Uit: Snow (Vertaald door Maureen Freely)
„As he watched the snow fall outside his window, as slowly and silently as the snow in a dream, the traveler fell into a long-desired, long-awaited reverie; cleansed by memories of innocence and childhood, he succumbed to optimism and dared to believe himself at home in this world. Soon afterward, he felt something else that he had not known for quite a long time and fell asleep in his seat.
Let us take advantage of this lull to whisper a few biographical details. Although he had spent the last twelve years in political exile in Germany, our traveler had never been very much involved in politics. His real passion, his only thought, was for poetry. He was forty-two years old and single, never married. Although it might be hard to tell as he curled up in his seat, he was tall for a Turk, with brown hair and a pale complexion that had become even paler during this journey. He was shy and enjoyed being alone. Had he known what would happen soon after he fell asleep—with the swaying of the bus his head would come to lean first on his neighbor’s shoulder and then on the man’s chest—he would have been very much ashamed. For the traveler we see leaning on his neighbor is an honest and well-meaning man and full of melancholy, like those Chekhov characters so laden with virtues that they never know success in life. We’ll have a lot to say about melancholy later on. But as he is not likely to remain asleep for very long in that awkward position, suffice it for now to say that the traveler’s name is Kerim Alakusoglu, that he doesn’t like this name but prefers to be called Ka (from his initials), and that I’ll be doing the same in this book. Even as a schoolboy, our hero stubbornly insisted on writing Ka on his homework and exam papers; he signed Ka on university registration forms; and he took every opportunity to defend his right to continue to do so, even if it meant conflict with teachers and government officials. His mother, his family, and his friends all called him Ka, and, having also published some poetry collections under this name, he enjoyed a small enigmatic fame as Ka, both in Turkey and in Turkish circles in Germany.“
Uit: Das fahrende Haus
„Daß meine Brüder und Vettern und Freunde für Amerika kämpften, daß sie dafür – nämlich für Demokratie und Menschenwürde – durchs Feuer gingen und daß mein Vater ein Streiter der Demokratie und Menschenwürde war – für die ich mit meinem Herzen gleichwohl eintrat – und daß er ein guter Freund Roosevelts war, half mir nichts: da es hier nicht um dergleichen, sondern um Quoten ging. Ich war ein Besucher Amerikas, immer wieder um das Visita-Visum eingebend. Die Akten häuften sich. Als ich nach sechsjährigem amerikanischen Aufenthalt bei Kriegsende meine Emigration anstrebte und die Kanzleien des Kolumbus mir zur Gewohnheit gemacht hatte, häuften sich jene Akten noch mehr. Es kam der Tag, daß ich (dem vorgeschriebenen Bumerangprozeß zufolge) die USA verließ, um von draußen, nämlich von Montreal, Kanada, in aller Form in die USA einzuwandern, was während des Krieges nicht möglich gewesen war.
Abgesehen davon, daß ich das alte, gartenreiche französische Städtchen reizend fand, schauderte ich vor dem Stoß meine Person betreffender Amtspapiere, der mich auf dem American Consulate General Montreals anglotzte: Man konnte meinen, es handle sich um einen sechsfach Vorbestraften. Heil back home hieß nicht, daß ich zu Hause war. Bis dahin sollte jener Stoß und das Spiel der Bürokratie an Dimensionen noch gewinnen!
Nach endlichem Empfang der sogenannten First Papers dauerte es ganz auffallend lang, bis ich endlich das Staatsbürgerrecht, bis ich endlich eingeschworen wurde.“
Childhood rememberances are
always a drag if you’re Black
you always remember things like
living in Woodlawn with no inside toilet
and if you become famous or something
They never talk about how happy
you were to have your mother
all to yourself and how good the
water felt when you got your bath
from one of those
Big tubs that folk in chicago barbeque
in and somehow when you talk
it never gets across how much you
understood their feelings as the
whole family attended meetings
About Hollydale and even though you
remember your biographers never
understand your father’s pain as he
sells his stock and another
And though your’re poor it isn’t
poverty that concerns you and
though they fought a lot
it isn’t your father’s drinking that
makes any difference but only that
Everybody is together and you
and your sister have happy birthdays
and very good Christmasses and I
really hope no white person ever has
cause to write about me
because they never understand
Black love is Black wealth and they’ll
probably talk about my hard childhood
and never understand that
all the while I was quite happy
De Amerikaanse schrijver Harry Crews werd geboren op 7 juni 1935 in Bacon County, Georgia. Zie ook alle tags voor Harry Crews op dit blog. Harry Crews overleed op 28 maart van dit jaar op 76-jarige leeftijd.
„When Johnson Meechum came up the three steps of his purple double-wide trailer and opened the front door, his wife, Mabel, was waiting for him, her thin hands clenched on her hips, her tinted hair standing from her scalp in a tiny blue cloud. He could look right through the hair to her freckled skull.
He made a small adjustment of the .22-caliber target pistol stuck in the small of his back, behind his belt. He didn’t even know why he wore it there. It was not as though she wasn’t aware he took it with him when he went out in the morning. She knew everything about him. He knew everything about her. Everything. It was very nearly unbearable at times. He often wondered where all the surprises and lovely secrets had gone. He sometimes felt like he’d be willing to open a vein for one tiny surprise, for one inconsequential secret.
It was terrible to know the most excruciatingly intimate details about her person. He even knew the stink she left in the bathroom was inexplicably tinged with the fragrance of almonds. He had no idea why, but it was. And it had taken him the first two years of marriage to discover that she was capable of leaving a foul odor of any kind anywhere. Nothing stank during those first two years of marriage. Now, after sixty years together, everything stank. Even her age, which she wore like a moldy overcoat, stank of mortality. And he supposed he wore the same stinking overcoat, but if he did, he did everything to resist it, by keeping himself washed down in cologne. Mabel wore nothing, not even face powder. She either had no pride left or had just totally given up on everything.
Johnson didn’t know, and he was ashamed to ask. But he could smell her fifteen feet away even if he had a bad head cold. That’s why he had taken to sleeping on a blanket on the floor. He told her it was for his bad back, but it was really because of the ripe, almond-tainted effluvium that hovered everywhere about her and the sweat that she never seemed quite able to dig out of the creases and folds of her body. Consequently, she seemed to be covered with the coppery odor of impending death.“
Uit: Love Medicine
“The morning before Easter Sunday, June Kashpaw was walking down the clogged main street of oil boomtown Williston, North Dakota, killing time before the noon bus arrived that would take her home. She was a long-legged Chippewa woman, aged hard in every way except how she moved. Probably it was the way she moved, easy as a young girl on slim hard legs, that caught the eye of the man who rapped at her from inside the window of the Rigger Bar. He looked familiar, like a lot of people looked familiar to her. She had seen so many come and go. He hooked his arm, inviting her to enter, and she did so without hesitation, thinking only that she might tip down one or two with him and then get her bags to meet the bus. She wanted, at least, to see if she actually knew him. Even through the watery glass she could see that he wasn’t all that old and that his chest was thickly padded in dark red nylon and expensive down.
There were cartons of colored eggs on the bar, each glowing like a jewel in its wad of cellophane. He was peeling one, sky blue as a robin’s, palming it while he thumbed the peel aside, when she walked through the door. Although the day was overcast, the snow itself reflected such light that she was momentarily blinded. It was like going underwater. What she walked toward more than anything else was that blue egg in the white hand, a beacon in the murky air.
He ordered a beer for her, a Blue Ribbon, saying she deserved a prize for being the best thing he’d seen for days. He peeled an egg for her, a pink one, saying it matched her turtleneck. She told him it was no turtleneck. You called these things shells. He said he would peel that for her, too, if she wanted, then he grinned at the bartender and handed her the naked egg.
June’s hand was colder from the outdoors than the egg, and so she had to let it sit in her fingers for a minute before it stopped feeling rubbery warm. Eating it, she found out how hungry she was. The last of the money that the man before this one had given her was spent for the ticket. She didn’t know exactly when she’d eaten last. This man seemed impressed, when her egg was finished, and peeled her another one just like it. She ate the egg.“
De Duitstalige dichteres Mascha Kaléko (eig. Golda Malka Aufen) werd geboren op 7 juni 1907 in Krenau of Schidlow in Galicië in het toenmalige Oostenrijk-Hongarije, nu Polen. Zie ook alle tags voor Mascha Kaléko op dit blog.
Wiedersehen mit Berlin
Seit man von tausend Jahren mich verbannt.
Ich seh die Stadt auf eine neue Weise,
So mit dem Fremdenführer in der Hand.
Der Himmel blaut. Die Föhren lauschen leise.
In Steglitz sprach mich gestern eine Meise
Im Schloßpark an. Die hatte mich erkannt.
Und wieder wecken mich Berliner Spatzen!
Ich liebe diesen märkisch-kessen Ton.
Hör ich sie morgens an mein Fenster kratzen,
Am Ku-Damm in der Gartenhauspension,
Komm ich beglückt, nach alter Tradition,
Ganz so wie damals mit besagten Spatzen
Mein Tagespensum durchzuschwatzen.
Es ostert schon. Grün treibt die Zimmerlinde.
Wies heut im Grunewald nach Frühjahr roch!
Ein erster Specht beklopft die Birkenrinde.
Nun pfeift der Ostwind aus dem letzten Loch.
Und alles fragt, wie ich Berlin denn finde?
— Wie ich es finde? Ach, ich such es noch!
Ich such es heftig unter den Ruinen
Der Menschheit und der Stuckarchitektur.
Berlinert einer: »Ick bejrüße Ihnen!«,
Glaub ich mich fast dem Damals auf der Spur.
Doch diese neue Härte in den Mienen …
Berlin, wo bliebst du? Ja, wo bliebst du nur?
Auf meinem Herzen geh ich durch die Straßen,
Wo oft nichts steht als nur ein Straßenschild.
In mir, dem Fremdling, lebt das alte Bild
Der Stadt, die so viel Tausende vergaßen.
Ich wandle wie durch einen Traum
Durch dieser Landschaft Zeit und Raum.
Und mir wird so ich-weiß-nicht-wie
Vor Heimweh nach den Temps perdus …
Berlin im Frühling. Und Berlin im Schnee.
Mein erster Versband in den Bücherläden.
Die Freunde vom Romanischen Café.
Wie vieles seh ich, das ich nicht mehr seh!
Wie laut »Pompejis« Steine zu mir reden!
Wir schluckten beide unsre Medizin,
Pompeji ohne Pomp. Bonjour, Berlin!
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 7e juni ook mijn blog van 7 juni 2011 deel 2.