From Book 3: Guernica

            In April the German air force, commanded by Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, bombed the town of Guernica in Spain which was the center of Basque culture and also the northern bastion of the Republican resistance movement. The two-hour assault by a squadron of Junkers warplanes leveled the town. The young men were away fightingContinue reading “From Book 3: Guernica”

From Book 3: The Spanish Civil War, Part 2

            The spring unwound under slow fingers. Franz and Catherine left for the Pyrenees, taking Aleron with them; he had been ill and Franz thought the mountains would help him. Desnos was working with André Masson on a new book, Les sans cou. Youki and Louis both worked on their art galleries and most ofContinue reading “From Book 3: The Spanish Civil War, Part 2”

From Book 3: The Spanish Civil War, Part 1

            The next morning, my brother and I agreed to spend a day apart.             I showed my photograph to shopkeepers, to hotel clerks, to women in the street. No one had seen Justine. I ended up in a graveyard, sitting on a toppled gravestone and staring at her photograph. Now I doubted Justine hadContinue reading “From Book 3: The Spanish Civil War, Part 1”

From Book 2: I Love You, Part Two

            The cold wood of the table felt good against my cheek, and I let my arms dangle as the walls bent themselves around me in crazy angles. Suddenly Artaud’s face was level with mine, and his face showed so much concern that I immediately forgave him for being such a cold fish sometimes. “WhatContinue reading “From Book 2: I Love You, Part Two”

From Book 3: Smuggling Artaud

            The Sainte-Anne hospital was a walled compound like a mini-medieval city. It stood not far from the studios of René Thomas and Sonia Mossé. Desnos told us about it after we met. Sainte-Anne had been constructed in the thirteenth century and was named after, of all people, the patron saint Anne of Austria, thatContinue reading “From Book 3: Smuggling Artaud”

From Book 2: I Love You, Part One

            The great Desnos, scrawler of surreal graffiti. One thing for sure, that man was drinking too much lately. It worried me. When he drank his mood-swings became even worse. He would stay drunk for days. Yvonne George, herself drowning in the laudanum bottle, was now ignoring him completely while Breton yelled in the man’sContinue reading “From Book 2: I Love You, Part One”

From Book 4: The Prisoner

            In early 1938, at the urging of Artaud’s family and with the intercession of Jean Paulhan, Antonin Artaud was finally transferred from the Quatre-Mares asylum at Rouen to Sainte-Anne, an asylum south of Montparnasse, that mini-walled city near the studios of Sonia Mossé and René Thomas. First Artaud’s mother, now almost seventy years old,Continue reading “From Book 4: The Prisoner”

From Book 2: The Sex Discussions, Part Two

           This section is presented in its entirety. “I don’t know where my story begins,” I said. “And I wonder if that’s not a lie too, that any story has a beginning. Life just happens and we pick a point and say, ‘It started here,’ when it didn’t really start there, even with one’s birth.”            Continue reading “From Book 2: The Sex Discussions, Part Two”

From Book 2: The Sex Discussions, Part One

Desnos never locked his door and now this worried me. When I stepped inside I saw a lit candle in a far corner. Artaud lay there on a mattress, and someone lay next to him. Desnos was asleep on his sofa and Roger and Justine lay tangled on his regular mattress, but everyone else hadContinue reading “From Book 2: The Sex Discussions, Part One”

From Book 2: Foujita and Youki

“Come on, Geoff,” Youki urged, tugging at my arm. I allowed her to lead me to the car. “Come see the studio.”             I climbed in the back seat of her yellow Ballot with Foujita and Bernice, and the chauffeur nodded to Youki while she sat in the front passenger seat arranging her hair. “Home,Continue reading “From Book 2: Foujita and Youki”