Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Athena & Telemachus

The question I put before you is: why… why on the Mighty God’s blue Earth would Athena order Telemachus to go out to search for news of his father Odysseus? It makes no sense to me. She sends the boy away to Pylos and Sparta… but for what reason? The story line isn’t logical at all. I’m sure you’ll agree when we see what happens next: Athena then goes off to help Odysseus escape the erotic clutches of Calypso and make his way home to Ithaca. Then She, Athena, rushes back to Telemachus on the Mainland to instruct him to hurry home to Ithaca for the return of his father. He should never have left the place! Or he should have sailed to Ogygia, Calypso’s crib, to pick up his Dad.

Oh Homer… how well you knew the senseless ways of the Gods.

Horse Badorties

This morning, I finished William Kotzwinkle's book "The Fan Man." That's right, the Kotzwinkle... tearjerker hors catégorie of homesick alien dwarf “E.T.” Kotzwinkle! Or so I thought: I learned today he wrote the book after the movie, which is strange; he was probably forced by Spielberg by some evil scheme or something.

Anyway, The Fan Man is a weird and wonderful book about a hippie lunatic called Horse Badorties who
makes a sublime mess of his life. Contrary to my custom, I read it in Dutch (under the weak title “Laat maar waaien”). I usually only read Dutch, French, Yoruba and Russian books in Dutch and take the English ones in English if I can get them, but this one moved itself into my hands and it looked strange and funny so I read it.

And for once... for once the translator, Peter H. van Lieshout, got it so So right! It moved like liquid lava, the language I mean; instead of the sawdust and excelsior you sometimes get with translations, especially low-budget ones... For instance the Dutch version of Hunter S. Thompson's "Hell's Angels" I read a few months ago... Awful! [I'm talking about the dreadful earlier translation or adaptation by Adriaan Venema; I haven't read the newer one by T. Heuvelmans.] But this translation was almost perfect. Just one time he translated (or so I can only assume) the exclamations "crap! crap!" with the decapod animal 'crab', in Dutch 'krab! krab!', which makes even less sense. And the translator mistook the made-up 1001 Nights fairytale opening spell of 'sesame' for sesame seeds. But otherwise... châpeau!

I have never heard about Kotzwinkle as an author to be taken seriously but I think we should. A book of high entertainment value with subject matter that will prove unforgettable, I’m sure.

It's a sunny day in the Netherlands... no reason to feel so depressed at all.

The City Poet

Today, I accepted the position of City Poet of the beautiful city of Darlington on the river Skerne. It’s purely an honorary position of course, but one that I will saddle myself with in the stern conviction of the importance of bringing art into the lives of the people of Darlington, as well as for the thrill of the unique challenge of such an endeavour. I haven’t informed the Darlingtonians of the happy news, and don’t think I will. That seems best for everybody.

Friday, 20 June 2014

To Improve the Unimprovable


I have always been fascinated and thrilled by objects and organisms that have reached the end of their evolutionary path, the ones that have found their final shape eons ago and will never really change simply because they have reached perfection. Examples are: the spoon, the wedding ring, the wine glass, the horseshoe crab, the phonograph record, the word ‘no’, the clay flower pot, Neil Diamond, candles… They will remain forever. What’s there to improve on them? Nothing! Perfection on a stick! Sure, some con artist will come along and try to sell you a pink or bio-degradable flower pot, a hep new buzz word or a magic ring… but we should ignore those heinous imposters and marvel at the greatness of the Unimprovable.

To this illustrious family also belongs… the Plunger. Or does it! Today, I found one that is a drastic improvement on the classic model by the addition of a very useful handle! Why hasn’t this been thought of before? Why don’t all plungers have handles? Or Neil Diamond? In picture one, we see on the left the standard, old, troglodyte plunger that gives you splinters and subpar results in declogging the sink, and on the right we see the new TurboPlunger 2000 in hygienic plastic, an esthetical pleasing orange colour and a snazzy omnigrip handle. The unperfectable perfected, the unsurpassable surpassed!

(P.S. An update will follow when the handle comes loose and the suction cup breaks off.)


Friday, 13 June 2014

Declaration


The day has come. I hereby denounce society and all of its rules, laws and truisms: no longer will I play along. “Ah,” I can hear you say… “Ah,” invariably with a smug, tired smile on your greasy, groomed face, happy with yourself for having a quick fix & easy reply to this and not having to do some actual thinking… “Ah… you know that, if you denounce society, you have to give it all up, don’t you? It’s only logical. If you don’t concede your moral sovereignty to society in full, you can’t have any of it. You have to give up subsidies and benefits too, splint your own broken bones…” Oh yeah? Well… nibble my knob, I say! Perhaps you didn’t understood what I was saying. I said I denounced society in full! If I stopped using its benefits, I would succumb to its rules, the unsanitary ‘Put-out-or-get-out’ rule, whereas I said I don’t play along anymore… you dig?
I have capitulated for many years. I have been a good soldier, I have worked and loved and paid my taxes, I have been kind to my masters, old people, children and whales, I have written thick books and poems to loved ones, I have smiled at birthday parties, I have pointed out the flaws of our ways and given worthy alternatives, I have presented new ethics and a poetica… and nothing has made the slightest difference to you. Those loved ones, they never wrote me back and spat on my paintings; society has rejected, betrayed, scammed and denied me, and it has made a mockery of its own farce of a delusional state. It chose to be blind and deaf to its own reported wisdom. It is mentally mortally ill and I can no longer see it ever making a recovery. Beliefs I once held high, are now shooting through the perpetual twilight of my velvety room making a fart-like noise, a zooming deflating balloon in a cartoon.
Despite all your big shiny words about honour and grace, virtue and congeniality, you remain a bunch of aggressive, moronic, hypocrite materialists, too dumb to see through the fog of your own hallucinatory ideas about life, obsessed with your phoney social status and the creation of offspring as if it’s a blessed event… Yes, your ‘bundles o’ joy’, a-smiling on pink lace cushions, shot in soft focus photos, to be send to grannies and cronies, and framed above the couch as hunting trophies… Yeah, those shrieking, fecal-aromatic larvae of yours, they will only fill the shelves with the next generation of dictators, war mongers, golfers and advertisers… to form the perpetuum mobile of the rat-filled trenches of the next Great War.
When Man gives birth, it gives birth to misery, cruelty and wretchedness. Spreading horror over the land. You’re selling TVs to the blind and yet you dear to call me a cynic and deluded for not buying into your mass fantasies, fables and nonsense. And what you don’t understand, you like to call God. Thunder and pestilence, beauty and death. Oh Sinners beware! Faith! There’s a party tonight at the Eclipse Inn… don’t forget to tip your waitress.
So… all bets are off. I will live by my own rules from now on. I will ruthlessly follow my own ideas of right & wrong, religion and crime, and keep score myself. I will lie, cheat, steal, plunder, pillage and rape. I will jaywalk, double dip my chip and stare at your cleavage for an unseemly long time. Henceforth, I consider myself relieved from all my duties. You have had your chance to keep me on board and failed on all levels. In fact: you still have that chance, but I place the ball in your court now. All you have to do is reply to my letters, stop being arseholes and give me a worthy place in your midst. Just one of you… just one of you, to say something nice but once, to me or any other human being… I’d like to see that day. Then, I will gladly play along again… I will listen to your mindless babble, about paella, poodles, street art and yoga. I will skilfully feign an interest and go coochie-coochie-goo over your monstrous prams and gnome-filled gardens.
Thusly spoke Mehujael.

Meanwhile At Home





Thursday, 29 May 2014

Chimamandanata

Meet Chimamandanata, my idol. She came into my life one rainy Wednesday afternoon, for just a buck fifty, taxes included. Don't be fooled by her minute size: the celestial powers she harbours are unfathomable! When I hold her in my hands, the whole room begins to vibrate with primordial élan. She's the Goddess of Books, the Lawless & Contradictorians and Unblurred Boobies. Her name meaning "My God will never Fail". Her shiny beads & breasts will tell you I'm not lying. I'm glad I found her: I need someone on my side who's God never fails, because mine does unremittingly. But that's what I like so much about Him… it makes Him all the more real. That and His appreciation of Suffering. Chimamandanata is His perfect opposite. We will be happy together. And our enemies smitten. Praise Chimamandanata!

 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Act


We see a dimly lit room. Grubby, dusk, confusing… Say: a death-to-the bone professional office, with the obvious dying Ficus, but very dark, with confetti on the floor… and a few beheaded stuffed rabbits scattered about.

In this room, seated on wicker chairs, are gathered 27 people, all dressed in black or dark brown hooded costumes; most are grinning, or perhaps they are wearing masks. One of them starts to sing.

In a frail voice, he starts producing strange and beautiful songs of his homeland. Of flowers and puddles. Of heather in August. Of the soul of a seagull prostitute. Of Gods and Gravel. Of silken clay and skinny rain. Of blessings and mercy, of eyes and death.

When he is finished, a deafening silence breaks out. No one speaks or moves or stirs. Not even a louse. Then… one in the back is making un-inspired arm-pit fart sounds.


‘Thank you’, the singer mutters… ‘thank you.’

Some of the others follow the first in making armpit noises. The singer joins them reluctantly.

Camera rolls back.

Lights out.

(Suggestion: Music starts building up, Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2, first on itself, then penetrated by a fast Dixieland version of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’, louder and louder, joined by a layer of Butthole Surfers’ ‘Woly Boly’, up till unbearable levels and distortion… music fades out in reversed order.)



.................................................................................................................
 
We zien een duistere kamer. Groezelig, grijs, vreemd te plaatsen. Laten we zeggen: een driewerf doodse ‘representatieve’ kantoorruimte, met de bekende stervende Ficus, maar heel donker, en met confetti op de vloer… en een paar onthoofde pluchen konijnen her en der.

In deze ruimte zien we 27 mensen zitten in rieten stoelen; allen zijn gekleed in zwarte of donkerbruine gewaden met een kap, de meeste grijnzen, of misschien dragen zij maskers. Eentje begint te zingen.

Met dunne, onvaste stem zingt hij vreemde en prachtige liederen van zijn geboorteland. Van bloemen en plassen. Van de heide in het najaar. Van het hart van een meeuwenhoer. Van God en Grint. Van zijdezachte klei en magere regen. Van zegen en genade, ogen en dood.

Als hij uitgezongen is breekt er een orkaan van stilte uit. Niets beweegt of roert zich. Nog geen luis in het voorhuis. Maar dan… doet iemand lusteloos een scheet na met zijn hand in zijn oksel.

‘Dank je,’ stamelt de zanger… ‘dank je.’

Sommige anderen beginnen nu ook de okselscheetgeluiden te maken. De zanger doet ook voorzichtig mee.

De camera rolt achteruit.

Licht uit.

(Suggestie: Muziek zwelt aan. Eerst zachtjes Chopin’s Nocturene No. 2, maar dan vrij snel doorbroken door een hard aanzwellende snelle dixieland versie van ‘Oh When The Saints Go Marching In’ harder en harder, gevolgd door een laag van Butthole Surfers’ ‘Holy Boly’ tot ondragelijk niveau… dan sterft de muziek weg in omgekeerde volgorde.)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

[nt]

How graciously she walked the boulevards, on her high heeled shoes in pitiful pink, her voguish handbag and her slender personality.

[nt]


Fascinated as he was with humanity and all its wonderful work, Doctor Sockberger decided to spend the rest of his life studying lichens.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Tony the Sick Pony

The lyrics of Hugo Matthyssen's song "Tony de Zieke Pony" as translated by me...


It was raining like streams, and it smelled of rotting grass
And the mud, it pulled my shoes into the ground
I stumbled manfully through a sorrowful swamp
With a self-made smile upon my mouth
A helping of macaroni with some cheese is a feast
It is to say, for he who’s really hungry
But a sick pony can also be a source of joy
For a man who really cares about sick ponies

It was as dark as hell and godforsaken cold
And I just kept on slogging through the night
Over there, that pony stood under that willow thicket
Sweating his sickness out in a canal
A man that’s only used to the luxury of the city
Where superficiality is watered down with booze
That man understands nothing about ponies and will never get it
How a sick pony can bring someone to ecstasy

Tony the sick pony! (3 x)

I scratched myself on thorns
I stumbled and I fell
Yes, I hurt myself repeatedly and indescribably
But still a great joy kept buzzing in my soul
Some sort of happiness, oh how fine I felt
Furniture of mahogany, large trays of salmon and lobster
On the look of it, just pure superficialities
While a sick pony has so much more to offer
But you have to be receptive for it

Tony the sick pony! (3 x)

I searched for many hours and although I couldn’t find him
I always knew the sick pony would be near
There was something ineffable connecting me to it
In that obscure, that severe wilderness
The world is demonic, a place filled with false pleasure
And for money, even the holiest is for sale
But as long as sick ponies are grazing not far from here
There’s a chance of rescue and some hope

Tony the sick pony! (3 x)
Is near

Monday, 3 March 2014

Messianic Rant


I’ve heard people – and invariably with gleaming, voluptuous pride – gladly call themselves a ‘the glass is half full’ kind of person. First of all: baloney! And secondly: a very foolish pride, wouldn’t you agree? The statement itself is fallacious, and the pride erroneous, because it is based on the false assumptions that dissidents of this doctrine 1. have a morally lower standpoint and 2. see the glass as being half empty as if the water level is on its way down… on the way of being completely empty. This is not the case, but contrary: they themselves see the water as a diminishing body!

I don’t say ‘the glass is half empty’ (meaning: on its way to emptiness). I say ‘why isn’t the glass completely full?’ Móre than full even! Far beyond the limits of the glass itself… infinitely full, over the brim and into the great unknown! And a bigger glass! And better, not even in the same league as common glass! And of far superior content. And a glass with water not just enough for me… but for all of mankind!

Your typical militant optimist, the maudlin gospeller of ‘The Glass is Half Full’ is not so much happy with his glass and or its content. Oh no: he is extremely happy with one thing above all… himself! ‘The glass is half full’ is a self-compliment of the worst kind! And to add injury to the insult: it’s an infamous blaming of the rest of the world to suggest them being less thankful for the bounty they have received! It’s like telling a one-armed man to stop feeling sorry for himself as long as he’s got the other one in reasonably good working order.

I’m not proud to see all these shortcomings of life on earth and looking for improvement… And I’m not here to blame. Remember that. All I’m writing for is that I don’t care for being called a miser and an idiot by people without imagination. You say you’re fine with your half glass… Okay. I hear you. But I don’t believe you, first of all. And what if half of that half glass is poured into a smaller glass… is that second glass half full again? Well, let’s say it is and you call it ‘half full’ and you’re satisfied again… I may be too (as I have little needs, littler than most of you I take it!), but that is not the point! The point is: I will never call it half full with a smug grin on my face, proud of my false evangelical, ascetic sainthood, like you do! A tepid windy day with a cold drizzle… you’re free to call it ‘fine whether’? But I don’t. And neither do you… let’s be honest.

You settle for three-coloured pansies. Why not five-coloured ones? Or seven? Why not multi-coloured pansies that sing & dance… break, folk, tap & lap dancing pansies! Pansies that make weather forecasts and fill out your taxes? Pansies that sing the gospel and do the boogaloo? Pansies that turn into tulips one day… into roses the next… the next into peonies… and then into blue whales with seventy seven beautiful soft warm breasts that produce slightly chilled Drambuie? Have you tried Drambuie? It’s delicious! I don’t look down on three-coloured pansies, but I am realistic about them. That’s the point I’m making.

Why settle for oom-pah music when you can have Chopin? Why shrug your shoulders about two-faced, half arsed politicians, greed, race hatred, war, light beer, child labour and this daily horror picture slide show of mental haemorrhoids we call a social network? Dream Up, not Down! Come on, people! Why no golden flowers full of naked elves cracking jokes who give you directions to where you really want to go... in several convenient languages... with a complimentary city map, coupons to your favourite restaurant and scratch tickets? And a real smart phone! A sensible philosophy, picked up by everybody. Real progress, real improvement… But no… you’re fine with it and count your blessings as the rats are climbing from the sewers into the houses. Perhaps not your house… You can eat your cookie while babies are bombed in faraway dusty cities. Cheers. And you’re even proud of your view and say I’m a miser…

I say you’re no optimist: you’re just a very small thinker!

Butterflies with gold brocade wings, making sweet xylophone music as they fly and giggle… bees that, while they sting, inject high doses of endorphins… silver streets with angels gently tickling your balls most delicately… No more depressing, rain-drenched cul-de-sacs smelling like wet dog, littered with hobos and chip bags. No more ‘talent shows’ on TV. Sex & drugs for everybody! And, if it’s not too much to ask, a government based on wisdom, tolerance and generosity for all.

Are you a real optimist… or are you just devoid of dreams? Do you call ‘half’ some sort of optimum? Is your complacency so big, or just your fantasy so small? You say the glass is half full… you say that life is good. Then I say: you don’t know me and you don’t know good.

The glass is half full…
The war is half won
The brain is half working
The book is half interesting
The deal is semi-legitimate
Humanity is half saved by Jesus
The football is half over the goal line
The man is half continent
And half his teeth were saved
Half the orphanage was saved from the flames…

Yippee! That’s what I hear you saying when you say that your glass is half full. And you call my glass half full too. So… what about someone else’s glass? You’re no optimist… you’re selfish… self-complimenting… and a terrible pessimist! Yes, I’ve said it! You’re seeing things as starting from nothing, expecting nothing, wanting nothing and you pretend you’ll be chuffed with half a finger of putrid water, just for you, yourself, your own material gain… instead of seeing things from a divine ideal for all to enjoy. Go out of my sight with your half full glass… and take my half too! You can have it.

(Writing this, I was half serious.)