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   EO
Tl
_MJ international  BRIAN BURKE
Editor-in-Chief
DAVID CORCORAN
Managing Editor
J.E. SORRELL
Poetry Editor
RICHARD PAYNE
Drama Editor
BRIAN BURKE
Fiction Editor
EL JEAN WILSON
Copy Editor
WINONA KENT
Business Manager
GEORGE MCWHIRTER
Advisory Editor
Editorial Board
HEATHER CAMERON
EVA GRAATEN
GENNI GUNN
ANNE HENDERSON
BILL HURST
WINONA KENT
JUDY MCGILLIVARY
RICHARD STEVENSON
LIDIA A. WOLANSKYJ
JWL
international
A QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF
CONTEMPORARY WRITING PRISM international, a journal of contemporary writing, is published four times a year at
the Department of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver,
B.C. v6t IW5. Microfilm editions are available from Xerox University Microfilms, Ann
Arbor, Michigan, and reprints from the Kraus Reprint Corporation, New York, N.Y.
Contents Copyright ° 1982 PRISM international for the authors.
Cover design and artwork: Derrick Clinton Carter.
One year individual subscriptions $10.00, two-year subscriptions $16.00. Libraries and
institution subscriptions $14.00, two-year subscriptions $20.00. Sample copy $4.00.
All manuscripts should be sent to the Editors at the above address. Manuscripts must be
accompanied by a self-addressed envelope with Canadian stamps or international reply
coupons. Manuscripts with insufficient return postage will be held for six months and then
discarded.
Payment to contributors is $10.00 per page and a subscription. PRISM international
purchases First N.A. Serial Rights only.
Our gratitude to the Canada Council, Dean Will and the University of British Columbia.
Also financially assisted by the Government of British Columbia through the British
Columbia Cultural Fund and Lottery Revenues.
Second Class Mail Registration No. 5496. December 1982. CONTENTS
VOLUME TWENTY-ONE        NUMBER TWO        WINTER 1982
Miklos Radnoti
Four Poems
1
Norberto Luis Romero
The Birth of Fernando Maria
'3
Daniel Moyano
Swallows
18
Miguel Hernandez
Poem
24
Raymond Carver
Three Poems
26
Phil Hall
Poem
29
Alden Nowlan
Morning Flight To Red Deer
31
Bertolt Brecht/Ernst Ottwald
Kuhle Wampe and Two Essays
37
George Bowering
Four California Deaths
51
Robert Rankin
Two Poems
58
Peter Sanger
Two Poems
61
Jan E. Conn
Poem
64
Martin Anderson
Two Poems
65
Draga Djulgerova
Poem
68
Joan Aiken
The Gift-Giving
70  Miklos Radnoti/Four Poems
PEACE, HORROR
As I stepped out the door it was ten o'clock,
a baker singing glided by on glinting wheels,
a plane droned overhead, the sun shining, ten o'clock,
my dead aunt came to mind and suddenly on wings
all those I'd loved, none of them among the living,
a host of the mute dead all floating dark
and then some shadow slithering down the building's wall.
Silence dropped, morning was suspended at ten o'clock,
peace wafted through the street, and also horror's pall.
1938
translated from the Hungarian by Jascha Kessler THURSDAY
In New York, T. hung a halter
round his neck in some place he was rooming,
stateless through all those years, a drifter,
how much longer could he go on roaming?
In Prague, JM took his life,
in his own land left with no homestead,
not one word a year does PR write,
dead maybe under a root that's dead.
To Hispania he went, the poet,
where sorrow struck his eyes like a mist;
wanting to be free, and a poet,
could he cry against the bright dagger's thrust?
Could he cry to the infinite
when his finite journey is done;
could he cry out for his life,
the one in chains, or the homeless one?
When the lamb begins to bite
and the cooing dove eats bloody meat,
when the snake on the path whistles
and the blowing wind begins to scream.
26 May 1939
translated from the Hungarian by Jascha Kessler FOAMING SKY
The moon's rocked by a foaming sky,
miraculously I'm still living.
Hardworking death hunts this time
and those he comes across are livid.
Sometimes the year looks round and screams,
looks round, and then faints.
Behind me what an autumn skulks
and what a winter, blunt as sorrow's pain!
The forest bled and in the turning
time each hour's blood dribbled.
Great numbers and grim ones
that the wind on the snow scribbled.
I've lived to witness both this and that,
I feel the air as dense
as before I was born — that tepid
menacing silence is what I sense.
I stop here at the foot of the tree,
which roars its foliage furiously.
A branch snakes down. To throttle me?
I'm neither weak nor cowardly, just tired. I stand still. And the branch, scared,
fumbles dumbly at my hair.
One ought to forget, but I've never
forgotten anything whatever.
Foam rages over the moon, anger
strikes a dark green streak across the sky.
Slowly, carefully, I roll myself
a cigarette. I'm alive.
8June 1940
translated from the Hungarian by Jascha Kessler
io PARIS
There's a tilt to the pavement where Boulevard
St. Michel intersects the Rue Cujas.
I've not deserted you, my wayward,
beautiful youth, even now in my heart
like an echo down a mine there's your humming voice.
The baker lived at the corner of Rue Monsieur le Prince.
And on the left, one of those great trees
in the park turned yellow against the skies
as though Autumn were something it could foresee.
Freedom, darling nymph with long thighs,
dressed in the gold of evening,
are you there yet among the veiled trees, hiding?
Summer marched along like an army,
raising dust from the road and pounding sweating,
now a cool mist followed floating by
and fragrance wafting left and right, spreading.
Through midday Summer stayed and sweet Autumn came
calling in the afternoon, a forehead wet with rain.
What a child's life I lived then,
just as I pleased, like some old pedant too,
who says, The earth is round. Such sapience.
I was still green, with a beard white as snow.
Who gave a damn if I went strolling round?
I descended later below the hot ground.
ii Where are you, O singing stations:
CHATELET-CITE-ST. MICHEL-ODEON!
and DENFERT-ROCHERAU - you sound like a damnation.
The great stained wall a map blossomed on.
O where are you! I cry.    I listen.    Fetor
of bodies and ozone beginning to roar.
And the nights! And the pilgrimage each night
from the outlying fringe towards the Quarter!
Will that weird overcast shed its grey light
over Paris yet again at the dawn's hour
as, sodden with the writing of verse
and half-asleep, I turn towards bed and undress?
O to return! Will I find strength once more
in the deep current of my passing life?
The stinking hashhouse on the ground floor
has a torn, and he's mating on the roof.
What screeching! Will I hear that once more?
It was then I learned what a brawling uproar
Noah must have drifted through the moonlight with in days of yore.
14 August 1943
translated from the Hungarian by Jascha Kessler
Miklos Radndti was killed on a forced march
from Heidenau Concentration Camp. His
body, with last poems, was recovered in 1947.
12 Norberto Luis Romero
The Birth of Fernando Maria
On the thirtieth of July Dona Roberta made the most unusual delivery
in her forty years as a midwife. "That child's coming out wrong," the
grandmother had said, "badly placed, but it will be an exceptional child."
Sure enough, Dona Roberta had only to touch Marina's enormous belly
to affirm and swear by all the patron saints of parturition that the baby
was badly placed. After terrible pains and great efforts, Marina, whose
first time it was, gave birth to an enormous white egg, which they named
Fernando after its paternal grandfather and Maria in memory of its
maternal great-grandmother, who had been much loved and who had
devoted all her life to making Easter eggs.
The grandmother was the first to observe that the boy, or girl, was
different from other children born in the town. This served as an argument to strengthen her prophecy: "I told you the child would be exceptional!" But she took no time to find a resemblance to her late husband,
who had had very smooth white skin, and to accept and love the child
more than anyone.
Marina, the mother, gave it all the care any child deserves, though it
required nothing greater than constant attention so it would not roll out
of bed and fall to the floor.
The grandmother hastened to rummage through drawers stuffed with
useless objects for old balls of wool, twisted from so many uses, numerous unravellings and transformations. "This will make a little robe,"
she said as she wound it in a ball. "I'll make the front and back pink with
white sides. Right now there are plenty of booties." And she sought
among the socks shoved one inside the other a wrinkled, dirty bill,
almost worthless, to buy pink and baby blue buttons for her little
grandson.
Marina, the mother, had drawn her son a little boy's face,
Fernandito's, because she had always wanted a little boy. On the opposite side, the father drew with careful lines an enchanting little girl's
face, with brown eyes like its grandmother's, the one who had made
chocolate eggs. But he unbefittingly added a neat, slight woman's sex.
*3 They bathed and changed the infant every day; and with soap and
water in each bath Fernando Maria lost the enchanting faces and doll's
sex. Then they painted it again, and on each new face they added
different features, slightly changed, to create varying states of mind so
that the child would be growing; and so they made her hair grow, and
her first teeth; they made her cry when she was hungry or laugh when
they made faces at her.
"Even if she is your mother, I don't want her to put those ridiculous
little dresses on him. We'd agreed that one day I'd dress him, and she the
next, but she insists on knitting those horrible little outfits decked out
with old-fashioned flounces which frill out all around."
Fernando Maria was so round that the little clothes slipped up or
down and rubbed off the faces which they painted with such care. They
worked things out equitably: mornings until noon the baby was
Fernandito, dressed in baby blue with starched bows near the curve of its
face and buttons along the narrower contour; and afternoons Maria was
dressed to the hilt with her fancy dresses trimmed with pink lace which
made her look like candied fruit.
Fernando Maria stayed healthy and hard and in time became a
beautiful child whom all the neighbors fondled. The child was passed
from hand to hand, from house to house. Marina always advised, "Be
careful you don't let him fall for he'd break." And the creature was
spoiled in one arm after the other between the fleshy bosoms of the most
affectionate matrons.
"You must give me money for yarn," was the grandmother's refrain.
"Red wool, green wool, sky blue wool for my adored grandchild. Knit
one, pearl one, drop one, two, three — " was heard at all hours from the
windows of the house, and the grandmother showed all her friends the
tiny clothes she knitted with her own hands, the fancy knitting she
invented for her heavenly grandson.
The child was kept blooming and healthy, with its cheeks well painted,
but its parents were losing, little by little, enthusiasm for their child. The
only one who grew more and more affectionate was the grandmother. "I
must hurry," she sighed. "Drop one, two, three. Knit one. Pearl one."
Marina hardly understood the excessive desire with which the grandmother constantly knitted and filled drawers with absurd little clothes —
"because the child wears out very little, mother. Why so many clothes?"
"I know what I'm doing," the grandmother answered without raising
her eyes from her knitting. "I certainly do."
Nor was there any more shortage of gossip and mean thoughts than
affection among the neighbors who claimed that the child would be a dull
white egg all its life. Others spread the word that it wouldn't be long
before the parents found, the day they least suspected it, an enormous
ugly bird in Fernando Maria's cradle. The boldest passed around that it
14 would be a basilisk and that the best thing would be to get rid of it. These
rumors, inevitably, reached the parents' ears and they became infuriated. As for the grandmother, she paid no attention and laughed at the
impertinences, maintaining that her grandchild was the best in the world
and that it wouldn't be long before they would see him with their
own eyes.
Some of these comments must have been made in the presence of
Fernando Maria since in time, and about then, the creature began to
change color slightly; not even its parents had noticed it until the
grandmother, when undressing him, perceived some tiny blue and
green spots, like small clustered moons, over the child's entire surface
and called them to their attention. The doctor diagnosed measles, but
the grandmother didn't believe him and, pretending to go out to buy
wool, she returned that afternoon with a package hidden in her bag. In
secret she opened it and began to read the book she had bought, Mimicry.
So she confirmed what she feared, that her grandson Fernando Maria
was terrified by the comments made about him and tried to go unnoticed
by mimicking the color of the sheets or his own clothes. The grandmother told the parents what was happening so they would stop making
comments in front of the child, especially about the basilisk, and stop
rubbing him down with useless unguents. They paid little attention.
Then the grandmother made up the crib with sheets of brightly colored
flowers and after a few hours called the parents in and showed them
Fernando Maria's surface covered with big flowers with colors exactly
like those of the sheets.
Since they stopped mentioning the basilisk, Fernando Maria gradually left off camouflaging himself, but nonetheless trusted in his grandmother more than in anyone. She spent hours inventing songs, stories
about eggs and children, while she knitted a kind of tunic with openings
in the back. Gradually the parents gave up all care of Fernando Maria;
they entertained him little, given their sometimes apathetic, sometimes
ecstatic character, and stopped painting its face and girl's sex, in that
way converting it into a simple white egg to which no one paid any attention. But the grandmother had already perceived slight movements,
light rockings which passed unnoticed by the others and which were
increasing and becoming turns completely around and over himself.
Fernando Maria had passed to the end phase, so the grandmother
thought, and that was a good symptom. So it began to move and shift
itself about the room, and to hide under furniture to play tricks on his
grandmother or simply to entertain himself investigating the topography
of the house. At times he managed to drive the family to its wits' end
when he disappeared and the grandmother couldn't find him. Everyone
had to pitch in to search for Fernando Maria, looking under furniture,
in closets, and behind curtains.
'5 Every afternoon the grandmother went for a walk. She said she went
to visit an old friend of hers who had been the town stationmaster.
Marina thought it was a senile romance, but soon discarded the idea because the grandmother's only love was clearly for Fernando Maria.
One day a neighbor arrived carrying Fernando Maria in his arms,
saying he had found him in his garden hidden under the jasmines. They
surrounded the house with a picket fence, which they painted green, and
the child could roll through the entire house and the garden with complete freedom, but always under the vigilant eye of the grandmother,
who was careful that it did not slip from a great height or that the
children did not throw stones to break it. The first few days some neighbors came to see how Fernando Maria rolled through the garden, but
they were soon bored and paid no further attention, and the child was
brought up freely under its grandmother's watchful attention.
The latter had long since learned from her friend the ex-stationmaster
enough of the Morse code to be able to talk with her grandson, giving
him a few little taps on the shell with one of her needles, with which she
was constantly knitting, and awaiting the response by gluing her ear to
her grandchild's surface. When he answered with similar taps from
within, she smiled and tapped again with the tip of her needle. At times
the dialogues were very long and the grandmother seemed quite uneasy,
knitted more rapidly than usual, and readied all the little clothes, going
over them and counting them each day.
One night when the women were alone in the house, in the dark corridor Marina surprised her mother, who was tiptoeing toward the room
where the child was sleeping, with a hammer in her hand. She believed
her mother had gone mad and ran to protect her son, locking herself in
with him. From outside, the grandmother tried to persuade Marina to
open the door and let her in. She said the moment had come and her
presence was very necessary. Marina let her in on condition that she get
rid of that hammer and explain what she intended to do. The grandmother agreed but was careful not to discard the hammer, which she hid
under her clothes. She gave Marina a long explanation of what would
happen that night, but the latter did not believe her; rather, she thought
it was another of the grandmother's dementias, a craze much like knitting tunics with openings in the back or visiting that old friend to learn
the Morse code. When her husband came home, she told him everything
and assured him that there wasn't a thing to worry about, that the grandmother loved the child too much to do it any harm, that they were
doubtless imaginings which would soon pass.
On the following morning Marina and her husband had to surrender
before the evidence: first, when they saw the floor covered with scattered
white shell and then a gentle sound of fluttering made them raise their
eyes to the ceiling. Fernando Maria, with its fragile little body, still wet,
16 protected by one of the cute shirts knitted by the grandmother, was
flapping awkwardly about the room. They could not avoid shedding
tears of happiness; they made signs to the child to come down to them
and called it by name:
"Fernando Maria."
But the child did not seem to hear them. His little blond head tilted,
he gazed fixedly at his grandmother, telling her things with his eyes, and
he seemed to obey a deeper, more urgent call. The grandmother smiled
at him and her hands made signs to show him the open window. Then
the three, crying, leaning on the windowsill, waved goodbye to their
son, who, flapping with greater strength, rose and disappeared forever
in the infinite.
Madrid
October 1980
translated from the Spanish by H.E. Francis
17 Daniel Moyano
Swallows
What finally brought me here? Practically nothing: a man on the wing, a
paper woman, a D flat re, and a few other things. Perhaps a cock
which crows too early. The more I turn it over, that's the only thing left.
The rest the wind's blowing away there. The old man stacked bricks all
day, swarmed all day around things he was piling up and which finally
were a house, and one could look at that house, it was there with its
doors and windows. Live people one can also see for a decent spell of
time, or write if they're far away, somewhere they're breathing. That old
swallow on the wing and the paper woman are more difficult, I can't see
them, I have only words. Words too the wind carries off. Generally the
wind carries away a heap of things. It can carry a word as well as a
person. To the wind it's all the same, to the wind there's neither weight
nor substance. Of course, words have some advantages: they almost
don't exist. It's hard to hide a house or a living person so that the wind
won't carry them off: they have too much volume. Words, though, can
be hidden, they fit anywhere, and on some occasions they serve to
reconstruct the house or the people who were lost, even the wind which
carries them off.
Urgently, one must reconstruct the old man, above all because he did
exist, had a real existence in that little room nine by nine where I myself
lived with him for quite a while, beds against the wall, a wicker chair, a
Primus stove on the floor (I believe there was no table), the guitar and,
outside, the dirt patio with the mulberry tree, and the street door
possessed by the rain, always wet and rotting, absurd to have a wooden
door exposed to bad weather. In the other rooms there are men from
Tucuman recently come to Cordoba, they all work for the railroad from
six to two straight, they get up before we do. Those who don't have a
heater boil the water for mate on the little brazier which burns outside,
there are three or four black braziers with almost red flames in the
middle of the patio when it isn't raining, and if it is raining the braziers
are against the wall beside each door smudging the walls. It's a shame
how these Tucumanos are ruining my house, the manager said when he
came to collect the rents for the tiny rooms.
18 We, with the Primus, had no problems. I think it was the best kerosene heater in Argentina. Of course there were other makes. But like the
Primus none, my father said, straining the kerosene through a woman's
stocking before pouring it into the heater, in it lay the dregs, that's why
our Primus was never stopped up. He had to take good care of the stockings, nylon stockings were expensive, and in the tiny room there was no
woman to leave us old stockings to strain the kerosene.
The woman we did have was made of paper, she was on the musical
score, on the D flat re which my father liked so much. The only feminine thing in the room was that old stocking which one day the wind
brought flying. The Tucumanos had no women either. They had left
them in Tucuman, they would send for their families when they earned
a few pesos, that's what they said drinking wine on the patio weekends
before becoming sad from the alcohol and beating each other up,
arguing whether the railroads should belong to the English or to us. The
Primus has its three legs soldered to gleaming brass. A little fuel alcohol
heated the coil, and the legs chattered against the tile floor when my
father pumped it, and at once the blue flame appeared in the Primus
which began to hum, half-asleep my father washed his face in the basin,
half-asleep I heard the sound of his sucks at the mate straw, he always
drank it in one long suck, I don't know how he kept from burning himself with the almost boiling water, he would give me one —Get up because the Tucumanos already left, I mean it's after six —all this while
half-asleep, and we went to work, I handed him the mortar, he laid the
brick balancing himself on the scaffolding.
It was very real pumping up the Primus in the morning, but it was
very hard for me to get used to him being my father. I had seen him over
a good bit of time, but I was very young then. As if half-asleep, I'd seen
him. And just when I'd almost forgotten him, a letter arrives: If you
want to, come to me in the city, I have a pretty steady job now, I'm
going to teach you music, you'll see how beautiful music is. My false
parents I had in town were glad, they gave me money for the bus, about
three hours to the city, and I get there with my little suitcase and knock
on the door of the room and it happens he's not there, a Tucumano
comes out, I don't know from what room, and tells me He'll be here soon,
but anyway go look for him at Don Elias's tavern, it's on the next corner,
and I go into the tavern where there's a crowd of types drinking, leaning
against the counter, let's see which one can be my father. There are five
or six who could be. Any one, I think. Besides they all look alike. There's
a smell of lime and putty in the tavern. There's one who looks at me
hard, I can't take his gaze, I try to reconstruct something of him that
stayed with me, but nothing. There must be someone who has a face
that looks like mine, only old now, with lots of wrinkles and white hair,
that's what I'm thinking when the bartender makes a sign to me I don't
understand and since I don't understand he says Get lost, kid, the laws
'9 are very strict, you can't stay here. Then one of the Tucumanos who sees
me standing beside my father's door and it's already night and it's
turning pretty cold says Come on, kid, if you want to have some soup
with us, and I say Sure. There are three Tucumanos in the room (in the
others are more), they have a big mirror and at least two parrots.
They're not in cages, they perch on some wire supports. I've seen these
faces and these parrots in trains which come down from Bolivia and pass
through my town, they're people who go looking for work in Cordoba or
Buenos Aires, the parrots are for their good luck. They're very talkative,
say the Tucumanos, pointing their spoons at the creatures. Everyone who
has a parrot says this, but it's a lie. I've seen only one parrot in my life
which says more than two or three words, and always the same ones, the
potato for the parrot or something like that. The Tucumanos talk about
their province, I eat my soup without understanding a thing, I stare at
the blackened pot in the middle of the table, the parrots' eyes, which are
not birds' eyes, and the brazier outside where the water for mate is
hissing. Then the Tucumanos drink mate, playing truco, and suddenly
one of them says now that you've come your father's not going to drink
anymore, you're going to make him very happy, for some time he's been
wanting to send for you but he couldn't find steady work. And at that
moment the sound of the always swollen street door, the door which
never fits the frame, and my father, who arrives and sticks his head into
the Tucumano's room, his eyes sparkling; it's going to be hard for me to
get used to.
No, I never saw an alheli. It's the first time I've heard the word. Or
maybe I've seen the flower without knowing it was an alheli. So you've
never seen an alheli? my father says, laughing. Never—I swear it —
never. Look, there are gillyflowers everywhere. I've seen them on
fences. Every garden has them, alhelies. No, never. Well, perhaps there
in town there are none, but it's a flower which grows everywhere. How
could you help knowing an alheli, I've seen them in the north and in the
south, I know this country like the palm of my hand, and it's true what
the tango says, the humility of the alheli. But haven't you at least heard
the word? Maybe I know the flower without the name, sure.
Hard to get used to my father, to his forever new things, to music
learned note by note, you have to play the scales moving a measured
hand. He doesn't look anything like what I imagined. Besides, I'd never
imagined a thing about him. I knew he was somewhere here, that's all.
And always talking about things that don't concern me or that I've never
seen. I've hardly learned the notes, and already he comes bringing the
score to "Flor de alheli," study it carefully, you'll soon see what a beautiful tango it is. The notes, the guitar and my father, all are so new to me,
all so alheli. I saw you come into the tavern that day, but I didn't take
heart, the last time I saw you you pissed the bed and now you're a man, and besides that day I was half-lit, that's why I held back, I waited till the
dizziness went, and don't be so formal with me, don't be an idiot. I
expected something else, to tell the truth, that's why reconstruction is so
difficult, brick after brick, note after note to see the "Flor de alheli" girl
who's going through the meadow of the tango among little morning
flowers with the humility of the alheli / saw you go by say the words on the
way from church with tulle covering your hair and with a prayerbook,
spring in the tango, in the notes, but in the little room a terrible cold in
the middle of August, the old man on the scaffolding and me in the little
room Be sure you practice your scale, careful with the arpeggio, they're
the church bells of the place where she goes tripping through the field
with tulle covering her hair, she must be wearing stockings because the
morning air is pretty cool, stockings to catch the dregs from the kerosene
so as not to clog the Primus, the feet of the stove chatter against the tile,
my father whistling gives me the first mate, stay home today, learn the
tango well, this weekend you'll be able to play it, you don't know how
that thrills me, he keeps whistling trowel in hand on the scaffolding, me
in the little room with the notes, from the notes she comes rising, the
words of the tango don't say what the girl's name is but she keeps
coming, I'm thrilled with her who runs with her tulle covering her hair,
Flor de alheli I said to you in a confident tone and soon afterwards
for the two of us love was born, the bells re re re then began to ring
madly, Flor de alheli, now you'll never again go out of my life. My
father's eyes shone as if they were sparkling from wine that weekend
when I played the tango without a mistake, Say, those re re res are a
wonder, he says, and we're both thinking of the woman we don't have.
Sure, she was a paper woman, and everything happened in a very
very small town and as pretty as you according to the phony bourgeois
tango heard afterward on the radio of the neighbors opposite. But in my
town there were neither alhelies nor meadows, but pure hills and thorn,
plenty of weeds piquillen and chanar and tala, how can alhelies grow in
the weeds? She goes timidly with her little book through the meadow in
the little town, it must be a town on the damp pampa, useless to look for
her around here, and besides people from Buenos Aires write the tangos,
all the fields and all the women are theirs, and my father and I dreaming
of her, how's love going to be born for the two of us and especially so
near the men from Tucuman who beat each other up amid a screaming
of parrots.
And how can he be my father that old man who pumps up the Primus,
who each day comes home tighter, we leave work at six in the afternoon
and when we're close to our neighborhood he says you go on, go practice
the tango, I'll stick around here, if you need me I'm (and he hesitates)
next door to Elias's, beside Elias's tavern there's an empty lot, my father
goes to drink with the Tucumanos, he gets home late and mumbles softly
21 not to wake me, the next day he gets up whistling, If you want, stay
home today, it's cold, say, how beautiful those re bemoles sound, forgive
me, son, I can't stop drinking, one of these days I'll clear out.
Then there's almost nothing. Months. Time. The wind has begun to
blow some things away. She always runs through the meadow but never
looks at us, besides she has her face slightly hidden under the notes, it's
sketched on the staff. We don't know her name or what town she's from.
My father was too certain for me to get used to him, and she too much
alheli, too much meadow, too much leaping, looking for a normal guy to
make her nest with and stay in the town forever. And to top it off me
always making mistakes, at times I missed the re bemol, and I mistook
the day too, Pa, I think it's six o'clock, the cock crowed, and he waking
up laughs and says how can it be six? don't you see the Tucumanos still
haven't stirred? It must be a crazy cock that's crowing too early. And he
was right, in a while the last trolley on Bulnes Street went by, it was one
o'clock. And nothing else, time and Tucumanos and railroads and the
girls who never came to the town church, and just when I'm getting used
to my father, when I look into his face cut into by the lime and see that
my face, as it also begins to be lined, resembles his, him who tells me
something I'd never heard, one of those words like alheli, so strange to
me. He says this to me: swallow laborer. I never saw a swallow laborer.
What? You never saw a laborer on the wing? No, cross my heart. In
summer, on the train? No, never. It's the first time I've ever heard the
word. Almost all trains carry swallow laborers. Maybe you've seen them
without knowing the word. Maybe I have seen them. Look, in summer,
at harvest time, the roofs of freight trains are covered with swallows.
Of course you've seen them.
I'm leaving you the guitar but Fm taking the Primus. You can get one
anytime. Say, don't be thrown off by the cocks crowing. There's always
some jerk cock who crows too early. And learn that tango well. It's
fantastic! Look, the train whistle's blowing. But his father doesn't board
yet, he waits till the train begins to move, if he didn't they'd make him
get off. He climbs the last car, which is moving now, he drags that great
big leather bag which was under the bed and I never saw. My field bag
he says from up there, it's a long thing like a coffin but made of leather.
On the train roof there are more swallows, each with his leather bag.
And there goes my father on the freight train to pick the harvest on the
damp pampas, maybe the train will go through the little town of the
musical score and he'll meet the girl. My father is lost in the other swallows, now any one of them could be my father beside Elias's, but it seems
to me he's the one who raises his hand losing himself in the meadow of
the musical score, he really knows the palm of his hand very well.
Finally my father comes to be the same as the girl. Finally the two
come to be the same thing; although my father, no doubt about it, had a
real existence and she didn't, both seem made of paper. And then almost
22 nothing is left, only time, the wind has blown the Tucumanos away, the
potato for the parrot. There's only the re bemol (accidental alteration), a
D from the fourth line touching the bells of the town church, finally the
re re re is the only thing I have left. My father lived without a woman,
I'm far away without a woman. He took the Primus and here there's no
Primus, probably there never was. And now there's no Primus there
either, they're gone out of style, and here there are many things to see
while one is forgetting. Madrid is a big city, ouf, how rotten living is, as
the manager said when I told him I was leaving the room and going
away, and he hung out the little sign which said room for rent, he hung it
on that forever swollen door which never fit in the frame. I don't know
why he said that to me. What did that stupid cock crowing too early have
to say to me ?
translated from the Spanish by H. E. Francis
23 Miguel Hernandez
SONG
Our house is a dovecot
and the bed, one of jasmine.
The doors are both open,
and in back is the whole world.
Our son is your heart,
mother that has been exalted.
Within your habitation
everything flowered.
Our son made you a garden,
and you made of our son,
my wife, the habitation of jasmine,
the dovecot of the rose.
All around your skin
I tie and untie mine.
A midday of honey
you exude: a midday.
Who has entered this house
and left it deserted?
In order to be remembered I
must be someone who is already dead.
Come the roundest light
and the whitest almond trees!
Life and light deepen themselves
between deaths and ravines.
24 Lucky is your future husband,
like those horizons
of pure porphyry and marble,
where the mountains breathe.
Our kindled house burns
from lovely kisses and shadows.
You cannot pass through life
deeper, more movingly.
Overflowingly deaf,
the milk illumines your bones.
And the house overflows itself
with you, our son and the kisses.
You, your abundant womb,
our son and the dovecot.
Wife, over your husband
dream the steps of the sea.
translated from the Spanish by Gerry Tiffany
25 Raymond Carver■/'Three Poems
WITH A TELESCOPE ROD ON COWICHE CREEK
Here my assurance drops away.    I lose
all direction.    Gray Lady
onto moving waters.    My thoughts
stir like ruffed grouse
in the clearing across the creek.
Suddenly, as at a signal, the birds
pass silently back into pine trees.
26 TORTURE
for Stephen Dobyns
You are falling in love again. This time
it is a South American general's daughter.
You want to be stretched on the rack again.
You want to hear awful things said to you
and to admit these things are true.
You want to have unspeakable acts
committed against your person, things
nice people don't talk about in classrooms.
You want to tell everything you know
on Simon Bolivar, on Jorge Luis Borges,
on yourself most of all.
You want to implicate everyone in this!
Even when it's four o'clock in the morning
and the lights are burning still —
those lights that have been burning night and day
in your eyes and brain for two weeks —
and you are dying for a smoke and a lemonade,
but she won't turn off the lights that woman
with the green eyes and little ways about her,
even then you want to be her gaucho.
Dance with me, you imagine hearing her say
as you reach for the empty beaker of water.
Dance with me, she says again and no mistake.
She picks this minute to ask you, hombre,
to get up and dance with her in the nude.
No, you don't have the strength of a fallen leaf,
not the strength of a little reed basket
battered by waves on Lake Titicaca.
But you bound out of bed
just the same, amigo, you dance
across wide open spaces.
27 CHEERS
Vodka chased with coffee. Each morning
I hang the sign on the door:
OUT TO LUNCH
but no one pays attention; my friends
look at the sign and
sometimes leave little notes,
or else they call — Come out and play,
Ray-mond.
Once my son, that bastard,
slipped in and left me a colored egg
and a walking stick.
I think he drank some of my vodka.
And last week my wife dropped by
with a can of beef soup
and a carton of tears.
She drank some of my vodka, too, I think,
then left hurriedly in a strange car
with a man I'd never seen before.
They don't understand; I'm fine,
just fine where I am, for any day now
I shall be, I shall be, I shall be. . .
I intend to take all the time in this world,
consider everything, even miracles,
yet remain on guard, ever
more careful, more watchful,
against those who would sin against me,
against those who would steal vodka,
against those who would do me harm.
28 Phil Hall
GOODBYE TO A STATUE
Problem is I also admired my father
although in his wallet
he had a picture of a naked woman
bent over
grinning back between her legs
at a camera.
Thanks.
I know instinctively when to look
sideways at manikins.
There is only one moment, one vector
attached to it, rod & cone, in which
to see the clay breast —
and I know jt.
The chalk nipple could be offered to me
like the blind eye of a horse;
I would be as impressed
as a boy.
I made women out of sleeping kittens
dogs, trees, flies
a can of Drano and a warm cloth
the ends of doors, friends sleeping
who slept over
29 a machine for peeling potatoes.
I am afraid
of what I could do
as a grown man
without love.
Problem is: jamming at dryness
with eyes shut is news; it sells
paper.
Women in wallets
are the lives of the party.
I was pulled from the woman
in my father's wallet
his last five
that he spent in my mother
who nearly died — when she did
it was like saying "goodbye
to a statue"
as Hemingway or my father said.
A wonder I care about anything.
Amazing how you trust me now
how you sleep hot on me each night
like a plaster.
3° Alden Nowlan
Morning Flight to Red Deer
On the bus to the Calgary airport, he sat across the aisle from a woman who
had no matches. He liked her because she smiled with him at the country-
western song on the driver's portable radio, "Please, God, don't let my
divorce be granted," wailed, hollered, communicated by Miss Kitty
Wells of the Grand Ole Opry with such absolute conviction that, for the
moment, he loved everybody who did not know that it was ridiculous.
There were permanent frown lines in the forehead of the woman who
had no matches, which meant that she probably came from the working-
class, as he had. The middle-classes are not necessarily happier, but
smiling is habitual with them, a polite gesture. So, by the age of thirty,
when the lines are there even when the expression is not, it is usually
easy to distinguish the members of one class from the other, or so he
believed.
"Could I have a light, please?" she said, holding up her cigarette as
people do when they ask for a light, as if to bear witness that they are not
pyromaniacs. Her cigarette lit, they exchanged the meaningless phrases
that sometimes, not often, open the way for a genuine conversation. "It
looks like a good day for flying," he said. And she said that 7 a.m. was
one hell of an hour at which to schedule a flight.
He learned, somewhat to his disappointment, that she had not been
smiling with him, after all, but at something which he had not noticed
and which would not have amused him. "That nutty driver scared that
old dude with the dog almost to death." When they boarded the plane for
Red Deer, he found that they had been assigned neighbouring seats.
"Do you live in Red Deer?" he asked, unable to think of anything else.
"God, no, I'm from Calgary." It was obvious that she too thought his
question stupid. Well, most Calgarians were extraordinarily self-
conscious about being city-dwellers, doubtless because so many of them
had escaped there from a countryside where billboards warned motorists that The Steps of the Fornicator Lead Down to Hell. During his visit
there, he had come to suspect that nothing would make them prouder
than more traffic jams, more muggings, more pollution — anything that
reminded them that, by God, they had got out of Buffalo Wallow.
31 They were in flight. Her hair smelled of lime-scented shampoo.
"Could I borrow your lighter again, please?" She was a deliberate chain
smoker, he had observed, not the nervous kind. This time when he
reached into his jacket pocket he found a book of Travel Lodge matches.
"M'lady," he said, with a little bow, "may I present you with your very
own matches?"
"Thanks." He was startled by the anger in her voice and the finality
with which she turned away from him. Should he apologize for having
thought that she might come from a hick town? When he brushed
against her, while reaching for a magazine —air travel causes strangers
to touch in a way that our ancestors would have deemed unseemly in a
couple engaged to be married —he felt little electric shocks of hostility.
Suddenly, he realized that it was not Red Deer; it was the matches.
"Look," he would have liked to say to her. "I wasn't being sarcastic. I
don't begrudge you the use of my lighter, for God's sake. I was merely
trying to be mildly amusing." But he was not the kind of person who
could offer such explanations and have them accepted.
"Excuse me," she said. He stood up as best he could to let her pass.
Her buttocks pressed hard against his groin. There was a mole on the
back of her neck. Her earlobes had been pierced. She did not come back.
"Would you care for tea or coffee, sir?" The stewardess was smiling, of
course, but in her eyes, as in the eyes of many stewardesses, there was
the glint of cruelty that comes from belonging to a sorority which works
in an environment that throws the sense of reality slightly askew. It was
funny how the airlines had dressed their stewardesses in shorter and
shorter dresses and then, just before their panties would have become
visible, had decided that the dresses were in fact jackets, to be worn with
slacks. He had three ways of entertaining himself on planes, aside from
reading or drinking. One of them was creating erotic fantasies.
Was it possible that the woman without matches felt that he had
rejected her as a woman? Shutting his eyes, he willed time to run
backwards, willed the woman back into the seat beside him, willed her to
resemble Lauren Bacall.
It didn't work. It was too early in the day. And he wasn't in the right
mood to make up limericks, which was another way he had of passing
the time on planes and in dentists' waiting rooms. He raised the arm-rest
on the vacant seat beside him, drank his coffee and began to play his
third form of mental solitaire, which was eavesdropping.
It was much more preferable to conversing with strangers. He could
turn the dial in his head toward the seats to his right, the seats ahead, or
the seats behind him. He could tune in and tune out whenever he liked.
It was like using a scanner radio, he supposed, except that no desk sergeant or cab despatcher was ever likely to sound as passionate as the man
in front of him now, who was saying:
"Wait a minute. . . .What it happened to be. . . .Can I finish? When
32 Dad passed away—. I more than willingly—. He did a good job of
administering things —very little direct control. The only kind of feedback— . The prime agitator, for want of a better word, was Phyllis. At
times I questioned Phyll's loyalty—. I was still suffering from some kind
of kid brother complex. For example— ."
Had there been a quarrel over a will? As often happened, two people
were talking, but only one voice was distinguishable. The man who had
once suffered from a kid brother complex was playing a trumpet solo; his
companion was merely his accompanist.
The trumpet kept shifting back and forth between whine and bluster.
Anyone who said, "Can I finish?" was a boor as well as a bore. Perhaps
something less depressing was happening elsewhere. He gave his empty
coffee cup and plastic spoon to the stewardess and tuned in the seats
behind him.
This time it was a duet. "How long has he been with us?" one voice
said. It was a very confident, masculine voice. A boardroom voice. This
was the kind of passenger who carried an attache case and, normally,
spent the flight leafing through sheets of xeroxed paper.
"I have his file with me," another voice said. This one was much like
the other, but younger and a shade less confident. Yes, there was the
click of an attache case being opened, the rustle of papers being gone
through. "Here it is. Yes I thought so. He came to us straight out of law
school. Fifteen years ago."
"Fifteen years — and never in a bigger town than Red Deer?"
"Right."
"I would have thought he'd have got the message long ago."
"I'm sure he would have if he had ever asked for something better and
been turned down. The man's no fool. The thing is, he's never applied
for a promotion — at least not in my time."
"No ambition."
"He's a funny guy. I wouldn't call him lazy exactly. But he never does
anything. Doesn't golf, doesn't play tennis, doesn't even jog as far as I
know. Won't get involved in the community — "
"I know the type. Married?"
"Very much so. That's a big part of the problem."
"Ah. What is it? Her tongue, her bladder, her belly or her crotch?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Does she talk too much, drink too much, eat too much, or screw
too much?"
"Oh!" followed by laughter that said the younger man would be
careful, when they came to a door, to see that the older man passed
through first. "Nothing like that. It's just that she—. Well, let me put it
this way, she doesn't chew gum but she always looks as if she's about to
pop a stick in her mouth."
"I think I get the picture."
33 "Don't get me wrong. It's not just the wife. And it's not just his lack of
drive —."
"Balls."
"Pardon?"
"You call it drive, I call it balls."
"Right. Well, it's not just his lack of balls. There's a helluva lot more to
it than that. There's what happened at the office party, for instance — "
"SIT DOWN, MICHAEL!" This was the woman across the aisle,
knocking all other stations off the air. The child whom she had rebuked
burst into tears. "I'm sorry, darling." The woman reached out to comfort
the child; the child pulled away, his sobs of hurt changing to sobs of
anger. "I said, I was sorry, darling." The child sobbed louder. "Here.
See what Mummy's got for you." She had taken candy from her purse.
The child continued to cry, but now his sobs were purely physical; his
mind was on another matter: how to satisfy greed without relinquishing
anger. After a moment of indecision, he snatched the candy and stuffed
it into his mouth.
"I had to do a lot of explaining after that one," the younger executive
was saying.
"I'll just bet you did. My God!" Then a pause, after which the older
executive said, "My God!" again.
They both laughed. The older man's amusement sounded genuine.
"Of course you could get your own ass burnt on this one," he said.
"I don't see — ".
"If you really don't see, then you deserve to get your ass burnt. Good
God, man, you've been working with the guy for —how long?"
"Three years," the younger man admitted, miserably.
"Three years," the older man repeated mercilessly. "That means that
when our boy gets the chop, the boys in Winnipeg will be asking a
helluva lot of questions —and some of them will be about you."
"I suppose you're right."
"You know damn well I'm right. It's not going to look too damn good
for me, either. Jesus, I'm supposed to be on top of these things." A
pause. "It would solve a lot of problems if he'd do it himself. Do you
think there's any chance of that?"
"If you had asked me that a year ago, I wouldn't have had to think
about it for an instant. He'd have taken the hint then. Now, I don't
know."
"It's that bad?"
"It's that bad."
"Does he know I'm coming?"
"No."
"Well, he'll know that something's up as soon as he sees me." Another
pause. "Maybe I ought to surprise him."
34 "That just might work." The younger man sounded almost
desperately relieved.
"It's worth a try," the older man said.
"The best time would be at lunch," said the younger man. "After he's
got a couple of martinis into him."
"Enough rope," said the older man.
"Enough rope," the younger man repeated. It was as if they were
toasting each other.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are beginning our descent," said the
loudspeaker.
"Poor bastard," thought the eavesdropper, whom we will henceforth
call Smith, which is as good a name as any.
As they disembarked —"deplaned," the stewardess would have said —
Smith tried not to look at the two executives. He knew perfectly well that
he was being absurd; but he couldn't help thinking that if their eyes met
his and they saw the dislike in his face, they would know immediately
that he had been spying on them.
It was impossible to shut them out completely, of course; as they
brushed past him on the tarmac —such men were always in a hurry —he
saw that one wore eye-glasses, the other a moustache.
"Phyll, darling! You didn't have to meet me at this outrageous hour; I
could have taken a cab." This from the man who had once suffered
from a kid brother complex to a woman with badly dyed hair.
"My God," said the younger executive, the one with the moustache.
"What is it?" said the one in eye-glasses. Like Smith, they were
waiting at the baggage carousel.
"It's the wife. Heading toward the exit. The woman with the cigarette.
I thought that face was familiar, but I couldn't place it until now."
It was the woman whom Smith had offended with his offer of matches,
the woman who had refused to admit that she lived in Red Deer.
"You don't think-."
"Not a chance. Just after we took off, she went to the back of the
plane."
"Funny you didn't recognize her then."
"I've only seen her a couple of times before. And she looks like every
waitress in every greasy spoon in the country."
"Yes, I see what you mean."
Smith snatched up his suitcase and hurried after her.
She had boarded the bus. Good. The executives were certain to hire a
cab. Smith, too, boarded the bus. Fate had provided an empty seat
beside her. He sat down in it. "Hello," he said.
"Hi."
"Look, I wasn't being sarcastic. About the matches, I mean."
"What?"
35 "Back there on the plane, I wasn't being sarcastic when I offered you
the matches. You thought I was, but I wasn't."
"I don't know what in hell you're talking about."
"It's not important. The important thing is — " He knew by now that
he was making an absolute fool of himself; the woman eyed him with
that shrivelling female contempt which created the legends of Circe and
Medusa; but it was too late for him to stop, " — the important thing is
that your husband's boss is out to get him. I overheard them talking
about it on the plane — ."
"Get lost, you creep."
"But-."
"Driver!"
"This guy bothering you, lady?"
"He's some kind of nut. Just make him go away."
"You heard the lady, Mac. Beat it."
Smith stood up unsteadily, half-blinded by the stares of the other
passengers. When he took his suitcase from the overhead rack, it seemed
twice as heavy as before. He got off the bus, colliding with a passenger
who was getting on —"Hey! Watch what you're doing, Buddy." —and
looked around him for a cab that would take him to the merciful sanctuary of an hotel.
"That's what would have happened," he told himself as he unpacked
his shirts and underwear. "That, or something very much like it." But
perhaps he could have telephoned to the intended victim. "You don't
know me. But listen carefully. They're out to get you."
"Who is this?"
"That doesn't matter. Let's just say I'm a friend. I flew up from
Calgary on the same plane as— ."
"Who is this?"
"Please stop asking, 'Who is this?' and listen to me. I flew up from
Calgary on the same plane as — "
CLICK!
That was even sillier than thinking he ought to tell the woman on the
bus. How could he telephone the poor sod when he didn't know his
name, or even the name of the company he worked for?
There was nothing at all he could have done. Anyway, the fellow
probably deserved to be fired; and if he didn't deserve it, it could turn
out to be the best thing that had ever happened to him.
Smith telephoned room service and ordered coffee and a sandwich.
He tried to force the conversation which he had overheard on the plane
out of his mind, tried even harder to stop himself from thinking, "What
if somewhere out there, they're making plans to get me?"
36 Bertolt Brecht
Ernst Ottwald
Kuhle Wampe
(or Who Owns the World?)
FADE IN
TITLE:    "ONE FEWER OUTOFWORK"
FADE OUT
A SERIES OF SHOTS. . .
. . .as agitated music plays, showing low angles on buildings, factories, apartment houses and streets. A locomotive pulls into an industrial
station. More low angle shots of housing complexes and blocks of
rental flats. All of this establishes Berlin in 1931.
CUT TO:
A MONTAGE OF NEWSPAPER HEADLINES
Seventeen headlines, one after the other, outline the economic depression in Germany. Millions are out of work and the ranks of the unemployed grow daily.
DISSOLVE TO:
A CLOSE ANGLE ON A LISTING OF AVAILABLE JOBS
The listing is posted on a public bulletin board in Berlin.
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT:    BERLIN CITY STREET-DAY
pedestrians and bicycle riders move along the street and on a sidewalk
parapet overlooking the industrial section of the city.
37 A horse-drawn cart passes by, and more and more riders arrive, park
their bikes and begin to congregate on the street and around the public
bulletin posting column, young bonike arrives and stands near his
parked bike. These are the jobless, and they assemble awaiting the
arrival of a new job list.
a biker rides up, carrying an armload of papers. He dismounts and
begins distributing the new job list to the crowd of unemployed people.
They cluster around him, reaching, straining to get hold of a copy of the
jobs list, and once having done so, step off to themselves to quickly scan
it.
young bonike gets his copy of the list and hurriedly but carefully reads
through it. the biker gives out the last few papers, then gestures to those
who have not received a copy that there are no more.
The crowd disperses, young bonike finishes reading the listings, puts
away the paper, gets on his bicycle and rides off. Others mount their
bicycles and ride off in the same direction after him.
CUT TO:
A SERIES OF ANGLES ON THE BICYCLE RIDERS - MOVING
The Bicycle Riders ride in packs, their bike wheels spinning, wobbling,
pedals pumping relentlessly as they are off in search of work.
CUT TO:
EXT:    A FACTORY FRONT-DAY
The Bicycle Riders, including Young Bonike, arrive in front of the factory just as a man hangs out a sign in the front window.
INSERT OF SIGN
Reads:    "NOT HIRING WORKERS."
The Bicycle Riders mount up and ride away.
ANOTHER SERIES OF ANGLES - MOVING
The Bicycle Riders continue on as before, searching for work.
CUT TO:
38 EXT: AN ENCLOSED COURTYARD OUTSIDE A FACTORY
ENTRANCE-DAY
A group of Bicycle Riders, including Young Bonike, arrives and rides
out of sight through the gate behind the courtyard walls. They reappear,
having been turned away, a moment later walking their bikes. Young
Bonike crumples up the job list he has been carrying and pitches it away
in disgust. They mount their bicycles and ride off again. The agitated
music stops.
CUT TO:
EXT:    STREET IN FRONT OF THE BONIKES'
APARTMENT - DAY
Young Bonike rides up in front of the apartment building, dismounts
and walks his bike through the open front door.
music comes from somewhere in the building. In the hallway, Young
Bonike, still walking his bike, passes two street musicians, one of
whom is playing a harmonium and the other a saw.
CUT TO:
INT:    THE BONIKES' APARTMENT - DAY
father bonike lies on the lace-trimmed livingroom sofa, reading a
newspaper. A particular item catches his interest, and he sits up, putting
the newspaper down on the dining table. From his vest pocket he takes a
stubby pencil with which he marks a note on the newspaper.
father bonike
The boy won't be drawing any more unemployment
according to this.
This is directed to mother bonike, who is setting the table for dinner.
Receiving no answer from her, Father Bonike puts his pencil back into
his vest pocket and returns to reading his newspaper.
father bonike
You just don't care about anything, do you.
Young Bonike enters the apartment, hangs his bicycle up on a hook on
the wall, takes off his hat and goes into the livingroom. He sits at the
table next to Father Bonike, looks at his father briefly, then turns his
head and stares vacantly down at the table.
39 Mother Bonike sets a large casserole dish down on the table and begins
dishing out its contents for Father and Young Bonike. anni enters the
apartment through a door out in the kitchen.
Hi.
She removes her cap and puts it down, takes a comb from her handbag
and goes to the dinner table.
anni
The welfare agency is going to pay Schulz's
back rent.
Mother Bonike sets dishes out for herself and Anni.
MOTHER BONIKE
They won't give us any help.
She puts the serving bowl aside and sits down at the table. Anni comes
and sits down next to her and they eat.
FATHER BONIKE
You can never tell. The welfare people do what
they want to.
MOTHER BONIKE
There is always work for a really good worker.
(then, to Young Bonike)
But when a person doesn't even bother trying to
find work, there's no need wondering why things
have gotten so bad.
CUT TO:
ANGLE ON BICYCLE RIDERS-MOVING
Pedalling their bicycles, as before, in search of work.
INT:    THE BONIKES' APARTMENT - AS BEFORE
CUT TO:
FATHER BONIKE
And this boy doesn't even bother to greet our
landlord.
ANNI
Greeting him doesn't help much when you're six
months behind on rent.
40 FATHER BONIKE
(angrily)
He could still greet him! A person can't afford
to be unemployed and rude both.
MOTHER BONIKE
(sternly to Young Bonike)
So you can't find work anywhere?
FATHER BONIKE
Of course not! Not by being rude!
ANNI
Or by being polite, either. There are no jobs!
CUT TO:
CUT TO:
ANGLE ON BICYCLE RIDERS-MOVING
As before, out looking for jobs.
INT:    THE BONIKES' APARTMENT - AS BEFORE
Father Bonike gestures at Anni with his spoon as he speaks:
FATHER BONIKE
The boy may be poor and he may be unlucky.
But no one could possibly be that unlucky for
seven months running now!
Are you trying to say that he's just good-for-nothing?
FATHER BONIKE
Yes, that's what I'm trying to say!
ANNI
And you? How are you getting on? I suppose
you've got a time card right there in plain sight
in your pocket? You're out of work, too!
FATHER BONIKE
Just because you spend your whole day out
stamping your time card doesn't mean you
can come home here and act snooty!
He stands up angrily and leaves the table. Mother Bonike stands and
calls after him:
4i MOTHER BONIKE
For goodness' sakes, quiet down! What will
the neighbors think!
Father Bonike goes to the kitchen door, slips on his jacket and cap and
looks back at his family, scornfully. Young Bonike sits demoralized, a
blank look on his face. Mother Bonike scrapes the last spoonfuls of food
from the bottom of the serving dish.
MOTHER BONIKE
Every day, the same squabble.
Father Bonike leaves through the kitchen door and walks down the staircase from the apartment. Anni sits looking at Young Bonike, still with
his blank stare. Mother Bonike cleans the dishes off the table, removes
the table cloth, puts the centerpiece in place and goes to the kitchen.
Anni goes to a mirror hanging on the wall and applies her lipstick.
Outside, someone whistles sharply, and she turns around, goes to an
open window and leans out.
ANNI
I'm coming!
She goes back to the mirror, primps some more and puts her lipstick
back into her handbag, which she slips under her arm as she turns
to leave.
CUT TO:
INSERT OF A WALL PLAQUE IN THE KITCHEN
It reads: "Lament not the morning that toil and labor brings. It is so nice
to care for people that one loves."
CUT TO:
ANGLE FAVORING YOUNG BONIKE
He looks after Anni as she goes out and sits silently for several seconds.
Then, he gets up slowly and deliberately, walks to the window and
swings back wide open the two hinged sashes.
As he holds the sashes open, his attention focuses on the wristwatch on
his left wrist. He lowers his arm, carefully unbuckles his watch and
places it gently on a dresser top. He turns back to the window, moves a
flowerpot to one side and climbs up onto the window sill.
CUT TO:
42 HIGH ANGLE ON MOTHER BONIKE
She walks up the staircase outside the apartment, carrying a heavy
handbag.
CUT TO:
A CLOSE ANGLE ON YOUNG BONIKES HAND. . .
. . .gripping the top post of the window frame. The hand lets go and
disappears from the frame. There is a brief silence, and then from far
below a short cry.
CUT TO:
A CLOSE ANGLE ON THE FLOWERPOT IN THE
WINDOW SILL
CUT TO:
A CLOSE ANGLE ON YOUNG BONIKES WRISTWATCH
It lies on the dresser, showing exactly six o'clock.
CUT TO:
ANGLE ON THE BICYCLE RIDERS
As before, out looking for work.
CUT TO:
ANOTHER   ANGLE   ON   YOUNG    BONIKE'S    BICYCLE...
. . . hanging just inside the door on the hook on the wall.
CUT TO:
OVERHEAD ANGLE
A crowd gathers around Young Bonike's body, lying on the street below,
covered by a tarpaulin.
CUT TO:
EXT:    AT STREET LEVEL
Several women, children, workers and a policeman make up the
crowd. Anni and her boyfriend fritz approach the crowd. Fritz glances
43 down at the covered body on the street and then at the Policeman. In the
b.g. voices of children playing can be heard.
fritz
(to the Policeman)
What's going on here?
WOMAN NEAR THE POLICEMAN
Jumped out of the window.
Fritz and Anni look at each other and then down at the covered body.
CUT TO:
LOW ANGLE ON TWO WOMEN
They are standing on a stairway landing in the apartment building, a
third woman climbs the steps toward them.
first woman
And before he jumped, he took his wristwatch off
and laid it on the table.
second woman
Naturally. The fall would have broken it.
CUT TO:
ANGLE ON THREE CHILDREN DOWN ON THE STREET
FIRST CHILD
Which window is it then?
THIRD CHILD
(pointing)
That one there!
SECOND CHILD
No, not that one. That one there!
All three of them stand looking up at the window.
CUT TO:
ANGLE ON WOMAN ON STAIRCASE LANDING
WOMEN
One fewer out of work.
There are four other women standing on the landing with her.
44 first other woman
Such a young man.
second other woman
And his father doesn't know yet.
CUT TO:
INT:    A TAVERN-DAY
Father Bonike and a man stand at the bar drinking schnaps and smoking.
father bonike
In America they already have seven million
people out of work.
MAN
Aw, well. They used to drive to work in cars.
Now they're demonstrating against unemployment.
father bonike
But on foot!
The Man nods his agreement.
CUT TO:
EXT: THE STREET IN FRONT OF THE BONIKE'S
APARTMENT - DAY
In the crowd standing around the body of Young Bonike are the Policeman and another officer.
officer
What was the motive?
policeman
Unknown!
CUT TO:
ANGLE ON OLD WOMAN. . .
. . . standing on the staircase of an apartment building.
OLD WOMAN
Such a young man. He had the best years of
his life ahead of him.
CUT TO:
45 EXT:    STREET IN FRONT OF THE APARTMENT -
AS BEFORE
A police ambulance is parked on the street. An attendant closes and
latches the double doors on the back of the vehicle, goes up front, gets in
behind the wheel and drives away.
CUT TO:
TITLE:    "THE BEST YEARS OF A YOUNG MAN'S LIFE"
FADE OUT
SOUND FILM: KUHLE WAMPE or WHO OWNS THE WORLD?
In the summer of 1931, by taking advantage of especially propitious
circumstances (the dissolving of a film company, willingness of an
unnamed individual to invest a modest sum of money together with his
theatrical abilities in a film, etc.), we had the opportunity to produce a
short film. With the impression left by the Three Penny Opera case fresh in
our minds, we drew up a contract which, for the first time in the history
of motion pictures we are told, made us legally both the producers and
the authors of the film. Though this cost us our claim to the usual guaranteed fee payments, it secured for us almost unlimited control over
our work.
Our small company consisted of two screenwriters, a director, a
musical scorewriter, a production manager and, last but not least, an
attorney. Understandably, organizing the company and planning the
details put us to much more trouble than the artistic work itself, that is to
say, we came more and more to regard the organizing as being a significant aspect of the artistic work. That was only possible because the
nature of the work was as a whole political.
Yet, at the last moment before completion of all work in progress with
nearly nineteen-twentieths of the film shot and considerable funds used
up, our credit was withdrawn. A firm that had loaned us money and
which had a monopoly on certain equipment that we needed explained
to us that it no longer had any interest in the release of our film and was
canceling funds which had been promised to make further work on it
possible. They claimed that though the film might be highly lauded by
the press, the press did not reflect the opinions of the paying public, and
that the film could not possibly turn a profit, in as much as communism
no longer posed any danger for Germany.
Other firms refused to extend credit because they feared censorship of
46 the film, not so much government censorship, though, as censorship by
the theatre owners themselves. Indeed the former is just the mouthpiece
of the latter, and the government censors generally don't act just as an
impartial third party, but rather as executors of the wishes of the existing
administration and economic system.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FILM
The sound film Kuhle Wampe or Who Owns the World? consists of four
self-sufficient sequences which are separated by musical pieces which
accompany montages of tenaments, factories and landscapes. The first
sequence, based on a true event, shows the suicide of a young man out of
work during the best years of his life. His troubles have accumulated
layer by layer until, on top of all this, the final unbearable misery is laid:
the young man's unemployment benefit is canceled. Before hurling
himself out of a window, the aforementioned young man takes off his
wrist watch and lays it aside so that it will not be broken. The beginning
of this sequence in the film shows the search for work as work itself.
The second sequence shows the eviction of the family as the result of a
court judgment (which refers to the unfortunate family's inability to keep
up its rent as being "brought about through their own fault.")
The family moves out of the city to a tent colony called Kuhle Wampe
and takes shelter in the tent of their daughter's boyfriend. (The film was
for some time supposed to have been titled Ante Portas.) The daughter
becomes pregnant, and because of the narrow-minded attitudes about
relations prevalent with those in the colony, (a type of "possession" of
land and property plus the acquisition of a little income create peculiar
social forms) the young couple is pressured into an engagement. It is the
daughter's decision, though, to break off the engagement.
In the third sequence, a workers' Sports Rally is shown. The rally is
well attended and excellently organized. It's purpose is thoroughly political; the recreation and competition of the masses is merely a symbol for
revolutionary activity. In this sequence, over 300 worker-athletes were
involved. The young couple from the second sequence are shown among
the athletes and the workers: the girl has, with the help of her girlfriends,
raised the money for an abortion, and the couple have put aside all
thoughts of marriage.
The fourth sequence shows the trip home from the rally in a railroad
car in which takes place a discussion over a newspaper article which tells
of the destruction of Brazilian coffee for the purpose of price-fixing.
CONCERNING THE POETRY
The "Song of the Homeless" was omitted because of apprehension
over censorship, and "Roll Call" because of technical problems.
47 The "Solidarity Song" was sung by some 3000 worker-athletes. The
"Sporting Song" was sung by a soloist during the motorcycle and
boat races.
The poem "On Nature in the Spring," done in solo voice, accompanies and connects three walks taken by the young lovers. During production, this part of the film was screened for worker-athletes who objected
to the nudity in it.
Brecht, Dudow, Hollering,
Kaspar, Ottwald, Scharfenberg
A SMALL CONTRIBUTION ON THE SUBJECT OF REALISM
Only seldom is it possible to test the actual effectiveness of artistic
methods. Most often, one meets with, at the very best, agreement ("Yes,
the way you have showed it is the way it is with us"), or that one has had
an impact in some measure or another. What follows is a little test of a
more fortunate sort.
With Slatan Dudow and Hanns Eisler, I produced a film called Kuhle
Wampe which depicted the desperate condition of the unemployed in
Berlin. It was a unified montage of relatively self-sufficient sequences.
The first of these showed the suicide of a young man unable to find work.
The censor took exception to this sequence, and the result was a meeting
with the censor and the attorney for our firm.
The censor proved himself to be an intelligent man.
"No one denies you the right to portray suicide," he said. "Suicides
happen. It is furthermore acceptable to show the suicide of a man out of
work. This happens, too. I see no grounds for concealing any of that,
gentlemen. I raise objection however to the manner in which you have
depicted the suicide of your jobless man. It goes against the interest of
the general public, which I am empowered to protect. I am sorry gentlemen that here I must give you an artistic reprimand."
Eisler, Dudow and I sat silently insulted.
"Indeed, you will be surprised that I fault your depiction in that it does
not seem human enough. All you have shown us is a man whom we can
safely say is a stereotype. Your jobless man is not a real individual, not a
flesh and blood man, unique from all other men, with particular sorrows
and particular joys and, in the final analysis, with a particular destiny.
His characterization is totally superficial, and you will excuse me as
artists for stating strongly that we are told too little about him. His
actions are merely used to make a political statement, which compels me
to protest the film being approved. Your film tends to represent suicide
as typical, not merely as the measure of one abnormally disposed char-
48 acter, but rather as the fate of an entire social class! You contend that
society drives young men to suicide in that it denies them the opportunity to earn a living. And you certainly don't go to the trouble at all to
point out moreover what the unemployed might be advised to do in
order to bring about change. No, gentlemen, you have not behaved as
artists, not here. No one would have been able to prevent you from
showing the shocking destiny of one single individual, but that was not
what you were concerned with."
We sat perplexed with the unpleasant feeling of having been seen
through. Eisler wiped dejectedly at his glasses, Dudow writhed as if in
pain. I stood and, despite my aversion to speeches, I gave one.
I relied strictly upon falsehood. I brought up certain characteristics
that we had given our jobless young man, for instance that before
hurling himself out the window to his death, he removed and put aside
his wristwatch. I stressed that it was this pure human trait alone which
had inspired the entire scene, and that we had indeed shown other
people out of work who had not committed suicide —4000 of them filmed
at a huge workers' Sports Rally. I defended myself against the outrageous accusation that we had not proceeded as artists and hinted at the
possibility of a press campaign against such a claim. I did not hesitate to
assert that my artistic honor was at stake.
The censor showed no timidity about going into the particulars of the
matter. Our attorneys were astonished to see that a proper and orderly
debate on art was shaping up. The censor emphasized that we had given
the suicide incident a decidedly demonstrative tone. He used the expression "a mechanical sort of thing." Dudow stood up and irritatedly demanded that we get the opinion of some psychiatrists. They would
testify that actions of this type often bear a marked mechanical quality.
The censor shook his head.
"That may be," he said stubbornly, "But you must after all concede
that your suicide was hardly an impulsive action. The viewer doesn't at
all want to stop it, as it were, which certainly would be the case with an
artistic, warm-hearted human portrayal. Good god, the actor plays the
scene as if he were demonstrating how to peel cucumbers!"
We had a rough time of it getting our film approved. As we left the
meeting, we could not conceal our regard for this shrewd censor. He had
penetrated far deeper into the essence of our artistic intentions than had
our kindest critics. He had delivered a small seminar on realism. From
the policeman's point of view.
Bertolt Brecht
49 SCREEN CREDITS
Screenplay Bertolt Brecht and Ernst Ottwald
Music      Hanns Eisler
Director   Slatan Th. Dudow
Production Managers    George M. Hollering
and Robert Scharfenberg
Cameraman       Giinther Krampf
Sound      Tobis Melofilm/System
Tobis-Klangfilm
Sound Engineer      Kroschke Michelis
Sound Cutter   Peter Meyrowitz
Scene Architecture     Robert Scharfenberg
and OP. Haacker
Musical Director    Josef Schmid
Orchestration     Lewis Ruth
Leading Players   Herta Thiele Anni
Martha Wolter    Gerda
Lilli Schonborn . . .  Mother Bonike
Ernst Busch Fritz
Adolf Fischer     Kurt
Max Sablotzki   ....  Father Bonike
Alfred Schafer      Man
with Mustache
Ballads Performed by     Helene Weigel and Ernst Busch
Distributed by    Praesens Film GmbH Berlin SW 48
translated from the German by E.J. Campfield
50 George Bowering
Four California Deaths
"Why is it," she asked, "that you never write about anything but death?"
I had been asking myself that question for, oh, it must have been three
years. I chose to lean back on her enviable tilt-a-bed, and peer at her
through hooded eyes as the smoke from my new cigarette snaked its way
toward the blue ceiling.
"I mean, even when you are writing a story that seems to be all jokes
or a nice moment between a father and his son, you have to finish it off
with a completely, oh you know what I'm talking about."
"Gratuitous killing," I offered as lightly as I could manage, as free
of arrogance.
"Gratuitous. Also stupid. I mean, really," she said. I loved the way she
drank tea, out of a handle-less mug she had made herself, the fingers of
both hands wrapped around it, her hair hanging down both sides of the
cup as she bent forward to sip in the middle of a seemingly interrogative
sentence. "Really, dont you think that's kind of juvenile, I mean, isnt
that what teenage authors do, throw in some blood and some suicide or a
little insanity to make it seem all so significant?"
"Give it emotional impact?" I added.
She did not take up my suggestion, but put down her cup and stood
up, her hair falling in front of her bony shoulders. Then without
speaking, she started to put on her clothes. She looked as wonderful
putting on her clothes as she did taking them off. Not just death, I
thought, but sex, too. Sex and death.
"Sex and death," I said.
"I have always wondered about that combination," she said while
pulling her hair out from inside her turtle neck sweater. "I would have
thought sex and life. Or maybe just life, for a change?"
I swung my legs out and sat on the side of the bed, and I felt just fine
being naked in front of all her clothes. So much so that I wanted to stand
up straight, and so I did.
"Life, if I may say so, is a mystery," I said. "People are not much
interested in a mystery, because it cant be solved. Death, on the other
hand, is a puzzle. If you give your readers a choice between a mystery
and a puzzle, they will go for the puzzle every time. They might like to
51 call it a mystery, but they want to solve it, so of course it is a puzzle. But
they wouldnt feel right buying and reading a murder puzzle. It's not alliterative enough, for one thing."
"Sheh! what a dummy," she said. "Put your clothes on."
"Why?"
"I'm hungry."
I sort of felt like having a shower, but I had had a shower before we
went back to bed. She liked that, and I had read an article that explained
that European women thought men were more sensitive to women if
they had a shower beforehand instead of afterward. That made sense to
me, and I did want to be thought of as sensitive. Still, after a little death
you did feel like standing under the source of all life. The latter was
something you learned when you were a youngster, when death was just
something awful but justified in the Bible. Well, I didnt really think all
that stuff.
"I am going to brush my teeth and get dressed," I said. "Would you
like to read what I wrote this week?"
"Who dies?"
"Here, read it. It doesnt prove anything, but it might suggest something about people and their hangups about puzzles."
"Why cant you have a cigarette and turn over and go to sleep, like a
normal man," she said, but she reached out for the pages I was offering.
There was a smile on her large mouth, and no lip gloss.
"It's only thirteen and a half minutes long," I said, smiling back. "If
you add ten or twelve seconds of music between the sections, fourteen
minutes. By the time you have finished I will be all cleaned up, sorry,
brushed up, and dressed, and then I will buy you a salad."
FOUR CALIFORNIA DEATHS
1. The Death of Jean Harlow
When D'arcy Keyserling killed Jean Harlow, she was holding in her left
hand a British clothbound copy of Joseph Conrad's The Nigger of the
Narcissus. Keyserling strangled her on the paper-strewn floor of a San
Diego tattoo parlour. The SDPD felt constrained to look on everything
as a clue: Conrad, of course, & the half-finished tattoo on the back of the
victim's thigh. It consisted of a red heart & the incomplete name, Jozef
Pils . At least the police assumed it to be incomplete, as there was
room for a couple more syllables inside the heart. It was possible, observed the coroner, though graphology was not strictly speaking within
his authority, that the tattooist, Albert Sephora, was not very good at
planning ahead.
52 Sephora was, in fact, a suspect for nearly a week, but got off with a
shutdown of his business. The police had little choice but to proceed on
the basis of his story. He said that Keyserling posed for a while as a
waiting customer, though to Sephora's eye he did not look like the kind
of man who likes to be decorated. In fact he looked rather like the writer-
type: frameless octagonal eyeglasses, unfashionable haircut, unpressed
suit trousers.
Sephora went out of the shop after the letter "1" for a moment, to chase
down a roving newspaper boy, got into an argument with a drunk sailor
on the way back, & found the nude Miss Harlow sprawled on his floor,
the book in her hand opened to page forty & forty-one, & an "s" added to
her heart. Keyserling had disappeared. Sephora was certain that he had
not written the "s", but said that it was virtually indistinguishable from
his own work.
Apparently Keyserling had not assaulted Miss Harlow sexually, but
only choked her to death. The newspapers seemed mollified by that
detail. When Keyserling's confession reached the SDPD, along with
directions on how to locate his rented houseboat, forensic psychiatrists
went over his handwritten letter for signs of pathological motivation &
found only neatness & order. When the police arrived at the yacht basin,
the killer was waiting for them on the dock, dressed in suit & tie, & the
European eyeglasses.
The San Diego police & the Federal Bureau of Investigation were
puzzled by one detail of the slaying, glad as they were that they had not
had to work very hard on the case. On a page of the Conrad book, read
perhaps earlier that morning by the slain actress, these words were
underlined: "Wishyou Dutchmen were all dead— 'stead comin' takin' our money
inter your starvin' country. "
D'arcy Keyserling denied having read the book, claiming an
antipathy toward Black people & anything to do with them.
2.  The Death of Babe Ruth
No one ever thought they would see Babe Ruth in the Pacific Coast
League, but there he was, six months after Pearl Harbour, living in San
Diego & playing left field for the Padres. Two weeks after opening day
he was dead. Just past midway in his life's journey he went, as always,
astray from the straight road, & this time he did not, as usual, wake up
in a strange bed. He went stiff there.
The investigating officers from the SDPD thought at first that he had
died from alcohol poisoning & an untoward mixture of tequila & drugs,
but any baseball fanatic could have told them that you could not kill the
Babe that way, & then the county coroner did.
53 The Sultan of Swat, who was hitting .212 at the time of the tragedy,
died in the white oceanside apartment of Emmaline Kurtz, a recently
widowed Navy bride. Mrs Kurtz, a European of uncertain origin, told
the police that when she had gone to work at six a.m. at the Navy PX,
the baseball player was still alive, though he had been out cold for several
hours.
The Padres had not been alarmed by the non-appearance of their left
fielder for batting practice before the game against the San Francisco
Seals, because the Babe often showed up a minute before the first
inning. But Emmaline Kurtz was pretty upset when she entered her
reeking flat & found the rigid behemoth naked atop her counterpane. She
immediately called, she said, the major crimes division.
The coroner eventually laid the cause of death to asphixiation by unknown means, & left the question of misfortune or murder open. So the
record stands today. Babe Ruth, a two-hundred hitter in the minors.
There are those, however, who are bothered by two curious details of
the unhappy incident. Mrs Kurtz, a few years before her marriage, had
been a companion of D'arcy Keyserling, who was to become a locally
notorious convicted killer. Also, though George Herman Ruth was not
known to be a reader of anything more serious than the funny papers,
there was a cheap clothbound copy of Lord Jim open face-downward on
the bed beside his body. Mrs Kurtz said that she had never noticed the
book around the apartment before that fateful day. The book was
opened to a page that bore these underscored words: "There must have been
confidences, not so much of fact, I suppose, as of innermost feelings — regrets —
—fears —warnings, no doubt: warnings that the younger did not fully understand
till the elder was dead—and Jim came along."
Conspiracy buffs have been wondering for decades who "Jim" might
have been, & whether either of the rookie Padre outfielders by that first
name might be immersed somehow in the dangerous element of this
mystery.
3. The Death of Albert Einstein
The most famous scientist of our century was found gassed to death in a
high school chemistry laboratory in San Diego, California, shortly after
the United States' entry into the second world war.
Ruling out suicide for undisclosed reasons, the SDPD at first
theorized that the atrocity was the result of a campus prank gone bad.
But forensic study revealed that the father of modern physics did not
meet his end at the downtown high school. He had apparently been
killed & transported to the laboratory during the weekend.
The Federal authorities were summoned to the case when the tattoo
54 was discovered on the inside of the victim's right arm. It was not yet
healed, an angry welt that took the form of a number: 47471, & the
letters DK.
The men from Washington proceeded on the assumption that the
murder was the work of Nazi spies or their anti-semitic sympathizers in
the United States. It was reasoned that the letters stood for Dakau, the
little-known Bavarian concentration camp, rumours of whose horrors
had penetrated the most secret sections of the Army intelligence branch.
But that theory was dropped when a University of California professor
of German literature & philology informed the agents that the town's
name was generally spelled without a k. The academic did, however,
propose that the crime might be the work of a literary sadist who was
interested in the writings of the Czechoslovakian novelist, Franz Kafka,
whose nightmare visions in German include punitive tattooing & a prediction for the letter K.
Though they were animated by such obvious considerations as the
Jewishness of the victim & his knowledge of physical forces that could be
turned to the invention of futuristic weapons, the investigators decided
to re-examine all their findings from a literary angle.
It would have been too tidy, one must judge, to find a copy of Kafka
among Dr Einstein's effects at the waterfront hotel where he had been
staying during this stop on a patriotic lecture tour. What the detectives &
G-men did find was a copy of The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (spelled
Konrad in many European countries). It was the 1921 Doubleday
edition; & a piece of Dutch currency, used as a bookmark, was resting in
the middle of chapter VIII, where these words were asterixed in pencil:
"Like the rest of mankind, perplexed by the mystery of the universe, he had his
moments of consoling trust in the organized powers of the earth. "
Stories persist that an office in the Pentagon or in the CIA holds a
number of nearly connected facts pertinent to the puzzling murder of the
western world's greatest scientist, but the public knows no more now
than they knew during that fateful spring in the early forties.
4. The Death of Tom Mix
A horse named Tony lay for two days on his side, behind some bougain-
villea bushes that lined the highway leading west out of San Diego
toward the Sal ton Sea. Thirst agonized the creature, but hunger did not
visit. As the hours of daylight transpired he grew accustomed to the continual passage of automobile engines, & during the hours of darkness the
more individual roars of great trucks followed the wash of lights as the
insects quit talking for a few seconds. Then they would start again, &
55 many of them were speechless in his ear & around the rims of his eyes,
which he never closed.
Tony felt sure that during the second day several of the people inside
the autos saw his great body stretched like no hale horse on the slope of
grass between the last filling station & the first onion field. But he knew
that none could see the man lying under him.
Tony had been hit from behind by a green 1937 De Soto, struck on the
haunches & sent in a pebble cloud of dancing broken legs through the
purple flowers, across the ditch, on top of the man. A white hat lay
beside his own head, but from the road, through the rent in the bushes,
it would look like any rag because it was not now sitting high & round on
the head of Tom Mix.
In the late thirties on the then outskirts of San Diego, there were still
people who walked along the edges of the highway, looking for soda pop
bottles & copper wiring, & already people who were strongly affected by
the discovery of a dead or dying horse. One such man, an unemployed
printer born in Byelorussia, bore the unamericanized name, Andrey
Filippovitch. It was he who found the great white horse in the last hour
of its life, & on closer examination, the crushed cowboy lying beneath him.
The SDPD and the California Highway Patrol argued for a while
about jurisdiction & the publicity & the newspaper photographs that
would attend the "tragic" death of the popular cowboy. But Filippovitch,
declaring a long-held emotion against agencies of governments with
wide areas of interest, opted to tell his story to the city police. That story
was one of the oldest in the annals of the Southern California
constabulary.
Filippovitch said that when he first came upon the dying horse, the
animal looked at him significantly with his near eye, & began to paw the
sloping ground. Having haunted the movie houses because that was the
"quickest way to learn American," the immigrant guessed immediately
what the horse was up to. Noticing the pauses, he assumed that Tony
was counting, that he was intent on leaving a number as his last
communication.
The first figure was paw paw paw paw, pause; a four. The whole
number was 47472. The police, used to thinking in such terms, lost little
time in guessing that the number might have been seen on a rear licence
plate, presumably on the departing auto that had knocked the horse, &
its soon-to-die rider, off the side of the road.
The SDPD made a telephone call to Sacramento, & within an hour
knew the licence plate to be registered in the name of one D'arcy
Keyserling. Fifteen minutes later four patrolmen were in Keyserling's
bungalow on Sephora Street. But they were to wait there fruitlessly for
days —Mr Keyserling never showed up, not even to gather some of his
household possessions.
56 To kill time, one of the policemen read some stories in a book that had
been left on the plywood coffee table in the small parlour. There was a
leather bookmark tooled with a design of an Indian chief in war-bonnet
inserted at the end of a story called "The Secret Sharer." Constable Kerr
saw that on the adjacent page this portion of a sentence had been underscored with the purple of an indelible pencil: "I was in time to catch an evanescent glimpse of my white hat left behind to mark the spot. "
Of course it takes me about two minutes or less to brush my teeth, and
give me another minute to comb my hair and look closely at the pores in
my nose. You've done the same thing. So when I came back out and
started getting dressed, she was just getting into the story, but of course
it isnt properly a story; and one wonders whether this is.
I sat around unobtrusively with another cigarette, perhaps a little
glamorous in the light from the patio doors. When she had finished she
put the pages on the foot of the bed.
"Did you get it?" I asked. I had learned long ago not to ask her or
anyone else whether they liked it.
"Yes, I think I got it," she said, picking up her purse and starting out.
I caught up with her. "I suppose that makes me one of your readers,"
she added.
"Puzzled?"
We were out in the bright early-afternoon sun now, side by side across
the lawn, beginning our two-mile walk to the restaurant.
"Actually," she said, those gorgeous long legs as important to me as
the air now filling my lungs, "the only thing that puzzled me was why
you decided to use my initials."
57 Robert Rankin/ Two Poems
MENAGE-A-TROIS
I can hear them moving
the furniture below, the rhythm
of thrusts as steady
as my clock.
No fights tonight
so they must have run out
of beer,
just the thudding of flesh
as they rise to meet each other
in a need they'll attempt
to understand at some other time.
Soon the silence, then
desire spinning from their
window and coming to rest
in my groin.
I hover above them both
and curse the poor construction
that allows such things
in our lives.
58 PATTERNS.
Perhaps the greatest miracle is that which enables
man to tolerate life, which enables him to embrace
its illusions and translate its monstrous incoherence
into delightful, edifying patterns. It is the miracle
of sanity.
Ben Hecht
Why have i followed the breath of daylight
to cliff edge, watch boats settle into it?
Not for the silence descending or the swinging
eye of a lighthouse carving up the eve.
When i sat in a field filled with summer
and watched birds weave patterns between songs
no light called — not once above the heat —
no hand to guide or prod.
The length of highways and memorized maps
seemed a small price to pay.
Questions stained my hands,
under the nails stars break through
and gather in this throbbing time,
all the things that i have left behind. Why
have i ignored everything i did not want
to carry? The woman bent in her garden
tills neat rows as roots ease into cool soil.
Why have i carried it all to this place?
59 Across the miles of mute water
lies another inch of hunched land.
I will carry these patterns with me.
Yes, the steady drumming of leather on pavement
as we wait for lights to change.
Or a furrier, arranging the carcasses
of dead mink in rows on a table.
Or myself, at some future moment, opening
the cover of a new novel with a delightful crack,
and smiling.
60 Peter Sanger/ Two Poems
JEROME
(Sandy Cove —St. Alphonse, N.S.)
1864-1912
One must have taken its mouth to the light
as you'd lift up a horse's hoof, felt
in for the tongue while Albrite told over
and over how he'd found whatever
it was propped by a beach rock with tide almost
reached where feet should have been.
It was stub, hooded over, blunt carcass,
but dry, unslickened, and as he'd got closer
turned human, legs cut off trim at the knee,
stumps sewn tight, beside it
a tin box of biscuits, a can filled
with water clamped into a heelmark.
This lay on the couch where Albrite and Gidney
had brought it, watched them and slowly
became what they knew, as much in those minutes
as they'd ever know of what he had been,
done, endured, almost nothing
and silence, no more than the pain a nerve has
61 After what it existed to service
is severed. He ate what was given
and slept and after some weeks chose a sound
or was chosen to say it that gave him
the name which was needed to tend him,
Jerome, as they heard it, or agony
Working out through to something they took,
which he let them keep. They moved him
along the French shore where he lived for fifty-
eight years and spoke only twice with anyone
near to report it:  one year he whispered
Trieste, as his homeland, then later
A third name, Colombo,
the ship which had judged him for innocence,
guilt, betrayed or betraying, as murderer,
victim of what he'd committed
or kept from witnessed inside
by his implicate silence and ours.
62 THE TUBERCULOSIS HOUSE
Whoever lived up here where earth
and air are both too thin is said
to have died of it. Even in summer,
wind jumps across the fields
like a cat in the snow. A freestone
chimney left won't stand as some
assuaging monument.
It's still the same flue of wind,
not warm enough for broken lungs
and those who hadn't the money
to go somewhere else and die.
This is no naming of places.
Places are always named,
forgotten, remembered
by an old man who
dies one year before I find him.
This is to see a place
among hips and haws and wild run
raspberries and the cast iron cooking pot
that seemed intact, rim up, until
I dug loose and found it eaten back
containing what earth contains.
63 Jan E. Conn
ORANGE LIGHT IN APRIL
sunlight spills down like
crates of mandarins upended,
bruising my arms and sending
points of orange light
into my eyes. The wind today
is an April wind.
flocks of newspapers sail
over brown grass, collect
at streetcorners and in soggy parks
as though they were on their way
somewhere, their black & white lungs
fluttering vainly, trying to fly or run.
you appear in the crowd
like a blue fragment of sky,
walking toward me, thinking
I can't ever know what.
it is always these times when
maples and beech lean greyly
into the afternoon that I wish
I could tell you
how much the sight of you
simply striding in an element
you have made yours amazes me.
even inside the warm panelled room,
surrounded by stained glass,
attended by white linen,
I can barely look at you.
I think you would see straight
through me, an x-ray of the heart,
perceive desire & need,
and turn away from it.
64 Martin Anderson/ Two Poems
THE OPIUM SMOKER
In his small
nostrils the
powder burns
He heaves
and snores    his
ribcage rising
to enclose it
On the
window the hot
sun whitens
like a coal
Squeezed from
his lips
a frayed grey
plume drifts
in it
As they tremble
above his
65 trunk's thin
folds of
skin    his rattling
throat    the
incubus passes
blown through
a small ring
a tightening circle
of silence
66 OLD AMAHS
At corners    on
winter mornings    the
amahs come out
for haw fun
Their eyes are
full of summer
evenings   Their min-laps
are buttoned tight
In their pockets
the tram-car tickets
are faded and
curled up   Lodged
there since summer
the balls of
camphor have melted
away Moths have
ravaged the sleeves
and linings    entering
them like explosions
leaving white puffs
of cotton behind
67 Draga Djulgerova
GYPSY PONIES
Moon-maned ponies neigh
beyond the river's far shore.
No rope you knot
will keep me in your bed.
I'm going to the river,
passing through the reeds
silent as a lost breeze —
the gypsies are singing there.
Blacker than a gypsy's eye
my rope,
and who can blame me
when I toss it in the stream?
I'll dance in my white gown
to the subtle silver tones
of flutes and tambourines,
whiter than the river.
If I can charm
the youngest one,
I'll make him steal
that neighing colt.
68 I'll knit my thirsty fingers
swiftly into that moon-mane,
and call that youngest
of them all to me.
The tall grass beside the road
will hide the riders,
and they will never tell
what it is they know.
Ah, the moon-maned ponies
are neighing beyond the river,
and you cannot tie me
to your bed.
translated from the Bulgarian byfascha Kessler
69 Joan Aiken
The Gift-Giving
The weeks leading up to Christmas were always full of excitement, and
tremendous anxiety too, as the family waited in suspense for the Uncles,
who had set off in the spring of the year, to return from their summer's
travelling and trading: Uncle Emer, Uncle Acraud, Uncle Gonfil, and
Uncle Mark. They always started off together, down the steep
mountainside, but then, at the bottom, they took different routes along
the deep narrow valley, Uncle Mark and Uncle Acraud riding eastwards, towards the great plains, while Uncle Emer and Uncle Gonfil
turned west, towards the towns and rivers and the western sea.
Before they were clear of the mountains, they would separate once
more, Uncle Acraud turning south, Uncle Emer taking his course northwards, so that, the children occasionally thought, their family was
scattered over the whole world, netted out like a spider's web.
Spring, summer would go by, in the usual occupations, digging and
sowing the steep hillside garden beds, fishing, hunting for hares, picking
wild strawberries, making hay. Then, towards St. Drimma's Day, when
the winds begin to blow and the snow crept down, lower and lower, from
the high peaks, Grandmother would begin to grow restless.
Silent and calm all summer long she sat in her rocking-chair on the
wide wooden porch, wrapped in a patchwork comforter, with her blind
eyes turned eastwards towards the lands where Mark, her dearest and
firstborn, had gone. But when the winds of Michaelmas began to blow,
and the wolves grew bolder, and the children dragged in sacks of logs
day after day, and the cattle were brought down to the stable under the
house, then Grandmother grew agitated indeed.
When Sammle, the eldest granddaughter, brought her hot milk, she
would grip the girl's slender brown wrist and demand: "Tell me, child,
how many days now to St. Froida's day?" (which was the first of
December).
"Eighteen, Grandmother," Sammle would answer, stooping to kiss the
wrinkled cheek.
"So many, still? So many till we may hope to see them?"
70 "Don't worry, Granny, the Uncles are certain to return safely. Perhaps
they will be early this year. Perhaps we may see them before the feast of
St. Melin" (which was December the fourteenth).
And then, sure enough, some time during the middle weeks of
December, their great carts would come jingling and trampling along
the winding valleys. Young Mark (son of Uncle Emer), from his watch-
point up a tall pine over a high cliff, would catch the flash of a baggage-
mule's brass brow-medal, or the sun glancing on the barrel of a carbine,
and would come joyfully dashing back to report.
"Granny! Granny! The Uncles are almost here!"
Then the whole household, the whole village, would be filled with as
much agitation and turmoil as that of a kingdom of ants when the spade
breaks open their hummock; wives would build the fires higher, and
fetch out the best linen, wine, dried meat, pickled eggs; set dough to
rising, mix cakes of honey and oats, bring up stone jars of preserved
strawberries from the cellars; and the children, with the servants and
half the village, would go racing down the perilous zigzag track to meet
the cavalcade at the bottom.
The track was far too steep for the heavy carts, which would be dismissed, and the carters paid off to go about their business; then with
laughter and shouting, amid a million questions from the children, the
loads would be divided and carried up the mountainside on muleback,
or on human shoulders. Sometimes the Uncles came home at night,
through falling snow, by the smoky light of torches; but the children and
the household always knew of their arrival beforehand, and were always
there to meet them.
"Did you bring Granny's Chinese shawl, Uncle Mark? Uncle Emer,
have you the enamelled box for her snuff that Aunt Grippa begged you
to get? Uncle Acraud, did you find the glass candlesticks? Uncle Gonfil,
did you bring the books?"
"Yes, yes, keep calm, don't deafen us! Poor tired travellers that we
are, leave us in peace to climb this devilish hill! Everything is there, set
your minds at rest —the shawl, the box, the books — besides a few other
odds and ends, pins and needles and fruit and a bottle or two of wine,
and a few trifles for the village. Now, just give us a few minutes to get
our breath, will you, kindly — " as the children danced round them,
helping each other with the smaller bundles, never ceasing to pour out
questions: "Did you see the Grand Cham? The Akond of Swat? The Fon
of Bikom? The Seljik of Rum? Did you go to Cathay? To Muskovy? To
Dalai? Did you travel by ship, by camel, by llama, by elephant?"
And, at the top of the hill, Grandmother would be waiting for them,
out on her roofed porch, no matter how wild the weather or how late the
time, seated in majesty with her furs and patchwork quilt around her,
while the Aunts ran to and fro with hot stones to place under her feet.
7' And the Uncles always embraced her first, very fondly and respectfully,
before turning to hug their wives and sisters-in-law.
Then the goods they had brought would be distributed through the
village —the scissors, tools, medicines, plants, bales of cloth, ingots of
metal, cordials, firearms, and musical instruments; then there would be
a great feast.
Not until Christmas morning did Grandmother and the children
receive the special gifts which had been brought for them by the Uncles;
and this giving always took the same ceremonial form.
Uncle Mark stood behind Grandmother's chair, playing on a small
pipe that he had acquired somewhere during his travels; it was made
from hard black polished wood, with silver stops, and it had a mouthpiece made of amber. Uncle Mark invariably played the same tune on it
at these times, very softly. It was a tune which he had heard for the first
time, he said, when he was much younger, once when he had narrowly
escaped falling into a crevasse on the hillside, and a voice had spoken to
him, as it seemed, out of the mountain itself, bidding him watch where
he set his feet and have a care, for the family depended on him. It was a
gentle, thoughtful tune, which reminded Sandri, the middle granddaughter, of springtime sounds, warm wind, water from melted snow
dripping off the gabled roofs, birds trying out their mating calls.
While Uncle Mark played on his pipe, Uncle Emer would hand each
gift to Grandmother. And she —here was the strange thing—she, who
was stone-blind all the year long, could not see her own hand in front of
her face, she would take the object in her fingers and instantly identify it.
"A mother-of-pearl comb, with silver studs, for Tassy...it comes
from Babylon; a silk shawl, blue and rose, from Hind, for Argilla; a
wooden game, with ivory pegs, for young Emer, from Damascus; a gold
brooch, from Hangku, for Grippa; a book of rhymes, from Paris, for
Sammle, bound in a scarlet leather cover."
Grandmother, who lived all the year round in darkness, could, by
stroking each gift with her old, blotched, clawlike fingers, frail as quills,
discover not only what the thing was and where it came from, but also
the colour of it, and that in the most precise and particular manner,
correct to a shade.
"It is a jacket of stitched and pleated cotton, printed over with leaves
and flowers; it comes from the island of Haranati, in the eastern ocean;
the colours are leaf-brown and gold and a dark, dark blue, darker than
mountain gentians — " for Grandmother had not always been blind;
when she was a young girl she had been able to see as well as anybody else.
"And this is for you, Mother, from your son Mark," Uncle Emer
would say, handing her a tissue-wrapped bundle, and she would
exclaim:
72 "Ah, how beautiful! A coat of tribute silk, of the very palest green, so
that the colour shows only in the folds, like shadows on snow; the
buttons and the button-toggles are of worked silk, lavender-grey, like
pearl, and the stiff collar is embroidered with white roses."
"Put it on, Mother!" her sons and daughters-in-law would urge her,
and the children, dancing round her chair, clutching their own
treasures, would chorus,
"Yes, put it on, put it on! Ah, you look like a Queen, Granny, in that
beautiful coat! The highest queen in the world! The queen of the
mountain!"
Those months after Christmas were Grandmother's happiest time.
Secure, thankful, with her sons safe at home, she would sit in a warm fireside corner of the big wooden family room. The wind might shriek, the
snow gather higher and higher out of doors, but that did not concern her,
for her family, and all the village, were well supplied with flour, oil, firewood, meat, herbs, and roots; the children had their books and toys;
they learned lessons with the old priest, or made looms and spinning-
wheels, carved stools and chairs and chests, with the tools their uncles
had brought them. The Uncles rested, and told tales of their travels;
Uncle Mark played his pipe for hours together, Uncle Acraud drew
pictures in charcoal of the places he had seen, and Granny, laying her
hand on the paper covered with lines, would expound while Uncle Mark
played:
"A huge range of mountains, like wrinkled brown linen across the
horizon; a wide plain of sand, silvery blond in colour, with patches of
pale, pale blue; I think it is not water but air the colour of water; here are
strange lines across the sand where men once ploughed it, long, long
ago, and a great patch of crystal green, with what seems like a road
crossing it; now here is a smaller region of plum-pink, bordered by an
area of rusty red; I think these are the colours of the earth in these territories; it is very high up, dry from height, and the soil glittering with
little particles of metal."
"You have described it better than I could myself!" Uncle Acraud
would exclaim, while the children, breathless with wonder and curiosity,
sat cross-legged round her chair. And she would answer,
"Yes, but I cannot see it all, Acraud, unless your eyes have seen it
first, and I cannot see it without Mark's music to help me."
"How does Grandmother do it?" the children would demand of their
mothers, and Argilla, or Grippa, or Tassy, would answer,
"Nobody knows. It is Grandmother's gift. She alone can do it."
The people of the village might come in, whenever they chose, and on
many evenings thirty or forty would be there, silently listening, and
when Grandmother retired to bed, which she did early, for the seeing
73 made her weary, the audience would turn to one another with deep
sighs, and murmur, "The world is indeed a wide place."
But with the first signs of spring the Uncles would become restless
again, and begin looking over their equipment, discussing maps and
routes, mending saddle-bags and boots, gazing up at the high peaks for
signs that the snow was in retreat.
Then Granny would grow very silent. She never asked them to stay
longer, she never disputed their going, but her face seemed to shrivel,
she grew smaller, wizened and huddled inside her quilted patchwork.
And on St Petrag's day, when they set off, when the farewells were
said and they clattered off down the mountain, through the melting snow
and the trees with pink luminous buds, Grandmother would fall into a
silence that lasted, sometimes, for as much as five or six weeks; all day
she would sit with her face turned to the east, wordless, motionless, and
would drink her milk and go to her bed-place at night still silent and dejected; it took the warm sun and sweet wild hyacinths of May to raise
her spirits.
Then, by degrees, she would grow animated, and begin to say, "Only
six months, now, till they come back."
But young Mark observed to his cousin Sammle, "It takes longer,
every year, for Grandmother to grow accustomed."
And Sammle said, shivering, though it was warm May weather,
"Perhaps one year, when they come back, she will not be here. She is
becoming so tiny and thin; you can see right through her hands, as if
they were leaves." And Sammle held up her own thin brown young hand
against the sunlight, to see the blood glow under the translucent skin.
"I don't know how they would bear it," said Mark thoughtfully, "if
when they came back we had to tell them that she had died."
But that was not what happened.
One December the Uncles arrived much later than usual. They did
not climb the mountain until St. Mishan's day, and when they reached
the house it was in silence. There was none of the usual joyful
commotion.
Grandmother knew instantly that there was something wrong.
"Where is my son Mark?" she demanded. "Why do I not hear him
among you?"
And Uncle Acraud had to tell her: "Mother, he is dead. Your son
Mark will not come home, ever again."
"How do you know? How can you be sure? You were not there when
he died?"
"I waited and waited at our meeting place, and a messenger came to
tell me. His caravan had been attacked by wild tribesmen, riding north
74 from the Lark mountains. Mark was killed, and all his people. Only this
one man escaped and came to bring me the story."
"But how can you be sure? How do you know he told the truth ?"
"He brought Mark's ring."
Emer put it into her hand. As she turned it about in her thin fingers, a
long moan went through her.
"Yes, he is dead. My son Mark is dead."
"The man gave me this little box," Acraud said, "which Mark was
bringing for you."
Emer put it into her hand, opening the box for her. Inside lay an
ivory fan. On it, when it was spread out, you could see a bird, with eyes
made of sapphire, flying across a valley, but Grandmother held it listlessly, as if her hands were numb.
"What is it?" she said. "I do not know what it is. Help me to bed,
Argilla. I do not know what it is. I do not wish to know. My son Mark
is dead."
Her grief infected the whole village. It was as if the keystone of an arch
had been knocked out; there was nothing to hold the people together.
That year spring came early, and the three remaining Uncles, melancholy and restless, were glad to leave on their travels. Grandmother
hardly noticed their going.
Sammle said to Mark: "You are clever with your hands. Could you
not make a pipe —like the one my father had?"
"I?" he said. "Make a pipe? Like Uncle Mark's pipe? Why? What
would be the point of doing so?"
"Perhaps you might learn to play on it. As he did."
"I? Play on a pipe?"
"I think you could," she said. "I have heard you whistle tunes of
your own."
"But where would I find the right kind of wood?"
"There is a chest, in which Uncle Gonfil once brought books and
music from Leiden. I think it is the same kind of wood. I think you could
make a pipe from it."
"But how can I remember the shape?"
"I will make a drawing," Sammle said, and she drew with a stick of
charcoal on the whitewashed wall of the cowshed. As soon as Mark
looked at her drawing he began to contradict.
"No! I remember now. It was not like that. The stops came here —and
the mouthpiece was like this."
Now the other children flocked round to help and advise.
"The stops were further apart," said Creusie. "And there were more of
them and they were bigger."
75 "The pipe was longer than that," said Sandri. "I have held it. It was as
long as my arm."
"How will you ever make the stops?" said young Emer.
"You can have my silver bracelets that Father gave me," said Sammle.
"I'll ask Finn the smith to help me," said Mark.
Once he had got the notion of making a pipe into his head, he was
eager to begin. But it took him several weeks of difficult carving; the
black wood of the chest proved hard as iron. And when the pipe was
made, and the stops fitted, it would not play; try as he would, not a note
could he fetch out of it.
Mark was dogged, though, once he had set himself to a task; he took
another piece of the black chest, and began again. Only Sammle stayed
to help him now; the other children had lost hope, or interest, and gone
back to their summer occupations.
The second pipe was much better than the first. By September, Mark
was able to play a few notes on it; by October he was playing simple
tunes, made up out of his head.
"But," he said, "if I am to play so that Grandmother can see with her
fingers —if I am to do that —I must remember your father's special tune.
Canyou remember it, Sammle?"
She thought and thought.
"Sometimes," she said, "it seems as if it is just beyond the edge of my
hearing—as if somebody were playing it, far, far away, in the woods.
Oh, if only I could stretch my hearing a little further!"
"Oh, Sammle! Try!"
For days and days she sat silent, or wandered in the woods, frowning,
knotting her forehead, willing her ears to hear the tune again; and the
women of the household said, "That girl is not doing her fair share of
the tasks."
They scolded her, and set her to spin, weave, milk the goats, throw
grain to the hens. But all the while she continued silent, listening,
listening, to a sound she could not hear. At night, in her dreams, she
sometimes thought she could hear the tune, and she would wake with
tears on her cheeks, wordlessly calling her father to come back and play
his music to her, so that she could remember it.
In September the autumn winds blew cold and fierce; by October
snow was piled around the walls and up to the windowsills. On St.
Felin's Day the three Uncles returned, but sadly and silently, without the
former festivities, although, as usual, they brought many bales and
boxes of gifts and merchandise. The children went down as usual, to
help carry the bundles up the mountain. The joy had gone of this
tradition, though; they toiled silently up the track with their loads.
It was a wild, windy evening, the sun set in fire, the wind moaned
among the fir-trees, and gusts of sleet every now and then dashed in
their faces.
76 "Take care, children!" called Uncle Emer, as they skirted along the
side of a deep gully, and his words were caught by an echo and flung
back and forth between the rocky walls: "Take care - care - care - care -
care.. . ."
"Oh!" cried Sammle, stopping precipitately and clutching the bag that
she was carrying. "I have it! I can remember it! Now I know how
it went!"
And, as they stumbled on up the snowy hillside, she hummed the
melody to her cousin Mark, who was just ahead of her.
"Yes, that is it, yes!" he said. "Or, no, wait a minute, that is not quite
right —but it is close, it is very nearly the way it went. Only the notes
were a little faster, and there were more of them —they went up, not
down —before the ending tied them in a knot — "
"No, no, they went down at the end, I am almost sure — "
Arguing, interrupting each other, disputing, agreeing, they dropped
their bundles in the family room and ran away to the cowhouse, where
Mark kept his pipe hidden.
For three days they discussed and argued and tried a hundred
different versions; they were so occupied that they hardly took the
trouble to eat. But at last, by Christmas morning, they had reached
agreement.
"I think it is right," said Sammle. "And if it is not, I do not believe there
is anything more that we can do about it."
"Perhaps it will not work in any case," said Mark sadly. He was tired
out with arguing and practising.
Sammle was equally tired, but she said, "Oh, it must work. Oh, let it
work! Please let it work! For otherwise I don't think I can bear the sadness. Go now, Mark, quietly and quickly, go and stand behind Granny's
chair."
The family had gathered, according to Christmas habit, around
Grandmother's rocking-chair, but the faces of the Uncles were glum and
reluctant, their wives dejected and hopeless. Only the children showed
eagerness, as the cloth-wrapped bundles were brought and laid at
Grandmother's feet.
She herself looked wholly dispirited and cast down. When Uncle
Emer handed her a slender, soft package, she received it apathetically,
almost with dislike as if she would prefer not to be bothered by this tiresome gift ceremony.
Then Mark, who had slipped through the crowd without being
noticed, began to play on his pipe just behind Grandmother's chair.
The Uncles looked angry and scandalised; Aunt Tassy cried out in
horror: "Oh, Mark, wicked boy, how dare you?" but Grandmother lifted
her head, more alertly than she had done for months past, and began
to listen.
Mark played on. His mouth was quivering so badly that it was hard to
77 grip the amber mouthpiece, but he played with all the breath that was in
him. Meanwhile Sammle, kneeling by her grandmother, held, with her
own warm young hands, the old, brittle ones against the fabric of the
gift. And, as she did so, she began to feel what Grandmother felt.
Grandmother  said   softly   and   distinctly:   "It   is   a  muslin   shawl,
embroidered in gold thread, from Lebanon. It is coloured a soft brick
red, with pale roses of sunset pink, and thorns of silver-green. It is
for Sammle. . . ."
78 NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
Joan Aiken lives in Sussex, England, and has published numerous books for both adults
and children.
Martin Anderson has had a chapbook published by Blue Guitar Books, The Kneeling
Room. He appeared previously in PRISM international Volume 20:4.
George Bowering will have a book of stories entitled, A Place To Die published by Oberon
in 1983. A reprint of his Governor-General's Award winning book Burning Water will be
released in February 1983, from New Press.
Bertolt Brecht authored a number of film scenarios and several screenplays, including
an adaptation of his play The Three Penny Opera.
E.J. Campfield is a freelance writer and photographer living in Pensacola, Florida. His
translations work appeared earlier in issue 19:2.
Derrick Clinton Carter recently won an Award of Excellence from the Graphic Designers of Canada for his series of covers on issues 20:2, 20:3, and 20:4.
Raymond Carver will have a new collection of short stories published by Knopf in 1983. A
new volume of poetry is also scheduled to appear in 1983. Previous books include Will You
Please Be Quiet, Please? (fiction), and At Night The Salmon Move (poetry).
Jan. E. Conn is a graduate student in entomology at the University of Toronto. A book of
poems, Roadof Smoke, will appear from Colophon Press in April, 1983.
Draga Djulgerova is a young Bulgarian poet. Gypsy Ponies is from her first book.
H.E. Francis is a professor of English at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. A new
collection will be published by Braziller in 1983. His stones have appeared in the 0. Henry,
Best American, and Pushcart Prize volumes.
Phil Hall lives in Vancouver and has appeared previously in Grain and Toronto Life.
Migual Hernandez was arrested after the Spanish Civil War and died in prison,
March 28,1942.
Jascha Kessler has appeared in numerous issues of PRISM international, as translator and
short fiction writer; most recently in volume 21:1.
Daniel Moyano is a prizewinning novelist and short writer from Argentina. Born in
Buenos Aires, he now lives, in exile, in Madrid, Spain.
Alden Nowlan's most recent collection of poems is I Might Not Tell Everybody This, Clarke,
Irwin.
Miklos Radnoti was killed on a forced march back from Heidenau Concentration Camp.
79 Robert Rankin is a teacher. His work has appeared in many literary magazines, and he is
West Coast correspondent for Poetry Canada Review.
Noberto Luis Romero lives in Madrid, Spain. He was born in Cordoba, Argentina. His
stories are just beginning to appear in English and Spanish.
Peter Sanger teaches at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro. His poems have
appeared in Tributaries, The Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review, and Poetry Canada Review.
Gerry Tiffany has recently had a chapbook published by Copula Press in Spokane,
Washington, Now Wind Takes the News.
Kamo no Chomei's poem Hojoki, translated by William
Marsh, appeared in issue 20:4. It was translated from
the Japanese and not the Chinese as stated.
80 PGETKY
FICTIO?
DRAMA
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Poems by: Miklds Radnoti, Raymond Carver, Robert Rankin,
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In Translation: A screenplay and two essays on film, by
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