Placeres

Translated from the Spanish by Javier Arango

The obsession with maintaining a constant contact between skin and various liquids. Water, petroleum, mud, bodily fluids: blood, oils, acids, tears, sperm. Brilliant flesh, scrubbed again and again, clean, eaten away, naked, buried, immaculate, tarnished, dead. The fervor is so great that skins end up simply dissolving. From a face, usually only the raw flesh appears. It is confirmed that the skin was torn off before death. On the underground transport, every day one can see millions of travelers freshly bathed, with damp hair, usually worn in strict styles. It’s not in vain that thousands of liters of gel are sold each year. At parties, ladies and gentleman present themselves all tidied up before the celebrations. On birthdays, both the celebrant and the guests try to dress to kill. The children painstakingly wash the iguanas, the rats, the skunks that they own, to sit before a photographer with the animal on their lap. They try to the best of their abilities to keep their suits clean. They always appear immaculate before the abductions, the abuse, the ritual killings to which they are subjected. There are also collective baths. It’s an official profession: the washers of bodies, both living and dead, skinned or intact, who use harsh sponges and coarse scrubbers to eliminate any bodily impurity. The hot water, the steam, the vapor expands profusely. For each death, it is important that there be a great amount of liquid. The perfect crime seems not to be one that is never uncovered, but one that leaves the greatest amount of aqueous substances spreading over the scene of the crime. Whether it occurs on the streets or in privacy. In a crime of passion or hatred, there must be many stab wounds, tens, sometimes hundreds, so that the emerging liquid can be used to write on the walls the motives, the circumstances, and the consequences of those actions. Written with blood. Bodies washed, brushed, trained. Docile and elegant, often sitting before a photographer’s lens, forming part of an image that itself is only possible by way of another liquid, a chemical, that will fix it onto a rigid surface. Naked bodies, cleaned of all shame, a peasant dancing with no clothes on, with enormous ears and taking little hops. Or the images of Pedagogue Boris or Teacher Virginia that are kept in some of the poorer homes. Bodies that present themselves directly to those who need them, conscious of their transience, of their furtive passage through the world. Moist surfaces, wet bedsheets over wrinkled skins. Morgues, amphitheaters packed with neat cadavers. Stinking trucks, overflowing with the dead that nobody claims. Travel agents who scam the visitors, mostly already dead, who wish to get to know the region. It’s common to see how, after a day’s work in streets or markets, the hygiene of the place becomes essential. Enormous amounts of running water are thrown on the surfaces. All to erase any trace of blame. The same thing happens after the various religious rites that take place throughout the city. After people gather around the learnings of the Sacred Quran or after Evangelical or Catholic rites, the water seems to emerge from nothingness. The liquid in the synagogue is no different from the others. The presence of water is fundamental. It seems even more important than the oxygen needed to breathe. Pedagogue Boris remembers the time when a philosopher, whom he met as a young follower of the Blind Poet, told him about when he fell asleep in the rural baths. He had taken a long nap because the place was empty, silent, free of danger. He frequented the baths; they were cheap. He never had enough money to properly care for the pains resulting from the genetic abnormalities he suffered. He found relief in the steam rooms, in the showers of those public baths. Steam, humidity, running water. The philosopher was officially certified as a mutant. Lulled by the calm induced by the constant flowing of liquids, he fell asleep, hopeful that soon he would have a sacred dog. A dog that had been offered as a gift in a dream experienced after leaving his place of prayer. When he woke up he found himself in the midst, not of dogs, of sacred ghosts, but of dozens of naked men. He became alarmed. The bodies were of different ages, of different complexions. Before putting his clothes on and leaving the place, he took a digital image with the camera on his phone. He wished to take with him the instant he was experiencing. He captured an image of a man’s skin overcome by soap. When he was leaving the baths, he noticed that suddenly the horde of naked figures started calling out for him to return. They demanded reasons for what he had just done. Taking a humid image, the bare skin of men bathing together, was a grave offense for which he should pay. The philosopher was already out of the steam baths. In the area where people get ready to leave. The men could not reach him: they had no clothes, and many were mid-bath. That moment he learned, as told by one of the receptionists, that the angry men were peasants who were washing themselves after a day of hard work. They were bathing in order to return home spotless. They were performing the ritual of exposing skin to liquid. And precisely because they were carrying out an ancient rite, they would not allow someone to take an image of the scene. Their anger toward the young philosopher was a result of the obsession with exposing skin to the constant flow of water. A near madness that had to be carried out without the presence of witnesses. Finally, the young philosopher managed to escape, taking with him the secret, the microsecond in which he had captured the practice, skin, water, shine, excoriation, disappearance. A population immaculate by nature, clean, a victim of itself, beheaded with a clean cut. Naturally, the heads tend to roll in a large puddle of liquid creating a curious outline on the surfaces. Nobody is guilty of anything. Maybe only aqueous matter is scrubbed again and again. It all seems to show that hygiene is a gift from heaven. The appearance of skinned bodies is too. A miracle that a man had dissolved hundreds, maybe thousands, of cadavers in acid, which were handed to him systematically to be cooked in corrosive liquid. In large scalding pots. A radical task of cleaning. Now, that man walks the streets freely. It is not written in any code that making bodies disappear is a crime. On the contrary, he was following the necessary laws of purification. Clean are the subjects whose bodies are wrapped in burial sheets. The ones who wash themselves until they are skinned alive. Clean, the cancer operations, the routine amputations, surgical interventions, mutilations, almost always carried out ritually. Clean, the heads apart from their bodies. The ones who await their sexual clients are in conditions of extreme tidiness. The famous Pamelitas, bound by the orders of obese old men. The migrants who go hand over their clean lives to an unknown nothingness. The transvestites. The muxes, figures who are recognized by at least two different gazes. The clowns who try to surprise motorists on the busiest street-corners. Exquisite, the nakedness of the one enveloped by a snake. The territory of impeccable deaths. The ones who pose with a wild animal on their laps. The neatness is so polished that many times the living don’t know that they are already dead; some cadavers are present, alive, in anguish of the ones looking for them. The traveling mages. The indigenous. The ones who frequent the public baths surreptitiously. Who immerse themselves in temples of prayer. In porno theaters. None of that exists, except in what is liquid. In its aqueous state across centuries, times overlaid on one another to form a body, unique, compact, broken, diluted. Matter held together only by the fervor with which millions try to keep their purity intact. Skin and aqueous substances. I offer liquid and I demand liquid. Nothing bad can happen inside this gel reality, protected, armored, solid, in a reality so grotesque due to the constant fluidity to which bodies are subjected. An unparalleled protection is offered by the aqueous quality of souls looking for a moist skin to embody, to disappear into and then reemerge in another body just as liquid and fleeting. The young philosopher’s desire before falling asleep in the public baths, apart from keeping his body absolutely clean, was to have a sacred dog. The dog that is not a dog, but a Gift from God. Is the Quran perchance unfamiliar to these people? Surely it is. Also the theology of pre-Colombian gods, who manifest themselves in ordinary ways, especially around the primary-school- turned-hospice that Pedagogue Boris had set up before the arrival of the horde of bathing peasants. Neither what is Muslim nor what is pre-Colombian belongs to us, he seemed to want to scream when he was beside the dying people in the school he ran. The Torah, the Cabbala. Despite currently living in a planet inhabited by the dead, there is no Sacred Word to follow. We live in a space with no defined destiny, framed only by the constant need for water, needed both to live and to be dead. In a place for cadavers where Pedagogue Boris ended up not only settling in for good, but also founding a modest school that people attended with the hope of being taught brilliantly. A classroom, a primary school that eventually flooded. First with vapor, then with water, with blood, with liquids emerging from bodies on the way to decomposition. It seems that nobody believes in anything, not has faith in anything that does not come from the virgins, the ones who are depicted in these lands as women dressed for a wedding whose heads are really the skulls of Santa Muerte. So we must be humble, bow our heads and accept that we live on a planet where there is no longer any Word, no Tutelary Books, no Codices, none of the intricate and impenetrable atavistic writings of the civilizations of the South. Nor any new interpretations from the countless evangelists who knock again and again on the doors of the little school-turned-hospice that Pedagogue Boris so kindly founded. Nothing to give sense to the infinite number of deaths that surround us: the moist living, residing above the dead, the dead drinking the water of the living, the dead burying their own dead, the dead digging up their dead. Mud. Watery lands. Hopefully, I wish with all my heart, the young philosopher will be able to have his sacred dog. He is just as worried about finding a way to get it, as he is about knowing whether he is even in the right conditions to raise it. These dogs are delicate: they need open space to run and develop properly. He doesn’t think that this place for the dead where he lives, where nobody believes in any Scripture anymore, is the right place to see it grow up. Will it be appropriate to tell this sacred dog, in the right moment, that he is not just the author of a series of books, but of the bearer of New Scriptures? A dog who does not dig up the dead with his nails. When the other dogs tried to desecrate the tomb of the Prophet, Mohammed’s followers eradicated all the dogs, hundreds, thousands, with the blade of their swords. All of the dogs in the area were left lifeless and bleeding. They formed astonishing mountains from the bodies, which they had to decompose with acids, with liquid chemicals, to later incinerate them and throw the ashes into the waters of a nearby river. The flesh of dogs taken to the cremation ovens used in military barracks. Dogs killed like dogs. Guided by a higher order, not written in any Sacred Book. The Present Scriptures no longer exist. The dead form a single mass. Today, sacred dogs are almost impossible to come by. The bones of the clandestine dead are still present around the young philosopher, Pedagogue Boris, or Teacher Virginia. Clean, brushed, impeccable. They go past any Scripture. To get a sacred dog, one must undertake long journeys. But the true miracle would not be the arrival of the dog that is not a dog, but the emergence of a proper form of writing. With a gift seemingly enjoyed by the nomads of the desert when they hear their dogs chasing a hare. More than once, the Prophet himself, a Blind Poet in this case, has declared that a Bedouin without a good sacred dog by his side, a form of writing, can be considered a dead man. Pedagogue Boris and the young philosopher must forget their frequent worries. Not worry too much about the guests, the sick on the verge of dying whom they keep in the little, primitive school. Nor notice the hundreds of impeccable dead that surround them, not only the bodies on the way to extinction, those of the guests at the school for whom they are responsible, but also those who reside in the grave pits that never stop appearing, or the ones who travel the underground transport, hair styled with gel. These times seem to necessitate the emergence of a new series of letters, forming new phrases. No language is capable of expressing the misfortunes of which Pedagogue Boris and the young philosopher are victims. Among other things, of liberating them from the side-effects of the medications they must take to stay alive. Where are the Dead that we know? Where the unknown? Can it be that Pedagogue Boris and the young philosopher are actually a single being? I think so. Pedagogue Boris and the young philosopher are the same person. Letters appearing from nothingness led him to write his first book. A philosopher who does not write treatises or create systems of thought. The young philosopher’s work of creation was perhaps one of the ways he found to escape the guilt arising both from writing and from not writing. To think, how not to do it. To bathe whenever possible. To visit the public baths at every opportunity. Maybe he only feels fulfilled in places that are flooded with all kinds of substances, which is just how the area where he lives has been inundated. It can’t be possible for someone like the philosopher, who did not study at any university or institution, who barely knows how to read and write, to feel a guilt like that. Nor can it be that in his capacity as Pedagogue Boris, he created a primary school where children go to die. In reality, the philosopher has never had any kind of education. In fact, he is infected, a pariah. Another Pamelita who prostitutes himself, pleasure included. Someone condemned to the most terrible death. He was taught no more than the basic letters and a few passages from the Bible. While he read, lying on the rug where he often slept, the young poet remembered that at certain moments, he had felt the deceptive feeling of protection, both from himself, and from the constant images of systematic slaughters, especially of dogs, that would appear before him; of the shapes of mosques, both in the East and the West, of children drowning other children in mountain villages, in lagoons, in rivers, on endless plateaus, on the black coasts of the Pacific. He saw himself, brutally murdered in the heavy snow. He felt in his body the scenes of Gods devouring other Gods. I imagine nobody would believe that this very young man represents the New Scriptures. Only Pedagogue Boris, who does not remember clearly when he met the young philosopher, affirms this. The fish know it too, those fish in the tanks that the young philosopher kept at the school for classes on the Natural Sciences, as does the sacred dog that he wished for. Letters that are able to define him both as a young philosopher and as someone immersed in tragedy. And also as the figure of a Pedagogue interested in opening a school. Although many people know that the philosopher’s words, his thoughts, his dreams, are all lies. The liquid boiling in his brain. Nobody believes in the Sacred Books, neither the Western ones nor the ones from the region where he lives. It is widely known, I repeat, that the young philosopher has never had any education. According to Pedagogue Boris, he only writes to forget that he will die soon, the victim of an incurable disease. It is the destiny marked out on those lands. Although he lives with the hope that the New Scripture will appear by spontaneous generation. Perhaps it will be like a dog that is larger than a horse. Almost like a camel in the desert. Or maybe it will manifest itself as its opposite, miniscule like one of the colored fish from the Natural Sciences course. Pedagogue Boris knows that there is no conventional way to express that which appears like a monster, like a shadow: the writing that is carried out throughout the course of existence. He does not know the exact moment in which the urge to write, blind, dumb, with no definite sense, went on to form an archive of reality. Perhaps forgetting was its reason to exist. To put into practice something like The Scriptural Seal of Non- Memory. In that exercise in forgetting, the philosopher places some sacred dogs that he wishes to have before his death. He remembers nothing. Has he mentioned this before in some space? He doesn’t know whether he is a philosopher, a writer, or a pedagogue. It only occurs to him, while he travels in an underground coach surrounded by clean bodies with their heads polished, humid, covered in gel, that a Muslim boy is recounting his dream. He is going to receive a sacred dog from the Superior of his Order. The transparent fish-tank from the classroom also appears. The steam baths full of naked men willing to beat him to death for having taken an image of their skins being rubbed by liquid again and again. The book of the dead. Secret tributes. A monster that can only be endured if one does not remember it intensely or if one lets it remain in its kind of aqueous existence, clean, carried in the hairstyles worn by the city’s underground transport passengers. The philosopher has the duty to write. Repudiation, ignorance, and necessity are all that is left to him after rejecting the Sacred Books, the Aztec Codices. Perennial cultures, extreme, unstable, bloodthirsty, just, unjust, whose opposites now tend to present themselves simultaneously. That’s why he knows that it is difficult for him to be understood when he explains that his way of working is not like that of others. His study, the one in which he invented the existence of a classroom decorated with pedagogical fish, every now and then becomes a sort of nothing. He places, on a white surface, one word after another. He notices that we rarely talk about non-writings, neither new nor classic. That it is easy to omit referring to silences. The important silencing, the definitive one, appears to be the one that is kept, hidden, in these regions. He never trusts words. Nor reviews, honors, awards, distinctions, doctorates. Nor the existence of mystical dogs that can reach the size of a camel. Nor does he trust the words of his brothers in the Order when they say that they live in heaven on earth. Where the limits between the living and the dead seem to have been erased. Like words and writing. We are all Muslim, some around there say. The mystical is present in the ordinary. Pedagogue Boris, in his effort to run a primary school, has already forgotten the hieroglyphics buried in the eternal snowy steppes of the North. Something similar, necessary forgetting, is what should take place with the writings of all times. Scriptural Seals of Non- Memory. Inscribed in clay tablets, in the dark surfaces of caves or on modern keyboards. Maybe also on those decomposing bodies, hanging from bridges, skinned alive. Washed and washed again. Dying in a classroom in a primitive school, where the pupils have been condemned to death for reasons unknown to us. The worst enemies of writing are exactly those who practice writing, affirms Pedagogue Boris. The saint Mansur Al-Hallaj was tortured to death for claiming “I Am the Truth, I Am God”. The same way that a philosopher would be executed in our time if he dared to say something similar: that he is the Word. And the young philosopher allows himself to say, surrounded here by dozens of cadavers, that there is no objective. Apart from writing a book, everything is imposture. The descriptions of the dogs, of the fish. The stories, the characters, the repetitions. All a falsehood, a pretext. It’s possible that each golden fish, swimming majestically, being described by condemned children, by Pedagogue Boris, may be the representation of the proper word. A word that can never be complete while the marked dogs still exist, those wandering the world in search of burial. An unnamable writing, indefinite, fleeting, transparent, as the passage of time appears to a dervish in its spinning trance. “I Am The True Scripture”, anyone can say, who simply takes a pencil to paper with the intention of making a stroke, a letter, a flourish. Something that, with a single movement, etches on a surface its passage through the world. Or rather the footprint of its being scorched into the ovens of some military barracks. Constant water. Bodies cleaned of their corporeality. Scorched bones, transparent bones, bones of an extreme whiteness that shine under the sun. On certain autumn nights, especially on those when the philosopher’s epilepsy medication leaves him in a state that can neither be called sleep nor wakefulness, scenes and thoughts pass through his head, most of which are difficult to describe. Events that take place as if behind a transparent curtain, a shadowy sheen. Similar states must be experienced by some animals in the solitude of their coops, stables, or barns. Pedagogue Boris is sure that this happens to the dogs that sleep in his room. Sometimes he surprises them, in the middle of the night, gazing, engrossed and focused on an indeterminate point. He usually notices how they’ll suddenly move a muscle compulsively or let out a moan they seem unable to control. He is sure that in those moments they are living scenes from some other reality. One time, the young philosopher felt something similar while he was wrapped in the blanket where he spends his nights. He noticed a figure very much like him, it was himself, sitting on one of the edges. From the first moment, he noticed that the shadow was talking incessantly. It was as though he had found it in the middle of an eternal monologue begun at an indefinite time. Upon hearing it, he realized that the shadow was talking about Our Lady, about a kleptomaniac, about a tour guide who lived exiled in a part of the country where the corrosion from sea salt was very pronounced. The results of oxidation could be seen in electrical devices, in the ancient and broken summer chairs out on balconies, and in the general structure of the building. The fire escape had turned into a heap of twisted iron, which the neighbors had decided to place facing the ocean like a great sculpture. Our Lady had been, in her time, an effective tour guide, especially when nobody knew that she would steal things while she was doing her job. She would usually steal unimportant objects, things of little value, from her clients. It all ended when she was caught taking the earrings from a jewelry box that the wife of a foreign king had left on a table in the suite where she was staying. She was never told anything about her crime. Rather she was forced to remain locked away in her house indefinitely. She did not receive a formal penalty, except the order not to leave her apartment for any reason. She was forced to stay there as long as was necessary. Our Lady (a tour guide?) is a character that the young philosopher came up with a few years ago, when he was using the study that a photographer had lent him to edit a book. He wrote it on a typewriter, producing a sound that bothered the photographer’s children, who lived on the floor below. They were also bothered by the sound of the dog’s footsteps above them. It was called Sueño del Pongo. The dog that shouldered the burden of millennia of injustice: that of the abusive owner, himself abused in the dream of someone oppressed. In that study, sometimes a memory would arise, in the way that memories do, of the vague presence of his mother. Not the one that everyone knew, but the one who had actually raised him. The faded one. The dead mother. The one who would never move away from watery surfaces, with her shining skin, luscious, who would give herself to the street vendors. The mother who, since the philosopher was little, took advantage of the disproportionate size of his penis. The one who would demand various objects from the other women in the region in exchange for letting them look at her son’s member as long as they wished. Our Lady, a kleptomaniac tour guide, is based on the story of a government worker who was the philosopher’s neighbor during the years he lived in other parts. In a society governed by a totalitarian system. The image of the philosopher’s mother, the faded one, who was attentive to the women looking at his naked body, may appear as a consequence of the mutual rejection they always felt for each other. From the moment of his birth. The mother facing the son and the son facing the mother. Maybe the root of this discord has to do with the circumstances of his birth. The philosopher is missing some body parts. He was born that way. That is why he carries a document that identifies him as a mutant. The condition of his body sometimes causes unbearable physical pain, which has led him to imagine an institution specializing in patients with strange maladies. He imagines that he attends a clinic that focuses on people who have never had, who have lost, or who are about to lose an appendage. Including the penis that his mother methodically showed in public. The institution has a floor exclusively for that type of patient. It offers a pool with underwater jets that give firm massages. Steam, fog, vapor, incessant water on the surface of bodies. It also has clinical equipment. It is common to see people entering or leaving the building, sometimes with help, a series of individuals who search the waters, the machines, the institution in general for the peace they need to go on with their lives. His visits to that clinic remind him that when he was a boy, he frequently attended an institution for deformed people, where he spent a good part of his childhood living with people trying to adapt to normal life, many desperately, others with resignation. What they sought in his case was to make him hear through his missing ear, and for him to accept wearing a glass eye so as not to show the hole, the scar, the scratch, the dead eyelid on his face. In another corner of this floor of the clinic were the rooms dedicated to individual therapy. They were small spaces with beds for massages, physical therapy, osteopathic treatments, separated from one another by thin curtains. In that section, they could tend to up to six patients at a time. In fact, a single therapist was able to offer his services to all of them, going from one bed to another every few minutes. The most well-known massage therapist was a body- builder who more than once told Pedagogue Boris about the strange situation that was taking place at his home at that time: the transformation of his mother into a parrot. The mother had died months ago, murdered, disappeared, skinned, inert on the side of the road, and the parrot that she had had for several years would repeat her usual words. Also, he told him in confidence, the parrot would not miss an episode of the television series that his mother had not been able to finish watching. With regards to the presence of the philosopher’s mother in the baths, we must clarify that in reality, such places never existed. Just like there never existed, except in his fictions, a man who lived close to the central airport. An invalid, like the ones who used to go to the clinic that he created in his mind while laying down, wrapped in a blanket, on the ground, or in the rehabilitation area of the hospital in whose basements he had spent a good part of his childhood. He mentions the basements because that is where the prostheses are usually built: arms, legs, ears, eyes. Eyes. Dozens, hundreds of eyes kept in large jars of liquid. Floating eyes. Wet. Clean. Aseptic. He remembers that, despite his forced visits, on one occasion he was not able to get a new eye because his father refused to accept the cost based on his socioeconomic evaluation. A new eye? The young philosopher is missing an eye? The father indicated that despite the place where he worked, a mid-level job, he did not have enough money for this expense. Pedagogue Boris remembers that this led to a nasty argument between the father and the social worker, who was trying to show him that his fees were adjusted to his economic status. Nevertheless, his rejection was decisive. The father calmed him down as they were leaving when he said that he knew a place where they made perfect marbles. So perfect that nobody would notice that he was missing an eye. He never took him to such a factory. His mother preferred for him to spend his days lying down. Just like that character who lived near the airport, who lay eternally in bed screaming orders to the guard dogs that he owned. Despite being immobile, that man was considered one of the best trainers of the region. He shared his house with his mother, a sister, his nurse, and nearly a dozen dogs trained to kill at the sound of an order. It is unknown why, upon entering his room, some visitors felt the presence of an atmosphere that had to do with what could be called the future of America. Maybe the Inuits’ drawings, the Lakotas’ way of organizing themselves. Some interpretations of the Codices, usually flawed readings. There seemed to be in that room some word, some Sacred Book that would once and for all define that part of the world. If anyone asked about his situation, the immobile man would respond, in his nearly incomprehensible way of speaking, that it was one thing to be immobile and another to be mentally retarded. It was a shame that a trainer like that, effective, about to reveal the mysteries of this area, the reasons for which a girl would take a seat with an iguana on her lap, died on an ordinary night when one of the animals escaped its crate and devoured him while he slept next to his nurse. The room filled with liquid. It may have been a sacred dog and not a guard dog. The size of a camel in the desert. The blood of the paralytic man spread through the room. With fecal matter. With his brains, which soon emerged. Once again, liquids flooding the scene of a crime. Honoring the aqueous nature of this part of the world. But it’s true, the young philosopher’s mother took advantage of his embarrassment. She showed off her son clean, his breast, his arms, his legs, his genitals, the way that skins are often presented in the region. There was the disproportionately large penis. Some men, the bathers, gave him a particular shine. They seemed to want to prepare him for his next disappearance. That way his body would look very tidy, naked, next to the other bodies washed in the same desperate way. As if in all that scrubbing they were trying to hang onto this world. To be allowed to continue attending the primary school that Pedagogue Boris had created with such care. To keep studying the water in the fish-tanks to get good grades on the exams. To continue on with their exfoliated suits, so clean, whose cleanliness they would protect with care in case they were eventually forced to sit before a photographer’s camera with an iguana on their lap. Peasants with huge ears dancing naked. Hair styled carefully with differently textured gels. Immaculate bodies, clean, unpolluted. In this way they would be handed over to that nothingness: immaculate. Surrounded by holy ghosts, the dogs. By cancer operations, by routine amputations, by surgical interventions, by mutilations. Exquisite, the nakedness of the one enveloped by a snake. In porno theaters. Hopefully the young philosopher will be able to obtain his sacred dog. The saintly dog. The side-effects of a medication that lets him stay alive. The need to write to create an Archive of Reality. The Scriptural Seal of Non-Memory. Repudiation, ignorance, and necessity. The book of the dead. Secret tributes. The epilepsy that the philosopher suffers. The solitude of the stables, coops, and barns. The dogs that sleep in the poet’s bedroom. Next to the blanket he wraps himself in, inside the primitive school run by the poet himself– Pedagogue Boris and Professor Virginia– in the hope that the students may have a proper place to die.