Uit:The Guyana Knot (Vertaald door Nadia Lawrence)
“First of all, I’ll lie down. You have to dream a city first, before you can take possession of it. Then I’ll take my clothes out of the suitcase and spread them around the room; I shove the heavy metal trunk with the work tools under the bed, to begin with. I won’t need it for my first appearance. Till then I’m a normal traveler.
The hotel room is a strange thing. The white walls radiate the blind concentration of a delivery room; towards evening they become crowded with colorful plays of light and shade, which gently heave and sway this way and that and simulate a deep ocean bed. One of the walls, the east wall, curves into the middle of the room with a wide, full angel’s swing. I felt as if I was in a submarine when I came in. There were the round windows too, molded in greyish cast iron, three bull’s eyes which lure you towards three different views.
In a certain evening light, the south window goes blind and reflects the Vittorio Emanuele monument. Behind that gleam the enormous incisors of the Colosseum. I think about the story of the hotel rooms I’ve stayed in while I’ve been on tour. In northern Germany, melancholy square double bedrooms with a rustic feel and a luxury that amazed me. Further north, purple or mustard patterned carpets, rooms which chilled or nauseated me, all of them overheated. Instead of enjoying a view of chimney pots or shrubby pedestrian precincts, I watched TV for hours at a time. Like someone chained to the bed, I shuddered at the sight of politicians, priests and sportsmen, waffling entertainers in gloomy brewery cellars.
Still further north, in Sweden, I was brought to a room completely lined in blood-red velvet. Outside it was pitch dark and cold, Stockholm in never-ending rain. I sat tight in that room; the blood-red walls flowed over my hands and feet, trickled over my body. I showered half a dozen times and switched on every available lamp. Rainwater clung to bull’s eye window panes as thick as my finger; the only window looked out onto a murky inner courtyard into which, I imagined, a small girl with red glowing eyes and a slit throat was throwing herself, over and over again. Stockholm, an ode full of blood; through my mind ran images of murder, incest, torture and refined methods of mutilation. After ten days I traveled on to Helsinki. There I was met by pure coffin wood, the euphoria of a hotel room lined with pale pinewood. Pinewood, wherever I looked: there wasn’t half an inch in this shack that wasn’t made of that wood. The bed and the walls, the rails and the shower, the breakfast dishes and the chairs and tables—everything was made of pinewood. Looking out of the window, I still saw nothing but pine trees, though in between was sand and a few heavy birches, and in the distance, where the wet black sky stuck, a dreary sea. Not the foamy, steel blue sea of the south, but a northern sea welded tightly into the horizon, heaving up and down, thick and filthy. Up here, life came to an end; obscene fact, everything lay limply on the ground and wallowed in its own oily daze.“
Martin R. Dean (Menziken, 17 juli 1955)