Uit: The Demon In The Freezer
“In the early nineteen seventies, a British photo retoucher named Robert Stevens arrived in south Florida to take a job at the National Enquirer, which is published in Palm Beach County. At the time, photo retouchers for supermarket tabloids used an airbrush (nowadays they use computers) to clarify news photographs of world leaders shaking hands with aliens or to give more punch to pictures of six-month-old babies who weigh three hundred pounds. Stevens was reputed to be one of the best photo retouchers in the business. The Enquirer was moving away from stories like “I Ate My Mother-in-Law’s Head,” and the editors recruited him to bring some class to the paper. They offered him much more than he made working for tabloids in Britain.
Stevens was in his early thirties when he moved to Florida. He bought a red Chevy pickup truck, and he put a CB radio in it and pasted an American-flag decal in the back window and installed a gun rack next to the flag. He didn’t own a gun: the gun rack was for his fishing rods. Stevens spent a lot of time at lakes and canals around south Florida, where he would spin-cast for bass and panfish. He often stopped to drop a line in the water on his way to and from work. He became an American citizen. He would drink a Guinness or two in bars with his friends and explain the Constitution to them. “Bobby was the only English redneck I ever knew,” Tom Wilbur, one of his best friends, said to me.
Stevens’s best work tended to get the Enquirer sued. When the TV star Freddie Prinze shot himself to death, Stevens joined two photographs into a seamless image of Prinze and Raquel Welch at a party together. The implication was that they had been lovers, and this sparked a lawsuit. He enhanced a photograph of a woman with a long neck: “Giraffe Woman.” Giraffe Woman sued.”
Richard Preston (Cambridge, 5 augustus 1954)
Uit: A Thousand Deaths Plus One (Vertaald door Leland H. Chambers)
“Darkness had now fallen and I was obliged to move closer to the fluorescent tube installed under the bookstall’s eaves, when I discovered a snapshot of a nude which was not feminine in the least, and which was the Before to the Afterward of the cover photograph that showed Turgenev’s body on his bed at Les Frênes. One explained the other, and their relevance was mutual. At the foot of this other one was this description: The Russian writer Ivan Turgenev after being embalmed (flexible negative treated with gelatin).
The body rests on what looks like a joiner’s work bench, enveloped in a troubled light that comes from a clerestory window above. This doesn’t look like the dissection room of a hospital but rather one of the shed-like service buildings at Les Frênes, a stable perhaps, or an equipment room, with stucco walls blackened by candle smoke. There is a pail at the foot of the bench that might be used for milking, or might be there to receive the viscera from the cadaver. But that isn’t all. At one side, barely offering her profile to the camera, Pauline García-Viardot is staring at the body with religious fervor, her shoulders thrown forward—don’t forget that Ernesta Grisi found consolation in calling her “the hunchback”—and dressed severely in mourning, with a veil thrown over her face.
This is a furtive visit by Pauline to that shed after the embalmer has finished his work, as furtive as the presence of the photographer, who took the snapshot from outside, through the window. He would have been carrying his brass suitcases full of equipment along the path among the ash trees and had sat down on one of them to rest near the shed when his attention was caught by the banging of the shutters loose in the wind, and he looked in. There was Turgenev, naked on the workbench, and Pauline in her pose of motionless contemplation. He hastened to get his portable camera out of its bag, took the picture while scarcely poking his head in, and disappeared immediately from the window frame, fearful of having been betrayed by the sound of the camera’s shutter. Then he went on his way carrying his equipment cases toward the dacha to wait there for the body, now dressed, to be moved to the bed, and to go ahead with fulfilling the assignment from the Revue des Deux Mondes that had brought him to Les Frênes.”
Sergio Ramírez (Masatepe, 5 augustus 1942)
Red is the color of blood
Red is the color of blood, and I will seek it:
I have sought it in the grass.
It is the color of steep sun seen through eyelids.
It is hidden under the suave flesh of women–
Flows there, quietly flows.
It mounts from the heart to the temples, the singing mouth–
As cold sap climbs to the rose.
I am confused in webs and knots of scarlet
Spun from the darkness;
Or shuttled from the mouths of thirsty spiders.
Madness for red! I devour the leaves of autumn.
I tire of the green of the world.
I am myself a mouth for blood …
Here, in the golden haze of the late slant sun,
Let us walk, with the light in our eyes,
To a single bench from the outset predetermined.
Look: there are seagulls in these city skies,
Kindled against the blue.
But I do not think of the seagulls, I think of you.
Your eyes, with the late sun in them,
Are like blue pools dazzled with yellow petals.
This pale green suits them well.
Here is your finger, with an emerald on it:
The one I gave you. I say these things politely–
But what I think beneath them, who can tell?
For I think of you, crumpled against a whiteness;
Flayed and torn, with a dulled face.
I think of you, writing, a thing of scarlet,
And myself, rising red from that embrace.
November sun is sunlight poured through honey:
Old things, in such a light, grow subtle and fine.
Bare oaks are like still fire.
Talk to me: now we drink the evening’s wine.
Look, how our shadows creep along the grave!–
And this way, how the gravel begins to shine!
This is the time of day for recollections,
For sentimental regrets, oblique allusions,
Rose-leaves, shrivelled in a musty jar.
Scatter them to the wind! There are tempests coming.
It is dark, with a windy star.
If human mouths were really roses, my dear,–
(Why must we link things so?–)
I would tear yours petal by petal with slow murder.
I would pluck the stamens, the pistils,
The gold and the green,–
Spreading the subtle sweetness that was your breath
On a cold wave of death….
Now let us walk back, slowly, as we came.
We will light the room with candles; they may shine
Like rows of yellow eyes.
Your hair is like spun fire, by candle-flame.
You smile at me–say nothing. You are wise.
For I think of you, flung down brutal darkness;
Crushed and red, with pale face.
I think of you, with your hair disordered and dripping.
And myself, rising red from that embrace.
Conrad Aiken (5 augustus 1889 – 17 augustus 1973)
De Amerikaanse dichter, schrijver, essayist en criticus Wendell Berry werd geboren op 5 augustus 1934 in Henry County, Kentucky. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2008.
The peace of wild things
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of
the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
In a dream I meet
my dead friend. He has,
I know, gone long and far,
and yet he is the same
for the dead are changeless.
They grow no older.
It is I who have changed,
grown strange to what I was.
Yet I, the changed one,
ask: “How you been?”
He grins and looks at me.
“I been eating peaches
off some mighty fine trees.”
Wendell Berry (Henry County, 5 augustus 1934)
De Franse schrijver Guy de Maupassant is geboren op 5 augustus 1850 in kasteel Miromesnil bij Dieppe. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2008.
Uit: Le Horla
“12 mai. – J’ai un peu de fièvre depuis quelques jours ; je me sens souffrant, ou plutôt je me sens triste.
D’où viennent ces influences mystérieuses qui changent en découragement notre bonheur et notre confiance en détresse ? On dirait que l’air, l’air invisible est plein d’inconnaissables Puissances, dont nous subissons les voisinages mystérieux. Je m’éveille plein de gaieté, avec des envies de chanter dans la gorge. – Pourquoi ? – Je descends le long de l’eau ; et soudain, après une courte promenade, je rentre désolé, comme si quelque malheur m’attendait chez moi. – Pourquoi ? – Est-ce un frisson de froid qui, frôlant ma peau, a ébranlé mes nerfs et assombri mon âme ? Est-ce la forme des nuages, ou la couleur du jour, la couleur des choses, si variable, qui, passant par mes yeux, a troublé ma pensée ? Sait-on ? Tout ce qui nous entoure, tout ce que nous voyons sans le regarder, tout ce que nous frôlons sans le connaître, tout ce que nous touchons sans le palper, tout ce que nous rencontrons sans le distinguer, a sur nous, sur nos organes et, par eux, sur nos idées, sur notre cœur lui-même, des effets rapides, surprenants et inexplicables.
Comme il est profond, ce mystère de l’Invisible ! Nous ne le pouvons sonder avec nos sens misérables, avec nos yeux qui ne savent apercevoir ni le trop petit, ni le trop grand, ni le trop près, ni le trop loin, ni les habitants d’une étoile, ni les habitants d’une goutte d’eau… avec nos oreilles qui nous trompent, car elles nous transmettent les vibrations de l’air en notes sonores. Elles sont des fées qui font ce miracle de changer en bruit ce mouvement et par cette métamorphose donnent naissance à la musique, qui rend chantante l’agitation muette de la nature… avec notre odorat, plus faible que celui du chien… avec notre goût, qui peut à peine discerner l’âge d’un vin ! »
Guy de Maupassant (5 augustus 1850 – 6 juli 1893)
Portret door François Nicolas Augustin
the nose of kim darby’s double (Fragment)
dug thru the snow
the walls as high as
The weight of it
when it begins to melt
& then, at sunset
the temperature drops
wind over the ridge
so that by dawn
hardens into ice
Dams clog the drains
to turn the window
into a waterfall . . .
past the mall turn, King
of Prussia, past Bridgeport
and the narrow brick streets of Norr’stown
the road eases up, what
was once country
into a more purely rural
suburbiana (golf course
blanketed in white
A gas station that has not yet
turned into a minmart
by the powerlines
right thru the old quarry, the pit
filled with water
is called a lake, each
new townhouse with its private dock
tho if you look upstairs
you will discover the doors to the closets
all made of vinyl
Someone in another room is singing the alphabet
Barely visible in the high slush
fog mixed with rain
a woman waits for her bus
Ron Silliman (Pasco, 5 augustus 1946)
Zie voor onderstaande schrijver ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2007.
De Duitse dichter en schrijver Christian Wagner werd geboren op 5 augustus 1835 in Warmbronn.