Make me believe you, Pat Buchanon,
that greet me every morning. The kike
he never has. He’s the one that got me started on herion,
crawling on the walls and the floor. I arched like a spider
around my small wounds, closed her cruciform
intermissions where everyone looked just like his wife. In Kmart,
likes to pretend don’t exist: the minority coloured that don’t like Buchanon
Boots kicked the boy.
When I think about my brain
The bones protect them. Protect
Waiting for that
I could refuse to breathe,
I can feel them deep inside me
ready to leap out
For a sheet of paper marked with a $ and a ?
some five or six inches apart
Hold paper with right hand. Close left eye. Fixate $. Move paper slowly back and forth along line of vision and watch ? disappear at about twelve inches.
Self – an addenda without hope, a fashioned afterthought that models others (it predicts), subscribes: where metaphor is the hero and possible the wife,/ taking questions literally performs an ‚I‘ with loaded dice./ The paper clip – a mobius strip in one dimension – makes a Latin of machine translation and coz the face acts as a tourniquet for blood flow to the brain (try a smile in triplicate)/ we make pets of -ing and -ly, sweet nothings to the ear of ‚rithmatic./ Dimpled query – sitting on any point that could be made – fair dinkum figurative, parts positions down a mid/ (near misses, bait is what translates) of wimps, and like any prop requires objects other than itself to did./ (Fiddly stuff, taking piss out of a this.) Almost – a fib – kids itself (‚cept when it’s big) by restructuring the lexicon, a causal reference (it describes). It means both. (It’s a bit like soap.) Cyberspace uses facts as rent, it listens in on hymns, and mopes around the narrative of dope by chatting up a line at home. A loan. (Or fine.) Gives me the shits. And inside out and upside down a crab of pockets turns words to trojan horse a want with regulars, a learnt chess-without-a-queen or what-can-you-say? S’pose Jonah extends the form by whispering (a drop-the-hanky sort of before) ‚induction fucks a lot‘ and threatens an internal realism by coming on to one as one, what then? Does it verify? Or mean to refer to dubs as of-a-kind? You, expert, and don’t tell me it’s a different sort of question; been there, ‚it agrees coz it’s something else‘ sucks. If a paradox does in fact despair, it only explains fiction as some uncertain need, it don’t attitude. (Anyway, maybe it’s a medium – ‚certain‘ is a word that only happens in limericks). That it reinterprets, a la prejudice, abstract logics in a nest (in a nest of dependencies) is suitably cute. Intention makes for changes in negation (it quantifies (buys) things) by marking as incomplete those distinctions we’ve called possible, inertia come home to roost (; it would seem to be just a matter of decision which parts should correspond). Satisfied, perspective dressed to kill: actual thinks somersaults are neat – ‚I give up‘ deduces Wall Street to be a street. (Promise reflects a lack of surprise and performs a premise on itself (show off), a persuade of conclusions that even I can understand: in that consistency is closer to tragedy than logic, it too starts out right (subject). One is rather obviously a conceit, or modest state.) And if we tell what meanings do, we can tell on what they are, we can do functions (parts and combinations) as a tense of pronouns (that contexts stammer is self-evident), as a mass, a fallible nip. (Intension is the truth – it goes into a sentence twice/ (a cough of quanta goes off if’n you keep it in the shade) and all sentences are sets of possible worlds where the context set is empty, and empty coz it’s nice./ It groups. In adverbs. And adverbs come to lunch. Please is a property of prob. Expressly represents. And shoves empirical up the front. A situation-sized dob. Proof.) Pandora had an ego, Pandora had a dog. Psychology, or what you think it means, irons shirts. It is generally about. (An equivalence.) And if the dog knows that I too know where the bone is, is it a metaphor? Or just a summary? The present king of France thinks so. A fictive false (used as a setting) concept went to see and what he saw made sense: copy of particulars, ten bucks. ‚I’m sure‘ was trying to be efficient (so he explained) and got in a domestic (use) that does hi-camp. (Suits me.) Strengthening the antecedent is a favourite pastime (‚entities‘ to those who know):/ the semantics of pragmatics that jam gravity into a brick of course just ain’t on, they’re like classes – all shy signs and volunteers – none of them can throw./ A property is only a set for fairies. One unnoticed parameter was shot. It implied to death. If you call that tactics, you’ll dance with anything. If subject matter ain’t modal, is it occupied? Particles don’t add up ‚less they’re stood on: a proposition approaches function if the john has half a clue/ – aboutness ain’t on every street corner, but not coz it ain’t ‚identical‘. So what do you do?/ Describe? Remember? After all, representation requires states, subtlety is printed on every dollar bill – that addition is associative, costs, pimp. It is conditional. I mean, ‚it‘ is hardly underground. (The metaphysics of ‚watch it‘ need not apply (the motive of the inevitable was framed).)/ And the only place to go for blame/ is up. Time’s up, too. And if pretence weren’t so moody, roles could account appeals dispensable, as ex, a bias that knows what you mean. Ah, art: say ‚are‘. Next. Ideal data wipes the floor, ideal data types./ (What, words skite?/ Too fuckin right./ (Two can play at avarice, only one can win.) Whim. ‚I think‘ – as a definition of truth – is plus or minus ten percent (that is the observable universe), it is an essentially pathetic anything.) One to one (with witnesses) plays asides in positives (ghost prosodic systems) and uses disease as a way of tuning space (it localises as narrative, an ontology that eats shadows (I mean you may as well call it science)). It also hides. We please knees? Guess so.
Aboutness – the burden of similarity – intends. It depends, as do conditions, ideally, on observed adequates (a mapping of rhetorical pauses that take meaning to be a sentence (not here a description) of couldabeens) or plotted needs. It dresses non-equivalence, ignores a certain vague sincere evidence of prose and induces ‚for example‘ to be noun enough. (Speech, of course, also uses clues of consistency, a ‚the least meaning is the best meaning‘ principle of charity: thanks but no thanks.) To assume that it’s true and that it’s true of, in other words that it rhymes, is a symptom (trying to motivate meaning) of projected summary. Old-information-first held up it’s end of the conversation by saying nothing. It nominalised the postponed agent (a parasite) as actual (and therefore possible) or at least ersatz. (Possibilia deals, synodomistically, with completedness and only seems to cheat) Quasi much. Amounts. Now that’s a pathological predicate (you can tell, it confuses coherence and consistency). Or syllogism (; to the known, psychology means a theory of acquisition). See?
Poème en prose
the train goes and the station moves away what time is it we’re going to a jungle hot palms i fall asleep drunk talked to himself i know what i have to do did you see the house on fire out of the window did you see the house on fire out of the window did you see the house on fire out of the window where are we now in my map i don’t know too scared to ask am i on the right train are we going the right way where are we now voices in the train soldiers coming loud louder then soft softer then they go away i was asleep then i woke up voices come back then loud then softer then they very soft now softer whisper it is dawn first little pink line in the moving sky gets lighter can i roll the blind now put your blanket little lights of waking towns pass us at night houses sleep in the field dawn drunk gone i didn’t see him my ticket and coffee my cup jumps they play cards and laugh little reading light i can’t sleep the ship in my port they opened the porthole the ship moves to sea huge wave curls near my fingers shining on edges surges wave rises curls slowly near me i can touch it i can touch it sun on water green deep bending a wave right near me crashes i am wet i woke up at the middle of the night they lit a fire in a field they stood around and warmed their hands near the border when the plane lifts there is music and lift we fly in a soft cloud the train flew over the lake i couldn’t see the rails the bridge flashed by with girders with girders with girders the boat leaves the pier swims away the lake was so still you couldn’t see horizon oars dip are we moving it is quiet now the dusk is the same as dawn over india red soil i flew above the alps they were below me sharp peaks model mountains the train goes into a tunnel it is dark and dark i’m scared it was hot my feet got too big for my shoes we were going back there is going to be a war he told us the train is slow we were standing in the middle of dark there was an accident at the railway crossing we have to wait when is the train coming the station had big black numbers on each platform my sister told me funny stories we were cold put your arms in your trousers put your legs in your jumper on my feet i wear my hat i put my pants on my head i was laughing and laughing and laughing i lost three hours on the plane it gets earlier all the time people stand in my lit up window did i pack everything did i leave the window open it’s too late we are far away now i left my jacket i ride backwards we eat red lolly berries he was talking africa and tigers she was with her son she gave him an apple she eats sausage greasy fingers talk how to use a camera i can’t listen greasy fingers and the sausage a book of lists and murders fall asleep it’s faster how the lens goodbye at the station she waves her arms and disappears i am flying little cars he went away plane a dot in the sky at night houses have lights on and look warm the city below sparkles diamonds the last tram at night travels home
light me bright me match me cigarette me bright city turn on be loud tell everybody switch yes sing red pencil tick me to on centre mid town go go glow sky lit lines wire buzz me to see ring on me in neon on heady excite me thrill me hold me to tight rush rush be big loud go right through now leap nerve me beat drums loud louder fast run fast right now once go places all the time eat more restaurant flash me show me lively dance put lipstick on neons all colour zap me power lines shine letter light big name glow me put high fast see me watch zing my string best bouncy tube glow in me get ready do it now don’t wait hurry get it right first time do it once not again switch me on i travel fast light switch me on pink candy say words loudspeaker my microphone leap high as can big city centre city big very buildings whole wide world hot lights on stage line my eyes breathe deep all revved up fast car go fast good kill somebody dress to top fashion strut get them wiggle pink face daze me amaze shine me neons on sweet buzz meter front room seat skip dance non stop favourite flower colour allans sweets on river shine thrill me thrill me rise in a loop get up early do lots the more better fast faster lit light on me in such show glow me ania it’s now don’t wait hurry up top tip they clap they whistle stomp yell out aloud more on high want more and more fresh new dare do do new do now very it just here spot lit wear shiny glisteny get tight tonight darling neon electric buy me eat sweets almonds go places every day get money work now just right dare do do new flash me up bow come out lit shine me coca cola i don’t sleep seven up fun city pin ball parlour amusements ride sky mid night click throw me bright lines whirlwind wake up little suzy break dark venture fling adventure red bulbs around my lights stage mirror my name bright around and around light up found this does me out aloud each letter after neon thrill lights wonderful to wonderful stop my breath split thrill me delight move me collect thrills one he brave live now don’t go back again have ones big thrills lights above red town break out fast do once twice glow shine me see me what’s what glow colour in dark tiger put sugar gold eyes on bright lights lively now lively up fix me up lips dance all night loud band hot pepper bite me on highway lights jewel see get to glow just do did it cinema lit flash sign best form top push you can see me now shake spout give me a thrill burst aureole spangles boots with spurs lips ruby glass red fluorescent lit light tubes shine me vinyl head on neon high city red fingernails look at me curve shine lines easy do see me show gas blow me light up shine up shape up pull my socks all up me neon can’t miss spiv can’t take my eyes curve arc shine me night best in dark stick me up stand out sparkling fresh hit triple whisky pink angel centre lights dance dancing can do anything switch me on zag zig sky glow bulb ready whole sky shine get on up
In Casablanca for the waters
Deutsch von Gerald Ganglbauer
an mir vorbei
der dunst verzieht
Trans-Sumatran Highway & Other Poems
House Of Rats
They’re up there, all right,
in the roof playing scrabble, listening to
scratchy old Fats Waller records.
They started out as a gang of desperadoes
escaped from a laboratory,
arrived via a garbage truck
up overhanging tree branches
elbowed their way in & soon
the colony is an empire of rats
who eat the insulation batts
chew wires, through the ceiling
to ransack the kitchen
take bites out of everything
& carry off furniture. I can hear them
scurrying with bits & pieces, hammering & sawing:
they’re building houses – a model rat town – with
imitation garages to park stolen toy cars in.
After munching down another box of double strength poison
the rats are back at work with a vengeance, thump
around the rafters insulating the house with rat shit.
Or hard at love writhing, squealing
like sick starlings or kicked puppies. The weaker explode
and TV screens fill with rats‘ blood but there’s
more where they came from. Teeming over
mountains, down valleys, jamming highways, falling
off bridges to scurry ashore up storm water drains.
Exterminators arrive dressed as astronauts and poison
the house for ten thousand years. It’s time to move out.
But the rats have laid eggs in your pockets, stow
away, follow you from house to house.
The curse enters its exponential phase.
Tentacles unwind from the ceiling, dirty great moths
and leopard slugs take over your happy home.
Soon you are a trellis. That’s just what the rats say.
I’m down here listening to radio messages,
oiling automatic weapons, building rockets.
Living in a rat’s belly.
Is a race track built for carts, winds a silver spell over a dragon’s back.
The bus has no front brakes and our lives are God’s will,
Life turns with the wheels
The bus stops at a walking highway.
Hello Money, the children welcome you, smile sweetly,
their eyes shine sun and mountain.
Rickety rope bridges criss-cross the Bohorok River
that surges the approaching mountain tsunami.
And at the head of the river is the Jungle Inn
where the manager registers guests in the heart of darkness.
Elements are real, everything else is a game or trick
and at night the mountain gods demonstrate glee.
Sheet lightning frames river & forest in white light
shows the once quiet river is black and angry
with churning mud. Air crackles, lightning in the river
flash flash the lightning is in us electric humans.
The wind brings the cries of angry elephants
river swells like high sea &
on its banks the bamboo towns wait.
Every Sunday gibbons, white and black monkeys
overrun villages on the Trans-Sumatra Highway.
Occasionally, a bamboo tiger kitten will stray…
A ragged boy chases a bicycle wheel with a stick
through coffee and pepper trees.
Beyond the Government Orang-utan Sanatorium,
past the final waterfalls and bamboo walls
far from the rice paddy’s jaws and grinding saws
a tiger roars his name Harimau, Harimau, Harimau.
Closer to town, it’s weekend fun and the end for a honeybear
and her cubs squaring up to a pack of hunting dogs.
Back at the Jungle Inn, mushrooms explode
in a vicious brew specially prepared for Hari Merdeka.
Drink magic the sky sings, stars form themselves
into a map of the archipelago.
on TV with the sound turned down,
the President’s Jakarta parade elicits much laughter.
As it is a holiday appease volcano spirits
with sacrifices of lit cigarettes,
leave rice on roofs for storms to eat.
Almost facing the Malacca Straits, Medan is a city that chokes
on vinyl air, satellite dishes mount tenements‘
rusted iron roofs TVs shout foreign devilry.
Smoky traffic, honking horns, crunching gears.
Air burns. It might be Hell but above the din
a 200 decibel call to prayer echoes in every heart.
Hectares of sweets & crunchy treats
fill bustling Bukittinggi markets where everyone just eats.
Here Zeus lands and falls in love with a cocktail waitress
from Nias and this event recurs daily,
a portent amplified by a convention of Batak gangsters
at the Modern Hotel, Parapet,
looms in the Muslim Women’s League
Brestagi branch’s deliberations.
Deeper in the markets‘ maze darkness eats daylight
stalls sell sweets for cruel tastes,
there’s a fresh tiger on display
(tracked for eight days in Jambi Province).
Benny the jammu is running with bottles
to drain the cat’s blood fast so it’s bottled hot
while his apprentice has the arduous task of grinding bones/
Toto has a buyer for the skin and the Sultan of Dash
has first options on the penis; the brain is eaten
on the spot. Whiskers and whatever’s left will be spread thinly
through an assortment of teas, pills and jellies for export.
Along a track winding through rice fields, a boy
chases a bicycle wheel with a stick.
Lake Maninjau’s scenery shifts about, sky trades
colours with mountains disguised as clouds
a billion shades of grey and blue
the crickets‘ song is everything.
Maninjau the poets‘ lake is serene with traffic’s non-stop zoom.
Old men in coolie hats paddle canoes to heaven.
The tourists‘ many-tongued chatter fires up
when the power fails, bark with gusto.
Sunset glistens across waking water
blinding as shaman’s dust.
catch the cockroach boat
for Tanjung Priok,
port of Jakarta )
Open the refrigerator & it laughs
look outside at the white fire
above an exploding deep freeze
from nowhere daggers
the white whirl upward, upward
down & ever in
deep chill atoms collide
in ode to the wind
lizards of snow
blow along the road
then the lizards twist
into rough helixes
that sweep themselves
& let go
Jack Blizzard stands at the edge of town
he breathes in & car batteries die
slicks the road and exhales harder—
that man headed home
won’t make it this time-—
a thin picnic blanket
locked in the trunk—
anyway car doors froze—
the snow dance—a burning lung—
white twist—the poor man shouts—
blood holes up finally in its canyon—
gleam popsicle & stalagmite
—then the letting go—one breath
glazes him to the windscreen.
The houses are shaking, a tubercular
whistle pitches high into scream
drops hard to bang on the window
like passing thunder.
Old Jack Blizzard’s at the door, now,
chainsaw laughing as he tricks the lock
blows it open, whirls things like a hay devil
and you have to push so hard to get him out.
Jack cackles down Main Street,
takes an ice hammer from his belly
smashes himself into a thousand shards
and where he stood
poisoned wolf is born,
who bites the ass
of a wino waking to his heart’s chill
and regurgitates bloody snow
stumble, prey to the wolf
gone long ago.
Windows roar as the ice seeds
hatch vapour renditions in the air:
coyote, jack rabbit, buffalo, and bear
join the wolf turning out of Main into Elm,
snow lizards powder the sidewalks
sweep all before, Jack’s fingers
glide under every door.
„Was aber tun in einer Zeit ohne Maßlosigkeit? Natürlich könnte man sich versuchsweise bei lebendigem Leib rösten lassen; eine Lesung unter selbigem Titel geben; die tiefen Schluchten der Meerungeheuer aufsuchen, sich einer Elektroschocktherapie unterziehen; nach Alaska auswandern oder den Damen vom fremden Stern ein farbiges Empfangsfest bereiten, usw. Aber das alles ist im Grunde nur Poesie.“
Paul M. Waschkau
oder aus King Learys Winterschlaf erwachen
Ob Kaugummi oder Dauerlutscher
now and forever
die Welt erobern:
oder Blättchen, Shillum, Silberpapier,
dazwischen Comics, Yoko Onos
letzte CD auf dem Tisch:
wollen wir einen Joint
rauchen? Push me up to the
limit tun andere
great escape, beautiful
dreams, sex & violins:
Rambazamba ist eine
ich will Spaß und ein
Milchshake; grün, grüner
am grünsten an dem Tag
an dem anderen mehr
wir stehen stundenlang im Stau
vor sinnlosen Ampeln
Gesetzen, Anhänger von Baghwan
und die JesusFreaks halten ihren
Gottesdienst im alten Elbtunnel
denn das Volk ist geknechtet
und Brot gibt es
in Hülle und Fülle
Brot und Spiele
das sagt nicht Herr Thoma
aber meint es, der Vorkauer
oder turnt er oder lehrt er lesen
du bist nichts
oder fast only wearing these,
Mr. Thimothy Leary, was meinen
Sie dazu? Warum sonst die
hemmungslose Raserei vor
Geschäftsschluß – oh, geknechtetes
Volk, dass nur bei Tageslicht einkaufen darf
außer Kaugummi und Dauerlutscher
Zigaretten kommen auf Platz 3
danach Utensilien für die
breitgetretene Liebe: Sugar rubber,
Blackbird, Eddi Croco, die Leuchtlümmeltüte
doch während Avanti bereits
als beliebtestes Reisemitbringsel
aus den USA verdrängt hat,
stellen sich Europas Behörden quer –
bis zur Gewißheit blinkt es
auf dem Bildschirm Guten Morgen –
Deutschland und in der
lauen Zeit ist der Prozentsatz der Männer wichtig,
die sagen, sie würden lieber
ein Snickers essen, als
Sex haben, ferner ist wichtig
wer schon mit Koestler, Mingus,
Cary Grant geschnupft, geraucht,
geschluckt, mit Eldridge Cleaver für die
Black Panther gekämpft, John Lennon
inspiriert, die virtuelle Realität mit entdeckt
und die Cyberspace-Kultur mitbegründet hat.
Der fette blinde Hund sackt in der ersten
Marihuana-Wolke des Tages nieder
und sagt: Push me up to the limit
Jim Woodring zeichnet dir anhand Paßfotos
ein Jiva-Portrait deiner Seele. Marc
Fischer hat in der Van-der-Snissen-Straße
ein Löffelchen Kaviar probiert und
die Salami auf dem Hungarian
Sandwich von Daily Deli macht keinen sehr
ungarischen Eindruck mehr
und beim Schwarzfahren in der Bundesbahn
gab es Würstchen mit Senf vom Mitropa
Servicewagen. Nur Eckhart Nickel
konnte nichts essen, denn ein Starfrisör
aus München hatte ihm den Bart mit
Haarfärbemittel eingeschmiert. Draußen
ist es dunkel geworden. Die Apostel sind
in die Stadt gefahren. Die mit den
Impfnarben spült. Leary kramt in
einer Kiste, wickelt sich eine DDR-Fahne,
hebt die Faust in der erschöpften
Pose der Revolution: Rambazamba
pushes me up to the limit
Giftzwerg – ohne Garantie auf
Erste Hilfe: ich vermisse den Hinweis,
wie er auf Beipackzetteln üblich ist.
Zu Risiken und Nebenwirkungen lesen
sie hier nicht weiter:
Turn on, tune in, drop out
IceTea fällt durch
saugen, schlucken, lutschen
Flutschfinger, Ed vom Schleck:
(Slogan: Schieben, schlecken,
Action – das ist Satisfaction)
Die heftigste orale Versuchung und
plötzlich sanft und süß nach der
Mutterbrust. Eine diskrete Annäherung
ermöglicht seit den Sechzigern das
Eiskonfekt: zwei kalte Finger, die sich
im Dunkeln des Kinos in einer Eisschachtel
treffen. Wie immer ist die Vanillieseite
zuerst weg. Was bleibt? Haselnuß in
brüchiger Schokoladenkuvertüre und
das Hämmern der Herzen in der Dunkelheit.
Um die erhitzen Körper weiter zu soleroisieren
gibt’s jetzt in den Neunzigern neben der
Urform in Tropisch-Orange die rote Variante:
Waldfrucht. OB’S FRUCHTET? Mit
einem Eis verändert sich der Lauf
der Welt. Man hört auf zu hasten
und beginnt zu schlendern. Man
blinzelt in den Himmel, harte Blicke
tauen auf. Eine Eismaschine ist eine
Zeitmaschine. Gefühle sind auf Eis gelegt,
Konserve:Ich und mein Magnum ist ein typisches
Fraueneis, weil Männer sich in stressigen
Situationen gern etwas Größeres gönnen,
etwa ein Auto oder eine Freundin. So
schmilzt der Sommer und die künstlichen
Aromastoffe verlieren sich in der Sonne
Ich gehe zur Arbeit
Ich gehe zur Arbeit, das ist
keine fragile einsame Sänfte
auf Zirruswolken: Gesichter
umtanzen Nasenflügel, von
denen ich nichts wissen will,
richten ihre hervorquellenden
Augen auf mich. Blick in der
privateigenen Psyche bunten
Innern. Die Monster in Pelz
und Folie schwarz, schwärzer,
am schwärzesten, bartlos geschabt,
rouge betört, Chanel und Klein
waren nur den Bruchteil einer Sekunde
aktuell: Versuchen sie, probieren
sie ES!! Dann begegne ich den
Karikaturisten, ich nicke ihnen
zu. Auch sie sind ratlos wie die
Gedichteschreiber, die sich die Worte
aus den Rippen schneiden: Und sagte
kein weiteres Wort: Bis ich die rettenden
Türen erreiche, wate ich noch durch Seen von
Plagen: Rost, Seide, Aluminium
Ich bin Antonius. Dali hat mich gezeichnet
Endlich wieder glotzen
Endlich wieder glotzen, ICH
Barenboim, Levine, Schmied
vor Feuer, ICH, rauschender
Dreimaster, Grotte der
Unterwelt, ICH, und steifer
aufgepflanzt, singt gegen die
Ewigkeit an; dann Aufmarsch
der Zünfte zum großen Finale
reinster Karneval volkstanzend
ordnet sich grünbuntes Chorvolk
zu übersichtlichen Kreisen:
archaisches Ritual und große
weiße Punkte auf dunkelblauem
Glockenröckchen vor mir,
transparente Stoffe in Schwarz,
ICH, knallrosa Volants überall,
halsbrecherische Schuhe, die
mit kleinen Perlen bestickt sind
und Zuhörerfoto von Balkon,
dort ICH, Mittelalter, Honoratioren
vorgefahren, die mit Gattin
Blumen zu Grab bringen, ICH,
Wagnerverein Trier e.V. mit
gebinde. Auf den mitgebrachten
Grüß mir Walhall. Am Abend hat
mir der Gesang die letzten
Lindenblätter vom Anzug vertrieben.
Jetzt bin ich unsterblich. ICH
Und wieder schwimme
ich in Leder
Hose mit Schultertasche
über Stiefel, Schuhe,
Innen in Nylon gepreßt als
Kontrast eine Deichmann-Tüte
und falsch angewendete
Modalverben: auf der
Rolltreppe häufen sich
und was tragen wir morgen:
die roten Stiefel
trinkt aus Radiergummis
macht sie mundtot
mit ihren Schreibgeräten
die Sesselfurzer und den
geht weg von den allgemein
den Tränensäcken und Klagetöpfen
und laßt euch freiwillig von
euresgleichen in den Mund schauen
dort wo die Wörter entstehen und
die Sätze noch Bestand haben
dann lacht sie nur aus
die Schreiberlinge des
jetzt wo alle Messen gelesen sind
Guntram Balzer, geb. 1963 in Hagen/Westf., Studium der Germanistik und Philosophie an der Universität Düsseldorf, Buchhändler, Veröffentlichungen in Zeitschriften (Unicum, Literaturdienst, Tasten) und Büchern (Wortnetze III, Zehn, Junge Lyrik dieser Jahre) zuletzt: Pcetera Multimedia CD-ROM, lebt in Wuppertal. Wuppertal, den 15.10.1996
„The house I saw yesterday was extraordinary and its position perfect,“ said S. „It was built on a rock, I believe sandstone, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in total isolation and yet the city could be reached by car within an hour. In the evening one could see the citylights and hear the sound of the sea at the same time. In its design it looked as if it was part of the landscape like a tree and made of the same material it stood on. Indeed, it was built out of sandstone and wood taken from the forest it was surrounded by. Can you imagine the harmony it breathed? But let the natural material it was made from not expect a simple interior. In the contrary. The house was equipped with the most sophisticated technical devices like the houses, I imagine, of some film stars in Beverly Hills but in much better taste. The kitchen alone was a poem. Tiled with pale blue marble from top to bottom the three meter high stove stood out like an altar. The chef, an Italian from the island of Capri, whom I was fortunate to meet, was only half its size. To cook is for him not work, but a celebration, he told me. No wonder he expects not to be addressed as chef but as maestro. What the artists are no longer capable of doing I do, that is to celebrate the material I am using, he had whispered in my ear in French. All the other languages he had considered as vulgar.
Do you want me first to describe the dining room or the library? They were both exquisite. Of the same size, although dining must be taken more seriously than reading in this house, the library contained every important publication in cookery books bound in light brown pig’s skin. One of them was by Salvador Dali, a limited edition worth ten thousand Dollars. The decision which purchases to make is made by a council which meets twice a year consisting of the most eminent literary critics of the country. They eat Steak à la Châteaubriand and finish off with a Cognac Camus, so the chef told me. The books in this house are dusted daily.
The dining room is like a precious pearl positioned in the middle of the house. It has a long glass table, seating twenty four people. The chairs, made of stainless steel and designed by a sculptor from Germany have seats which were woven in a famous tapestry in France telling the colonial history of the country. Which country? I shall come to that later.
It would take too long to describe in detail this dining room. Let’s just mention the ceiling which is nothing less than a copy of the last supper by Leonardo da Vinci done on commission by a world famous fake painter.
When you enter the living room one becomes immediately aware that the owner of the house is as much at home in international galleries as in antique shops. While you sit in a Louis Quatorze chair you can look at an American abstract expressionist painting. Or lying on an executive black leather couch you can contemplate pottery of the Ming Dynasty. And you are not out of place by smoking a Havana cigar (perhaps even given to you by Fidel Castro) and leaning against a sculpture by Jean Arp.
It was a pity that it was not allowed to enter or sleep in one of the six bedrooms, all situated upstairs and capturing the erotic atmospheres of of the following countries: Italy, Egypt, Israel, India, Japan and Australia. Only if you belong to the inner circle of friends or business associates of the owner of the house you are allowed to stay with a lady representing the very countries I have just mentioned. At least I got as far as the bathroom adjoining the Australian bedroom. It was carpeted in lamb’s wool and the bathtub in ochre colouring was big enough to make a double stroke. The toilet seat was decorated with kangaroo fur. A small plastic table beside the toilet was littered with the country’s fashionable magazines: Pol, Cosmopolitan, Ideas, Woman’s Weekly, etc.
How was I invited to this house, you may as well ask. It happened because I am one of Sydney’s most corrupt accountants. Once a year, when I deliver the annual financial report, this unique opportunity arises. On this occasion I wear a purple dinner suit and a pink metal rose in my buttonhole. Also, accountants have their romantic moments. This year, even by cheating on every possible level, I could no longer produce some credit for my client. It was the year I would have entered his inner circle and my imagination had already been inflamed. Tant pis. There is nothing I can do. My last advice to my client was to sell his ‚prostitutes‘ tax free, as live sculptures. But he would not listen. Instead he is barricading himself with his harem, finding solace with them and the remaining bottles of whisky. At our last dinner, under the da Vinci, he saw a worldwide conspiracy against him in the world of crooks he was doing business with. We suddenly had to leave the house. This morning, my dear friend, I read in the Sydney Morning Herald:
BUSINESS TYCOON SHOT HIMSELF IN FABULOUS RETREAT
Independent publishing in Austria
Es gibt Verleger, die produzieren Bücher, um Geld zu erwirtschaften,
und andere, die benötigen Geld, um Bücher produzieren zu können.
There are some publishers who make books to make money;
and others who need money to make books.
Austria has more in common with Australia than the first five letters of its name. Both countries have many excellent writers, and both have relatively small populations. (Austria has even fewer people – just over 7.5 million.) Both countries import large numbers of titles, which makes it even harder for publishers to stay independent. Austria’s big brother in the book industry is Germany, of course.
While more and more publishers have been taken over by big concerns, a few independently owned publishing houses have survived in Austria. Recently, they formed an association – the ‚Arbeitsgemeinschaft Österreichischer Privatverlage‘ (or the Austrian Independent Publishers Association) – as a means of protection against German competitors and to market Austrian titles more effectively in Germany. Believe me, this is as hard as getting Australian books on the American market.
The facts in Austria first: in the mid-1980s, 5.7% of the German language publishers produced 62% of the titles; 7% of the publishers controlled 73% of the book industry’s total annual turnover.
The three big giants are Holtzbrinck-Konzern (which owns Rowohlt, Fischer, Droemer, Kindler and others), Bertelsmann (which controls Goldmann among many others, including English language publishers Transworld, Corgi, Bantam and Doubleday) and the Axel-Springer Group (Ullstein Verlag etc). Industry concentration wherever you look. (And in the light of Penguin’s take-over of McPhee-Gribble, this must be familiar to Australian readers.) But there is still hope, especially for small and clever publishers working together.
Independents have always had a great impact on contemporary German language literature and culture and its philosophical and political voices.
In 1929 Victor Otto Stomps founded Raben-Presse, only to be closed down in 1937 under pressure from the Nazis. A few small presses appeared immediately after World War II – for instance, Eremiten-Presse, which first published some of the most important post-war German writers, such as Christoph Meckel, Guntram Vesper and Martin Walser.
Most of today’s independent publishing houses have their roots in the 1960s. The confidence of the scene during the 1970s being encapsulated in the catch-cry ‚Bertelsmann, wir kommen‘ (Bertelsmann, we’re coming). But, as with Australian independent publishers, life for these houses was a constant economic struggle. And while some of them eventually had to close, a large amount of important contemporary publishing resulted.
Helmut Volpers from Göttingen, Germany, surveyed independent publishers in the mid-1980s. He found that 83.5% of them simply could not make a living from the business, and that a further 10.7% could feed only themselves – with no cash left for staff. Of around 3,000 books produced by small presses, 59.2% had a print run of under 1,000, and most of these publishers can only afford to publish between 2 and 20 titles a year.
Still, there are many worthwhile books under independent production. Some say it’s the only place where literature belongs, since the Big Ones don’t look after authors who don’t fit the common (read ’saleable‘) taste. Many writers who have finally received contracts with large publishers soon become disillusioned with the way they are treated – being last on a long list of programs instead of first on a smaller list, and in personal contact with editors and publishers.
Nonetheless, the books have to be sold. Marketing and promotion were always the last things independents thought about – and this had to change. And so about twenty publishers – including Christian Brandstätter, Dieter Bandhauer, Erhard Löcker, Max Droschl and myself – formed the Austrian Independent Publishers Association. My own publishing company, gangan verlag, is the only one with an overseas branch here in Sydney.
Collectively, we could afford advertising in important foreign papers – such as Germany’s number one newspaper, ‚Die Zeit‘ – and launch joint promotional catalogues. The media treats our association with more regard than they previously did each single publisher. The Austrian equivalent of the Australia Council’s Literature Board has provided subsidies to help run Public Relations agencies in the middle of our most important foreign market, Germany.
The 1990s will show the extent of our success. For most, the question remains one of survival. Only a few reach an annual turnover of more than $100,000 – a figure too little to live by yet too much to die from.
But, as necessary as it is to reach out for foreign markets (Austria, Germany and Switzerland remain relatively open markets with regard to copyright), it is just as important to receive enough support at home, where authors and publishers live – whether it is Austria or Australia.
First published in print by EDITIONS Review (Ed. Gregory Harvey), Sydney and Melbourne.
When I heard of the death of Thomas Bernhard by chance in the German daily paper Die Süddeutsche Zeitung the reaction was more then a shock. My life seemed suddenly meaningless to me. Immediately I stopped working (ironically I was just translating the news for a German language program at Radio 2EA) and stared out of the window. What am I doing here, I thought. Opposite I saw some construction workers putting up another skyscraper at Bondi Junction. It was obvious what they were doing, but where would it lead to? Another shopping centre, another price list. It happens every day and I, like so many others, got used to it.
When I turned away from the window and looked into the room I saw, amongst many other silly wall decorations, one from Austria. It showed the ‚Stephanskirche‘, Vienna’s most popular cathedral in the background, and in the foreground a ‚Fiaker‘, a horse-drawn coach and its driver sitting on top with a few American tourists in the back seats. They were all smiling, of course, like an operetta by Lehàr (Immer nur lächeln …). This poster was distributed by the Austrian government.
At this moment I was not even thinking of Thomas Bernhard’s works, his novels, plays or even early poems, some of which I had read in the course of the last twenty years. As it happened I had had my own private encounters with Bernhard over a longer period. For one year I was sitting with him in the same classroom, it was at the ‚Humanistische Gymnasium‘ in Salzburg, later I met him in the streets of Vienna when he was totally unknown and writing his first novel Frost. If he did not use the tram (or the Straßenbahn) at the time, it was not only that he had hardly any money, but because he did not want to sit in the same compartment with the Viennese. He preferred to walk back to the apartment of his aunt, from the centre of Vienna to its outskirts.
With the literary success of his novel Frost, and the reception of the ‚Bremer Literaturpreis‘, amounting also to some prize money, he bought himself a small farm near Gmunden in Upper Austria, where he also died.
When I met him occasionally in the cafés of Salzburg, like the ‚Tomaselli‘ or ‚Bazar‘, bourgeois establishments which nobody from a middle class background could escape, he was always full of hate and full of irony. His hate was directed against the Austrians or the state of affairs in Austria, and his irony against the human condition in general, not sparing himself. And, if you like, he put his hate into his novels and his irony into his plays.
After I had emigrated to Australia I had of course lost personal contact with Thomas Bernhard. Once I sent him a copy of Aspect (No. 21, June 1981) because I had published a translated interview with him which had first appeared in Die Zeit, a German cultural weekly. I had not asked his permission. Bernhard was already ‚famous‘ at this time for his rudeness, he hardly replied to anybody and was not even willing (a friend of his told me in Salzburg during a later visit) to receive his translators. As he had not installed a telephone in his farm, even his friends and relatives found it hard to communicate. There was a rumour that he threw the daily mail in the rubbish bin before he had looked at it. Whatever the case, Thomas Bernhard’s style of writing and style of living were the same.
When Thomas Bernhard had died, suddenly, many Austrians must have been relieved. Nobody in Austrian literature, past or present, had made such direct attacks on his fellow-citizens. Neither the classic Grillparzer nor the modern Robert Musil. And never, to my knowledge, had the Head of State, ‚der Bundespräsident‘ made a comment.
‚Thomas Bernhard’s writings are an insult to the Austrians‘, Dr Waldheim had publicly declared. No wonder that Thomas Bernhard, who was buried secretly and had managed it that only three people could come to his funeral, thus depriving the Austrians of a lovely corpse (eine schöne Leich) made more headlines post-mortem than when he was still alive. And Gunter Nenning, provocative journalist from Vienna entitled his article in Die Zeit ‚Der wahre Präsident‘ (the true President). I quote (my translation): ‚Waldheim lives, Bernhard is dead. Death for an Austrian who, in his preference for the wrong ones, is as unjust like its Philistine people. At first they did not want to know about him. The West-German culturati, nourished by its publishers, had known Thomas Bernhard much better than his own countrymen … The true President of Austria, who was, like its people, justified in hatred about everything and everyone in this country, was not loved by his own people … But the dead Bernhard is a good Bernhard, the next postmodern public building will be named after him …‘
I could go on quoting ad infinitum, or if you like, ad absurdum. Unfortunately in this postmodern polemic the essential Bernhard could have been lost, or even forgotten. Perhaps foreign writers like John Updike, expressed a more balanced view. In his comment, also published in Die Zeit, he wrote: ‚Although in Bernhard’s writing the theme disease is prominent, I was deeply moved when I heard of his early death. My knowledge of his work is limited, but the few books of his which I have read impressed me immensely. In my opinion he was one of the authentic voices in post-war Europe … His unique form of irony and his particular honesty had the sign of greatness‘ (my translation).
I like to remember Thomas Bernhard as I saw him the last time in Salzburg. He was leaning against the wall of the ‚Trakl Haus‘, now a museum of this ill-fated Austrian poet who had died of an overdose of drugs during the First World War, at the age of 26. Although at this time he was at the height of his fame and productivity, his smile was very sad, with only a flicker of irony. I had intended to ask him to go to the ‚Tomaselli‘, but realised he was not in the mood to go anywhere. Thomas could have said what he wrote ten years later in a letter to the director of his plays, Claus Peymann:
‚All by-passes lead to death‘.