Natural Blood is an allegorical journey of the fantastical son of Apollo, who treads continually on the verge of the grave, and who is obsessed with the debilitating tendencies of women and the certain signs of death. Natural Blood is a confessional narrative told in first person. It represents the various stages of life, dealing with animal, plantal, and spiritual transformations in the airy vapours of a woman’s boudoir and of a primordial forest - a heaving up of vegetation with its horrible affinity with human passions.
Such information as we possess regarding the progression of things corporeal to spiritual or immaterial is too imperfect a character to admit of transporting bodies whole, therefore we suffer them to spread and exercise their ravages. Thus are the observations of Natural Blood (as he is named by one), accounting his sufferings and his wicked dealings with creatures better than any scurrile pamphlet or variety of runt. It is a justification of secret delinquencies, and like inconveniences, a sort of flying gallop for girls and old maids and young men. Natural Blood is dedicated with awful devotion to the roots, to the bulbous bosom, and to the body made electric.
Though a strong vein of morbid humour pervades, the journey is ultimately profound. I have no personal experience of blood-letting, embroidery, or murder, be it in the realm of higher interests or diminishing reality, yet there is some way in which the soul makes known its sensations to the body; and in this I perceive of a truth that love in worlds vastly empty is all we can hope for: and that this must be the meaning of what I write.
To be published before my death.
Extracts from the manuscript:
The glossy leaves, leathery and margined with hairs, touched my lips, and I opened my mouth. I come upon a creature in the forest, and I perceive subtle forms rising from her aged body; her skin, thinner than the skin of fruit is near transparent, and I endeavour to prove it mortal. In inspiration her belly swells by the lifting up the bowels, and her womb passes from side to side, and the flesh of the belly were as circles of the sphere, like an open porch or gallery, and she rose and fell before the motions of the equinox and passed through the vertices of following stars.
“If you would have my body, and
make my breasts firm and my hair black and sleek, then
you will make the birds to fly, and stirring their
wings, as appears plain enough from the rushing noise,
they will bend upwards, and with the bending of the
feathers we will be pressed towards each other,
supported on the teeming air by pillars of
blood-coloured marble, and vines of gold above beds of
rosemary and lavender.
“If you would have my body, and make my breasts full and my skin firm and porcelain white, then you will have magnificence in the first ages as in later times, as from old temples and broken amphitheatres half buried in the earth, and figments of towers and subterranean vaults will support your airy body, dressed in fine light damasks, and confess the difference between an old devotee and a young beauty.
“And if you would restore me to youth, smooth and fine-textured, and ripe, and hot and moist, then you will be studded with buds and leaves and blossoms, and all creatures will breathe the pleasing fragrance of a perpetual spring, and the breezes of the morning will wind their courses and degrees, enfolding the fiery sun and the watery moon, caressing most intimately between mouth and thigh that spongy excrescence called a nipple.”
With simple water I swallowed my dose of green tea. The fruit of the pod is like that of a bean, and though my fits of fainting or anxiety ceased upon rest or breathing the vapour of vinegar, the pulp of the fruit (abating thirst and correcting purification), which is spread on a sort of bread or rusk disordered my bowels and occasioned the contents to turn pasty. Weak and tender as I was, I required repeat purges and a total absence of farinaceous foods. Disagreeable symptoms previously discharged in a living state, and subject to spectral illusions, I was subject to be taken at unawares by the sudden transformation or sudden development of long-concealed desire, so aggravated as to assume a degree of immobility, possessing no other vital character than bare assimilation or molecular growth. I fancied that I should behold something like a wreath, and provide myself with a fantastical nurse to assist in expiration who, in consequence of getting rest, resembled many gold coloured discous flowers, in umbel-like clusters. I imagine supplying her with a few articles of clothing from my extensive wardrobe; but she being reckoned a very subtle creature thinks it prudent to afford relief in a gradual manner, and felled her carcasses in the hollow place, with some exclamation, “He shall be laid out with an obolus in his mouth.” I sometimes perceive her motion as a creeping under the skin. The appellation of facial tumours was derived from mucur, mouldy. When her eyes are shut, the external edges meet, and the eyelashes, preserved at a small distance from each other, are somewhat transparent, covered with small shining crystals.
I conceive a female in my own mind, for darkness takes away all appearance, and changes the figure and magnitude of a body. I see how closely the uses of parts correspond with those that are spiritual, with curved elastic bones, muscles and ligaments, which all concur together in the act of drawing blood. I recall to my mind the following meditation: I had many times watched a phantom with unspeakable pleasure. I wanted to arrange her lips and fasten them with pins, or tighten her ears until they were sufficiently drawn together. I would turn a hem and sew up the opening made under the neck with very small stitches, and leave her mouth open to show her teeth, which were very beautiful, and arranged with admirable symmetry. I was inclined to interpret everything favourably in the character of so beautiful a creature. I gave her a picture of a peculiar construction, which I called a mirror; she discovered the reflection of herself in it, and described a girl, with her head and eyes bound with fillets and thorns of twisted straw. She uttered a loud scream, and mistook me for a person she disliked. I made several kinds of toys from her teeth.
I brought to another woman, at different times, in the dark, different substances, and frequently the same ones, which she could not discover in the dark. She became flushed in the face, had the sensations of tingling, resembling slight electric shocks running down her thighs; or perhaps it was blood trickling down her legs and coagulating on the floor. But she was glad when any of her faculties was restored to her, and would immediately perambulate the room in search of a place suitable to her purpose. She would often throw herself into singular postures by holding only with her feet, or, in a momentary shock of paralysis, stretch herself at her full length on a low bed. Each time she placed herself in the attitude of repose, as if she had wished to imitate the infinite glorious perfections of God. I desired her accurately to point out a remedy. She threw around her body a girdle of silk, which bound it so firmly that she ever afterwards attained to the highest cunning.
It happens now and then that males, coming from a distance, pray for an enactment of sexual activity while pursuing celestial observations, though the woman of choice may not give them such an extraordinary polish. It is also true that when the bitch-fox goes a clicketing, three dozen men will have abounding abilities, and suddenly find themselves in the position of being able to do exactly as they choose. Of the precise nature of these connections it is a matter of doubt whether women have ever been thoroughly neutralised by other causes, or even whether rape is possible in a woman of fair size and strength; though it is observed that women are furnished with dresses suitable for mourning, with loops at the waist-line, which by means of buttons removes all impediments to union. Whenever a young lady puts out, one or two men are apt to immediately locate themselves upon her (unbuttoning the five lower buttons, that the lady might throw her leg over), feeding upon the delicate petals, and thus destroying all the beauty of her blossoming life. A known female who had hysteria and who at last died at twenty years of age, was frequently disturbed upon any particular bed and was apt to forsake it and take up her abode in other quarters where she could remain unmolested. I, accordingly, moulded a whole figure from the clay and suspended it above her bed, to swing backwards and forth, the lower edge brushing slightly against her thighs. I gathered her, in the bright sunshine, flying up and down around her person, and contributed to, either mediately or immediately, and hastened, the maturity of worms.
I found a grave in the womb, and the remains of a body in the nearest soft earth. Here I lay, uncoffined and unclaimed by mourning spirits. A sudden cry of pain passed away and was heard no more, and I imagined that among the voices of the forest there was one that whispered within: feel no more. And in the darkness which enshrouded its mouldering tenant I imagined youthful limbs and features of a boy who never mourned the feebleness of aged men; who never looked back to that parting without regret or hung brooding over the newly created world. Now keep in the deep, I said to myself, and timorous creatures shall safe arrive above; and I put under my tongue a sweet morsel of plant, and gave myself the gift of prophesy. I muffed up and covered myself with a garment made of wild hemp and willow bark. And in some remote period, naked to the eye in daytime, the approaching Earth will assume a crescent form and be bright enough to cast a shadow at night. Some rare bodies, pressing against the earth, move upward to the great body of the universe, and with great expansions penetrate into empty spaces. Particles of light attracted from the atmospheric air will lead us back to secret nostrums, and the perpetrators of darkness cannot brook the light. And so the local union between leaf and stem, unprepared by art, is held fit, in its own nature. The eyes dazzle; and crackings heard under childrenâ€™s beds pass through the nerves down to the clay to be carried off by the furrows. A little greater depth still and we apply a remedy; we shall strongly resist the semi-fluid organism sometimes covered with strong scurf, and with very matted roots.
“I am Meself,” said he, “we shall
fornicate away the Sabbath with the dead and the living,
that we might exercise supreme authority and dominion
over all, as we will at the last day. Let them caress
our three-toed, hairy, hind legs; ears that are rounded,
lined with fur; fore-teeth upper eight, two middle ones
sharper; lower long and pointed. We are beautifully red
by the sides of our head and body; white at our
extremities; feet dark brown; margin of the orbits
black; naked underneath, and a cock with a curved bone.”
Meself stood at three points of the compass from the direction of the wind, and bent over me. I fell to my knees and cried, “Sir, it is not the pain. It is life!”
“Naturalblood, make a wish, which is properly the desire of a man. Or lay still, for I should not wish you to a fairer death.”
I imagined a weight drawn by a thousand weights, equal in gravity to one another; sometimes these weights appear in my dreams, when the spirit leaves the body. But I saw no soul before me, or the image of a thing remembered or imagined. I made a wish beyond the nebulous regions, where the body is born and waxes old in time, and he was gone.
An odd sensation for some time
observed; that, composing myself I could die or expire
when I pleased, and by an effort, I could come to life
again. I could commit incredible mischief, and be
whirled into infamy, with a supply of goats, but worse
in the lying in; some titillation from the genitals up
into the abdomen, giving scope to the expression of
delusions and dreams of sin, merging in a sea of natural
emotions and commotions. By apparent death, I can
become so entirely exhausted that the system suspends
all outward, or manifest, animation. I assume the
appearance of death that I may make a final and utmost
attempt to save myself from impending destruction,
enabling me to devote all my remaining powers to combat
some inward foe. I can compose myself on my back,
and lay in a still posture for some time, and no one can
find my pulse, by the most exact and nice touch; no one,
by the nicest scrutiny, can discover the least symptom
of life within me. A young woman who is thought to
resemble me I designed to personate myself in a dead
world. Her cheek blushed, as though she were alive; and
she was desirous of doing all the things in a world
where sorrow never comes, or comes imperfectly. Her
eyes were open, yet she was quite in the dark. She tied
a rope around her neck, and shaking herself, remained
I am thankful - I am no worse this season.
The bodies of babes are marked with figures of things, it confounds the natural order; they stamp with their hind feet and erect their hair, and keep the beaten path until they are driven of the devil. Some wander wide, or far and near, and mothers draw away estranged affections of tenderness, and contrive for themselves an artificial memory called the Soul of the World, suckle empty forms and phantoms, and assume somewhat of their nature, and become of a peculiar kind. Into chaos heat is infused, disseminated, and diffused through the whole mass of the world into one great, perfect and vital body; and into many starting holes a creature is driven, that it may find some shelter, to increase and produce its like, which is said to be come to its animation when the mother is quick with child. Generation of a kind is kindled in the bowels of the earth; and being buried in the ground it will burst out in flames and cause the earth to tremble, a rattling noise in the lowest regions of the air, which seem to pass through arches, and brought as near Nature as possible. In the whole scene of things there is none that has been perfumed with a most odiferous scent than a babe or a changeling, distracted, and wholly evacuated by death. In the mother womb is the field of their birth, born by incision, and violently cut from the stalk; and when the Earth passes through its orbit the viviparous animals of the world, unweaned from the hub, seem to rise higher and become more perfect than all the beasts of the field. But one, induced by the cognition of an immaterial essence, found life within, and near the wilderness, arising from the instinct of her form, she brought forth her young alive; which being wrapped up in thin skins, burst on the seventh day, and leapt like serpents, and crawled: hooked, hollow, and transparent. They gnawed out the belly of the dam, and all the names of things unknown before. They sucked nourishment out of her thighs and breast, and preyed upon body and estate. She was darkened for an instant; and with heavy and duskish light, shone with borrowed beams that traversed the body of a man, received by illumination, and took for fiery comet. Her belly, growing big, and so near her time, received into her body the western wind, which forced the woman to birth the fragrant infant, who crept along to her side lamenting its imperfections. Both its hands were beaten and worn by time, and it did not cease from craving the benefices of living beings endowed with the properties of natural bodies. Its eyes were as a bright scarlet colour, they saw orbs steered by the spirit; and light, receding into darkness and cold, came never out to touch the unfortunate creature. All operations in the abyss increased the creature’s acquaintance with some understanding of the properties of life. It died uncovered, and a dog licked its sores and fell down, and I saw the spirits of both appear under a deep water.
©2022 Jason Potter