Uit: The blue door
“‘A strange book,’ she says without looking at me. ‘I don’t think it’s entirely convincing, but it’s very disturbing.’ Now she settles squarely on her back and turns her head to look at me. ‘In the key episode of the story the young Japanese woman – what’s her name?’ She flips through a few pages. ‘Yes: Miu. She gets stuck at the top of a Ferris wheel at a fair in the middle of the night. And when she looks around, she discovers that she can see into her own apartment in the distance. And there’s a man in there, a man who has recently tried to get her into bed. While Miu is looking at him, she sees a woman with him. And the woman is she herself, Miu. It is a moment so shocking that her black hair turns white on the spot.’ Her black eyes look directly into mine. ‘Can you imagine a thing like that happening? Shifting between dimensions, changing places with herself…?’
‘I think that happens every day,’ I say with a straight face.
‘What do you mean?’
‘When one makes love. Don’t you think that’s a way of changing places with yourself? The world becomes a different place. You are no longer the person you were before.’
‘You’re still an incorrigible romantic.’
I am not sure if that is meant as criticism, cynicism, or gentle approval.
‘Shall we try?’ I ask quietly. This time I put out my hand and fold it over the gentle roundness that moulds the angularity of her bare shoulder.
There is a tense moment. Everything, I realise, hinges on this. Everything. Not just the choice between yes or no, between making love or turning away, but who we are, where we are, what we are, what may become of us.
At least she doesn’t make an attempt to turn away. A moment later, with a small sigh, she closes her eyes. I take the book from her and put it aside. Then I kiss her shoulder.
‘David,’ she says, as if it is not a name but the introduction to something longer and more complicated. Monologue, soliloquy, poem, reminiscence, memoir, prophecy. Or all of it together. But whatever the rest might be, is left unspoken.
I push myself up on an elbow and pull the sheet from her. She is wearing a very thin cotton nightdress, full-length, but rucked up to her thighs. I bend over, down, to kiss her knees. She utters a small sound and raises her hips so that I can pull the nightdress up to bare her pubic mound. It is very small and dense, smooth as a sable paintbrush; I touch it with the tip of my tongue.
I speak her name as she has spoken mine. But I have no idea of what it means. ‘Sarah.’ I do not even recognise my voice.
And so we move through the undulations of our lovemaking, reaching out to a necessary conclusion. But it continues to elude us, staying just beyond our reach.
Exhausted, covered in sweat, my throat parched, my fingers numb, I remain a dead weight on her, my face in the fragrance of her hair.
You are my wife, I think. You are my wife. But who are you? Who am I?…”
André Brink (Vrede, 29 mei 1935)
Uit: The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare
The Two Poets of Saffron Park
The suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and ragged as a cloud of sunset. It was built of a bright brick throughout; its skyline was fantastic, and even its ground plan was wild. It had been the outburst of a speculative builder, faintly tinged with art, who called its architecture sometimes Elizabethan and sometimes Queen Anne, apparently under the impression that the two sovereigns were identical. It was described with some justice as an artistic colony, though it never in any definable way produced any art. But although its pretensions to be an intellectual centre were a little vague, its pretensions to be a pleasant place were quite indisputable. The stranger who looked for the first time at the quaint red houses could only think how very oddly shaped the people must be who could fit in to them. Nor when he met the people was he disappointed in this respect. The place was not only pleasant, but perfect, if once he could regard it not as a deception but rather as a dream. Even if the people were not “artists,” the whole was nevertheless artistic. That young man with the long, auburn hair and the impudent face—that young man was not really a poet; but surely he was a poem. That old gentleman with the wild, white beard and the wild, white hat—that venerable humbug was not really a philosopher; but at least he was the cause of philosophy in others That scientific gentleman with the bald, egg-like head and the bare, bird-like neck had no real right to the airs of science that he assumed. He had not discovered anything new in biology; but what biological creature could he havediscovered more singular than himself? Thus, and thus only, the whole place had properly to be regarded; it had to be considered not so much as a workshop for artists, but as a frail but finished work of art. A man who stepped into its social atmosphere felt as if he had stepped into a written comedy”.
G. K. Chesterton (29 mei 1874 – 14 juli 1936)
The Shortest Journey
Tel Aviv, 1935
The flagpoles on the roofs of homes
were like the masts of Columbus’s ship
and each crow that perched on them
conjured another continent.
Travelers’ knapsacks walked through the streets
and the language of a foreign land
was thrust like the cold blade of a knife
into the hot desert wind.
How did the air of that small city
find a way to bear
memories of childhood, lovers shed,
rooms emptied somewhere?
Like pictures blackening inside a camera,
clear winter nights were reversed,
with rainy summers across the sea,
and foggy mornings of capital cities.
As the sound of marching behind your back
drums a foreign army’s songs,
it seems, as you turn your head to the sea,
your city’s church is floating.
An Evening in a Café
The city’s in the colored coat
of awnings over balconies,
clear wine shining in lanterns
and light in the drinks blurring.
Scraps of a squabble and a rush
of chatter, cutlery. High in the sky,
lights have erased from the blackboard
an old accounting of the stars.
Short-tempered and severe,
the sea behind our backs
tracks and charts our beating hearts
in a secret pact with my watch.
Only the very young can grasp
the value and meaning of time,
with its nights gone astray
and all we give away
each moment vainly passing.
And like an incredible nightmare
there across the street, an old
man passes, slowly:
he has no reason to hurry.
Rainy Autumn Night and a Clear Morning
Into a dark, opaque night
only the jackals know,
the city was thrown:
dressed in white,
from lashes of rain,
the rebuke of thunder,
an old sea’s stolen caress.
Our little city
together with us
and our lives—
but the bright morning opened her prison
black circles beneath her damp lashes—
white she is, and not fair
without a past or prideful air—
how beautiful was her youth!
Leah Goldberg (29 mei 1911 – 15 januari 1970)
De Oostenrijkse dichter, schrijver en uitgever Till Mairhofer werd geboren op 29 mei 1958 in Steyr. Als zestienjarige al bracht de jonge kunstenaar in zijn geboortestad Nestroys sprookje Der Veschwender op de planken. Tegenwoordig schrijft hij gedichten, romans, verhalen en essays. Ook is hij mede-oprichter van uitgeverij „Edition Wehrgraben“. Als docent ziet hij zich zelf als literatuurpedagoog en verzorgt hij literaire wandelingen en theatervoorstellingen op school.
wir haben wirklich alles
was wir brauchen
wir brauchen nichts
wir sind wirklich alles
was wir sind
denn wir sind nichts
in die sterne genügt
und alles ist klar
morgen auch abend lied
immer wieder ein schnee da
runter die knospen
platzen nicht auf
kein thema hier
nur die amseln
schon unermüdlich am first
singen zum kometen
Till Mairhofer (Steyr, 29 mei 1958)
Zie voor onderstaande schrijfster ook mijn blog van 29 mei 2007.
De Franse schrijfster Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, hertogin van Montpensier, werd geboren op 29 mei 1627 in Parijs.