Tuesday, December 7, 2010


There’s a kind of thin metal sheet with a large surface space that they use in small theaters
to imitate thunder.
I’m thinking about a stack of them, even thinner,
ones that make even more noise,
piled vertically at regular intervals just like pages in a book,
except that they’re not squeezed together, but held apart by some apparatus,
such that if I place you on the top sheet it will crack and explode
at the touch of your body’s weight.
You fall onto the 2nd sheet and it breaks too, even louder.

You fall onto the 3rd, then the 4th, the 5th sheet and continue to descend,
hitting the surfaces one after another in a drum roll
that becomes louder with speed,
running through a stage of heavy rolling thunder
eventually surpassing comprehension.

That’s the nature of horror’s grip.
Unlike dread, anxiety and fear,
it’s much closer to the terror which percieves Gorgon’s face
with bristled hair, screaming.
Dread is a suspicion of approaching destruction rather than conscious recognition of such,
wildly disturbing, though a diminishment of terror and horror,
and fear can go so far as to hold dialogue with hope.
that’s what you feel when the first metal sheet cracks, and during the deadly fall
the drum beat and glaring red lights eventually cross the line
from warning to confirmation
as the event accelerates toward horror.

Try to imagine what goes on in that space you might end up falling through someday,
between awareness of imminent extinction
and its realization.


unofficial translation of “Das Entsetzen” / Ernst J√ľnger