today is october 1
nothing special in austria
i sit in the sun on our balcony
it’s very warm
seventy years ago
my parents were very young
they didn’t know each other
my mother was born in 1942
my father in 1940
so they were very small school kids
poor families
my mother had it a little better
in the countryside by the railway
as far as i heard
her father was alive
my father’s father didn’t come back
from the war
many many many many
people never came back
many children too
from the camps
from the ruins
but i think by 1949
my parents were both in school
they were relatively lucky
austria was relatively lucky
after the war
october 1 or october 1st
is no special day in austria
we had an election two days ago
so people talk about that
i think about seventy years ago
because of china’s national day
they have another one in taiwan
on october 10
it commemorates the revolution
in 1911 in china, in wuhan
in all of china eventually
no more emperors
but not in taiwan, not on taiwan
taiwan was under japan
no revolution
although people tried, maybe not that year
now taiwan has it’s national day
on october 10
they’ve had it this way since 1949
maybe since 1945
but since 1949 they are the only ones
with that national day
that comes from china in 1911
or maybe not exactly
did they change their national day
in 1949 right away?
maybe not
in beijing they have the greatest parade
since 1949 maybe
yes, many soldiers, tanks
school kids en masse, probably
forming words, numbers, flowers
great fireworks
i have just finished steven king’s new novel
the institute
i remember when someone interviewed ernst jandl
great austrian poet who died in 2000
it was in his apartment in vienna
he was a school teacher
anyway the reporter was rather surprised
jandl told him he had just bought a novel by stephen king
no, nothing more highbrow
in english, i think
jandl taught english and german
he was a pow in england
his unit had succeeded
in surrendering to the british
so they were lucky, those who survived
anyway jandl told the reporter
no, he didn’t need to read
highbrow stuff all the time
he wanted to write democratic poetry
not too different from erich fried
in this respect
they met in england
fried had fled from the nazis in 1938
out of vienna
he was not much older than jandl
almost the same age
after the war he was mostly in germany
jandl was in vienna
what was i talking about, stephen king
children not coming back
most of the children the book is about
the institute
most don’t come back
almost all of them don’t
over many years
in several countries
and there is this messianic thing
about this horrible institution
described in the novel
i am sorry guess i should use another word
most children murdered were jewish
in austria and so on
pointed out as jews
and messias is jewish
like everything in the bible of course
the institute is supposed to save the world
at the cost of killing children
and their parents
and this takes place now under trump
although he’s hardly mentioned
and not important
but they have existed since after the war
these institutes
in the novel
no-one ever came back
they saved the world, they said
not the children, of course
there is also another handmaid’s tale
margaret atwood
the testaments
haven’t read it yet
but i bought it
i loved the first one
the handmaid’s tale
it was a long time ago
i read it in english
when did it come out, 30 years ago?
maybe more
now they have the tv series
suddenly these two or three years
everyone talks about it
under trump and so on
although they are not that important
these strongmen
although many people are incarcerated
because of them
in many countries
including children
we are living in dystopian times
end of the world
we are lucky in austria
most of us are, relatively
it’s a very warm day
big demonstrations last friday
climate strike
many children, school children
more children than workers

so whether today
when you read this
is a special day for you
or not

have a good day


MW October 1st 2019


Photo by Johannes Fiederling




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