“Bad Bodies” and Strange Shapes

 

Dividing the world into the Good and the Bad strikes one as being an obvious conservative distinction. However, many contemporaries nourish themselves happily on this cliché: either to create fictional worlds like those of Harry Potter, Superman or the Lord of the Rings, or even to judge matters in the empirical world (like Osama Bin Laden/ September 11), which sometimes opposes the fictional world only in its appearance.

 

“Bad Bodies” (if I may introduce this term to define the questionable correspondence between physical appearance and moral qualities) – who are they and what do they look like? Are they shady characters, who manipulate or bewitch one and whose evil eyes might catch anyone who comes too close? Or are they invisible bodies such as JK Rowling’s Woldemort, who require a healthy body as a host and suck out the essence, until they have achieved their full size and volume in order to destroy the world’s balance and attack its towers metaphorically and transfer them concretely to the underworld?

 

Are these shapes the result of society or did they develop on their own? Where do these dark figures live? In caves, dark mountains, in under- or overdeveloped countries, in tunnels, lifts or other edges of society, which can present thresholds of being? Do they prefer some landscapes to others?

 

Has one ever heard from so-called evil objects, who might be able to communicate with us? Are there objects which conduct their own lives and alienate themselves from their intended functions? Or do objects have to be punished, because the hammer missed a nail in the wall, the pancake landed on the floor instead of in the frying pan or the chair did not serve its function properly? And what is the relationship between the people who treat the objects like this and the resisting objects themselves? Have they managed to escape from instrumentality in order to celebrate a life outside of pragmatic functions like hammering, becoming a pancake or being used for people to sit on them?

 

Terms and Conditions:

 

Literatenohr e.V. looks forward to receiving pieces of short prose (up to 3 pages) dealing with the subject in a very individual and innovative style. Please send your piece and a bio-bibiography to Katharina Rist, 9 Brightfield Road, London SE12 8 QE or mail it to literatenohr@aol.com.

You can write in English or German.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Table of Content:

 

  1. Preludium: Interplay between objects and bodies

 

  1. The disconnected cosmos of contemporary realities in “The Plan” (S. Kruber)

 

3         The lost code of the semiotic system of the dwelling place in “Das Frühstück” (S.Stegmann)

 

4         Haunted bodies in “The inherited Clock (E. Bowen)

 

  1. Invisible embodiment in “Hotel” (N. Blazon) and “Teufelszwirn” (P.M. Dörnfeld)

 

      6    Threatening bodies in „Pornotraum” (F.H. Lundberg)

 

7    Postludium: Human bodies and others in the bathroom compartment.

 

 

References:

 

Jean Baudrillard: The system of objects. Transl. J. Benedict. London 1996.

(first publ. as Le systéme des objects), Ed. Gallimard 1968.)

 

Elizabeth Bowen. The inherited clock. In: Collected Short Stories. London 1976.

 

Unpublished short stories from the 5th literary Competition (Summer 2002) of Literatenohr e.V.

(Böse Körper und Gestalten). All stories will be published in 08/2002 in www.literatenohr.de (Contest V)

 

Rist, Katharina: Translated (from German) excerpts from the novel (unpubl.) Der halbierte Mann  (The halfed man): “New Year’s Eve”and “In the bathroom compartment”.(Freiburg 1999 and London 2002).

 

Rist, Katharina: Gedächtnisräume als literarische Phänomene in den Kurzgeschichten von Elizabeth Bowen. Königshausen & Neumann. (Reihe Literaturwissenschaft) Würzburg 2000. Univ. Diss. Frankfurt/M. 1998.

 

 

1.Preludium: Interplay between objects and bodies

 

The connection between human subjects and the universe of objects has always been very close in literature. With the modern age, the number of useful and useless objects has increased and might sometimes be overwhelming for sensitive beings. However, it is not always easy to distinguish between subjects and objects, because human beings are often presented as objects themselves. The borderline seem to disappear easily. Nevertheless, it is interesting to perceive how subjects and objects can happily mingle together:

The female mouths were decorated with silvery shoelaces. Furthermore shiny levers were installed in their faces in order to let men place orders. Occasionally big melting processes went on among people who towered out above the rest of the crowd and the tiny ones who had dived deeply into the crowd. Upright Adele went on throwing her and her girlfriends’ breasts toward the moon bulb. (…) However, everybody was singing happily and feet and breasts were whispering with the winds, until the microphones started to suffer from serious constipation. (…) The world had been very small indeed. So small that she could take place in the young God’s pocket. Even when the earth was only a potatoe, she had not deserved to end up in a sweaty cheap jeans. – together with an elderly fish finger and a used condom. Thank God there was a hole in his pocket that the world could escape after the first shock.[1]

 

In this text the world is chaotic but still in order. Subjects and objects are in a balanced relationship, they do not dominate each other. The following short stories have broken with this balance.

 

Having organised this literary competition with the literary association Literatenohr e.V. we were really curious as to how contemporary writers would deal with BAD BODIES in 2002! The outcome contains a large range of texts. Most of the participants found it quite hard to meet the criteria. Everybody wrote about bad bodies, however some stories read, as if we still lived in the middle ages. Neither satanic visions, nor horror stories about demons and monsters, were able to show authenticity; but could have been written at any time. How does “the bad” present itself today?

I will now show a few short stories which met the criteria. The ‘bad’ in these examples presents itself mainly:

·         as  invisible but very haunting,

·         as overwhelming objects or automats from everydays life, which seem to take on features of living creatures, or

·         in the shape of horrible little beings with consideration of the recipients’gender

All stories show how bad bodies cause disembodiment either literally or metaphorically.


 

  1. The disconnected cosmos of contemporary realities in “The Plan” (S. Stegmann)

 

Saal: Ihr Steißbein drückt. Unfähig, noch länger zu sitzen. Eine amerikanische Ikone an der Wand: projiziert. Prof. K. spricht... Ein BH-Träger schält sich wie ein Streifen Spargelhaut aus dem Shirt. (...) Mitten im Raum stechen zwei Säulen in die Hörsaaldecke. Lichtspieße durch herabgelassenen Jalousien dringen durch ihre Netzhaut. Spieße wie Speere, die Luft zerschneiden .Ihr Pullover liegt zu ihrer Rechten. Ein Häufchen halbe Hemisphäre. Sie könnte es in Alkohol einlegen. Einlegen.

Spielerei: Konservieren. Konservare. Konservatorium. Laboratorium. Moratorium,.Moratur. Mord.

 

The beginning of Stefanie Stegmann’s “Der Plan” opens the scenario in a lecture hall which is occupied by hostile objects. While the student is only described via the pain of her tailbone, she is surrounded by the universe of things that actively participate in the lecture. The straps of a bra escape from someone’s  T-Shirt and two pillars stick into the ceiling of the lecture hall. Light is not “lightfully” presented, but as horrible lances entering the student’s retina, they are even able to cut through the air. Although the world of things and phenomena of nature seem most powerful, the student is at least able to save her pullover and plans to conserve it in alcohol. From here the mental game gets started with words of modern life, suddenly ending in “Mord”, murder!

From here we wake up straight in the student’s boyfriend’s bed: unfortunately we are only confronted with an overwhelming description of sweat and a shopping list, smirking demonically from the wall. That is how modern life presents itself in this short story: people are not complete persons with thoughts, feelings and actions, but rather disconnected like the objects they are surrounded with and powerless. Furthermore they seem to perceive each other only in terms of body segments. In another scene the student is lying by a lake:

See: Gras, Gras. Er kommt, legt sich zu ihr. Mit ihm. Wolkeninfanterie. Turbulenzen in Luft. Mit ihm: die Situation unerträglich. Fette Tropfen klatschen auf ihre Körper. Sie schwingt sich zum See: Von Grashalm zu Grashalm. Schwimmt weit raus. Saltomortalischer Wolkenbruch.(..) Tropfen werden Hagelkörner, der See springt. Er steht reglos unter den Bäumen.(..) Der Himmel pisst. Eiskugeln im Gras. Er zuckt die Schultern, dreht sich, geht. Ihr Blick begleitet seinen Rücken bis in den Wald hinein.

 

In this scene the student is a victim of the powerful bodies of nature. The weather replaces any intimate action between the man and the woman, which cannot really happen, because the persons seem to be only for display, whereas the real life is acted out by the non living phenomena. Finally in a club’s toilet and in a pub the student can escape from the feeling of being overwhelmed with impressions, and returns mentally in the mother’s womb:

Kneipe: wohlige Luft, fruchtwasserwarm. Abtauchen.               Unfortunately this diving into timelessness doesn’t last long. Her own room presents itself as a stranger’s place. Again she finds her boyfriend in her bed, which doesn’t evoke more romantic thoughts than:

Sieht aus wie: An den Teppich genagelt. Ihr Brustkasten flimmert kurzatmig im Korsett. Das Aquarium ist geleert und gereinigt.

Finally she packs her luggage and escapes from him, and the world, the overripe watermelon. The happy end? Contrary to the introductery scene it seems finally easier for the female protagonist to deal exclusively with the non living world of objects (that take on human dimensions anyway) and modern technology that correspond to her work and cannot answer back rather than with a living being in the shape of her boyfriend:

Der Kopierdeckel knarrt beim Öffnen und Schließen. Abzüge. Abgezogen. Häutungen. (...) Dahingeraffter Taubenschiss. Stadt der weißen Kaffeetassen. Kopierer im Kopf surren. Abzüge auf der Netzhaut.(..)

 

 

 

3. The lost code of the semiotic system of the dwelling place in “Das Frühstück” (S.Kruber)

 

The next short story  “Das Frühstück” by Sabine Kruber shows ‘complete’ protagonists, who have unfortunately forgotten how to deal with the ordinary things of contemporary life. The protagonists are a man, who is introduced as a commander flourishing in stories about the two world wars, and his wife, who has created her own universe of meanings, for example about her husband, who – in her point of view – sits at the table in his navy uniform:

Nach einer Weile blickte sie über den Rand der Konservenbüchse (she eats her soup directly from the tin) hinweg, blieb an seiner Matrosenuniform hängen. „Wie gut sie ihm steht“, dachte sie und betrachtete die Orden an seinem abgewetzten Kragen. Bunt waren sie, mit vielen Clownsgesichtern.

 

In seeing faces of clowns on the deckhand’s uniform she views him as a kind of incarnated laughter. However, it is a cruel laughter, as we will learn later. The commander seems to depend on the uniform, an object that makes him what he is or pretends to be. While the woman consciously admires the man in the uniform, she might unconsciously feel that it is all  fake. She is ruining it anyway with coffee, which she keeps spilling over his clothes.

The woman’s perception has become very peculiar, and the meanings she gives to the objects around her build her own private semiotic universe.

Hinter der Mütze entdeckte sie das Bild. An der Küchenvitrine hing es in der Glastüre. Sie konnte seinen Hinterkopf sehen, seinen Rücken. Wer hatte ihr das Bild nur aufgehangen? Dunkel war es und durchsichtig. (...) Gleich darauf bemerkte sie die Frau mit dem verfilzten Haar. Sie starrten sich an.

 

The woman is confused and stares at the changing images and sadly she doesn’t recognize herself. She has lost the sense of “I”, the very thing that a child discovers during childhood. Only in the mirror the woman sees a sign of farewell, a suitcase which she had not discovered outside of the image.

 

The act of seeing is a central issue in this short story. While the woman is rather glancing insecurely around, the man’s eyes are fixing and demanding like his words and threatening as if they could kill. While the woman is not capable to recognise herself in the looking glass she mirrors herself in the eyes of the commander, as if her whole being was caught in those eyes!

The eyes are the main senses  transcending the body in order to lead it into the world. If the act of seeing ends within someone’s demanding eyes’ this person’s world sight has shrunk enourmously and cannot see other things in the world with her own eyes any more. According to Jean Paul Sartre the organic eye of the other disappears in the act of seeing. However, the woman perceives the man’s inner shape of the eye very well. Can we conclude that she is not really looking at him? I would rather conclude that HE is not really looking back, because his eyes have already finished with seeing the woman as a human being. He only sees an object which disturbs his coffee morning and ruins his uniform. For the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty the visible world seen by someone’s eyes enters the body that participates in the seen world. If this is true for the woman, the commander’s bad eye and his uniform are entering her being and she is automatically forced to taking part in it. Eyes and Voice together work out well for the commander, who uses them as penetrating instruments in order to fix his wife in a certain role. There is no way out for her.[2]

The woman’s view is mainly reduced to the uniform, the eyes from the bad body incarnated in her husband, and the other bad bodies which are the items in the room.

 

At least the soup spoon is her property, she thinks, while she is trying to melt her fingers together with it: Ihre Finger verschmolzen mit dem Stiel des Suppenlöffels wie Schweißnähte. However, this victory lasts only for a moment, because the soup spoon finally makes its way back into the tin, while another spoon is already triumphing:

Ein Löffelchen steckte tief in der Marmelade und kicherte. Mit steifen Fingern versuchte sie es zu packen. Lachend entglitt es ihr, verschwand noch tiefer im Inneren des Glases, suhlte sich in dem blutroten Gelee wie in duftigen Federbetten. Am Glasrand blieb es kleben. Vergeblich versuchte sie es herauszuziehen.

 

While the laughing spoon resists to allow the woman of getting hold of it, the man suggests punishing it, even drowning it. It is actually him, who seduces the woman to open the watertap:

Sie konnte seine kugelrunden Knopfaugen spüren, wie sie sich durch ihre Schädeldecke bohrten. Langsam streckte sie die Hand nach dem Wasserhahn aus. Das Lachen des Löffelchens erstarb. Stille breitete sich in ihrem Kopf aus, nur einen Augenblick. Dann sein Flüstern: „Dreh ihn auf!“ „Ich will doch gar nicht!“ Sie umfasste den Wasserhahn, drehte  ihn auf, bis es nicht mehr ging.

 

The man keeps insisting that the water should be allowed to flood the flat. HE converts the mad discourse into a cruel one. The woman has received a letter from her daughter, who is on her way to the flat in order to take her mother away. Obviously the man wants to create  proof that his wife is causing danger, while she seems rather harmless compared to him.

Gemeinsam beobachteten sie das Wasser wie es sich Stück für Stück den Küchenfußboden eroberte, lauschten dem Duett aus Pochen und Schellen, das vehement Aufmerksamkeit forderte. (...) „Siehst Du das Löffelchen?“ sagte der Offizier. „Sie werden alle ertrinken!“ Dann lachte er wieder.

 

The remarks of the man sound very macabre. While his wife is obviously concerned and confused about what she is doing, the man demands more and more coffee and seems to have pleasure in his imagination of drowning items and confusing his wife even more. His laughter is the laughter of someone who doesn’t care about anything but himself. His wife seems to be a mad and pitiful object to him, while the ‘real’ objects, the spoons, seem alive and have to be killed.

Kopfschüttelnd versuchte sie die Stimmen aus ihrem Kopf zu vertreiben. Das Wasser fraß sich Welle für Welle in den Flur hinein. Ihr war kalt. Sie schlang die Arme um sich, schaukelte ein wenig. Es wurde nicht wärmer.

 

Finally it happens: people come from outside and take the old woman away. Connotations about the deportation of the Jews enter the reader’s mind, whereas the commander stays behind: happily smiling into his coffee mug.

 

 

4. Haunted bodies  in “The inherited clock” (E.Bowen)

 

In Bowen’s short story a frustrated woman in her late thirties inherits a skeleton clock. In her childhood Clara had once tried to materialize a minute by putting her fingers into the clock work. She had so stopped the clock which had worked for 100 years. Clara has lost her memory about this experience. However, the inherited clock makes her life worse.

The skeleton clock, in daylight, was threatening to a degree its oddness could not explain. Looking through the glass at its wheels, cogs, springs and tensions, an at its upraised striker, awaiting with a sensible quiver the finish of the hour that was in force, Clara tried to tell herself that it was, only, shocking to see the anatomy of time. The clock was without a face, its twelve numerals being welded on to a just visible wire ring. As she watched, the minute hand against its background of nothing made one, then another, spectral advance. This was enough: if she did not yet feel she could anticipate feeling her sanity being demolished, by one degree more, as every sixtieth second brought round this unheard click. (Bowen, 628)

 

Calling a clock a ‘skeleton clock’ enlightens its meaning for the protagonist. The skeleton reduces the body to its essentials. In contrary to fulfilled time its reduced casing refers to dead bones. What’s visible of the clock could represent the dead body, while its invisible dimension, the (fulfilled) time itself might be compared to a living body. Clara resists  transcending her perception and identifies only with the negative dimension.

Phenomenological use of German language distinguishes between two meanings of the body which is ‘Körper’ and ‘Leib’. The word ‘Körper’ derives etymologically from ‘corpus’ (corps), whereas ‘Leib’ comes from ‘Leben’ (Life). Clara feels her own unfulfilment of embodied time at seeing only the corps of time personified in the skeleton clock.

Clara had known this clock in her childhood but her body refuses to remember the history.

Not re-membering (bringing the members back together) the clock could be seen as a reference that Clara lives in dis-membered time and that she hasn’t entered the stage of taking actively part in time and life with all the members of her body.

The clock presents an object in space which has not been perceived properly by Clara yet and can be equated to her unconscious memories in time. The clock also shows Clara how her life goes on as the minutes pass away, but neither the clock nor Clara are actually going somewhere. Clara’s body feels even more lifeless when it is close to the clock and Clara decides to KILL the clock in order to redeem her body. However, before she is able to take any action she gets mental help from her cousin, who actually forces her to jump over the ontological threshold into the past. By symbolically rewinding the clock she heals her psychological wound. Clara is now able to return into real being by physically stopping the minute hand and in doing so she changes metaphorically the direction of time.

It is not surprising that clocks can have such an influence on human beings. Grandfather clocks have become especially popular in literature. One famous example is Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, where a clock was rewound once a month. This rewinding was taken as a signal for husband and wife to have sexual intercourse at the following night. Unfortunately the clock was once rewound on a wrong day, which happened to cause a disaster for the family and created a novel of 800 pages.

For Jean Baudrillard the symbolic meaning o the clock has changed. Nowadays there are not many large clocks left to dominate a room. Instead there are wrist watches reminding one that time is flying but hardly evoking any transcendental meaning. Time lost its vertical meaning, while the horizontal dimension stays on and makes us rush through life.

 


5. Invisible embodiment  in „Hotel“ (N. Blazon) and “Teufelszwirn” (P.M. Dörnfeld)

 

In Nina Blazon’s short story, “Hotel” a very pleasant luxury hotel seems to like its guests more than it should. People are visiting there, staff are working there, but none  ever leave. A journalist makes his way to the hotel and learns about the secret of the motherly caring hotel. Each piece of furniture represents one part of the body. The bed in the honeymoon room stands for trinity of the heart, the loving mouth and the soul. Not only at the large annual meal of servants but all year long, both embodiment and disembodiment, take place at the same time.[3] Disembodiment takes place, because the people give up their individual bodies and embodiment, because they melt into one large body: the overwhelming maternal being of the tenderly loving house.

Unser Haus ist ein wundervoller, riesiger Organismus. Ein lebendiger, pulsierender Polyp, wenn Sie so wollen, der heute dies ist und morgen schon etwas anderes sein kann.

 

While this „bad body” seems to be at least very convenient and pleasant to its victims, the next one is less good-hearted. In Dörnfeld’s “Teufelszwirn”(devil’s thread) the reader is directly induced to watch a cosmic scenario of thousands of yellow-grey bodies rolling chewingly under transparent scarfs and developing something incredibly bad!

Als die Kokons ins kochende Wasser geworfen wurden, entwich ein wutentbranntes Stöhnen aus tausenden winziger Mäuler. (...) Ungesehen ließ sich eine seltsame (...) Wolke auf die (...) erdumspannenden Seidenfäden nieder, durchtränkte sie wie die Farbe die sie bald erhalten sollten.

 

The next scene shows us girls buying silk blouses and scarfs. Trying on the new clothes both girls feel imprisoned like in kokons and die quickly. The world’s population is soon dramatically decreasing. As incarnated evil the silk worms have pressed their anger of thousands of years in their thread and kill logically everyone whose body gets close to the silk! This powerful image can only be surpassed by the horrible vision of the most threatening story “Pornotraum” written by Folkert Hendrik Lundberg.

 

 

6. Threatening bodies  in “Pornotraum” (F.H. Lundberg) and “Teufelszwirn“ (P.M.Dörnfeld)

 

‘Pornotraum’ presents an image of concentrated disgust. A man with a suitcase goes to a club in order to watch porn videos. Sitting in one of the dark rooms he gets scared that cameras might tape him. However, the danger doesn’t come from modern technology, but approaches him in the shape of countless cockroaches falling down on him from the ceiling. At least no cameras, the man thinks and starts to relax. Suddenly the room is filled with a strange noise which doesn’t come from the porn videos, and a second later the man is flooded by thousands of cockroaches approaching from everywhere. After a long fight  the man is finally able to swim out of the door and he then runs away. Having forgotten his suitcase in the room the poor man must return. But he finds his suitcase quickly, gets out of the sexshop and makes it to a park. There he tries to shake his clothes free of the insects. When he opens his suitcase, all his belongings seem still be in place. However, diving into the depths of his suitcase is revealed a piece of raw flesh in a very familiar shape. He opens his trousers and looks full of horror into a dark hole,[4] there he is confronted with the arrival of the restless antenna of an enormous cockroach!

 

While the death of the women in “Teufelszwirn” is derived from clothing, men’s biggest fear was always mainly focused on loosing their manhood. (I think that generalizations are possible here.) While women have rather existential fears focusing on survival and their environment, men tend to focus on the more concrete. Nowadays, people fear invisible dangers in the shape of perhaps viruses, letters infected with white powder, poisoned air or invisible treatments or clothing.

Both visions are about very small creatures that are only powerful en masse. While the silk worm is normally not connected with images of fear, but utility, the cock roach is disgusting to everyone. Having read around 100 stories concerning bad bodies, from my point of view it is this story which provides the most horrific image of all.

 

7. Postludium: Human bodies and others in the bathroom compartment

 I don’t want to let you go with this horrible image lingering in your mind. Therefore I finally confront you with two rather harmless pieces. Adam, a man who has lost the feeling of his body, but is rather in love with his bones, and Earnest, who is in love with someone strange sitting in the bath. Both men redeem their bodies by entering the bath. Both men might be threatenend by slightly bad bodies. What these bodies are exactly, you might find out by reading, unless you will be sucked in yourself by the deep vortex of the neverending bath.

 

 

In the bath     

 

I Adam

 

Adam felt amorphously, while he was sitting on the toilet seat. As if he would not be able to feel his limbs and his body parts would move away in different directions. His left leg, his right leg, his heart, his left foot, his right foot, his arms, his dull looking penis, everything hanging stupidly around.

 

His bones. Yes. This were the only things he could feel. Bones. Heavy bones. It would be brilliant if he could get rid off his skin at least for half an hour to wash his bloody bones. But first off all he had to take his cloths off. Slowly he removed one piece after another. He had passed 3 typing exams, but his fingers were still no quick companions, when it came to very practical issues like getting rid of a sock or a piece of underwear. Finally he was ready: naked like a peeled banana and heavy like a large container of potatoes he put himself in the water. One leg after the other, and then he let his enourmous body go.

 

 

II Earnest

 

Sitting on his toilet seat and thinking about his forthcoming bath, Earnest’s body was full of flavour and excitement. Finally he would do it again. Carefully he started to undress his body trembling while being viewed by the beautiful eye of the captain. Earnest felt that this was the day, when his body would finally meet the requirements of the experienced sea captain who had seen more bodies in his life than Earnest would ever be able to count. Tonight his body would find mercy under the strict sea captain’s eyes. Slowly he unbottomed his trousers – watching nervously the reaction of the dark blue eye from the water – and found his legs bursting out of the trousers. Oh my God! He was sure that the captain liked what he saw.

 

Now he had to get rid off his jumper and underwear and then it would all begin! His pants fell off easily and while he carefully considered the size of the captain, he pushed his jumper over his head. He had very sexy chest hair, hadn’t he? Though the captain’s face stayed frozen as usual, his head seemed to nod his approval in Earnest’s direction. Earnest smiled with relief. There was so much more to come. Because this was only a small part of the pudding, he would have more than the captain had hoped fore. While Earnest jumped around in the bathroom to get rid off his clothes here and there, the captain’s clothes were rather painted on him and underlined his earnestness.

 

The captain was still watching with his staring eye and his telescope. The latter would no longer be a necessity, as they would be close enough to do it without. But would his unnaturally strict looking eye finally come across more human when Earnest would be his own?

Suddenly getting a bit shy Earnest made his feet come out of his slippers and went two steps towards the bath. Being now stripped off completely he hesitated for a moment noticing that the captain held his telescope still in the same direction, although having changed his angle. One step further and then he had approached the edge of the bath. Soon they would go off, and melt together in paradise.

One last step and his naked body stepped into the bubbling water. Oh my God. Here he was:

The Captain was ready and off they went. Earnest and the captain on this little plastic boat, they would do it : right now.

                                                           K.Rist (Water-Lee, November 2001)

 

Katharina Rist, July 2002. DSG-Conference in Kassel.



[1] K. Rist: New Years Eve. Cologne 1999, London 2002.

[2] A famous example is T.S. Eliot’s famous Love Song of J.Alfred. Prufrock (In: The Waste Land and other poems. London 1940, 5).

And I have know the eyes already, known them all-

The eye that fix you in a formulated phrase,

And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,

When I am pinned an wriggling on the wall,

Then how should I begin

To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?

And how should I presume?

[3] Richten Sie Ihren Blick doch einmal auf das Bett. Das Herz unseres Hauses sozusagen. Oder die Seele, oder der liebende Mund, wie Sie wollen. Jährlich findet hier der traditionelle Pagenschmaus statt. Nun, in der Zwischenzeit greifen wir natürlich vermehrt auf Auslandspraktikanten zurück, weil das weniger Aufsehen erregt. Wir haben es auch mit verkleideten Straßenkindern versucht, aber das Hotel lässt sich nicht täuschen und spuckt sie halb verdaut wieder aus – einzig und allein aus dem Grund, uns zu ärgern, da bin ich mir sicher. Nein, nein, es muss jemand sein der den Wunsch verspürt hierzubleiben. Der bereit ist, mit dem Haus zu verschmelzen.

 

[4] Fassungslos starrte er auf die dunkle Öffnung, die sich zwischen seinen Schenkeln auftat und aus der sich die unruhigen Fühler einer riesigen Kakerlake hervorschoben...