Au Luxembourg #5Words

Weekly Writing Prompt #96

 

IMG_0086

 

She appears lost in thoughts,

Perhaps about the poor poet,

He who immortalised her…

We do not know where

She now lies, in peace.

Here, the card says “Laure”,

But he knew her as Laura,

So that there is a doubt,

As to whether she was the one

Who inspired him.

Here, in a press of children, of tourists,

She dreams among the queens,

And the senators,

Until her fall

 

Photo: statue de Laure de Sade, dite de Noves, par Auguste Ottin, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris (Honoré Dupuis)

Of Thanatos, Ansky’s Notebook and a City in the Desert, a #reading of “2666” by Roberto Bolaño

“Jesus is the masterpiece. The thieves are minor works. Why are they there? Not to frame the crucifixion, as some innocent souls believe, but to hide it.”

2066

“Now what sea is this you have crossed, exactly, and what sea is it you have plunged more than once to the bottom of, alerted, full of adrenalin, but caught really, buffaloed under the epistemologies of these threats that paranoid you so down and out, caught in this steel pot, softening to devitaminized mush inside the soup stock of your own words?”

Gravity’s Rainbow

 

Child in Berlin  -  David Bowie  1977

 

The geography is immense, as the novel meanders through the streets of Paris, Madrid, London or Milan, the ruins of Cologne after the war, the snows of the Austrian border, Venice, Hamburg, the Crimean peninsula, the dark forests of Rumania, Mexico City, and, inevitably, Santa Teresa, the industrious and sinister city in the Sonora desert, still vibrating from the visit of the Savage Detectives.

Is Hans Reiter a reference to the war criminal of the same name? Does the writer’s name, Benno von Archimboldi, hide a deeper meaning? We follow four academics, German literature specialists, united by their obsession with the shadowy writer, Archimboldi. They read, visit each other, Mrs. Bubis, the publisher of Archimboli’s books and his lifelong friend, and try to discover who the writer really is. Their quest finally takes them to the city where girls and young women are butchered by one (of several) sadistic murderers.

Amalfitano, the critics’ host in Santa Teresa, reflects on death and his reasons to have moved o the city, from Spain, where his daughter, Rosa, was born. As he observed the treaty of geometry, hanging upside down from his washing line in his backyard, swept by the desert’s winds and dust, the scholar fears for his daughter, in a city where they kill girls like sparrows. Fate, the reflective journalist from New York, who travels to Santa Teresa for an article on a boxing match, when he is in fact no sports writer, befriends Rosa, and travelled back to New York with her, away from her father and the malediction of the city.

The endless narrative of the murders, spanning four years, unresolved and the investigation of which is plagued by incompetence, corruption and neglect, after all, most of the victims are poor girls working in the sweatshops of the city, or whores, or both, takes three hundred pages of the novel, a harrowing and at times monotonous read. Finally, Klaus Haas, a German-American citizen, is arrested, probably wrongly, for some of the murders.

At long last, we meet Hans Reiter, learn about the house in the forest, the one-eyed mother and the one-legged father. Young Hans is fascinated by the sea and its forests. Unstoppable, the river flows to the beginning of the war. Hans is strong, foolishly brave, visibly with no fear of death. Drafted in a light infantry regiment he picks up an iron cross on his way to Crimea. On a short permission back to Berlin he meets Ingeborg, who after the war would become his wife. Severely wounded Hans is sent to the village of Kosteniko, on the banks of the river Dniepr. There the future Archimboldi meets his future career in a farmhouse that belonged to Boris Ansky’s family, before the village jews were massacred by the Einsatzgruppe C. Hans discovers Ansky’s notebook, the story of an “enemy of the state”, witness of the horror, soldier of the revolution, and genial writer under another man’s name.

Fifty years later, Klaus Haas, son of Lotte, Hans’s sister, is in jail, his trial postponed. Finally Hans, now eighty, and a possible Nobel-awarded writer, visits Santa Teresa, closing the loop.

The book closed, we must read again, as we must reread “Q”, or Gravity’s Rainbow, or the Man Without Quality. In the end we know that Sisyphus trumps Thanatos, even for just a few years.

Image: Child in Berlin  –  David Bowie  1977

#VisDare 101: Balance

BalanceShe’s a workaholic, always on the move, alert, unstoppable. To meet her is an experience, her smile contagious, and this feeling of a hard mind behind her long eyelashes. She travels, she comes to you, she’s punctual, the tools of her trade in her long bag, full of marvellous attires. One guesses her luggage contains more…

A committed professional she is, of the sort that cares only for business, really, while all the time making the customer feel he – mainly “he” – is important, and it works. For it is impossible not to like her, even admire her, her energy, her skills, at what amounts to seduction, of a very temporary type.

Here, there, everywhere, how does she maintain the balance, keep healthy, even glowing? She’s a sexy woman of character, her strength well hidden behind irresistible charm. Men are forgotten as quickly as won: she’s a model, much travelled, and fully booked.

#AtoZChallenge2015: retribution

Feuds and retributionThere is a medieval ring to this word: retribution: it evokes dark feuds in the Italy of the late Middle Age, just before the Renaissance woke up to the rediscovery of antiquity. We may think of those great families bent on revenge for some sinister hidden murder, and ponder on the condottieri (another interesting word) leading band of assassins for the cause of their lord…

Retribution may refer to:

Etymology

Latin, from retribuere (assign again).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key)/ˌɹɛtrɪˈbjuʃɒn/

Noun

retribution (plural retributions)

  1. Punishment inflicted in the spirit of moral outrage or personal vengeance

Synonyms

Hypernyms

(Wiktionary)

Quote:

  • 1999Barbara HanawaltMedieval crime and social control, p.73:
    1. Revenge is for an injury; retribution is for a wrong.
    2. Retribution sets an internal limit to the amount of the punishment according to the seriousness of the wrong; revenge need not.
    3. Revenge is personal; the agent of retribution need have no special or personal tie to the victim of the wrong for which he exacts retribution.
    4. Revenge involves a particular emotional tone, pleasure in the suffering of another, while retribution need involve no emotional tone.

Image: Blues vs. Greens (Byzantine Empire) at http://www.swide.com/art-culture/history/romeo-and-juliet-montagues-v-capulets-and-other-famous-gang-rivalries/2013/04/30