In a thrilling biography I recently read of Sartre (how I miss the perversely innocent intellectualism of his time), he is quoted as saying that incest was the only model of family that interested him. “Yum yum,” I thought on reading it. For I am profoundly attracted to the idea of incest. Please don’t misunderstand me: there were no such transgressions in my family and nor would I have wanted there to be (though I did confess to my mum, aged around 14, that I had an Oedipal complex towards her without really understanding what the term meant). And having no real family of my own, I can safely indulge this notionally subversive leaning for what it really is: yet another guise of my indefatigable death wish.
Ultimately, we are all antecedents of incest. Probably, the fantasy is far more common than we know. I was once friends with a German guy who was passionately in love with his sister (I found out by walking in on them). Their relationship excited me for reasons I didn’t then understand. But as the years passed, and my loves morphed, I realized they had shared an intimacy that could not be surpassed.
I am not interested in the über-puerility of porn: form banging desperately against form. No, I dream of dissolving away into a sensual formlessness. Zeus raped his mother and then raped the daughter his mother bore. If Zeus were to whisper to me via the rustling leaves of his oak tree at Dodona, I would probably hear: “Bore a hole in this tree and take me.” Having said that, I did once hug a tree, sincerely and tenderly, and enjoyed the experience. Having said that, I am no tree hugger in the hollow political sense of the phrase.
An old lover of mine told me that she could see a brother and sister making love at night through the bedroom window of her Soviet-era apartment block in Kaunas. She knew them: they lived in the block opposite and went to school together. Again, a pang of envy. I am exhausted by the tyranny of biology: what better, and more poetic way, to overcome it? Of course, I am only excited by incest where it is wholly consensual and unabusive. Or, ideally, when it is a conscious revolt against the order of things. For incest is not merely about sexual gratification, it is about subverting the language that stratifies the social order. Barthes called the language of love a language of exile: incestuous love takes that delightful idea even further.
It is time for lunch now. It will still take me a while to get used to the form of the blog (I refuse to use that word as a verb). And there, in my little kitchen, my thoughts will round in on themselves, they will hunt and flee themselves, through ancient circuitry, through language interbred over the centuries, through images that pulse with pleasure and throb with longing.