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Whatnot by Justin Taylor
Music by Steve Kane
'Werewolf' by X-8
'Werewolf' by X-8

Excerpt from the Interview


Enough about the dinosaur. What does the werewolf suggest to you?

A source of fright: teeth, claws, gnashing—

Of teeth or claws?

Both may gnash.

What about symbolism? What does the werewolf symbolize?

Tumescence. And a fear of rejection.

You used to grow a beard, yes?

I still grow it.

But you used to keep it?

You are getting at something which is relevant, but otherwise irrelevant.

You cannot trick us—

I love how moisture gathers in rough wood; furry molds thriving in the lightless nestle between the back of the flier for the punk show and the face of the streetpole it is stapled to.

Recourse to fur and closed, incubatory spaces. You dream of being walled in. You fear rejection. You are nothing but metaphors and other metaphors—you belie.

I rely.

On what do you rely?

On that which is belied.

By metaphors and other metaphors?

A rigorous preference for closeness in lightless spaces; a preemptive gnashing against rejection.

Do you draw from the Jew Freud?

I draw on nothing but spirit and the moon.

Is this an allusion?

My metaphors are just metaphors. Don't regard them.

How lucky the stars are, so cold and far away—would you say something like this?

I would say: how lucky are the stars, nestled in the close darkness of space, and burning.

What would you and your werewolf say, apropos an object of desire?

I would say: her cunt wrapping around my face like a sudden beard. The werewolf wouldn't say. But he'd think it. His eyes would glimmer.

That is what we wanted—your innermost etceteras.

You love it when I finish sentences. When I grow them for you, and they grow, and then you take them in and then they are finished—

And, finished, begin wilting. (Sometimes we can finish your sentences for you.)

Stop taking what's mine; wilting what I grow—words are artifacts; every sentence an ossification, every paragraph a poking rib or vertebra; every text a skeleton. Every text a skeleton.

We pick your bones clean like a wolf.

A wolf is vicious; he does not pick clean. Only a man or hyena would suckle a femur for loose bits and marrow. What creature is revealed—belied—by the skeleton once you have picked it?

Stripped, disordered, the bones could be any thing. We are not an archaeologist.

But there is an archaeologist among you?

We are one and then many. Our name is Legion. What is your name?

I am werewolf. I name us werewolf. I name some of us werewolf.

You are not one and then many—

I am many and then one—many mix like liquids here. And change. We am a chemistry set.

Is this more of your werewolf talking?

My werewolf is not the one who talks. My man speaks. My werewolf growls and gnashes. He fears rejection but is a wolf. My werewolf is a man who can only gnash and growl. He can tear to ragged ribbons; his tenderness is occasional and laps like a pup. He wears and wears it like a beard.

Did you not used to wear a beard?

It would grow and I would keep it—but it's gone now. Now I have a razor. I cut what grows. It drowns in the pipes beyond the drain.

And yet you say the werewolf represents tumescence?

Only when he is a symbol. He represents growth, and the futility of growth, and the inevitability of regrowth. The moon's effects on lycanthropes and cunt cycles are both real and temporal. He is a beast of field, who cannot say. Yet he has been brought indoors. The scent of blood makes him want to lap and gnash.

And what does he represent when he is not symbolic, when he is living?

When he is living he represents no thing. He represents himself, acts in his own interest, or would if he knew it. But doesn't. The beast of the field cannot say. He is named by the other, by a man, by one who can speak. He is named and the name makes him something—it determines his symbols, what he is and can do.

You are a man.

In me are many—like you, we flow and flow.

And you named this thing inside you werewolf?

Yes, this alien inside me I have named werewolf. It lives by my name, and knows what this means, but is a beast, and cannot say what it feels about me—

Or what you've done to it?

Or what I've done to it, yes, that's correct.

Enough about the werewolf. What—

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last update: November 19, 2008