Fool’s Paradise


Azu­re wa­ter, azu­re air. And it’s right bet­ween the two, red on the whi­te rocks li­ke a drop of blood that years had ma­de so­lid. I put my feet on it at la­st, my bag on my shoul­der, the boat di­sap­pea­ring to­wards the main­land in a bub­bling of foam, the en­gi­nes at full speed, as if it fea­red the spells of a si­ren. We we­re he­re at their ho­me.

Eve­ning was fal­ling on the in­ver­ted py­ra­mid of the stair­ca­se roof. Is it sin­ce “Le Mé­pris”, Mo­ra­via re­vam­ped by Go­dard, that I ha­ve been drea­ming of Vil­la Ma­la­par­te? But for what dark rea­son did the film ma­ke it the sce­ne of an amo­rous ca­ta­stro­phe? A Go­dard per­ver­sion: choo­se a paradise of light to bring do­wn the night. Arx tar­peia Ca­pi­to­li pro­xi­ma. It is ne­ver far from the Ca­pi­tol to the Tar­peian rock. From glo­ry to the abyss. From lo­ve to con­tempt.

I had co­me to the island to for­get about my di­sgra­ce in tra­vel­ling in the pa­st. My ve­hi­cle? Noi­re Ido­le, as its wor­shi­pers cal­led it. Black, and hid­den. To find its tra­ce I had to fol­low the th­read along a ve­ry stran­ge track: a mu­seum di­rec­tor, a spe­cia­li­st in sharks and a Bur­me­se escort girl had led me to he­re at the pri­ce of ma­ny ridd­les to re­mo­ve the un­to­ward. It was a sort of club, a bro­the­rhood for mo­dern lo­tus-ea­ters, in other words, see­kers of obli­vion.

A co­los­sus in a bou­bou re­lie­ve me of my bag and my clo­thes. It was na­ked, ca­res­sed by the la­st fi­res of the sun, a scar­let sphe­re, sin­king in the wa­ves red­de­ned by its burn, that I clim­bed the steps of this roof that led me to my paradise lo­st and found. Black idol: I had drunk so mu­ch at your lips, so lo­ved your so­phi­sti­ca­ted and bar­ba­ric ca­res­ses, and I still wan­ted mo­re. To plun­ge back in­to your lar­ges­se, your hi­gh view­point, to ma­ke lo­ve to your vi­sions to for­get the pain. Your fea­st was al­lu­ring, Black idol. On this so­la­rium pos­ses­sed by the night, whe­re Bar­dot used to tan her ba­re but­tocks in 1967, skins we­re now of­fe­red to the moon, hair to co­me­ts. Eve­ry­whe­re, bo­dies stret­ched out, en­tan­gled at ti­mes, but al­ways per­fu­sed by your jui­ce, your per­fu­mes, your po­wers, and the won­der­ful but ir­re­ver­si­ble drun­ken­ness you la­vi­shed, Noi­re Ido­le.

In turn, I lay na­ked on the still bur­ning flag­sto­nes, my eyes in the Tyr­rhe­nian night spla­shed wi­th stars. And in the noi­se of the wa­ves that we­re con­stan­tly dy­ing and re­su­sci­ta­ted on the sharp reefs, I ope­ned my lips to your sour­ce of you­th, Black idol. Exit con­tempt, and fi­nal­ly for­get­ful­ness. I hun­ted the dra­gon in the ter­ri­to­ry of the si­ren. • ori­gi­nal text pa­ge 118

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