Natural Blood


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:

Very soon I shall begin to open a way into the wilderness, for my direction is sufficiently conveyed to those whose nightly occupation is to wander about the world and murder mankind. Another moment and I shall affirm the possibility of the existence of souls in the future world, and which, by a concentration of talent I contrive to enter without injury. The soft place of an infant’s head is not destroyed by passing a voltaic current through a wire. The troubled soul can be removed without delay, or tied to a rope, strong enough to sustain a man’s weight.

“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.

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.

 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 children’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 motionless. I am thankful. I am no worse this season.

©2024 Jason Potter