The Vice of Surrealism

Robert Desnos:

...But none could embroider his dreams like Desnos! He would go off into a transport, his protuberant eyes taking on a strange light, while the account of his marvelous chimeras gushed from his lips. There were the pursuers and the possessors; visions of the Apocalypse and the procession of its prophets; scenes of mythical violence filled with anguished cries; and "wizards" who now assumed the shape of "Fantomas" (as in the serial thriller of the movies) or now that of Nicholas Flamel, the thirteenth-century alchemist. How like an acrobat, with the greatest of ease, Desnos swung from one millennium to another, or from one continent to another. (Someone in the room was taking it all down stenographically, so that these dreams could be printed afterward.) Whereas the dream recitals of others were mostly boring, Desnos' seemed to come out of a real trance, and were narrated In reality, he had no need of the mesmerist or the turning table in a dark room, for he had other means of stimulating himself to a condition of autohypnosis and uninhibited improvisation. A regular dosage of opium--and an audience of at least one--was all this highly narcissistic personality required in order to function. (The truth about his drug addiction came out some years later, in 1929, on the occasion of a resounding public quarrel between him and his once-beloved master, Breton, to whom he had confessed his private vices.) For all his vices and his periodic outburts of violence, Desnos was one of the most lovable and entertaining of men.
Life Among the Surrealists: Mathew Josephson

The Gestapo came for him on the morning of February 22, 1994, looking for a list of names of Resistance workers they knew Desnos had. Loyal to the end, Robert had refused to escape, fearing Youki [Desnos's wife] would be tortured in his place.

After being interrogated, he was sent to Compiegne. It was almost a lark. He wrote. He was at the center of a group that met to discuss leterature and astrology--Desnos told them he had considered reading palms professionally. But his luck chnged, and he ended up at Buchenwald, where he sent his last hopeful letter to Youki. From there comes the story of Desnos moving through the ranks of a group of the doomed awaiting the gas chamber, reading their palms, predicting long life...

The temple entance puts on eyeliner
Olympus and paradise and forests
Like the old electric bulbs
Now poetry is sucked from a pointed tit
from these homicidal luminous breasts
From Homicidal Air

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NoMoreWords: A Non-Glossary
Flightless Hummingbird:  A Pseudo-Periodical