Uit: Undermajordomo Minor
“On the morning of the guests’ arrival, Mr Olderglough had taken Lucy aside and told him, “I will look after the Duke and Duchess, and you will mind the Count and Countess. Is that quite all right with you, boy?”
Lucy answered that it was, but it struck him as curious, for Mr Olderglough had never positioned an instruction in so accommodating a manner before. “May I ask why you prefer the Duke and Duchess to the Count and Countess?” he said.
Here Mr Olderglough nodded, as if he had been found out. “We have been through a good deal together, you and I, and so I feel I can speak to you in confidence, and as a peer. Are you comfortable with that?”
“Of course, sir.”
“Very good. Well, boy, if I’m to address the truth of the matter, none of the coming guests is what might be called desirable company. Actually, I have in the past found them to be distinctly undesirable.”
“In what way, sir?”
“In many ways which you will, I fear, discover for yourself. But your question, if I understand correctly, is to wonder which of the two parties is the worse, isn’t that right?”
“I suppose so, sir.”
“Then I must tell you that the Count and Countess merit that prize, handily. And while I feel on the one hand duty-bound to take the heavier burden unto myself, I must also recognize that I simply haven’t the capacities I once did. To look after people such as those who are coming to stay with us is a young man’s game, and I am not young any longer, and so I take the simpler path, though you may rest assured that when I say simpler, I do not mean simple. The Duke and Duchess are no stroll in the park, and I can attest to that personally, and at length.” Mr Olderglough stepped closer, his eyes filled with ugly memories. “Be on your guard with these people, boy. They answer to no one. They never have, and they never will.”
Patrick deWitt (Vancouver Island, 6 maart 1975)
Uit: One Hundred Years of Solitude (Vertaald door Gregory Rabassa)
“In spite of the fact that a trip to the capital was little less than impossible at that time, José Arcadio Buendía promised to undertake it as soon as the government ordered him to so that he could put on some practical demonstrations of his invention for the military authorities and could train them himself in the complicated art of solar war. For several years he waited for an answer. Finally, tired of waiting, he bemoaned to Melquíades the failure of his project and the gypsy then gave him a convincing proof of his honesty: he gave him back the doubloons in exchange for the magnifying glass, and he left him in addition some Portugues maps and several instruments of navigation. In his own handwriting he set down a concise synthesis of the studies by Monk Hermann, which he left José Arcadio so that he would be able to make use of the astrolabe, the compass, and the sextant. José Arcadio Buendía spent the long months of the rainy season shut up in a small room that he had built in the rear of the house so that no one would disturb his experiments. Having completely abandoned his domestic obligations, he spent entire nights in the courtyard watching the course of the stars and he almost contracted sunstroke from trying to establish an exact method to ascertain noon. When he became an expert in the use and manipulation of his instruments, he conceived a notion of space that allowed him to navigate across unknown seas, to visit uninhabited territories, and to establish relations with splendid beings without having to leave his study. That was the period in which he acquired the habit of talking to himself, of walking through the house without paying attention to anyone, as Úrsula and the children broke their backs in the garden, growing banana and caladium, cassava and yams, ahuyama roots and eggplants.”
Gabriel García Márquez (6 maart 1928 – 17 april 2014)
William S Burroughs
Bullet holes pepper the shotgun painting-
a yellow shrine with a black continent
patched up on wood.
he sit’s impeccable, no lazy tie,
the knot perfect between blue collar points,
a grey felt has tilted back off the head,
the face vulterine, eyes which have stepped in
to live with mental space and monitor
all drifting fractal implosions;
the man is easy in his Kansas yard,
his GHQ since 1982,
the New York bunker left behind, and cats
flopping around his feet, finding the sun,
picking up on psi energies.
He’s waiting for extraterrestials,
psychic invasion; we can bypass death
by shooting interplanetary serum.
Some of us are the deathless ones. He pours
a cripplig slug of Jack Daniels.
The body can’t function without toxins
or wierd metabolic fluctuations.
He’s waiting for the big event.
And he has become a legend, now a myth,
a cellular mythology.
His double pressure-locked in the psyche,
for fear he blows a fuse, goes out on leave
and kills. He is invaded by Genet,
his presence asks for love, for completion.
The man wanders to his tomatoe patch;
his amanuensis snatches a break.
The light is hazy gold. He’ll outlive death,
be here when when there’s no longer a planet.
Jeremy Reed (Jersey, 6 maart 1951)
Vroeg in de ochtend zit op de rand
van de steiger een meeuw.
Hij slaapt, ogen dicht, poten in.
Maar te stil en te lang.
Is hij dood? Hij is dood.
Zit toch of hij slaapt.
En de kop van de kapmeeuw is heel.
Is de nek van de kapmeeuw geknakt?
Vloog hij tegen een ruit? En dan
dreef hij lam van de ruit naar de dood
is nog net op de steiger geland.
Is het ver van een ruit naar de dood?
Iets in de meeuw duurt een dag.
Op de eerste dag van de dood
komt geen eend in zijn buurt
maar de dag erna schuiven ze aan.
Zijn kop hangt nu over de rand.
Jan zeventien jaar dood schrijf ik
in mijn nieuwe agenda bij tweeëntwintig april
en ik weet weer hoe je stierf en hoe
ik het moeder vertelde, hoe ze toen zat en keek.
Ieder jaar opnieuw schrijf ik het op.
Ieder jaar wordt je dood ouder.
Als ik het opschrijf is de dag nog leeg.
Lees ik het later dan sta je tussen afspraken,
nog stiller dan je was, maar minder broos.
Ik schrijf ook op wanneer je jarig was.
De achtenveertig jaar tussen je geboorte en je dood
liggen in mijn agenda dicht bij elkaar.
Eerst sterf je. Daarna word je geboren.
Marijke Hanegraaf (Tilburg, 6 maart 1946)
Vor fünfzig Millionen Jahren gelebt,
bin ich jetzt nichts als Stein.
Namenlos über Sümpfen geschwebt,
muß ich nun Archäopterix sein.
Meine Eleganz ist nicht zu beweisen,
werde plump geheißen und gierig nach Beute.
Und segelte doch in seligen Kreisen
über ein Gestern wahrer als heute.
Menschen leben nicht unter mir –
Bestien ferner Gegenwart.
Gegen sie war ich ein friedliches Tier –
zu bald von Natur verscharrt.
Für mehr als mich
Ich bin ein Sucher
Der breiter ist
Nicht zu schmal.
Aber auch keine
Ich bin ein Sucher
Sucher eines Weges
Günter Kunert (Berlijn, 6 maart 1929)
Uit: The Queen From Paramaribo (Vertaald door Susan Massotty)
“The Buick slowly inched its way through the crowd. People only moved over when the car was practically on top of them. Anonymous faces peered in, hoping to catch a glimpse of the passenger. Betsy listened with satisfaction and pride to the cries of admiration that reached her in snatches through the rolled-down window. She wrapped her fingers tightly around the jade handle of her feather fan – all her tension seemed to be concentrated in her hands. The fan provided a welcome breeze on this hot and sultry April evening. The usual wind wasn’t blowing in from the Surinam River, and the oppressive heat had driven people out of their houses. They swarmed over the road like ants on an anthill.
She had been looking forward to this evening for months. The birthday of Crown Princess Juliana was going to be celebrated in style – dancers were even coming from the Demerara!
“So, are you a little nervous about tonight?” the driver asked, flicking his eyes towards the rear-view mirror to watch her reaction.
“What’s there to be scared of?”
She tried to keep the irritation out ofher voice, though she was fed up with his stares. It was all she could do to stay calm before the big event, and here he was, doing his best to rattle her. For all she knew he was a friend of one of the other girls who was going to dance tonight.
“Just think,” he said, “in a few hours you’ll be dancing with the Demerara’sfamous Black Bottom specialist. That’s what I call a real honor!”
Clark Accord (6 maart 1961 – 11 mei 2011)
Portret door Nicolaas Porter, z.j.
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 6e maart ook mijn vorige twee blogs van vandaag.