Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stop selling weapons

If they ask you what I think about war, tell them I am against all wars. Too simple? I am astonished at the women of my generation like Hillery Clinton, Rice and others who urge to go and intervene with full might and weaponry. I can understand the emotional, even passionate reaction, the compassion with the people of Libya. I have been in Rwanda 10 years after the genocide and have  seen the emptiness in the eyes of people there, I have seen the old machetes and know about the one million  people murdered in one hundred days. I have friends in Croatia who had a son in Vuckovar. Massive killings without intervention. Maybe these women feel guilty for the loss of life and the pain that was not prevented. Yet the hypocrisy of bombing the planes the west sold to dictators or tribal leaders. Fighting the Taliban armed by the US to resist the Russians are all acts that show that the west doesn't have the moral high ground. Talk, negotiate, use economic power, all possible peaceful means. And yes stop selling weapons now.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Outer Dark - Comac Mc Charty II

Cormac McCarthy made me think  through Outer Dark about blindness, propriety, avenging angles or devils, namelessness and about fear. The word apocalyptic has been used concerning McCarthy’s novels, the triple devastating disasters in Japan. I think of the death who because nobody recognized them are buried nameless, like the unknown soldiers in Der Englisher Friedhof  near Kamp Lintfort in Germany.

© sms:foto duisburg/rhein 2010
I think of the grief of  the survivors of family members with a name. McCarthy’s themes are woven through the stream of information, through the extent of death and suffering in the now and wonder about my own fears. I see the old lady with a woolen vest and hat in the snow, cold and all alone: everything and everyone lost. How will she go on? How does one maintain one’s humanity and dignity under such extreme circumstances and maybe it is even harder to maintain in every day life.
The last image of Rhinty in Outer Dark is her coming upon the deserted fated place where she finds a small ribcage among the ashes of a recent fire. McCarthy’s mastery is that he says no more referring us all to our own emotional meltdowns.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Outer Dark - Comac Mc Charty

Outer Dark hard and dark book where the beauty is only in the language of the inevitable apocalyptic end. Lost people wander in a violent world where with some grace they sometimes find a piece to eat or a fire to sit by. The setting is the beginning of the 20th century in the Appalachian mountains and the hard life of survival till a violent demise. The story: Culla Holmes takes the baby born from his incestuous relationship with his and lays it out in a wintry wood. A thinker with a cart goes looking for it and places it with an other woman. Rinthy, sickly and weak, goes looking for the tinker in order to find her child. The novel is peopled with cripples, murderers, violent men, all constituting a graceless  world without redemption.
The language however is so precise that it hurts, so beautiful that one longs for the next page.
Examples of beauty in this godless mythology: The sun hung on the cusp of eclipse and the prophet spoke to them.
(...) the dull lowing of an alligator (...)
He crossed to the table and took the lamp and lit it, shaping the room from darkness.
(..) these travelers could have been stone figures quarried from the architecture of an older time.
What discordant vespers do the tinker’s good chime through the twilight...

Yes in this novel darkness and blindness reigns supreme yet in beauty. This is a truly existentialist novel till the last sentence: Someone should tell a blind man before setting him out that way.
Cormac McCarthy, one of the best...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

world wide reading

We ask all of you to read this poem and to let us know through a comment where the poem was read.
Thanks for all you do for Freedom of Expression and the writers in prison because of their writings..
You Wait for Me with Dust

- for my wife, who waits every day

by Liu Xiaobo

nothing remains in your name, nothing
but to wait for me, together with the dust of our home 
those layers 
amassed, overflowing, in every corner 
you're unwilling to pull apart the curtains
and let the light disturb their stillness
over the bookshelf, the handwritten label is covered in dust
on the carpet the pattern inhales the dust
when you are writing a letter to me 
and love that the nib’s tipped with dust
my eyes are stabbed with pain

you sit there all day long 
not daring to move 
for fear that your footsteps will trample the dust 
you try to control your breathing 
using silence to write a story. 
At times like this 
the suffocating dust offers the only loyalty

your vision, breath and time
permeate the dust 
in the depth of your soul 
the tomb inch by inch is 
piled up from the feet
reaching the chest 
reaching the throat

you know that the tomb 
is your best resting place 
waiting for me there 
with no source of fear or alarm 
this is why you prefer dust
in the dark, in calm suffocation 
waiting, waiting for me 
you wait for me with dust

refusing the sunlight and movement of air 
just let the dust bury you altogether 
just let yourself fall asleep in the dust
until I return
and you come awake 
wiping the dust from your skin and your soul.
What a miracle – back from the dead. 

April 9th 1999

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Picture of the Doel nuclear plant from my living room.
In sorrow for the people who have lost loved ones and all their worldly belongings this poem is dedicated to them.

The long now

the long now
10.000 years
who can then
read this
the symbol

who knows then
for the cause
of double timing halftime
short selling
of what how log
then still
has to come
years from now
the late burden
of moot mushrooms
and fantasies of fission

we all live
in the halftime
of the long
now -

Nuclear energy no thanks
 old nuclear plants are kept open longer in Europe
We should learn from the disaster in Japan

Monday, March 7, 2011

Carnevale Helau

Right food is important before the festivities start.  Eggs, potato salad, and the sour herring for the day after. Such is the basis for walking, and singing, schunkeln and lots and lots of drinking. At 6 o' clock  we heard the announcement 'Das Bier ist alle'... How can that be: no beer during Karneval. Helau is the traditional greeting, and the full greeting is a threefold repetition of the same raising in a wave the right arm...
Lots of music:T├Ątereee...
It is all about fun, political criticism. Also tons of candy is thrown to public. The difference between the groups and the onlookers is just that the onlookers are unique like the friendly folks in the last  picture.
Helau, Helau, Helau...

© sms:foto duisburg/rhein 2011
Der HIPPIEZWILLING in Orsoy am Niederrhein (>OSCHAU helau!<) 2011 am Karnevalssonntag

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Child of God

Planning a trip to the Appalachian  Mountains and not quite finding the information I was looking for,  I remembered that Cormac Mc Carthy had several books  situated in that area. Knowing that I greatly appreciated his work, I started reading Child of God. His language, his style, his observation, his description of people and landscape are at the same time surgical, compassionate, non-judgmental and passionate. I have a list laying around of precise, beautiful words, the correct names of plants and landscape elements, tools.... all found in his writing. The child of god here is Lester Ballard a violent, dispossessed man, driven out of his ancestral home, roaming the mountains, surviving on his wits and ruthlessness. People disappear, are murdered and the women then are used to calm his loneliness, to satisfy his needs. It is amazing to me that through his brilliant writing, Mc Carthy doesn't neither glorify not vilify Lester Ballard. In a way his survival skills are as admirable as his actions are unconscionable and degraded. The main protagonist lives, like many of the other characters in abject poverty. To a degree I have seen these in small rural communities in the Mojave desert. I don't like to read horror stories nor violent tales, yet I find something sublime and compelling in Mc Carthy's novels, as if with his insight in people's actions he warns us for our dark sides.

A few words and phrases:
In the pines the voices chanted a lost litany.
(...) and then swept out the window howl on howl carrying first the muntins, then the sash
A windy riffle of whispers went among them.
(...) as if the sound authored the substance (...)

Now I am looking forward to  Outer Dark