S.M. Chianti

Overload #30

Memories of a Philosopher

Sid often savoured life retrospectively.

‘Without memories’ he would say when he was old enough to philosophise, ‘life wouldn’t make much sense.’

He was born during wartime but didn’t realise until he became a philosopher that starting life during a war can alter things. The earliest, fragmented memories were important – incidents before he started school – but not his birth. Because he couldn’t remember his birth he reasoned that this was really part of his parents’ lives.

One of Sid’s earliest memories was the taste of sherbet when his dad shouted him at the corner shop, a haven of spicy smells, rows of tins and huge jars, and the scales. He always wanted to play with the scales’ round weights.

Although he had eagerly anticipated school, and despite the attention of his big sisters, Sid was scared on his first day. The teacher and her large table at the front of the class. He remembered that. She was kind, but they had a man later. Men were stricter. Back then the world didn’t exist beyond the area between home and school.

The buzz or flutter of insects had lured his attention from the blackboard on warm days, and the distant echoes of the bottle-oh and his horse had stirred a yearning to be off somewhere, anywhere. The teacher’s torpid drone couldn’t compete with the bottle-oh’s cry, and Sid hadn’t understood then how grown-ups can feel trapped, too, hadn’t understood that perhaps both he and the chalky-fingered man with brilliantined hair heard the same sirens calling from faraway places.

Sid knew the black snake’s sting. When he was strapped he enjoyed the warmth of peer approval, but not the searing numbness across his palms. He would grin through the camaraderie, swaggering back to his seat hoping Daphne Jones admired his boldness. The iron desk supports offered cold relief.

Sid recalled lunchtimes of cheese and jam sandwiches wrapped in newspaper which he read sprawling in the long grass bordering the asphalt playground, not realising that this newsprint would enable him to laughingly disdain the softies of the future. The boys’ jokes and rough language made the girls squeal with disgust, both affected and real. Sid always laughed loudly back in the girls’ direction from the comforting knot of mateship.

Football was another early memory.

‘D’you remember when Dad took you to watch the Magpies that first time when you were little?’ his mum would repeat like a mantra when she was getting old. Sid always claimed to remember but was uncertain whether he fully remembered or had constructed the missing bits from what he had heard and come to know.

Looking up at men yelling in the rain was an uncertain image, and the excitement on his father’s face. His dad had hoisted him onto his shoulders when Sid complained of aching legs. The boy was overseer of a forest of stetsons. After he became too heavy – his dad wasn’t strong – Sid had fossicked among the rubbish on the damp, trampled terraces where crushed grass combined with the aroma of beer and tobacco wafting on the wind. His dad didn’t notice until the match was over and he made Sid throw his collection away.

When he was old enough Victoria Park became his favourite place in winter. The Coventrys were his heroes. One balding, and one with thick hair, yet brothers. One giant in the ruck winning the Brownlow, and the other kicking the goals. All the Magpies were like brothers in those days, and their supporters taunted intruders from the wrong side of the world, Richmond and South Melbourne, and closer to home, Fitzroy. Those Fitzroy supporters were the real enemy. Newer teams like Footscray, Hawthorn, and North were barely worthy of scorn.

Holidays were weeks of carefree fun with little money to spend, weeks that seemed to last forever. When the light began to dim, his mum would call for the kindling to be split. He built a billycart but couldn’t find a decent hill in that flat, working-class area of cheap land. Billycart wheels were valuable currency among his mates. If only they had had a hill. Sid remembered pinching fruit from Old Kelleher’s orchard before escaping through a gap in his fence. Then Kelleher got a dog. Sid would smile to himself later in life, and mutter: ‘Kelleher’s flamin’ dog.’

He remembered early accidents but not the actual pain, just the certainty of it. He had borrowed another kid’s bike. The rubber on the pedals had worn away, and when Sid had stood on the steel cylinders for more speed he had slipped. He would mimic the agony between his legs from coming down on the crossbar by sucking in his cheeks a generation later when he told his own laughing children. He had careered into a parked car, an Essex.

Sid and his mates discussed the mystery of girls, and fought the boys from the Catholic school. The toughest of them was to be his best man. He died at Changi and was revered for the rest of Sid’s life.

Sid shared a sleepout with his brothers. They tried to ban their sisters but weren’t allowed to. ‘Undemocratic,’ said Mum who would leave Dad to mind the roast while she went to church. Sid’s dad wouldn’t go near ‘Them God wallahs,’ but would muck around in the garden while Sid’s sisters shelled peas over the colander. Pinching peas was a ritual; fresh-tasting, but sometimes a dried one to spit out at each other.

Sid could always picture his mum at the wood stove in her floral, wraparound pinny. ‘Come on, you lot’ was her favourite saying but she had dozens of others. Sid used these sayings unconsciously when talking to his own children later.

Different dogs chased family cats through the narrow streets of his reminiscences. He remembered most of their names. Sweetie was the pup the ice-cart squashed. His sister was sick but the iceman never said much. There were rabbits and chooks and white mice, all with names.

Sid sold Heralds. A tram stop was his regular position. He could leap on, sell three or four papers, and jump off by the time a tram had jerked across the intersection. Pennies made a comforting, weighty feeling in his pocket. Sid would lightly lift his pocketful of pennies and then allow them to chunk back against his thigh.

Posh people off for a night out in the city stirred his envy, but his dad would say: ‘Don’t wish your life away, son.’ Sid bought a new coat and flat cap after saving for months. This is living, he thought, adjusting the cap’s angle in the hall mirror.

Sid would remark later that it was a funny thing but he couldn’t actually remember people calling The Depression by that name at the time. Longing to be a man so he could get on with the business of living meant that leaving school was an event worth celebrating. His first job was in a boot factory but he was shocked when he lost it. ‘From making boots to getting the boot,’ was his description. There were few other jobs during those meagre times but he was at that age when hardship can be shrugged off.

Sid could never forget his first girlfriend, and his anxiety when he attempted to talk to her. If a bridge had been erected over the Yarra as high as the new one all Sydney was forever skiting about he would have dived from that with less anxiety. She was the only person with the power to make him swallow, dry-mouthed, whenever he saw her coming.

Her eyes. When she looked his way it was like the time the goal-scoring Coventry had to kick truly after the bell to win the game. Exciting and painful at the same time. He couldn’t watch and yet wouldn’t have missed it for a free banquet of king prawns. So Sid made a pact with himself, a pact that was life’s biggest challenge until then. He set himself to ask her to the pictures.

She said: ‘Yes.’

Yes!

He had been foolish with success.

Sid remembered none of the film but she could years later.

Their wedding was organized in a hurry even though they had known each other for a long time. There was nothing improper about it. Sid was off to war.

‘What! The flamin’ jungle!’ his dad said when he learned where Sid was. The war had catapulted his boys in all directions, and he had started his coughing which always made everybody hold their breath until he stopped. They said his health was only slightly impaired by the small amount of gas he ingested in France but the cough had grown worse.

His dad’s death emptied Sid. He was still in the jungle and had no chance to attend the funeral. His private weeping behind the canteen contrasted with the dry-eyed pain and cursing when he had come off his bike and dented the Essex not so many years earlier. He blew his nose hard on his shirt tail and thought about the days when his old man had been crook. ‘All that bloody coughing,’ he would say over a beer years after.

For a while Sid thought he hated the Japs but he left the war mostly behind him when it was over, like a snake shedding its old skin. Soon the images faded to a haze of mud, fuzzy-wuzzy angels, leeches, good mates, and malaria.

He developed a knack of recalling the old man and their shared good times whenever he needed to. The days when they had teased Mum. They once planted her copper stick in the fowl run and topped it with her church hat. She was wild, but laughed later. During the post-war years when Sid was working for the council he might catch himself smiling alone, then he would plan something happy with his children. Laughter was important, comparable with respect, or loyalty, or the Magpies never disgracing themselves at home.

***

Sid loved his wife but they fought. There seemed to be a fundamental difference in their personalities. He sometimes wondered if this was caused by the war years, or perhaps simply because he was a man and she was a woman.

Their children’s existence always reminded them that the squabbling wasn’t worth it. She would brew him a strong cup of tea and he would allow it to cool with his temper while he found some little job that needed attending to. He had difficulty saying sorry. Once he felt so bad after an argument that he had bought her a new sewing machine. She was grateful, and they had all gorged on her baking spree that weekend, but Sid never knew the machine wasn’t the model she had wanted.

They lost a son. It was after the Queen’s visit when they had stood in the crowd near the airport. ‘Whizzed past in a bloody Land Rover so fast we only caught a glimpse of His Lordship waving and grinning,’ he told his mates at work. The kids had complained.

Their son had been healthy but his illness perforated their lives utterly. The boy’s life was over with bewildering swiftness. Friends cued them with cliches about their other two children. Then Sid’s brother-in-law was killed in an accident. Someone told them bad luck always comes in threes, and when Sid’s suffering wife began to dread the family’s future he angrily pointed out that fools have a saying for every occasion. Their luck changed when another son was born late in the marriage.

Sid’s mum didn’t die until she was nearing Biblical age. The eldest children were growing up by then. Nan had shared their cramped house and wrote unvarying letters to her daughters who had long since married and moved interstate.

‘But we’re poverty-stricken,’ Sid’s son had complained when it was suggested that his grandmother come to live with them. Sid said that poverty was a discomfort the boy’s generation would never suffer from, nor be able to understand.

‘No mother of mine’s going to rot in a bloody home,’ he had said.

‘Moses himself couldn’t have laid the law down more impressively,’ his wife commented, and told Sid not to swear in front of the children, as she had quietly arranged for his mother to move in.

Sometimes Sid had taken his sons to see the Magpies play but they were more interested in other things. He had bought their little striped jumpers as soon as they were old enough but somehow it wasn’t the same as when he had been a boy.

***

Sid thought his son-in-law was gormless, but he made excuses for his youth. His children were now adults. Then his elder boy won a free trip to Viet Nam. They worried.

‘Cooks don’t have much more than pastry to dodge,’ the conscript reassured them. His confidence reminded Sid of the day when he had marched off to war himself. Same behaviour.

When the man returned the only wound he seemed to have received was from a bar girl in Saigon. Sid told him never to let his mother know, and felt slightly guilty for being so proud. His son recovered. He had also changed. No more wet remarks like ‘poverty-stricken’.

Sid still enjoyed a few drinks with his old mates – those who had survived – during what he considered his middle years. His hair was the colour of their old dog’s whiskers, and he sometimes suffered from a fever. He praised the staff of the Repatriation Hospital but the shakes were gradually eroding his energy.

He and his wife rarely went out together any more but shared a delight in their grandchildren. Sid conceded that their daughter and the gormless one – who didn’t seem so bad now – were certainly fertile. Sid’s younger son, the Viet Nam veteran, still lived at home, preferring his own silent company. Sid and his wife worried about him when he teamed up with his former army pals and binged for days, but there was nothing they could do about his remote moods.

Sid clashed with his younger son and became even more annoyed with himself afterwards. The boy accused him of being old.

‘There’s not much I can do about it, is there?’ Sid retorted. ‘You don’t have much bloody choice, you know.’ It was a long time since the Magpies had earned the big prize.

His wife had what Sid referred to as ‘women’s operations’, and she became distant, wounding him by harping about wasted opportunities. His love for her found new nourishment. Seeing her so withdrawn made him think about all their days together. He also thought how quickly the world was changing, and he was lonely without her closeness. After this bad period their union rallied like a sick plant responding to special care.

On their fortieth anniversary they made love again. Sid felt the way he had felt before sailing north, or even earlier, when he had leapt onto trams crying: ‘Herald?’ The anniversary party wasn’t held on the exact date. It was on the nearest Saturday night, and their children gave extravagant gifts. The elder son looked well. He had brought a new girlfriend, and his mother crossed her fingers when she helped Sid blow out candles, snatching glances at the quiet young woman. Even the grandchildren had wrapped special presents they had made themselves. Sid frowned, gulping his beer and joking while his wife dabbed with her hanky. The quiet young woman looked at Sid, seemed to look beyond his attempted mask.

He had stopped driving because of his health. They hadn’t owned a car until Sid was well into his thirties, and his wife had never learned. He walked slowly to the TAB and tried the quadrella, dreaming about presenting the winnings to his children who didn’t need it, and hoping to spot somebody he knew. Then he would linger to show off about their granddaughter’s school report, or their son’s new young lady.

***

When his wife fell dead Sid felt old. At the cemetery he would touch the cold stone, reading and rereading the words. Daphne Mildred, dearly beloved wife… Sid began putting gilt frames around his memories.

His daughter called around regularly when the younger boy moved out. Sid’s son-in-law was kind, too, causing Sid regret for even the good-natured jibes he had made years earlier.

The Magpies nearly made it. They went close but weren’t quite good enough. An improved year had seen Sid attempt to repel the despair which had been wearing him down, and he had remembered faces from long ago when he stood on the terraces once more at the old football ground.

***

His daughter and her sensible sister-in-law found Sid dead in bed. He looked peaceful. They told everyone this until they grew tired of hearing their own words.

He would have said, philosophically, that his death had no meaning to him. It was really part of his children’s lives, and those whose lives would follow. They would remember his death. It would join their other memories, just another of all the remembered loves and hurts and smiles and tears, without which, life wouldn’t make any sense.

Helen Castles

Overload #30

Cinderella Was A Serial Killer & Other Home Truths

Story One: Snow White

Once upon a time in a cold and rainy place called Seattle there lived a beautiful lady with a good heart. She and her husband were extremely well off and had an extraordinarily happy marriage. Yes, even though they lived in this cold and rainy place called Seattle, they couldn’t have been happier. To add to their already perfect existence, the lady discovered that she was expecting their first child.

One spring morning she sat out in the sun to do some darning when all of a sudden it started to snow (Seattle weather — go figure!). The lady was so surprised by this sudden change in the weather (she grew up in Florida), that she took her eyes off her sewing for only a moment and accidentally pricked her finger. As a few drops of her scarlet red blood fell onto the white snow below her feet she thought to herself how much she would love to have a daughter with skin as pale as the snow, lips as red as her blood and hair as black as liquorice. Not long after her daughter was born, the lady was sent mad by the ever-changing Seattle weather and threw herself into Puget Sound. Her husband was fraught with despair and soon began attending parents without partners meetings. There he met, fell in love with and married a real stunner. Once again, his life seemed perfect.

However, while this woman was as beautiful as his first wife was, her heart was nowhere near as good. In fact, she was a real witch (no honestly — she was really a witch!). Being a horribly vain creature, she possessed a magic mirror that she looked into every morning before asking:

Mirror, mirror in the hall
Besides Cindy Crawford
Who is the most beautiful of all?

To which the mirror always replied:

You are.

The witch knew that the mirror never lied so after that she would happily go about her day, knowing that not one woman in the whole world (besides Cindy Crawford), could challenge her beauty.

But as Snow White grew older she became more and more beautiful. When she was seventeen a talent scout offered her a lucrative modelling contract that made her stepmother furious with jealousy. She ran to her mirror and asked:

Mirror, mirror in the hall
Besides Cindy Crawford
Who is the most beautiful of all?

To which the mirror replied:

Yeah, you’re pretty, I suppose it’s true
But that babe Snow White beats the crap outta you!

From that moment on the evil witch knew that she had to get rid of Snow White. She came up with a wicked plan that involved hiring a hit man to drive her beautiful stepdaughter into the mountains and let the wild animals that lived there do the rest.

Little did she know that the hit man was really a spineless wimp who only worked for the family business until he got his dream job — to act in Will & Grace. Being a nice guy and all, he took Snow White to the mountains and left her there whilst making her promise that she would never show her face in Seattle again.

That night Snow White walked and walked trying to find her way out of the mountains but instead she just seemed to get herself deeper and deeper into the woods. After a couple of hours, she stumbled upon a little cottage. She was so hungry and so tired that she let herself in, had a meal and a shower, watched some cable, set the video to tape Will & Grace, and then went to bed. Funnily enough, not once did she try calling the police for help (well, after all, she was a model).

When the owners of the house returned, they found the front door ajar. They were seven little men who worked as musical theatre directors, had never married and enjoyed watching Barbra Streisand movies together.

‘Who left the front door open?’ the first one asked.

‘And who trod red mud right into my clean beige carpet?’ the second one asked.

‘And who drank all the bottled water?’ the third one asked.

‘And who ate all the sushi?’ the fourth one asked.

‘And who taped over my Hello Dolly video?’ the fifth one asked.

‘And who left the towels on the bathroom floor?’ the sixth one asked.

‘And who’s that sleeping in our bed?’ the seventh one asked, as the other six turned to see Snow White, fast asleep.

‘My God, I would kill for those cheek bones!’ the first one cried.

They immediately fell in love with Snow White’s beauty and so all agreed to let her sleep.

The next morning Snow White awoke to see the seven little men all gathered around her bed. She was so frightened that she pulled the covers up high and shrieked, ‘Back off fellas. I’ve got capsicum spray and…I’m pretty sure I know how to use it!’

‘Calm down my dear, we won’t hurt you,’ the fourth one said.

They were all so kind and friendly that Snow White felt very much at ease with them. When they asked her who she was, she told them all about her wicked stepmother and her plan to rub Snow White out.

‘So you see, I can’t go back to Seattle, not ever,’ she cried.

‘Don’t worry,’ they assured her, ‘you can stay here and live with us for as long as you want. Maybe tell us how you get your hair so shiny and your skin so clear?’

‘Gee thanks,’ Snow White sighed. ‘I’ll earn my keep though, I promise.’

And so Snow White lived happily with the seven little men. Every day they would go off to work and she would stay home and clean the house, do her nails and watch soap operas.

‘But you must be careful Snow White. It’s only a matter of time before your stepmother realises that you are alive and will come looking for you. Whatever you do, don’t let anyone in the house while we’re gone,’ the men warned.

Now that she thought Snow White was dead, the wicked witch didn’t bother to ask the mirror about her beauty. However one day whilst feeling particularly low and needing an ego boost, she turned to her mirror and asked:

Mirror, mirror in the hall
Besides Cindy Crawford
Who is the most beautiful of all?

To which the mirror replied:

You’re a babe, this is true
But Snow White who lives with the seven little men
Is still more of a hotty than you!

The witch almost doubled over with horror. She would not rest while ever Snow White breathed breath so she decided to take care of her stepdaughter herself. The very next day, she don a brilliant disguise as an overweight Avon lady and went in search of the house with the seven little men.

Snow White, having finished her housework for the day and with a quiche in the oven for the little men’s dinner, was watching The Young and the Restless when the doorbell rang.

‘Who’s there?’ she asked in her sweet little voice.

‘Avon calling dear,’ the witch replied.

‘Oh goody, make-up!’ Snow White cried as she opened the door.

‘Hello dear. Can I interest you in a little something to pretty you up?’

‘Oh, I’m a model,’ Snow White giggled, ‘so I don’t need prettying up but I would like some perfume if you have it.’

‘I have just the scent for you, my darling girl,’ said the witch, pulling out a bottle of fine perfume that smelt divine yet contained a poison that, if left on Snow White’s pure skin for too long, would seep through into her bloodstream and kill her.

‘But I don’t have any money,’ Snow White despaired.

‘That’s all right dear, it’s on the house,’ the witch laughed as she left.

‘No it’s not,’ Snow White frowned. ‘it’s right here in my hand. What a silly thing for her to say,’ she shrugged.

That night, the seven little men returned home to find Snow White passed out and lying on the floor. The perfume had left an awful green mark on her pure white skin so the men scrubbed and scrubbed until it was gone and Snow White awoke. Luckily for her, the little men washed the poison off before it could take full affect.

‘Snow White!’ they scolded. ‘We told you not to let anyone in. What were you thinking?’

‘But it was make-up,’ she innocently replied in her sweet little voice.

As soon as the wicked witch returned home, she went straight to her mirror:

Mirror, mirror in the hall
Besides Cindy Crawford
Who is the most beautiful of all?

And the mirror replied:

Cindy’s a real stunner, this is true
But compared to Snow White
You look like poo!

‘No!’ the witch shrieked. ‘That’s it. No more Miss Nice Witch — that kid is dead!’

The next day the witch disguised herself once again and set off to the woods. She knocked on Snow White’s door.

‘Who is it?’ Snow White called.

‘I’m selling pretty hair clips dear. Can I interest you?’ the witch asked.

‘I’m not supposed to let anyone in, but…pretty hair clips, how can I resist?’ and with that she threw open the door.

As Snow White looked through the range, the witch pulled out a clip that had a poisonous comb.

‘Here,’ the witch handed Snow White the clip, ‘free of charge,’ she smiled as she waved goodbye.

Snow White couldn’t wait to try her new clip but as soon as she pressed it into her hair the sharp teeth of the comb pierced her skin and as the poison flowed into her body, she fell down dead.

Once home, the witch ran to her mirror:

Mirror, mirror in the hall
Besides Cindy Crawford
Who is the most beautiful of all?

To which the mirror replied:

You need a good slap for what you did
Sure, you’re the prettiest
But only because dead is the kid!

The witch was at last satisfied, as Snow White was dead and no longer a rival to her beauty.

When the seven little men arrived home that evening, they found Snow White lifeless. Attempts to revive her failed and the little men were so stricken with grief that they all took two weeks stress leave as they couldn’t bear to leave the beautiful girl’s side.

‘Oh, I can’t bear to leave the beautiful girl’s side.’ (Told you) ‘She is far too precious to place in the ground,’ the first little man cried.

‘Yeah, but she’s gonna…you know…stink up the joint,’ another mentioned.

‘We shall place her in a glass coffin so that we can always admire her beauty,’ the seventh little man said.

‘Sick,’ the fifth one declared.

It so it was — Snow White lay in her glass coffin at the top of the mountain and every day the seven little men would visit and place flowers by her side.

One day, a handsome young television executive was out visiting the woods, looking for a location to film his next hit show. When he spotted Snow White he gasped in awe of her beauty. He convinced himself that he must have her and so offered the seven little men more money than they could refuse (see — love does have a price). As he was carrying Snow White down the mountain, he tripped over a rock and jolted her coffin so violently that the poisonous hair clip fell from her head and Snow White opened her eyes.

‘Who are you?’ she asked the young executive.

‘I am yours,’ he replied.

He told Snow White what had happened and how he fell in love with her the moment he laid eyes on her. They planned a huge wedding and the executive gave Snow White a role in Will & Grace as a wedding gift.

When the wicked witch read of Snow White’s marriage in People, she smashed her mirror to smithereens, divorced Snow White’s father and moved to Los Angeles to find herself a good plastic surgeon.

The End

Story Two: Hansel & Gretel

Once upon a time in Brooklyn there lived a woodcutter, or tree surgeon, as he preferred to be known and his second wife, Chantelle. The tree surgeon had two children from a previous marriage called Hansel and Gretel or Hank and Greta, as they preferred to be known. Hank was a bit of a sissy boy but Greta was a real take-charge gal who didn’t take any crap from anyone and so often found herself standing up for her brother, who took crap from just about everyone.

Times were tough as there wasn’t much call for tree surgeons in Brooklyn, so one night after the children had gone to bed, their stepmother told their father of a wicked plan she had devised.

‘We will take the children into the city tomorrow and lose them. Then we’ll take the money from their college funds, change our names by deed poll and move to Vegas!’ she announced with a disturbingly psychotic look in her eye.

Now this distressed the woodcutter (sorry — tree surgeon), no end. He begged and pleaded (it was really pathetic!), with his cruel wife but she wore the pants in their relationship because she had taken self-assertiveness training. Reluctantly, he agreed with her evil plan whilst secretly promising himself that when they hit the big time in Vegas, he would go straight back to New York and share the fortune with his children.

Fortunately, Hank and Greta were still awake in the next room and heard of their devilish stepmother’s plan. Hank began to cry and encouraged Greta to do the same since he thought it important for people to express their feelings and also because he didn’t like to cry alone, especially in the company of the opposite sex. However Greta was more interested in devising a plan of her own, promising Hank that she would cry later and in full view where he and any other insecure male who wished to view it, could.

She quietly climbed out of bed and reached for her coat, filling the pockets with glow-in-the-dark figurines.

‘It’s all right Hank,’ she assured her big brother. ‘I’ll take care of you.’

‘Gee, thanks Gret,’ Hank replied between sobs.

Early the next morning Hank and Greta climbed into the back of their dad’s pick-up truck. As they journeyed toward the Big Apple, Greta threw her figurines out into the gutter along the way. During the day the tiny figurines were undetectable but at night they would glow and surely lead Hank and Greta back to their home in the suburbs.

When they had reached New York City, their wicked stepmother hastened them out of the back of the truck.

‘Your father and I have some business to take care of so you two may go up to 42nd street and have a wander through Toys-R-Us but be sure to be back here in one hours time,’ she said with the fakest of fake grins. Greta wished that she could slap the grin right off of her face but, being a pacifist, she just bit her lip and counted to ten instead.

When night fell Hank and Greta went back to Madison Avenue where they had been dumped. The figurines shone like the sun in the darkness and after an exhausting trek, two mugging’s, an autograph from Eric Clapton and a tattoo each, they were home. In fact the traffic had been so bad on the Brooklyn Bridge, they even beat their dad and stepmother home!

‘Children,’ their stepmother shrieked. ‘You had us both worried sick. Where on earth have you two been?’

And the Oscar goes to…

‘Sorry stepmother,’ Hank replied, choking back tears. ‘I guess we got lost.’

‘Well get into the house this instant. There will be no supper for you two tonight and no Letterman as punishment for being so disobedient!’

‘But wife,’ the tree surgeon cried, ‘no Letterman? Isn’t that a bit harsh?’

‘You must have me mistaken for a wicked stepmother who gives a damn. Now,’ she turned to the children, ‘OFF TO BED!’

That night Hank and Greta overheard their stepmother bullying their wimp of a father into going to the city and dumping them all over again.

‘What are the chances of them finding their way back twice? Woody and Mia have a better chance of reuniting,’ she laughed.

Hank and Greta weren’t laughing though. They both firmly believed in traditional family values and hoped that one day Woody and Mia would sort out their differences and reunite. Besides that, they were also worried about how they would again foil their stepmother’s attempts to get rid of them.

‘What will we do Gret?’ Hank asked. ‘We haven’t any glowing figurines left.’

‘I know. We need something else, something that glows or shines.’

Hank thought long and hard. ‘I’ve got it! What about my DVD’s?’ he suggested.

‘But Hank, you won those on Wheel of Fortune. They’re your prized possessions.’

‘That’s true but I don’t care. Besides, we don’t have a DVD player.’

First thing the next morning the family set off once again to the city. Their stepmother told Hank and Greta that she felt badly about sending them to bed with no Letterman and, as a treat, they were all going to see Disney On Ice.

When they arrived in the city and all the DVD’s had been dropped along the way, the children were left at the Rockefellar Centre.

‘Stay here children while your father and I get the tickets,’ their stepmother told them.

Once again Hank and Greta waited until dark and had walked no more than three blocks before they came to the realisation that some punk had stolen all the DVD’s and that they had no way back home.

‘Some punk has stolen all our DVD’s and now we have no way back home,’ Greta cried.

‘What will we do?’ Hank asked, on the verge of tears.

‘Don’t cry. We’ll just find a police station.’

Hank and Greta walked for miles and miles and could not find one single police station. (Can you believe that? In New York City? No? Too bad because it’s part of the story, okay?)

‘We’ll rest here a while,’ Greta told Hank as they sat on the steps of a tall building. ‘We’ll be okay Hank. Here,’ she said as she put a protective arm around her wimpy older brother. ‘Why don’t you sing? You know it always makes you feel better.’

As Hank began to sing, an audience gathered and pretty soon people clapping and dancing to his techno-funk style had surrounded them.

‘Hold it. Scatter. GET OUT OF MY WAY, PEASANTS!’ an important looking woman in a power suit shrieked as she strode out of the building. Her muscle-bound minders quickly dispersed the crowd, leaving Hank and Greta all alone and staring into her cold, steel blue cosmetic contact lenses.

‘Darling,’ she helped Hank to his feet. ‘I’m a music producer and you are a natural, darling.’

‘And you’ll be slapped with a sexual harassment suit if you don’t get your hand off his butt, lady. And,’ Greta added as she helped herself to her feet, ‘I use that term loosely.’

‘Well, who is this little ray of sunshine?’ the woman asked as a snide look crossed her cosmetically enhanced, botox-filled face.

‘This is my little sister Greta and we are lost,’ Hank admitted.

‘Lost? Well you must come with Aunt Lois. You can both stay with me at my penthouse,’ she said as she ushered the children into her waiting limo.

When they reached the penthouse, Hank and Greta gasped in awe.

‘I’ve never seen such a disgusting display of wealth in all my young life,’ Greta spat. ‘Let’s party!’

All night the children played and danced and sang and laughed and ate. When morning came they both fell exhausted onto an enormous bed.

When they awoke at noon, Lois had prepared a lunch fit for a king. Well actually Salma, the illegal immigrant cook from Cuba, had prepared it. See, Lois was a poor little rich girl who grew up in Manhattan and had never prepared food for herself or anyone else in her life but took the credit from the poverty-stricken Cuban as so often happens when you live in an unjust society like ours. After lunch Lois took the children to a recording studio.

‘Greta can sing too,’ Hank offered as Lois sat him in front of a microphone.

‘Here,’ Lois said, handing Greta a pair of headphones. ‘You join him and we’ll see what happens.’

Hank and Greta sang for all they were worth and Lois was so impressed that she immediately signed them to her label with her lawyer, Rob Burr, present. They were offered million dollar contracts and that night Rob took them all out to celebrate.

‘When do we get to make the music video?’ Hank asked.

‘And who are these kids in your wallet?’ Greta asked.

‘And when do we get to go on Letterman?’

‘And…and…what’s the meaning of life?’

‘Kids, kids,’ Rob interrupted. ‘Enough with the questions already.’

‘We’ll make the music video soon enough my darlings, those children are my niece and nephew, Letterman is over-rated and…and…how the hell should I know?’

The next morning Hank and Greta awoke from a restful slumber but when they went to open their bedroom door they found it locked.

‘Greta, I find it locked,’ Hank said.

‘What’s going on?’ Greta asked.

‘Maybe Lois locked us in for our own protection now that we’re superstars.’

‘Yeah,’ Greta agreed. ‘She must still be at the recording studio putting the finishing touches on our new single. I guess we’ll just have to wait until she gets back. Maybe watch some TV, huh?’ Greta suggested as she flicked the switch on the remote.

‘Look!’ Hank cried. ‘They’re playing our song, only…that’s not us,’ he pointed to another boy and girl who were singing and dancing to their song. Greta recognised them as the children from Lois’ wallet.

‘My God Hank, do you know what this means?’

‘Yes. There had to be a wicked witch somewhere in this story and Lois is it!’

‘And?’

‘And she’s duped us.’

‘And?’

‘And those kids are miming our voices.’

‘And?’

‘And they’re really bad at it.’

‘AND?’

‘And what? That’s it.’

And, worst of all,’ Greta began to cry (much to Hank’s approval), ‘we’ve unwittingly helped create another Milli Vanilli!’

When Lois returned Hank and Greta banged and banged on the bedroom door.

‘Let us out,’ Greta cried. ‘You’ve got one major law suit on your hands, sister!’

‘Quiet Gret, she’s arguing with someone.’

Hank and Greta listened as Lois and Rob were having a lovers quarrel. Hank, having read many of his stepmother’s Danielle Steel novels, had always suspected that there was much more to their relationship than just business.

‘If you’re lying to me Lois so help me, I’ll have you arrested for fraud and embezzlement.’

‘But darling, you’re the only one, honestly,’ she purred.

Greta shook her head in disgust. ‘Didn’t you hear her coming on to the doorman last night, Hank?’

‘Yes. It was pathetic, practically throwing herself at him. No pride whatsoever.’

‘Maybe we can use this against her.’

Hank and Greta got their chance later that evening. While Lois was ‘entertaining’ Fabio, the doorman, Greta used her cell phone to lure Rob to the penthouse. Upon springing Lois and Fabio on top of the kitchen counter, Rob immediately took Hank and Greta and began filing a suit against Lois for fraud and embezzlement. She was tried and convicted and sentenced to twenty-three life sentences with a non-parole period of two days (the justice system really sucks these days).

Hank and Greta were rightfully recognised as the recording artists that they were and became very rich and very famous. David Letterman appeared in their music video.

They returned to their father in Brooklyn to find him alone. Chantelle, their wicked stepmother, had run off with a TV evangelist.

Hank and Greta and their tree surgeon father (now retired) all moved to Monaco to avoid paying their taxes and are currently being investigated by the IRS.

The End

Story Three: Cinderella

Once upon a time in the state of Texas, there lived a man who had a daughter called Ella. After his wife ran off with a guy she found in an Internet chat room, he remarried a woman who had two daughters of her own called Anastasia and Kim. Anastasia and Kim were awful girls who took after their equally awful mother, as they were extremely cruel and vain. These girls didn’t even have nice personalities to make up for the fact that they must have each been severely beaten with an ugly stick. Ella however possessed great beauty that really pissed off her two ugly stepsisters. Besides her beauty, Ella also had a lovely disposition marred only by one or two psychotic episodes as a child.

Her wicked stepmother hated Ella with a passion for, in the presence of Ella, her own two daughters looked even more hideous than they already were, so their mother was fearful of the prospect of them never finding themselves husbands. She worked Ella like a dog, finding all the dirty, degrading and menial housework she could for her to do while her own daughters sat and watched talk shows for most of the day. In fact that is how Ella came to get her nickname of Cinderella — by cleaning out all the cinders from the fireplace each morning. From then on, her stepmother and stepsister’s refused to call her anything else and so it caught on and Ella was no longer known by any name other than Cinderella. Cinderella tried to tell her father of her plight, but he was a most hen-pecked man who spent his days at the local bar, drowning his sorrows.

One day it was announced that the son of one of the most influential men in the country was getting married and (as everyone knows) weddings are a great place to pick up! When the invitations arrived, Anastasia and Kim were overwhelmed by the possibility of at last finding their dream men and could speak of nothing else.

‘Where could my invitation be?’ Cinderella pondered.

‘It probably got lost in the mail,’ her stepmother said as she and her daughters laughed riotously.

Kill them! voices inside of Cinderella’s head ordered. Kill them all!

Unfortunately because of the badgering she took from her stepmother and stepsister’s, Cinderella’s self-esteem was shot to hell so she just did whatever she was told even if she didn’t agree with it. So even though she knew that it was wrong to brutally murder people, she just said, ‘Oh, okay,’ and gave in to the satanic voices in her head.

That night when the house was deathly quiet and everyone else was asleep, Cinderella went into her closet and pulled out her tallest, sharpest stiletto shoe.

Go on, let the big girl have it! the voices urged as Cinderella stood over Anastasia’s bed. Cinderella covered her eyes and before she knew what was what, she had rammed the heel down hard into Anastasia’s skull. The next morning the coroner came and ruled the girl’s death looked just a tad suspicious and that a full investigation would start immediately. Cinderella felt bad for viciously murdering her stepsister, but the voices in her head told her that it was okay so then she felt a little better.

‘Oh mother,’ Kim cried, ‘dear, dear Anastasia is gone. How will I ever go on without my sweet, sweet sister? I don’t want to live any more!’ she threw herself down onto her bed and sobbed hysterically.

‘There, there princess, don’t cry. You can wear Anastasia’s new gold and diamond tiara to the wedding next week if it will make you feel better,’ her mother soothed.

Suddenly Kim arose from her depression with a huge grin. ‘Really?’ she beamed.

Cinderella couldn’t believe Kim’s insensitivity. ‘How can she be so heartless?’ Cinderella asked out loud.

What are you talking about? You’re the one that killed her! the voices in her head bluntly reminded her.

‘Oh, yeah.’

The next day Cinderella’s stepmother called her into the parlour.

‘Well Cinderella,’ she announced, ‘now that Anastasia is worm food, you may as well go to the wedding in her place,’ and she handed Cinderella the invitation.

‘Really stepmother? Really and truly?’ Cinderella cried.

Nooo, I talk to hear myself speak,’ her stepmother spat sarcastically. ‘Now get out!’

Don’t let her speak to you like that. You know what you must do Cinderella — kill her!

That night Cinderella again grabbed her stiletto shoe and while her stepmother slept, she hit her in the head with the heel, embedding it into her skull.

The next day a young, good-looking detective came around to ask Cinderella some questions about her stepmother’s death but she just gave him a back rub and buttered him up with donuts and he left, none the wiser.

That afternoon Kim flaunted the beautiful diamond and gold tiara in Cinderella’s face.

‘Look what I am wearing to the wedding. I’m gonna get me the hunkiest guy there,’ she laughed.

You must have that tiara Cinderella — kill her!

So that night Cinderella once again took out her trusty stiletto and rammed it through Kin’s skull. The next day when the young, good-looking detective came around again, Cinderella just batted her eyelashes at him and asked him to be her date for the wedding. The detective was so mesmerised by Cinderella’s beauty that he immediately forgot about the murder investigation and said yes to her offer of a date.

The night of the wedding soon arrived and by the time the detective had come to pick Cinderella up, she had transformed her already beautiful self into an absolute stunner.

‘Gee Cinderella — you’re an absolute stunner!’ the detective exclaimed.

What does he mean by that? the voices asked. Is that a threat? You know what you must do Cinderella — kill him!

‘But he’s so cute,’ Cinderella whispered.

Oh, we know — those dimples, that beautiful smile, those gorgeous blue…JUST KILL HIM! the voices demanded.

All night Cinderella and the detective danced. The handsome cop not once taking his eyes off his beautiful date.

‘Oh Cinderella,’ he whispered into her ear. ‘I think I’m falling for you.’

He doesn’t mean that.

‘You don’t mean that.’

‘Yes, I do.’

No, he doesn’t Cinderella. He’s just like all the others. He’ll use you up and then throw you away.

‘No, you don’t. You’re just like all the others. You’ll use me up and…and…’

Throw you away!

‘Throw me away!’

‘No Cinderella, I promise. I’ll love you forever,’ he said as their lips met in a passionate lock.

Wow — good kisser!

For the rest of the evening, Cinderella and her detective danced and kissed and she too knew that she was falling for him. If only the voices in her head weren’t so damn disagreeable!

At the stroke of midnight Cinderella — bump him off! the voices instructed.

‘But I love him,’ Cinderella protested.

Bump him off Cinderella or we’ll start singing Barry Manilow songs until you go insane!

‘All right, all right, I’ll kill him. Just…no Barry Manilow!’

Two minutes before midnight the detective asked Cinderella to go with him out into the dark, empty and very isolated car park. She didn’t want to kill him but she really hated Barry Manilow and so decided that her hot-looking date must die.

‘Oh Cinderella,’ the detective cried, ‘I’ve never met anyone like you before. I spend my days with thieves, drug dealers and serial killers — you wouldn’t believe some of the sicko’s out there. But you, you’re like a breath of fresh air.’

‘Oh, you’re just saying that,’ she giggled.

‘No, I mean it. I love you Cinderella and I can’t believe that I’m about to ask you this but…will you marry me?’

And with that Cinderella took off her stiletto and rammed it into the detective’s head.

‘I’ll take that as a no, shall I?’ he mumbled before falling down, dead.

‘Who’s there?’ a voice called from the darkness. ‘Is everything all right?’

Cinderella swung around to see a valet walking toward her. She got so frightened and confused that she fled, forgetting to take the stiletto with her.

The next day as Cinderella sat watching Natural Born Killers on the TV, a newsflash telecast the murder of the young, good-looking detective:

‘A young, good-looking detective has been found murdered at last nights society wedding of the year — also known as a great place to pick up. Police believe that a person they are dubbing the ‘Stiletto Slayer’ may be responsible. The slayer, apparently not too bright, left the murder weapon at the scene — a size six and a half shoe that police are now using to find the killer. A police spokesperson said that they are so sick and tired of this case that the first woman that the shoe fits comfortably will be charged.’

‘Oh, what will I do?’ Cinderella gasped. ‘And where are those voices when you need them?’

She packed her things into her car and headed for the border. ‘If only that young, good-looking detective were alive,’ she cried. ‘I just know that he could help me.’

If that young, good-looking detective were alive, you wouldn’t be in this mess — dummy!

‘Oh, so you’re back are you? You got me into this mess, now get me out of it!’

No way! You’re on your own now sister! There’s a young and impressionable girl in Washington DC with my name on her psychosis. There’s no telling what we could get up to in that city. See ya!

Cinderella drove and drove until she was almost at the state line. As she looked ahead into the distance, to her horror she could see a police roadblock.

‘Just pull yourself together now Cinderella,’ she calmly told herself. ‘You’re beautiful and you’ve gotten yourself out of plenty of speeding tickets — how hard can four murder charges be? Just unbutton your blouse a little, act dumb and you’ll be fine.’

‘Afternoon ma’am,’ a young police officer said. ‘Would you mind stepping out of the vehicle and trying on this shoe?’ he asked.

‘Of course not officer,’ she giggled. ‘But what’s a nice, handsome, strapping young police officer like yourself doing all the way out here in this hot, hot desert?’ she pursed her lips and batted her eyelids.

‘Just doin’ my job ma’am,’ he replied.

Cinderella could not understand the police officer’s obvious disinterest in her.

‘Ooops, silly me,’ she cried as she threw her keys onto the ground right in front of the officer before bending over in her ever-so-short skirt to pick them up.

‘Look, you’re wasting your time missy — I’m gay. Just try on the shoe and then you can go.’

‘Great! Just my luck. Give me the damn shoe,’ Cinderella snarled as she snatched it from the cop’s grasp.

She slipped her foot into the stiletto and of course, it was a perfect fit.

‘Bingo! Looks like we have a winner,’ the cop said as he raised Cinderella’s arm like a victorious prizefighter.

Cinderella was tried and convicted and sentenced to death.

As she sat in the electric chair the governor asked, ‘Do you have any last requests Cinderella?’

To which she replied, ‘Yes. Please let me go?’ she smiled and batted her eyelids.

The governor was so impressed by her beauty and her dumbness that he agreed to let her go on the condition that she not murder anyone else ever again. Seems you can get away with murder — you just have to be pretty enough (or an American football hero).

Cinderella agreed, became a law-abiding citizen and went on to become a best-selling author with her self-help book titled, Just Act Dumb and You’ll Be Fine.

The End

Bonny Cassidy

Overload #30

2 Poems for March

(UNTITLED)

Even as her brother dies,
the buttons of her school blazer stay in their loops,
the pleats of her tunic keep their creases and swing
with chic around her knees.
Her gesture’s from a supermarket aisle conversation,
her brows caught in an arch of
what by any other name is arrogance.

There was a Coke in my hand,
the day I thought I’d killed a man –
standing in the road
with my car like groceries scattered from a split bag,
thinking, here’s where the story ends.

POSTURES

He says he’s roughed her up a bit, and she touches her cheek vaguely;
he wishes to hell she’d put something on;
the moment is well and truly dead and he’s been fully clothed for hours, it seems,
pacing about behind her and shuffling papers on a table or picking up the telephone
and putting it down again; asks if she’d like anything, needs anything, money?
Makes a fleeting joke.
She laughs rather too loudly, and goes out onto the balcony.
He follows her out, but the wind strikes them and they trail back in.
She puts on her underwear with the hunch of a good loser, walks to the kitchen;
in the window above the sink she sees her reflection and his –
in the room behind her, looking at the back window.
The elevator rolls up like a diving bell –
they talk about disposable razors and admire the paintings the old women have put up
in the hall: a pulpy little girl, semi-clothed in rags; a portrait of a man in a vest beside a racehorse.
She fingers her cheek, and it flushes under her touch.

 

Carmen Caputo

  Overload #30

Gedichte

Stadtmensch

Der Morgen
als Dampfbad erwacht
teert er die Rinnen der Dächer
die Bögen der Regen
legen sich nackt auf das Pflaster
die Büste der Künstler ertränken
in fliessenden Pigmenten
das aufrechte Bild der Lügen
flieht mit den Stunden dahin
auch der Tag und die Häuser
die Menschen der Gärten
weben die Jahre in Falten
und die Straßen erwachen
menschenerwärmt.

Träumer

Seht Ihr die Träumer
Milieu der Pfennigabsätze
wie Laternen strecken
sie ihre Brüste heraus
wo Nachtfalterblicke
den Tag entjungfern nur die Nacht
ihr Frühstück einnimmt
sie werfen das Heute
über Bord auf das Grasland
die Anzüge schmecken den Deal
in der Gosse verenden die Sehnsucht
nach mehr hört ihr den Lärm nicht
der ziehenden Träume nach Übersee?

Regentag

Das Meer liebte den Tang
die Alge den Frieden
der Wagen bündelte
die Sterne zu Licht
die Brandung
die Schatten wiegte
Scherenschnitte
und ich lief ihnen nach
der Heiterkeit der Solen
als es draußen begann
Fliederbeeren zu fallen
und die Welt
ihren Blick auf sie legte
nur ich

Ist ein Jahr noch ein Jahr?

Wie falsch das Wetter war ich wusste
es würde die Blüten erwachen die ersten
die rehbraunen, die es gar nicht geben konnte
sagst du es gibt viel was es nicht geben kann
und nicht darf wie die Raben schwitzen
auf den Dächern es ist Winter
nur die Reiher frieren es kann nicht sein
hoffst du wie die Hagebutten am Fluss
zur richtigen Zeit erblühen wollen
eine Frage des Willens ich weiß es nicht
vielleicht sollten wir unsere Hände
zuknöpfen dass sie geschlossen bleiben
unfähig sein werden an geschaffenen
Werken zu holzen, zu zerstören ich will
es nicht fast gebe ich auf doch in mir
ganz tief in mir ist die Hoffnung
auf den Schnee den unsere Schritte signieren
und wir laufen werden durch ein Jahr.

Die guten Zeiten

Wie Gewänder wallten
ihre Schreie herab
im Wind das Korn des Sandes
die Burgen die Fahnen
gebückt auch das Riedgras
das Schilf auf den Wegen
Staub der Erinnerung
meine Lider begann zu fluten
ertränkten die Dünen
einen Flügelschlag nur entfernt
schrieben aufrichtige Möwen
die guten Zeiten ins Land.

Hoffen

dort wo Steine
die Ströme aufhalten
ihr Schweigen
ins Taglicht tragen
dort wo Ammern
ihren Flug formatieren
die Schatten der Brote
auf Kieswege fallen
ihre Krallen den fließenden
Wolken gleichen in Scharen
die Länder bevölkern
wird der Tag
gütiger im Geben
und verliebt sich in die Nacht.

Marj Busby

Overload #30

Always English

A WINTER’S TALE

The song says “Blue Skies around the Corner”
But our sky has no corners.
Just a mass of gray and black clouds,
Taking away our feelings of a tomorrow.
Sun where have you gone?
You that used to burn our skin,
Make us warm and tanned,
Will you ever return to lighten us?

Dull the leaden sky, drab look the houses.
No sun at all for simply ages.
What can make us feel happy?
Can we look forward to anything?
Apart from pulled curtain, lights on, television,
Blaring, night time, is this our only relief?
Sun bring us some of our former feelings
Please, lighten our weary hearts and bodies.

The End

A Spiritual Dream?

From out of the blackness came a face
It looked at me lying there,
I smiled, it responded.
Gradually a body appeared.

Is it a dream, I thought,
as a hand caressed my face.
Then as the whole body lay by my side
I just let things happen.

I lay there being gently caressed,
I felt a love, as I had felt no other.
Then I slept, peaceful, no insomnia,
Awakening, I felt refreshed.

I was alone once more
but my thoughts were calm.
My heart felt light,
Happiness as never felt before.

Could this have been a dream?
Could this have been my need?
Could this have been imagination?
I prefer to think, it was a visit from a spirit.

The End

THE LAKE

Raindrops, falling as tears
pouring down her face
as she walks towards the lake.
Trying hard to allay her fears.
Nearing the water, her steps falter
looks back at the house behind
no sign of anyone following.
She wades into the cold water.
Gradually it covers her head
One last panic, shall she succumb
into those murky depths, deciding.
Bubbles, choking, she sinks, like lead.

The End

Gerd Berghofer

Overload #30

Aktuelle lyrische Texte

GEDANKENGEFLÜSTER, ERSTE MEINUNG

münder
die sich öffnen
gegen morgen

körper
im ersten licht
noch grau

lider
die sich heben
den stunden zu

netz
aus halbem und
wahrem halbwahren

gedanken
erste erheben sich
die schreiten voran

die bleiben
nicht liegen
die schleichen nicht

in die nischen
hinter den bleiliderwänden
zurück

BEGIERDE

wir schälen die lust
aus dem fleisch wenn
wir uns am abend begegnen

wenn wir den linien der hände
folgen auf unseren körpern
im dunkel im hunger

nach hellem in uns dem
weißen in unseren augen folgend
schwankend voreinander

erblindend geblendete geschöpfe
wortlos bebend dann wieder
worte ineinander sagend

finster und schön und wir fallen
fallen und fallen dabei
fallen hinab

hinunter den weg
den wir kamen versunken in
gedanken an uns

wundgehofft, wundgedacht

KATHEDRALE DER NACHT

so spannten wir
die tage
vor unsere kutsche

und legten uns
gewänder an
die uns erhoben

über das
was wir niemals
besaßen

so trieben wir
die tage vorwärts
in die ferne

streunten durch
die fremde
rissen die sterne

vom himmel
wo wir sie
zu fassen bekamen

und gruben sie ein
in unsere spuren
so wurde es dunkel

und dunkler und
nacht doch wir
wußten einander

im ruf der eulen
und trieben trotzdem
die verdunkelten tage voran

um uns herum
formte sich die nacht
zu stein

für jeden stern
wuchs ein kiesel
heran an der wand

der kathedrale der nacht
fuhren wir blindlings
unsere kutsche

zuschanden dann stille
und ein flügelschlag
einer uns fremden eule

SOMMERLICHE BILDSTÖRUNG

himmelsäugig geöffneter tag
die blaue vorstellung vergrellt
verlichtet federstrichverdichtet darin

gas, wölkisch, weiß
augenkreise wandern
windrosenwärts

rastern das rund den
grün bebaumten rand
plötzlich: das oben

ohne vorwarnung jetgeteilt:
die hemisphäre
großspurig weiß durchstrichen

unsere kreise
beinahe archimedial
gestört

KREUZRITTER ZWISCHEN
EUPHRAT UND TIGRIS

breit die worte vom namen
gottes in dessen
sie knochen schlagen wie holz

breit die worte die
sie um sich werfen:
warum sie das tun

breit die worte die
sie treten von freiheit
die sie bringen

aus

gebreitet die fahne
über den särgen
in denen

die knochen
die worte liegen und
die freiheit

GEDANKENGEFLÜSTER, ZWEITE MEINUNG

morgens eingehaucht
nach öffungszeit des körpers
zum bewußtsein hin

ein paar vermischte gedankenknäuel
wie wolle entwirren
knoten die sich bilden sich lösen

graue wolle übrigens
oder doch eher blau
ich begreife:

sie färbt der himmel
der durch den lid
spalt
tropft

GEDANKENGEFLÜSTER, DRITTE MEINUNG

sehnerv, graviert
mit deinem
nächtlichen bild

mondgrau auf
weißem tuch
zweisam atmend

das schweigen
zwischen uns
aufrecht haltend

das sprachorgan fest
verschlossen niemand
nimmt die pille

gegen wortwachstum
nur die schmiegsamkeit
eines leibes spricht für sich

ACHTZIGERMELANGE

so gingen wir
durch die straßen
im dunkel vor zeiten:

in der engschmiege
schlangengleich im
domestizierten kamasutra

am ende ihrer schwarzen zweige
sagten wir uns helles
in der welt zwischen

zwei laternen deren licht
klatschte fern von uns
auf den asphalt

und eine melange aus
scirocco und barclay james
harvest schrie auf von hinten

von der straße her wo man
uns beneidete belächelte war alles
dabei und nichts am anfang

hielten sich zwei hände
um sich nie zu verlieren
am ende blieb ich ich und du

du wir vergaßen uns
darüber schneller als uns
die straße vergaß durch die

wir gingen vor zeiten
deren namen ich noch weiß
doch nicht deinen

JOSE KEHRT NACH HAUSE

hitzland
leergeschwitzte erde
dörrkrumen pulverisiert

olivenbaum
filigraner fächerbogen
umstaubter schattenspender

luft
lustlos
steht abseits

haus
ziegelknisternd
weiß umstrahlend

hügel verflimmert
silhouette luftgekocht:

jose kehrt heim

Thilo Bachmann

Overload #30

Wahnsinn oder nicht

Eines Morgens blieb die Zeit einfach stehen. oder kam es mir nur so vor? Ich saß am Frühstückstisch und begann zu schwitzen, obwohl die Zimmertemperatur kaum über 13 Grad war. Ein ähnliches Gefühl hatte ich vor einem Jahr schon einmal; es war während eines Spazierganges in der Lobau gewesen. Das andere Mal befiel mich dieses Gefühl während eines Urlaubes am Fuschlsee vor zwei Jahren mit meiner Freundin Susanne Ussel; ich schwamm im See alleine, hatte plötzlich ein ungutes Gefühl der Machtlosigkeit des Menschen; ich dachte, wenn jetzt die Welt unterginge, wäre das für viele Menschen sehr schlecht, am übelsten aber für mich. Für einige wäre es vielleicht sogar vorteilhaft.

Was heißt Weltuntergang? Wenn ich jetzt sterben müßte, hätte ich das Gefühl der Unausgefülltheit und großer Versäumnis nicht vollbrachter Leistungen. Damals wurde mir im Wasser fast schwindelig, und ich hatte Mühe an Land zu kommen.

Ein Jahr später in der Lobau lief es mir heiß und kalt den Rücken herunter, als mich wieder dieses sonderbare Gefühl beschlich. Ich wusste nicht woher es kam; ich konnte es nicht verscheuchen. Ich liebte das Leben trotz seiner Ärgernisse.

Ich erhob mich langsam vom Frühstückstisch, sah auf die Wanduhr; sie war stehen geblieben.

Es war schon sehr licht draußen. Wie spät mochte es sein? Meine Armbanduhr ging zwei Stunden zurück. Ich machte einen Blick auf sie. Kein Ticken war zu hören.

Zu dumm, wenn ich nicht solche Kopfschmerzen hätte; ich ließ mich auf die Couch fallen, legte mich auf den Rücken und schlummerte ein und träumte, ich schwämme alleine im Fuschlsee weit vom Ufer entfernt, bekomme einen Krampf im rechten Bein; eine größere Welle überrollt mich; ich drohe zu versinken; das eine Bein wird immer schwerer; ich will schreien, bringe aber keinen Ton heraus; das Bein zieht mich unweigerlich in die Tiefe; es ist aus mit mir. Ich war aufgewacht, schnappte nach Luft; mich fror. Wie lange hatte ich geschlafen? Warum brauchen wir eigentlich so unbedingt das Zeitgefühl, welches das Tier nicht besitzt? Ich hatte keine Ahnung, ob es Mittag war oder später; ich dachte, wenn ich im Wald leben würde, bräuchte ich keine Uhr.

Ich begann wieder an die Unbeständigkeit der Menschen zu denken. Der Kreis hatte sich wieder geschlossen bzw. meine Gedanken kreisten in weite Fernen; stoßweise kehrten sie wieder zurück.

Ich verzog verächtlich die Lippen, denn der Kleinmut der Menschen, ihr Neid und ihr Unvermögen für sie unerklärliche Verhaltungsweisen und Tatbestände richtig zu deuten. So waren sie leider schon immer das wird sich nicht ändern, selbstzerstörerisch und jederzeit bereit dem anderen die Schuld seiner eigenen Unzulänglichkeit zu geben. Aber was solls.

Aber es gibt auch lichte Seiten des Lebens, daran dachte ich ebenfalls in diesem Augenblick.