A Somewhat Absent Minded Attempt to Be Politically Correct
Someone I don’t know that well
tells me they have a little boy.
“Oh yes,” I enquire, “and how old is he or she?”
the doors open
everyone comes out
everyone is ready
all except the dog
he is shut up in the sheddie
even out of doors we have indoor fireworks
Dad says it is better to be safe than dead
the air is full of the smell of next doors fireworks
Mum says they are very good this year
this year Christopher is allowed
to help his dad to light the fireworks
he is very excited
he is very proud
he is twenty-eight
John Hegley (Londen, 1 oktober 1953)
Uit: Going After Cacciato
„Liquid and shiny, a mix of rain and clay, the trail took them higher. Out of radio range, beyond the reach of artillery.
Cacciato eluded them but he left behind the wastes of his march: empty ration cans, bits of bread, a belt of gold-cased ammo dangling from a shrub, a leaking canteen, candy wrappers, worn rope. Hints that kept them going. Luring them on, plodding along the bed of a valley; once they saw his fire on a distant hill. Straight ahead was the frontier.
“He makes it that far,” Doc said on the morning of the sixth day, pointing to the next line of mountains, “and he’s gone, we can’t touch him. He makes the border and it’s bye-bye Cacciato.”
Doc shrugged. “Six klicks, eight klicks. Not far.”
“Then he’s made it,” Paul Berlin said.
“By God, he has!”
“By God! Lunch at Maxim’s!”
“A cafeteria deluxe. My old man ate there once…truffles heaped on chipped beef and toast.”
The trail narrowed, then climbed, and a half hour later Stink spotted him.
He stood at the top of a small grassy hill, two hundred meters ahead. Loose and at ease, smiling, Cacciato already had the look of a civilian. Hands in his pockets, patient, serene, not at all frightened. He might have been waiting for a bus.
Stink yelped and the lieutenant hurried forward with the glasses.
“It’s — “
“Got him!” Stink was crowing and hopping. “I knew it, the ding-dong’s givin’ up the ghost. I knew it!”
Tim O’Brien (Austin, 1 oktober 1946)
Shut out the light or let it filter through
These frowning aisles as penitentially
As though it walked in sackcloth. Let it be
Laid at the feet of all that ever grew
Twisted and false, like this rococo shrine
Where cupids smirk from candy clouds and where
The Lord, with polished nails and perfumed hair,
Performs a parody of the divine.
The candles hiss; the organ-pedals storm;
Writhing and dark, the columns leave the earth
To find a lonelier and darker height.
The church grows dingy while the human swarm
Struggles against the impenitent body’s mirth.
Ashes to ashes. . . . Go. . . . Shut out the light.
And so the light runs laughing from the town,
Pulling the sun with him along the roads
That shed their muddy rivers as he goads
Each blade of grass the ice had flattened down.
At every empty bush he stops to fling
Handfuls of birds with green and yellow throats;
While even the hens, uncertain of their notes,
Stir rusty vowels in attempts to sing.
He daubs the chestnut-tips with sudden reds
And throws an olive blush on naked hills
That hoped, somehow, to keep themselves in white.
Who calls for sackcloth now? He leaps and spreads
A carnival of color, gladly spills
His blood: the resurrection—and the light.
Louis Untermeyer (1 oktober 1885 – 18 december 1977)
Uit:Das große Spektakel
“Vor dem Aussteigen im vierten Stock erfuhr ich noch, daß der neue Herr sie für jeden Donnerstag
zum Putzen engagiert habe; nachmittags.
«Wer putzt am Nachmittag?» fragte sich die Hausmeisterin; noch dazu wolle der Herr um keinen Preis während des Putzens zu Hause sein. Sie mißbilligte dieses in sie gesetzte Vertrauen, erwähnte noch einmal das Fehlen von Schlafzimmergarnitur und Buffet mit greller Lache und schwenkte prallsteißig mit Kübel und Fetzen in die offene Wohnung ein.
Trotz masochistischen Horchzwanges vernahm ich am nächsten Tag von unten her nur gedämpftes
Rumoren, dann nichts mehr.
Als ich einmal mit dem Aufzug die vierte Etage passierte, sah ich durch die Glasscheibe den neuen Mieter en profil von unten emporwachsen. Bequem ausgetretene Schuhe verloren sich in legere
Hosenbeine aus abgewetztem Schnürlsamt. Sodann kamen breite, knochige Hände ins Blickfeld,
die zornig mit dem Schlüsselloch kämpften. Im Höherschweben registrierte ich einen ausgeprägten
Hinterkopf mit grau gekräuseltem Haarkranz, scharfnasig mit Brille.
Während ich meiner Mansarde zutrieb, streifte mich das vage Gefühl, diese Erscheinung irgendwann
schon einmal gesehen zu haben. Ich hätte den neuen Fußnachbarn vergessen, weil er sich so ruhig verhielt, wenn nicht an jedem Donnerstag zwischen drei und fünf Uhr die Hausmeisterin unten mit dem Staubsauger gewerkt hätte, wozu Ö3 auf voller Lautstärke erscholl. Alle musikalischen Darbietungen des Senders wurden von der Weibsperson mit durchdringendem Gesang begleitet. Ich gewöhnte es mir an, meine Besorgungen auf diese Zeit zu verlegen.”
Inge Merkel (1 oktober 1922 – 15 januari 2006)
Uit: A Russian Gentleman (Vertaald door J. D. Duff)
„When my grandfather lived in the Government of Sim-birsk, on the ancestral estate granted to his forefathers bythe Tsars of Muscovy, he felt cramped and confined. Notthat there was really want of room ; for he had arableland and pasture, timber and other necessaries in abundance ; but the trouble was, that the estate which hisgreat-grandfather had held in absolute possession, had
ceased to belong to one owner. This happened quitesimply : for three successive generations the family consisted of one son and several daughters ; and, when someof these daughters were married, their portions took theshape of a certain number of serfs and a certain amountof land. Though their shares were not large, yet, as theland had never been properly surveyed, at this time fourintruders asserted their right to share in the managementof it. To my grandfather, life under these conditions wasintolerable : there was no patience in his passionate temperament ; he loved plain dealing and hated complicationsand wrangles with his kith and kin.
For some time past, he had heard frequent reportsabout the district of Ufa — how there was land there withoutlimit for the plough and for stock, with an indescribableabundance of game and fish and all the fruit of theearth ; and how easy it was to acquire whole tracts of landfor a very trifling sum of money. If tales were true, youhad only to invite a dozen of the native Bashkir chiefs in
certain districts to partake of your hospitality ; you provided two or three fat sheep, for them to kill and dress in their own fashion ; you produced a bucket of whisky,with several buckets of strong fermented Bashkir meadand a barrel of home-made country beer — which proves,by the way, that even in old days the Bashkirs were notstrict Mahometans — and the rest was as simple as A B C.“
Sergej Aksakov (1 oktober1791 – 12 mei 1859)