My father’s name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Peter. So I called myself Peter, and came to be called Peter.
I give Pirrip as my father’s family name on the authority of his tombstone and my sister—Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith.
On Christmas eve 1978 my mother committed suicide and in September of 1979 my grandmother (on my mother’s side) died. Ten days ago (it is now almost Christmas 1979) Terence told my fortune with the Tarot cards. This was not so much a fortune—whatever that means—but a fairly, it seems to me, precise psychic map of the present therefore: the future.
I asked the cards about future boyfriends. This question involved the following thoughts: Would the guy who fucked me so well in France be in love with me? Will I have a new boyfriend? As Terence told me to do, I cut the cards into four piles: earth water fire air. We found my significator, April 18th, in the water or emotion fantasy pile. We opened up this pile. The first image was a fat human purring cat surrounded by the Empress and the Queen of Pentacles. This cluster, traveling through a series of other clusters that, like mirrors, kept defining or explained the first cluster more clearly—time is an almost recurring conical—led to the final unconscious image: during Christmas the whole world is rejecting a male and female kid who are scum by birth. To the right of the scum is the Star. To the left is the card of that craftsmanship which due to hard work succeeds.
IS THERE ANY NEED FOR EMOTION?
He says to her, “Nothing you have, even your mind, is yours anymore. I’m a generous man. I’m going to give you nothing.”
She’s turning around and catching his eyes staring at her as if he loves her.
She is sitting next to him and listening to him talk.
He is saying that it no longer matters what she thinks and what her choices are.
He is saying that he is the perfect mirror of her real desire and she is making him that way.
His eyes are not daring to meet her eyes.
He is walking back and down and in front of her.
He is dialing her phone number on the phone.
He’s telling her to wait without any clothes on for him to come over.
He’s telling her to throw out certain identities and clothes he doesn’t like.
He’s telling her he doesn’t have any likes or dislikes so there’s no way she can touch him.
He’s telling her he’s a dead man.
She’s laying out her clothes and wondering which one’s the softest.
She’s wondering if she’s going to die.
…the most completely unified work of art Acker has yet produced. One that by its formal concentration and its unified shape at every depth of reading fulfills the sort of demands that Sterne or Canetti makes of the novelist.”