In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Obsession
  • Kathy Acker

My Father

Kathy says, For finally my father was coming back. As soon as the night turned black as the cunts of witches, he walked through our door.

Once he had settled down inside, with his pint and slippers, the cat nodding drowsily against his shoulder, he told me that he hadn’t brought back what he had promised me, my own whip. Instead he had come back with a non-white brat, outcast, orphan.

This devil’s child who was nameless was a pale, skinny male. His hairs were blacker than a witch’s vagina. When I smelled him, there was a reek of sheepdog who had never been taught anything.

I spent the night, sleepless, weeping into my pillow, and so did he.

I wasn’t a good child. Or, the same thing, they (the males in my family) told me that I wasn’t a good child. I didn’t know how to react to this identity, this reification, other than by throwing my badness, which my shyness always wants to keep hidden, into their faces.

But openly I loved the night. Whenever it was black, outside, I talked to those animals who sat around me and I knew they had languages and I began to learn their languages.

Then father tried to make the gipsy brat into something less than outcast by giving him the name of a child who had already died. Day after day I watched the brat. Unlike me he wasn’t bad because he was being told that he was bad; nameless, from as deep as his self or sea went, all he wanted to do was to spit at the world. The human world that seemed nonhuman. I admired his ability; it didn’t matter to him, as nothing mattered to him, that I did.

Even though he was only six years old, he would have stolen everything from this father’s house, but there was nowhere to go with it.

Though I never spoke to him openly, I would have done the same thing.

My father loved his false son. Hindley, my father’s real son, hated the new Heathcliff.

My father knew that I saw that all that I couldn’t and wanted to do, Heathcliff did. “Why can’t you be a good child, Kathy?”

“Why can’t you be a good father, father?”

Outside The Family

Soon after these questions had taken place, Kathy’s father died. He would never return.

Both Heathcliff and Kathy grieved. Hindley didn’t give a shit because his father had hated him.

Heathcliff and Kathy sobbed out each other’s eyes, then ate each other’s tongues.

Hindley (Hideous) inHeirited the House so Kathy and Heathcliff moved out into tracks beyond and for them the human world went away. Their only adulthood, before begun, was gone. The world gone, there was only nature.

The days of grief, the days without shelter, announce to all old maids and to all those who are maimed and who maim that the actual churches are open.

Remained outside. Remained outside the family. How Hindley became the father, for the true father is nowadays President Bush, so all the rest are orphans.

This was how Kathy began to want all that lay outside: nature and, most violent of all, the sun. Crags who wait under the sun.

Kathy announced, “I will not come.” Heathcliff never announced anything. Heathcliff was naturally unapproachable.

In The Beginning, Heathcliff Didn’t Matter To Me

Kathy says,

“One day I will never come back and on that day I will keep coming back and coming back.”

My nurse’s name was Ellen.

“Hurry, Ellen, hurry. “I know exactly where I want to go. I want to go to where a colony of moorgame are settled; blue and purple feathers more aflame with green than any sun; I want to see whether they have made their nests yet; I want to see.”

The sun.

My nurse replied that the birds didn’t breed on this side of Penniston Crags.

“Oh yes, they do. I’ve been there.”

“You’re too young to travel.”

“Only a little farther, I’ve...

Additional Information

Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.