Uit: Angels in America
“The next day. At the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. It’s cold, and as the scene progresses a storm front moves in and the sky darkens. Louis is sitting on the fountain’s rim. Belize enters and sits next to him.
BELIZE: Nice angel.
LOUIS: What angel?
BELIZE: The fountain.
LOUIS (Looking): Bethesda.
BELIZE: What’s she commemorate? Louis, I’ll bet you know.
LOUIS: The … Croton Aqueduct, I think. Right after the Civil War. Prior loves this—
BELIZE: The Civil War. I knew you’d know.
LOUIS: I know all sorts of things. The sculptress was a lesbian.
BELIZE: Ooh, a sister! That a fact? You are nothing if not well informed.
LOUIS: Listen. I saw Prior yesterday.
BELIZE: Prior is upset.
LOUIS: This guy I’m seeing, I’m not seeing him now. Prior misunderstood, he jumped to—
BELIZE: Oh yeah. Your new beau. Prior and me, we went to the courthouse. Scoped him out.
LOUIS: You had no right to do that.
Just so’s the record’s straight: I love Prior but I was never in love with him. I have a man, uptown, and I have since long before I first laid my eyes on the sorry-ass sight of you.
LOUIS: I . I didn’t know that you—
BELIZE: No ‘cause you never bothered to ask. Up in the air, just like that angel, too far off the earth to pick out the details. Louis and his Big Ideas. Big Ideas are all you love. “America” is what Louis loves. (Louis is looking at the angel, not at Belize.)
LOUIS: So what? Maybe I do. You don’t know what I love. You don’t.
BELIZE: Well I hate America, Louis. I hate this country. It’s just big ideas, and stories, and people dying, and people like you. The white cracker who wrote the National Anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word “free” to a note so high nobody can reach it. That was deliberate. Nothing on earth sounds less like freedom to me. You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I’ll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean.
(A rumble of thunder. Then the rain comes. Belize has a col-lapsible umbrella, and he raises it. Louis stands in the rain.)
BELIZE: I live in America, Louis, that’s hard enough, I don’t have to love it. You do that. Everybody’s got to love something. “
FOUR IN THE MORNING
The universe is crawling with unseen life:
angels and djinn and spiritual guides.
Like the excess in a stagnant pond,
this abscess of the Absolute
is obscenely corpulent
in every nook and cranny,
armpit and crotch
of the Great Mother
of dark energy and dark matter
we do not see anymore
than the germs in our guts see us,
because they are not germs
but neurons of a larger brain
in which an I is only an organ,
or rather an artificially imposed
membrane drawn arbitrarily
amid a mass of interactive
molecular gates with ions
coming and going as they please
without a thought of me.
Savages knew this once
and could feel it like an itch
beyond the reach of scratch.
Christian missionaries called it animism
and tried to beat it out of them,
bringing brassieres to contain breasts,
and bibles to contain minds,
but nights when I cannot sleep,
I wake at something the clock
marks as three or four,
with my mind teeming and itching
with alien cosmologies
of journeys through other galaxies
and I wake, knowing more than I am.
Struikgewas met praten en ogen
Mogelijkheid en methode overlappen elkaar
in het bos breekt een vette zin, vanaf dan hinkt hij
geen sprong in het struikgewas, geen hoef eruit
geen afgedankte fiets bidt om rust
geen oude lama spuugt, ook geen jonge
ze hangen rond in de dag, in boomschommels
geen boom, goed beschouwd, geen schommel, niet eens
een zij, slechts hangen, dag
praten, door niets gedekt, maar levendig
als wezens bijna in een struikgewas
hangend, eentje hinkend, daarom niet minder waar
niet waar, niet minder, niet onbewogen
schommelen of grazen als verzorging van het landschap
of ze staan er gewoon en kijken om zich heen.
voor Elke Erb
Vertaald door Frans Roumen