Monday, September 20, 2010


It's falling Mother, snows in the Ukraine:
The saviour's crown a thousand grains of grief
Here all my tears reach out to you in vain
One proud mute glance is all of my relief....

We're dying now: why won't you sleep, you huts?
Even this wind slinks round in frightened rags.
Are these the ones, freezing in slag-choked ruts-
whose arms are candlesticks, whose hearts are flags?

I stayed the same in darkness forlorn:
Will days heal softly, will they cut too sharp?
Among my stars are drifting now the torn
Strings of a strident and discordant harp....

On it at times a Rose-filled hour is tuned.
Expiring:once.Just once,again....
What would come, Mother:wakening or wound-
if I too sank in snows of the Ukraine?

Paul Celan, 1938

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

another evening in tangier

all night he waited for arrival, for the sudden beats of arriving
and felt nothing but the crushing weight of expectation
as his brave plans melted into a dawn unexpectedly clear.
and now with solemn steps he makes his way to the eastern beach,
away from urchins and tourists and lies barebacked on the sand
in the shade of an alcove, waiting to see those big waves later.

she did not give her promise though he waited long enough,
he thought as he lay on the sand all day long.

it is evening again he sits again in cafe paris smoking Kif
as other places beckon, the call of demanding days in uncertain times.
reflection does not bring him any more wisdom
than does looking at the sea or the sky.
she will never know his innermost heart and
he will soon forget her face any way.

his mood has changed from restless agitation to resigned sadness
as he discovers other colours that had lay hidden till then.
the sea and the sky no longer seem intent on meeting
in the old city life is making old noises as
big berber men walk alongside bare feet urchins smoking kif,
and riffian women hide their hennaed palms.
but now he only looks and moves on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An American Tea Party

Politics in the USA at present? Politics or in the place of politics a space filled by hatred, an ungainly form of market hatred, a capitalist fed ignorance of the "other", a creation of the other, a perpetuation of the notion of the other, of the enemy, an insistence, a loud insistence on difference, and the negation of that loudness, a suffocation of real debate, a thorough insistence on a univocal vision of the now, of the past and the future, the restoration of all previously mellowed prejudices, a resurfacing of a new climate of the fear of the other, for the fear of the fear of the other, a departure from debate, an American insistence on gesture dictated occupation of the political space, a soap-opera type attitude towards realities and of realities, a "Friends" type of structuring of reality, of the structuring of the other, through the now and present, towards the future.

The Tea Party at present, in modern America, the negation of the multicultural model, the affirmation of hidden prejudices, the "greatest" country in the world as is declared every day, the climate of fear, for Muslims in the USA, the new realities of America, the other, the Muslim. The Palinisation of politics, the reduction of Islam to news, as a sound bite, the negation of Islam as a religion, the negation of space for the other, the open declaration of a war against the new pariah, the new Jew as not the old Jew but the old Jew as the Muslim, the Muslim as the enemy, the open lance thrown at the new enemy, the Euro-Americanization of this hatred,this attitude. Europe follows this prescription, this Tea Party redemption, this Anglo-Saxon angst, angst because there was never a real angst, an angst of the angst, fear because the idols of fear are still prescribing the attitude towards the other, the new Jew.

When Europe will open it's gas chambers again, we know now who will be there.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bernhard: Prose

Thomas Bernhard's Prose, published in German in 1967 and available now in English comprises of sketches and short stories that, to those already familiar with his writings, will recognize the seeds of his future style and wit, which he was successfully to elaborate and develop upon. The themes which we face here, themes which he so masterfully developed later on are still in a rudimentary state but the caustic sometimes seering wit is evident. From middle aged gentlemen walking and thinking of killing themselves to hints of incest, from a critique of nearly everything of his favourite pastimes like art, theatre, and so on, Bernhard writes beautifully though not with the nonchalant ease of later novels. However, some of the stories or sketches have the same themes which he wrote in a longer form in novels such as Frost, Extinction, Cutting Timber and so on.

This new collection to his oeuvre is definitely for the Bernhard enthusiast and adds to the usually read books in English. There are some of the usual Bernhardisms and I found out some new ones, like destruction process, thought particles etc. The rants are not as long as one expects but on the whole, I enjoyed reading Prose. The stories draw from some real incidents especially those that Bernhard used to read avidly from newspapers, stories about crime, deceit and so on which allow him to develop his unique perception of all things human and further allow him to elaborate on sinister themes with that comic angle which makes it all the more sinister.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

You and Me

To your reason I will give my silence and make it reasonable
To your caution I will give impulse and restless heart,
To you I give myself, to your hours palpitation,
To your heart restless tread of my feet, my lonely hands, What else?

I cannot think of an hour of repose, I have no peace,
I know no peace, I only wait and wait
and then you come and I have no peace still.
At night I try to read and I think of you, and then I smoke a lot
and cannot sleep and I have no peace or sleep.

To your measured silence I give words, spoken and unspoken alike
To your cautious reserve I give reckless hope
To your affable words I add poetry, some sad poems
To you I give myself, come take me, was that the sea?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Evening in Tangier

In Tangier, a summer evening and the sun sinks into the sea
and the sky turns a mellow red, a sad red.
In the old quarter, along the narrow lanes leading
to the eastern beach that overlooks an old fort
come the noises that life gives,
Berber men, barefeet urchins and
Riffian women with hennaed palms.
He sits in Cafe Paris, in the old quarter, smoking Kif,
and he sits and sighs, he sits and smokes,
planning to abduct the girl he loves,
the girl he thinks he loves.
He hears some drum beats in the distance,
old songs hummed outside the cafe, he feels
the din and bustle and the early melancholy of the hour.
Tough business this love is, he thinks as roguish policemen
accompany poor Riffian women to dark despair.
It is completely dark, his resolve tested, mind decided.
I will wait for her, he decides, smoke more Kif and
listen to the saddest songs.
Tall Berber men in soft hushed tones speak of
revolution and love as he sinks into his chair.
It is going to be a long night.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

you should come to me

You should come and take me by surprise, he had been thinking of late, you should catch me by surprise as he allowed himself that thought, he thought, one of those strange light dark evenings, one of those wet evenings when it gets dark quite suddenly, he thought, it has been a long time since we have met and besides the uneasy summer is giving way to autumn and it has been a long time since we have met, he thought, and we could talk about this and that amid some talk of other things on a wet light dark evening. He began to see her now, as if they were standing face to face, in that certain way that they face each other, with an undecided space between each other, with distance that is neither close nor far. He would naturally want her to stand with her back to the window that opens on to the High Street, while he would face her, smoking a silent cigarette, smoking that silent way of his as she would begin to speak about the numerous things that bother her, she being a student of philosophy and he being a person at the margins of philosophy, he thought. Quite naturally, she would start her usual tirade about everything, including how it is possible for truth to remain hidden under disputatious rhetoric and how all her so called friends had drifted away without any leave taking, she would have added.
But all these were mainly his thoughts, he knew, and all that he thought was nothing more than a wish. He knew that such mercies were not granted anymore and that he would have to imagine her facing him, with her back to the window facing the High Street and himself smoking silently, and he would have to imagine her in a disputatious mood, which made her look beautiful and gave her eyes the colour of brown and brandy, he thought and imagine himself in his usual sense of apprehension, for at the moment of truth, he had never known effusiveness. He would have to, he thought, imagine her talking and looking into the distance and ignore the sometimes uncomfortable silences between each long difficult thought of hers, he thought, a gap that neither knew how to fill, or knew but didn't know if the time had come, he thought. But all this was merely an exercise in self-pity, he thought, for in reality their encounters had seldom been positive, she always in the throes of metaphysics, he thought, and he always in the grasp of speechless stupendour. Such were his thoughts as he wished these thoughts, and he could think of nothing else.

Saturday, September 04, 2010