Norman (III)

Mitten im Raum liegt sein Dasein, fast nackt. Ein T-Shirt in zerfetzten Hauttönen hängt noch um dunkle Schultern und Bizeps, aber schon zwischen den starren Brustwarzen löst es sich in schmutziges Rosa auf und zerfließt mit der Hüfte in ein schwarzes Nichts, aus dem nur noch der eine angewinkelte, intakte Oberschenkel ragt. Zähflüssiger, vergossener Teer, das ist geblieben von dem entblößten Mann, den Norman seit Minuten unverwandt anstarrt. Auf der fast leeren Seite seines Notizbuches bläht sich Normans erster Satz zum Phantom auf. Bis zu welchem Grad der Entstellung bleibt ein geliebter Mensch noch ein geliebter Mensch? Norman sieht auf. Es ist Frühsommer. Er sitzt an seinem Bistrotisch, die Beine überschlagen, die Füße in warm schimmernden Lederschuhen. Er kennt sich hier aus. Nur selten trifft er an diesem Platz einen Bekannten, meist bleibt er allein. Er verweilt, schaut und schreibt ein wenig in sein Cahier. Passanten schlendern vorbei und manchmal schaut er direkt in das dunkle Augenpaar eines Mannes. Als er über sein Smartphone streicht, leuchten die Antworten zu seinem Foto auf. Norman lächelt. Er liest noch einmal den Satz: Mitten im Raum liegt mein Dasein, fast nackt. So kann er sein Leben weiter schreiben. Er muss sich nicht ergießen.

Norman im Glück (II)

Normans Café ist nirgendwo, eine Utopie sozusagen. Es ist nur ein Schauplatz in seinem inneren Film, aber das Atmosphärische muss zu ihm passen. Er rückt einen dritten Stuhl dicht an den Tisch heran und platziert dort – wie unabsichtlich – seine hirschbraune Ledertasche. Man sieht sie nur halb, aber das weiche Leder und der kräftige Schulterriemen fallen ins Auge. Die stoffliche Würde der Dinge, darüber denkt er viel nach, dazu möchte er schreiben. Seine Taschen sind ihm so lieb und teuer, wie es bei anderen Männern das Fahrrad oder das Auto ist. Er umhegt seine Taschen als wären sie Lebewesen. Er achtet ihre Formen, schützt sie gegen ungünstige Witterung und sucht die Utensilien, die darin getragen werden, sorgfältig aus. Niemals würde er hastig eine Tasche überladen. Immer wieder beobachtet er in der S-Bahn, wie die oft vollgestopften Handtaschen der Frauen speckig und deformiert sind. Wie ungeliebte Kinder hocken sie da auf den Knien der Besitzerinnen.

Das vorsichtig angebissene Croissant liegt auf dem schlichten Porzellanteller, etwas dahinter die halbleere Flasche Badoit und das Trinkglas, an dem er eben noch seine Lippen hatte. Den Zuckerstreuer stellt er in den altmodischen Aschenbecher aus Glas – eine Aktion, die mancher Bistrobesucher wiedererkennen wird und die verrät, dass er Nichtraucher ist. Ein wichtiges Signal, denn man darf gern wissen, dass er keine schmutzigen Angewohnheiten hat.

Im Vordergrund aber liegt – inmitten der etwas kühlen Kulisse – Normans Herzensding: ein Notizbuch in der Mode der Wiener Werkstätten. Es ist in hellblau aquarelliertes Kunstpapier eingefasst und trägt die Aufschrift „PRÈT-À-ÉCRIRE“.

Norman tritt zwei Schritte zurück, betrachtet sein Arrangement auf der Bildfläche seines Smartphones, sucht noch einen besseren Blickwinkel und löst aus. Er prüft das Foto, freut er sich kurz über den zusätzlichen Effekt, den das Weiß der Stoffserviette mit der rostroten Tischplatte ergibt, und sendet das Bild in seine virtuelle Welt. Dann darf er ganz für sich sein.

Norman im Glück (I)

Norman im Bistro

Norman ist ein gepflegter Mann. Für ihn muss alles frisch sein, so wie Wäsche, die an einer Leine im Garten trocknen durfte. Er liebt Opern, die den Schmutz der Männer in Schönheit zerfließen lassen. Aber aus der Entfernung sehnt er sich nach der Verkommenheit der Metropole, in der er lebt: den Staßendreck, die beschmierten S-Bahn Waggons, die kaputten Typen in den No-go-Parks.

Zweimal in der Woche sucht Norman ein Café auf, um die Zeit zwischen zwei Seminaren stilvoll zu verbringen. Das gute Leben im Alltäglichen bedeutet ihm viel. Obwohl es schon Mittagszeit ist, bestellt er immer das Petit Déjeuner von der Karte, mit Café au Lait, Croissant und roter Marmelade. Er mag die französischen Ausdrücke, das passt zu seiner inspirierten Lebensart. Ohne Esprit, diesen erfrischenden Hauch, würde ihm das tägliche Einerlei zur Last werden.

Eigentlich liegt Norman nicht viel an einem Croissant. In Wirklichkeit kommt er hierher, um sich zu sammeln und seine Gedanken zu notieren. Am liebsten tut er das im Freien, für sich allein an seinem rostrot-lackierten Bistrotisch. Wenn er alle Utensilien seines guten Lebens beisammen hat, macht Norman ein Foto davon, sozusagen als Startschuss für sein Schreiben. Jetzt muss er kichern, weil er die Assoziation vom Startschuss zum Schreiberguss wieder einmal nicht unterdrücken kann. Aber so will Norman nicht schreiben, er will sich nicht ergießen. Seine Texte wünscht er sich kühl und klar wie frisches Wasser.

Autumn Colours

Autumn sunlight is illuminating a spectacle of decay. In spring and summer bumblebees and larks sang along with the bright blossoms in any shade of colour. But by now all have left the gardens, parks and orchards. There is no singing in autumn. The reds and yellows of foliage are silent ones.

Birds are gathering for their flight southwards and only the crows’ croaking bids them good-bye. Leaves have metamorphed into bodiless forms and hover as colourful spheric lights in the branches . You’re gazing at them, trying to hold on to these pretty images. Still, they only seem to be waiting for the split-second to float down and decay on the wet earth. Later, rain clashes with a harsh clang against the barrenness of wood.

Who is left to sing the autumn opera of oranges, yellows and reds before they turn into a brownish mesh along the roads and in the paths?

Autumn is the time of separation, a season of absolutely no return. Here and there, a poet will lament his many losses. From his window, he will stare for long hours at the shiny black birds which overnight have assembled in great numbers on the bare branches of the old lime tree.

Good morning, September

“I was born in September, and love it best of all the months. There is no heat, no hurry, no thirst and weariness in corn harvest as there is in the hay. If the season is late, as is usual with us, then mid-September sees the corn still standing in stook. The mornings come slowly. The earth is like a woman married and fading; she does not leap up with a laugh for the first fresh kiss of dawn, but slowly, quietly, unexpectantly lies watching the waking of each new day. The blue mist, like memory of a summer gone, never goes from the wooded hill, and only at noon creeps from the near hedges. There is no bird to put a song in the throat of morning; only the crow’s voice speaks during the day. Perhaps there is the regular hush of the scythe – even the fretful jar of a mowing machine. But next day, in the morning, all is still again. “

D.H. Lawrence, The White Peacock (1911)

Yelling for Yellows

When I was yelling for yellows

Months ago I walked through the fading yellows of late October and as rapidly as they had been washed away into the gutters of mid-November I had forgotten them.

Early November Artefact

By Christmas, with all its never-ending candlelight, my eyes had grown tired from watching flickering flames. After New Year and all through the month of January I calmed down with the soothing yellow of an Italian cushion.

Lush Italian Cushions

In February, I started buying lemons from Turkey, just to stare at their yelling yellows. But as much as I begged they wouldn’t stay until spring and so I consumed the lemons instead.

Very yellow fruit

The Yelling Yellow of Lemons

When in March all the flowershops sold tulips from Dutch hothouses I took down the still-life leaning behind some diaries against the wall on my bookshelf. With the coming and going of the seasons I had forgotten about the four yellow tulips and their promise of spring.

Yellow Tulips (Oil on canvas)

I inhaled the sweeping return of light which was orchestrated by stormy, brown brushstrokes against the background of earth and I went out for a first spring walk.

Carpe Diem

Pluck the day 

So, Jupiter has granted us another summer, perhaps the last before some terror strikes and airfares rise and giant jellyfish will send us screaming right in front of cameras. We’re not afraid, we’ll stand together, we’ll pluck the day. It’s ripe. Why trust in sunshine, waves and sandy beaches? Tomorrows are oblivious of today’s outrage – as long as nothing’s left behind. No DNA, no fingerprint, no scribbled word or photograph. Come, join us in the seizure of the day.

 

 

Winter (1) Blind windows

Winter Loneliness

The early sunset of winter inflames the sky like a war photography. Danger lingers but the fake spectacle quickly fades into a dull nightfall. The rest of daylight is being reflected by the dark windows of the house upon a hill. Nobody at home, nowhere.  Nothing is behind the hostile shimmer but the ghosts of the day.

A Rocky Riverbed – Untold Summer Stories (2)

A Rocky Riverbed

The girl’s mother was a native of the Northern realms where the ocean wasn’t far and seagulls now and then shrieked in the sky. She had followed a butcher from a small town in the mountainous South, married quickly and submitted herself to his no-nonsense apprentice training in the messy business about meat, ham and sausages. She was proud to be his assistant in a prospering butcher shop, which also offered hearty dishes for regional workers and drivers-by at lunchtime. When her first child was a chubby boy, she was quietly accepted in the community even though she failed to adapt to the regional manner of speaking. Things changed with her second child, a fragile girl, behind in growth for some years and just as much retarded that you couldn’t conceal it from the public. The girl grew up to be a blue-eyed teenager who behaved reasonably normal and was friendly against everybody. From the age of twelve on the girl developed an intense need to walk the paths of the nearby mountain valley. She used to stop for long minutes at her favourite tree stretching out her arms  for the strong trunk longingly. Her mother loved to see her happy in nature and she didn’t intervene, not even when her daughter turned her cravings to the mountain brook which gushed down over a rocky riverbed into the valley. There, she sat near a wooden bridge where the brook ran through the green meadows. On sunny days she could sit for hours and babble unintelligibly to the sound of the water. Tourists who would come along, crossing the bridge, were mesmerized by her extraordinary behaviour and the townspeople started whispering. One early summer evening, after he had just closed the shop, the butcher decided to fetch her and told his wife so. Don’t be too harsh with her, she pleaded. When he approached his daughter, who was standing at the creek in the warm evening light, she looked somewhat attractive to him, in a fairy-tale way, he thought. He walked up, embraced her and asked her to lean with her back against him. The valley was motionless. He told her about the water, the rocks and the mountains. He spoke into her neck of the mighty master of the mountain waters who resided in the grey pinnacles high above the valley. When the shadows got deeper he drew her into the riverbed and made her look at the grim, stony face of a mountain troll which protruded darkly from the riverbed. She was scared and wanted to run from the troll, but he stood behind her and held her with both arms like in a bench clamp. She went silent and listened to his words. The water troll would jump up from the riverbed and go for her. He would do things to her. Only when the moon was up in the star-covered sky did he let her go, took her by the hand and led her home. From then on she stayed in the house, learned to do some needle work and quit school for good. Winter came and spring, and nobody asked for her.

 

Red-Roped Eternity – Untold Summer Stories (1)

Red-roped Eternity

He had parked his black, high-tuned motorbike neatly in the parking lot at the foot of the mountain which had looked to him like Swiss Matterhorn from afar. Even though its size had diminished the nearer he had got, he was determined to interrupt his ride to the flatlands and climb the grey, rocky peak. He kind of rushed up the first 700 metres of altitude – as if he had to purchase some last-minute supplies – not even noticing the sweat which ran down his back and dripped from his constantly creased forehead. His speeding heartbeat felt like rock drums in his chest. When he entered the rope-lined stretch on the narrow climbing ridge, his sight was impaired. He concentrated on the red rope and the rocky path which was bulbing toward him as if under a magnifying glass. When the stone struck him, he all of a sudden saw everything clearly in a single snapshot: The thick, red rope swinging slightly above him, the rugged, dirty rock with its myriads of cracks and even some fresh green leaves among the eternal moss of emptiness. He sucked in the razor-sharp air and knew that the stone had dropped from the white skies above him.