different viewpoints: The characters are a bewildering bunch of sickos: The message these men are carrying comes from the depths of the psyche.
It's a revelation and a mystery at the same time: Internet, pornography, terrorism, frustrated eroticism, idealised love echo throughout the book as a background, a scenery we all are disturbingly familiar with. Like it or not, Supervert is an excellent storyteller, whose merit goes far beyond the intellectual value of his work. In fact all of these stories are masterfully written and the characters are perfectly developed; he needs no redundant psychology lesson to portray the cocoon of insanity and isolation they live in, but also of deep satisfaction, even optimism.
There's plenty of poetic lyricism, too: Its endlessness would make us hate each other. Better for you to be in heaven and me in hell. We would long for each other, idealize each other. You would rail against God, since he was keeping you from consummating your love. I would send smoke signals from my pit of brimstone - love letters that smelled like sulfur and made you choke.
Maybe we would even try to sneak off to purgatory for illicit rendez-vous. The truth is that Supervert is the spiritual offspring of the few genuinely post-modern authors of the past decades: I experienced a Stendhal's syndrome attack while reading "Post-Depravity", his only novel to date - a psychological tour de force as well as the ultimate triumph of po-mo aesthetics in literature.
It took me a long time to recover, that's for sure in the meantime I read it again Supervert's aim is neither to please nor to disgust for the sake of it: And what he suggests is simple and tough at the same time: To imagine what it must be like No strings attached. Each of us knows the answer.
View all 4 comments. Nov 19, justme rated it did not like it. I've read and seen a lot of sick things and usually find that genre very fascinating, even enjoyable, so I thought that I could handle just about anything I read the first two chapters, which are available online at the book's website, and that was pretty much enough for me.
Very detailed, very disturbing. It's not the imagery of corpses that is unsettling, it's the mentality and rationale of the narrator that is completely disturbing. His way of exp I've read and seen a lot of sick things and usually find that genre very fascinating, even enjoyable, so I thought that I could handle just about anything His way of explaining his attraction to cadavers is, at the very least, creepy.
But most sickening is the way he seems to revel in it all, musing with a certain kind of delight. I decided that the first two chapters were enough and have no interest in reading the rest. I recall being almost angry afterwards, wishing I hadn't read it because I felt like I had just carved out a chunk of my brain and replaced it with a chunk of crap.
Read this if you'd like to skew your view on reality, morals, and ethics. Jan 03, Britta rated it liked it. For people who like all of the perversity of JG Ballard without all of the social commentary and philosophical insight, there's Necrophilia Variations.
These short stories are punctuated by shorter essays packed with purple prose about the joys of various death fetishes and dreams of a day when no proclivity is labeled as a disease. There are times that it seems all the stories blur together-- all the 'protagonists' sound much the same with only a few small exceptions.
The book often takes on a luridly sexist tone as women are usually and repeatedly the passive object of unnatural desire, incapable of desiring much themselves. There's a sort of sly grin, always, when women are talking.
Still, despite the book's many small faults, it's an enjoyable read. Aug 29, Michael rated it it was amazing Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. I can't really explain what it is that draws me to things that might shock my age, generation, blah blah , but I'm far more curious about people who aren't drawn to such things. Those who speed up at car crash scenes. What is wrong with them? A few of the reviews here reflect such a mentality, suggesting that NV invaded a previously pure area of their brain, and would be flying that black and white flag for the rest of their now corrupted lives.
But I didn't find any shock value in NV. I found I can't really explain what it is that draws me to things that might shock my age, generation, blah blah , but I'm far more curious about people who aren't drawn to such things. I found it harmonious and normalizing, a recount of corpsly love rather than an escape into the brutal possibilities of getting off with a dead body.
It's not wrapped in latent misogyny. It's not masturbation material. In fact it is unusually elegant, consistently beautiful prose that owes more to the styles of pre-modernist era, and yet feels completely natural in the contemporary environment. Just before reading NV a friend of mine sent me the work of John Duncan, an amazing US artist expatriated to my favourite city, Bologna. Uh, n.
I think NV cracks open the relationship we have to death, and to a lot of things that are outside of normal range of morality. If something is within the normal range of morality, then it is deemed to be free from sex including, weirdly, sex itself. Lots of sexless sex happening out there.
But anything beyond that range, it seems, must be driven by sexual deviance. Why else would you fuck around with corpses, death, music, literature, people of your own gender, unless it was to satisfy some brute sexual urge that would otherwise become a monster.
I think NV is suggesting that somewhere there's more to it than that. Certainly in the example of homosexuality - it's who you fall in love with, right? And if you fall in love with a corpse, then so be it. And if you fall in love with the concept of death itself, same. The characters in each of the stories tend to stay with death, before and after the fucking, and the fucking doesn't even happen most of the time.
This is a magnificent exploration of death and sensuality, two things which are unavoidable in all of our lives. Not strange, then, that the reaction to NV seems to have been free from shock, for the most part. There's a lovely video of the alternative porn actress Stoya reading from its pages while being secretly Hitachied from under the table to the point of orgasm.
Very different from John Duncan, who was vilified by the art community entirely, and even had his close friends trying to extradite him to Mexico to face necrophilia charges. Seems a bit absurd, the violent schism between reality and fantasy, but it's probably healthy in the end.
NV is clever in alluding constantly to its natural comfort zone; the literature of decadent Europe. The concept of Dorian Gray consistently surfaces, or twisted mutations of it, as do references to Bataille, Baudelaire and Huysmans.
This is not death splatter porn, so don't bother - there's mountains of that stuff. It's not even the disturbing soundscape of John Duncan's self debasement. It's worthy of its place in the decadent canon of the aforementioned aesthetes, as well as its place in the canon of razor sharp, cutting edge literature. Corpsly Love. Apr 12, Mirvan Ereon rated it it was amazing Shelves: I cannot comprehend how much I love this inanimate object. Maybe it is a form of necrophilia itself, loving a book made out of dead leaves and pulp.
I cannot stop reading this book. Sometimes I force myself to literally stop this book from taking over my mind. I read this book like the Bible, only some parts at a time because I wanna savor everything it has to offer me.
I have never loved a book like this. I always want to have some quiet time with this book and just read it, fantasizing about the necrophile thingies that it describe and just feel tremendous orgasms rippling all over my body.
I think I am a certified necrophile and this book definitely fed my insanity and favorite fetish. I would love to meet Supervert, kiss him and let him do stuff on me because I simply love him so much. He actually sent me this book because I am such a desperate whore! Anyway, just to give you an idea why I am so in love with this book, I am a frustrated necrophile.
I love being strange and weird but definitely, necrophilia is one of my most favorite secret joys in life. I do not do it per se, I just love reading about it and fantasizing of actually doing it for I do not think i can really do it in real life.
I even made a whole book of necrophiliac poetry because I love it so much. That is why reading this book is such a life-changing rare moments I have in my life. I am so thankful that someone with the intellect and enough twisted mind decided to write a gem like this!!! I feel so proud to have a copy because I do not think many people have this in my country. I think I am the only one, maybe.
But what I am proud is I love it.
I will continue to love it and will forever love it because literary-wise, the book is well-written! Very engaging, filled with with and humor and of course, creativity abounds. I cannot comprehend that a mind like this exist still! This is like a friendly Days of Sodom. Supervert, if you are reading this, please be my angel. I want you to become my master because I would gladly be a slave to a writer with this capabilities.
Enough of this for now. I am actually writing this review and I am just half-way the book. I am actually so afraid of finishing it because in my own twisted way, I want to feed on the book every now and then, because a story or two is enough to make me go into spasms.
Sep 17, misha rated it it was ok. When a friend pointed out the book to me, I was very enthusiastic to read it cover to cover. And that enthusiasm did not die out for the first few short stories. After those, however, the patterns became so clear you couldn't ignore them anymore; the main character is always a presumably white male, interested in female corpses, if a profession is mentioned it's often writing or the character has an artistic interest.
The women don't play an acive role in any of the stories. The structure is a When a friend pointed out the book to me, I was very enthusiastic to read it cover to cover. The structure is always the same: The only storyline I found memorable was Graveyard Survival Training, because it was the only one that diverged from the norm established within this story collection. The main character was equally obnoxious and mysoginist as the other mains though, and slightly whiny, but at least here you got a more or less decent psychological presentation or evolution.
That's why I read the book, after all: Either Supervert failed to do this, or I expected a more complex psychology han presented in this book. Dec 02, Rachel rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Forces you to look at things from a perspective you maybe never considered.
Aug 22, Reno Hummel rated it it was amazing. I like this book very much, I found it at my local library and it piqued my interest. The thing is it's written very well and even though the subject at hand is delicate the author manages to handle this extremely well. Aug 26, Lisa Bentley rated it did not like it. Because you can. Like Ronseal, this book does what it says on the packet. It is a collection of short chapter-esque stories that sometimes interlink all focussing on the taboo topic of sex with the dead.
Review Honestly, I found this book all a bit stupid. It almost tried too hard and lost momentum when the shock value wore off. Quite frankly, it is two hundred pages of my life that I am never getting back. May 08, Autumn Christian rated it liked it. Necrophilia Variations could have easily been a heavy handed exploration in torture porn. Instead it explored necrophilia in a new way - in all its subtleties, nuances, and flavors - there are less stories here of fucking dead bodies though there are a few and more of husbands wanting to reconnect with wifes hooked up to machines, of a man digging up of a coffin to make love to his gothic girlfriend in, of searching for prostitutes for a dying friend.
It's definitely gruesome but there's a ten Necrophilia Variations could have easily been a heavy handed exploration in torture porn. It's definitely gruesome but there's a tenderness that's rarely seen in such books. I'm giving it a three for a lack of focus and a tendency toward repetition. Some of the short stories were little more than several paragraphs of questions and the voice was incredibly similar in each story - it took me a while to realize it wasn't even a cohesive narrative.