Archive for the ‘1910s’ Category


十月 1, 2019


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





八月 9, 2019


– for Paula, Anton & Toni


up, the highway
down, middle ages

and people take photos
and look for demons in their phones

the sun is on the erlauf
and on the boulders
from the last ice age

or from another one,
Toni would know
crushed together sediments
something harder below
something the river couldn’t cut through

paths, basically one secured path
including semi-caves
in the big one we told each other tales
of highway people, robbing
innocent tourists

don’t know if Anton writes anymore
sure hope he does
in his one published story
his class goes through a portal
and there is a wonderful female hero
from another planet
or galaxy or dimension
he’s in a different school now

there was a little bit of rain
in the beginning, when we came down
and started climbing
up on the boulders over the river
in the summer you can work up a sweat, just a little later
there is a cove
with real sand, there are several places
quite good for swimming
if you go in fast, it isn’t cold
you hardly notice once you are pulled
down by the current
not very fast, but once you’re in
you are in, you can come out
at the next little beach.

How old is Austria? .
How do they know, when the plough sends up shards
and they look at them, people were buried not in the war, not from
the prison camps from the First World War
one thousand two hundred years ago roughly,
and they were Slavs, from their language. Nothing written
there in the field. They just know,
from one written document saying
the people round a new monastery
one thousand two hundred years ago roughly
were Slavs. Different language
from the bishop and maybe heathens
but there was some sort of arrangement and recognition.
Kingdoms, but not a nation
around one language, not at that time.

Austria isn’t Germany.
We aren’t German, we speak the language but we are Austrians.
History. Baggage. We were born later, all of us, but there are stories.
There was a shop owned by Jews,
in every little town, part of town,

Erlauf gorge is a wonderful walk
for almost anyone,
anyone who walks,
it is a different world down below
through the portal
not far from the highway.

MW August 2019




– für Paula, Anton & Toni


Oben Bundesstraße
unten Mittelalter
bis auf die Leute die fotografieren
und Dämonen suchen
in ihren Handys.

Die Sonne liegt
auf der Erlauf
und auf den Felsen
aus der letzten Eiszeit
oder aus einer anderen,
Toni weiß es.
Zusammengepresste Sedimente,
und unterm Wasser
liegt etwas Härteres,
wo der Fluss nicht durchkommt.

Pfade, ein befestigter Pfad
mit halben Höhlen.
In der großen Höhle
haben wir uns erzählt
wir sind Räuber
und überfallen
unschuldige Touristen.

Weiß nicht, ob Anton noch schreibt,
hoffentlich tut ers.
In seiner großen Geschichte,
in seinem Buch
geht seine Klasse durch ein Portal
und da ist eine ganz große Heldin
von einem anderen Planeten,
aus einer anderen Dimension
oder so.
Jetzt geht er in eine andere Schule.

Am Anfang war ein bisschen Regen,
wir sind runtergestiegen
und gleich hinaufgeklettert
über die Felsen mitten im Fluss.
Im Sommer wird dir ein bisschen warm,
und in der Nähe
ist eine Bucht mit gutem Sand,
ideal zum Schwimmen.
Wenn du schnell reingehst,
ist es nicht kalt,
du merkst es gar nicht
weil es dich zieht,
hinein und hinunter.
Nicht wirklich schnell,
aber wenn du drin bist
bist du wirklich drin,
du kannst heraus
bei der nächsten Bucht.

Wie alt ist dieses Land?
Wie wissen sie, wenn der Pflug
Scherben aufwirbelt,
und sie schauen einmal hin,
von wann die sind,
nicht aus den Gefangenenlagern
vom Ersten Weltkrieg und später,
sondern tausendzweihundert Jahre früher ungefähr, und dass sie Slawen waren,
von ihrer Sprache. Obwohl keine Inschrift dort ist.
Sie wissen es einfach, von einem
einzigen Dokument, da steht die Leute
rund um ein Kloster vor tausendzweihundert Jahren ungefähr
waren Slawen. Andere Sprache als
der Bischof und vielleicht Heiden,
aber man hat sich irgendwie respektiert
und zusammengelebt für eine Weile.
Awarenreich, Frankenreich und so weiter, aber keine Nation von der Sprache her, nicht zu der Zeit.

Österreich ist nicht Deutschland.
Wir sind keine Deutschen.
Wir sprechen die Sprache, aber
wir sind Österreicher. Geschichte.
Was man herumschleppt.
Wir sind alle Nachgeborene,
oder zugezogen,
aber es gibt die Geschichten.
In jedem Ort war ein Geschäft
das einem Juden gehört hat,
in jedem Ortsteil, ungefähr.

Erlaufschlucht ist eine wunderschöne
Wanderung für groß und klein,
eine andere Welt
gleich dort unten durch das Portal
ganz in der Nähe von der Bundesstraße.

MW August 2019






七月 19, 2019


the danube flows
in the evening people sit in the sun
on the southwestern side
in the summer months
there are concerts on the main square
and in the cafés
the views are great from the castle
and from the liberation monument
and cemetery further up
some of the soldiers buried are women
in the summer months
the synagogue is open
as a museum
they have a nice garden
it is a functioning synagogue
all year round
the only one left
they had bigger ones
even after the war
after the holocaust
now this is the only one left
they built a freeway
interstate quality
right through the old city
it’s a functioning freeway
it’s a beautiful city
shabby in places, but proud
somehow still healing
the danube flows

MW July 2019







ALWAYS ONLY THE CULTURE – What does it mean to be human?

四月 26, 2019


what does it mean to be human?
what does it mean to be alive?
means you’re not dead yet.
means you can ask superfluous questions.
goddammit, every animal knows
what it means to be an animal.
our children are growing up
discovering love
they always had love, but
any animal knows this is different.
they are bewildered by their own bodies.
again, this has gone on for a while,
it just grows more acute,
and again, every animal knows.
what a luxury question.
what does it mean
to be mean?
not the golden mean.
everyone knows what it means to be mean.
he’s in the news
and on the news every day.
to be human
means to have rights.
doesn’t it?
1947, UN-declaration,
two people from China
worked on it.
Animal rights.
Post about dying whales,
you’ll get 1000s of likes,
about people, oh well.
I want to call this poem
stupid question.
Thank you!
Now go forth and profligate,
or whatever.

MW April 3, 2019


always only
always only the
always only the culture
always only the culture

always only the cultural
always only the cultural
since 1966
always only the cultural
always only the cultural

always only the culture
always only the culture
always only the
always only

not the famine

but still
but still also
the tens of millions
starved to death

but still
but still also
but still also

the terror

the totalitarian

“totalitarian” is in dictionaries
and in chinese search engines
china is hardly
mentioned at all
as neighbor of the soviet union
and in art
in the art
of the cultural revolution

always only the culture
always only the culture

hannah arendt
died in 1975
before the end
of the cultural revolution

in the last edition she saw
of her seminal work
origins of totalitarianism
at least in the german edition
she mentioned china
in the cultural revolution

hardly anyone mentioned the famine

always only the culture
always only the culture

but still
but still also

the terror
the terror

pol pot
who downed more
who did more
who bombed more

1979, democracy wall
in beijing

since 1979
reigns supreme
the party reigns supreme
through capitalism
or the other way
through kaputalism
or the other way
everything demolished developed
and demolished again
or the other way

of course only in china

but still
but still also

always only the culture
always only the culture

always only the
always only


MW March-April 2019




immer nur
immer nur die
immer nur die kultur
immer nur die kultur

immer nur die kultur-
immer nur die kultur-
seit 1966
immer nur die kultur-
immer nur die kultur-

immer nur die kultur
immer nur die kultur
immer nur die
immer nur

nicht die hungersnot

oder doch
oder doch auch
die zig millionen

oder doch
oder doch auch

der terror

der terror der
totalitären herrschaft

“totalitär” gibt es in wörterbüchern
und in chinesischen suchmaschinen
china wird dabei höchstens
ganz wenig gestreift
als nachbarstaat der sowjetunion
und in der kunst
der bildenden kunst
der kulturrevolution

immer nur die kultur
immer nur die kultur

hannah arendt
ist 1975 gestorben
also vor dem ende
der kulturrevolution

in der letzten auflage ihres hauptwerks
ursprünge und elemente totalitärer herrschaft
erwähnt sie china
in der kulturrevolution

kaum jemand sprach damals von hungersnot

immer nur die kultur
immer nur die kultur

oder doch
oder doch auch

der terror
der terror

pol pot
wer hat mehr
wer hat mehr
wer hat mehr bombadiert

1979 war die mauer der demokratie
in peking

seit 1979
regiert der kapitalismus
die partei regiert
mithilfe des kapitalismus
und umgekehrt
mithilfe des kaputtalismus
und umgekehrt
es wird kaputt gemacht und neu gebaut
und wieder kaputt gemacht
und umgekehrt

natürlich nur in china

oder doch
oder doch auch

immer nur die kultur
immer nur die kultur

immer nur die
immer nur


MW März 2019



QUEST – 伊沙 Yi Sha

九月 8, 2018

Yi Sha

It was in 1999,
last year of the 20th century.
The poet Ma Lan
with her American husband,
a Yale professor,
came to visit old Chang’an.
At the Small Wild Goose pagoda
in the teahouse Scented Snow Sea
we had a good meeting.
The Yale professor
of Chinese literature
had a point of view
that opened my eyes
and resonated in my heart,
I had been thinking about this for years.
He said, “In the May Fourth era,
those writers who studied in Japan,
why were they so dominant?”

Today, I am finally in Japan
and I carry this question,
roaming the coast and mountains of Honshu.
Let me think,
let me think it over,
I have enough time to think of an answer.
What was it,
what was it here,
that made them
bury themselves in their work,
lay their life on the line,
fight for truth,
plead for the people
and become the backbone of modern China?

July 2018
Tr. MW, Sept. 2018

伊沙主持 | 新世纪诗典8一周联展(2018.8.26——9.1)




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