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Herta Mllers Barefoot February : A Translation By Adam Bresnahan A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Glenn R. Cuomo Sarasota, Florida November, 2010
ii This thesis is dedicated to Johnson. Special thanks to Alec Niedenthal, without whose critical readership and encouragement the translations would never have been completed.
iii Table of Contents I. Historical Introduction 1 II. Translators Introduction 46 III. Birth in Herta Mllers Barefoot February 73 IV. Barefoot February: A Translation Barefoot February 88 Big Black Axle 89 Over the Heads of the Wine Grapes 108 Thrush Night 110 On This Day 1116 Minor Utopia of Death 118 Dictator or Dog 128 The Song of Marching 129 If I Could Wear Myself 131 Dew on the Depot 133 My Fingers 135 So That Youre Never Torn into the Heart of the World 137 When I Move My Foot 139 Antlers 142 The Cold Jewelry of Life 144 Devouring Shoe 146 The Pocketwatch 147
iv Potters Field 148 My Heart Flies Through My Cheeks 149 Lizard 151 In Summer Grows the Wood 152 Cold Irons 155 In a Deep Summer 155 Everywhere Where One Has Seen Death: A Summer Journey in the Maramure 156 Staying To Go 178 My Minor German, My Fight 179 Appendix 1: Examples From Tran slators Introduction 181 Appendix 2: Glossary of Technical Terms 195 Works Cited 198
v ABSTRACT Herta Mllers Barefoot February : A Translation Adam Bresnahan New College of Florida, 2011 This thesis consists of three major components. The primar y component is a translation of Herta Mller's collection of short stories, Barfiger Februar, published in 1987 upon her migration from Transylvania to Berlin. These stories overarch ing narrative details the experience of migrat ion, the writer's self-consciousness in two political environs, and the contradictions that aris e out of the comparison of th ese environs. The historical content of the stories is draw n from the author's life, as well as from the history of Romania, and German-speaking Transylvania in particular, after the Second World War. The first chapter discusses the historical background of post-World War II Romania, including a detailed analysis of Nicolae Ceause cu's repressive social policies, and his reproductive policies in particular. The second chapter is a theoretical introduction that provides a meditation on the connection betw een translation and philosophy, and the role translation plays in literary production. According to this introduction, the translation of Mller's stories involves bri nging the English language into a singular literary machine that translates, or transforms, the English language itself into the forms necessitated by that machine, rather than bringing the stor ies into the English language. The process of translation simultaneously reproduces the M ller-machine and produces a new aspect of
vithe Mller-machine, revealing its complex hi storicity outside of the knowledge we have of it. Dr. Glenn R. Cuomo Division of Humanities
1 I. Historical Introduction1 How can we draw the topography of Hert a Mller's minority status? A Germanspeaking member of a German minority in Romania on the one handRomania itself being a sort of minor nation within the East Blocand on th e other, a political minority within that German minority itself, called a Nestbesch mutzerone who betrays the good of her own homefor criticizing the villa ge morality and the history of the German minority in her works. German is a major lite rary and commercial language, internal to which a Romanian in the East is a minor figur e. She claims Thomas Bernhard as a major influence, saying that he offered her a way to criticize village life (Mller: 1997, 471). Thus, she is a minority among national langu ages. On the other hand, her position in Romanian Communist cultural politics, and the precarious interactions of the artist with State and Party controls, make Mller a minor ity in national discourse. Not only is the German language progressively marginalized in the official policy towards minorities in Ceau escu's Romania, de facto excluding the German language from participation in the majority cultural and political discourse; Mller's writing is al so excluded from the problems of investment experienced by other writers, writers who want or have the capacity to receive investments from bureaucr ats responsible for the administration of cultural funds. Specific to the constellation of Romanian Communism, especially to the communist government's need to restrict linguist ic and cultural life to a line that can be controlled, altered, and manipulated to suit Pa rty interests, we will argue that Mller's 1 All references to stories translated in this thesis are marked in the following format: (p. 85)
2 capacity to create a political l iterature not bound to the necessitie s of any official political discourse is intensified. What we understand to be Mller's minor literature follows a program that elides the subject ifying and instrumentalizing eff ects of official discourse by writing in a language that cannot be appropriated by the offici al language, but escapes its expressions by exploring the injustices of st ate policy. Mller's language criticizes the falseness of official language in the moment that it refuse s to speak plainly about state injustice, opting for a language that can be viewed as an immanent critique of the systematic relationship between state ideol ogy and state action. Her method of addressing political problems is not representational, but rather evokes an image of immediate experience through fragmentary expressive fo rms. It is by sidestepping common sense representations of reality and history that Mller is able to write in a language that enables her to escape the constraints of an instrumentalized tradition and language. Mller's literature is a minor literature insofa r as it is set over and against the official forms of history, language, and morality of the majority cultures, Romanian and German. We must first clarify that minority is different from the minor. Minorities occur on a quantitative scale in relation to a major ity. A minority is always a molar relation, always positioned in a binary relation to a majority. Thus, we have many: Romanian/German, male/female. As with hi story, these terms of a minority can only serve as materials for writing, but are unable to explain writing itself. Minor, on the other hand, is always a becoming-minor, which means that it is a singular movement that goes between elements, powers or languages in order to break apart and forge connections
3 between forms that were previously validated by their very existence. Deleuze writes that the minor is defined as a nondenumerable set, and that it is thereby capable of connecting elements in an assemblage that otherwise retain distinct forms (Deleuze and Guattari: 1987 470). As I argued in the Preface, this va riational movement is a tactic that can dismantle major discourses and their centri petal forces by break ing apart the binary relations upon which their stability depe nds. Thus, in Big Black Axle we see connections being made between many segmen ts: grandfather-gra nddaughter, which is also one of WWI/II generation-Ceau escu generation; there is also the connection between village-gypsy, which creates a profound disruption of the meaning of the term German. As we will see, this tactic of critical synthesis forgoes the dominant mythology of Romanian state cu lture in order to expose historical connections that undermine the very mystique of those forms. Understanding historical circumstances as the material of literature allows us to establish three vantage points that serve as the origins of this material. First, the historical environment might be called the energy-source of writing, where the conditions of perception and activity are determined, and th e various boundaries of language and life are drawn. This forms the interiority of th e writer and her writings. This interiority, however, is no retreat, but is the place wher e the imaginative formation of perception takes place (Mller: 1991, 4). But the interior is already determined by and engaged with the exterior: thus, Mller writes that she sees fascist frogs on the floor of the train station below the portrait of Nicolae Ceasescu (ibid., 29). Thus, the movement between
4 exterior and interior actually remains indete rminate by virtue of being co-determinant. But the movement in between these moments is the space of writing: literature sets supposedly constant relations in variation, affecting the expressi ons and bodies bound to these constants. If, as Deleuze and Guattari write, a minor language only exists within a major language, then we must first analyze the ma jor language within wh ich Mller wrote, as well as the historical materials that determ ine that language. However, this chapter will not offer an interpretation of the possible particular ways in which Mller might be criticizing the major language. As translator, I leave this critical c onnection to the reader, only mentioning the bare fact of the connect ions, not the possible intensity of critique. For instance, although it is clear that Everywhere, wher e one has seen death connects historical materials in order to implicate the Ceasescu regime's direct connection to Romanian-German fascism, and vice-versa, and that an understanding of these references is integral to an understanding of that story, I will not offer an in terpretation of the potency of this critique. The transla tions themselves must do this work. While the direct historical connections mi ght be clear, this does not explain how writing affects this history or how writing en ables Mller to act differently within this history. A minor language is a particular use a nd investment of a major language that sets the variables of that language in varia tion (Deleuze and Guatta ri: 1987, 105). Thus, if there is a major language for portraying hist orical events in Romania, then Mller's
5 writing opens up a multitude of readings of this history that elide official doctrine, implicitly setting that official doctrine itself in variation qua variable, not directly criticizing Romanian historiography, but breaking apart the elements upon which it founds itself. We see this capacity to set in variation as an enabling capacity that opens up what would otherwise be the closed system of of ficial history: it is the variation itself that transforms the latter into a variable from its powerful position as objective truth. A minor language does not need to do this in a direct way: it is by variation, which is still even more elementary than metonymy, that allo ws readers and writers in a collective to substantially alter their per ceptions of a local regime. The historical background will provide material for reading Mller's stories, which explicitly connect Ceau escu's politics, Banat Swabian village life, and fascism. It will focus on the intertwining of biopolitics, economics, and nationalism in Ceau escu's Romania, and to a more limited extent, the latt er's connections to fascism. In order to provide the reader with a notion of the m ilieu within which Mller was writing on the one handthe forces that could have shaped perception and activitya nd on the other, to provide the reader with a notion of the possible materials of these stories, this section will serve as a historical analysis. By material I understand, w ith Deleuze and Guattari, the formed matters that are taken up by the writer to create her own forms, which have the potential to dismantle the givenness of the former (1987, 49). Part of the writer's work is to attempt to show these
6 materials qua materials, placing them in a position where they can be connected with a multitude of forms previously alien to th eir more or less sedentary stratification. However, I depart from their analysis of literary materials in Kafka, which focuses on the liberation of specific sensory materials such as sound: a formless sound, for instance, in Kafka's story Unglcklichsein. (Though Mller is no stranger to this: for example, the smith's eye in Big Black Axle (p. 85)). Mller's writing is concerned with how historical forms define perception: when sh e de-forms or de-montages materials, these are brought out of the ideological forms that preserve them in order to make a creative use of them that negates thei r capacity to control life. This creative use must show how perception is formed in order to help it escape from its historical determinacy. Thus, in The Song of Marching (p. 121), we are left with a sound at the end of the story that travels beyond the death of those who sing it, demonstrating that song is not inevitably bound to the historical forces that overdetermine it. Revealing historical forms in their connection with Ceau escu's Romania is one of the most prevalent themes in Mller's writi ng. It is the direct li nk between history and perception that Mller is concerned with uncovering, which effectiv ely deterritorializes history as something past and gone, and shows the how the past is va riously actualized in present perception. Immediate pol itical conditions are recognized as immanently shaping the historical materials upon which they are grounded; this places writing in the potent position to reflect on these materials from th e perspective of the immediate present in order to ask how their forms could be altered in order to change th e present circumstance.
7 And it is in this sense that Mller's literature like Kafka's, anticipa tes its own contents: in showing how these two strata in tertwine, Mller directs our a ttention to the way in which Ceau escu's regime formed a population's per ception, and how it built itself upagain, with careful revisionist historiographyon hi storical materials. Resulting from creative historical reflection, Mller's writing anticip ates its contents: the death in Over the Heads of the Wine Grapes (p. 102) demonstrates the narrow sense of future available in Neostalinist Romania, while the convergence of Gypsies and German villagers in Big Black Axle (p. 85) predicts the dissolution of the village communities at the height of Ceau escu's Ausverkauf program to allow Translyvanian Germans to leave to West Germany in exchange for funds from the latte r. However, this mode of writing also anticipates the indeterminacy of a future whose very existence is negated by the principles of the Romanian Communist regime. The reader's reflection upon the determinate nothingness of the future as enfor ced by the regime is the locus for critical reflection, and is one of Mller's primary rh etorical devices: the reflection on a future content that determinately is not anticipa tes the reader who reflects on this fact. In demontaging the orders of these materials, Mller is able to return the materials to the reader aware of them in a form that de-familiarizes them, opening a novel, interruptive shape to determined perception that predicts this reflective act itself as its own content. The connections drawn between State and village in Everywhere, where one has seen death (p. 145) are one example. By opening up both of these systems, she examines how specific segments of these systems forget about or intentionally efface
8 particular historical events, how specific segments appropr iate others, and how specific segments interconnect with others in order to construct social forms, like the bureaucrat's family on the train full of immigrants riding through the valley of death in the republic of the sunflower people. This synthesis create s a complex perspective on the formation of this social type, who plays a part in th e ongoing hyperbole of various bodyparts of the dictator overshadowing the land. It is the fluidity between these movements where a material is shown to break out of its forms: for instance, the dew on the depots that becomes the teardrop of the woman putting on make-up, demonstrating all the connections between historical contents that constitute the single act of a teardrop falling from the eye of this woman, an absolutely singular event that moves between, not merely within, the forces that it itself reflects. It is in miniscule singular ities that Mller finds some of her most potent escapes from the grayness of Romanian Communism. Thus, I will provide the reader with a shor t account of the history of and leading up to Ceau escu's Romania. It is intended to supp lement the reading of the translations without necessarily giving commentary to them ; rather, the reader herself can begin to track the mobility between the stories and thei r historical milieu. B ecause the translation affords both spatial and temporal distance from the milieu in which the text was produced, it is also important to keep th is immediate milieu in mind in order to understand the mechanisms with which the text s are working, and in turn, in order to make that distance a creative distance that can serve to open the text to new contexts.
9 i. The first section of this chapter will be dedicated to outlining a short history of the Banatschwabena minority group of German speaking peoples living in Transylvania to which Mller belongs. This will show how the minority populations living in Transylvaniagranted to Romania in the 1919 Trianon Treaty, partitioned by the Nazis with the Second Vienna Award of 1940, returnin g the northern part to Hungary, and again returned to Romania at the end of the war contingent upon the fact that the Allies of course never recognized the Second Vie nna Awardcould be marginalized by the oppressive minority policies of the Ceau escu regime, which were justified by an ethnocentric revisionist historiography placing the racial lineage of the Romanian people at the heart of territorial and cultural claims. This section sh ould serve two purposes: first, to show the development of a collectiv e Swabian group, effectively politicized by National Socialist agitators in the interwar period; second, to offer a summary of the development of Romanian minority policy af ter the war, especi ally after Nicolae Ceau escu's rise to power in 1965, along with the development of an increasingly nationalist cultural, political, and foreign policy. This will in turn prepare us to examine Mller's position as a minority in the cu ltural economy of Romanian Communism. The Banatschwaben came to Transylvania in the late 17th century, employed by the Hungarian Kingdom as border guards and laborers. Unlike their German counterparts in southern Romania, the Saxon Germans, and in Czechoslovakia, the Zipser Germans,
10 who both had members working in the towns, in offices and intellectual positions, the Swabians remained largely peasants until the interwar period. The Swabians spoke dialects of German up until the late 19th century, and, according to Szelnyi, only then began to develop a collective consciousn ess under the influences of a Romantic Nationalism (230), though by then they had be en largely assimilate d into the Hungarian peasantry. Illyes also writes that, up until the interwar period, during which land reforms in Romania had taken most of the Germans' agricultural property and abolished the University of the Saxon Nation, a unified nati onal political conscious ness did not exist among the Romanian German minority (14). After the Treaty of Trianon the Swabian minority found itself on either side of the Hungarian-Romanian border. Only in the interwar period did the Swab ians begin to become politicized. Again, unlike their counterparts, the Swabians began the interwar period as peasants. They had neither the political independence of the Saxon Germans, who had developed and struggled for a Swiss style canton based republ ic against the rule of Hungary, or the cultural and economic stature of the Zipsers, who were integrated as a middle-class in Czechoslovakian towns. With the rise of Pan-Germanism in Bohemia, Germany, and Saxonland (Saxon Romania) at the end of WWI a parallel populist vlkisch movement was started by intellectuals in the Swabian minority, attempting to give the peasantry an ethno-cultural identity grounded in both anti-Magyar and anti-semitic sentiments (Szelnyi 242). The vlkisch movements in Romania developed strongest among the
11 Saxonsthe strongest and most unified German minority in Transylvaniawho were allowed to ground a deutsche Volksgemeinschaft, stressing corporatist economic and Blut und Boden spiritual alternatives to communism and capitalism (Szelnyi 236). The Saxons also had representatives in Roma nian parliament, and, although political repression of the minorities had become policy in the interwar Romanian State, which also shows in the fact that the Socialist Party of Romania was banned in 1924, minorities were still able to appeal to international organizations without f ear of reprisal (Illyes 74; Tismaneanu ch. 2). Along with this, a Selbsthilfebewegung was allowed to begin in Saxonland (Illyes 76), which was to help protect a nd help with the economic problems of the German community. The Volksgemeinschaft held no political power until the beginning of King Carol II's royal dictatorship in 1930, whereby all po litical parties were banned. However, Andreas Schmidt was allowed to become the leader of the Saxons, and, in 1939, a bi-lateral economic treaty was signed between Germany and Romania (ibid. 78). Marshal Ion Antonescu became th e Conductor of Romania, and a GermanRomanian protocolwithout consulting the German ethnic group in Romaniawas signed on August 30, 1940 (ibid. 79). With th e development of the powerful antiminority and fascist Iron Guard in Romania c oupled with closer relations to Germany, minority policy in Romania became officially pro-German: the Volksgruppen Gesetz harmonized relations between the ethnic German minority and the Romanian central government. These movements effectively transformed the Volksgemeinschaft into an organ of the NSDAP, and in the same y ear Himmler appointed a young Andreas Schmidt
12 as the Volksgruppenfhrer in Romania (Szelnyi 237). Contrary to the organic development of National Socialist sentiments in Saxonland on the grounds that a strong Germany would hold the promise for independence from Romania, the Swab ian peasantry was politicized through remunerative promises and the attractive turn to a German dominated politics away from the Hungarian dominated policy (Szelnyi 242 ). Promised better living conditions at home and abroad, many young Swabians were brought to Germany to find themselves training for service in the Wehrmacht and Wa ffen-SS. Thus, the point of the title of Szelnyi's article from Minority to berme nsch seeks to show that the appeal to a German dominated politics can be viewed from the perspective of class struggle, whereby the economic and social repression suffered under Hungarian rule should be seen to lead directly to German minority support for conditions favorable specifically to Germans, turning the tables in the ethnically based class hierarchy. The politicization of the Swabians thus occurred through Na tional Socialist ag itation from the vlkisch movement in the 1930s and 1940s (ibid. 243), su bsuming class struggle under an ethnic problematic and revisionist nationalisthistoriography. R ecruitment of ethnic Germans into the Waffen-SS became widesp read after the protocol (Illyes 84). When Romania left the Axis alliance in August 1944, anti-German sentiment increased throughout Romania and in the Ro manian military (ibid. 84). Beginning in 1945 and continuing intermittently until 1951, la rge numbers of ethnic Germans were
13 deported to Soviet work camps (ibid. 100, 119). Sovietizing of education and the collectivization of farms began in Romani a in 1949. In 1952, Gheorgiu-Dej took control of the Romanian central government and pur ged the Muscovite elements, who had spent the war in Moscow, as opposed to Gheorgiu-Dej and company, who had spent most of the war imprisoned in Romania as members of the illegal Communist Party (Tismaneanu 812). This movement internal to the Party ma rks the beginning of what would later develop into Romania's nationalist line, allowing Ceau escu to say, for instance, that the problems in the Party's beginnings had to do with ethnic impurities, and that these ethnic impurities were responsible for the determinately and poli tically anti-national ch aracter of the early Party. Although the 1952 Romanian Constitu tion included an article guaranteeing the legal equality of the national minorities, the Romanian government immediately began hostile treatment of the minorities, beginning with the establishment of a Magyar Autonomous Region in 1952 that justified the abolition of the politically active Hungarian People's Alliance on the grounds that the minority would be protected by Party policythereafter, the borders of the Autono mous Region were shifted such that the majority population of the area was Romanian (Illyes 117-119). After Stalin's death in 1953 Gh eorgiu-Dej announced that the minority question had been solved (ibid. 119), and at the same time all political organizations except the RCP were abolished. Thus, discussion of th e minorities became taboo extra-nationalist rhetoric. Romanianization began at this time with the gradual elimination of bilingual signs and bilingual party meetings in the minority regions (ibid. 120).
14 Following the squelching of the 1956 H ungarian Revolution and subsequent suppression of student revolts in Romania, Romanian nationalism began its ascent. DacoRoman theories of descent were re-ignited, which had been historically employed to emphasize the Western lineage of the Romanian people alongside the indigenist Dacian tribes, placing the origin of the Romanian people with the 105AD invasion of Roman Emperor Trajan (Verdery 31ff.). The shift in historiography occurred parallel to the process of gradual de-Stalinization of the Bloc states, alongside Romania's continued attempts to break away from Soviet influen ce. It marks the attempt to trace a Romanian lineage that breaks away from the Slavic theori es held during the Stalinist years. At the same time, the minority populations were accused of counter-revolutionary or revisionist tendencies: indeed, the nationalities were in creasingly viewed as anachronisms by the Party, who at this time was campaigning fo r a National Communism that emphasized the unity of all workers internal to the Romani an state, despite their nationalities. This negation was, however, tantamount to repression. The attempt to homogenize the Romanian Socialist Republic came alongs ide the gradual independence from Soviet influence, culminating in the 1964 April Statement issued by the Workers' Party of Romania, which broke with Stalinist treatment of minorities in favor of an attempt to emphasize the differences between the nationalities: The differences between the peoples and countries will continue for a long time, even after the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. No party occupies a privileged position or a claim to occupy one, and no party can enforce its own line or approach on another party (qtd. in
15 Illyes 125). Thus, the shift in historiography was combined with the attempts to gain independence from the Soviet Union in order to create a new image of the worker's republic, at once internally homogenous and externally autonomous. With the rise of Nicolae Ceau escu to the position of General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party after Gheorgiu -Dej's death, the tenets of national communism were formulated with the signing of the August 21, 1965 Constitution of the Romanian Socialist Republic. After the pr ocess of de-Stalinizat ion under GheorgiuDej, Ceau escu marked the halt of this process wi th the return of a centralized system based on a symbolic-ideological mode of cont rol (Verdery 1991: 100). As Verdery's study on the development of discourse around the Nation in Romania shows, the concept of Nation had become a flexible term that c ould be employed in manifold discourses. Historically employed in reference to extern al conflicts, it now became inwardly directed, increasingly becoming a frame wherein any question regarding policy was legitimized. She notes that was especially significant for Ceau escu's centralized, allocation-based neo-Stalinist regime, which employed the Na tion discourse as a symbolic-ideological method of control alongside harsher measur es, such as nationwide malnourishment. National ideology harmonized with the system of allocations for buyers on the lowest levels because it helped ensure the reproduction of the same pool of buyers, minimizing competition for allocations from bureaucrats, and for the bureaucrats it emphasized local production and local appropriation, which kept the capacity to allocate and accumulate
16 goods in the same hands (Verdery 1991: 127). Ceau escu's rise to power marked an init ial relaxation of policies against the minorities. With the continued struggle for independence from Soviet power culminating in the Soviet Valev Plan, which would have given nations internal to the Bloc labor projects according to their national talent: thus, while East Germany and Czechoslovakia would dedicate their energies to heavy industry, Romani a would focus on agriculture. This was seen as an attempt to rob Ro mania of its economic self-determination, Ceau escu developed a rhetoric of a multinational internationalism, arguing: the development of the nation, the consolidation of the socialist State comply with the objective requirements of social life... [this] fully corresponds to [the interests of socialist internationalism], to the international solidarity of the working people, to the cause of socialism and peace. The development and flourishing of each socialist nation... is an essential requirement upon which depend the strengthening of the unity and cohesion of the socialist countries, the growth of their influence upon mankind's advance toward socialism and communism (Ceau escu 1965 qtd. In Verdery 117). His denunciation of the Soviet invasion of C zechoslovakia in 1968 employed the rhetoric of the right of every social ist nation and people to self -determination, and marked a relaxation of minority and cu ltural policy on the grounds that the development of a Romanian state required harmony among the nati onalities. From this denunciation, which harmonized with Romania's consistent anti-Soviet line, Ceau escu drew conclusions on
17 domestic nationality policy: ... it follows fr om the fact that the nation still has a long future ahead of it that the existence of the nationalities also has a long future. The nationalities will possess a clearly and well defined position and role of their own and, just like the nations, will re tain their own characteristic id entity for a long time to come (qtd. in Illyes 132). However, Illyes notes that the concessions offered to minorities and intellectuals in the wake of the Prague Spring were attempts by the Romanian regime to quell the possibility of revo lt (131), which would have brought unwelcome Soviet attention, and that these con cessions were interspersed with calculated oppression of minority groups. Although the 1965 Romanian Constitution provi ded stipulations for the protection of the minority populations through guarantees of bilingualism in legal procedures, education, and cultural affairs, none of these articles were directed towards collective groups, but only towards the rela tionship between individuals a nd the state. This afforded the opportunity of systematic strategic Romanianization of the nationality regions through placement of workers, movement of populations, an d re-drawing of regional and provincial boundaries, along with alterations in categories used in the census. These gestures were coupled with an attempt to abolish bilingualism in the form of banning the use of non-Romanian place names in the minority areas. After Ceau escu's 1971 visit to China and North Korea2 and the publication of the July Theses, which provided 2 This trip was symptomatic of the continued tensions between Romania and the U.S.S.R., and Romania's strategic relationship with Mao's China and Hoxha's Albania.
18 stipulations for increased e ducation in ideology, instrume ntalization of culture for dissemination of ideology and propaganda, and a condemnation of the 1965 relaxation in cultural policy, minority literary journals a nd newspapers became Party organs, largely responsible for disseminating translations of articles appearing in the official Party newspaper Scntea (Illyes 249-254). This gradual elimination of bilingualism was coupled with a homogenizing policy of assimilation that culminated in statements like the following made by Ceau escu in 1978 at the joint sessi on of the Councils of Working People of Hungarian and German Nationality: At present we speak the same lang uage of work... people understand each other in the language of work i rrespective of whether they express themselves in Romanian, German, or Hungarian. This statement is valid not only as regards work but also in science and technology. Indeed: machines speak the same language, a universal language. The tendency is to create only those machines whose language is understood by everyone. Without speaking Romanian one cannot expect equal rights (qtd. in Illyes 146) Along with the instrumentalization of language as a language of work, there is also an increased tendency towards the homogenization of socialist society. The nationalities, although having a particular role in the construction of the Socialist Nation, were to be regarded as counter-revolutio nary anachronisms who would be assimilated into the revolutionary nation along the path of creating a unified communist order both in the social and in the national relations regardless of nationality (Ceau escu 1972 qtd. in
19 Illyes 140). Thus, although there existed a tension between the minorities and Romanians on cultural and linguistic grounds, bo th of these were gradually harmonized with a concept of Nation that was at once re volutionary, according to an internationalist doctrine, and ethnocentric, making the question of nationalities insignificant in the larger question of creating a socialist state. The Romanian Communist Nation would not differentiate between the nationalities, while recognizing that the nati onalities were to be assimilated to the revolutionary internati onalist program of the Romanian Nation. Thus, Ceau escu says: Within the foreseeable future in Romania there will be no nationalities, only a socialist nation (qtd. in Illyes 141). Now that we have given a cursory ov erview of the deve lopment of minority policy in Romania, stemming from Romani a's conflict-ridden re lationship with the U.S.S.R., as well as from the results of the Second World War, we may now begin to examine the discursive forms used to employ th is history to the benefit of Power, while keeping in mind the link between the German minority and fascism, an element that will be suppressed in Ceau escu's Romania at the precise mo ment that nationalist tendencies begin to take on a unique, Romanian shape. ii. Justification of the ethnocentric elemen t becomes clearer when one analyzes Verdery's treatment of the development of national ideology in Romania, as well as Kligman's detailed study of reproductive policy in Ceau escu's Romania. Verdery calls
20 discourse on the Nation the vernacular of Romanian politics over against the foreign language of Marxism-Leninism, arguing that the appropriation and application of nationalist rhetoric by the Ceau escu regime beginning in the 1970s became necessary following the use of this discour se by intellectuals to escape strict censorship policy in a discourse that could legitimat ely deviate from the Party line, as the discourse on the Nation predated the birth of the RCP by over a century (Verdery 10-11 & 122). By elucidating this gap in State control at th e level of major discourses, Herta Mller's literature enacts the potential of this gap in a radical wa y, questioning the grounds of nationality itself and the style of corporeal work that produc e it. The Cold Jewelry of Life (p. 135), for instance, conjoins these two moments in order to show how body and expression connect at the level of religious mythology, whereby man, made of earth, is created by labor, in turn sugges ting that the soil its elf, a classic nationalist concept, has become permeated with the qualities of the people. First, we must take into account the specific economic structure of the Neostalinist regime. Only by understanding this economic structure can we understand the specific cultural politics that are an obj ect of Mller's writings: it will allow us to understand how economics and nationalism were connected to develop the specific form of national communism, as well as how the economic apparatus, under auspices of the health of the Nation, found its way into a high ly advanced system of reproductive control. Understanding the effects of Socialist Roma nia's reproductive policies, which is bound up with the economic structure of the Neostalinist State, is necessary to grasp some of the
21 critical aspects of Mller's work, such as the story Dew on the Depots (p. 125) which directly criticizes the social effects of Ceau escu's fatherly state, and Big Black Axle (p. 85), which implicitly connects this thematic to the treatment of childbearing women in the patriarchal village. Verdery writes that the driving force of the Stalinist economy is allocative power, or the capacity of bureaucrats to fund projects (75). The centralized economic apparatus is split into two segmentsthe Party, composed of the leader and high officials, and bureaucrats, responsible for carrying out the diktats given by the higher group. Rather than functioning on a horizontal basis like capitalism, which creates a lack of demand that must be catered by market ers, the centralized economy functions in vertical relation to the center, which creates a lack of supplie s that forces buyers to cater to the largest supplier's demands. The State's bur eaucrats invest in projects that will have have a maximum return of means of production to the center. Because there is a lack of supplies, the State is concerned with monopo lizing means of producti on that are going to produce the most resources; hence, for instan ce, the Romanian regime's obsession with heavy industry. The status of each bureaucrat thus depends on his investments garnering input of resources back into his segment, a nd how much he is capable of giving out (ibid. 80). In Mller's story Overall, Where One Ha s Seen Death, the figure of the bureaucrat is shown in his powerlessness, on the one hand, to the tide of goods coming in from other Bloc nations and from the West, and on the ot her, to the finger of the dictator that determines his decisions. The redundancy of official publications, which maintains the
22 centralization of expression, is implicated as a factor in producing a familial type, but also is predicted to be the element that performs the self-destruction of the regime itself. Thus, a counteracting horizontal tendency necessarily interr upts the centrifugal force of the State apparatus. Each bureaucr at has to be concerned with the requisite output of goods and resources in order to ensu re that means of production are at hand for the center to contro l; he is responsible for generating the system's central tendency while increasing its monopoly on allocation. This practi ce is valid for the control of language as well. This in turn creates a shortage of re sources, because the center holds onto resources rather than distributing them. Shortage re sults in hoarding phenomena, where buyers lower on the vertical hierarchy create smalle r centers that can then appeal for more bureaucratic investment through falsification of numbers in order to increase their own capacity to allocate to smaller firms. The bureaucracy's dependence on the outputs of these lower producers for the accumulation of actual surplus creates a market tendency, whereby relations between bureaucrats and producers are based on capacity to produce rather than to allocate. At lower levels, where buyers experience a general shortage of specific goods, this horizontal tendency generates small black market economies. Verdery explains this phenomena in terms of the goal-function of the economy, which is the maximization of allocativ e capacity and control over means of production, but the subjective aim of at least some bureaucrats a nd enterprise managers some of the time is to maximize production of a dis posable surplus (82).
23 Because there are centralizing tendencie s throughout the entire economy, and because allocative capacities are always relative Verdery argues that the obverse of this accumulation of resources within the apparatus is the destruction of resources outside it (76). This affects both bureaucrats and buye rs/producers. On the one hand, the center must strictly regulate the hor izontal tendencies in the econom y in order to maintain its control; because the vertical economy has no way to discipline labor, or because its demands are implemented locally and their results can be obscure d by producers, the State apparatus employs methods of control to keep resources coming back to the center and to keep workers dependent on state di stribution. On the other hand, buyers must compete with one another for allocations or goods that are always in shortage, which counteracts the centralizing tendency. Labor has considerable power because it, like everything else, is always in shortage. Because the State requires a reinvestment of labor in order to maintain its control over the m eans, the population of workers must somehow be controlled. Thus, the need to control the hor izontal tendencies that threaten the center's monopoly result in control mechanis ms. This, of course, is the origin of ideology. As we will see, these mechanisms go so far as to attempt to control the biological body, making birth and abortion into another economic sector that must be controlled by the central apparatus. Language poses a special problem to the State bureaucracy: although the publication of expression can be strictly co ntrolled by the apparatus, the inherently horizontal, transformative nature of language gives rise to fissures that are beyond the
24 control of the State. In order to centrali ze language, the State practices a ubiquitous saturation of language with propaganda, bindi ng language to labor as is evidenced in Ceau escu's notion of a language of work. However, the centr ifugal tendencies evidenced in Romania by the opening of a histor ical gap in nationalist discourse occur at a deeper, more microscopic level in Mller's literature. By drawing from the State's power over language, it contests the claim to expressive hegemony, setting the contents of State language in variation. Words like Bro, Behrde, Park, and Zug are given senses that sharply deviate from the normal meanings given to them in everyday language and State discourse, which immanen tly makes a claim for language's universal capacity to overturn the dominant perception and understanding of c ontents. It is this centrifugal force that gives energy to th e writer in the dictatorial State. Verdery writes that, because of labor's resi stant capacities, the State must develop control mechanisms in order to ensure that labor continues to return to the center. Contrary to developments in Hungary in the 70s and 80s, where remunerative rewards were offered to the population, Romania im plemented an increasingly coercive and propagandistic method of control to keep reso urces in control of the central apparatus, substituting the risks of more market-based methods (106) with nationalist rhetoric. Mller's insight to this appears, for instan ce, in The Cold Jewelry of Life (p. 135), where the state apparatus is shown to be co mposed of natural elements, exposing right to be an artificial element, a piece of jewelry, attached to the natural bureaucratic laborers of state socialism. Consumption and production are thus no longer understood on the
25 level of subsistence and demand, but on are th oroughly permeated in a unified effort of national labor. Nationalism has had a place in Romani an politics since the end of the 18th century, used as a tool to negotiate relations with Romania's more powerful neighbors to both sides. The communist period is no exception: the history of this discourse served to legitimate it in the hands of intellectuals who used it as a counter to the prevailing Marxist-Leninist speak used by the Party. In tu rn, in its necessary interest in intellectuals, the Party appropriated and used this discourse to create a link with the tradition of Romanian politics that didn't actually exis t, the RCP having been an organ of the Comintern, installed by the Red Army in 1944. Combined with the anti-Soviet tendencies of Ceau escu's foreign policy, it was also eminen tly practical for the State to employ as an instrument to convince a population with a history of anti-Russian sentiment that nationalism meant self-determination, as is evidenced in Ceau escu's speech condemning the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovaki a. The synthesis of the two discursive frameworks resulted in a na tionalist communism, which merg ed chauvinist sentiments originating from the interwar period w ith Neostalinist control economics. Verdery writes that the primary advantag e of the symbolic-ideological method of control over remunerative allowances is that it maintains central control of all means of production, including the labor for ce, without risking decentralization (86). By avoiding the decentralizing tendencies i nherent at the lower levels of the control economy, the
26 symbolic-ideological method of control seek s to contain these te ndencies by saturating the unlimited resource of language with Party messages, while simultaneously harmonizing these messages with economic prac tice. Deviations from the Party line internal to the population are easily controlled by the secret police, as the limits of discursive practice are exceedingly narrow. This also means that the ideological apparatus feeds back into economic policy: taking into account the developments in foreign policy, combined with the need to lo calize industry to maintain th e center's control on the one hand, and to keep the pool of competitors re latively stable on th e other hand, a national ideology helps resolve both of these problems by pressing out a particular group of social actors and keeping the included social actors close to the center, which then becomes beneficial for those actors. However, the decisions afforded by th is policy became increasingly problematic in the 1980s under Ceau escu. The decision in the 1980s to begin exporting goods in order to pay high foreign debta theme of Mller's story Everywhere, where one has seen death (p. 145)may be seen as a resu lt of this policy, whic h increasingly tended towards isolation from the outside and internal isolation from its ow n citizens. Paying off debt was justified under the heading of making sacrifi ces for the Nation, which analytically included the s ocialist Nation (Verdery 86) Beginning in 1984, citizens endured winters without hea ting, shut off by the State to save energy, and lived on increasingly low rations of food. Implicit economic coercion is thus coupled with a flood of propaganda into the public sphere, whic h would ideally keep labor forces caught
27 between poverty and the necessity to comp ete with other impoverished workers for goods. Thus, the attempt to control the popul ation invoked nationa l justification on every front, a propaganda machine that turned Ceau escu's presidency into a veritable spectacle complete with palaces and a pres idential scepter (Tismaneanu 213). On the grounds of conflicting with national interest s and interfering with self-determination, emigration was strictly limited, minorities repressed, economic austerity justified on grounds of national necessities, and relig ious figures persecuted. For our purposes, it is significant to note that Ceau escu's shift in focus towards a strengthening of ideological education and the production of the new man came after his 1971 visit to Southeast Asia. This resulted in lifting the cultural reforms seen in the first years of Ceau escu's rule, replaced with a renewed focus on socialist realism. It also marked the beginning of a series of five-year plans, which culminated in the demolition of historical sections of la rger cities and the urbanizat ion of the countryside. These changes were accompanied by a populist elemen t, which appealed to the Romanian people as an ethnicity grounded in a history of strong cultura l and moral traditions, as well as to the right of nations to employ Ma rxism-Leninism according to their specific national characters. Populism also included attempting to politicize the peasantry, which had been a difficulty for the RCP since its inception. Rather than agitation campaigns, this occurred through systematization, a gross re-organization of villages, which included the banning of private agricultural pl ots, and the moving of large numbers of people into the cities or into different villages. Gail Kligman notes that this shift was
28 accompanied by the development of a patrim onial State, which began to implement village mores increasingly at the level of the organization of Ceau escu's nepotistic Party itselfinto practice. Following Ceau escu's will to create the new socialist person in the 1971 July Theses, plans for the homogenization of the labor force were implemented. This was an attempt to equalize class and social di fferences through the practice of evaluating every person based on their capacity to perform work. In order to actualize Ceau escu's multilaterally developed socialism, the homogenization of the work force would eliminate differences between men and wome n, co-habiting nationalities, and classes. Having already examined the effects of this process on the minority populations, it is necessary to note the regime's attempts to efface the difference between men and women, and consequently between public and pr ivate. Ethnic homogenization was also accompanied by the familialization of the Part y, which adopted terms from village life such as neam bun, or good family, and applied them to the effort to develop a unique Romanian people based on these mores (Kligm an 32). Not only did the Party become a nepotocracy, but its propaganda became g eared towards creating one big Romanian family, Elena Ceau escu taking the image of the ideal Romanian mother. Big Black Axle (p. 85) might be read as an implicit critique of this policy by describing the patriarchal grounds of the ideal ized village family. Leni is suppressed by both the mother and the sick man, who chastise her for her irresponsibility. Her former
29 lover, Ion, works in agriculture, covering the village with dust by riding his tractor. Because the economic means remain in c ontrol of the patriarchal morality, the young mother mourns in her own powerlessness and in the guilt of her irresponsibility. In turn, this negative space in village life is recognized as a positive element of state practice in Dew on the Depots (p. 125), which lists state sanctioned modes of impregnation in individual cases. The uncle's comment at the end of Axle about the stench of humanity thus connects patriarchal morality to a practice of political nihilism that may be read as a message to the unknown generation addre ssed at the end of the story. This policy of homogeni zation was coupled with Decree 770/1966, which placed strict limitations on the conditi ons under which a woman could legally abort a pregnancy. Initially justified as an attempt to hike Romania's decreasing birt h-rate, it was never successful or effective in th is aspect, but resulted in the 1980s in the growth of overpopulated orphanages in Bucharest with inadequate means of care, although orphans were raised under the Ministry of Edu cation and claimed to be children of the Ceau escus (Kligman 31). As Ceaucescu was heroicizing himself through self-comparison to Dacian mythology, rhetoric geared towards the (re )production of the Romanian worker's populous analogized village lif e: the mandatory amount of children women were supposed to have was the average number in peasant families (Kligman 31). Kligman also notes that the discursive tactics used to enforce women's conformity with State
30 decrees: denunciation is akin to the gura satului, or village voice, the rumor mill, which could be used to defile another's reputa tion at any level. To further its image as the caretaker of the people, the State offered to adopt children of pregnant high school women. As noted, the evaluation of a good family based on lineage, which must not contain members of a growing list of undesira bles, such as relatives living abroad, was grafted onto the national level, such that ci tizens who were suspected of harboring antirevolutionary elements could be prevented from pursuing particular careers or could be subject to relocation. Thus, the movement s to urbanize the rural population were accompanied with a ruralizing of the central apparatus's valu es. These included a Family Code, which was an attempt to guarantee the state's rights over the regulation and propagation of the socialist family, resulting in restrictions on di vorce and newly defined roles for women within socialism, whose speci al capacities to work would be regulated like the machinery and labor of a factory. These policies were enforced at the statistical level, which included an advanced apparatus for keeping track of the number of births, for setting target numbers for increase in birth rate, for enforcing thes e numbers through remunerative penalties for doctors, and, of course, like we saw with the falsification of numbers by producers to receive more investments from bureaucrats, for falsification of numbers in order to bespeak the numbers given by the Party. Th e female body was effectively bureaucratized and industrialized under Ceau escu's rule. Thus, although the work force was to be homogenized,
31 [a]n obligation of national interest is the protection and consolidation of the family, the development of a corresponding consciousness about the growth of an increased number of children, and the formation of healthy and robust generations profoundly devoted to the cause of socialism; in this realm women have a distinguished role and noble mission (Ceau escu qtd. in Kligman 59). This practice thus also marks the regime 's self-conscious attempt to dissolve the boundary between public and private life, where by the family apparatus would be subject to the same rules as the industrial apparatus. Direct policing of the female body oc curred through a number of mechanisms, including: presence of State bureaucrats at medical commission mee tings; strict policies on reporting abortions and use of tools rela ted to abortions; surveillance of hospital admissions to perform random gynecological examinations; mandatory annual or biannual gynecological examinations for women working in factories where large numbers of women worked, accompanied by follow-up examinations to make sure a possible pregnancy had not been interrupted; financ ial awards and medallions for birthing specified numbers of children;3 falsification of statistics to justify coercion to reproduce; and guarantee of harsh punishments for those susp ected of assisting or participating in an abortion. All of these efforts may be seen as attempts to disrupt the barrier between private and public life in order to ensu re that the body of laborthe female body 3 The practice of awarding mother's with national hero awards has its origins in Nazi Germany's Mutterkreuz
32 entrusted with (re)producing th e population of the socialist nation in this caseremains under the control of the central apparatus. The State's intrusion into familial life on all levels combined with the familialization of the State would thus serve to rid society of its reticent bourgeois elements whilst bringing all aspects of life unde r the control of the centralized bureaucratic machine. The propaganda campaigns for the reproduc tion of the socialist nation take the form of statements like deep care and res ponsibility for the human resources of the country, (Bulgaru qtd. in Kligman 119) show ing that the labor force and the instrument of its reproduction is to be understood as any other part of economic production. In order to harmonize life with economic practice, at tentiveness towards the return of this resource to the center takes the form of th e Nation itself. Thus, with the reproductive policy, the Nation idea comes full circle to correspond with the Neostalinist economy and ritualistic Marxist-Leninist speak. The re production of the human resources of the socialist nation, a resource f ound immanently at the level of the body of the worker, comes under the control the centralized economy, which is responsible for ensuring that that body can reproduce in order to build socialism. Thus, in Mller, a piece of jewelry becomes an item of expressive escape, which is invested with ideas of autonomy that are disabled by the state. The necklace in The Cold Jewelry of Life (p. 135) is a right that is consistently attacked and pressed into the body by the bureaucracy, along with the word I. In My Heart Flies through my
33 Cheeks (p. 139), an earring is the reflective object that escapes the State's registry of body parts. The identification of economics and corporeality thus necessitates an expressive line of escape in literature, which begins to explain Mller's focus on tiny objects. The body of the worker is thus the site where the Nation and socialism conjoin, and where the rhetoric and corporeality of both of these categories become indistinguishable. Thus, the reproductive po licy must use ideological incentives and coercionsince in the 1980s material incentives were scarce even for familiesbecause the bodies it regulates are part of the labor fo rce that the central a pparatus must control, but at the same time that body is the force that reinvests the Nati on and the center with the power it depends upon. Here, ideological propaganda and the capacities of bodies to act actually become indistinguishable. A specific bureaucratic apparatustaking the forms of statistical/demographic politics a nd Party membership on medical commissions or police presence in hospitalswhich dire ctly invests labor with an embodied ideological control that takes the form of surveillance. Here, we see that the specific difference between the allocati on of funds to a factory and the alimentary regime of pronatalism is that in the latter there is a co llusion of mechanisms that control expression and input/output of resources, such that the body can only reproduce in the control economy if it is coerced with propaganda, or ev en further, if it becomes propaganda, even though, in a strict sense, it is a resource that might be treated like any other. The logical conclusion of this is that the Nation itself is to be viewed as a res ource, demonstrating the
34 profound complicity between Romanian National Communism and capitalism. If we view Mller's literature as anticipatory of its contents, we can see that the trace of the migrant writer's footprints strewn throughout the collectionfrom the title story to When I Move My Foot (p. 130) to Devouring Shoe (p. 136) to Overall, Where One Has Seen Death (p. 145) demons trates the consistent experience of the minor writer, who sets the variables of he r circumstances in variation. The Romanian regime's complicity with capitalism is demons trated at the level of minority politics in My Minor German, My Fight (p. 165), where only the mode of questioning a minority's word changes while the bureaucrat ic machine persists, which preserves the minor language for the writer who has left it behind. What is anticipated is the rise of a burgeoning literary community in transit. Thus, there is a Neostalinist politics of reproduction and a Neostalinist biopolitics, which reveal the cohesiveness of national id eology with the centralized economy. The biopolitical aspect is reveal ed by the following statement found in a Party treatise on maternity: The procreation of children in families must be seen as much from a biological point of view, for the reproduction of the species, as from a social point of view, for the reproduction of the work force (qtd. in Kligman 133). The collusion of official rhetoric with the biological means of producti on as a way of immediately enforcing Party doctrine while effectively guaranteeing that th is doctrine is serving the interests of the nation is the keystone of Romanian nationalism. At the level of the
35 population, which is counted by the Higher Counc il of Health responsible for regulating demographic politics, a split in society betw een those in line with national communist interest and those adverse to nationa l communist interest is effectuated. Thus, the propaganda promoting the birth of children for the father(land) of the people was combined with nationalist pr opaganda to produce a population regulated by controls on labor and birth statistics on the one hand, and disciplined through economic practices or labor and coercion on the other hand. Mller' s writing not only effects a breach with official State doctrine, but also transforms the ways in which bodies can perform in the socialist State, taking State dominated contents as an object in order to project different contents into the future. All of the policies towards minorities and political opposition may be deduced from the collusion of reproductive policy and national ideology. Relocation of minorities or separation of minority couples through wo rk placement can be read as an implicit attempt by the State to coordinate its re-popul ation efforts with its anti-minority policy. The rhetoric aimed strictly towards Romanian motherhood, combined with changes in the rules for counting the census that either generally decreased the size of the minority populations, or introduced an ethnically gr ounded practice of gerrymandering (cf. Illyes 46), which would be the logical outcome of a re-population policy with large gaps between the majority and minority populations, ca n be seen as an effort to root out the Hungarian, German, and Jewish elem ents from Romanian socialism.
36 With this collusion we can see the complicity between Romanian communism and German-Romanian fascism, which is a primary theme in some of Mller's stories, such as Everywhere, where one has seen death. A sp lit runs between a quasi master race, the Romanian people, who, from the 1970s until 1989, were upheld by Ceau escu's regime as the origin of everything in European cultu re through the protochronist movement (cf. Verdery ch. 5), and those who fall outside th e terms that define that race, which are political and cultural categories that define a national essence. In the search for domination, which in Romania's case was a search for self-domination and autonomy in a history of being dominated by three more powerful neighbors, both countries became suicide states. Unlike German fascism, Ro mania in the 1980s imploded, cutting off its citizens' means of sustenance in order to de fend its autarchic national image. Romania's centralized economy excluded those who were not complicit with the center: when nationalist discourse becomes colluded with th e means of production at the level of the reproduction of the socialist race, those who are not complicit at any level of the regime's qualifications are just ified candidates for exclusion. Th is practice is enforced by the Neostalinist economy, which coerces its popu lation with shortages in order to ensure conformity. It is necessary now to examine the discursive climate within which Mller was writing in order to understa nd the specific enabling eff ects of literature within Ceaucescu's repressive communi st regime. As it has become clear that nationalism in Romania meant both linguistic assimilation on gr ounds of the establishment of a unified
37 worker's state, which was the counterpart of de facto ethnic repre ssion, and cultural assimilation within a nationalist discourse that served to legitimize political claims and suppress those in contradiction with the disc ursive limits of national interest, we will attempt to locate Mller's literature between these discourses in or der to show how it could affect both of them while enabling lines of escape fr om their hegemonic force. iii. Katherine Verdery argues that Romania employed a symbolic-ideological method of population control, opting out of the type of technocratic reforms occurring in Hungary in the 1960s, and in other Bloc regimes lik e Czechoslovakia in the 1980s. Because of Romania's reliance on the production of propa ganda, and the reification of consciousness through cultural goods that bore the mark of Romanian nationalism, the importance of intellectuals to the survival of the regime was increased ( 108ff.). The State had an interest in educating individuals who would possibly become appara tchiks, thus enabling it to reproduce its own doctrine. This education, how ever, came at a risk, as some individuals might not want to become apparatchiks, or mi ght defect from the party line altogether. The intellectual class had the capacity both to criticize and to confor m to official state policy, and thus made out the dynamism of th e State's control tactic s. According to the economic logic discussed above, the State wa s concerned with keeping intellectuals within the vertical order, while a counterac tive horizontal tendency moved against these attempts. Critical intellectuals thus appear as forces aligned w ith the three forces
38 detrimental to the self-propagation of Romanian Neostalinism: external cultural influence, appelation to an audience, and a ppelation to Western politics. We may thus read Mller's literature as a critique of Romanian Socialis m, and an implicit opening to these forces. However, it is simultaneously a cr itique of these forces, as we read in My Minor German, My Fight (p. 165) about the persistence of an emigrant identity interior to experiences in both regimes. Communist Romania was permeated by two major languages: Romanian entrenched in State Marxist-Leninist jargon and Romanian entrenched in a history of nationalist historiography; on the other hand, th ere are regional langu ages, like a German impoverished by its lack of contact to othe r German speaking peoples and its reticent provincialism. We can then begin to read Mll er's work internal to this major frame of reference in order to understand how her la nguage negotiates the la nguages of power, and how her works could serve to transform thes e major languages. I w ill attempt to locate the minority within Verdery's framework in order to show the particular difficulty that the minority writer poses to the centralized State's attempts to instrumentalize her. I will also criticize Verdery's model of socialist cultu ral politics: the two axeson the one hand, the political status of an individua l, on the other, her supposed cultu ral, scientific, or creative authority (cultural capital), both measured in degreesare insufficient for discussing a minority writer, who on this model would have a relatively low political status, not being affiliated with any official apparatuses, and who has no cultural capital or authority, relegated to the fringes of the cultural world; nor can Mller be described as Verdery's
39 noble exception, the writer who aims her work at a specific audience in hopes that high consumer demand will persuade bureaucrats to invest funds allocated to cultural projects to her writings. Mller has no audience outside the small group of writers and intellectuals in Timi oara and readers in the BRD external to her immediate environment.4 Katherine Verdery argues that national ideology and Romanian Neo-Stalinism forged a symbiotic relationship justified by the latter's centralization of means of production. First, an ideology that is focu sed on national concerns keeps the pool of competitors on the lower level of purchaser s relatively stable and local. Second, by keeping debates and propaganda cente red on local means of production and accumulation, the capacity to allocate is kept in the same few hands, maintaining the primacy of the center. Both expressive and material means of production are centralized, narrowing consciousness while keeping labo ring individuals bound to their specific needs. Verdery calls this Romania's cultura l protectionism, which sought to strictly restrict cultural imports from the West, wh ich would serve the function of eliminating foreign competition for bureaucratic alloca tions and local buying power. The secondary function of this protectionism is on the level of expression, which the Ceau escu regime sought to limit. According to Ve rdery, the three main threats to the socialist regimes, and to the weakness of the Ceau escu regime especially, were ap pellations to markets, to the 4 Mller's first collection of stories, Niederungen was published in 1984 in Romania in a censored version; it was published the same year in the BRD uncensored. All of her other works were first published in Germany.
40 West, and concern with an audience (95). A ll three pose threats to the political and economic weakness of the central apparatus by di splaying its inherent need to deal with horizontal markets to ensure resources for reproduction and stockpiling on the one hand, and on the other, by showing the consequently necessary methods of population control to be fragmentary and open to intervention from external parties. On economic grounds tied up with the means of cultural producti on, Verdery finds that any one of these appellations directly challenges the centra l apparatus's control of the production of cultural items, which would idea lly reflect the State's various economic and ideological plans: Consumption of items produces cons ciousness. Because culture, as we will examine in a moment, functions on the vert ical allocations model of the Stalinist economy, but must also be universally distri buted, it has the capacity to contradict and move outside of the boundaries se t up by official ideology. In describing the problem of appea ling to a public audience, which was economically impractical in an economy based on shortage of supplies and not on shortage of demand, Verdery writes that this could form a cognizant public who will recognize their claims to cultu ral authority (96). She defi nes a cognizant public as a group who acknowledges a particular social ac tor's claims to cultu ral authority while simultaneously recognizing that it itself holds less of this authority. Thus, it becomes an audience to a particular cultural concern that does not claim the ubiquity that the State does, although both claim universality. These claims are grounded in Pierre Bourdieu's concept of cultural and symbolic capital, whic h Verdery alters for the socialist state:
41 rather than following an axis of correlat ive degrees of cultural capital and economic capital, Verdery suggests degrees of cultural authority and political status, which give weight to one's claims for investment from bureaucrats or to one's capacities to garner public or Party support (92-3). Bureaucrats play the role of those sworn in to the field of cultural production, capable of consecrating works in their capacity to give artists allocations (cf. Bourdieu 75). Those producers who recognize the demands of the particular social field become capable of disavowing the interest th ey have in producing, and under the screen of this disavowal are th en capable of revealing the truth of their products, which is its relation to an economic sponsor. In doing this, they also the reveal the economic nature of all cultural goods, a nd the political authority invested in it The formation of cognizant publics thus presumes some degree of recognition within the social field: if an individual is high on both axes, for instance, this may rid him of the need to appeal to State support for publica tion; and the same time, it should be more likely for the State to support his ventures. The cognizant public po ses a threat to the socialist order because it opens a fissure in th e state's capacity to control totally (Verdery 1991: 197). The cultural sphere of the socialist State may be seen to be the attempt to merge economy and social consciousness, such that the terms that define both become identical. Verdery argues that Romanian cultural producers engaged in competition with one another for State allocations, and that because of the structure of Romanian political economy, every evaluation made by intellectuals in debate was necessarily political (95).
42 Thus, although the framework of each disc ourse was limited, most notably around the Nation idea, each evaluation internal to this framework was a political decision, particularly in its relation to the dominant or Party line on that issue. This mechanism was so powerful that Verdery argues that the Stat e was forced by intellectuals to begin taking a position on the debate around the Nation, whic h was a field where political claims that escaped the Marxist-Leninist jargon of the cen tral apparatus could be legitimately voiced. The central apparatus attempted to appropriate this discourse, but due to its long history in Romanian politics it was resistant to Pa rty obscurantism. However, Verdery only addresses discourse that occurred between in tellectuals working within a framework that was recognized by the State, and within which members of any range of political or police affiliation were working. In attempting to position the minority write r within the field of socialist cultural production, we must take care to recognize th e conditions of distri bution in order to position her in Bourdieu's framework. The cen sorship of works on predetermined police grounds does not afford analysis of entry into the field of cultural production, because in attempting to produce in that field, the work is already blocked by censorship. In the bounds of that field, the app earance of the work is marked as impossible before it appears. The relationship between the minor ity writer and the police and censorship mechanism is not one of repression, which is the driving mechanism of Bourdieu's social field, where artists disavow th e economic advantage they potentially have in producing the art work in order to enter into the fi eld of (mis)recognized, credit-based cultural
43 capital. The relationship between the minority writ er and the police is rather one of direct correspondence: the latter's job is to produce a consciousness that identifies with the whole, whereby the minority writer's work is explicitly excluded as a moment that does not appear on a number of ideological grounds It is legible to the police, but only interpretable insofar as it is censored. Censor ship is a positive act of interpretation, and demonstrates what the majority consciousness recognizes and values in a cultural object. By police I understand the order of knowledge, re lations, and roles that are normalized in a particular society; in Romanian social ism, the suppression of minority groups and a dominant State-controlled discour se are parts of this order, and thus constituent moments of the majority consciousness. Unlike the artist whose relationship with the dealer/publisher becomes clear when their economic relationship is unveiled and th e values that veil this relationship are reaffirmed in their denial (Bourdieu 79), th e minority writer does not have a relationship to an economically interested yet aesthetically disinterested publishe r; rather, she has a relationship to a wholly interested State appa ratus, which processes the work before it can be published. The values upon which their relati onship is built are t hus unable to enter into the process of negation necessary to pr oduce symbolic capital. Rather, the work is immediately transformed by the police that censors it. It af firms the political problems that the work engages by reading dominant values into them, then covering over them, but it does not consciously negate them as ma nifestations of a conflict: it remains on the surface, or is incapable of lear ning. It thus also affirms the economic nature of all works,
44 insofar as these are necessarily instrumenta lized to promote a central economic model. The only struggle that occurs between the pol ice order and the minor writer is the fact that the work is published, and therefore recognized as a work by the police. The fact that the relationship exists precedes the fact that the work cannot be recognized by the regime, even though it must be. But the political contents of the work go under the radar of the regime, only capable of reiterating the suppres sion enacted by offi cial ideology: if everything is repressed, then any manifestat ion of dissonance is a positive catastrophe, incapable of playing the complex negations of cultural capital. Writing the work is thus originally polit ical. The categories of cultural authority and political status can meas ured for a minor writer as follows: her ambiguous cultural authority places her in a zone where, one the one hand, she is in contact with a part of society that is either officially suppressed or exterior, and on one the other, she is unable to enter into a discourse that would legitimize her work; her political status is officially low, but it remains a relation. Thus, Verdery co rrectly notes that every enunciation in the cultural struggles in socialism was political, but her analysis goes only so far to evaluate those enunciations that occurred more or less within the framework of a hegemonic discourse, insofar as the discourse on the Nation was a legitimate framework wherein a range of voices could be heard. It follows that the minority writer's position of exclusion from the framework of the majority discourse, and from the limite d field of production as such, makes her
45 enunciations political in the se nse that they address a comm unity that does not or might not exist, and means that her enunciations will always exceed the capacity of the state's grasp. This relation of excess defines the minor ity writer's position in the socialist field of cultural production: the enunciati on that cannot be recognized by the State, even if it must be recognized as one that is to be censored, means that it elides and exceeds the state's capacity to instrumentalize or use that e nunciation in a legitimate context. We could attempt to frame this relation within Bourdieu's notion of transgressionartists who display a canvas that has in. x 23in. Canvas written on it, which ultimately reconstitutes the art world in attempting to surpass or mock its ruleswhereby the minor writer's enunciation would be seen as the deliberate attempt to provoke attention or surpass the bounds of official discourse, only in order to reify the limits that are capable of absorbing her work (cf. Bourdieu 1993: 80). Although the minor writer's work does in a sense transgress the limits set by the field, it does not do so from a position internal to that field, but is only transgress ive insofar as it is excluded. Thus, its attempts to penetrate the social field meet with a grimacenot becau se of the work's cont ent, but because of the grayness of everyday lifeof incomprehension: what is given back to the writer is something entirely different from what the writer put in. The rela tion is therefore not transgression, because the work cannot recons titute an apparatus that is essentially unaffected by its existence. By escaping relation to the field of produc tion and escaping rela tion to the state, the minority writer can only be located from these latter perspectives as something
46 unlocalizable, completely without location. T hus, the minority writer exposes a line of flight in the organization of th e socialist cultural apparatus: by writing in a language that is indecipherable (though not il legible) to this apparatus, she breaks apart the complex formations of linguistic matter and alimentary relations in order to show what they are incapable of territorializing. It is here where her work anticipates its contents and anticipates the future: by breaking apart these forms, contents are constructed that were otherwise stratified as factic al, given forms. This act is in turn an anticipation of a literature to come, because the population expe riences a transformation in its expressive capacities when these forms are decomposed. Th us, we may view Mller's act of writing itself, along with stories like My Minor Germ an, My Fight (p. 165), as predictions of the miscount of the minor writer in all coun tries, the incapacity of a revolution in Romania to surmount nascent social problem s, and the growing community of migrant writers arriving in German cities. II. Translator's Introduction56 Contemporary translation studies is primarily concerned with developing an ethics of translation, taking its leads from postcoloni al studies, which variously informs its conception of the historicity of language and the problems involved in translating historically located texts. However, the dom inant techniques for practically addressing these problems are often restricted by the la ck of a rigorous notion of difference, without 5 Examples concerning the thoughts laid out here can be found in the Appendix. 6 A brief glossary of technical terms can be found in the Appendix.
47 which a critical conception of translation is made impossible. The techniques for translating texts produced by this discour se are exemplified by Lawrence Venuti's prominent foreignizing translation, which ai ms to allow the performative work of the translating translator to appear on the surface of the translated text, marking it as a text in-translation and ensuring that its problematic, ambi guous nature as translation is left open to the reader's criticism. However, in eliding the necessity of asking the question regarding the difference that grounds translat ion, or the difference that is translation, Venuti's practice brings the text into the merely historical, closing it off from its singular origin, or from the singular connections th at can be made in it. Indeed, this lack contributes to the positivisti c nature of Venuti's technique, which, in emphasizing the 'translatedness' of the text, actually fills in the differential, negative space opened by translation, thus ultimately refusing to enga ge the problem of translation head on. In order to provide a conceptual framework with in which a possible pr actice of translation could arise, this chapter focu ses on developing a notion of tr anslative difference. The aim is primarily to provide an example of a theory of translation that will provoke further investigations into the n ecessary connection between philosophy (difference) and translation. In order to criticize the risks involved in Venuti's translation project in particular, and in order to propose a critic al theory of translation, this chapter seeks to develop a concept of translative difference that posits the essence of translation as continuous variation. Continuous variation is developed in th ree primary conceptual moments. The
48 concept of continuity demonstrates the virt ual origins of the text, which precede any articulation or decision. This vi rtual origin is a temporal synthesis of pre-expressive multiplicities, which contains all particular el ements that are not necessarily unified by the textual form. The concept of discontinuity demonstrates the actual formation of a text and the necessary connections contained ther ein, expressed in a m achinic series of statements and a limitation of the continuous vi rtualities accessible to th at particular set. The concept of compositional or writing m achine articulates the conjunctions made between the first two concepts and the modes of these conjunctions, demonstrating that each text is a singular shape of varying multiplicities articulated by a se ries of rules; this virtual shape is effectuated by the discontinuous forms of the text. This writing machine opens two fields immanent to the text. First, its historicity, which is a series of virtual potentials nascent to the text's wr iting machine, but which only appear over a given duration of timein this sense, this hist oricity is the future of the text, and must therefore remain unconscious. S econd, it reveals a definitive, materialist articulation of the now commonplace, though originally radical, position first articulated by F. Schleiermacher that the translat or should bring the target lan guage, or the target language reader, to the foreign language, rather than subordinating the foreign text to the target tongue: it does this by showing that, because the singular writing machine of a text is always connected to a pre-expressive (pre-li nguistic) virtual plane, this singular writing machine is a singular translation machine, and that it processes other languages that it contains virtually, insofar as these must also have their origins in a pre-linguistic
49 synthesis. Along the way, the subjective mome nt of translation will be conceived of as the negative expression of the translatability of th e text: if the translatability of a text is its capacity to differentiate itself beyond the meaning of the terms employed to construct it, or its capacity to reveal its virtual essence, then the translative subject is the effect of a process of subtracting th e unifying nature of the meaning of terms in order to reveal the text as a complex of multiple functions. Continuous variability is called superlinearity, which means that a sign always transforms into a multiplicity of other signs in order to functi on, or that, in its temporality, it relates not only to a succession but to a formal synthesis of succession in which time constitutes a process of linear overcoding and engenders a phenomenon unknown to the other [inductive and transductive (genetic)] strata: translation... (Deleuze and Guattari 1986: 62). The system of these overcoded signs, whose cau sality can only be determined as its very capacity to be translat ed, is called a text. Translation is the expression of a variab ility inherent in a text. Walter Benjamin calls this variability the text's translatability The quality that defines translatability is the irreducible differentiation of a text from itself, or a gap in the unity of its form: a literary text is translatable if it st rives towards the convergence of all languages, or points towards their ideal interrelatedness, forcing it to give up the desire to produce a unified meaning. In other words, the translatable text can st ill function and enter in to connections with
50 elements external to it by having the te rms that unify it into a systematic whole subtracted.7 But how is this consistency of the text that splits off from itself possible? As we will discuss soon, this is because the text is a singular shape of multiplicities, which become revealed through the subt raction of particular terms th at cause the text to appear as a unified whole. In turn, this gap inherent to the text causes an infinite series of multiple signs that are essentially attempts to resolve it. Now, with this formula two points regarding the translatability of a text are revealed: first, because the difference moving through the text (which Deleuze and Guattari called a formal synthesis of succession, or time) is the irreducible (and hist orical) genesis of the text, all unifying aspects are merely supplementary (thus, thei r subtraction is immanent to the text); second, this gap is immanent to the multiple series of signs that make up a text, which marks the text with a necessary incompletene ss. But what is this gap? Only by further developing the notion of superlinearity can we reveal its truth as something that is not only defined by its negativity. Insofar as it is defined by both of th ese moments, the translated sign is a superlinear expression. Superlin earity means that a temporal series is synthesized with expressive forms. The content of the superlin ear sign is therefore bot h its function and its temporality. It differs from linear, genetic expr ession in that the latter develops a function that is independent of temporal contentit unfolds' in space. Temporality is the synthesis 7 Texts with little translatability, like newspapers, can not endure this process of subtraction, because they are composed of mere meaning. Benjamin writes that communication is inessential to translation, and Deleuze and Guattari agree with this: communication is mere redundancy, and as such does not need to be translated.
51 of pre-expressive signs that differ from expressive, formed signs not only in their function, but also in the temporal series: pre-expressive signs indicate the existence of an unlimited past, a past with no origin and no determinate, necessary connection with the present, and expressive signs indicate the existence and necessity of an actual, finite present. This virtual, pre-actual temporality brings all actual text into being. And, paradoxically, the irreducible difference that cau ses the multiple nature of a text is the future of the text: in the confrontation with the text's infinite incompleteness, the totality of the text's structure transforms. This struct ure is the virtual, or potential, series of multiplicities that coordinate every 'actual,' or present, reading of the text. This future, however, can only be singular, beca use it unifies an actual set of expressive signs with an unlimited series of virtual syntheses, a uni fication which can never be determinately complete. The differentiations that occur in this structure are determined by two qualitative conceptscon tinuity/discontinuity. The systematicity of a text is caus ed by a play between continuity and discontinuity. The advantage of Deleuze and Guattari's notion of expressive superlinearity is that it provides a concis e account of the genesis of a text while demonstrating that the hi storicity of the text is immanent to this genesis, and that this historicity necessarily remains unconscious. First, the conti nuity of a text is not grounded in its articulated, meaningful expressive form s; rather, these are just the formswords, sentences, metonymywhich unify its actual appearance. The continuity of a text is a virtual temporality or series of multiplicities, which is called a plane of consistency or
52 plane of immanence. On this virtual plane, potential expressions are synthesized external to any actual systemof reading, interpretation, writi ngthat deploys them. These potential expressions do not mean a nything, but are simply a multiplicity of elementary, asignifying signs that make up language itself: they are the transformation that is symbolized by the movement of ever y text. In this sense, they are properly unlimited, because they precede any distinctio n between orders of magnitude (infinity), completeness or incompleteness, form and content. They thus indicate the unlimited differentiations that can poten tially be actualized in writ ten expression, while negatively revealing the real limitation of all actual text. This virtual, unlimited field is a generative synthesis of pre-expressive, or pre-functional, signs into si ngular shapes. Negatively, this virtuality subtracts the limits that unify a te xt into an organic w hole: as we mentioned above, the subtraction of signs that form a text into a unified, meaningful whole is immanent to the construction of the text itself, because the text is a singular delimitation of multiplicities that are by their nature unlimited.8 This virtuality that precedes any determinate forms is thus the genesis of a text, because it indicates the continuous becoming of a text that is necessarily compos ed of a multiplicity of expressive elements. Now, if this continuous, infinite virtuality is the genesis of a text, then it is clear that a finite set of forms that develop its shape is discontinuous with the textual genesis. Continuity is immanent to th e becoming of a text, but ever y actual text is necessarily articulated and limited. This means that each te xt is produced interior to a regime, or 8 In translation, the terms that make a text into a whole may be called, for convenience, a language.
53 set of statements that delimit the series of connections or associations that are possible in the actual reading of th e text. This regime develops inte rior to a machinic assemblage, which is a set of interactions and presupposit ions between bodies and signs that regulate sources of energy, economic relations, laws, a nd any other phenomena that enter into it. All meaning is produced interior to this machinic assemblage, and a text is machinic insofar as it articulates a finite set of intera ctions. As an aside, we can now more clearly see how the subtraction performe d by the virtual genesis of a text actually occurs at the level of discontinuous elements; or, that every whole is derivative and discontinuous, not originary. The discontinuous aspect of a text is this machinic aspect: it splits off from the continuous, synthetic genesis of the text in order to develop a finite series of possible syntheses. Although the absolute aspect of the virtual syntheses remains unchanged, they develop a singular shape in conjunction with these discontinuous forms, contents, expressions, and substances. An unlimited series of multiple connections remains immanent to the text, but the forms that these connections take are limited by the discontinuity of their elements. Paradoxically, the discontinuous aspect of a text is what unifies it, insofar as particul ar signs generate a closed se t of functions that can be actualized in finite durations of time. The primary, unifying function of any particular set of signs is called a regime, which regulat es how signs can or may be perceived and connected, how they can interact with othe r signs and bodies, and how subjectivity is produced interior to this set. On the other hand, this unifying function gives clues as to
54 how a process of becoming will occur in the conjunction of elements with the virtual plane that opens the set. Thus, insofar as e ach regime develops interior to a temporal series whose original numerical fact is mu ltiplicity, the systematic unification of the regime tends to decompose over a period of time. This is due to its immanent connection with the plane of consistency. Now, the singular shape of the textt he conjunction of continuity and discontinuityis called the text's unity of composition: the discontinuous elements effectuate a machine that selects which virtua l syntheses return to the actual reproduction of those discontinuous elements, which the vi rtual necessarily exceeds. This selective device is called a writing machine. It is akin to a schemata that synthesizes virtualities with their actual counterparts. This selectiv e force immanent to th e function of the text is the singular shape of the text: it is articul ated, and thus follows rules according to different orders of magnitude (infinity), integr ating particular elements into these orders, but it is also unlimited, conjoined with an un limited field of virtual multiplicities: the text is an incomplete (finite), unlimited expressive series. It forces us to ask the question: how does the finite set of elements that comprise a text select synthe ses over a duration of time? Deleuze and Guattari write that, not onl y does the limitless di fferentiation of the virtual plane exist immanent to all actualit ies, but it is necessarily effectuated in a particular shape by these actualities. This means three things. First, there is no totality of multiplicities: the original ontologicaland thus expressivefact is multiplicities, or n-1 (1 representing the totalizing factor of any set). Second, and because of the first, the
55 selective machine effectuated by particular, discontinuous forms is a repetitive, differential synthesis of particular, yet unlim ited, virtualities, which comprises the text's unity of composition, with emphasis on the active term composition: in other words, this singular limiting function called a text is irreducible to the forms that occur interior to. Third, there is no hierarchy between actu al, selective machin e, and virtual, because all are immanent to the virtual-real itself, and all are thus reducible to particular transformations. The text exists only as a multiplicity of potentials, which is an unlimited (without necessary limit) and in finite (without end) series of particulars that are continuously synthesized as a singular shape without ever attaining an end. Now, the translative writing machine is the function that bridges the discontinuous, machinic aspects of the text with the unconscious, virtual aspects of expressions that lie external to the actual form of the text It continuously composes the text with elements of varying degrees of fo rmalization. As we said above, translatability indicates a gap interior to the unity of a text, which causes the multiplicity of its particular translations. However, for Deleuze and Guattari, this gap is not merely the negativity of subtraction, but is the singular shape of the text, or the way its writing machine effectuates virtual synthe ses. The cause of the text is thus not a difference of the whole with itself, but is a singular machine th at selects the arrangeme nt of multiplicitous, pre-expressive signs in c onjunction with a complex connection, or even economy, of expressive forms. How does th is conjunction occur? We noted above that the unifying terms that transform a text into a whole may be called a language. We can now see
56 that this translation machine makes a double gesture: it subtracts the unifying language (so-called source language) from itself, and, in a second movement, it composes and transforms another language (socalled target language) acco rding to the virtual series and connections that it contains, which neces sitates a secondary subtraction, namely of the particular meanings embedded in the other language. Now we can see that translatability is the textual machine's capacity to translate, which defines two aspects of the text: its historicity and its materiality. Insofar as the singular potentials that make up the textua l machine are necessarily temporal and multiplicitous, they compose the historicity of the text's multiple transformations: as Walter Benjamin writes, translation is the des tiny of a text, responsible for the afterlife of the text after the moment of its genesis, recording all of the part icular transformations that the singular shape of th e text goes through over time, the cause of which is the translative writing machine. The historicity of a text is nothing other than the continuous, necessarily unconscious synthesis of multiplicities effectuated by the writing machine. These particulars are unconscious because they occur outside the text, as historical forms that the text interacts with, and that enter into the text, even though they are also immanent to the text, insofar as it is composed of virtual multipliciti es. The most intuitive way to think of this process is interior to tr anslation: the languages outside the text are composed by its machine, which transforms pa rticular aspects of these languages, but is also affected by potentialities that remain un-composed by the translative machine. This selective unity of composition over a period of time writes the becoming of that text.
57 This becoming indicates the point at which a virtual sign is connected with a determinate, machinic sign, thus transforming the determinacy of that sign into its other. Now, what synthesizes the multiplicities ex terior to a text with the discontinuous elements that compose it is the translative m achine. What we called the selective writing machine above is now shown to be the transl ative machine that each text contains: it selects how languages will be conjoined with one another at singular points of juncture. This is most easily seen by the fact that othe r languages are, in actuality, always exterior to a text, but that each text can bring a language into its elf in order to reveal new multiplicities immanent to it. The language is a material given to the writing machine, which effectuates a virtual plane that synthesi zes the forms of this language in a singular relation to the writing machine and its historic al actualizations. At this level, we see a glimpse of how all text is produced: as we wrote earlier, the genesis of a text is a series of temporal syntheses that occur on the pre-expressive, virtual pl ane, and that each virtual synthesis is a singular shape of multiplicities. Now we see that, at the level of expression at least, all of these syntheses are effect uated by a singular transl ative writing machine that connects expressive potenti alities and languages. At the deepest level, it selects how pre-expressive multiplicities are going to be connected, a process that is unconscious. Thus, with the notion of superlinearity, we see a reversal in the way exteriority and interiority in translation ar e conceived: translation is not the transfer of a text into another language, but rather the text's mach inic composition of anot her language into a singular shape. All these languages are e ssentially multiplicities, and all these
58 compositions are immanent to the virtual plane of multiplicities effectuated by the text. In turn, we see that each text cont ains a virtual multiplicity of hi storical languages that it can transform: thus, the text anticipates futu re languages, rather than awaiting its incorporation into another la nguage (see p. 56 on Venuti's c onception of translation as being primarily assimilation). It is transformed into its other, and not just into something different, because in this di fferentiating becoming the entirety of the textual system necessarily alters. In other words, a text is not a world, but contains multiple worlds. We can now see why a textual system is called superlinear: the multiple continuities and discon tinuities that cause it to functi on connect and disconnect at various points, and through this movement, the material s employed by the text are altered to the extent that the text is shown to contain multiple worlds, not just to be a world in itself. It is always n-1 The translative writing machine is in essence the virtual synthesis that produces all texts, demonstrating that, in th e realm of expression, there are only singular writing machines, and that these machines are capable of transforming one another. Thus, each machine is a world that is the deciding point on how other worlds will be conjoined. Here, we see that the movement of tr anslation is not merely the conjunction between the machinic assemblages articulated in a text and the virtual multiplicities that are immanent to them. Rather, translation is the becoming of the singular shape of the text and development of different worlds immanent to the com position of that text: remember, the unifying factor is always subt racted, which means that the unifying aspect
59 of a text is reducible to an unlimited series of unifying forms. For Deleuze and Guattari, this does not mean that the text takes a leap into another self-enclo sed space, but rather that the multiplicities interior to the text ual machine are transformed, and indicate a continuous engagement with the exterior of the text. At the level of the te xt, translation subtracts the unifying one from the textall its historical interpretations, the regimes that enforce these interpretations, etc...by altering the particul ar points that allow that one to function. There is no more intuitive way to define the text's historicity than to say that it is the text's translatability itse lf: the very singularity of the text's writing machine indicates that the infinite incompletene ss of its shape is its future, which is the series the potential connections it ca n enter into with other machines. Thus, the real exterior of the singular writ ing machine is the different worlds into which it transforms, and which it paradoxically effectuates. However, the material that spurs this transformation is the other language, which is given to this machine. In turn, we see that in the realm of human expression, translation is the indefinite/infinite process of transformation underlying all textual functions. It does not appear in any given act of reading or writing, but is the difference that constitutes bot h of these practices. This difference is irreducible to the set of conti nuities/discontinuities that make up any textual system, but is the necessary limit of all textual systems. As a limit, it is the intensive potential for a text to transform: in saying this we imply that the richest text is also the most translatable. As it is impossible fo r a text to undo this difference, or this fundamental moment of indete rminability upon which the text develops its functions, we
60 can say that it is the cause of the totality of these functions, which are in turn symptomatic of this primary difference. Or, we can also say that transl ation is the truth of all human expression. It is now necessary to demonstrate some practical consequences. If it seems like a paradox that literal translation is the most adequate way of doing it, we must nonetheless maintain that this is true. It requires the tr anslator to reflect upon each word in the text, and to do so in a systematic way such that th e words appear as the formative elements of a text. If a translator goes off sentences, she risks obscuring the syntax and the overall connection of the words to the entirety of the text, thus effectively excising the sentence from the text. Rather, the translator must fi rst perform a systematic reading of the text, investigating the ways that it develops mach ines, and the way that the words interior to these machines transform. Then the translativ e machine that operates in the text becomes revealed, and can be allowed to transform the discrete, discontinuous elements of the other language: this is the meaning of all theories of transla tion, like Goethe's and Benjamin's, that posit the necessity of allowing the foreign language to transform one's own language: the text transforms the langua ge, not the language the text. In this movement, the translator experiences the coexis tence of her necessarily finite perspective with the virtual infinite of the text, whereby the translator's finite perspective becomes a necessary moment of the textual system. But, because she is working interior to a series of universal-historical multiplicities, she does not require the experience of anxiety in order to connect the text to the virtual plane of consistencies. Rather, she must translate as
61 literally as possible, word for word, allowi ng the systematic diagram of the text to translate the other language into itself, thus looking away from mean ing and sense in the target language. The demand of literality is to reveal the target language as a material that is worked upon or machined by the text which allows the target language to appear as something that the text strives to wards immanent to its own functioning, rather than as something that subsumes the latter. But it is also to reveal the historicity of the text, which does not occur by idiosyncratic injections of cultural items, but occurs unconsciously in the tran sformation of the text, a transfor mation that all texts, in being split by temporality, strive towards. Litera lity allows the text to open up to the unconscious temporal syntheses that are imma nent to the text, and which must not be obtruded by meaning or significance. The ve ritable becoming of the text can only be viewed retroactively, as a formation that was necessary for the text. The surface of each word is permeated by the virtual historicity of the text. If every act of translation and transmission makes up the history of a word, then the translator is always reflec ting on and problematizing the wa y in which this history has been constructed. This problematization aims towards the subtract ion of the unifying function of this history, opening the text up the experience of its own historicity. The translator is thus always also a comparatis t, because she must always grapple with the way the text has entered into relation with other texts, and on the other hand, she must be able to decide which interpretations and c onnections obscure the virtuality of the text. Her act is thus the predicti on of future acts of reading, but the universal subject of
62 translation can only be conceive d of as this subtraction, and is thus a negative effect of translation. In reflecting upon the word, the hist ory of the languages is thus brought into the translation in the shape of the new tran slation's capacity to open the text to novel connections and to virtualities that were previously unconscious. It is important to note that, because the shape of the text's virtuali ty is composed of multiplicities, nothing is impossible, but is merely unconscious. By enacting the transformability of words as immanent to her practice, the translator expe riences herself not only as the negative effect of translative subtractio n, but also as a subject of transf ormation that moves to a different rhythm of the textual transformation while nonetheless witnessing it. This is why translation is often compared to revelation, and shows that transla tion is an authentic form of becoming. The translator's practice also demonstrat es the genesis of sense and non-sense by forming relations between historically c onditioned signs, and out of these relations, producing new shapes of virtual signs. Litera l translation demonstrat es the immanence of non-sense to the production of sense: phenomenologically, the convergence of languages that is translation produces a great quantity of non-sense, but this non-sense is in turn immanent to the translative process itself, or is the sign of its actual occurrence. The reflexivity of literal translation thus uncovers the historical complexity of the surface of words, while producing novel connections in their historical continuity. Insofar as translation produces novelty by connecting the virtual continuity of the text with the particular, discontinuous forms that it takes, we can say that it is th e absolute anticipation
63 of all virtual syntheses of particular signs, insofar as all discontinuous forms are perceived as subject to un conscious transformation. Allow us to juxtapose this theory with a contemporary one in order to demonstrate the monstrous effects that can be produced by simply conceiving of continuity and discontinuity in an inadequate way. Translation is continuous variation, not foreignization. The theme of ever y text is variation, and translation is aspect of the text that articulates the virtual processes immanent to it. The materials that translation places in variation are expressive variables. Thes e variables are the complex signs produced by continuous synthetic difference, which is a not a conjunction of hist orically determined self-identical forms, but a conj unction of historical processes (signs) in the anticipation of others. Lawrence Venuti's concept of foreigni zing translation is exemplary in contemporary translation studies. The pr oblems of Venuti's methodology lie in his grounding conception of translation. Venuti concei ves of translation as a juxtaposition of forms, which, because of his dedication to cu ltural relativism, means that the translation always composes with an aggregate of ava ilable contingent forms and materials (cf. Venuti 1998: 18, 26). However, because these form s are only conceivable as self-identical monads connected to particular cultural-historical situations the difference or alienation produced by Venuti's translation does not contain the site of variability that we posited as necessary for the function of translation. Thus, it is at its ground eccentric: it posits foreign relations of domestic words that, in the end, only reveal the state of disuse of
64 some forms of the domestic language as well as the translatedness of the text at hand, without revealing the temporal differences that compose those forms. Foreignizing translation does not produce a reflexive, n ecessary alteration of those forms it employs: for instance, the interjection of a contemporar y cultural icon into the translation of a 19th century text shocks the reader into reflec ting on her own historical situatedness, while also forcing her to reflect on the translated nature of the text, bu t it does not produce a necessary connection or criticis m between the historical form s of the current moment and those of the text, rather leav ing this possible connection completely indeterminate (cf. Venuti 1998: 17). Thus, if it shocks the reader out of the fluent act of reading, it prepares for her to return back to this style of re ading as well. It t hus remains pastiche, because it does not have an adequate concept of the historicity immanent to the process and act of translation itself, and thus reli es on a false, self-identical interpretative reflection. From our discussion above, it is now clear why Venuti encounters these difficulties: first, Venuti does not conceive of the fact that different worlds are contained in the text itself, and furthermore does not vi ew the idea of a world in a critical manner, forcing him to deterministic notion of the materials of translation. Second, and this follows, he does not conceive of the historicity of the text as a virtual synthesis, but conceives of it in its mere historicality, whereby the materials transform it are only conceived of as actually existing. Third, a nd most importantly, he still conceives translation as bringing the fore ign text into the target language, rather than actually
65 allowing the translative machine to transfor m the other language in to itself. Although he claims to justify his project with the desire to foreignize the ta rget language, he can only do this in an idiosyncratic way that fe tishizes the whole notion of transforming the target language: this is because he conceives of the text as exterior to a language into which it must be imported, rather than the othe r language as exterior to a text that must machine it, or enter into a pr ocess of becoming with it. The entire justification of Lawrence Venu ti's foreignizing project can thus rest on an original/derivative binary that remains unaffected by the differential act of translation itself, because it does not conceive of the specific temporality of translative writing. Even if it actively attempts to overturn the priority of two se lf-identical texts or languages that makes up the empirical form of th is binary, it does not include a margin of transformation in its conception, and thus must rely on the notion that a text is necessarily a closed system, and not a dynamic one. Because the text remains closed, the language does as well: this systematic closure is a necessary conclusion drawn when one does not conceive of the virtuality of translation, but only conceive s of it as a supplement to established languages. Thus, the justification for Venu ti's remaining profoundly grounded on the judgment of a presumed present literary co mmunity is immanent to the conceptual omissions of his theory. Without the notion of th e virtual historicity of a text, it is simply impossible to escape the endless determin ations made by the history of textual interpretation: one desires to transform this history while remaining firmly grounded in it,
66 rather than treating it as a material to be processed thr ough other textual machines. For example, in Scandals of Translation Venuti writes that translation is primarily an assimilation of texts to a pre-formed literary taste (Venuti 1998: 9). The point of foreignizing translation is to interrupt the ex pectations of this taste on the surface of the text by assimilating in such a way that the performative work of translation appears as the strange or foreign specter haunting the text, alienating the reader from the fluency of customary rhetorical usage. Bu t because it is grounde d in the established categories of judgment, its attempts to escape these remains essentially conditioned by them: The specter is not a real specter, but is a synthetic compositi on of available (thus discontinuous) historical forms. Because fo reignizing translation is grounded in the presumption that the reader is familiar w ith a distinct set of cultural norms of both reading and literary knowledge, the spectrality of translation is ac tually a product of a performance that is attempting to re-insert itself into that norm's recognition. It says: look at me! It is thus the degree to which it appe ars to the norm as rec ognizable or not that becomes the ground of judging the foreignizi ng translation, not the translation that becomes the ground for critically judg ing the inefficacy of the norms. The foreignizing translation should shock the reader into a critical reflection on the fact that this text is not an original, but also that it was translated in this time period during these particular cultural-historical situations. But, because it presupposes the identity of the original without thinking of its compositional unity, it always also presupposes a self-identical target language into which the original must arrive. If it calls
67 attention to the act of transl ation itself, it nonetheless does not call attention to translation as an integral necessity of literary production, but rather admits it as a supplementary appearance in the act of reading itself. It thus prepares the arrival of a text in such a way that it will interrupt the reading of the self -identical target language; but because it does not challenge this hierarchical arrangement of texts and languages, it remains firmly within the sphere wherein texts must be subs umed into languages, like particulars under a universal. Thus, in its very performance, the foreignizing translation is evanescent, and its readership is aware of it. Venuti thus write s that the shock of the experience of reading a foreignized translation is subject to bei ng immediately forgotten in lieu of a safe retreat back to canonical forms of explanation and meani ng (Venuti 1995: 306), but that the experience is enough to appreciate, even negatively, the work of the translator. The mode of our literal translation al so exposes the truth of transparent translation methods that endor se naturalness of expression in order to bring other languages into the presumed cultural context of the target-language reader. Eugene Nida's proposition that the Bible should be translat ed into a contemporary, colloquial dialect implicitly recognizes the historicality of its own concept by denying its historicity (cf. Venuti 1995: 21, 117-8). It hardly even deserves th e name translation, because it denies the historicity of the text to such a degr ee that it almost reduces it to pure meaning, effectively trivializing wonderful literary texts. However, it also shows the truth of techniques like Venuti's foreignizing transl ation, which displays the active work of translation on the surface of the text by employing archaisms and unfamiliar elements
68 from the target language. Ultimately, this technique is only an abstract negation of Nidas transparent technique: instead of employi ng language that is comfortable to the presumed culturally contingent reader ship, Venuti employs language that is uncomfortable. By presuming that he is translating for a particular culturally located reader, the partial contents of whose thoughts he is aware of by virtue of being in the same culturally contingent situation as that read er, he enters the text with a tool from the outside, closing off the possibility of the text 's engagement with other worlds, just like Nida enters the text with a tool from the outside: one with foreigness, one with comprehensibility; but both remain on the same grounds with regard to their conception of the reader, and both remain the same in their necessa ry presupposition of a single linguistic world, which is why Venutis critique of Nida and similar translation projects must fail (cf. Venuti 1995: ch. 1). The rigid contemporaneity of Venuti's t echnique of foreignizing translation is dangerous, because it presumes knowledge of th e reader, and thus brings this conscious knowledge into the new translation. It thus nullifies the thought of future virtual connections that are immanent to the text, which cannot a ppear in the foreignizing translation, because this future is already overloaded with present determinations. Rather than a hyperbolic exertion th at reflects on the nowhere produ ctive of a constellation of linguistic materials, Venuti resolves to mainta in the otherness of the source text by using archaic phrases and unfamiliar forms that are already available in the target language, thus conceiving of the text as a collage of differences that are grounded on pre-
69 determined cultural contents. If all texts ar e an aggregate of historical forms, then otherness itself is actually erased. The moment of freedom in translation is then reduced to a minimum: the only real, determinate indeterminacy in this method is the appearance of the performance of translation itself, whic h is frighteningly narcissistic. Moreover, the presumption of a tactic universally valid for translations into Eng lish subrupts the space of freedom created by the concept of literal translation. Instead of reflecting on how signs are produced in translation, Venuti employs readymade forms that have their own particular histories in order to highlight th e historical situatedne ss of the reader, while implicitly effacing both in the shock effect produced by the experience of the foreignizing moment: in bringing forth the substances of historicality itself, the particular moments and movement of this historicality become lo st. This is because history is not conceived of as virtual, but as a line composed of discrete, actual determinations. Venuti thus produces a sense of pastiche that reveal s the foreign long enough to show how its ensuing process of reification will occur, and is incapable of making a judgment about the degree of catastrophe that the translati on produces. We see that this notion of discontinuity, unlike that posited above, is based in a defective conception of contin uity. For Venuti, continuity is simple the dominant interpretation of a text and the dominant conception of the meaning of a word. Thus, discontinuity can mean anything that deviat es from the dominant line. However, both are still lacking a conception of virtuality and difference that could provide grounds for the variations that occur interior to their move ments. Rather than potential multiple worlds
70 outside and internal to the text contributing to the deve lopment of its necessarily discontinuous forms, what is outside the text for Venuti is a manifold of cultural forms, which he seeks to criticize by e xposing reification in the text itself. However, he does this by presuming a necessarily relative degree of continuity shared by a posited community of readers, into which a relativ e degree of discontinuity can be injected. Rather than continuity being conceived of as an absolute, it is transformed into another relation, namely that with the reader, whos e expectations are then written into the foreignizing translation in the form of their negation. Venuti thus im mediately cancels the critical bent of his project in engaging it. Affirming Freder ic Jameson's definition of the text as a synchronic unity of structurally contradictory or heterogenous elements, generic patterns and discourses (qtd. in Venu ti 1998: 10), Venuti goes on to interpret this sentence as demanding a practice of critical pastiche, whereby different parts of language are juxtaposed to highlight their cultural-hist orical contingency. Thus, the selection of non-canonical works translated with archaic expressions becomes a method of producing difference in language, and acknowledgment of the fact that the text is a translated text. However, Venuti does not take into account the thrust of Jameson's critique of postmodernity, which favors a self-reflexive cr itical approach to writing that is not exhausted in culturally rela tivistic pastiche (Venuti 1995: 148-9, Venuti 1998: 9-11). Further, Venuti misunderstands Deleuze and Guattari's concept of variation by not reflecting on virtually intensive aspect of this concept, thinking of variation as a simple conjunction of ready-madealbeit unexpectedextensive forms.
71 We find that Venuti botches the concept of discontinuity. Discontinuity is a production, which must be recognized as such. It is only by conceiving of the continuity of translation's moments that we realize the historical potential of translation, and only then do we realize the concep t of discontinuity. However, Venuti takes discontinuity for granted, rather than conceiving of it as integral to the moveme nt of the translator's work itself: in seeking to reproduce the discontinu ity of a poet's work in his translation, he implies that continuity is identical to th e dominant, fluent modes of syntax and meaning, rather than as the condition of possi bility of translative production that must itself be reconceived. He therefore reifies disc ontinuity into an instrument that can be employed to shock readers into reflection on their historical situatedness as readers reading a translated text (Venuti 1995: 290, 299, 306). This reflection, however, must remain false, because it is produced by a mechanism that plays into the same production of gratifying effects that it attempts to critic ize. It is not, for inst ance, a critical adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's Alienation Effect for translation, because it does not run through all of the possible words before deciding on one: its rehearsal process is too hasty, and it therefore knows nothing of th e constellations that possibi lize its efforts (Brecht 1964: 138-9). Rather, it conceives of the avant-garde as showing the translation to be just an illusion hiding the real world behind: this is ju st a translation, this is just a stage play, don't forget it. But in doing this, it loses the evaluative criteria that the concepts continuity/discontinuity provide. Discontin uity is merely a ne cessary aspect of articulating multiple temporalities, not an aberrant phenomenon that is immediately
72 forgotten or repressed (cf. Venuti 1995: 182). Venuti's conception of discontinuity thus plays into the same circuit he wishes to avoid: it s condition of possibili ty is the type of translation that it criticizes, namely the one that conforms to histor ical prescription, thus nullfying its critical potential. However, in a sense, we agree with Ve nuti's solution to this problem: we must choose texts to translate that will have a st rong effect on our language as well as literary canons and common sense. But we must concei ve of how this effect occurs and how a judgment about this effect can be made. For in stance, this does not mean that translation is essentially ethnocentric and appr opriational (Venuti 1998: 13, original emphasis): if qualitative differences make up the text and the translation, then tr anslation should take its motivation from these qualitative differences and make them into its project, rather than first conceiving of itself as an instrument of a pred etermined macrological struggle of known self-identical forms. Ve nuti conceives of translation as essentially ethnocentric and appropriational because he thinks of disc ontinuity as something employed on the text from the outside, rather than thinking of the multiple, continuous discontinuities that are going to be effectuated by a translation. Translation can always already be the subversion of the ethnocentric aspect of language, becau se translation itself is what qualifies the linguistic relations that make ethnocentric regimes possibleit just depends on who gets a hold of it. Thus, postcolonial translators like Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and David Damrosch ground their translation projects by conceiving of them immanent to the historical-political conditions in which the specific texts are produced, and do not bother
73 to think of themselves as primarily ethno centric, because they are always already combating ethnocentrism in their transla tive practice geared towards disseminating multiple, small, futuring differences. Transla tion should be concerned with how to make a catastrophic variation, how to measure the effects of this ca tastrophic variation, and to learn how the historical rela tions that reproduce ethnocentris m are subject to interruption by translation. It is the dangerous element of tr anslation spoken of above that also has the capacity to erase historical forms: translati on can make the ethnocentric reading of a text impossible, just as well as it can prime it. A language can only be defined by its capacity to translate and be translated. III. Birth in Barefoot February The question of how writing in the Romanian dictatorship could alter perception, as well as exercise a political function, leads immediately to the question of the experience of the individual, who in princi ple avoids expressing statements about a universal experience lest she fall back into th e same type of statement that aim at the erasure of the individual as su ch. Thinking the universal experi ence is only ever the way of thought of the dominant politic, which is in escapable on its own terms. This negative relation to the universal occurs, for Herta Mller, internal to two dominant ways of life, as well as internal to the repressed as well as persistently repressive histories of both. On one hand, the individual in village life should sa crifice herself to the whole, wherein the history of the village itself is necessarily forgotten in lieu of a contemporary affirmation
74 of its timeless historical va lues through nostalgia. This forgetting thus reproduces the same thought structures that existed before the Na zi-era as well as led into it. Like Mller writes in Everywhere Where One Has Seen D eath (p. 145), she f eels betrayed by the collective forgetting of Romanian history as well as German hi story, as her father was an officer in the Waffen-SS. The persistent, contemporary making present of traditional customs therefore designates the erasure of the past of the individuals historical experience, as well as the hist oricality of societys experience, neither of which should require such an experience at all. On the other hand, there is the contemporary Romanian dictatorship, which attempts to erase the individual in all aspects of political life, beginning at birth with the attempt to tran sform the Romanian woman into a birthmachine. The words play along, which are the cadence of Mllers story Dictator or Dog (p. 120) express the mode of thought of a universal system of delusion. It is the tendency of the mythological te leology of the Romanian National-Communist Nation to show that the past has always led to this st ate of living, and theref ore that the past is subject to contemporary alteration and deleti on. Thus, the individual is the negative site of the preservation of a past that is denied by the dominant universali ty. This negative site must therefore exit this universality that negates it, and work on the grounding factors of the production of the ghostly, non-individual individual that finds itself in its own systematic repression and negation. The theme of this chapter is thus the por trayal of the birth of the individual in a selection of stories from Barefoot February. Birth cannot occur any other than
75 individually, and is thus th e possibility of another begi nning not immediately dominated by the State. Like Adorno wrot e already in th e introduction to Minima Moralia : Whoever wishes to experience the truth of immediate life must investigate its alienated form, the objective powers, which determine individual existence into its innermost recesses (12, my translation). The official political line of the Ceau escu regime was one of anti-natality, which attempted to master the birth of the individual in order to create a nation of the children of the dictator, the father of the Romanian people. In order to strive against the impossibility of the being of the individual with the possibili ty of another beginning not dominated by the Statea beginn ing that preserves the difference of the individual by writingthe possibi lity of retrieving birth by inve stigating its conditions in writing will be questioned. We begin with the story My Fingers (p. 126), which documents the Ur-pain of the child at the hand of the mother, who custom arily brings the child into the ethical order of the masculine dominated society. The beginning of the story designates the moment when the child begins to enter this order, leaving the mothers breast and desiring to walk. First it is important to note the descri ption of the mothers body, whose breasts are sucked in as if from the inside, as if the bearing body turns back into itself in the presence of the child, not appearing in its idealized state to the child. The scene is thus not described as originally unitary, but rather the unity between mother and child is demonstrated to always already be fractured by the pain of the mother. This image can be set over against the propagandistic image of a healthy mother who bears a child without
76 question for the Volk We can thus read this image as a retreat into the body from the social duty that interrupts its immediate re lation to the child, a nd therefore against a custom that makes it impossible for the mother to have a relation to the child without immediate political meaning, a condition which we will investigate in the third section of this chapter. Thus, a separati on enters the originary mother -child relationship from the side of customs as well as laws, which complicate the loving relation as well forbid an escape from this complication by the mother and child that might be seen as possible from the perspective of their particular re lationship. This originary separation expands throughout the rest of the stor y: the distance between mother and child becomes larger, but the mother remains always in the immediate view of the child. As the child is locked into a room, the r eader is reminded of the historical scene of the relation between prisoner and keeper, which remains historical without occurring at a specific location. The child crawls around furnitu re, but insofar as the only light enters through the keyhole, the image of furniture becomes the generic possibility of any type of installation. It is significant that the child knows nothing of th e locale, except that it was placed in this space by its mother, because it shows that the scene of the separation of mother and child, as well as the first disa ppearance of the mother, remains internal to their immediate relation, whereby all contents that separate them come from the mother herself. The only exterior thing that separa tes them is exterior ity itselfnothingwhich is permeated by light, darkness, furniture, and finally the blue eye, which is paradoxically seen by the child through the keyhole. This space thus has no determination except for
77 the separation of mother and child. Thus, on th e one hand, a determinate origin exterior to this separation is lacking, and on the other, this separation occurs because of the necessity that the child enter the ethical order. Insofar as Mllers writing attempts to retrieve the first formulation of the sensibility of the child, or the originary imprints of the ethical order on life, this scene may be read as the designation of the absence of the father at the moment of raising. Mllers writing works strategically agains t this absence by showing that masculine customs do not appear first as determinate, fa st rules, but rather as an indeterminate determinacy passed over in the separation betw een child and mother. This indeterminacy, although designated by the separation that occurs because of the father, allows the power of a central determinacy of the masculine orde r to fall into an infinite possibility for determination, or an abyss. The enforcement of the order of masculine custom can thus appear as originally contingent; in othe r words, its ground is the same nothing that appeared as the site of the original separation between child and mother. This re-writing of the childs entry into masculine custom has two consequences that we can remark here. First, in relation to birth, it shows that birth occurs at a site, which is only contingently dominated by the father. Second, in relation to historicalpolitical relations, it shows that the elemen ts of history and polit ics do not belong to a particular country or custom from which the child would rece ive its original sense of the world, but rather that the child is born into an indeterminate site, where the child is brought into world history on the grounds of a separation from the mother that is
78 determined by nothing. This scene thus cannot be led into a simpler psychological clarification, as Lyn Marven interprets it in her study Body and Narrative in Contemporary Literature Written in German (76). She writes the following: Splitting with the self and the alienation of aspects of identity leads inexorably towards the bodys separation into individual parts In My Fingers, the child narrators mother binds her hands because she insists on walking on them. Once the child has surrendered to convention, her disembodied fingers are implicated in violence exactly like the mothers (77) whereby the child is said to have suffered an original trauma, which is defined by Marven as a complex separation between inside and outside. Because this interpretation does not question the radical political meaning of this original psychological scene, it is used to justify the interpreta tion of Mllers writing as a priva te affair, which evokes unreal conceptions of the body that have no real ef fect (55), thus essentially placing the writer into the closet where the critic is able to analyze her. We are thus against the only literary, non-political interpretation of this li terature, an interpretation that tends to close off the particular, positive lines of flight by upsetting them with the application of indiscriminate, universally va lid psychological descriptions. The Banat-German society is inscribed with two histories, which are repressed severely by both sides. The past appears in social rituals, such as in The Song of Marching (p. 121) as well as in the lands cape, such as Everywhere Where One Has Seen Death (p.145), where the progressing eras ure of the Banat Germans complicity in
79 the Holocaust is shown. It also appears in th e form of the strong ma sculine customs of the village, which enforce the fundamental social mores of this history. The past of the Banat-Germans thus does not exist as past, but as validated in present customs, which are taken from a past whose history is simultane ously repressed. This repression thus appears as the making present of the repressed past which is on the one hand filtered through the same masculine customs, and on the other is retrieved by the writer. Because the child enters society through th e separation from the mother at a site determined by nothing, we now observe how th e particular history of the Banat region determines familial relations as well as the consciousness of the women of the war generation. If the child first e xperienced the ethical order on contingent grounds, then the past of the repressed history of the Banat as well as Romania receives an opening, which on the hand is given as the explanation of the contingency of this current repression, and on the other as the clarificati on of the grounds of a past that perhaps only belongs to the mother and child; that is, another beginning is given, and with it the possibility of an other history. We will thus interpret The Song of Marching, which demonstrates the subjection of the mothers to masculine dominat ed custom. When our thesis is valid, then the re-writing of birth as well as the original spurs of perception desi gnate a rupture in the masculine order as well as in history. The writing that re-thinks the beginnings of history receives insight into the contemporary effects of history. Thus the sliv er in the body of the soldier father can be seen, even when nothing of his experience as so ldier is spoken. The father hides the sliver
80 in everyday life: One is not allowed to s ee it but knows it is there. This act of hiding makes possible the everydayness of life, whic h is shown, however, to be a nostalgic celebration of the time of the war. In making present the cu stoms of the war era through hiding their trace, as well as the celebration of the glory of th e war, the specificity of the past is repressed in exchange for its abstraction. Its abstra ction then makes it appear not as past, but as contemporary. The present is thus untrue, but continue s to enact the values taken from the abstraction of its past. In this present, the wives of the soldiers remain dependent on the living soldiers. When one dies then his wife suffers greatly and leaves the social group. When the table is emptied of men, all the wives suffer collectively, but can still hear the voices of their husbands on a tape, whereby their voices simulate the voices of the deceased men. But for them, as they say, he will always be the same for me; the identity and power of the men is thus eternally preserved in their memory and in the song that their voices carry. Paradoxically, this scene demonstrates th e emptiness of the masculine dominance, although this dominance is also demonstrated as an insurmountable, haunting force. The woman can possibly listen to the song on the cas sette tape an infin ite number of times. And when each husband is the same for each wife forever, and the song is always the same, then each husband was always already d ead, and has therefore always exercised his power from beyond death. Thus, although the hus band represses the past, insofar as he enforces its customs in the present, thus maki ng the wives into the objects of history, the story shows that the husbands power only ever originated fr om this repression. Without
81 it he is impotent, insofar as he actually lives in a past that is played as not having past. If his voice only lives on in the tape and in the simulation of his song through the mouth of his wife, then the continued exercise of hi s power can be seen as contingent upon the continued repression of the past. And if this repression is exercised through the domination of the senses, then the end of this story, like ma ny of Mllers, demonstrates the freeing of a sense from the historical co ntent that repressed its capacities. The humming at the close of the story is bor derless, designating that the voices of the fathers have entered into the indeterminacy of the materiality of the voice, opening the material history that is dependent upon the sp ecific determinacy of this material voice. The sound of these voices is freed from their content, whereby the voice steps out of the necessary connection to the song. Thus, if the wives do not escape the magic of the husbands voices, it is implied that the continue d life of the song of marching as well as the celebration of its glory is artificial a nd contingent, whereby the escape from these voices and an opening of the past is made possible. Thus, writings goal is to alter historical conditions for the subject. If the woman in the masculine order is made into the obj ect of history, whose repression is always made present through the enforcement of traditional mores, then the critique of this historical repression as well as the contemporary masculine mores that repress it opens the possibility for the female writer to transf orm herself into the subject of history, whereby she can experience this past as a past, and thus demonstrate the singular beginnings of this past in writing. From this perspective she can al ter the material and
82 perceptual relations in which she lives, t hus escaping the systematic delusion of the immediate present. This alteration occurs at the most immediate site of experience, the body. Thus, we will conclude by observing the othe r side of this repressed history, which is expressed in the politics of the Romanian State. The girl is thus born into a society lo st in a history repressed by itself. The mothers love contains this; but in cont emporary history this repression is not only enforced by the masculine customs of the village but also by the socialist State. The State forces women to objectify themselves, to turn their bodies into birth-machines for the propagation of the socialist State in order to serve nationalist ends. Th is is exemplified by Ceau escus statement that the fetus is social ist property of the whol e society (qtd. in Marven: 2005, 20). The body is thus owned by th e State as well as excluded from society by moral discourse. Thus, as noted in the fi rst chapter, the body is transformed into another moment of the production of the nationalist-communist State industrial apparatus. We have already examined how the Romanian State forbid abortion as well as how it attempted to control the birth of ch ildren, who would ultimately become children of the Nation. The State justified this policy with a nationalist polit ics, which required a large number of Romanian children in order to fulfill the ends of the Nation. Thus, in order to create another begi nning, the writer in national-co mmunism must question and write through the conditions of birth as well as life and d eath. She is then capable of retrieving the truth out of the universal masking of life in national-communism.
83 In Dew on the Depot (p. 125), Mller ar ticulates the interw eaving of the State apparatus with birth as well as with the repression of young women. It demonstrates the impossibility of giving birth without interrup tion by the State, an impossibility that announces the end of life that lived as born. Th ere is no life that is not immediately born into the birth laws, and therefore no life not immediately birthed by the birth laws. Thus, Mller writes in So that you are never torn into the heart of the worl d that the heart of the world is the abortion that the devours the fl esh of life, enclosing bi rth in a circle that makes the mother desire that her child woul d never enter this circle, thus making birth impossible. Thus, in Dew on the Depot the story of the circle of birth and death as conditioned by the State is told. The lines at the first secti on of the narrative: Hibiscus with the deep heart. She brings the child to the world, compare with those at the end: And when the childs head grows in my belly Hibiscus with the deep heart, how do I carry her to the end. How do I put out her eyes. Hibiscus is the name of the child who is born as the girl who gives birt h to the girl who is never born, a life that has no beginning, but is rather effectuated by the State itself. Hibiscus is thus, immedi ately at birth, not the beginning of a life, but is rather brought into the non-life of the law of the State, an entry expressed in the interspersing of nature images progressively taken over by the train and transformed into the face of the individual, as we will see. The writer demonstrates that life cannot be gin in the State, because it is always already born only for the State, the law, a nd the dictator, not for the beginning of life
84 itself. That birth is immediately conditioned by a policy that forbids the beginning of life for itself as such, because life should only be produced for the State, then writing must investigate these conditions under which there is life. The connection between the State, as well as interrogation, and the mothers body is clarified with the lines: Women dont want the loud mout hs in their bellies. Dont want to suckle four children behind the la w. Doctors interrogated them, and following these, the question: And the law, who shook on it. There are four children in there. If children are in the law, then the abortion of a child is immediately shaking on the law, wherein children born according the statistical birth goals of the State live. These lines also reveal that the law is immediately the body of mothers, or that the laws proceedings effectively occur as the birth of a child. The loud mouths are thus not only to be interpreted as those of children inside the bel lies of mothers, but also as the presence of the legal discourse internal th e body of the mother itself.9 Insofar as the law is identified with the mothers belly, birth is not the be ginning of the life of a child, but is rather immediately the reproduction of the Romani an Nation. The mother suckles her child behind the law because the entire life course, from birth on, should be regulated by the State. With that, the singular ity of motherhood is erased. The writing re-writes the conditions of th is life, insofar as it reveals that the discourse of the interrogations allows the continuation of th e States enforcement of its 9 It is thus not enough to clarify this scene, with psychological justifications, as showing the self as grammatical object, or that the state policy of outlawing abortion underlies the womens distanced relation to their own bodies, because the text-imman ent investigation of the po litical production of this phenomenon is thereby ignored, and is thus taken for granted.
85 birth laws. In this, writing al so reveals that in return this discourse naturalizes these conditions and thus this life. At the be ginning of Dew on the Depot, the narrator describes how all discourse that is restful enough with itself to sl eep has interrogated a woman who sought an abortion. And in the last paragraphs, the narrator demonstrates how this situation is inescapable, insofar as she has a discussion with sleep. When he who can sleep has interrogated a woman, then everyone, who sl eeps, must interrogate a woman. The narrator warns sleep away, saying: Let my sheets be, I say to sleep. They are not clay. If the sleep of man is the interrogation of women, and it is implied that sleep seeks clay, with which God created man, then it is also implied that the interrogation, in its immediacy, gi ves birth to the child, not th e mother. The narrator does not want sleep to return, and asks, how do I carry her to the end. But insofar as sleep does return, Mller shows that the narrator herself must interr ogate herself, and that she thus could not have a mother who was also not immediately the la w of the Statethe interrogation. Thus, the story e nds with the identification of the narrator with the movements of her clothes and with things of nature: she is only these clothes, because she was never born as anything more than the natural phenomenon and the materials produced by the State. Like in So that You Are Never Torn into the Heart of the World (p. 128), the birth of the child is immediat ely interwoven with na tural phenomena: in this story, every sensation is reminiscent of surveillance, whic h produces the desire to abort as well as forbids the completion of this desire. In this story, the child in the womb is described:
86 My belly was a tote. Full of hot clumps lik e bursted roses. A child grew in my belly. There the scent was already th e stink thats supposed to come into you, whereby the roses from the funeral of the child are staged as immediately being the unborn child. The belly is thus already the coffin that carries the dead. In Dew on the Depots natural phenomena are identified with the experiences of the women, phenomena which lose their immediacy from the beginning of the st ory at the end, where they are immediately identified with the naturalness of life produ ced by the State, whereby the narrator is shown to only experience herself as he r clothes, dust and glass and make-up. The last paragraph is thus important, and is a summary of the entire distortion of birth that occurred at the behest of the Romanian State, as well as Mllers critical rewriting of this history. The erasure of the private, immediate, unpolitical life is documented, thereby the conclusion of life that, from the beginning, as born by the dictator and the mother of the Nation, is al ready not born. Insofar as the narrator says she does not know herself, there is no myself, because myself was never born, but produced. If sleep is only possible by interr ogating the bearers of the non-birthed, and interrogation is now what gives birth in and to the law, then sleep is the experience of interrogation that reminds one of never having been born, which is an impossible reflection. The narrators dress hangs itself becau se the I does not wear its dress, but the dress is rather the natural entity that is me she who gives birth to the material, factory produced life whose goal is to reproduce the grounds of its material conditions. She has not thrown herself away because she is alr eady thrown in the desert of naturalness
87 produced by the State, which has no beginning and thus no end, insofar as birth as a beginning has been destroyed. Finally, he r tears are no longer tears, but are the evanescent dew on the depots. Thus, the content of the tears is th e life that no longer lives. The eye is therefore the only life that escapes, demonstrating that the transformation of sensibility is the only escape from the domination of life by the allpervasive repression of history that results in the State. The entire story is illuminated by the tear that is the dew on the depots, bringi ng the impossibility of birth in the Romanian State out of its melancholy naturalness and into the reality of the st ill nascent capacity to cry.
88 II. Barefoot February Barefoot February 10 Now is the time right after the death of a friend. The long trip was a rail line, the iron of the departments. The compartment rode. The window chased images. Only the jawbone was mauled. Only the gaze frostbitten from the cold of interrogations. Only the letters and poems naked and laughed at. The arrival was the winter. The countr y was foreign and the friends unknown. The trees trimmed, cold February. Above it was a window. I was not there. Only in the nights I f eel what you call nearne ss and in the days what you take with like distance. And gra dually I lean on the st reet-high window. And ask, how is a bird supposed to have this hardness. Barefoot February, I don't know. The toes hang deeper than the covey. I press the window shut. A day can cross over the street. No water and no fire and no rope. The th in white sprouts of thoughts. One doesn't need to place hands on them. The toes bend lightly. The world is deep. The world lies upon the death of a friend. What passes like days becomes no life. 10 All page numbers in brackets refer to page numbe rs of the 1987 Rotbuch Verlag edition, which served as the source for this translation.
89 The earth lies. I walk upon it. That the days fold. That I am older. Big Black Axle [6-23] The well is not a window and not a mirror. Who looks too long into the well looks too often. Grandfather's face grew from below, up next to mine. Between his lips stood water. Through the well one sees how the big bl ack axle beneath th e village turns the years. Who has ever been sick up into the ey es, and with one eye in death, has seen it. Grandfather's face was green and heavy. The dead turn the axle around like a horse mill, so that we too die soon. Then we help turn the axle. And the more dead, the emp tier the village becomes, the faster the time goes. The well's edge was like a hose made of green mice. Grandfather sighed lightly. A frog sprung into his cheeks. And his cheeks sprung in thin circles over my face. And took his face and his brow and his lips along w ith the sigh. And took my face along onto the edge. Grandfather's coat sleeve rested on my hand. Behind the trees stood the flat midday. And in the trees wa s a shaking and no wind. And over the pavement were the midday bells. Like they were made out of stone.
90 Mother stood in the door frame and had steam in her hair and called for dinner. And father came through the yard's gate w ith a long shadow over the sand and laid a hammer beneath the tree. I walked after my shadow onto the paving stones and lifted my shoe out of the shadows of my legs. Grandfather shoved me with his coat sl eeve through the half open kitchen door. The sleeve was long and dark like a pant's leg. On the base of the plate, through the green veins of parsley, I wanted to see the black axle that turns the years beneat h the village. A soggy parsley leaf stuck between mother's lips and chin. And sipping she said: The hounds are barking like mad today in the village Father fished the drowned ant at the edge of his plate with his pointer finger. And mother looked away onto his fingertip and said like to herself: It' s a peppercorn. And father was already sipping a soup-eye and said softly: The Gypsies are in the villa ge. They're gathering bacon, and flour, and eggs. Mother twitched her right eye. And children, she said. And father silenced. Grandfather bowed his face a nd climbed with long dark pants covered legs, with a naked foot that held a spoon, out, into the base of the plate. The Gypsies are Egyptians, he said. They must wander thirty years. Then they come to rest. Then they help turn the axle, I said and didn't look at him. And father pushed the empty plate away from himself and clicked with his tongue in his hollow molar: Toni ght they play theater. And mother set father's empty plate on top of my plate's base. Grandfather sweat around his throat. The in side of his collar was damp and filthy. Behind the glass of the window like ben eath the surface of the water mirror stood
91 the neighbor woman's face. Leni had two wri nkles on her brow. The one wrinkle I knew. It was like a string. Since spring Leni's father helped turn the big black axle under the village. Grandfather had visited him, like Mother late r said, on his last Sunday, before the midday bells. There were white apricot trees over the yard and cabbage butterflies fluttered through the air. And Grandf ather went without a jacket, although it was Sunday. Grandfather went in a white shirt. So th at I don't arrive so black, he said. Under the white apricot trees I asked gra ndfather if the neighb or was sick up into his eyes, if he sees the axle beneat h the well. Grandfather nodded silent. Then I wanted to see the eye. Two steps behind his Sunday shoes I asked: Take me with. Grandfather stopped: Leni had a child Tuesday nigh t. If you want to see him, then take her some flowers. I looked around myself on ahead past my coat. In the garden lettuce greened hesitantly and onion leaves gr ew like hoses out of the eart h. The Easter roses had brown buds over their leaves covered with skin like knuckles. I won't come along, it's still not blooming. I said it and only looked at his hand. Grandfather lifted his hand over his head and pulled dow n the lowest branch of the apricot tree. I broke off two branches. They fluttered snow onto my clothes along the way. I'll give one to the sick man, I sai d. Grandfather looked ove r the fence. If you give him flowers, you send him into the grave. Is he death sick, I asked in the grass. I
92 went a half step behind Grandfather's S unday shoes. Horseradish bloomed around their soles. It reeked so bitter and was no gift. You don't say death sick, you say very ill, when you go to the sick. Grandfather said: Remember that, with half-shut eyes. The neighbor lay like sleeping. His mouth was covered with a blanket, so white and stony from starch like the ceiling. The brow of the sick was saturated with water. The death was moist. Grandfather sat on a chair in front of the bed. He pu lled his Sunday shoes beneath the chair and asked, as if his voice were sick too: How's it going. And asking the terse question Grandfather shut his eyes. The sick one opened his eyes big and gray. I didn't see the well. Life, Gregor, is a great filth, no more, the sick one said so loud that it was screamed. And when you're young, you're dumb as straw. He looked at Leni with gray eyes. She pressed both hands upon her mouth so that the apricot branches snowed onto her cheeks. Stop it, she screamed. Her face was young and withered. And my twigs were bare over her hands. Then Leni took her hand from her mouth, the hand with the twigs. The doctor told him, he shouldn't contemplate and shouldn't speak, she said. And without noticing she took the second hand, she took the empty hand from her mouth too. Grandfather put his shoe beneath his knee. Without l ooking at Leni, he asked: How's the child. Leni said: Good. It's growing. It's growing, it's growing like a worm, said the sick one, and when it's gr own big, it'll ask you who its father is. And
93 you'll stand before him like a cow. Grandfather stuck his hand into his pant's pockets: It will grow big without a father too, he said to his Sunday shoes. A nd if it will ask, then I will say: your father was a whore-monger and a drunk, said Leni. Grandfather lifted his face. With both eyes he looked into Leni's ey es. Every human has faults, he said, and every human, who has faults, must make faults. Leni looked at the sick one, and looked with her cheek and ear towards me, and said: You know, the stork brought me a little bo y, a little Franz. Leni had a wrinkle on her brow. It was like a string. He's still look ing for his father, Leni put her hand on my neck. Grandfather lifted himself from the stool. It creaked loudly. The sick one stretched a foot from out away from the bed, as if he were stretching it out through the ceiling. The hollow of his foot was so deep that under it I saw his eye sockets. In the next room over little Franz scr eamed. It was no whine, only a scream, big as the wall. Now Leni stood behind the glass of th e window. Between both wrinkles on her brow skin was suspended over a year. Leni said behind the glass of the window : Since last night my red hen's been missing. Mother opened the window. Her hair flew onto the street. The window shutters stood over mother's shoulders like two mirrors Mother said: The Gypsies are in the village. Grandfather shoved the empty plate away : Since this morning, not since last
94 night, he said. Leni looked into the window mirror and smile d, so that the corners of her mouth distorted her cheeks. The young, the gaun t one, the one with the low cut dress, is playing Genoveva, she said. And mother ha d no time to breathe and flustered: Who knows where she stole it. She rubbed on the window sill with her elbows. And Leni looked over mother's shoulder into the window mirror and said lik e in a dream: The dress, who knows. But she must have fleas. Mother turned her face to father and said laughing: Up top hui down under pfui. Father bit his pointer finger. And Leni giggled: She wanted bacon. I chased her off. Leni went and a cloud stood in the window mirror. Mother stood at the table. The stork is still searching for a father for little Franz, I said and looked onto the street. And father went under the tree, after the hammer. And grandfather went with gleaming scythe into the clover, after the su mmer. I saw how the stems bent before his feet, as if they were too heavy and much too tired. I read in my book: then the queen's h eart turned itself around in her body out of hatred. Mother carried the blue bucket into the stall. Mother left a shadow behind herself. The queen summoned the hunter. You shall kill her, she said to him. Mother came with a chain out of the stall. But the hunter had a soft heart. He br ought the queen the heart of a young deer. The chain clattered in mother's hand. Moth er coiled it next to her round calves.
95 The heart bled. Mother dropped the chain next to her na ked foot: It's broken, she said. Take it to the smith. Here's some money. The queen had the heart boiled in salt and ate it. I held the ten Lei bill in the one hand a nd in the other I held the chain. And mother asked: Do you have a handkerchief. Hold your eyes shut and don't look into the glowing coals. Mother's mouth stood behind me in the st reet gate and called: Return quickly, soon it will be evening, and then comes the cow. The hounds barked at me going by. The sun had a long beard. The beard fluttered and grabbed onto the cornstalks to pull the s un down beneath the village. It was a beard of glowing coals. And glowing coals were under the smith's bellows. Grandfather had been a sold ier in the war with the smith. The first war, that was a world war, he'd said. And we, the young men, were in the world. The gardens were high. Shadows grew. Th e gardens were not made out of earth. They were only made out of corn. He didn't lose his eye in the war, Gra ndfather had said. In wars one dies, and when one dies, then one dies completely. His mustache quivered. Not beneath the village, no, far from here, yes far from here far off in the world. Who knows where they turn the big black axle now. He lost his ey e in the smithery. Grandfather had once said: As a ripe man.
96 Hot coals sprayed into the smith's eye. It burned. His eye was thick and blue like an onion. And as the smith could no longer ca rry the onion-eye, because it would have consumed his entire head, and his mind, he stuck it open with a needle. The onion eye ran the entire day, black and red, and green, and bl ue. And all the people were astonished that an eye, an eyesight has so many colors. The smith lie in bed in the run-off of the eyesight and all the people visited him until his eye was run out. Then his eye socket was empty. A tractor drove on the street. It clatte red under the houses and pulled an acre of dust along behind it. The driver is named Ione l. Even in summer he wore the knit cap with the thick tassel. On his hand shined th e thick ring. It's not ma de of gold, Mother had said, you can see that. And to Aunt she sa id: Leni is dumb as straw, letting herself in with the tractor driver. He drinks his m oney and doesn't give a damn about Leni. And Uncle polished his shoes, spit on them and rubbed them firmly with a rag: A Walach is a Walach, nothing more to say. And he swayed his bald head. And the aunt lifted her shoulders lightly and whispered: That Leni doe sn't think of her father. He's still sick to death. The moon was first the shadow of a m oon, was new and not yet risen. Its light stood wide like in thoughts ther e on the sky. And in the sun th e hot coals still shimmered. A year ago on Easter Sunday Grandfather sat with the smith and a bottle of wine in the tavern. I stood at his elbow on the tabl e's edge because I was supposed to go with him to church. The smith drank a bottle of clear liquor and said: War prisonerhood and Heroes' cemetery. And Grandfather said thro ugh the red drops of wine on the rim of the
97 glass Strategy and Mostar, he said, Wilhelm lies in Mostar. On the path through the village the smith sang La Paloma. His hand danced in the air and his eye danced with. Only his empty ey e socket couldn't turn itself. Grandfather smiled, and sweat, and silenced in his happiness. And you saw in his eyes that they were looking back into other years. They amassed themselves, because they were already in the earth. And his legs approach ed stiffly and moved slowly. Ionel threw his acre over the village, ove r the roofs and drove behind the church into the woods. The cantoress went in front of me. Her dress fluttered with blue flower bouquets. One time she collapsed next to the pastor at a burial in the middle of singing. Then her mouth stood open and foamed white: it was horsera dish that dropped into her collar at the throat. Then Grandfather unbuttoned his black coat and said into my ear: She has the collapses. It'll pass soon. I saw the mill three times. Twice it stood on its head, once in a puddle and once in the clouds. A red cloud was the queen. She ha d glowing coals in her dress and looked through her gray hair at my chain. Behind me went steps. They echoed under the pavement and came behind my heels from out of the sidewalk. I didn't look around myself. The steps weren't so frequent and were larger than mine. My chain coiled ne xt to pant legs as the agronomist passed me. I murmured something, like a greeting, so mething, that he, with huge white ears going in shiny shoes, overheard.
98 The agronomist had on a light gray su it with a dark gray pattern. It was a herringbone pattern, and it was light on the shoulders and dark on the spine. The agronomist walked towards me behind the cantoress with black vertebrae in his herringbone. His path was knee high above the earth, was not on the pavement. His path was on the calves of the cantoress, pale and oval was his path, and a bit too narrow at the heels. And he fell down too, at the heels, a nd no longer went after th is fluttering dress. And the wider deeper path remained open to him, in front of me, on the pavement. On the other side of the street went th e postman. The brim of his hat was like a roof. I saw the roots of his face, I saw his mustache. His mouth I did not see. My chain clattered in my soles. I didn't go to the smith. I went up toward the embankment. Because I heard a song behi nd the embankment. And the song was down inside the embankment, it was l ong and high, so that it had to flow into the village, the song. And the song was tender and sad, like rain in the summer upon the earth. The song came out of a violin. And the st rings were like wires suspended over the village on telegraph poles. A nd a man's voice sang so deep like it was coming out of the earth. It sang of horses and of hunger on the great roads. On the embankment, next to the rails wh ere black trains rode, grew grass. The grass quivered from the wake of the trains al ready long passed in the valley. And from the trains the grass quivered, the trai ns that never rode into the ni ght, that first came into the village the next day. In the grass that always quivered and r ode a while with the trains grazed the
99 horses. One of the horses had red bands in its mane. The horses had bony faces. They must wander thirty years. Then they come to rest. The horses of the gypsies are also gypsies. Behind the embankment stood two Gypsy wagons with round, taut canvases. On the wheels hung dusty lanterns with drowned black wicks. Next to the wagon was an open circle of people. Those in the last row had pant legs, and calves, and backs, and heads. And those in the row before last had shoulders, and throats, and heads. And those in the firs t row had hair tips and hat brims, and head cloths. In front of the people was a weaved wa ll, a stage cloth. And in front of the stage cloth was the stage. And upon the stage stood the hunter. He had on a green pull-over. He said: My duke, and held a great red heart in his hand. The cantoress held up her chin too high. Her mouth stood open. She shifted her lips and gripped into her hair. When the voi ce of the duke was loude st, a tooth twinkled in her mouth. The singer came onto the stage. He forced his chin into the violin and played and sang: You black gypsy, come play somethi ng to me. My aunt had moist eyes and pressed her finger onto her mouth. My uncle blew a big gray smoke bird into her hair. His jawbones moved. I laid my chain in the grass so that it wouldn't clatter thr ough the song and sat down next to the open circle, next to the st age cloth. The agronomist stuck his hand into his coat pocket and I saw his hand like th e belly of a fish beneath the cloth. The
100 agronomist looked over the singer's violin past th e face of the saleswoman at the throat of the cantoress. Her calves were covered by the pant legs of the postman. Genoveva looked at her face in the water mirror of a round tin basin. The basin was woven with green poplar branch es and was a lake in the woods. Genoveva closed her eyes. She slid her wedding ring from her finger, looked at her child and let the ring fall into the wate r. She sat a while, bowed over the lake and cried. Leni stood in the second row near my mother's seamstress. She wore a pea green dress with a white collar. Each time she sewe d the darns on mother's dresses too deep. So mother's dresses were all withered, and ben eath the dresses her breasts were withered. Leni looked into Genoveva's deep breast-cut, Leni was, since her father started turning the big black axle, enclosed in black mourni ng clothes. She plucked the buttons of her mourning and whispered something into the s eamstress's ear. And the corner of her eye flowed past the breast-cut towards Ionel's f ace. Her silken head cloth had a black tip. The tip sprang up as it stroked the pointed white collar. The seamstress puckered her mouth. Ionel teetered with the tassel of his bi g cap in front of the smith's brow. The duke bowed his face over the lake a nd let his hands sink into the water. The smith moistened his lips at the bottleneck. The postman's cap tilted onto his face. The brim devoured his brow. The mustache devoured his mouth. The duke held a fish in his hand and slit open the pale belly with a small knife. The knife had a white grip. The duchess's wedding ring was in the belly of the fish.
101 I heard cows walking behind the embankment. Their mooing was long drawn out by the evening and was tired from grazing. My ch ain lie next to a large shoe. The lettercarrier threw a cigarette butt next to it. It glowed like an eye. The singer came before the stage cloth. He pressed his chin unto the violin. He played and spoke: The red heart was not the heart of our duchess. It was the heart of a dog. The letter-carrier ripped the cap off his head and waved it in the air. His brow licked his hair up to the back of his he ad. I waved my handkerchief and watched, following its wind and its white wings. The singer sang a song of beautiful women. His mouth softened on the violin. The smith held the bottle to his lips and closed his colorful eyesight, not yet run out. He smiled and swallowed. Ionel's tassel stood in th e sound of soft sung love in the smith's empty eye socket and was a wool eye. The smith raised his hand and called: Meister, sing us La Paloma. The singer strummed until he found the song on his lips and in his fingers. My uncle swayed his bald head and cl apped. And my aunt tore at his sleeve with bent fingers and hi ssed: You fool. The cantoress hummed into herself. The agronomist danced with his knee. Ionel danced with his finger. The smith sang along l oud and hoarse. On Leni's cheek was a tear. The seamstress ripped herself away from the black morning stone and Leni's tears, was pea green and in the joy of her white pointed collar she called: Bravo. The duke went over the stage. Behind hi m walked three servants, and behind the
102 servants walked a horse. The servants were shorter than the prince and older, and the horse had red bands in its mane. Ionel looked at the horse's legs. His tassl e stroked the smith's mouth. Leni chewed on the silken tip of her head cloth. Your honor, said the oldest servant, the hunter has confirmed that Genoveva lives. The shortest servant ran and pointed at the thicket with his hand. The seamstress whispered something in Leni's ear. Is it a dream, or is it reality, called the duke. Genoveva raised herself from out of the thicket. Her hair was long and black. He r hair glided on black ends into the night. Her dress was light and wasn't withered. She ran up to the duke. Behind her ran her child. He held a big butterfly in his hand. It quivered from running and was colo rful. As the child stopped behind Genoveva, the duke called: My Genoveva and Genoveva called: My Siegfried. They embraced one another and the butterfly didn't quiver. The butterfly was dead and was made of paper. The letter-carrier bit himself at the roots of his face. He had lips and he had teeth. And his teeth had incisions. The canto ress laughed. Her teeth were white, were horseradish and were foam. A blue flower bouquet hung on her shoulder and fell over her arm. The horse with the red bands ate grass upon the stage. Siegfried raised the child to the heavens. The naked feet dangled before his mouth. Siegfried's mouth stood open.
103 My son, he said, and his mouth was large, as if he would breath in the naked toes of his child. And Siegfried said to the servants: Now we celebrate, now we laugh, my people, and dance. He lifted Genoveva and the child into the saddle. The horse stamped in the grass with its hooves. I knew that it had eat en from the grass up on the embankment that always quivered and always rode a while with the trains. It must soon wander from this grass, I thought. Genoveva waved with her hand and the chil d waved with the dead butterfly. Ionel waved with his thick ring, the letter-carrier waved with his brimmed cap, the smith waved with the empty bottle. Leni was enclosed in black and did not wave. The seamstress called: Bravo. The agronomist waved with the herringbone sleeve and my uncle called: German Gypsies are Germans. My chain was black like the grass. I didn't see it. With its ends it had glided into the night. I stepped after it with my foot and heard it. I swung my handkerchief. The singer came onto the stage and waved with the violin. He sang with a broken voice and the belly of his vi olin was deep like the nights and hummed beneath me: Destiny is sometimes so tough/ and you thi nk you've had enough,/ comes a light from out of the rough. The cantoress cried into her crumpled ha ndkerchief. A girl stepped up next to the singer. She carried a burning lantern. She had a big wilted rose in her hair. And she had naked shoulders, light shining through them an d made of glass. Th e agronomist glided over the glass of the shoulders with his eyes and his herringbone forced him up next to
104 me, nearer to the stage. The singer sang a song of little food and little money. The girl's arms were transparent from smooth skin and clattered from the wild bracelets that slid up to her elbows and fell back down over her hands. The bracelets snapped dazzling and were whole again in the flame of the lanter n, and were lit through hot by the light. The girl held a black hat in her hand a nd went from face to face, from hand to hand. My uncle in the last row had a flamin g face and dropped a handful of coins into the hat. A crumpled bill fell out of the hand of the cantoress. The lantern glowed through her throat and swept it off, until the money was sunk into the hat, out and away out of the night. The girl had on a white bodice. It was oval and scant like eye-whites so that in the shimmer of the lantern you saw the round br own eyes of her breasts swimming inside. The letter-carrier held his hand over his hat. His mustache quivered and his eyes laid sepal leaves around the little withered rose that the girl wore in her navel. The agronomist's hand jingled as if the herringbone were barren. The girl's thighs glided up until under her arms, they shook her hips and separated the fringes of her skirt. And the herringbone of the agronomist stood in twittering gray and his eyes pressed with the eyes of Ionel onto the thin silken tria ngle that was between the girl's thighs. Leni's eyes were big and hard and white in the corners like gravestones. Ionel waved with the ring over the black hat. His lips were moist and his Adam's apple rose
105 into his gums. The silken triangle drowned my eyes. I dropped my money past the wild bracelets into the hat. My hand sprung up in terror when I saw the long black hairs around the white triangle next to my fingers. Leni linked her arms with the seamstress. She went with her up onto the embankment. They walked like empty clothe s. Leni looked around herself twice. Ionel whistled his dead waltzed song and looked at the girl with the silken triangle from behind. The cantoress was already above on th e embankment, and her dress illumined a little and disappeared. The agronomist stuck hi s hands into his coat pockets. The girl carried the hat behind the stage cloth. I onel walked to his tractor whistling. The embankment was black and high and the grass was black and deep. My chain did not lie next to my shoe. I bent over. So much earth was in fr ont of my face, and I turned in circles. The grass was damp and my hands were cold. And my chain was drowned, had slithered away to the invisible hidden snakes, had wandered, thirty years away from me, in the wandering of the gypsies. And my chain, and the smith, a nd my mother, and my money. The stage cloth bulged in the wind. The gyps ies' fire was red and wasn't like my face, like my eyes, like my mouth speaking to itself. And the smoke of the fire was thick. It covered the eyes of the gypsies, the temp les of the gypsies, and their hands. The smoke of the fire devoured their ha ir, tousled it and pu lled it like gray dough. I sat down in the smoke. It did not devour me, flew into the air in fine plumes and stratus layers, in white
106 suits and black shoes. And let me stay. And sent me home. The singer fed the horses. The horse with the red bands in its manes looked into the moon. I went up towards the embankment as if chased out. The moon was empty. A woman sat in front of the embankment. Her blouse was blacker than the night and her skirts were spread out. From beneath her sk irts came a noise. She plucked grass with a white hand and sighed loudly like she was si ghing for death. A black man stood on the embankment and looked up to the sky. Now we'd have long been home, he said. And his voice was the voice of my uncle. It stank like rotting flesh. My aunt lifted her skirts. A bright spot was beneath her blouse. The spot was wide, and more even th an two moons. My aunt wiped her backside with a clump of grass. My uncle walked back and forth on the embankment. He stopped short and: Child of man, he called, stinks like the plague. The sky reeked of shit. The embankment stood black behind me and tore the sky down, and it shoved the sky ahead of itsel f onto the rails like a black train. The pond was small and held out the mirror. It could not reflect so much shit and so much night. So it remained blind and starry in the sack of the moon. Before the mill stood a stork. Its wings were decayed by darkness, its leg was infected from the pond. But its throat was completely white. When it flies, it dies in the air, and everything that it does is a lament, I thought. And walking I saw my chain everywhere
107 made out of the dark air and screamed: Stick your beak into the shit. Go into the mud and find a father for little Franz. On the streets stood thick trees. They bloomed in spring. And when the summer came, they had red leaves and no fruit. And th ey had no name, the red trees. They rustled softly. And my chain was not in them. And behind the fence barked the heart of a dog. And above in the red trees froze the heart of a fawn. And at the smith's the window was dar k, because the smith already slept, and because the glowing coals already slept. A nd many windows were bright and didn't sleep. The well wheel stood still. The well slept and its chain slept. A cloud wandered in the big shit. In the sleep of the sky it moved back and forth, and had wild white horseradish on its shoe, and fluttered at the throat. And fluttered at the throat with Leni's red chicken. And above the red chicken cried a face: Where is your chain, and where is your money. The window of our house was full of hot coals. The village was empty. Gregor, the vill age was empty. I listened at the window. The radio silenced. And mother sc reamed. And father silenced. Grandfather slept. Gregor slept a dream and saw in his dream how a frog jumps into my cheek. The big black axle turns.
108 Over the heads of the wine grapes [24-25] away Karl wanted to leave this land. The wind blew into the field fence. The leaves went over. The field came into the yard. When the storms had passed over, the trees smoked. The nut tree stayed cool. Nuts fell nights onto the roof and beat into the shingles. The pin-cushion apple rolled nights onto the white grammophone. It smoked like women's skin of unhappiness. Iltis choked the hen rashly. In the morning between green shells lie the brows of the nuts naked on the pavement. The zinnias gave a different look ever y summer. Karl saw them go to other flowers at night. The potatoes bloomed with bundles of veils. The rows were counted off. Late in the summer the wagon stopped before the house. The horses ate grass. A man loaded up the potatoes and delivered them to the State. The hen's eggs were itemized on th e list of the goods cooperative. The beets had green ears. In autumn they must be delivered to the sugar factory. The plum trees were written down. They belonged to the municipality. The spider-veins with the brittle mu staches belonged to the handicrafts cooperative.
109 Three years ago Karl wanted to ride into the mountains. When he came home out of the village, his father had hung himself in the barn. Karl saw his father's shoes standing before the well. Shortly before his death the hanged s till thought he would drown himself. Two years ago Karl wanted to ride to the sea. The letter-carrier threw a newspaper over his gate everyday. He did not bring Karl's pension. In the last year the taxes were so high that Karl's pension wasn't enough. Twenty years of screw-blanking were not enough for a vacation. Last year the garden belonged to the people's council. Then came the man from the volunteer work er's unit. Then came the electricity bill. Then came the man from the funeral home. Karl's savings book was empty like the snow, and the money was in wood for the winter. As the snow melted, the gypsy called into the yard. He wanted to exchange cookware for old feathers. He took Karl's eyeglasses with. Karl wanted to leave this land. He wrote a petition to the offices. In the summer Karl's brother came an d brought eight thousand Marks. And the government of affluence paid the poor offices double so much for Karl. In the late autumn the land surveyors cam e from the city. They transformed the house into money at about twice his salary. Ka rl counted over. Karl's lungs drove rage into his heart.
110 Karl took the money for the house and for it he got a winter coat. Karl took the ax from out of the barn. In the yard the snow fell falteringly. In his winter coat Karl hacked out th e roots of the wine grapes. Karl hacked until deep into the night. Karl hacked himself in faltering snow out of the wine grapes and away. Over the heads of the wine grapes Karl left this land. Thrush Night [26-32] Who believes me that it's because of the thrush that Martin died. I noticed no count of years. As it began, what I'll tell you, the wind had fallen with red clouds over the leaves around the tops of the hills behind the village. The morning was a jar of glass and the vi llage a pile of stones upon its ground, so small and black, like a beetle burrowing into the dung of the earth. Only a thrush flew over th e jar. Its head was red, because it was coming from the hill and carrying along clouds. Under its wing was our house, was our yard, was our village, were covered with a big shadow and were imperceptible. I carried wood in my apron. The wood almost tore open my belly beneath the apron from walking. Jakob came down the at tic stairs with a brown striped wooden suitcase. The suitcase clatsched. Jakob left the attic door standing wide open. Behind his back was a black hole. It reeked like flour -dust and dead mice. I stopped with my wood next to the attic stairs. I said: Jakob, tell him again, he shouldn't go. Jakob silenced and carried the suitcase up in front of me. He held the door open and I went with my wood
111 past his hand into the room. Jakob set the suit case on the table. I dropped my wood into a basket that stood near the ove n. Jakob took empty wasp nests out of the suitcase. On his fingers hung spiderwebs and dead flies. Mar tin stood in front of the mirror. He combed his hair. Jakob said: Martin, mother said, that I should tell you again, you shouldn't go. Jakob looked into the suitcase. Ma rtin looked into the mirror. The part of his hair ran like a string from his brow back up the scalp. His face was red, like the head of the thrush, like the clouds over the hill. Martin led hims elf with the comb through his hair. He looked at his face in the mirror and screamed: if I want to go, then let me go. Everyone in the village who counts has to go. His eyes shined de ep in the glass. Jakob set five big chicken eggs on the table. He said: give him hardboi led eggs for on the way. With the spoon I let the eggs sink into the pot, into the hot water. I cried and the eggs turned in the pot. Martin wrapped pork-bacon in butterpaper and a loaf of bread and thick onions in old newspapers and laid it all in the wooden suit case between the clothes. Jakob held another shirt out to Martin and said: take along your sheep wool sock s for the winter. I held the apron over my face and said loud, so that it wa s near to screamed: Martin, clear out your suitcase and stay here. Of the thrush I said no word. The eggs turned over in the pot. The glow shimmered through the oven plate. It was red. Jakob and Martin went up in front of me. Between their steps hung the brown striped suitcase. I don't know who carried it, probably Jakob. Because at that time it was like that with us in the village, that the fath ers, when the sons went into the war, carried the suitcases up until the train station, up un til the train, up on until the edge of the war.
112 By those who had gone before Martin I had seen it. I saw through the windowpane the fathers walking with their suitcases, and sa w the sons walking with empty hands. And I saw their steps, close up to the edge of the pa vement and almost in the grass. Every time, as I stood alone in the room, I saw them walking and thought every time: how good, that Martin doesn't notice how many go. But the thrush flew from house to house. It flew through the village, it flew through the year. I walked behind Martin and Jakob. They went quick and between me and the grass blew them over from the street. They we nt mute and I approached lightly, so that with the jackets that I carried staggering I wouldn't interrupt the even steps that they walked. The tips of the hills swam through th e foliage. The morning was already large. The jar was a bowl with a wide transparent br im. The water stood cool over the village. I sought its brim walking, and it came to me that my mother, as I was still a child, said: The water is an evil mirror, it vibrates and it makes us old. She bowed her face over the washing table and her topknot hung into the wash basin as she said it And while I thought that, I saw both of the wide backs going in front of me. I heard, through the water over the village, the thrush sing. I sought after it wi th both eyes, with my temples, with my brow. It wasn't in the water over the villag e. And what it sang was loud, and was no song. On Martin's back the coat quivered. And wh en I could no longer hold this quivering in my eyes, it came to me that years ago I had heard this song come out of Martin's winter coat, out of Martin's back. We stood on the hill behind the village, in the naked forest, in snow. The path was
113 blown over. The horses did not want to pull the wagon any more. We went along a yellow strip. It was the river. As we arrived above on the hill a pack of wolves came howling towards us. It was so large and black that the snow colored itself gray, that the trees became thicker, that twilight came in the w ood. We lit a fire with a bundle of straw to drive off the wolves. The fire burned weak. The smoke was black and around the smoke dissolved the snow. The horses clattered w ith the harnesses. The wagon creaked. Jakob beat wild circles through the air with the leather whip and screamed. I cried. Only Martin stood with big eyes behind a sloe bush that was bigger than he and bigger than my black umbrella that he played with. The pack wa s already up on the point of the hill. Both wolves that led the pack through the snow were so near that we saw their eyes shine and the white steam climb out from their teeth. Ma rtin tautened the black umbrella open and ran to the fire. Both wolves saw the opene d black umbrella and stopped. Jakob tore the umbrella out of Martin's hand and went with small uncertain steps up toward the wolves. I ran to the wagon and took Jakob's umbrella. I went with the opened umbrella with still smaller steps next to Jakob. The wolves turn ed their backs towards us. They ran howling through the snow that they had run over over the river into the vall ey. We climbed into the wagon with the opened umbrellas. We rode back into the vill age. I lit the storm lantern after we had ridden a while. It sw ung with its weak light between the wheels. Martin lay behind the seat with his face on a bun dle of straw and slept. He curled up. As I laid a blanket over his foot, his back quive red. I heard a song through the back of his winter coat. It was very l oud and was no song. As we rode on the edge of the village
114 around the mill, it began to snow with big tousle d flakes. In the yard I blew out the storm lantern and Jakob shook the snow from our big bl ack umbrellas. I lifted Martin out of the wagon and carried him sleeping into his room. He didn't sense that I carried him. I laid him still in the jacket in his bed. In the mo rning, as I came into his room, Martin lay awake in bed. He asked if we were at aunt Leni's. I said: No. I pulled him out of his winter jacket. His socks were moist from snow As I pulled them from his feet, he cried and blocked my way. Jakob wrote that morning, as the snow whishe d underneath the roof trusses and fell into the snow of the yard, a letter to his si ster. He wrote more with his face than with his hand. I saw his long pointer finger as he read the letter for the third time always louder and with his finger going over every line that he'd written. He read that we would come in spring, that the snow blocked the way, that the neighbor had been almost devoured by wolves while getting wood in the forest. Jakob folded the letter. I thought on the song that Martin's back had s ung through the winter coat on the way into the village. Jakob put the letter in the envel ope and said: That will be the end of Leni, she'll die in the winter, because she's d eaf, nobody visits her, and when she's dead, nobody from the village will find her. At the train station stood four fathers, and four sons, and four suitcases. Martin was the fifth. As the train rode away, they waved with both hands. They waved and they sang. The singing became soft and lost all its sound. Only the hands still waved, next to the train, in the smoke. We seldom spoke about Martin. When we did, it was only a short sentence about
115 where he now might be satisfactorily sleeping, and what he might now be likingly eating, and if he is now delightfully freezing. A nd one night, in winter, Jakob went through the dark room and laid his blanket on the st ool. Glowing coals still shimmered in the masonry stove. I saw Jakob return to bed with out a blanket. I heard how he sighed and didn't sleep. Then I set myself up in my bed and said: On that day, as Martin left, the thrush was so big that it covered the yard. It sang so loud. It made the world mad with its war. It's been flying months and doesn't st op. On the way to the train station, between you and me, Martin's back sang a song. Jakob turned his face towards me and screamed: What are you talking about th e war and the world, you have seen nothing of the world. I cried still, so that it was a silence. Jakob silenced and his eyes shined. When spring came we were in the garden and the yard. Jakob sat daily in the clover garden on a tree stump in the sun. Often he turned a sickle in his hand and shut his eyes. Once, when it was already summer and hot, he sat so long with closed eyes on the tree stump that I thought: He must have fallen asleep, I'll go wake him. I went through the garden gate and through the clover over to the tree stump. When I was ready to lay my hand on his shoulder, he opene d his eyes and screamed: since when have you been standing there. He had not slept. He had, because he was deaf, not heard my steps. The autumn was warm. The leaves glowed upon the hill. The postman handed Jakob a field postcard over the fence. Jakob went with it into the room. He set himself at the empty table and read. He read the card three times aloud and always louder, because
116 he no longer heard his voice while reading. I sa t down next to him at the table. I saw the bed. I saw Martin's white sheep wool socks lying on the sheets. They were damp from blood. As I was about to pull them from Martin's feet, he blocked my way. Leni was dead thirteen years. Since th at thrush night Jakob never covered himself again. When the winter came, he even stay ed in bed during the day. He began to disintegrate and spat foam. He died in this winter, when the snow was made of earth and, when it touched our village, immediately melted. The village was so dirty and so black in this winter that it burrowed like a beetle into the dung of the earth. I have seen nothing of this world, that 's why I understand nothing. I think only so for myself that, when I see the foliage over th e hill, our village has remained so small in the big jar. And none seek it out and none find it. And for the world it was only an offering in the war. The clouds swim every morning through the foliage. They are a bloodband over the hill. Who believes me, that it's because of the thrush that Martin died. On this day [33-34] On this dayit was a schoolday, Inge cam e home from school and soaped up her chalky handson this day, as the chalk, like on all days, didn't come off her hands, as the soap foam swelled in countle ss bubbles thick on her fingers li ke an ulcer, and triturated and washed away, without touching the skin; on this day, as the kitchen was a debris pile
117 of plates and knives, cans, and pots, and bow ls, and glasses, that clirred from out of themselves and reeked sour; on this day, as the room was rumpled from loud bent over, clumped, unfashionable, worn out work clothes; on this day, as books and scraps of paper lay strewn and opened on the furniture, as Inge did something that she already always had wanted to do and until now had never done because she didn't know what it was. Inge took the dishes out of the kitchen and set them in the hallway. Dishes is neuter, said Inge to herself. She took the bottles out of the pantry and put them in the library. Bottle is feminine. She took her ha ndkerchief and put it in the refrigerator. Handkerchief is feminine. She placed her shoes on the table. Shoe is masculine. She clipped the flowers from over the edge of th e pot and tossed them into the toiletbowl and flushed. Flower is feminine. She bit a clump of earth from out of the flowerpot. Earth is feminine. She applied her green eyeshadow over her lips. She applied her blue eyeshadow over her cheeks. Inge tore open the door. She sat dow n on the tile in the hallway next to the dishes. She sat on the tile and stared into nothing. Nothing is neutral, said Inge to herself. As Inge's friend came over on the even ing of this dayat that time he still came, he stood motionless and bent in the open door. She has madness, he said loud to himself. He did not say become. Inge looked at his mouth. How he spoke it. And his face stood round around the mouth, which was in the middle.
118 Inge sat before him and buried her hands under the dishes. Friend is masculine, said Inge through the empty door. The Minor Utopia of Death [35-43] Whenever I went over the field path my body was empty. The wind brings an earth's breath over the grave. Whenever I went over the field path, my skirts fluttered from walking. Over the fields was no wind, says Grandmother. I we nt through the green canal of plants. It whirred in my ears and my brow was heavy, be cause I was so poor, before the great fields of my husband, because I bent my hands and on my fingers felt only the bones, because I stuck to these bones when I walked. Grandmothers gravestone has a picture of her. My wedding-skirt was black and my blous e had black ribbons. And the altar was big and cold, says Grandmother. The offeri ng fell out of cramped hands and clinked in the plate. There I already wore the slick gol d as a ring around my clueless finger. Three weeks had to pass before I turned sixteen. Gran dfather stood near me with moist steel in his gaze and stared into the full c hurch, as if looking over his field. Behind the graves the fields are flat and wide. As the wedding parade went over th e streets it was no person parade.
119 Grandfathers stable boy wore a suit far too small. His wrists were naked, says Grandmother. He beat thick percussion be hind me with short and bursting sleeves. Grandfather went next to me and yet was th ree steps ahead. We went arm-in-arm. Even then my outstretched arm wouldnt reach his st ride. His coat was black, his back was so broad that I thought to myself: he covers me up completely, he devours both my breasts and my neck. He devours both my cheeks when he touches me. Grandmother sent her ants with a dead earthworm to the neighbors grave. The music flew over the village away towards the graveyard. The swallows werent at home in the air. They follow the heavens high up, says Grandmother, in imperceptible clouds that no longer belong to the village. I carrie d the lily-bouquet in front of my belly and saw the aphids pale green and hesitating crawling through the blossoms. Lily-scent stuck to my chin, like late in evening when the sun sees no more and the faces are only eyes that glisten. That know that the heavy flower-scent drives into the coffins to the dead. I pulled the wedding procession behind me. Grandfather spoke long sentences about arpents, ares, and acres. The drumbeat of th e stable boy broke the voices. I saw the air between the trees shaking. We we nt into the big farmhouse that pressed its window into the side-street, because it was a corner-house. In the terror of the shining windows I saw my face go from one pane to the next. In storkweed behind the chapel water glistens and distorts the light. Walking I said the word: home, to myse lf, until an aphid swaying and stunned
120 from the drumbeat fell from my finger and wa s no longer to be seen before the big farmhouse, says Grandmother. My shadow wafted next to me. When I gave it my shoes, it walked upon the earth, wa s long and black and colored the grass, the green fur. Over the chapel grows a tower and around the cross that finds no end in the air churned corroding clouds. As we were sitting in the shadows of the veranda between the wood of the wine grapes around the long table, a gaunt woman set a soup bowl before me. She took the lily bouquet from of my hand, says Grandmother. Her face was like a wicker-basket. When she bent it out before me, she said: Give me the bouquet, its already wilted. It shows how tired your eyes are. She had no eyes and her mouth was narrow. When she already wanted to go away from me and through the shadow flecks, she bowed rashly, as if her neck was broken, the wicker basket toward me again and spoke into my ear: Your temples are like stones. You are not joyous. I stared upon my finger with the smooth gold and said so softly to not notice that I have lips: I would like to die. The gaunt sleepwalking woman fanned the vapor before her swept-away mouth with the lilybouquet and said under her thick hair: me too. Th en she went into the shadow flecks with the bouquet and let the lily-scen t into my black dress. The gravestone-picture is hot. The priest ate a whole chicken and horser adish in thick cream. Grandfather said: Reverend, there is still pork. The priest ate a pigs heart with knife and fork, with red
121 cherries and sauce of sugar and blood, says Grandmother. And as he drank wine a hot fart rose through his robe, crept around the chai r whereupon I sat, and stank like gall. Grandfather said: Reverend, theres still schnapps. The gravestone picture has a round brow. The people spoke loud with full mouths. I saw the chewed meat mush stick to the tongues. The stable boy dragged a bale of gra ss over the farmyards edge into the horse stall. The women sat stiff upon hard chairs and chewed dough snakes and icing. The spit was gray on their mouth's corner s like street-dust. In front of the barn sat men between bottles and sang through the hallow and twilig ht soldier songs, says Grandmother. The hens went winding through the yard. They ha d pumped up feathers. Their cluckers were shredded and on this day the roosters didn t crow. They opened their beaks like in a dream. In noiseless and raw fog of baldness they gulped the twilight. The combs hung around their eyes. The gravestone picture has a white hand. When Grandfather slept next to me the first night, I heard through the darkness of the yard his horses breathing, says Grandmothe r. They breathed like he did. A horse had snuck with white nuzzle beneath his shirt in to his breast. The horse was shy and my hands had fear of its body. I spun the braid thrice around my neck so that it lay around my skin like a snake, laid the knot-end behind my ear and said: snake, seek yourself a vein and drink. My blood is awake, you wont slumber when the day breaks the window.
122 Grandfather woke up as it still dawned. He climbed onto me. I felt under my belly a hard field. Grandfather pursued over his earth and he tilled me. When he panted ceasing, I knew: now he spreads out his cucumber seeds. The damask covered me and shined matte. On the window cross the first dead flies buzzed themselves to death. The roosters crowed through the fog and the day was awake. Grandf ather yawned and put on a chair full of clothes. He stared into the tick of the golden pocket watch and went in the gray morning into the shadows of the register, into the reco rds, into the exact num bers of his servants. Silent and desiring harvest he wa tched over his field upon the paper. The gravestone picture has a gnarled ear. At midday Grandfather counted the hens. Three were missing. They got lost and never came back again. One I found lying dead behind the barn after three long hot days, says Grandmother. Out of its beak crept an ts. Between the thighs under the plume of its tail the colon was pressed out. The muscle around the anus was shredded. I thought of the three-day old cucumber seeds in my belly. I leaned against the barn. The gravestone pictur e has a black mouth. A summer long and a wilted autumn long my belly grew. I went and went and saw the earth not. I looked at myself on dead after noons in the room before the mirror, says Grandmother. I let my fingertips glide al ong my blue veins and draw circles on my nipples. Before the mirror came to me what is written on the highest beam in the church in the cold ceilings vault: come all of you to who are weary and burdened unto me as I
123 shall revive you. I plucked a ro se bouquet behind the well and went in the shadow of my belly through the empty village. The c hurch door stood open. The writing was high, the shimmer didnt reach down to me. In front of the church stood a ladder under the lime tree. The priest stood in the shadow above on the highest rung like a grown rooster. When he saw me, he stretched out his arms in the air, as if he wanted to flutter over the church garden. He said: Oh, the young lady. Where t o. I said: To the cemetery, reverend. The priest smiled: young lady, the dead dont need our care. reverend, our prayer, I stuttered. The priest stared long at my stomach: They dont hear it. The dead have no souls, young lady, he said softly. I looked at the empty ladder rungs: reverend, you sin, when you speak so, I said. I held the rose bouquet before my belly. The priest said: only the clouds come into heaven, young lady. When in one night in the new year the snow burned like glowing coals and candles in all colors upon my body the stable boy ran out of hi s shallow sleep in the stall, half in dream and bedecked with straw, through the streets of this night and through the dogs breath. The dogs caught up with him and showed their wet teeth. The stable boy stopped before a house on the village edge. W ith his fists he knocked on the wood of the window frames and screamed with cold lips through the frosty ice flowers of the window panes. From the gutter of the house icicles fe ll onto his shoulders and onto his shoes. The old midwife lifted her fat conjoined flesh out of the feather-vapor of the bed and walked with disheveled hair and with puffed-out cheeks behind the shaking oil lamp to the window cross. When she saw the face of the stable boy between the ice flowers, she
124 cried: I'm coming. The gravestone pictur e has a gray chin. She came in her black shawl. Behind the snarl of the fringes ran the dogs in barking fog through the snow. The dogpack stopped before the house door whining. I pressed my lips silently together during th e birth, because the how l of the hounds was my pain and flew out away far into the night over the snowfall of the place. The midwife was moving long knitting needles and bent scissors. My gaze was weak and stayed hanging on the fringes of her black shawl. Wh en the midwife pulled the child from my thighs, her thin hands were bloody. I looke d at the child and I saw the fine-wrought lonelinesses of all those who liv ed in small and cramped houses. In blue vein arabesques flowed the lonelinesses over my childs face. On its cranium throbbed the loneliness of the young maid's suicide, on the temples twitch ed the loneliness of bread baking of my half-lame aunt, over the cheeks crept the lone liness of the button-st itching of my deaf grandmother and about the lips shimmered the l oneliness of the endless potato peeling of my shy mother. The gravestone picture has a narrow nose. On the chin of the child beamed a hot, living spot. It was th e loneliness of my body in birth. And where the beam reached me and seared me and cooled me the spot was the childs own loneliness, who, although breathing, didnt find the world. The old midwife washed the knitting needle and bent scissors in soap suds and blue alcohol. She
125 put them in a wicker-basket according to si ze. She looked into a needle-eye with the algae of her gaze and pulled the white wick through my skin. I saw the burst sphincter of the dead hen. The stable boy brought a bucket with boiling water. As he set the bucket on the tables edge he looked with a weak wet gaze at my blood-smeared thighs. The midwife stuck the needle into her black clot h. As she was already half on her way and still draping a cloth over her wi cker basket, she said: Your child is strong and healthy, but the snow is deep this year. And because your child was born into this snow, and at night, and in the first raw days of a new year, it will be sad in its bone s and will go solemnly through life. In the winter it will freeze and in the summer it wont belong and will sleep long. And it will dream that the heat cries. A nd more than all people that there are will it love the people that are no more, the earth that one carries in one's brain when one buries in thoughts, it will love the earth that lies under neath the earth. The gravestone pictur e has a silent breath. The child that I had given birth to in this stolid winter night was a girl. Grandfather went loudly talking to himself, spite distorted ov er the ice in the field, says Grandmother. He hated the farmhands who br ought feed for his animals. He ate no more and hated them, because they were men and had sons at home. Grandfather said: your child to me, said: baptize spoon-stem, baptize her, how you like and without me. The gravestone picture has a deep voice. Grandfather died one day still very yo ung and without saying to me how it is
126 when one feels death behind the ribs. He fell into a summer day, fell onto his face. He gave his weight over to the earth and st opped hating and stopped looking. He left his great field in the lurch. The records grew moldy, the numbers devoured dust, the calculations calcified. The earth obediently drove the harvests into the barns. The farmhands defiled their hands and didn't speak with me. Their sons ate fresh bread and became big. And my daughter wasnt called spoon-stem, but she was shy and anxious like the white nuzzle of the hidden horse out of grandfathers breast. She sang no songs evenings on the benches. She only looked and listened how the others sang. The son of the stable boy often stood next to her. He ha d shy eyes from poverty and from labor a soft voice. I said to my daughter: He is shy and soft like a human. He has no horse with white nuzzle in his breast. He won't till you. The gravestone pictur e has a silhouette. Behind the house bloomed the mullein. It was branched and wound finger-thin like the destroyed hand of the world. It was not yellow like the sun, says Grandmother. A summer long I wanted a flowerbed, one that's no t a piece of field, but one thats already a grave before the door of the house. I plante d baby's breath with root supports. And always, when it rained, it swam through the ya rd like a decayed fish and stank and stuck itself like a coffin sheet on my calves. Th e baby's breath grew through only one summer. The autumn decomposed it, the winter burie d it in snowdrift. Wh en spring came, wheat grew on the bed, was already a field before the door of the house, stubbornly pushed odd
127 kernels into the heads. The earth was damned and deformed from use and from avarice. Grandmothers gravestone grows. The mo ss alters its skin like a disease. Grandmother goes barefoot at the end of the world with tucked-in head and heavy hair. In each hand she holds the deathshoe. The heels ar e warped from water. Upon her grave is earth like a field and like in meadows the flow ers repeat themselves year after year. The white lilies bloom, decay, dispatch their scen t out under my chin, into my mouth, into my teeth with the white gravestone porcelain. The clouds press themselves in sand dune s around the tower, are black from my cemetery angst and white from lily-water. Grandmothers cheeks redden in the even ing on the summer wall. In the sloewood her spine grows through a leaf, grows he r minor utopia of death from out of the safety of the blind earth. The gravestone picture has no face. The summer turns. The chickweed blooms. Grandmother has no gravestone picture. Grandmother has a cloud and a grave. Dictator or dog  Where is your headband, girl.
128 Don't let your hair fall. Don't lose it. When you are terrified, cover your eyes shut. You will need it. Your arm number, boy. Show your sleeve here. Your pulse beats at your wr ist. Your arm begins at your temple. He breathes. Was he already tired. With these shoes. No. Oh, if I were your mother. The parquet is new. It is a shingle ro of. When something falls on your heel, my child, then hold your temples back. Show your fingernails. A sca ndal. Has your sister no eyes. Your hands already have the grip. The dirt will stay when you have grown through the year. Where were you yesterday. Yes, my love. Has your brother no mouth. The others and your empty place. As if you were dead half a day. Did you play, in fever or in front of the house, in the sand, at a calling. Dictator or dog. Man, say something. Pay attention: participate, that's from parti and cip. An example: All participate. You'll shepherd the sheep if you don't learn that. Your happiness. Now lift up the chalk. The Song of Marching [45-47]
129 Always, when Sunday, like Father said, came onto the sky, Father found this sliver in his soup. Father, as a German war hero, had three of them in his lungs. They wandered. Father was anxious that one day they would wander into his heart. Then it's over, said Father. One time the sliver came into Father's face, and Father didn't shave for many days. Father set, when I looked at it, his spoon over the splinter, or buried it under a noodle or under a vegetable. During washing the sliver clanked loudly in his dish. One time we were visiting Father's sister and a clear soup was set before us. Father found the sliver in his dish again. Because he couldn't bury it under a noodle or under a piece of vegetable, Father swallowed the sliver. All had eaten their plates empty and complimented my aunt's soup. After the meal the women danced with one another. My short thin mother danced sweating with my fat aunt. My father's si ster laughed, and the whole time her cheeks quivered. The men had stayed at the table and sang German soldier's songs. When the women danced by, the men smacked them on their fat hopping asses. The women laughed loud, took even more hopping steps in the dance and moved their arms up and down. Father beat the meter on the table with his big hand: And my bride the noble pride, she is just like me. As twilight came, Father stood up and sa ng standing and with quivering lips and
130 red eyes the song of marching. My aunts swayed their small heads and had moist eyes. At the third stanza Father keeled over. Since then we were at Father's sister's every year to visit and a clear soup was set before us. After the meal the women danced with one another. Each time my mother sat pale and freezing in a corner. Her eyes became wet, and she sniffled lukewarm tears, which pressed through her nose every time back up again into her brow. She crumpled her handkerchief in her frozen hand, sobbed that my father was for her unforgettable, was for her still always the same. My father's sister sank onto a st ool too and cried long sentences. And her cheeks quivered in the drowned words. The men, who had stayed at the table, sang soldier's songs. Each time, when twilight came, they raised themselves. They stood around the table. From their red eyes lay a deep red shimmer on the tablecloth betw een their big hands. They stared into this red shimmer and sang with quivering lips the song of marching. Every year one keeled over at the third stanza and died. Last year we were at Father's sister's to visit again and a clear soup was set before us. After the meal the women stood up, and the table was empty. Each aunt sat down pale and freezing in a corner and cried, and pre ssed a handkerchief over the lukewarm tears, over the face, and sobbed, that her husband wa s for her unforgettable and always still the same. As the twilight came, the women raised themselves from out of the corners and set themselves around the table. And thr ough the gap of the half-shut cabinet door
131 sounded the song of marching from a cassette tape. My aunts stood there mute and motionless. At the second stanza my short thin mother hummed along. A light shadow moved in the corner of her mouth. At the thir d stanza Father's fat sister sang along with. Upon her cheeks quivered the song and her brow was pale. At the fourth stanza my fattest aunt sang along with. She breathed loud in to the song and upon her breasts shimmered the buttons over the thin gold edges like medals. When the song was over, Father's sister stood before the cabinet. Her hands were heavy from the twilight and with her mute fingertips she pressed the cabinet door shut. The humming hung long in the room's ai r. The humming was already monotone and tired. And borderles s in the twilight. If I could wear myself [48-49] What should I put on when the snow falls in a white suit. The edge of the clouds is pale. Nearness and farness ceases there. How should we touch ourselves. Perhaps this city is not elsewhere. Not here. Not there. My ankle holds itself fast to the street. And beneath th e sole there is a shoe. The eyes have corners. And the streets. The hous es edges. Laid out and slanted, diagonal towards my eyes like roofs lies the snow. Why does the girl with red-tinged hair, calv es reined in black net, take the route over the bridge. How the street breaks groundless behind her heels. The river is old. The
132 water is drowned. What does the young man show with his hands. Why does the green strand flutter at his temple. He speaks to himself. Is no longer alone with himself. The pawner holds a cigarette behind smoke. He blows forth a bit of cheek out of his face. His mouth has both corners. It ceases where they begin. His gaze stays still. I swim past on dark, thick, hanged dresses. What should I put on around foreign money. I've said that I'm a memory to myself, which cannot wear itself for money. I can hold money with one hand and touch the material with the other. I can dip my fingertips into the butt onhole, even when the button doesn't belong to me. In the windowpane I can see my ears. I would've almost wished myself the jewelry that moves along my neck and around my throat. What is that for a country th at tears at the fingers when one lifts her suitcase. That one sees between her eyes, far over the brow like outside over a field. That becomes a language from far off, and a coloring in one's own language once one has left. What is that for an object, which, when one has left it, becomes like a bullet. And if I could talk, whisper, say, scream. And if I coul d call, wave, silence, look. If I could wear myself, what would change beneath my ankles and not be once again the
133 same shoe for my body. The vegetable handler whistled a song. Oranges are made of soft pores. His cheeks a face. The scale quickly decided on a weight. Now he calculates in his head. The change shines as if I could pay. The evening will be with me behind the table under the lamp. The wall is wide. Three nuns walk in an oil painting through the mirror. I'll sit at the short edge of the table, becau se I don't risk it to turn my hands over at the long edge. I'll walk through the room. Distri bute the tears with my fingertips under an eye. As if there were no ground. In the mirror the oranges will stand. How will I eat the oranges from the scale, wh en next to my right hand, upright, lies the knife. The Dew on the Depots [75-76] The one was a student. The other weaved mesh. The third already had two children. Whoever can sleep, interr ogated them. Firs grow in fr ont of white stones, aren't allowed to move. How I love the wild red leaves. Alwa ys underway into the dried fields. The fourth showed the neighbor women. Sits in prison. Women don't want the loud mouths in their bellies. Don't want to suckle four
134 children behind the law. Do ctors interrogated them. Coffin and earth upon that. The fifth is still a high schooler. Lives in the country. Comes to school on the morning train. The shrub blows. Grows next to the cabinet. So much foliage on the skin. The train worker showed her his member behi nd the freight train. As she went over it with her hand, a child's head grew on it. Blue-veined with a brow made of porcelain. The shrub bloomed on the embankment. Hibiscus with the deep heart. She brings the child to the world. In the hospitals long protocols. Sallow lamps. Beneath the compartment crawls the river. Fog in the barges. Oars alone in cold water. Whoever interrogates, asks. Who betrayed the fatherland. Who silenced at the doctors. Who didn't give the president his child. And the law, who shook on it. There are four children in there. How the neighborhoods run together smoothl y. Dew on the depots. When the train screams, it is day. The dictator is an old man. For twenty years over the land. In the morning in a bad mood and smooth shaven. The father of all the dead. There sleep sits next to me. There my kn ee is so pointy, so cold. Don't hold it, the latch of my door. And let my sheet be, I say to sleep. It is not clay. The clothes become yellow in the closet from disuse. Who will be the sixth. Who will be the next.
135 And when the child's head grows in my belly. Hibiscus with the deep heart, how do I carry her to the end. How do I put out her eyes. Come no more, I say to sleep. Do you wa nt to hear the cracking, when at nights my dress hangs itself on the stool. I have not thrown myself away. Have never known myself. Have only put makeup on in the morning. Eyeshadow like dust and glass. Have not looked at myself. But should it glisten around my eye, the dew on the depots. My Fingers [77-79] As I drank no more of the sticky yellow mother's milkthe nipples were as large as my eyes, and shriveled, like sucked in from the inside, I wanted to learn to walk. I wanted to walk on my hands and with my feet I grabbed after a toy. Mother shut me into small, dark, furnitu re filled spaces. A strip of light quivered in the corner. It pressed through the keyhole. From time to time mother looked through the keyhole with a cold blue eye to see what I was doing, a nd covered the thin strip of light with her pupil. I saw the cold blue eye and walked further on my hands over edges of furniture. Mother walked through a door full of light into the room and carried me between her hands out into the yard. She pressed my breath between her breasts. I felt warm rotten breath come out of her mouth. Mother set me in the grass. It grew green and pointy here, but not wild.
136 Mother wrapped both my hands in thick cotton cloths. My hands were round and helpless like a yarnball. Mother set herself be hind the yard and watched all day with her wide unruly face through the chainlink. In the chainlink hung her face and fingertip-thin wind, which drove her gaze onto me. I stood in th e net of her cold blue eyes between the cheekbones of her unruly face. After a few days I walked on my legs a nd carried the steps an xiously in my balled up hands out in front of me. I learned to walk on the tips of my toes. But into my soles grew pointy grass. I set the so les of my feet in the grass too. And mother's eyes became round and soft as my soles sank into the grass. When mother knew for herself that for weeks I'd only walked on my feet she unwrapped the endlessly long co tton cloths from my hands and burned them. They were dirty and they stunk too. I smelled it first as the fire devoured them. They burned fast and quickly filled the yard with dark green smoke, because the grass burned too and a season that was lu sh and ragged. The smoke stood in green billows around the yard. They were a wall. They cooled off in a few nights. And as the green embers had faded, the chainlink stood still more fixedly, more peaceful and blacker than before. My hands were white and soggy. My thum bs had rotted away and burned in the bundle of green smoke. They had cooled off and gone over the house. My pointer finger didn't point. My middl e finger wasn't in the middle. My ring finger wore no ring. My little fi nger was not little. My eyeles s, my earless, my noseless,
137 my lipless fingers. I gathered my fingers every evening, when the day zipped itself shut and destroyed nothing around itself but me. I laid my nails in the small case wherein a chain was once enclosed, which I bought, wore hom e, hung around my neckthin as it was and let suck on my skin. My na ils lie round and white like eyes in the case. At night they sprouted much green slime, which ran out of the case. And mornings my nails stood out of the flesh of my hands again. The day came up. I know what's happening to me. And my pointer fingers are hitting fi ngers. And my middle fingers are tearing fingers. And my ring fingers are ripping fingers. And my little fingers are pulling fingers. What shall become of my fingers st anding out of the flesh of my hands. So that you're never torn into the heart of the world [80-81] So that you never freeze. Such a cold bed and high was this city when for the first time I carried my suitcase in to it. I stayed there wher e I had once gone through smoke like over train tracks. Where I've looked alone with myself hang the factories. Ach, what do you know about, how rusty wire can be. How loud the song in the dawn fell into thick fog. How deep th e paths were, between the machines. When men stood naked at midday in the washroom, their backs were thin and bowed like warped buckets. The showers hi ssed. Over the territory of the factory twitched the crane. The cabin was a red cube. A woman sat inside it. When she stood with
138 me in the washroom, she said that she cried loudly above, over the factory. You know, why, when after hours I walked through the streets, the long wall of the graveyard down the side street reconciled me. That you never count steps along the wall. My belly was a tote. Full of hot clum ps like bursted roses. A child grew in my belly. There the scent was alre ady the stink that's supposed to come into you. Then I went to the public pool. A thick woman in a white blouse was the masseuse. She shut me into the steambox. As the tile on the walls steamed she dropped salt out of her fists into the water. As I climbed into the tub, she held my hand. As my stomach crawled into my mouth, there was blood in the water too. So that you never have to go th rough a park. The trees were already iced over. Behind the water-gray roots was the carnival. I talked alone and louder than with another. There the woman made of gypsum spun around the ferris wheel over the trees into the thin autumn. Like Lady Thatcher with the gl acier hair. When this body no longer holds, earth falls out of its bosom. She will be so gray, I said, like sheep on the mountain. She will devour the pearls at her throat and the gold. Because I heard steps I was still. B ecause the aspen blew I went quickly. So that the aspen never beat after yo u with their branches. In all the trees of this land grows an old man. When he has leaves, it is summer. The autumn comes like the king's naked clothes. The pores are tired. When they hear the hymns they bloom so beautifully like it's thei r last time. When the people wish death to the old man, age spots grow. His life stays, beca use no bullet is to be found, in the trees.
139 None that flies. None that penetrates. None that hits. So that you never hear how wood beats on wood in the trees. And whoeve r finds the bullet loses his life. Evenings it's dark in the city. The drapes aren't illumined. When the boards creak, I sense that I almost don't live. Flesh-devouring life that I have before me. And behind me, ach, what do you know. So that you're never to rn into the heart of the world, I never birthed you. When I move my foot [82-84] The strawberries in the garden are fine-hai red belly-pained fruit. They beg at my ankles for flesh. I stand still. When I move my foot, they fall off a nd fall into the earth, under the house. Why do we go into this house, when it beco mes dark outside. It is only of earth and is a grave. When we close the door fr ames and the window shutters, the rooms are black, and the air that we breath is loamy. We swallow it, we breath lightly, without moving our voice-boxes. The light wants to be day bright, glows in the middle of the room on the table, on our hands that we lay around the plates. In th e radio sits a man, who speaks, who doesn't belong to us, who doesn't see our food on the table and our hands, which we've adjusted to press food by the chunk into our mout hs. The teeth bite and the gums swallow. The radio speaks, as if the world were made of words, as if it were not lived, but spoken, as if behind the day, there was, the man, who speaks, and behind life long
140 sentences, not death. The hands, which we have adjusted, hol d needles, thread, yarn, small objects, about which nobody speaks, not in the radi o and not on the edge where we live. And sometimes we stretch out our arms transfigured, and sometimes we move the pale fingers of our hands. And we forg et ourselves, because we are forgotten. Sometimes our needle falls into the gra ss, sometimes our thread tears. Sometimes we want to grab over into the world. Father goes Sundays through the sun and w ears suspenders beneath his black coat. It makes his shoulders wide and his throat ha rd. It makes his hands thin and his wrists lank. And he makes his mouth tepid. His hat is black and greets by itself. Gr eets silent, velvet. Nicks prudently: Guten Tag. Mother sits in the door frame and searches for the needle-eye and fingers with her hand until the yarn frays. The needle is a thin, naked spit. The cuckoo is already scrawny and old, st ands under the sky on the roof and calls. Mother sticks the needle into her dress over her heart and hangs her hands away from herself empty, searches out his small gray head with her eyes and asks: Cuckoo, how long will I still live. The cuckoo cries a year and another year And every day shatters in his mouth. His beak closes and the year that he called is short and gray like his feathers. The year is small.
141 The darkness drives father into the h ouse. His hat covered the day from him. Father sways in wine and shits over the edge where we live. The radio hums. The man, who doesn't belong to us, looks stolidly, how we silently grab around the spoon stems, how we noiselessly chew, in the music, symphonically foreign, how we shut our eyes and sink our heads. Mother opens the bed in a row. They are so deep, that you must sink, when you see the sheets. Father lies with bald head. The wine carries his eyes shut and is like sleep. Mother carries the evenings into bed. They are so invisible and yet fill every year that the cuckoo threatens. In father's and in mother's body runs th e sand, is fine and warm. The pores chortle and the veins silence. You will yet grow, says the moon. Your mother is an old child, it says. And says: Your father is so swaying and so heavy. On the pavement the stars go up and my feet stand still and my hands don't talk. I wait on another day, I say to the moon. From tomorrow on I'll ask the cuckoo, where I'm not forgotten and where it stays, the world. Mother will say to me one day still and contemplative: Your father was too swaying and too heavy. In the last year she'll seek the cuc koo and her fingers will grow through her cheeks. And she'll go quicker than my father. Because she is light and won't sense the
142 alarm. In the radio the man, who speaks, won't see, that hands are missing on the table. And his sentences will stroke my eyes, and my ear. And his sentences will shut out my sense. Because his long sentences don't reach out here, on this edge, where strawberries be g for flesh around my ankles and fall off, when I move my foot. Antlers [85-87] Day before yesterday I invited Seidl to ha ve a beer, Ferdinand said. Seidl, I was astonished. Hes been my boss six weeks now, Ferdinand said. Ah, I said. Plays himself up. Hes got no time, Ferdinand said. Three ti mes in the week he drives away for business, and he doesnt come around Saturdays. Seidl called the waiter. He snapped with his fingers, Ferdinand said. The waiter came immediately and bowed and Seidl showed him five fingers and a thumb and a pointer. Seidl has a new car, Ferdinand said. The waiter brought Seidl seven beers. Seidl snatched two out of his hands. He set one in front of me and chugged down the second, Ferdin and said. The foam stuck around his mouth and Seidl didnt wipe it off from one glass to the next. Seidl told me, hed run over three chickens in the village middle of Septem ber. It was around midday. The village was
143 empty, like blown-out, Seidl said. The people were on the field. Only the dogs saw it and barked. Seidl drove out of the village and past the fields. He saw the people on the fields, but the people didnt see him. Only a bunch of schoolchildren stood on the edge of the field, who waved and laughed. If they had known, they would have pelted him with rocks, Seidl said so himself. After the sixth glass Seidl snapped with his fingers again. The waiter only brought one beer. Seidl tore the glass out of his hand and screamed, whats that supposed to mean. So I ge t looked down on by such a, by such a  poor sucker, by such an empty nothing, Seidl scream ed. Now Im really just starting to drink, Seidl said. The waiter brushed off the table clot h with a rag and did it as if he didnt hear anything. But he stole a look at Seidls hand from beneath. He brought Seidl three beers. Seidl slammed another beer. He spun the ei ghth beer around in his hand, and instead of drinking, he told stories, Ferd inand said. Seidl ran over a sheep on a field end of October. Only the corn and our dear lord saw it. Unfo rtunately the sheep was shorn, but the meat tasted good, Seidl said. Seidl swallowed the eighth beer down, and his eyes gleamed sadly over the glass. Seidl pushed the ninth be er away from himself and poked the beerfoam with his pointer-finger, and licked it off. Seidl had scooted real close up to my seat, Ferdinand said. Middle November before a bridge ran a tall black shadow in front of my cars lights, Seidl said into my ear. The shadow had white shimmering antlers. A buck, I said to Seidl and laughed. A buck, I said to Ferdinand.
144 Seidl drove away fast. Only the moon saw it and the heavenly stars, Seidl said. Seidl smeared some beer-foam over his mouth w ith his pointer-finger. He slurped out the ninth beer, Ferdinand said. Seidl sat down on the corner of the table. He leered into his empty glass and poked his ear with his point er-finger and smeared the earwax on the tablecloth and sighed. In the evening I went into the dark room. The window shimmered up from the street like water under a bridge. I set a burning candle on the window-sill. My body was a tall black shadow on the bridge I lifted both arms over my head and spread my fingers. I moved my arms. My hands were white shimmering antlers in the windowpane. The Cold Jewelry of Life [88-89] Always, when a house for the department is finished, the men dig up earth. The earth grows like a black saw over their heads. Always, when I come nearer, I feel my own steps under my chin. I go through my mouth hollow. I go into my throat. In the grave is a moist wind wherein the men stand. They stand deep. High above stands a pointer finger. A command in the cool yet, in the morning. A command, because soon the sun scorches.
145 And evenings through the bed, when the toes freeze, the covers grow into the morning. Daily over the men a yellowed shrug. That is more than a calling. Always, when the house for the department is finished, the men build a porter. In the moist wind they build a stool a nd a uniform. Softly woven strands out of earthworms. Hard heels out of roots. Ou t of groundwater the cold voice through the corridor with the question about the reason for the visit. Always, when the house for the department is finished, I evade the saw of moist earth. The porter warms the groundwater in his coat Screaming he notices that my hair's part doesn't scare, because my hearing is an ear and not an obeying. The corner of my mouth is heavy. Always, when the house for the department is finished, it is my little and fractured right that makes my body visible. Si lent it drives me up cold steps. When they hit it, it becomes hard. When they knead it, it becomes heavy. Doesn't bounce like a ball. When they oversee it, it lies upon floorboards like a stone. When I stand at the edge of the carpet, behind the thick door, before the pointer finger, the wind chases a tree from outsi de through the open window. Acacia, lime it could be. Or just the noise.
146 Or just the silence. What is spoken, that is said. And done away. Evenings, when the toes freeze, the covers grow into the morning. Like how sweat changes when a bone is too heavy out of sleep and won't sink. When a finger stays above and swims. When a vertebrae goes fo rth out of the neck. Into the throat. It still hangs at my throat, my little ri ght. Hangs out from my throat. Over me the moist wind. Like between death and death. Like between death and life. It still glistens in me, the cold jewelry of life. Devouring Shoe  To what end is there, my heart, a chased away terrain. The old woman, frail and small. From head to foot in black summer dresses. As if they were measured, his steps, on the same life, the man walks next to her. A step from her, distanced, as if he walk ed, because of the black brim of his hat, into silencing, the path a bit into the wide. Perhaps there's something still there, something lost, between them both. Beginning with her, at her wind-disp laced collar, and reaches out over the anticipation of his wide-striped shirt.
147 Should the backs carry like the body's fles h that, what one does not still know. Heels, become wild in the years. When did the small animal squeal in the shoe. Paths crunch into the city. Fully strewn with gray pebbles. Now they are ground. There are cliffs in there. Reaching, to what end is there, my heart, far out over a chased away terrain. The Pocketwatch  Around the city a ditch is built, a ditch for residing. There the earth is lifted out deep as a man. I looked in. The villages lie deep in the field, and th at is earth. From there I come, I come from there. Grandfather was grandfarmer. His field was his frame around his image. Great he stood there in the middle. Under his nose sw ung his mustache. On his coat gleamed his golden pocketwatch. The hands went around and around, he had so much earth in his coat, in his inner pocket. It hung heavy around his heart. The earth, that he could no longer w ear, he had in banks in the city. As he saw from his frame, how great he was, he set his slaves around him at the table too. They did not speak. They only said Heavenly Father with him and ate rashly.
148 As he felt himself so secure at his ta ble, as nothing could happen, THEY took, he says, all ground and reason from him. Life not. The slaves are already long dead. The grav es are so small, I say, are still just wheat, still just grass. So is for a slav e, he said. He swallows his tongue. Grandfather still stands always in his bald image. His mustache doesn't swing. He still buttons up his jack et out of habit. There ticks the pocketwatch. Potter's Field  Your tailor is made out of cloth. Your dress hangs in the thicket. Aphid and wind. Your shoe is under mud. The water has its bed. Your silk stocking. The stitching ran. Your back is your pillow. The sinew of your shoulder is bony. Lungs Wings Spine Column El Bows Mouth Corner Lips Edge Brow Cavity. The heart chamber. No path. No fence. Do you want to terrify the man who carries mortar to the foreigners' house. Breast Basket. The vale under sand. The true ribs and the false ribs.
149 The big saw muscle. The trapezius muscle. The hard gums and the soft gums. Ear Conch Hair Root Hand Plate Knee Cap. The lacrimal bone. The blind spot. Sun fall in evening. Your tailor is made out of embers. The rat freezes. A freight train rides with yellow eyes through the night. Did the wild fear of the world go astray in you. My Heart flies through my Cheeks [93-94] I know that today the shop is empty agai n. That the earring glistens again when the saleswoman sees the edgeless sidewalk through the pane. When she puts on make-up she leans on the empty aluminum pan. It st inks of heart and liver. And the blood on its handle is dry. I know that the saleswoman chews on her fingernails in a white blouse from ten in the morning on. And, that the fellow eaters on her cheeks are black. Round like poppy. In the pan I don't know myself. My throat is a stocking. My ear, the old brooch beneath my hair. My mouth, the moist flesh of a melon. An old woman grows inside my belly And my eyes become thick when she
150 moves. Her hair blows in my lungs. And, when I listen, she walks on thin legs. Wide lies the park. And when the wind blows, the trees change. There arent many. But, because I always look at the trunks, I go in a circle. Then it becomes a forest. And empty. Around here, Herr Reagan, there are no Co mpaneros. Theres only filth beneath our fingernails, and thats of no use. And th ere are frescoes, workers made out of little stones, near the canal. And from the Donau to the sea no ships, Comrade President. And loud silence. Maybe a president whos killed many will come soon to visit this country. Beloved Son of the People, then you all will harbor corpses in your brows. You yours and he his. When it snows slowly in Poland, they begin to pray. Snow-white land. And black is the Madonna. But they dont want to work nothing, the Poles. Theyre striking, say your people, Comrade President. Around here the men must work. Because the machines rust in their necks. The women cook. And the children play. The old men lament. The young widows and old mothers mourn. Around here nobody has time to strike, Comrade President. And when the radio whistles, the men count mo ney. The women iron. The Putsch is far in the south. And the kidnapping is in the air in the west. The assassination failed again in
151 the north. Only the chauffeur is dead. And Raisa is the most beautiful woman in the east. And I did not register my left heart-cham ber. Thats why it stands empty. I know, my heart, it is forbidden. My heart flie s through my cheeks, Comrade President. Lizard  The back is delivered naked to the wilderness. Elias Canetti The leaves fanned in mad light, as if behi nd the backs of the leaves and fine veins death wouldn't bite black and silent into the stems. The trees had a sound. But this young woman, who walked over the asphalt under the trees, walked so, as if she believed she were walking into silence. From her path you saw contemplation in her walk. If the heels of her shoes hadn't been so hard, behind her heels, she would have walked naked with white calves through the light's reflection. If she hadn't looked around herself sudden, unexpected, her hair wouldn't have fallen onto her brow. If the man behind her in black coffin-c losed pants hadn't seen her ear rising behind her hairline, he wouldn't have approached her back. If she hadn't seen into his flesh cramp with her face between the nails of his big
152 hand, her desire wouldn't have crawled morn ings still always from yesterday and evenings always already from tomorrow, lik e lizards under a stone, into her belly. Then on a dark-green, narrow day, the coffin, empty and closed, without her, would have swam past her behind the back s of the leaves and the fine veins. And wouldn't have touched her back. In Summer grows the wood [96-98] This summer will not stop. Where does it go, when at midday it pulls a trail of slime like lazy wheels. How long does the dew stand. Iris be hind a fence. Doesn't belong to me. Disperses the tongues th roughout the garden. The old man sits in the leaves. As he believed he saw how a branch pained itself through blossoming he had already fallen asleep. What is the walk in the dawn. It is no park. In summer grows the wood. The newspapers are red. Between me and them lie my hands. I almost want to grab after myself to und erstand the sentences. Who should I ask, when my mouth, a nd what it, spoke. Who knows where I disappear day and night. Residence is not a place.
153 I silence where my hair ends. My fingernai ls grow, as if I were alive behind their edges. It's like scissors when friends look at me and mean well. Yet retained just for me, I have a word. It is not an object and not an utterance. And not worth the talk. Not to say with the lips. It was afternoon. I wanted to laugh. Thr ough the open window I wanted to ask the pane if my mouth had aged in this moment. In this one. Tired I banished the tugging of my cheeks into my hands. Is a city in the glass of the window grounds to say, I've lived here. A country never has enough space to mirror itself in the glass of the window. Provisional, says the grass. It greens at the edges. How long, I ask, is a republic still an elbow on the arm of the president. A cloud changes and moves. The walk through the park in the dawn. Is that a worker. Is that a park. And to the side, this woman. She had th is child. Years ago he moved out of the plants into the city. Now he's already twenty years older. When he writes letters to the small peasant girl on the big fields, he intuits how one hacks oneself through life on skewed steps. In the letters stands: you shouldn't toil so much. When I buy flowers they lie on the tabl e without roots. I seek out the most beautiful for myself, have with the earth that carries it no thing more to do.
154 Only, when I lower my face, so hesitant like a cloth, to smell, I think on a garden. I would have desired to offer my body a work that begins with the walk through the park in the dawn. And my head a calling. Soon I'll hang out of the world. I hear the elevator riding through the cl ock on the wall. When it claps, it rides empty. Sometimes friends come. They're so metimes a wish and sometimes a trouble. The elevator doesn't stop. What does time want. I sense it and know, that it won't become future for any of my friends. Be silent, I say, when all are silent. Look away, it isn't there, death. It is the fever behind my temples. Let be, I say, when it strews years in to me. Let be, when my tongue hacks. Look away, I say. And dying is the last that we do. Like this State dupes the hands. Do you see the traces between us. That is not we. Be silent, I say. I hear the elevator through th e walls ride into the sky. Cold Irons  A small gray man walks on the edge of the park. Above in the trees. The small gray man has on two ha rd shoes like two cold irons.
155 The small gray man takes a lazy coat, an empty dog and two bottles of milk for a walk. The small gray man stops between the high trees. He listens. The wind opens his cranium. The wind closes his cranium. The wind opens and closes his cranium. In a deep Summer  At the edge of the wood walks a green ma n into the field. He has a shaven neck. The green man has a green backpack. Out of the backpack stares a rabbit's head. The blood sticks black dried on both ears. The green man wears a green hat. Over the brim is a silk band with an edelweiss and a feather in it. The feather is from a wild hen. It stands so still, as if the wild hen, in the underbrush or in the flat field, in a deep summer, no longer had the time to scream.
156 Everywhere, where one has seen death: A Summer Journey in the Maramure  The wind drives a whole region over this li ttle train station. It is a smooth cube made of concrete and white like chalk. "Iza it's called, like the river valley, the wide, long, green entwined undergrowth. Four train tracks lie between stones. Behind the train station a mountain runs diagonal ov er their route, lures them like snakes into its wet, dark mouth. Like through a grave the train drives through this tunnel every day. The snakes crawl and the train's wheel shrieks pained, goi ng into its knee, squeal ing shrill, like how iron cries in rust and darkness. The decay swallows the travel ers. It tears through the open window, like a bat, at the curtain. They don't think about death. Their faces are mere engravings. They hold their eyes open senseless. Their tongues talk as if chafed. All the windows are waiting darkly, as if each compar tment were, between the lights behind and before them, a moving reminiscence driven out from memory. In front of the train station stands a m ountain. Its slope is yellow clay and full of holes, as if one were looking into the cente r of a mountain breaki ng open and letting the earth trickle out. Green brambles with dark red berries grow around its rim and hold the clay together. Swallows twitter in a large floc k as if bound fast to each other in the air. A gray dress, printed with black swallow-pattern. Their tones are too high, breaking up on themselves and the strong wind. The swallows fl utter out of the dress. They let its empty cloth drag along the clay and into the red berrie s. The berries shake. None fall off. But the
157 swallows dip their white bellie s into the slope, into the m uddy, fist-deep nests. I don't see them any longer. Their beaks are to o tired and their heads too small. Behind the white cube the roofs crawl down to the street and are a village. Only the undergrowth belongs to the train station, and the convulsi on the wind grabs into the trees with. And a few drunken men in white peasant's shirts, who, with schnapps, stumble. From the village a path leads up to the tr ain station. It's so narrow that you must plant one foot quickly after the other and always walk. Because, when you've stepped onto it, the grass covers your kn ees with brown panicles, the wild margarethas show their white teeth, the step is so steep that th e fine meadow grass touches your brow. The village only has one paved street a nd one can overlook it from the first to the last house like a picture postcard. And because it's Sunday on the picture postcard people are walking up and down the street. White ruffle s flatter around the necks and arms of the girls. And around their hips green pleated skir ts of cashmere with fire-red flowers. The ruffles are pressed onto their skins like foam Foam, that crackles, but doesn't disappear. The men walk slowly swinging, not distor ted by the wind. Like the wind, the schnapps holds, between both eyes, the burning, evenly strong whirl. The men wear fur vests folded lengthwise across their shoulders and across the right half of their backs. And across the left half of their breasts, on a wh ite peasant's shirt, is the summer. And on the right half hangs the sheep's pelt with wool already yellowed, a lost winter day with old
158 snow. Like driven from out of the white ruff le-foam of the women and out of the left, summery half of the men's breasts comes a s hort, scrawny woman in black clothes up the path towards the white cube. Her steps are quicker than her breath. She beats her arms through the air and cries out. Behi nd her a fat man walks silent with a black hat. He walks slowly. He has no more air for walking behi nd her cry. And behind him walk silently three, same-aged women shrouded in the same black cloth. The crying woman stands before the train tracks. Her face is wrinkled, her eyes wet and small. She cries deaths lament. The fat man approaches her, grabs cautiously with both hands into her terro r. Her body holds still, only her tongue, her lips find no halt. The three black clothed, same-aged women whine in measure and silently, staring at the sobbing one, the oldest, as if they had been le ft back seven or four teen years behind her seasons, behind the summers and the winters of the partitioned backs. As if in this difference in age were the reason to lament a nd the reason to silence. As if the fat man were an a commandment for their tears. The lamenting woman doesn't come too cl ose to the white train station cube. She positions herself on the last strip of grass, ne xt to the rose hip bush, avoids the waiting people yet torments them with her cry. Thr ough this distance she wa nts to damn with a cold breath the train tracks, the trains, the tr avelers, until the tunnel swallows them all. Behind the train window her hand is so sma ll, as if in the last moment, beneath
159 the first hunks of earth, she had escaped from the undertakers and the coffin. It's already becoming dark in the compartment, already the wheel screams. Already I talk with myself to be there in the darkness. My ey es stay open, becoming rigid and cold. I sense the bat. The wind rips light hay from the wooden racks upon the meadows. Lightning bolts throw their scythes into the grasses. The thunder rolls over the train. The trees don't drip healthy and green. Drowned in their mirrors, drowned in the rain are their leaves. On the path's edge sit two chickens. They shiver. Their legs are full of mud and the skin of their toes is washed pale by wate r. The claws are pointed and dark like thorns. I think of the flesh-red sandals that I saw in the little disp lay window of a shoe store in the city. The toe-caps were slanted down st eep by the high heels. Before them lay a card that read "Turkey leather sandals." I heard the hammers pounding in th e gray room of the cobbler's. Nails on wood. In a bag I saw shin ing fasteners, and wooden lasts like feet were set next to one another on the table. The cobbler bites his lip and sweats, and breathes. Now I see the half-wild turkey in th e burdock. Its head is dark and doesn't know what's happening to it. His feathe rs are dark. Only the blade of the knife in the moment of slaughter can be flesh red. And the rock from the mineral exhibition in old-town can also be flesh red. In glass cases reddish lungs and hearts, ossified, coiled intestin es. Gray petrified brain and
160 pink the amnesia therein, with glimmer. Cold glisten the black needles, grown together into clumps. They permit no other colors. Devour themselves. And next to the wall the white lagoon out of rigid drops. It tears at my eyes and covers me. Out of cryolite, a bed for a child, for a dead face that resembles nobody No one may lie in there, and no one die in there. And under the sky, enclosed in high, wa lled fences, I see the Jewish cemetery. Gray stones in meadow grass on the side of the street. Two men mow the reddish brown panicles like hair. Humans like grass. Wild margarethas with white teeth, blue bells and leaves like arrows. How is this cycle of small, dark red cherries here in the cemetery trees. Large crows sit on the branches and spit out bloody kernels. How do the cherries taste, how does this hay taste. From where are the black bilberries that I buy from a farmer woman with dark blue hands. I eat. My teeth are black and my mouth bitter. There stands the big black stone, the monument for 38,000 Jews from the Muramaresch, who were deported to Auschwitz in May 1944 and gassed. There I stand before the white, tentacled candleholder that can't flicker. My fingers are black from the bilberries. And, if I had to die now, my hair would be no brush, my bones no flour. My death would be German like the death of my father. He was in the SS, returned to the village after the war, got married and begat me. Then he car ried the candlelight up the Christmas tree twenty more times. Twenty times he lived into the new year. Ten years before his death the poet Paul Celan leapt into the water with the Jewish pain of Bukovina. The death of my father was the death of a sickness.
161 No tour-guide refers to this monument. I am humiliated by my German father and once more defamed and betrayed by th e silence of Romanian history. A man with two water jugs walks over the railway bridge in Oberwischau. His shirt is damp. His face is small and older than he is. He speaks German, Zipser German. His father was, like everyone here, in the SS. Which of the streets of this city was once the Jewish quarter. And later the Jewish ghe tto. Three blond girls sit on benches. They're wearing old-fashioned dresses too heavy for the season and thin necklaces with crosses. They speak German. Even when they laugh, even they're silent. The trees of this small, bleak park sense the late summer. Yellow leaves fall onto the benches, into the paths. Two blond girls walk by wearing white bobby socks for the stroll into the town evening. The Zipser girls remained German: they walk arm-in-arm, they whisper and giggle. They look with always blue eyes at the soldiers. >>See, die Deitsche waren gute Leute, bevor der Hitler ist gekommen. (...) Als der Hitler gekommen, all became different: sudden then a big hate's there.<< (Pain unto death. A life-report of Baila Rosenberg-Fr iedmann from Oberwischau in >>Neue Literatur<< Nr. 7, 1984, P. 45.) The Jewish cemet ery is far above on the hill. Four Jewish families still live strewn in Oberwischau. In 1942 5,000 Jews lived here, 1946 32 survivors returned from the deportation. Th e delirium, printed in numbers, on white paper. At the top of the entryway into the vi llage Moisei stand tw elve high, white stone pillars in a circle. The monument is called "The Martyrs of Moisei" for the 29 victims
162 who escaped the work camp at Oberwischau and were shot on October 14, 1944 by the Horthy's adherents. Twelve cryolite beds, coffins and humans the same. Geometric, distorted are their eyes, and cheeks, and mouths in scream, incised into the stone. In the air over the Tannenallee death is allowed to hush itself. Below, the stones are given over to the tourists. Women's and men's names, h earts and arrows are smeared on the stones. And the urgent wish of a chance visitor: "I wanna fuck you." Maybe the grass breaks in the sun. The water of the Wischau always sounds the same tone. Women sit at the river and wash th eir laundry. It foams white like the ruffles of the blouses around their hands. The hanging bridge swings mellow. I am weighted. I hold myself fast onto the thin landing. I see the red berries on the s hore and sense myself not. Through the white bloom ing potato field walks a child with a cassette recorder. Romanian folk music laments over the poison green leaves. The child looks over to me, doesn't stop, walks in the rhythm of the song. The potato plants conceal the cassette recorder. I see the walking child with closed mouth and hear from out of the plants the song of lament, as if the child's steps were singing. The child walk deep into the meadow. The song hangs in the grass. The hill swallowed the child. A lizard sits in the middle of the path. It hears me and slithers so quickly as if it would leave its skin in front of me. It crawls into the crev asse, into the earth. Chunks of earth slide out behind it. What am I seeking he re, my foot is heavy. I am death for the lizard. The sun burns, I am no blade of gra ss, am no bush. I am a stone, walking stone. An accident in the grasses. I am burdened to the point of being smothered. The wild
163 margarethas bloom, and I am my own wearin ess. What am I seeking in the meadow. What am I seeking in the meadow made of wood in S pn a, which is called The Cheerful Cemetery. The graves go by, I st and still. The grave mounds are flat. Grown over with flowers and small, as if the dead had shrunken, pressed back once more by the rigidity of the coffin into the water of memory, into the time when one learns to walk and speak. Into the cryolite bed made for a child. The wooden crosses are a penetrating blue, the incised adornments painted garish bright with wooden flowers a nd deep outlined, poison-green leaves. The similarity of these crosses, of their size, of their color, of their form is unusual for those dying in bed, for singular, broken-off years of life. So are soldiers ceme teries with th eir collective death, far from home, in many identical uniform s. The Cheerful Graveyard is sold to the visitors with an admission fee as an artwork by Ion Stan Patra from S pn a. It was founded by him in 1935, it says on the entry gate and on the postcards, on which one can't see the church. Founded, as if nobody had died in the years before then, as if in this village death were the decision of a mad-humored artist, who brought himself into his own artwork in 1980. Because Ion Stan Patra died in 1980. He was buried before the church entrance, in the cemeterys center beneath the largest, self-carved cross. He sculpted his self-portrait into the cross. His eyebrows are t oo thick and black, too thick is his throat in this image. Did his hands sh ake as he was painting the flat wooden cheeks with the color of pale skin. Like all the crosses stands on his the folk saying about the transformation of the dead: Many State Leader s of many countries have visited him and
164 all were welcomed. The church is closed off, God is shut in. Over the graves fans the wind. Death holds its place in this cemete ry with the rhyme: Im stronger than you/ Just look at me Christ./ For I am ugly death/ I carry all off into the ea th, standing on the big wooden cross before the cemetery fence. Above it is painted the laughing, pitch black man, death and devil. He has two silver horns, silver ribs and a silver scythe. Scythes slash through the grass. The w ild margarethas fall over, the brown panicles lay over one another. It smells of hay. Women and men stand barefoot in black rubber boots behind the scythes. Foresters walk with ax in hand, alone, diagonally into the hills, into the wood of the forests. Tract ors throw dust over rutted paths. In the courtyards hang violet, green, re d strands of wool like wigs to dry in the sun. The women dye the sheeps wool with herbs, with flower s and leaves. Their hands have the color of the plants, weaving and withering li ke the hills overgrown with color. The looms are made of wood. They stand in the rear courty ards. The white, long-haired wool blankets are snow upon the fences, are heavy and silent, like the loneliness of the hands, of the wool, of the wood. I could buy it, this loneline ss. I could lay a white blanket in my room, walk barefoot through the wool. I could cove r myself and close my eyes like sleep. I could lie endlessly in the cr yolite bed, so long that I know nothing more of myself. How often are the men upon the meadow and in the forest, the women in the potato haulms and at the looms, the childre n alone beneath the fruit trees and on the
165 hanging bridge. Singular and precise they pr actice every moment that their bodies can bear. And when their blood suddenly stops, de ath reaches them unsuspecting in one of these grips, steps, looks, th at one calls labor. How often do they rehearse death, until it enters, until its called accident. The short lifetime of the dead is illuminated in the sayings and on the portraits of the crosses. Most of those ly ing in the Cheerful Cemetery died from ages 20 to 50 in labor accidents in the forest or on the tractor, in traffic accidents with train or automobile, from alcoholism. Added to that are the illn esses of the young women and infant mortality. On the roofs stand the small, wooden crosses, before the houses stand the large, blue crosses. Jesus has the angular, sad face of the icons, is powerless and despite its religiosity allows everything to happ en with the life in this region. The village between two towns is called Totendorf. Clay huts without fences, so that the doorways are already st reets. Gypsy women in long flow er skirts sit in the grass. Here all cooking and eating, all smoki ng, crying and laughing goes on in the open. Horses graze and naked children run around the house. Here is the ghetto of the gypsies. Totendorf is, like all villages here, a street side made of wooden houses. I see the drunken man lying between the river and the tracks. He rolls around in the grass and will stay overnight here. Its evening, the clouds are red. Dragonflies fly downstream. Theyre black, bringing darkness. Maybe they all spend the night in the same tree. The red clouds disperse in the water. The hanging bridge creaks, because
166 nobody walks upon it. I hear the whistling. I hear the wheels cry. An evening train comes. One car, two, and a third rustles in the willow tree. The train is short. If the drunkard now lay sleeping upon the tracks, each wheel would suffice for his death. The air is thick and warm, the rooms window is open. In the yard of the shelters, leaning on the wooden wall of the pig-pen, th e last drunkards sing Black Chamois. The pigs dig up the earth. I hear them biting and struggling with the stones. In the middle of the yard on the bare concrete sits a man on a chair. He holds a girl with a white foaming blouse on his thighs. He grabs her beneath th e skirt. She giggles. Now she sits on the stool silent. He moans like while mowing, when the hill is steep and the grass too high. The moon turns. A black dragonfly sits in the moon, gazes with a lifeless look, laces up its glassy wings. Holds itself onto life. Devours stars and leaves. This man and this woman have, when it becomes day and they feel nothing more of each other, conceived a child in drunkenness, who, always, when it wants to sleep, senses the black, stony dragonfly in the moon. Its a holiday: holy Elijah. People swi ng on the hanging bridge, walk over the path. Small and under-age they carry honey, and flour, and bread through the meadows into the cloister. The monks sing the icons to sleep and bless the honey, the flour, the bread, and the hair of the kn eeling women with gray smoke. I see minced dill stuck to the cheese. The dough is baked in oil. The oil sticks, the cake is cold. I bite. I swallow and know, that be hind the wall of pastri es flaps a black flag
167 on a house, and behind the fence in the yard fl aps the white coffin cloth. Behind the desk stands an old man. I pressed money into his hand. He watches how I eat. His gaze presses on my larynx. A lizard is going to come, I taste it in the dough. Itll set itself on his cheeks, on his decomposing face like sick skin. On the wall hangs a sign: We serve not without money/ Not the noblest man in the worl d/ If one gives then he rejoices/ Ask him about it and hes plain dumb. This woman aged fifty years, lying now behind the wall, in the yard beneath the coffin cloth. Her hands are folded. Soon shell be carried to the lizards underneath the hill. The grass will devour, the white margarethas will be turning rich and white. Before the coffin stand three daughters. They wail laments of death in rhymes: Mother mine, please dont go/ Then does it pain my heart so They cry as often and as loud as the ceremony demands, letting the head-shakes and hear-tearings and ha nd-wringings writhe through their bodies until the moment when the ceremony demands silence. Suddenly they stop lamenting, break off the pain, as if the dark water were receding in their eyes. Women and men sit in a square on long benc hes around the coffin. Like at the folk festivals. Choreography of spectators. They te ll stories of mowing in grass, of felling in forests. Between the benches buckets of wa ter are being pulled along past the covered knees. The white pot is passed from hand to hand. With moist eyes and puckered mouth each drinks as much as the other from the same vessel. Six buckets of water, eight buckets, ten. I count and miscount, lose th e number on my tongue. I know theyll drink all the buckets empty. Theyll drink a well of water. Theyll carry a well of water through
168 the streets, so that walking is heavy and sad, in corteg behind the dead. The coffin bearers have white handkerchiefs hanging on their coats. A child walks in front of the coffin. It carries a wooden cross. Before its face hangs a ring-cake. Woven, like a wreath made of dough, it hangs on the cr oss, before the eyes of the child, on a black band. Eating and drinking. And death. On the tr ees flutter leaves. Through the edge of my teeth I sense the opaque magnet of deat h standing in my breat h and everywhere, in every body. The coffin is open. The ridge of the nose higher than th e hands beneath the veil. The cryolite bed sways there on the shoulders. The body lies flat. Only the tips of the dead's shoes are upright. In the yard, wher e the grass is smothered from the coffin, the tables are being set. White bed-sheets are tablecloths on the long, raw wood. Large bowls with bread and meat, bottles with schnaps a nd beer wait for the f uneral meal after the burial. How will they fill their be llies once again. When the dragonfly flies into the moon, their eyes will glisten from drunkenness, as if it were ground water, the dark water from out of the graves. While they snat ch up food and drink, th e groundlessness, the dregs of their life co llapses. The moon is glaring, the grass is black. A few nights will pass. The moon will grow. Or it will fall. Soon the magnet of death will again take for itself one of the many sitting here. I see the white bedsheets move from one house into the other.
169 I see the white bed-sheets move into the dresses of the brides. Snow-land is around their legs; water-foam, driven away by th e end of the coffin cloth, is the veil over their hair. How many photo shops are in th e cities. Unknown wedding couples in pre-War display windows, set in fingerwide gaps behind the glass. Br ides shoes in the grass, a tree hangs its deepest branch into the picture. So the white is already captured from above and below. The black suit of every groom covers, in shadowy embrace, the bridal white that belongs to him. The white cryolite bed with its black pillow stands in the grass. And onto the back falls the sky. How old is this marriage beneath the fir tree. How often has this young man gone down into the mines since then, into the pit ou tside the city. And how much stone have his lungs already inha led. And this woman, how has she rubbed off her hands with pumice stone every night because the machine oil eats into her pores. And there she goes on payday with her salary envelope, passing by the display window of the shoe store. The flesh red turkey sandals went through her head, the narrow shoe tips pressed on her for one step like a wish. But at the next step she already knew that fall is coming, that her husband needs new underwear that her child needs a winter-coat. For the fortieth time I see the pink summer blouses in the graduation photo displayed in the pharmacy window. Forty nurses nod their curly-haired heads. They smile into the city. One doesnt see their hands. The long vaccination needle stands upright on the photo. Dark blue, painted in oil, it is a splinter from the wooden meadow of the Cheerful Cemetery. Under the needle stands: Auf Wiedersehen 1995. Ten-year reunion in the sign of a vaccination needle, at the long table of the faded nurses. Their
170 hair will be thin, their fingers swollen. When they laugh, the first wr inkles will appear at the corners of their eyes, c overed in pink make-up, the ti ps reaching around to their temples like a needle. Ten years, from out of the white bed-sheets. And one will see, when they dance the tango, how a white tra il rolls itself out behind their high-heeled shoes. And how the white is besmirched thick with blood. Like sick men, sick women with a fear of death in th eir gazes hold out bribe money to not to die so early. The sun is too red and the asphalt malleable. Block housing without shadows. Women walking. Behind them the stigmata of high-heeled shoes remain in the asphalt. Brown legs. And their calves burn. Where should I look when the turkey with the lifeless feathers has no place in heaven. A man with naked torso climbs out of the lorry, a chauffeur. He goes a bit by foot. A dark blue dagger is tattooe d on his breast. Beneath the daggers tip two drops of blood. With suicide on his skin he walks beneath the trees. I see him drive over the hairpin bends, alone, from kilometer stone to kilomete r stone with a dagger. Will he rehearse an accident on the long way. The dagger is moist. It sweats. He sweats. It breathes. He breathes. Black fuzzy hair grows around its gr ip. The dagger is so blue like the vaccine needle, just like the bilberri es that dont know where their bitter taste grew. The dagger is like the Cheerful Cemetery. Hydrangea bloom gray in the street dust. No scent, and pale violet, and already suffocated. Shadow addicted. Only rustling. Summer-short, now soon at the end. Over the
171 edge of the city, over the tips of the hills, dr ive black trucks. Black strollers, crammed one behind the other. Filled with black pillows. Th e tip of the hill is a blade through the sky. The trucks take my eyes along. Beneath the hill is a path of coal and a path of salt. A hollowed out stone is unde r the hill. A cryolite bed. Black like the trucks, pressed close one behind the other, hang the carpets on the walls of the churches. The gifts of the dea d. Theyre brought to the church in coffins. Clouds of consecration smoke, sad icons, make prayer into suffering. The black carpet with cyclamen-red roses and gr een leaves is ten meters long, hanging along the landing of the gallery. Ten meters of sadness, weaved by hand, by an old woman. I see the hill from the inside, the path of the lizards, the road of the trucks on the carpet. The flowers are too large, as if swollen. The leaves are too round, as if inflated. The flowers and leaves are hasty. Snow-laden winter, maddening hot summer, they shoot forth. The old woman breathed quickly. She sensed that de ath was coming beneath the edges of her fingernails. Eats away at the fingers. Monuments, cemeteries, churches. Himmler was in Oberwischau twice, visited the Jewish ghetto personally and proofed th e list of dead. Accidents, sicknesses. The meadows sway. The Cheerful Cemetery in S pn a is a cynical cemetery. I sense the time. It is no year. Is wood, and meadow, and mine shaft. What does the dragonfly seek in the moon, the lizard in the chee k, the turkey in the rain. Does the word Peace thats engraved onto the beam over the gate of the party-
172 committee of Moisei mean the Peace of the church: The Peace be with you. Or does it mean the Peace through hammer and sickle. Sloga ns in the yard and on the walls, little belfries on the roof. The clock on the tip of the tower illumine s the metal. The stairs are white, the doors closed. The windows are bright and empty. The sleep of the stones is magnificent. The river silences, suffers its str eam of oily water trickling over the reddish rock. Has no look, no mirror image for the palace of the functionaries. The fields ride with the train. Corn flap s with its narrow, kinked leaves. Tobacco fields, velvety green with pink funneling buds. Hemp that falls heavily with its own weight into blackness. Sunflower fields. Where do they look to at this stage, shortly after departure. All the buds turn their heads in the same direction, towards the sun. As if there were, beneath the earth, the field wide, a ma gnet. Or above in the sky, large like a landscape, a dictator. In my compartment sits a summery functiona ry in a light colored suit. Next to him sits his fat, moody wife and his twenty-yea r old daughter, over wound from years long flirting without result. With tired, pouty face she looks out onto the corridor and sucks, between bent fingers artfully drawn away fr om her lips, on a long, foreign cigarette. The functionary wife drinks wa ter from a bottle with puckered mouth. She swallows inconspicuously, catches a drop with he r fingernails. Now her stomach growls. Behind the sunflowers, between the earthy magnet and the sunflower-people dictator, lies a spa. The summery functionary disembarked, tripped on the gravel path in
173 his bright pants with both hi gh-heeled women. He looked after the train a long time, as if he knew how meaningless his position was, how powerful the magnet of death in the earth, how near the pointer finge r of the dictator over his he ad. His wife calls, shows him the biggest suitcase. In the compartment, shortly before disembarking, his face unconsciously mimicked the rigid shadow the long, steep path ascending in the hierarchy. He hasnt taken over a high position from his superiors, only the grinding of molars between short sentences. In the town 's park, where the benches are crammed up next to one another, hell hear the public opinion, remind himself about the night class lecture where he learned that the consciousness of social development is lagging. Hell read the newspaper daily, so that he doesnt lose the red thread of his office. Hell forbid his daughter, between the lines, to go into the forest. Evenings his wife will say to him that the sunflower fields are reeking up into the room. Hell silenc e himself. Behind the curtain hell see a small cloud and the n earby pointer-finger of the dictator. The teacher woman bought a foreign ballp oint pen from a gypsy who walks from one compartment to another, who holds elec tronic wristwatches, Yugoslavian chewinggum and peppermint bonbons. She holds up the pen and shows the schoolchildren the woman wearing black clothes who stands insi de of it. She turns it upside down. The dress runs down, the woman gets naked. The teacher laughs, turns the pen. Comrade, asks a schoolchild, where does the bl ack dress disappear to. Girls and boys walk in groups through the city. The belfry clock of the party
174 committee marks midday. It doesnt ring. The gi rls and boys wear western clothes: Jeans with rivets, zippers, buttons a nd T-shirts printed with Cocacola, Elvis, Manhattan, Kiss me. In this sand gray city between display windows that show year-old fish conserves, gray noodle packages and dusty ma rmelade glasses. Passports are rare. The border is a strip of barbwire watched ove r by soldiers and dogs. Everyone who goes through this midday has heard a bout escape attempts, about those of the same age, who were shot, shredded by dogs, beaten to death. There are no cemeteries, no monuments for them. Then I must wonder, like the child in the compartment asking about the black dress: where do the bodies that try to escape disappear to. There swims the dead turkey in the summer clothes. The black breath of bilberries lies upon its skin. Behind the faces grows the slow metamorphosis: the aging between office and free-time, imprisoned in this land. He re Manhattan, like the dagger tattoo, is an escape attempt, a measure of d eath on the skin. Here the white Kiss me printed t-shirt is a cryolite bed. Antennae forests on the block housing units They finger. The evening twilights. The light turns gray. The sun has a spot of blood. The roofs of the new housing development melt together into a dead, borde rless place. The place is set full with black music stands. The walls of the block housing units are like the night. The windows hang in blue television light. Around 22 oclock the fatherland goes to sleep: the taverns have closing hours. The Romanian television stat ion has cut-off hours. The windows shimmer
175 until midnight. With these antennae in this area you get Hungarian and Soviet television programs. The train station is a terminal station. The tracks stop before the Soviet border. A man lies on the lawn near the rose shrubs. Hi s hat is pressed under the grass by the back of his head. A cassette player lies upon his be lly and plays a song of lament. In the park sits an old man. He has a liquor bottle in his ha nd, drinks and stares at his shoes. Next to him on the bench stands a cassette player. He sings about how man drinks away his last money out of sorrow. In the train compar tment sit two boys. Eating green apples and looking out the window. The hills fly. Big yello w flowers run out from the speed. Next to the boys the cassette recorder sings the lament of the poor man not allowed to love the rich girl. On the sidewalks of the cities swim s music. Cassette players are a type of purse for the men in this area. Between the cities, along the forests edge two men in shorts walk. Their backpacks are higher than their heads. Their steps are even. They go on past the tin signs: Whoever has forest in the future will have gold, says one. And the other, behind the bend: Fell no tree before you ha vent planted seven more. Between both men, on the hands turned towards one another, hangs a tape apparatus. Two guitarists with artists beards sta nd on the restaurants stage. The drummer sweats. Both female voices sing in English. In their pinafore dr esses and white highheeled sandals they prance in measure. The ol der woman is in late pregnancy, sways her belly self-consciously to the song. Anothe r child grows singing without premonition, on
176 the law that dictates re -population on a plan. Ea ch woman four births. The midday turns over in the cloud s. Behind the new boulevard lies the construction rubble of the suburbs. Walls of houses, big snapped nut trees in dust. A herd of half-naked children runs barefoot over the hunks of stone The children play war. Cry like distraught poultry thats r un too far away from home. Run diagonal over the street to the truck-stop. Over all farmers, men in vests, women with cashmere skirts over seeded with flowers. Their striped, handwoven shoulderbags sit on the floor in th e summer gardens of the restaurants. Are stuffed full with bread. Th e women blow beer foam from the glasses. It flies like the pointed ruffles of the white blouses. They drink the glasses empty in a single draught. In the cars peasant women sit at the st eering-wheel. Five or seven faces, men and children, sit pressed together in the car. In the truck-stops st and the waiting ones. Mountains of striped shoulderbags full w ith bread. Children stand, and sit, and lie between the packs. Crying, sleeping, eating yellow, dri pping pears drawing buzzing flies. At the train station of Un terwischau is announced over the loud-speaker that bread has arrived. In the grocery store behind the train station the farmers help unload. The loaves are passed like bricks at a constructi on site from hand to hand into the store. The train station employees run around the bread. The railway workers ride their bicycles from distant depots to the store.
177 The meat shops are empty. Onions and shrivelled squash reek in the vegetable markets. Many children have neve r seen chocolate. I see the la rge hasty steps of the bread merchants. The loaves are flat and cracked like their faces. I hear the steps and hear the great silence of the nation in those loaves. Men, and women, and children sit around th e table. They eat bread, and bread, and bread. To be able to work in the forest and in the mine, the men eat bread. To be able to rinse clothes in the river or to stand at the assembly line, the women eat bread. To be able to swing on the hanging bridge or r un over the rubble, the children eat bread. To grow, to become large and to work. And to be able to eat bread later, the children eat bread. And when theyve eaten bread three times, a day has passed. It will be winter. The firewood chips wait in bundles in the housing project districts, on the balconies. On the ground floor are empty rooms. Its evening. Th ere above the back steps walk chickens and sheep go to sleep in the housing blocks. I see the turkey's dark feathers in the undergrowth. When their flesh has grown be neath the feathers, beneath the wool, the hunger is a knife with flesh red blade. Only the drunken woman doesn't buy bread. She dances with the bottle between the tracks. The bottle turns with her. The li quor is clear and has a burning point. The sun hangs angled on the hill. The old woman dances her intoxication away. Her legs are thin, her shoes torn up. Now her hair flies. Soon her throat flies away from her. Soon her
178 temples will fall onto her heart. Soon her skin will flow underneath the grass, into the hill. I tear myself away from this place. I become senseless. I ride home. Like the shimmer of a surface is that word. Is nothing but another common sense. My own, that so often breaks me. This place didnt sense me. It hurt me. But everywhere, where one has seen death, one is a little at home. Staying to Go  fr Richard Where is this place. Furthermore over the morning the day to me is so few like never. Where do I talk, with whom, except w ith my, with your, humility-black mouth. I wear this year yet to its end, the branch and the leaf. And I ask: how old is this tree, this autumn half in life. I still wear the water in my gaze, still the staying to go. Here we stand, beloved, at the next, at the farthest tree and in autumn. And we know: I have a word still, still a small, a teari ng saw in myself. I have still to talk for the water in my gaze. So that I can still lift my gaze, I have to say, who makes our lips so heavy, who makes our word so small and so few like never.
179 So that I can still wear my lips, I ha ve to show my, your, humility-black mouth. The mole with pale claws. My Minor German, My Fight [123-124] Flying birches through the train. How much will the white stems attribute to me. What will they trust me to do. How much. Does the shimmer remain preserved. How long yet, the illusion. How long yet, the license. Cafeteria and asphalt. And hair salons and shimmer naked trees. Who cuts. The fingernails fall out of the scissors into the cookies. The eyelash is one from us both. Recognize it on his eye I can not. It lies in the wash basin. Shocks in the water. Evening wind in the morning in the stairways. Abandoned paper and raw. The knots already rustle in my throat. Should the day trust itself in the wheels, so naked step into the city. With the birches in its neck over the S-Bahn station its ribs are doubled. Arrived like not there. On the sand like on the shore. And slower than anywhere the insight falters for me. My language trai n and my minor German. The clouds wear the gray mantel. How thin the platform's edge is the rail from one temple to the other. How hollow cheeked you beat in me. And when I want to silence, then you act so, as if the asphalt would give itself for forest green shoots of corn fields in my head. My minor German, now you're being contacted. Now the threads become string
180 for you. I become rid of you, now you remain preserved for me. My fight. My Auslnder consciousness. Yorkstrae and lying over the yards, wher e the silent plants pair up for mourning. And Priesterweg, where the wake thins. Ma rie as old woman's voice in the towns. Have the shadows of never grown leaves stolen into me. Behind the leaves the sun has to be standing. How the birches split up, when the rail fl ies. How much will they attribute to me, the white stems. How much. How little.
181 Appendix 1: Examples from Translator's Introduction In order to demonstrate the two styles of tr anslation outlined in the first part of this chapter, I'd like to analyze a few moments of my own translation work in order to show their limits, capacities, and modes. The intersec tions of these styles will be demonstrated, with the hope that they are shown not to be contradictory, but rather different in their process and in their capacity to interpret. Because, following Brecht, I think that the process of reflexion or rehearsa l appears in the actual translat ion itself, the examples also conflate the interpretative limits of either style with their process of actually translating. Because they are process oriented concepts, the demonstrations laid out remain exemplary, and are surely not exhaustive. The first example is not specific to th is translation, but expresses a possibly universal preference in translation of German to English: should I translate the German man as one or you? Before relating this problem to a context, it is worth discussing what is at stake in this translation. The German man is the universal third person pronoun, or, following Benveniste, the ex emplary pronoun of the subjective impersonal. In German, the word is not ambi guous concerning its universal reference: if man does that in this situation, everybody in this situation does that, whereby any variations from that impersonal norm will become immediately clear. The word is not definitively colloquial or literary. In Eng lish, you and one are distinct words that
182 come to share the function of the subj ective impersonal pronoun, which otherwise remains abstract in their other uses. In turn, th is means that the functi on itself is abstract from the perspective of the available Englis h vocabulary, a function that might be evoked through a multitude of means. Although this asse rtion might seem speculative, or merely logical, it shows that when we discuss this translative decision, we discuss the direct application of a grammatical function, and thereby contest it s various uses. We have to ask: what does this function do in our experience of English, and what can it do? Does it really serve the same function as the fi rst and second personthe denotation of a discursive entity, co-dependent on its interl ocutoror does it do something different? It should be clear by now that in asking this question, we are already performing a literal translation. We are seeking to conceive of the totality of expressions that can be conceived of and produced in a single word. The line of reasoning employed by literal translation for going through this process is th at, in order to adequately account for the potentials contained within th e word for defining, predicating, or de-predicating words that stand next to it, we must reflect on all the processes that enter into the production of this word's sense. In doing that, we interrupt its standard value and are able to make a strategic use of it. We are thus not only reflecting on the difference between you and one in relation to man as a philological investigat ion, but are performing this philological investigation immane nt to a complex of particul arsthe textthat situate us philologists. The justification for deciding on this word in foreignizing translation begins from
183 the other end. It first asks: What is the standa rd value of this word or function? If the word you connotes a discursive relation betw een co-dependent interlocutors in English, and if the word one, as in one does it this way here, appears as official, stiff, dictionary language, the foreigni zing translation then examines the context in which it works. Its primary moment is associational, wherefrom it looks back to historical forms that possibly interrupt this im mediate contemporary associatio n. In order to decide on the evocation of the foreign, it then asks how the word-tobe-translated appears in the original: Is it translating a colloquial phrase from German? Is it tran slating the speech of the grandfather in Big Black Axle? If so, how will translating this word affect the characterization of the grandfather? Will he appear pedantic in English, or relaxed and generous? Is it a matter of imitating a certain attitudemaybe tired, overburdened with experiencefrom German, or interrupt ing this attitude in English? In order to negotiate this position, the fo reignizing translator chooses the term which is most universally unfamiliar in English. Thus, in immediate discourse between two people that does not concern a univer sal claim, the common you would be supplanted by the foreignizing tr anslation to one, applying th e rhetorically strange term in order to highlight the transl atedness of the whole. Even if all the other words in the sentence seem more or less intuitive, the tactical positioning of the one interrupts the fluidity of the reading experience. The read er might say, Damn translationese!, then continue on, or she be forced to meditate more rigorously on what the grandfather might be saying, whereas otherwise she might have read the sentence intu itively. Even though
184 she might present the character to herself in an entirely different way depending on this one word, she will have been forced to pause and think, which is the goal of foreignizing translation; it wants to denaturalize all the se ntences in an explicit, strategic manner. The extant intonations of character in the English translation might be remain unclear to the foreignizing translator, but she will be aware that the reader has been forced to make a momentary pause in what otherwise might be a fluent experience. In comparison, we see how the two styl es overlap, and the moments that are excludedthat remain unconsciousfor either one. For literal translation, the effect on the reader remains determinately indeterminate. Because it presumes that the reader is an irrecoverable, singularly conti ngent site of application, it can not make a claim as to how a translation might affect a reader. All it can do is measure the degrees of affectation themselves. If it reflects on each variation of you and one in English, it might decide on grounds of exclusion of a particular sense, or on grounds of a determinate interpretation: the grandfather should say one, because he is the site where knowledge of regional life gathers, showing his stat ements regarding the sick man to have a mediated, observational tone that might be interrupted by the colloquial you. For foreign translation, the gamut of grammatical, associational, and inte nsive considerations remain unconscious, as they are placed in se rvice of the end of f oreignization. It does not reflect on these, because it is aware that as translation, these se nses are contingent on their being in-translation. If they only maintain their sense insofar as they are persistently translated a particular way, th e translator can create explicit variation by
185 moving against the standard value of each word. Th is act is thus critical in its immediacy. It presumes that, because it has a determin ate effect on the reader, it also has a determinate effect on the range of meanings that could possibly turn up in reflection on that word. Thus, the critical point of reflecti on is on the range of meanings that reader in this socio-historical cu lture would come up with in reading this word. My preference for literal translation rest s on this final point. Because foreignizing translation presumes a certain knowledge of the reader, its critical function is limited to a sphere of meaning defined by its contempor aneity. Highlighting that the translation occurs as a highlighting in this culture, and may occur otherwise in another. Its effects on literary history and canon are also limited to th is extent, showing that the past is another manifestation of the present, or is a present pa st, because only this pa rticular canonicity is affected. On the other hand, if we translate man as one, we must be aware of the range of implications this has in the totality of this work, which is in turn affected by the totality of linguistic functions in English. If we translate man differently in this story, which sort of affects will that give rise to on the grounds of our reflections? Which sort of affects won't it give rise to? These questions are cons iderations of a range of appearances, which are then manifested in a continge nt moment upon which they are capable of reflecting; on the other hand, it is a con tingent moment that produces a range of unpredictable effects, and must be conceived of us such. The second example is the consistent tr anslation of the Germ an zittern as to quiver in Big Black Axle. A butterfly, a m oustache, and a particular yard of grass all
186 quiver in this story, whereby the contextual specificity of this rarely used word seems to be lost, turning it into a common action that a multitude of entities are capable of performing. It is de-contextua lizing the English verb through a German verb that is perfectly contextually specific, which in turn transforms the word into a formal motif. This is a clear example of the foreignizing approach, and could find its theoretical roots in Schleiermacher's essay: the English language becomes German in this mode, and the concern about whether zittern is a common verb or not disappears. It is not the tone of the verb zittern that we attempt to reach, but rather the unusual intonation of the word quiver taken into English, whereby it contains as part of its meaning the foreigness of the German zittern left as a trace. Englis h becomes musical. There is no etymological connection to be forged, showing the two often etymologically related languages to diverge on this point, displaying their radical difference from one another. This in turn interrupts the historical unity of both languages, demonstr ating that, at this particular momentand what is language but a composition of particularsthey are essentially translations of one another. Where the connection between languages comes into question, the foreignizing appr oach is capable of showing them to be in-translation, whereby its presumption of an original and de rivative dissolves in its favor. The literal approach only adds its categories of judgmen t here, but the quality of this translation continues to be a dynamic one at a level th at produces an experience of multiple quantities of expressive force. In this exampl e, the foreignizing approach finds its home: not only in showing the text to be a transl ation, but in showing th at the languages are
187 essentially translations of one another. This is why it is difficult to understand why Venuti claims that translation is essentially ethnocentric and appropriation, since his own approach has the capacity to prove otherwise. The third example is the translation of mitmachen as participate in Dictator or Dog. This translative decision is an at tempt to show Venuti's theory in action. The statement: Mach mit. Das ist aus 'mit' und 'machen,' is a deadpan joke in German, which in this context underscores its speaker's military tone. Translating this sentence as literally as possible, the best combination is: P articipate. That's from 'pars' and 'capere.' It takes the Latin roots of the word, and l eaves them without d eclination and without conjugation. It is thoroughly strange, is not a deadpan joke in English, and never could be. It is essentially a runt of translation, displaying th e absolute foreigness of the translative work on the surface of the page; it has no nuance, but is just strange and uncommon. If everything else on the page were translated as accurately as possible, this moment would interrupt th e reading experience enough to force the reader into questioning the translated nature of the text, a nd ask herself about how the rest of the text was translated. Because this in terruption is so catastrophic, I think that the reader might be led to question the translator's motivations and capacities, as well as to question the accuracy of the rest of the work. Although the po etic implications of this interruption are interesting, and might be wort h elaborating, the translation' s extreme level of catastrophe runs the risk of anni hilating the rest of the text. In other words, it might destroy the subtlety of the rest of the translation in its extremity, especially if Venuti presumes that
188 his typical reader maintains a certain illusion regarding the fluency or naturalness of translated texts. Consistent with Venuti's experimental reasoning, I think that the foreignizing theory of translation does not provide stipulat ions as to how to decide on this case, or how far to foreignize in this case. The transl ation as pars capere is indeed the most literal possible, but it is also extremely dangerous. If it appears in an especially difficult piece like Dictator or Dog, any accuracy execut ed in the rest of th e text might become effaced by the pars capere that calls that accuracy into question, thereby leaving the text in a superficial state of instability that deters the reader from the translation as a whole. At this point, a theory of translative judg ment is necessary in order to decide what type of impact a decision will have on the rest of the text. The qualities continuity/discontinuity are more objective co ncepts that allow the translator to judge how a particular decision will affect the text and the proliferation of associations therein, assuming that the translator has reflected on the text to the ex tent that she has established a grounds on which to apply these concep ts. She can then judge the relatively catastrophic nature of the decision based on how the rhythm of discontinuities is composed. If it is too catastrophic, it is possi ble that this catastr ophic potential might be mediated by different decisions: I might translat e this as Participate That's from 'take' and 'part.' Or: Take part. That's from 'take' and 'part.' Or: Get along. That's 'get' and 'along.' By leaving out the from, a differ ent tone is achieved, and by using identical
189 terms, a tone is achieved that might keep th e force of the use of identical words in the second clause. Thus, the category of identity mediates the deadpan tone in German, while maintaining the identical stru cture of the German text. Because the identities are complex, the translation is not naturalizing, but it is also not dest ructive. The category foreign does not provide us w ith a criteria that allows us to judge and articulate this catastrophic possibility; it ther efore might judge as fluent a translation that was simply attempting to articulate this intensive problem atic. Thus, the analytic of translation must, for these inevitable cases, develop a set of cat egories that allow it to objectively judge a problem, which then become part of the text itself, also left as a trace, foreign to the original. The fourth example is the translation of the single German sentence, Wie lang, der Schein, as two English sentences in My Fight, My Minor German. The German Schein is ambiguous in English: in the most limited sense, it refers to a license for a particular capacity. In anothe r sense, it means a shine, as in sunshine. It another sense, it means seem, like how long will it seem to be this way, which is connected with the most qualified sense of the word, illusion, a philosophi cal concept that has become extended into everyday language. In order to draw the connection between license, which works in this text as a possi ble reference to the permission to live in a country, and illusion, which criticizes the su perficial nature of th e license in relation to the actual conditions of a community in em igration, I chose to translate this into two sentences, each ending with a different word.
190 The literal translator chooses this in or der to draw an explicit connection between the two words. In order to make this conn ection appear, the sentence must be repeated identically with the exception of this wor d. Each word then sets the other word in variation, as well as the senten ces that bear those words. Both are explicitly connected and alter one another's impli cations in this relation. This variation then produces a constellation in English that extends the im pact of these two sentences on the word shimmer, which has the sense of illusion and evokes the German Schein The preservation of the shimmer returns later in the text, whereby the contradiction between the official stipulations of living in a foreign country and the ill usion of conciliation produced in the observation of simple natural phenomena is demonstrated. The illusion appears in the shimmers of the natural phe nomena themselves, which were identified with the official necessity of being marked as foreign: the question was directed towards the naturalthe birchesphenomena themselv es, and only through an estranged nature do we discover something about minor Ge rman. Without the repeated sentence the variation does not work, because the words ar e then only connected by linear association, not by identification. Although this move is available to the foreignizing translator, it is not explicitly foreign, and Venuti's conceptual apparatus doe s not address the rhet orical effect of doubling; indeed, it might often go under the heading of fluent, insofar as makes it easier for the reader in English to understa nd the multiple senses of the German word. However, translating Schein as illusion and license ironically references the
191 (in)authority of the tr anslated text, and does so without doing very catastrophic violence to the text. The possibility of it appearing as foreign as such is unlikely, and the reader likely presumes that the German text contai ns two sentences. The meaning of the word Schein in German is foreignized in reflecting on the complex identity of the concepts contained within it, and the meaning of the words in English is foreignized by the word Schein insofar as an explicit connection is made between them. The foreign word thereby interrupts the fluidity of the stable meanings of these words, insofar as they are this connection appears in a translated text. In this case, we see that the two modes of reflection allow us to read different problems in the text, especially because this choice is not especia lly catastrophic. It shows what either method is capable of per ceiving, and what either method desires from the act of translation. The fifth example is translation of the title of the story Mein Schlagabtausch, Mein Minderheitsdeutsch. My translation My Fight, My Minor German, is meant to be provocative, clearly referenc ing Deleuze and Guattari's con cept minor literature. Let us analyze how each approach would discu ss this obvious appropriation of a text for interested theoretical purposes. Foreignizing translation c ould justify this translation by saying that, because the text has been translated, and because the te xt is clearly articulating the problem of a collectivity without nati on or home, the word minor, re ferencing Deleuze and Guattari's concept, is capable of highlighting the tran sitory being-in -translation of those without
192 nation or national language, sugge sting that the translation it self is taking part in a narrative of those without a home language by translating a te xt without a home language. For the foreignizing tr anslator, translating Minde rheitsdeutsch as Minor German affects the reader of the English translation by showing the immanent relation of this translation to the text at hand, as well as to the act of translating itself. It also interrupts the fluent sense of minority, a concept naturalized to the extent that its ideological presuppositions often become ve iled. Moreover, it criticizes the latter by replacing it with a more object ive concept. Conceivably, the most foreignizing translation in this situation would be to add a footnote to Deleuze and Guattari's book Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature. At this point, the reflections of the literal translator are similar to those of the foreignizing translator. Why is this the case? In a sense, it is because the text in question problematizes contemporary history, whereby the interests of the two styles enter into coexistence. The rise of migrant populations in ternal to a Europe that, in experiencing major changes over the past twenty-three ye ars since the text was written, is still experiencing problems with the ethical na ture of migrant minority populations, means that the literal translator is interested in reflecting on th e constellations responsible for reproducing this situation, in order to judge how her work will affect it, while the foreignizing translator is con cerned with forging a rupture in the desensitization of this problem through its reiteration by mass media sources. Both recognize the immanent relation this decision has to the problems devel oped in the text, and recognizes that it has
193 the potential to place th e entirety of the text in variation, thus altering the mode of continuity of meaning. However, the literal translator's motivations differ from the foreignizing translator. Not only does she conceive of the tactical na ture of this translation in an immediate contemporary political situation, but she refl ects on a community of language-users in translation that does not have a specific locale, and that possibly does not exist; she reflects on the Nowhere immanent to the partic ularities of this text. The translation is not aimed towards a readership working on a sp ecific historical mate rial, as entailed by their being in this historical moment, and ther efore is not directed towards any individual, nor therefore towards any part icular political end. To the contrary, the individual is presumed as an entity constructed in translat ion, which is therefore pr eindividual. It thus treats the translation of this word as a for ce that could have a multiplicity of effects on readers who do not currently exist, or who cannot be currently conceived of. She asks: How does this word force a reader into ente ring into a certain cons tellation of linguistic relations? In asking th is question, she does not presume a reader who would be shocked, as the foreignizing translator might, but pr esumes a shock that produces a reader. The pre-individual level of the concept of the mi nor is thus tapped in to, and the reader is further enabled to discover the productive natu re of this text writt en by a member of a community in emigration, rather than only discovering the existence of a universal
194 contemporary political situation.11 In entertaining these exam ples, I hope to have shown fundamental differences in the mode of reflection and thi nking that both foreignizing and lit eral translation engage in order to make translative decisions. If both styles agree that the foreign word is left as a trace in the translated word, then it is signi ficant to distinguish the moments of reflection that go into producing the appearance of this trace, as well as the multiplicity of traces that might be contained in the word, contingent upon its socio-hi storical locale, as well as upon the motivations employed in translati ng. Translative ethics and methodology can not remain at the level of concern for the e nd result; rather, translation must become a mode of criticism that performs immanent to the production of literary text. Appendix 2: Glossary Continuity Continuity is, in Deleuze and Guattari's words, a synthesis of multiplicities of pre-formal signs. These signs are not orga nized in any particular way, but are random intensities that flow into one another. T hus, this synthesis is also referred to as virtual. They are thus sometimes referred to as asignifying or pre-subjective. In a text, continuity indicates the particular moments at which that text's self-enclosed systematicity, or unity, becomes undone, or where the particular forms that compose the text enter into a continuous relationship w ith other particulars, thus transforming the 11 The relation to Brecht's Verfremdungsaffekt is not to be ignored here: the alienation evoked by forcing the reader to recognize that she is producing the current political conditions is different than bringing her into an encounter with the foreign as an existential category.
195 text. Thus, in translation, continuity is mo st easily thought of as the transformation of one particular language into another: here, it is opposed to an id eal unifying convergence, because what is indicated is not a unity, but a reconstitution of the flux of signs that is seen by Deleuze and Guattari to make up langua ge itself. In Adrian Parr's words, it is, along with its sister concept deterritorialization, the transformative vector a text (Parr: 2005, 67). In its most elementary sense, we can call continuity time. Discontinuity Discontinuity refers to the formalizati on of a particular system of signs, which contains a finite set of permitted transformations, permutations, and functions. It delimits this set and establishes rules between its members, while ex cluding the entry of a set of known and unknown particulars that could de stabilize the system. It is also referred to as actual, or as the substantial, formed actualization of virtual multiplicities. Deleuze and Guattari often refer to discontinuity as a regime, or set of statements that have a relation of reciprocal presupposition with bodies ente ring into that system. Each regime constitutes a particular mode of si gnification, or meaning, and subjectification. These regimes or formalized systems are di scontinuous not because they don't work, but because they stand in a specific relation to the virtual continuity that makes them possible; in a sense, they grow upon it. Becau se they stand in an immanent, necessary relation to virtual continuity, however, they also effectuate the latter, producing a finite, yet unlimited series of possible variations that can occur interior to that system, all the way up to its absolute dissolution. They are so metimes called machinic, insofar as they
196 produce a finite set of reciprocal rela tions between statements and bodies. Writing Machine The writing machine effectuated internal to a discontinuous machinic assemblage conjoins the formalized materials and signs of the latter with the virtual plane of continuity in a singular way. It draws moments of transformation interior to a discontinuous system by indicating the moments at which it connects with free, virtual multiplicities. It is singular because it is not a substantial en tity, but a series of transformations that cannot be id entified with any particular fo rm internal to a regime. It frees these substantial forms fr om more or less rigid states of discontinuity and connects them with unformed signs, transforming their function and the co-dep endent functions of the elements interior to that system. As a singular, transformational movement, the writing machine is thus creative: it effectua tes its own continuities and discontinuities, performing the virtual syntheses of pre-fo rmal signs that indicate new ways of transforming or using formalized expressions, such as languages. In studying translation, it is significant to note that a writing machin e performs translations of other languages by drawing virtual syntheses inte rior to those languages, which transforms them. Thus, the language does not translate the machine: the machine translates the language. Historicity The concept of historicity, as it is us ed here, merely maps the series of transformations that a singular machine underg oes over a duration of time, thus indicating its unlimited, infinite nature: a text does not stop when it is written, and does not reveal
197 all its connections immediatel y, but contains an infinite number of connections that become differentiated and transformed. Fo r Walter Benjamin, all translations are particular indices of the hi storical transformations under gone by a text, even if these transformations remain otherwise unconscious. Virtual/Virtuality The virtual, also called continu ity above, is significant for translation in two senses. First, it reveals the inherently problematic nature of the process of translation, and preserves a sphere of problematization that never resembles the particular actualizations of tr anslated text (cf. Parr 2005: 298). The virtual, understood as a continuous synthesis of pre-formal, asignify ing signs, is the site of the problematics developed by thought on tran slation. Since the virtual is also the site of the transformation of any actual textual system, we may say that tran slation is a virtual movement, and that its task is the problem atization of conjunctions between languages and texts. Second, the virtual is necessarily effectuated, or produced, as a singular juncture of particular, systematic forms and multiplicitous, transformations. Thus, it is at once the series of problems and problematizatio ns enabled by a text, and the series of transformations that the text goes through. The virtual is theref ore the site of shifts in a text's function and the connections contained in it. In translation, the virtual problematics developed in a text translate actual forms and imperceptible multiplicities of the other language in order to shap e a singular form that addresses these problems or transformations in a novel way.
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