31 July 2007

in these egyptian movies

on a short stopover in frankfurt last week, i found joachim sartorius' poetry book In den ägyptischen Filmen, for which cees nooteboom wrote an epilogue. while reading it, i felt the urge to underline certain formulations and expressions. i rarely do that, so i was surprised when i kept on doing so throughout the book. while drawing lines, i thought it would be very interesting to see what these different phrases would look like strung together in chronological order.

weirdly enough, cees nooteboom did the same. joining different lines of various poems in one paragraph while discussing them, he even apologized for doing so. i don't see a reason for apologizing, as i find it rare that someone manages to sprinkle words in a way that a whole mosaic can be forced open and still look good re-worked in a miniature form, so to speak. here, hacked up wanderlust becomes home sickness. but remember, this is my very personal selection of
favorite lines written by mr. sartorius' that became a new poem. below you'll find its instant translation as usual:

Ich habe das Licht
vom Licht unterschieden,
drei Papageienarten
nach dir
(ohne Federn zu lassen)
[en] Ultramarin

ja ich läge ja sehnlichst
läge ich in dir

früher im Jahr
Ein kleines totes Blatt

Alles verwirrte dich endlich
diese Wespe irrt durch diese Uhr,
die Welt ist eine heiße Wiese,
wo es zu tun gibt.

Zum Ende dann: "Es war
nicht so gemeint."

[I have distinguished light
from light,
named three parrot species after
(without casting feathers)
one ultramarine

yes I would lie yearning
would I lie in you

Earlier on in that very same year
one small dead leaf

Finally all things confused you
this wasp errs through this clock,
this world is some hot grassland,
where there is work to do.

Then, in the end: "It wasn't
meant like that."]

The poems used were (in chronological order, as stated above):
Diana, Die Lehre des Flügels, Liebe und Arbeit, Umarmung, con affetto, Der Tisch wird kalt, Brinkmann steht, In dieser schwarzen Ruhe.

30 July 2007

last week, fm4 published a shortlist of the pre-jury selection of authors. looks like i'm the only one who hasn't given her story a title.

i didn't have much time last week, but i noted down a couple of ideas and snippets, like these:


in meiner nase noch/ was nach zuhaus riecht
aber zwischen fremden/ fotos liegen/
beine/ hand/ halb in der wand

[in my nose still/ what smells like home
but lying between strangers'/ pictures/
legs/ hand/ halfway in the wall]


where i/ am/ sleep/
now i can't/ hear/
the rain fall/ all water/
all water falls.

[wo ich jetzt/ bin/ schlaf/
kann ich nicht/ hören/
wie regen fällt/ alles wasser/
alles wasser fälle.]


mein herz ist dein herz ist mein heim

[my heart is your heart is my home]

23 July 2007

going on holiday

i'll be on tour until the beginning of august.

here's plenty of reading material to keep you guys occupied until i'm back:

lauter niemand
, ken yamamoto, lyrikkritik, metroprolet, poetenladen, the paris review, die zeit, international herald tribune, hor.de, sumuze.

(picture taken from pictures of walls)

22 July 2007

day 122 - what a funny sunday this will be

that's me as a simpson... great, huh??

simpsonize yourself, too!

(...and why not email your pics to me so that i can publish them here anonymously?)

21 July 2007

day 121

this goes out to my friends ulla and kilian.

beim film die/ brauchen isch weiss nisch jungs, die/ wo bomben auf barbieland schielen/ bis ein ken sich auszieht/ herr doktor, da drüben, die/ tür, die gleich aufspringt, die/ dreckfinger raus aus den angeln/ ein freund: blasse brust.

[movie people they/ need dunno guys who/ leer at bombs on barbieland/ 'til a ken takes his clothes off/ sir, over there, the/ door that springs open the/ dirtfingers off the hinges/ a friend: pallid chest.]

20 July 2007

day 120

i didn't write today, BUT: i gave blood. that's a good thing to do, you should locate your closest blood donation station and drop by. it doesn't hurt and you get to know nice fellow donors when you munch away on sandwiches and fruit afterwards... life is so weird sometimes.

(or, alternatively, if you don't feel like giving blood, try giving money. misereor accepts donations from 2€/ month onwards. and yes, i've enlisted there, too.)

19 July 2007

day 119

blankness. i can't think of anything but my going on holiday next week. organizing things like flights between berlin, zurich and london, my rental car and so forth keeps me pretty busy. i've started a couple of texts, too, but since i can't focus very well at the moment, i haven't gotten far at all. frustration alarm...!

18 July 2007

top three worst pop song lyrics in a chorus sung by an american female

3. rihanna: unfaithful
I don't wanna do this anymore/ I don't wanna be the reason why/ Everytime I walk out the door/ I see him die a little more inside/ I don't wanna hurt him anymore/ I don't wanna take away his life/ I don't wanna be.../ A murderer

2. britney spears: lucky
She's so lucky, she's a star/ But she cry, cry, cries in her lonely heart, thinking/ If there's nothing missing in my life/ Then why do these tears come at night

1. kelly clarkson: because of you
Because of you/ I never stray too far from the sidewalk/ Because of you/ I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt/ Because of you/ I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me/ Because of you/ I am afraid

burlesque, anyone?

check out velvet hammer for more.

17 July 2007

day 117

i dug the following poem up this morning, it's a couple of years old now.

i know it's simple and kitschy and all, but i like it's rhythm and sound nevertheless. unfortunately, yet again, either is totally lost in the german 'instant translation' below. (i've recorded it, too.)

the truth

he shook my heart
like strong men shake slim apple trees
he made my soul hum
like a silly bear a swarm of bees
he was a blue and yellow summer
hot sand and corals and seas
plucked lovebugs thick and black off branches
in winter he hid
crystal shells in fallen avalanches.

[ungelogen/ er schüttelte mein herz/ wie starke männer dünne apfelbäume/ machte meine seele summen/ wie der ungeschickte bär/ den bienenschwarm/ er war ein blaugelber sommer/ heisser sand und korallen und meer/ pflückte liebeskäfer dick und schwarz von ästen/ im winter versteckte er/ kristallmuscheln in gestürzten lawinen.]

15 July 2007

day 115

it's a funny feeling: i've heard of people who have passed on my short stories to other people they know who then read them and, from time to time, got back to me. knowing i am read by virtual or complete strangers feels uncanny. i wonder if, just like with chinese whisper, anything of what i say comes through at all. i mean, even posting here is like putting small paper ships on lake constance - what i let go is often personally lost, in a way, so maybe that's why i write good, meaningful stuff so seldom. some days i really feel blank and used up. there are times i wish i were one of those workaholics/ maniacs that just have to create something new every five minutes... but then again that doesn't sound like a very rich life, either.

...and i'm writing, you know, it's not like i ain't writing.

14 July 2007

day 114

most beautiful weather in berlin => i'll be out. see you later, people.

13 July 2007

it's 1.10 am and i'm nervous and can't sleep and instead of tranquility there are swirls of confusion.

i've tried reading some khalil gibran prose poems, pretty ones, but my concentration is amiss.

this afternoon someone called and asked me what i was doing and i said nothing much, and then it occurred to me how difficult it is to explain to people that you're waiting for some kind of inspirational kick, a phrase or a word maybe, and that if there's none you're doomed to sit in idleness.

i hate the idea of people thinking i'm lazy or deliberately nonproductive.

so... anyone interested in a german ZEIT-article on the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Wettbewerb?

12 July 2007

day 112

(picture taken from pictures of walls.)

11 July 2007

day 111

before posting a brand new english poem of mine - the first in a long while - i would like to thank Susanne of SuMuze for her super kind comment on day 107. it's always so nice to get positive feedback, especially from people who don't know me personally. you should check out her blog, too, it's beautifully made.

and here's my new poem (CHECK OUT THE RECORDING, TOO!):

A stray dog
I beg you to take me to kindergarten
Knolls of grey sand
Of dry sand and
Rays of canteen food smell
I put spells on those women
The vegetarians
Those guys and their sandals
A handcart cube
I have ridden brown watery soup
Down a few cobbled streets
I have screamed
Wild fidelity things
From the top of my lungs
I have inflated orange water wings
I, too, have skinned my knees
The curbs
The birds the bees I know
Of me.

[Ein streunender Hund/ Ich bitt dich bring mich in den Kindergarten/ Hügel grauer Sand/ Trockensand und/ Geruchstrahlen aus Kantinenessen/ Ich verzauber die Frauen/ Die Vegetarier/ Diese Typen in ihren Sandalen/ Ein Leiterwagenkubus/ Ich ritt die braune Wassersuppe/ Über Kopfsteinpflasterstrassen/ Ich schrie/ Wild Treueschwüre/ Aus voller Lunge/ Blies ich die orangenen Schwimmflügel/ Auch ich schlug mir die Knie auf/ Steinränder/ Die Vögel die Bienen ich weiß/ um mich.]

10 July 2007

day 110

i have two options now:

a) post a translation of some random poem
b) talk about phases (food and vocabulary)

i'll go for b).

those of you who know me know that i have certain phases. food phases, for example (currently it's salami). i also have that with words. this makes it pretty boring to write poetry or anything at all, really, because ultimately i keep repeating myself and that bores me to death. at the moment i like words like Felder [fields], Ähren [spikes], Myriade [myriads], Tauben [pigeons], Perlen [pearls], Nacht [night] and so forth. here's an example i'm only citing for evidence:

am horizont silberfilm, baby, und nirgends athen
vom balkon fallen, stockwerke zählen

be ton in be ton und
die tauben die gurren vendetta

was von allem muss bleiben? ich sage
sich drehende litfaßsäulen

jeder sein flugfeld, kollege,
du musst es nur wollen.

[silverfilm the horizon, baby, and athens nowhere/ fall from a balcony, total the floors/ con crete in con crete and/ the pigeons they coo of vendetta/ what of all things must remain? i say/ advertising pillars that rotate/ each his own airfield, buddy,/ just do it.]

there you go, you got a), too.

09 July 2007

day 109 is it?

i know it's translation monday, but i don't have one just yet. i've been pretty clouded today and might only post one tomorrow.

this morning i sent off my open mike story, Bärenklau, without re-reading it once more after i edited it for a third time yesterday afternoon. that was a silly thing to do, as i've noticed a minor stylistic inconsistency in the first two lines when i started reading the story just now. it's weird: i couldn't even finish reading the first page. i CAN'T STAND looking at my stories once i have pronounced them finished, and i'm not just saying this for fun. so far, apart from myself, only one friend of mine has read the text and liked it (isn't it great to have friends), so i hope the jury will, too. i feel confident that it has a very original tone to it, so perhaps they're looking for something new and unconsumed and will notice. or maybe not. eventually the story is written and that's the main thing.

erik reading his poetry

08 July 2007

a typical nightly anxiety attack: i've had another quick look at my story's ending and decided it had to be changed. so i changed it. this took me an hour and a half of staring onto a screen. not my laptop's screen, but some other screen, as i figured a change of perspective could only help. (are you guys getting the irony here?) so now the ending is different, but not really, as in actually it's really only shorter than it used to be. so i got a little insecure about things and checked the beginning once again, too. and, naturally, i decided it had to be changed. so i changed it. this took me far less than an hour and a half, i just deleted letters and words. when i realized that, would i not stop right there and then, i would delete most of my text, i stopped. but now i'm thinking that perhaps i went over the top with my experimentation. i became afraid that people wouldn't be able to see the intent behind a variety of applied writing styles used in one text that may seem thrown together randomly at first sight. so before doing any more damage to the text i thought i should maybe just put it in an envelope and mail it first thing tomorrow morning, but i'm too doubtful. there must be seemingly unimportant details that should be re-worked. they must be detectable, too... only how?

07 July 2007

day 107


ich lieb dir ein seelchen her ali baba
ein pferdchen aus wind
seine mähne die locken wie zucker
zieh hin wie sie blähen die nüstern
sieh baba ali
wie die hufe sich wolkenwärts heben
ihr tritt sanft und sahnig zur früheren nacht.

[i've tried a translation, but it sounded silly and won't be posted, i'm sorry.]

06 July 2007

day 106

yesterday i walked past some guy on the street

who meowed at me.

i thought that was pretty extreme.

05 July 2007

day 105

the second, and quite possibly final, draft of my story is finished. with 2'419 words and 13'967 characters including spaces it's exactly fifteen minutes of reading time long, so i guess that's perfect. i really like it, better even than the flood story, but i suppose i'm not the best person to judge my own work. i think i've mentioned before, too, that i tend to like my most recent stuff best, so this doesn't really mean anything. (unless i improve constantly, which i hope is the case... oh well.) but either way, lo and behold! i have an entry for this year's open mike competition!

04 July 2007

day 104

only minutes ago i finished the first draft of my open mike entry. it's a story again, six pages or 2'568 words long. it's supposed to fill 15 minutes of reading time, so i suppose that should be fine. i haven't read it out loud yet, as i don't see a point in doing so when i know this isn't the final draft, but given my flood story experience, its volume should suffice. i've been toying around with my language a little this time around, which seems unusual to me personally (then again, don't i always play with language?), but i still like it. especially the first and last sentence of the story really suit me this time... so yeah, whatever the outcome will be, i'm pretty proud of myself cause i wrote the story so quickly and even in a certain time frame with still enough time to revise it thoroughly. awesome!

day 103 (104, technically)

i didn't post today (yesterday, technically), B U T i went to potsdam for a little tour and then to the movies. we saw joe strummer - the future is unwritten, and i was rather impressed with his and the clash's political attitude and his lyrical talent. a taste from the song 'cool confusion':

between cool confusion/ and kung fu in the car park/ could the weekend be losing/ that reactive spark'
'it's immediately obvious;/ anybody star-gilt/ would have left this club/ way before it was built.'

also, in the movie there were several things he said i liked. for example this: 'you should never feel above anyone.' or that: 'without people you're nothing.' should you feel like going to the movies sometime, i think you could like this film.

02 July 2007

day 102 - questions at midnight

this monday's post is hans magnus enzensberger's poem befragung zur mitternacht, questioning at midnight. the german original, as usual, you'll find below.

questioning at midnight

where that you hold my hand companioness

do you linger through what vaults

walks when in the towers the bells

dream that they were broken

your heart?

where through what clear-cutting do you scud
that i touch cheektender what
doping nightherb streaks you

dreameress what ford wets
your foot?

where when the hollow sky greys dearest

do you rustle through dreamreeds stroke

doors and vaults with whose boy

trades kisses your quietly trembling


where is the flute that you bend your ear towards

where are the howls that soundlessly bulge
your hair and i lie lame
and hark and wake and where

your feathers?

where in what woods entraps you
that holds my hand companioness
your dream?

befragung zur mitternacht

wo, die meine hand hält, gefährtin,
verweilst du, durch welche gewölbe
geht, wenn in den türmen die glocken
träumen daß sie zerbrochen sind
dein herz?

wo, welchen kahlschlag durcheilst du,
die ich berühre wangenzart, welch ein
betäubendes nachtkraut streift dich,
träumerin, welch eine furt benetzt
deinen fuß?

wo, wenn der hohle himmel graut, liebste,
rauschst du durch traumschilf, streichelst
türen und grüfte, mit wessen boten
tauscht küsse, der leise bebt,
dein mund?

wo ist die flöte, der du dein ohr neigst,
wo das geheul das lautlos dein haar
bauscht, und ich liege wie ein gelähmter
und horch und wach und wohin
dein gefieder?

wo, in was für wälder verstrickt dich,
die meine hand hält, gefährtin,
dein traum?

su ni: la ni

01 July 2007

day 101 - the haunting of sylvia plath

browsing through the bookshelves at st georges' bookshop after sam hamill's reading (see below), i came across a couple of interesting reads, one of which was a book called the haunting of sylvia plath, written by jacqueline rose. it was originally published in london back in 1991, and even though i have been interested in most any publication regarding sylvia plath and her work, i had never heard of it it before. as yet, i have only read up to page thirteen, and i have to say i find it quite complicated. basically, jacqueline rose relates the fields of psychoanalysis, feminism and literature - sometimes in a very shallow manner ('writing may be a form of madness, but for the one who writes, it can equally be a way of staying sane.', p. 4), but sometimes also profound ('for freud, the utterance can only ever be partial, scarred as it is by the division between conscious and unconscious [...]. [...] the frequent diagnoses of plath seem to me to have as at least one of their effects, if not purposes, that they have transposed into a fact of her individual pathology the no less difficult problem of the contradictory, divided and incomplete nature of representation itself', p. 5) or daring ('soap operas are one of the means of negotiating the stereotypes of culture', p. 6). the wildest statement i've read so far, though, would have to be

'the ariel poems are totally without pathos, expressive only of a certain pride, which may seem the more active emotion, except that this same pride is the pride of total surrender asking (the man, inevitably) for death.'

uuuhm, yeah, well, not too sure about that. i mean, obviously, sylvia's death wish is clear, and so are her difficulties with men, but maybe blaming men for her depression was just another way - an easier and also glossier one, so to speak - of shifting responsibility. the demons that urged her to kill herself, were all within her: be it self-made (depression, biochemically speaking), inherited (father) or voluntarily selected (ted hughes, in this case). i believe sylvia knew this all too well and that her decision to kill herself was a revolution in a way, an intentional, very own liberation, and thus all but a desire to be relieved by someone else. quite the contrary: to me, she's not asking the man for death, but asking the men within her, if you want, to die. and then, when they didn't, she went ahead and killed them by killing herself. as i see it, the only surrender that took place was not one to the man, but one caused by a physical lack of energy to withstand the various 'men's' mental attacks on her being. so, by killing herself, she reclaimed responsibility and exercised the exact opposite of that imploring naivety jacquline rose alleges.

does that make any sense at all?

for poems and more info, try the sylvia plath forum, for example.