Companion #TheDailyPost

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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You follow me everywhere, awake, on the long walks through the valleys, and the lazy summer evenings, at night, in the deep, dark dreams of lost kingdoms and evil wizards… You know my tastes, and you know how to ensure I know yours, this exchange as old as the tribe, our tribe, of dreamers, of wanderers, of lost boys.

I am yours, your dopplegänger, your ghost, your victim, when you want it that way. People who meet us see us as brothers, and we are not. For you can be everything, a brother, or a sister, my lover, or my tormentor.

For the devil who inhabits you will never, ever, leave me in peace. We will go to hell, together.

Image via silent-musings

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

Of Fred and Sarah, #quote from Julian Barnes “Levels of Life”

Sarah Bernhardt photographed by Félix Nadar 1865The next evening, he watched her performance, came to her dressing room, and saw many of the same faces. He made sure to pay proper attention to Mme Guérard: having been in foreign courts before, he knew to recognise the power behind the throne. Soon – much sooner than the fiercest optimism could have imagined – she came across, took Barnaby’s arm, and bade her coterie goodnight. As the three of them left, the scrimmage of Parisian dandies took care of not to appear put out. Well, perhaps they weren’t.

From Julian Barnes, “Levels of Life, On the Level” (© Julian Barnes 2013)

Image: Sarah Bernhardt photographed by Félix Nadar 1865

#VisDare 105: Liberated #WritersWednesday

liberatedI see them: there are two of them, ordinary blokes, a little old-fashioned. They are taking the stars away: they are stealing our night sky, never to return. Around us is the mere emptiness of a poor world, half built, incomplete, empty of life, devoid of joy. Who are these people? Are they even human? Or are they mock-ups, machines pretending to be like us? Who control them? Do they have masters, or do they have their own mind, obnoxious, intrusive, ignoring beauty, perhaps even hating beauty?

Now it becomes clearer to me: they are unbuilding our world, destroying all traces that once we were here, taking human life apart, stones and all… No more stars, neither in the sky, nor in our souls: this maybe how it will finish, a deconstruction of us, what we stand for, poetry, children, sex, all creation. How can this be? Us, never again? Help!

#FiveSentenceFiction: Falling

fallingAt their school she had a poor reputation: a girl who “went” with men, and of course, he could not care less, what he felt was her kindness, the softness of her lips, the smile he wanted to drown into…

Later, much later, he looked for her, without realising it, he was now a writer, and this masterpiece needed a hero – so he reinvented her, and, kindly, she reappeared, transformed, the lover of his youth.

Like Pygmalion, he fell again for her, and this time, she would not let go.

At first he was surprised, charmed, expecting, and called her by the name he remembered, the name of their childhood.

And now he was enslaved, fallen back in time, the prisoner of his beloved ghost.

 

“he says, you’re beautiful…”

Where laughter lives…

Life Through Blue Eyes

he says

he says,
“you’re beautiful”
I smile, letting it reach my eyes
but I don’t believe him
not for a minute
I think, his eyes are blind
from lust
from a euphoric fog
of satiety
from anything that prevents
him seeing what my eyes do…
no svelte lines here,
no smooth and unmarred visage
no
only renaissance flesh
and a face with lines
where laughter lives
he can’t be right
he’s high
or the wine
has clouded his judgement
he repeats, “you’re beautiful”
and I wonder if my mirror, mirror
on the wall
has been lying to me
all along

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