Dr Tom Masters

Nietzsche in Turin




Why am I a destiny?


Even this mirror marvels

my reflection, touching the

genius of my naked skin…


I know Frau Fino watches me,

oh yes,

watches my dithyrambs lighting

the darkness,


watches as I whirl, a stark-sane

maenad in the temple of my


lust splitting her lips

from pout to smile,

as I dance for the gods to come…


The English can’t cook,

it’s hell on the stomach,

the stench of the sick-pot full-high

with fever, and the Kaiser’s an

arsehole, blind to my glory…


What did Bismarck


Ah yes, the Jews…


“Es gehört dem Vaterland, die

Juden von unserer

Lebensweise auszuschließen.”


Syphilis spat from Prussia.


I’ll write you

like mercury

as though you’d kill me…


The wind shits bedsores

laughing the shutters…

My window shatters

Arcadian fantasies…



Let Yahweh shit on him.


I will shit on him.


Shit thunder.


(There aren’t enough bullets

to realise Hell)


So tomorrow I’ll go to the

Piazza Castello,

drink coffee

at the Caffè Romano,

watch life cascade

through this quiet arcade

of memory… 


Here it’s a renaissance.

Sunshine blossoms

on the Carignano

golden petals of the eye

like raindrops






sung mute

over Italy,

borne over rooftops,

dreaming eternity…


Genoa was Winter.


Turin is Summer.


And if I’m still

I can hear her speaking

longingly reaching

the words of her rivers

to listen

to listen


I follow her rivers

over the city

like music

like Wagner

their breathing is holy

sensual and holy


I see her face

I know it well

but here they love me

truly love me

the waitress smiles

“Good night, Professor.”

and morning has no tears…




You see, Köselitz how well I am?

What a city!  How right you were,

my dearest Heinrich, to suggest

it, really, I cannot thank you enough,

it’s a revelation.  Only

yesterday I was walking over

the Po Bridge when it occurred to

me, in one of those startling moments

of epiphany, that Turin

is superb, no truly, beyond

good and evil (!!).  I think it no

exaggeration to say that

here is my philosophy, founded

in the very stones of Guarini. 

Consider its aristocratic

tranquillity, its ancient poise,

its European solemnity –

is this not Zarathustra?  Or

at least its words, lulled into relief

by rust-reddened brown and the guileless

hue of ochre?  Of course one must

accept a certain ennui where most

architecture is concerned (this

is natural in such a décadent

age) but here, Köselitz a universe

is possible!  To this effect

I often find myself in the

Valentino Park pondering

horticulture, or, if the weather’s

fine, taking a stroll past the Ponte

Vittorio, smiling graciously

at those I meet, and thinking of

all the magic still locked inside

my head.  I suppose I’m a little

like Odysseus – only he

never wrestled with the serpents

of Bayreuth!  But truly, Heine

don’t I look well?  Who could resist

these seasons?  The air, the unspoken

promise of the sea – it’s Alpine!

Sometimes I feel as though the whole

of existence were focused on

a moment – as though time, space, the

very birth-blood of identity

were somehow reborn – as though I’d

overcome myself, and by

overcoming become myself –

and all this in the present tense!

You must surely understand my

enthusiasm?  You are, after

all, a composer…  And I?  Well,

there are melodies and then there

are melodies!  True, I’d rather

be a Basel professor than

God, but Peter, Peter, Peter,

it’s not without sensation.  Who

could deny the wonderful treatment

I receive at my trattoria?

Doesn’t the Manager lavish

attention on me as though I were

royalty?  Or at the Market?

Clearly the old woman selects

for me only the sweetest grapes!

No, here I’m not Phaeton but the

Sun, and my chariot transfigures

everything, everything…  Why, just

the other day Herr Fino was

commenting on the radiance

of my appearance!  (“My good, Nietzsche

you look like a god.”)  Now, granted

I’ve recently changed my tailor,

but consider, Pierre my profile –

am I not the very image

of Caesar?  There’s something about

the application of the nose

in such matters (and a Roman

knows more than most) that goes someway

in distinguishing the tenor

of a soul.  As you know from my

books I’ve an uncanny sense

of smell – one might say ‘preternatural’

if one were feeling frivolous! –

and so I pride myself, above

all things, on my ability

to sniff out intellectual

putrefaction.   Unfortunately

the nineteenth century’s more than

a little overripe – one gets

a whiff of Schopenhauer even

between the cleanest of sheets – and

so I find myself in a constant

state of excitement!  I sneeze, with

un-Germanic ferocity,

one scintillating work after

another.  Honestly, nothing’s

safe, nothing’s beyond the range of

my oh-so-critical nostrils!

The Kaiser; Bismarck; that bloated

fatality of millennia:

CHRISTIANITY – all must dance

the Dionysiac dance of

my pen…  Not that the Germans read,

you understand?  That would require

a certain délicatasse

completely foreign to the Prussian

mind!  No, instead they dwell in the

superficial comfort of the

Ideal – a tearful indulgence

milked from the udders of Hegel,

whose only seduction lies in

its lie of deliverance.  And

still they dream!  Even when life

roars its senseless fury, still they

cling to ‘reason’ (the unholy

ghost of reason) – that festering

pustule of the will to décadence

that turgid expression of the

slave-monger’s soul!  Have they not heard?

Has it not been said to them from

the beginning?  From the very

foundation of the Earth, no less?

And still – STILL – when all’s stripped away

the lie remains – beautifully

ugly – humanity’s whore –

that final confection: the lie

of perfection – and always beyond

But I’ve come too early.  The World’s

not ready to understand itself –

it’s too young, too serious, too

busy ‘living’ to have lived – it

does not, cannot, will not see

delusion in illusion – will not

brace itself for life – embrace itself

as life – reach for that transcendence

overreaching understanding

and live, not in some twilight state

of angst, but with daimonic frenzy

realise its potential!  Rejoice!

Sing unto itself dithyrambs

of eternity!  Affirm and

not negate!  Drink fire!  LIVE!  Yes, as

I would live – without fear, without

regret!  Yes! – cry with its entire

being: “I willed it so!”  And mean it.

This has been my prophecy; yet

who was there to hear it…?  But really,

though, everything’s so cheap in Turin –

a transvaluation of all

values you might say!  Just think: a

meal at my trattoria costs

a mere one franc fifteen centimes –

can you imagine?  For this I

get a generous portion of

minestra (served either dry, or,

if I prefer, as bouillon),

a pasta dish (very tasty,

you know?), followed by an excellent

helping of the tenderest meat! 

Naturally one gets all the

accoutrements – spinach, rolls, etc –

and, for a few centimes extra,

even a little wine…  Until

now I never knew what it meant

to enjoy eating.  I used to

retch at the sight of food as

though my body were rejecting the

rite of existence, but here!  Suffice

to say I’ve a rapacious

appetite – and not only for

food!  I rave with a hunger

to know the nature of my

universe so passionate, so

restlessly intense, that I fear

a complete implosion of the

senses!  It’s euphoric!  A sublime

intoxication of the mind

so potent, so terrible, that

it threatens consummation!  I

can’t breathe for divinity – she’s

here, stifling me with the dark

eruption of her eyes like

Ariadne burning the shore

of Naxos with her tears…  I sense

you don’t believe me, Heine – you

think I’m lying, perhaps, or worse,

quite mad?  But I ask you, what’s saner?

To believe in a god you’ve never

seen?  Or to know, through blood and bone,

the force that moves the World?  I think

my Zarathustra puts it best

when he says that


I am solely my body,

nothing beside;

my soul and my body

you cannot divide…


You’ll no doubt appreciate

the profundity of these lines;

they convey a certain something –

a certain ‘gravitas’ you might

say – unique to my genius…

And what genius, Heine!  Never

has there been an energy like

it – it’s dynamite!  Why, in a

single quatrain I’ve achieved the

unthinkable – yes! the birth of

the body –  the death of the soul! 

I’ve burnt away the centuries

of lies – torn chalice from altar –

revealed blood as wine!  Nothing is

beyond me – not even the arching

firmament of stars!  My reach is

immortal, Heine – I’m immortal –

the only begotten son of

God – and God is dead…  What?  Hadn’t

you heard?  Yes, I’ve killed him – me, the

blind runt of Röcken – I have murdered

God!  Huh!  You don’t believe me – such

lack of faith!  Can’t you hear the grave-

diggers?  Can’t you smell the sickening

stench of death?  Oh even gods

decompose, Heine – even gods

rot!  But no one understands the

enormity of my crime.  It’s

too fantastic!  Too profound!  It

asks too much – demands too much – and

yet is natural, so natural – oh

so very much like love that I

know I’ll be forgiven…  But who

needs forgiveness?  It’s time to grow

up, Heine; time to become the

music.  Why should I hide?  – cower

behind the weakness I despise

while all around me slumber?  What

value are their dreams if dreams alone

are living?  What price existence

when it cheapens Life of meaning? 

Yes, Life is terrible; but the

fury of that terror is our

own – why deny it?  No! – one must

be superior: not only

in loftiness of mind, but in

contempt!  Then (and only then) will

mankind breach its destiny…  I

refer, of course, to the coming

of the Superman – that pernicious

viper whose force of Will exalts

creation to sublime disdain!

He shall be magnificent: a

being untouched by the torments of

this world – ripe in his divinity!

Pride, strength, mastery of Will these

shall be his attributes.  And what,

you ask, of ‘pity’?  Ha! – had you

but understood you’d know that pity’s

for the damned – a legacy of

sickness!  The Superman shall have

no pity, but through his great

volition sweep the décadent

aside…   I left the house early

this morning.  The quiet light was

weeping.  And passing through the streets

I felt its grief; felt the weight of

Winter burdening the stones – frost-

bitten cobbles like bodies beneath

me; grey, battered faces lost like

a crowd…  “Ich bin Gott!” I cried, “Ich

bin gekommen!” But no one

was listening.  I cried again –

louder this time – desperate to

be heard:  “I AM GOD.  I AM COME…”

Then I saw the horse.  Its neck was

twisted, taut with pain, and its eyes…

…I knew those eyes.  I’d seen them in

Genoa, in Sils-Maria,

in Venice, Basel, Stresa, Rome –

the parsonage at Röcken had

had those eyes – my mother’s eyes.  My

eyes…  – The whip was laughing now, its

lips like blood – I felt…exalted,

yes, as though my world were breaking –

as though the passion of a sun

were ripening my veins – thrashing

me over, over, over… – And

the horse was bleeding.  And I was

bleeding.  Like mercury.  Like fire.

Like the burning sores that cinder

on my skin... – Like a memory

of love distending into darkness –

and over, over –  lashing through

my tears – through the searing ache of

nothing tearing into nothing –

through the eviscerating moment,

plunging to decay…  And I asked

myself: “Have I been understood?”

(as the mocking faces sundered

on my shore)

“Have I been understood?”

(as the faceless voices hungered

me for more)

“Have I been understood?”


Dionysos against the Crucified…





As Tom reads from
Nietzsche in Turin