12.11.2017

They thought they were free

...Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, alone; you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' Why not?-Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty. Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, 'everyone' is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there would be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, 'It's not so bad' or 'You're seeing things' or 'You're an alarmist.'
And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can't prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don't know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have....
But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked-if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in '43 had come immediately after the 'German Firm' stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in '33. But of course this isn't the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.
And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying 'Jewish swine,' collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in-your nation, your people-is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.


Milton Meyers

11.06.2017

all the need



All the need,
The huge, imperious need of loving, crushed
within the body—



Amy Lowell, excerpt of The Sisters

10.22.2017

Sister



I miss you,
which is to say there is still cinder
collecting on my spine.
I am still in the aftershock
of your turned back.
I miss you,
which is to say it is hard
to mourn the loss of someone
who is still living.

Schuyler Peck, Sister

10.18.2017

Crave


And I want to play hide-and-seek
and give you my clothes
and tell you I like your shoes
and sit on the steps while you take a bath
and massage your neck and kiss your feet and hold your hand
and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food
and meet you at Rudy’s and talk about the day
and type your letters and carry your boxes
and laugh at your paranoia
and give you tapes you don’t listen to
and watch great films and watch terrible films
and complain about the radio
and take pictures of you when you’re sleeping
and get up to fetch you coffee and bagels and Danish and go to Florent and drink coffee at midnight
and have you steal my cigarettes and never be able to find a match
and tell you about the the programme I saw the night before
and take you to the eye hospital
and not laugh at your jokes
and want you in the morning but let you sleep for a while
and kiss your back and stroke your skin
and tell you how much I love your hair your eyes your lips your neck your breasts your arse your
and sit on the steps smoking till your neighbour comes home
and sit on the steps smoking till you come home
and worry when you’re late
and be amazed when you’re early
and give you sunflowers
and go to your party and dance till I’m black
and be sorry when I’m wrong
and happy when you forgive me
and look at your photos
and wish I’d known you forever
and hear your voice in my ear and feel your skin on my skin
and get scared when you’re angry
and your eye has gone red and the other eye blue
and your hair to the left and your face oriental
and tell you you’re gorgeous and hug you when you’re anxious
and hold you when you hurt
and want you when I smell you
and offend you when I touch you and whimper
when I’m next to you and whimper
when I’m not and dribble on your breast and smother you in the night and get cold
when you take the blanket and hot when you don’t and melt
when you smile and dissolve
when you laugh
and not understand why you think I’m rejecting you when I’m not rejecting you
and wonder how you could think I’d ever reject you
and wonder who you are but accept you anyway
and tell you about the tree angel enchanted forest boy who flew across the ocean because he loved you
and write poems for you and wonder why you don’t believe me
and have a feeling so deep I can’t find words for it
and want to buy you a kitten I’d get jealous of because it would get more attention than me
and keep you in bed when you have to go
and cry like a baby when you finally do
and get rid of the roaches
and buy you presents you don’t want
and take them away again
and ask you to marry me
and you say no again
but keep on asking
because though you think I don’t mean it
I do always have from the first time I asked you
and wander the city thinking it’s empty without you
and want what you want
and think I’m losing myself but know I’m safe with you
and tell you the worst of me
and try to give you the best of me
because you don’t deserve any less
and answer your questions when I’d rather not
and tell you the truth when I really don’t want to
and try to be honest because I know you prefer it
and think it’s all over but hang on in for just ten more minutes before you throw me out of your life
and forget who I am
and try to get closer to you because it’s a beautiful learning to know you
and well worth the effort and speak German to you badly and Hebrew to you worse
and make love with you at three in the morning
and somehow
somehow
somehow
communicate some of the overwhelming
undying
overpowering
unconditional
all-encompassing
heart-enriching
mind-expanding
on-going
never-ending
love
I have for you.




Sarah Kane