Sfumato, 2018


01. In 1882, with the greatest audacity, Nietzsche declared the death of God. God took note of Nietzsche’s declaration, set aside his administration of things, and was moved to anger. Anger came intuitively and effortlessly to God. This astonished him. He was henceforth leery of himself. 02. In the interest of his psychological hygiene, it was recommended to God that he remove himself to the well-appointed Barcelona apartment in the Barri Gotic of Antoni Gaudi—architect, polymath, benefactor, and friend. And so, with dispatch, he did. 03. Upon his arrival, God found Antoni Gaudi profoundly, and for that reason to God’s mind, discourteously, asleep. Perturbed, he impatiently penciled a confession on the wall above the garlic-shaped bedside table of his benefactor and friend. 04. This impertinent freethinker, Nietzsche, makes me sick. He ought to be quarantined. I laundered under the skin, but the contagion would not out. I imagine myself to have a skin, but evidently do not. I am flayed. This irritable substance wants to become stone again. 05. It was thus that it also came to pass in 1882, in an act of dialectical quid pro quo, and with an audacity equaling Nietzsche’s, that Antoni Gaudi broke ground for the Sagrada Familia—the stone of stones. 06. Following each day of architectural scheming and intrigue with his benefactor and friend, God would, invariably and without incident, descend the wooden stairs from his benefactor and friend’s studio and make his way tentatively, heavy-eyed and heavy-limbed, to the corner bistro for evening measures of table wine and iced oysters. 07. Before retiring for the night to his chamber in the only remaining of four spires of the Sagrada Familia to still be under construction, God strolled to the bottom of the Ramblas where he took pity on an artist, whose gray and curly hair he held well and proudly back upon his head, and purchased from him a box of perplexing grayscale post cards. 08. Returning home, God took to the scaffold of the spire and removed from his billfold an inkblot card folded in quarters. He quietly delighted as the image emerged in the low, glowing lamplight reflecting off the heavy, enduring, lacquered occasional table of his benefactor and friend. 09. She is lying on her back in a cruciform of languor. Her outstretched arms over her sides suggest languor. As do her eyes and the cup of her hands. A gown gathered around her waist leaves her breasts and torso exposed and exquisitely free. 10. Returning the image to his billfold after such a time that seemed to him fitting, God withdrew inside, placed himself contentedly upon the rails of a chez prototype, and in his lap began penciling upon his newly purchased grayscale postcards. 11. Your building, once you or someone after you puts on the ultimate touches and delights, needs one thing: a blind multitude. Twist the arms of as many as you see fit. It’s what any good indigent would do. If you see to the multitude; I’ll see to its blindness. 12. I am faint and unsteady. Reassure me that this new stone of yours will be firm and commodious. I’m leery, concerned as always of some strange and hardly discernible deconstructive detail, as for instance is a certain myopic materialist, Nietzsche, around whose supple neck I would very much like to wrap my hands compellingly. 13. I have attempted, to no avail, to murder in my mind this Nietzsche. It was to have been an exquisite murder. A murder of the mind, exquisite in itself, would be all the more so by being subject to recurrence, elaboration, and amplification. 14. By my reckoning, this Nietzsche deserves the very best murder of the mind. For, he has offended me to the bone. My failure to do so is no fault of my own. For, the force of forgetfulness is not inherently strong in me. I have settled, therefore, for everlasting harassment. 15. Upon examining God’s penciled postcard musings, Antoni Gaudi summoned, without reluctance, his boyhood friend and traveling companion, Count Hermann von Keyserling, Director of Geriatric and Psychiatric Medicine at Innsbruck, whom he charged with taking into his immediate care the newly wretched and lugubrious God. 16. Count Keyserling took God’s pulse, tapped him on the knee with a hammer, and took note of his general and persistent wretchedness and lugubriousness. God was transported forthwith by sea without difficulty to the Pavilion de Miron some four hundred meters above the Mediterranean bay of Villfranche-sur-Mer. 17. God enjoyed the quietly teeming company of other mind-blown residents of the Pavilion de Miron. These others, delicate and touchy like God, also suffered impressively from some slight or other, perceived or otherwise real. (Excerpt)