Angry Birds Sing (Excerpts)
A Correspondence Between the Angry Birds (Marianna Salzmann, Deniz Utlu)
Translated by Jenna Ingalls
Read the German text.
This text originally appeared in freitext, no. 18 (October 2011).
we’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year
running over the same old ground what have we found
the same old fears wish you were here
After all, everybody, that is, everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves.
That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really.
The second one is romantic, it is separate from themselves, it is not real, but it is really there.
My phone is dead.
I downloaded a heart-pumping app and slid the smartphone into the breast pocket of my shirt, just in case, you know? I’ve found that there are times in which the heart stands completely still. The heart stands still. It doesn’t move.
Now it’s beating again. To my right and left sit six, seven, eight, ten year-old kids and dead aliens. They chew on their bottom lips when they choose their weapons– a shotgun or an axe. When the blood sprays, they laugh in light staccato bursts.
I can’t call you, you should’ve been here a long time ago. It’s dark here. Hardly any sunlight makes it through the small windows at the ceiling. The only light: sprays of alien blood on screens and children’s horn rim glasses. Where are you hiding?
Just then I wanted out, I’d rather wait in front of the store for you. But the door was locked.
I overslept. I wanted to meet you, to pick you up, but I couldn’t. After days of not sleeping, after weeks, I fell into this sleep, it felt as though I would fall out of myself. And then I had this dream, a neverending one.
I went out. Ears covered by great big headphones and hands in my pajama pants. I was in New York. The yellow cars honked. I walked towards them, felt them closely pass me by, the rush of wind making me laugh. And I wanted to learn to fly. I climbed up the bridge’s railing. And then there was such a zoom across the water and I thought, Hitchcock discovered that in Vertigo, down and then up again, and I was dizzy. I laughed, amused that I could be dizzy in my own dream, and looked down again. And held on tight, so I wouldn’t fall down. I felt sick and screamed. And didn’t wake up. I am awake. I am not sleeping. I woke up this morning and that is New York outside. I climbed down from the railing and went home. Ashamed because the cars are honking at me, but I’m walking on the sidewalk and they’re honking because I’m wearing pajamas.
Okay, I tried it, too. I closed my eyes, I counted executed aliens and okay, I did it, I fell asleep.
But, when I woke up, there was no New York. When I woke up, I still didn’t know where to go. The kid with the horn-rimmed glasses was still next to me, with a fat smile in a lightless room. I stood up to find the owner of the Internet cafe.
In the front room, where cigarettes, alcohol, gummi bears, licorice, börek, instant coffee, chewing gum, soccer player stickers, newspapers, and sunglasses are sold, there was no one. The owner was gone. The door opened itself, a hunchback walked in. He only had three hairs on his head, but in length they made up for it, two grew out of the left temple, the other out of the right ear. He tossed some coins into the change bowl on the counter. At first I didn’t react, but as the man hadn’t moved for about five minutes, I walked over the fridge and opened a beer for him. He ripped it out of my hand, pushed me to the side and left the store. I wanted to go back into the computer room, but an alien boy stood in front of me and said: No. 19. I said that the storeowner would surely be back soon. Then he came round to the inside of the counter, where I was standing, and showed me how to unlock No. 19.
“You get the next turn,” he said and ran back into the computer room.
Listen up, my little disappearer, you scaly one, something is happening here. In this city. In this hole. I don’t know how it came to be here, but a toothpick is in-between my teeth. If you’re asleep, wake up. I’m here. Once you’re awake, hurry up and leave: I’ve heard about a door. It is in a snack counter in New York, you walk through it and are in the middle of Neukölln.
Are you sure that the door is in New York? I thought it was in Paris. I saw a film about it. Doesn’t matter, maybe there’s more than one.
So now you are also the Internet café owner. The question is how much are we able to change our own fate. That thing with the toothpick could just be the beginning, please watch out for mutations. Don’t listen to old men. Don’t listen to kids. Those people who enclose themselves in computer games—that could be me, too. Treat each one of them as though I could jump out of them at any moment, perhaps one of them is my door.
I went out, this time dressed, to find the door out of this game. And once more, I was led instinctively somewhere, as though I knew my goal.
I went to a house, only now it’s a museum. An old woman who only reached to my belly button took me by the hand and led me up some wooden stairs. She told me about two families who lived here. One in 1890, before the laws for light, air, and water systems and another, in 1910, after the adoption of the law. Both Jewish. The first were not so observant. The other because of circumstances, because their six children had to work in factories. And factories don’t observe the Sabbath.
She told me about the sixteen-year old daughter, Clara, who started a strike that 12,000 women followed, and the men followed, too. They broke every rib in her body.
She told me about cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, and tuberculosis, which were everyday things because sewer water was also the drinking water and that the Labor Movement first began with the factory fire, when the firefighters’ ladders didn’t reach high enough to get the girls out of the burning building. Hundreds went hand-in-hand out of the windows. That was in the most densely populated spot in America, New York City, the Lower East Side. Where the majority of the 5,000 immigrants who would arrive everyday moved. And they observed the fire and had to send their children to work the next day, in another factory, one that was just as safe when it burned.
And again and again she said, I’m telling you this, so that you understand.
I think—I know, I’m not doing it. I can’t. I belong to the generation that moved into districts because of high prices, ones that their great-great-great grandparents would have left for any price.
She doesn’t stop whispering all these stories into my bellybutton and I take it all in without being able to respond. I was not asked to, either.
But suddenly I don’t want to go through a door. Not so, as always. Maybe I just have to stay a bit. Maybe there is something for me to do here. Something to understand. Do you get it?
when the world became a mason and erected walls around you,
when every attempt at the ending is just a barrel against the wall,
when you ask a thousand times and a thousand times the answer is no,
when you want to sleep, but sleep is not granted to you,
then one says in Turkish: You’ve given me tuberculosis.
This city, this country has given me tuberculosis.
You have given me tuberculosis.
My mother often said that.
She got my father.
The Turkish word for tuberculosis doesn’t sound like a factual term for an illness. The Turkish word sounds like damnation. When I hear it, I see a mother’s balled fists, beating themselves against her head.
You have to stay there. You have to ask a lot of questions and listen even more.
All of the images that climb out of our words have an older history than we do. You have to travel ten thousand miles just to feel where insensitivity comes in here.
The alien-killing children all around me laugh a lot. The workers, too, buying their mid-day dry börek and bitter tea, they laugh a lot. And I notice that behind their laughter and toasting, nods and calls there is something there—and it isn’t funny. It’s the sound of the cracking ribs of the sixteen-year old Clara, the breathing of a sick worker with tuberculosis, cholera, typhus, and hepatitis, the sizzle of the burning factory halls. The sizzle of burning cars. The death of laughter is in their laughter.
Maybe I have to stay here for just a bit more. Or maybe I’ve already been here for too long, and I’m the one who has to find the door.
Maybe it’s all the same thing.
I don’t think so. I don’t think that everything runs the same way. It’s just so different every time. We’re tired, but, baby, what should we do, hide? Be cowards? Every time in new water, running into the wall at new children’s signs, because we think there’s a door or a window through which we could walk. I already have too many chalk impressions on my forehead. The people think I’m so pale because I don’t sleep. And I don’t, either. But the white on my face is from grinding away at the wall.
I hunt in the city like a top. Do you know where the K-word for Jews comes from? From kikel—a little circle, also aKreisel—a top, also aKreis—a circle. So they say. They say, that when the Jews came to America, they had to make a cross where they signed in for entry. The Jews refused because only Christian lines cross, so they made a kreis—a circle. Thus, kikes.
I turned on my radius and bumped into a woman I know. You, too. You know her, too. The one with the fire-engine-red hair. The one with the accordion, do you remember, she brought us out of our minds in Berlin. Yes, her. Now she’s here in New York, singing and playing accordion again. She says I should come and address and whatnot from a couple of songs that she’ll play. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Her hair is white now. As white as chalk doors on the wall. She says it happened when she came to America. All of a sudden. She walked off the ship and poof. Her hair was white.
The waiters all wore tailcoats and masks. The master of ceremonies was a drag queen, she explained to me, rather extensively, why she hated white people. As the show started, girls stormed onto the stage, which was entirely on my head, and beat their arms against my ears. One bent down, gave me a fleeting kiss, and jumped atop the disco ball hanging over us, to show off her snake dance.
Just before my accordion player walked onto stage, I was strewn with rose petals, rubber from popped balloons, and glitter. It all clung to my sweat like feathers to tar.
I stared at the stage, the accordion proclaimed the 20s and the red lips screamed Edith Piaf songs under white, completely white hair. I asked myself, would that have happened to me, too, if I had crossed the border legally? Is that the price? One has to give something up. And when you have bad luck, it’s the fire that’ll do you in.
I ask myself, if she’s also a top. I know, she was born and raised here, but what does that mean to a top, they constantly spin. Uninterrupted. No matter what direction, they can’t stand still and even when they plant roots, they rip them out again with centrifugal force.
We all spin around, naturally around ourselves, but not any further and beat around us with our earthly roots, like whips.
After this idea I gave the white-haired lady the chandelier crystals that were in my castle, and left.
Yesterday the alien-killing youth came into the store earlier than usual. But not to play. I wanted to clear a computer for him, like he showed me, but just he shook his head. He said, “It’s time. We have to go.” He pressed a school bag into my hand. “You have to take me to school,” he said.
I said that I’ve never done anything like that. He said that it was very easy, he did it with his big brother last year. But today he was sick.
I hadn’t moved myself from this place for days. I can’t sleep anyway. At first I thought that I was closed, but then the old man with the three hairs cut through the door.
At first I didn’t want to leave the store unwatched, then I wanted to go, but didn’t trust myself to cross the threshold. I don’t know why. I had the sense that I did my job well. I give the guy his beer and he’s happy. He doesn’t smile, but he’s happy. I open the computers for kids and they never say thank you, but they can climb out of this world. I never wanted to own an internet café. I don’t know how it came about.
“The store,” I say to the kid.
He says I’m exaggerating about the store.
I say, more to myself that to him, what you wrote to me: “Those people who enclose themselves in computer games—that could be me, too. Treat each one as though I could jump out of them at any moment, perhaps one of them is my door.”
I look at the boy: “Maybe you’re her door.”
He looked at me with empathy.
We fill the school bag with candies that I sell at the counter. I also toss two bottles of Jägermeister in. In times such as this break, it can really help.
As we leave the store, I become melancholy. I turn the lights off and turn the open sign over. The boy pulls me to the traffic light.
I take him in Schöneberg, because he thinks that he wouldn’t want to be at the same school as his big brother. The parents had put their children in suits and dresses and photographed and filmed them uninterrupted. When we finally found the auditorium a teacher with a list came to us, but I didn’t know the name of the boy. She disgustedly shook her head. She said that it was no wonder that hardly anyone could notice names when children were produced on assembly lines. “And then we’re supposed to integrate them here.”
The boy ripped the list and a pen out of her hand and made a mark next to his name. Then he pulled me into the auditorium. His name: Dilay Ergün.
Inside the second graders were presenting a chicken dance and singing the alphabet, after which the school leaders explained that the parents should first join the PTA, that they should not send their second graders to school with bicycles, that exercise and nutrition are nevertheless important for the learning ability of the children. Other than that, they said that the children would learn here how to get along with other children, twice a week there is instruction in communications and social behavior. I looked at Dilay. He said that that meant that he also had to do the chicken dance next year.
Dilay said, that the school leaders would soon call the students up onto the stage to put the individual classes together. When they called him he would look at me sadly and look though it were difficult to be parted from me, as though he were afraid. Perhaps he would even cry. I should then take him by the arm and act as though I were consoling him and send him lovingly onto the stage. All this in order to convince them that we weren’t integration-deniers.
He really did cry. Then the teacher, the one that had shook her head so disgustedly, finally nodded lovingly and took him by the hand. Dilay winked at me. Dilay is also a top. They were going to try to stamp him into the floor.
Would they succeed?
I like that wordintegration-denier. I associate it exclusively with sympathetic people, or should we say—all my friends and all their friends and actually everyone that I know. I really don’t know—what is the opposite of an integration-denier? Is there a word for that? An example of my integration denial, which, by the way, I am making into my word of the day: The bolt to my front door fell off. Outside in the hallway. I wanted to get out, I jiggled it, heard as it fell to the floor, went to the couch, laid myself down, and tried to sleep. That was a few days ago.
I stopped counting the nights that I’ve let myself be hypnotized by the ceiling fan. I saw in the mirror how my eyes had ever darker shadows, in every direction of my head. The blades of the fan hit the deep rings of my face and it hurt more and more to keep the eyes open, but I can’t close them. I count the blades. I know when it’s standing still there are three, but everything is moving. Relatively quickly. The propeller spins with 180 blades per minute above my hot head.
And today, I don’t know why, maybe because I was in a good mood or because it was my birthday, I jumped from the couch, tore at the door, and it opened. I was perplexed, I thought I would never get out again.
I contemplated for a good while how I should begin my day, but then I thought, it’s too soon to say and went into the bathroom to shower. A cockroach was in the tub. Again. Almost everyday I find them in my bathtub, kill them, but this one seems to be powerfully fucked-up—it reincarnates as a cockroach everyday in my bathtub. Or my bathtub is a basin of incarnation and I’ve been chosen to help the lost souls.
I thought about who this cockroach could be. I’m in America, here only presidents come to mind. Maybe this one here is Kennedy. I ask it, but it doesn’t answer. I ask it if it could leave, I’d like to shower—it doesn’t move. I ask if it’s here for me to help it reach the next stage of life, then it begins to run here and there wildly, I take that as a yes.
After my Kennedy murdering shower, I showered and went to the kiosk on the corner. I was looking for some sunglasses. I didn’t want everyone to see all the furrows that had once been my eyes. The shopkeeper took the sunglasses out of my hand and placed a nectarine in the open palm. I look earnestly at the nectarine, then at the shopkeeper. And for a minute I think—maybe you’re it. Then he asked me where I was from. (Then I knew, you are not it.) I said Germany. He furrowed his eyebrows.
“Why?” he asked me.
“What why? Why I am here? That’s a long”—
“No. Why Germany?”
“Oh.” I thought about what I should say, then I shrugged my shoulders.
And we both started laughing.
“Stay,” he said.
“Is that everything,” I asked myself, but not him, “that you have to say?”
“I myself just stayed here.”
I placed the nectarine entirely in my mouth, smiled and ran in Grand Central. I don’t know why, maybe because I was in a good mood or because it was my birthday today, I went in. Everything flowed over me. The entire world came over me. I had the feeling that there was no one, not a single person on this planet who wasn’t just then walking past me. There was a green starry sky above us. I couldn’t differentiate it from the real one.
And maybe because I was under a starry sky or was in a good mood or whatever, anyway, I started to dance. I imagined that the masses swimming by me were waves, waves making music and I danced to it. I danced because I didn’t know what else I should do. I danced because I didn’t know where to go.
Americans say that Germans wear “don’t kiss me” buttons. I kissed everyone that swam by me.
Outside it grew dark and began to rain. My train wasn’t running. The rain was so strong that the cabs weren’t stopping anymore. I didn’t have a ticket for this game and walked and knew more than before that I was a guest in my own dreams. Sometimes they kick me out, sometimes they don’t let me in at all. Sometimes they piss rain into my whisky while Leonard Cohen brings me home in my head.
I drink with Leonard to integration deniers like us.
“At twenty-six it is time to take oneself out of the race. That is if one was in the race.” Ionesco wrote that in Le Solitaire. The number is different, but close enough. After school I wasn’t interested in going home or back to the store—which were incidentally identical. Maybe because I had to adjust to the fact that they were going to make my friend into a chicken, maybe because this was one of the few evenings this summer without rain, or because it was your birthday—I went into the city.
I stopped at an Internet café—not mine—and wrote you an email about the school. When I went to pay, the man at the register waved at me. They know by your behavior when you’re one of them. On the shelf behind the register there was only a bottle of cheap whisky and I haven’t drunk beer in a long time, so I went away sober. Just as sober as someone in this city can be. After I had gone a few steps it occurred to me that my hands were stuck in my pant pockets, and that the skirt of my blue raincoat was bunched up into a little tail behind my elbows. With a beer or whisky bottle that wouldn’t have been possible, it didn’t give me any pleasure.
I walked and walked. Evenly, not too slow, not too fast. It was Saturday night and the deeper I pushed into Kreuzberg, the more the streets flooded. At Schlesisches Tor I wanted to use the bathroom at a döner stand called Bagdad. The bathroom’s exit led into the rear courtyard, which was dark, but a hundred people were dancing there. A DJ was spinning techno. A girl kissed the barkeep because he gave her a free shot. The barkeep’s girlfriend slapped him in the face and ran to the döner stand. I wanted to order a sekt to toast with you, but first of all, it wasn’t the right place and second of all, sekt wasn’t the right drink. So—and after reading your last email I understand why—I asked the barkeep for a nectarine.
“What’dya want it for?” he asked.
“To put it in my mouth.”
He didn’t have any nectarines. At the Schleisisches Tor Ubahn station, a skinhead played cello. On the Oberbaumbrücke I stood between the columns and looked across the water to the Fernsehturm and the lights of the city. Forever just one, starring.
Who were all these people? When did this happen. How long had it been since I’d left my store? I had become a guest. In my own city. I felt like the loner in Ionesco’s novel, the one who removed himself from life and spent his time drinking Beaujoulais. There were revolutions and wars during his removal. Houses were bombed to nothing, streets torn-up, his house remained, he remained. He didn’t move inch, but the city had disappeared.
I came to an open entryway on Boxhagenerstr. It was dark. I ran in the darkness. Off of the inner courtyard was a little garden and behind that was a second courtyard, the door opened. There were voices and music. The door opened, two guys, a woman came out and said: “fifth floor.”
I said: “ok.”
A great big “Free State of Bavaria” hung on the door. As the music broke, I knocked. A girl in a dirndl opened up, she smiled at me and said slowly, “Hi!” as though we were acting in the same soap. well, maybe we are. Anyway,
she asked me: “Are you just coming from the Fuck Parade?”
Me: “Fuck Parade?”
Her: “Yeah, the Fuck-the-Love-Parade Parade.”
Me: “The Love Parade doesn’t exist anymore.”
Her: “Now’s there’s the Fuck Parade.”
Me: “I heard that there’s a door. You walk through and you’re in New York.”
Her: “Yeah, come with me.”
We went into a room at the end of the hallway. Glenn Miller’s Chatanooga Choo Choo creaked out of broken speakers and men in suits with patent leather shoes and women in dresses danced swing. Antlers hung from the chandelier on the ceiling. The girl hustled me along. We climbed up a ladder onto a loft bed and crawled along. A little door was next to a bookcase, it led into a room that you could only crawl into. It was dark and I didn’t see anything, but I felt that there was something soft under me, a mattress. I got to the wall and leaned against it. She sat on me. It was hot. I said: “This isn’t New York.”
She said: “But in New York it would be exactly the same.”
I said: “Ok.”
She gave me three wishes.
I wished for:
- A kiss.
- A whisky.
- So Long Marianne by Leonard Cohen.
She gave me a kiss. She sparked her lighter and said, there’s the whisky. It was Talisker. And indeed, it was 56%. She opened the bottle and shook out a shot into a dirty glass with a lipstick imprint that was standing there. Then she went. She shut the door.
It was dark. It was quiet. The spicy smell of the Talisker wafted up to greet me. I thought about my alien-killing friend Dilay. I thought about you. She must have brought the speakers into the room because “So Long Marianne” was playing.
I took a shot and held it for a while in my mouth. Then I said into the whisky glass, “So long, Mariann, Happy Birthday.”
I was in New York.
I fell asleep.
Today a man was standing in front of my door. He said I had to go. He said the apartment wasn’t mine and I needed to give him the key. He inspected me for lice and things that I could have taken with me out of his home and then he transported me onto the street and chucked a plastic bag with my pajamas in it at my head. I went. I pulled the plastic bag behind me, the slippery handles thinning more and more, like earlobes that have to carry too heavy earrings, time does that and I pulled my pajamas behind me like a dog with a bag and stood in front of another door. It was on the edge of the city and the city’s big. I walked so long that I no longer knew whether it was the same day.
While I was walking, I thought about Emma Goldman. She also arrived in New York on a hot August day and walked. And then I sighed with shame because I was very far from being an anarchist leader. I’ve never even been a feminist; I’m the one who reads those stories. I was so ashamed that I almost dissolved into the river.
And then I saw an old man on the wrong side of the street. Scurrying with his aid around the racing cars. He wore an Elvis t-shirt. I stood still and couldn’t take my eyes off of him. His head sat straight on his narrow shoulders, but his body below melted, ever broader and more porous, endlessly he spread himself over the street. And Elvis. Elvis flowed over his chest onto the ground, between the cars, in the grooves, and it looked as though he was crying. But the man was happy. Just as happy as I am when I wake up and think that this is a dream and cars honk.
The three of us crept along. Myself for shame, the man for illness, Elvis, because he was Elvis. Good company. We should start a club.
Emma Goldman, Malcom X, Martin Luther King, Jr., also the little Jewish cripple, the Russian-Polish woman who wanted to found the German Soviet Republic and who they killed and threw into the Landwehr Canal. She wrote: “The goal is nothing to me, movement is everything.”
And many others.
Many whose names we know. Many who in their namelessness have disappeared.
They are gone, we are here. Like sponges we’ve been whisked through their spirit and tried to repeat as much as possible. Now we’re buzzing like flies or stars in the nothingness of our time. In the cities and in-between, above them and under them, sleepless and sleepy, badgered and driven, sometimes wrathful, and some times also bored.
By the end the guest was a native, because in the end, all must go. As I woke up, laying on the loft bed and still in the room and on the floor there were people. I wrote my email and left the house—I had no bag with pajamas, only my hands in my pockets, and I didn’t know where to go. But that doesn’t matter. I’m always walking toward you. We’ll found that club. Or do we just walk in? Are we already in?
I don’t like any clubs, no organizations, you know that, but we should write a manifesto.
Movement is everything.
Names. The longest list of names in the world is on Ellis Island, the register of the immigrated emigrants to America. And it’s the second most visited place in New York. In Berlin it’s the food court on the seventh floor of the KDW.
The longest list of names in my head consists of five names, three of those are made-up.
The longest law in the world is in German: the cattle-marking-and-beef-labeling-supervision-duties-delegation-law, theRinder-Kenn-Zeichnungs-und-Rind-Fleisch-Etikettierungs-Überwachungs-Aufgaben-Übertragungs-Gesetz.
The longest joke I’ve ever been told? I had to interrupt it because I would have much rather slept than have to laugh at the joke.
The longest memo that I ever wrote is the register of arguments for why I should disappear. (Dear Alice, you wished yourself away—who would have thought that would work.) The road to Ellis Island it plastered with quotes form Roosevelt, Kennedy & Co. Well, I’ve already dealt with Kennedy in my former bathroom. Roosevelt says here,remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants…I know. Even Gogol Bordello quotes that in one of her videos. I realize that I’m sick. Not because it was rocking on the ferry, rather because of my rage at the little evils that we chose and then build up on the backs of others to the highest story, and then slap out clever little sayings and somehow hold up in front of our faces as diversity statistics, spitting into the raging mob.
I was on the island that was the gateway to America for 12 million emigrants. I read how they marked them with chalk while they were standing in line if they looked sickly. I read the entry regulations and tests and that for a logic test they asked a women how you clean stairs—from top to bottom or from bottom to top? I stood before countless photos and the list of names that went around the island, like a labyrinth. I read the graffiti symbols—annihilated remains of walls upon which those waiting, waiting for days, scrawled. I stood in front of their souvenirs.Treasures from Home: musical instruments, clothing, table clothes, a Russian poem stitched into one, one that my grandma loved to recite at every unsuitable moment.
Мороз и солнце; день чудесный!
Еще ты дремлешь, друг прелестный –
And then there was an earthquake and everyone screamed. It wasn’t at all creepy, it was rather weak. But people knew from television that they were supposed to scream when it shook, so they did it and ran in different directions. But we were on an island. One doesn’t get off so easily.
I lay down on the lawn. Under me it vibrated. I look at the sky. Have I already written to you about the New York sky? It’s like a fairytale. I wish I could photograph it all the time. Or eat it up. It’s so pretty.
Movement is everything. A manifesto, too. Only then. Begin—
Ein Scheiß geht um in Europa. I have to begin our manifesto that way. And then the first claim:
1. The European and North American border regimes must be ended.
And the second:
2. Debts owed by the south to the north must be forgiven.
In lieu of that, reparations must be paid in the opposite direction.
But you already know that the written word often means the exact opposite of what is printed. It’s not a law, it doesn’t always work, above all not in a manifesto. And nevertheless, I think: what type of form, i.e. in a play, can expand upon other forms.
There’s another reason, too, why I cannot precede with the manifesto today.
I’ve run a lot in the last few days. I don’t know where and have pointlessly wandered. And what I saw, it pleased me. On the other hand was the Fuck-the-Love Parade-Parade Tanta.
The mother’s lap is sold. Sold off to the last dregs for a handout. There are elections soon in Berlin and the Nazis have bombed the city with posters. I’m not talking about the outer districts. I’m talking about Neukölln and Wedding. I walked down the Columbia causeway, looking for a door, one that led out of here. That would let me disappear. They’re hanging on every post. Interspersed every 10 meters. So high up that you couldn’t possibly reach them.
I was stunned and met another stunned person. He called himself Sesperado and was armed with a paintball gun, but he had run out of ammunition. He was overcome with rage and kicked at a lamppost. When he told me that they had hung a poster in front of the Oranienburgerstr. Synagogue, I had to sit down on the curb. A poster in front of the synagogue that said, “Given gas.”
The state of the union.
It’s shaking here, too. The shaking reached into my head and turns into a shaking for rage. I can’t come now.
My disappearance has been put off.
We have to build up our team.
We have to end the madness. By any means necessary. Like someone once
It’s a bit much in Berlin. In Europe.
On Canal St, in the Lower East Side, not far from the house with the residences for Jewish immigrants, the city synagogue, and the eastern European bars for vulgar tourists, Café Sachs is still there. The meeting point for American anarchists from the very beginning. The beer still costs only 15¢ and everyone smokes inside. I sat next to Emma Goldman and she said to me, “It’s too late for a manifesto, words don’t mean anything anymore, it was clear to us, that we had to act.”
That’s occurred to me, that I haven’t read a good manifesto since Bakunin. Let’s stop prattling and start acting.
I don’t like that, that Sesperado ran out of color cartridges and that you had to be on the sidewalk. I know Sesperado, tell him I’m bringing him a present. A real American baseball bat. And then we’ll go play Inglorious Bastards. Just the three of us. I know a few that are still keen on the gas givers.
I’m not saying, don’t worry. I’m not saying that everything will be okay. I’m saying, remember that scene from Bastards where Shosanna ignited the movie theater full of Nazis with a mountain of film reels. Because the material is as flammable as dynamite.
We’ll blanket all of Germany with film, tie a bow around it and ask a friendly passerby for a light.
New York is in an uproar. Everyone’s talking about a hurricane. Irene, that’s the girl’s name, that no one can wait for. They’re closing the stores and canceling events. I don’t know yet where I’ll be, but when it sweeps by and the airports are once more intact, I’ll buy a ticket and simply fly back. I don’t have time for to waste finding myself in Berlin, when in Berlin the Nazi hordes are lingering around synagogues. I’ll do it very simply. I’ll buy a baseball bat and a ticket and come back.
I’m back at the Internet café in Neukölln. The owner returned and secured a padlock on the store’s door.
I stood in front of him. We looked strikingly similar. Both wearing a hat. A potbelly bent over his lap. I’ve got a little paunch now, too. We were both unshaved. But that wasn’t it.
When I looked him the eye, I thought I was looking myself in the eye. It must have been the same for him, because he started, stepped back, and then came so close to me that our eyebrows were nearly touching.
“What do you want here,” he said, “I trusted you.”
He said it as if he were speaking to himself.
I said that I had found a slip of paper at Kotti, on it:
“We are what we are by the radical and permanent denial of what has been done to us.”
He came even closer, such that eyebrows met.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked.
I threw my raincoat off and placed my right foot on top of the hood of a parked car.
“We need people,” I said. “We have to put our team together.”
“Stop it,” he said, “I’m too old for such hogwash.”
Then Dilay came out from behind a car. He said:
“Why aren’t you in school.”
He said: “Because of the radical and permanent denial.”
“You’re too little,” I said.
“I’m the only one who knows his way around firearms,” he said, “I’ve killed more aliens that you can count.”
“That’s a computer game.”
“I have contacts.”
“Do you think I play alone. I’m connected all over the world. When the uprising started in Arab countries, I was one of the first who knew it for sure. The boys on the streets of London, I know them from hours on the computer. You guys need me.”
At that moment, Sesperado drove up in a half-burnt car. He took paintball guns out of the trunk and pressed them into the hands of Dilay, the café owner, myself, and a few guys standing around.
We’re waiting for you, Angry Birds, this is only the beginning.
Things are going to change.