Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The "Vacant-Eyed Heads" of Killers
Jean Genet in jail, writing Our Lady of the Flowers, cuts out pictures of young, handsome murderers. They excite him both physically and spiritually.
Here's an excerpt from early on in this strange and beautiful book:
“I cut those handsome, vacant-eyed heads out of the magazines. I say vacant, for all the eyes are clear and must be sky-blue, like the razor’s edge to which clings a star of transparent light, blue and vacant like the windows of buildings under construction, through which you can see the sky from the windows of the opposite wall. Like those barracks which in the morning are open to all the winds, which you think are empty and pure when they are swarming with dangerous males, sprawled promiscuously on their beds. I say empty, but if they close their eyes they become more disturbing to me than are huge prisons to the nubile maiden who passes by the high barred windows, prisons behind which sleeps, dreams, swears, and spits a race of murderers, which makes of each cell the hissing nest of a tangle of snakes, but also a kind of confessional with a curtain of dusty serge.”
One of the three men picture above (perhaps the one below) cut off a 30 year old policeman's head. And all through the plaza, and on buses (blue and white and very dangerous), and on the steps of the church, etc, people are staring at the dead man's head. And into the eyes, opened or closed, of his three killers.