Touch me gently…

Touch me gently, touch me gently, howling wolf, but leave a trail of claws, leading uphill to

Sugarman who sits all night long counting stars on beer-labels

And as he is contemplating into each star’s furthest tip…he reaches out to you, the old shaman, with his wrinkly hands

Don’t you worry, cause if you turn them, you’ll find a map of the universe and behind each wrinkle a galaxy

Expand within yourself and you’ll gain powerful size, like a woman in labor!                    Even if you don’t believe in nothing, belief is yours, and it will commit to you

When you are ready, once the spirituality of the steering wheel of a BMW has faded

Turn it on, listen to it’s roaring, does it remind you of times almost forgotten? When you placed your sleepy head on the earth’s pillow and rest came and with it the panther

Moving smoothly, soooo gently, every tendon in place, full activation without uncertainty – the trance of full committment dancing around a neuronal campfire that throws shadows of life and death. Does the panther lift kettle bells?

Or does it swiftly lift its prey into the highest trees, overlooking a thousand shades of green, behind the green industrial grey…? Continue to figure out how to do a proper pull-up…after all it’s healthy business. Move yourself and expand from within!

 

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Und so ging er nach Mexiko, um zu sterben…

Do you hear me scream, old Indian? Old redskin, dark and wolflike. Sitting at the village pond, outer visions, innertalk, raining down, plattering and shattering, drops of water from the crying sky…do you hear me, old Indian…?!

Hörst Du mal zu, alter Indianer…ohne Worte, oder hast Du nur Worte für Dich selbst…wie in Granit gemeißelt…oder bist Du auch in mir gemeißelt, eingegraben am Fuße des Berges, dort wo sie dich begraben werden…

Haß hast Du gesät, habe ich geerntet, bin ich geworden…habe ich verstanden…oder war der Hass schon in ihr, als Du mich pflanztest?

Kannst Du mir das sagen? Du alter Indianer, gingst nach Mexiko um zu sterben, kamst zurück und warst ganz lebendig…zwischen den Kakteen und Tequila und Hüten, eine Hochschule der Künste des Lebens

Gebarst du das Gewahrsein in dir selbst straucheltest du, fielst zu Boden, schwammst davon, löstest dich auf…

All der viele Hass, alter Indianer, wohin geht das Indianerkind damit…

Plötzlich blieb ich stehen und las zwischen den Zeilen, ohne zu eilen, Wort für Wort, da schwafeltest Du glasklare Wahrheiten, und ich stand da, behutsam Wort für Wort abtastend, um für mich im Innersten zu verstehen, woher ich eigentlich komme

Lest, lest zwischen den Zeilen und erkennt euch selbst ohne die anderen zu verachten, Schuld wie riesige Steine den Hügel herunter zu rollen in die Arme derer, die euch lieben und schmachten

Schwach sein ist keine Stärke und wer wirklich stark ist, verzeiht den anderen ihre Schwäche…

Im abgrundtiefsten Gestrüpp der Seele brauchen wir doch einen erbarmungslosen Gärtner, einen schonungslosen Gärtner, einen, der bereit ist sanft und brutal zugleich, bereit zu verzeihen, bereit zu jäten, jäten, jäten

Und da sah ich dich wieder und wieder in diesem Schreiben aus vorvergangener Zeit, allzuweit weg, Lichtjahre schienen vergangenes Leuchten wieder an die Iris zu heben wie der dumpfe Schein eines schwachen Teelichtes

Und doch entzündete der Funke im Auge der Pupille ein schwaches Feuerchen, es breitete sich aus und eroberte die Gedanken im Sturm

Da warst Du wieder, standest in deinem alten Poncho so ganz lässig in der Tür wie der Revolverheld, der nun gleich den Saloon betritt,

Die Sonne warf noch ihre satten Abendstrahlen in deinen Rücken und von vorn warst du ganz schwarz, alter Indianer, was machst du nur und was ist aus uns geworden?

 

 

 

 

The major and the sergeant

It was quiet in the little apartment. A man sat on the edge of a cheap brown couch in the living room. An open letter on the table in front of him. Fears and pain circulated in waves through his mind and cells. But it didn’t really show. Maybe his chest was a bit collapsed, and the shoulders were sunken. But not more, really. The table in front of him did something to his mind and took him out of the loop of suffering and into a place deep in his memories. He went back for around 20 years. It was a light and crisp morning at the outskirts of the occupied city.

The sergeant put the light-blue plastic bag with three heads in it onto the table of his superior and stood waitingly. The plastic bag bore stains of blood, some of them light red, others almost black. The major nodded appreciatively and signaled to his assistant, who waited near the tea table, to take them away. The chilly morning air sneaked into the warm room as the assistant left. The open door allowed a short glance at the horizon, where the city’s finest appartment houses stood, or what was left of them. Their burned out windows looked like the holes in the mouth of a beggar – dark and accusing. They had turned into statues of lamentation and suffering designed by mortar grenades, artillery and helicopter gunships. The remnants of our future, grinning into an empty past, the sergeant thought. Look where we have come. Everything we have been fighting for … All that blood. All the families torn apart, and now…three more widows. Here are their husbands…Or what’s left of them…a fine soldier I am, he thought. The indication of a grim smile was only in his eyes.

The major sensed something in his inferiors attitude, but couldn’t exactly tell what it was. Anyways, he did’t like it.

  • So you have caught these criminals, finally!

  • Yes, sir. It was an easy catch.

  • So, so, but Number Two said that you lost a man.

  • Yes, sir. He was young and inexperienced and did not secure the rear properly, when we moved out. They caught him and took him away before we could return. May God have mercy with him.

  • May he, yes. Or maybe not. We will send you a replacement from the recruits’ academy. But this time take better care, alright!

  • Yes, sir. I apologize for the mess. It shall not happen again.

And they both knew exactly that it would happen again. For what was going on, every time there was an an operation, the rear would be secured by a freshman. It was his test in a way. And it was the most dangerous position to be in. And no veteran would take any of both, no chance and no rear. And here they came fresh from the academy, beaten, bruised, broken, unpaid – and then some got paid finally.

  • So, tell me, did you do what I ordered you?

  • Yes sir, we brought them to the safe house, and then we did what you told us, and our contact on the other side will take care that copies of the video will reach them.

  • Fine! Excellent. In two weeks you can take a holiday and go to your family. You are a fine soldier. Nowadays…everything is about money and greed, but you are still a man of value and honor. In the past, you would have had a great future, do you know that!?

  • Thank you, sir. That means a lot to me, said the seargant.

But to himself, the sergeant said, I could puke into your face, my fat, little, ugly major. I could do these things you order me to you. I could go the the sea and just sit at the waterfront and eat mussels and drink clear one. The sun, the food and my wife and son with me. Oh that would be good. I desire it…but do I earn it?

The major chuckled, which sent waves down into voluminous body and almost tore the uniform apart. Yes, he thought, or you would have been in the way of me or somebody else. And then I would have sent you to hell…

  • Well then, let’s get to business. I have another mission for you and your men.

The seargant’s smile froze. He immediately knew that this was no good news, neither for him nor for his men.

  • Do you hear me, seargant, the major asked

  • Yes, sir. Excuse me. I hear what you have to say.

  • Okay. Tonight, you and your men will go to the village and take the wife of the criminals’ leader. You know what you have to do!!

The seargant knew what he had to do. It was impossible. Impossible to get out of here. She stood waiting for him like a sirene at the shores of her island of wisdom and insanity, She was capable to reveal any of the world’s secrets in exchange for your life. So how will I get out of here, that would be my last question before I die, the sergeant thought. Impossible to not do it, not see his family again, because there was only one escape. And then everything was possible.

  • Yes, sir. Like last time!?

  • Exactly, that’s what I want to hear. And when you and your man come back, each one gets two bottles of clear one from the magazine. But don’t get greedy! Do you understand?

You damn bastard, thought the seargant. How can I remain human if I let you live. How can I live if you breathe. Your foul breath. Shall the dark demons married to the most evil witches haunt your soul for my deeds. Oh God, I repent, and I ask for forgiveness…

  • Yes, sir. We shall do as you say!

  • Very good. And no go and rest. It will be a long night!

The sergeant left the room. But the man within the sergeant stayed. Deep in his nights’ sleep he would sneak back and be there again and again, year after year. And during this time his son grew up. And when the situation in the neighboring country exploded, he was one of the first volunteers. And the sergeant glanced with eery eyes at the letter on the table, which had an official signature by the ministry of defense on it. Your son is dead, he mumbled. Your son is dead and you are alive…

Geronimo im Vliegenbos

Jack strich um die Ecke, wo die Zamenhofstraat einen scharfen Rechtsknick macht. Rechts pufften die Schornsteine des Chemiewerks Albemarle ihren Dampf in den diesigen Amsterdamer Abendhimmel. Links ging es in den Vliegenbos, ein wild anmutendes Stück Waldnatur im nördlichen Amsterdam. Hier tummeln sich fabelhafte Wesen, und es ist keine Übertreibung, dass der Seelenwanderer hier Artgenossen und Nicht-Artgenossen findet, leuchtende und glühende Menschenwesen, manche die heilen und andere, die es umtreibt. Gauner, Straßenräuber, Magier, manche in prachtvollem Zwirn, in weiten samtenen Plunderhosen, oder andere in Lumpen aus allerlei Stoffen, laufen einem über den Weg, als seien aus dem Amsterdam des 13. Jahrhunderts entsprungen. Damals war Amsterdam nur eine Siedlung entlang des Deiches zwischen der Amstel und dem Festland und fing gerade an, Steuern von den vorbeifahrenden Booten zu erheben. Bevor sich das Fleckchen zum Welthandelszentrum aufschwang und sich eine der Zollerhebung entstammende Regelwut ausbreitete, die alles und jeden mit Abgaben, Profit, Umsatz und Erlaubnissen beziehungsweise Verboten bedachte, lange davor und lange danach blieb der Vliegenbos eine kosmische Wildnis, in der Wesen wandeln, die so ganz anders sind.

Jack bog  also um die Ecke nach links, folgte nicht der Zamenhofstraat, sondern ging in den Vliegenbos hinein. Und dann sah er ihn.

Ein Indianer saß im Schneidersitz mit dem Rücken zu Jack am Rand des Waldpfades. Er saß im Halbschatten auf dem rissigen Waldweg, der zwischen Schrebergartensiedlung und Waldrand hoch zur Bredero Berufsschule führte. Sägespäne und Sägemehl bedeckten den fleckigen, alten Asphalt.  Zersägte Baumstämme waren ein paar Meter weiter aufgestapelt. Drei bunte Papageienfedern krönten sein glänzendes langes, schwarzes Haar. Es war zu einem Zopf gebunden, der unter dem Poncho verschwand, welcher seine Schultern umhüllte; ein grau-weißer Poncho, auf dem schwarze Muster eingewebt waren, darin Muster und Linien wie eine alte Sprache. Sein Rücken war ganz gerade und doch völlig entspannt. Als wachse er aus der Walderde nach oben, als ziehe ihn alles hoch in die Kronen der Bäume hinein. Das Licht um ihn wirkte diesig. Eine Aura aus leichter, satter, und irgendwie doch nebliger Luft wie aus einem Traum, wie eine Schimäre, die der Phantasie entspringt und einen versonnen anblinzelt. Jack blinzelte zurück, und obwohl er gar nicht in seine Richtung schaute, schien der Indianer Jack irgendwie zu sehen. Jack fühlte das und ging baff weiter, bog rechts ab, wollte tiefer in den Wald hineingehen. Doch es zog ihn zurück. Er konnte nicht weitergehen, musste zurück und genauer hinschauen. Irgendwie… oder doch?

Es traf ihn wie ein Schlag. Hatte er ihn nicht unzählige Male gesehen? Auf alten vergilbten Fotos am Fuße der Berge, in Daguerotypen aus dem neumexikanischen Wilden Westen. Geronimo. Ein Krieger, der sein Wort nicht bricht. Entweder kommt er dich besuchen, oder töten. Manche Dinge lassen sich nicht vorherplanen. Oder war er vielleicht ein Sohn Geronimos. Auf jeden Fall nicht der typische Waldbewohner im Vliegenbos im Norden von Amsterdam, obwohl der Wald immer wieder merkwürdige Gestalten beherbergt.

-Hallo!

-Hallo selber. Selber Hallo!

Er lächelte Jack an und sagte weiter nichts. Jack sah ihn nochmals genauer an und merkte, dass er doch nicht genauso wie Geronimo aussah. Seine Gesichtszüge waren feiner als das breite Gesicht des Apachen-Führers. Er war deutlich jünger als die Fotos, die er von Geronimo in Erinnerung hatte. Im Nussbraun seines wachen Antlitzes spürte Jack mehr Grün als im gelb-braunen Neumexiko. Amazonasgrün und Flusswogen, riesige Spinnennetze und endloses grünes Geflecht…grün, grün, grün, was nutzt es immer nur “grün” zu sagen, dachte er. Er meinte tausend Spielarten von grün in der Sonne, im Dunkeln, im Schatten, in der Nacht, in der Dämmerung. Und die drei langen Papageienfedern, die seinen Kopf krönten, schillerten in allen Farben des Regenbogens.

Jack fragte ihn

– Woher kommst Du eigentlich?

– Ich komme aus Kolumbien. Aus dem Regenwaldgebiet in Kolumbien. Vor vielen Jahren bin ich nach Europa gekommen. Dies ist mein Lieblingsort in der Stadt. Hierher komme ich, um ganz bei mir und der Natur zu sein.

– Hier an der Grenze zwischen Stadt und Wald! Ich meine, hier ist doch die Chemiefabrik noch so laut. Warum sitzt du nicht tiefer drinnen im Wald?

Geronimo lächelte Jack interessiert an und erwiderte ohne eine Spur von Überheblichkeit

-Sollte ich das? Nein, ich mag es hier. Bis vor ein paar Minuten saß ich direkt in der Sonne. Sie schien direkt auf mich drauf.

Die letzten Strahlen der Sonne fielen auf sein Gesicht. Jack sagte

-Ich würde mich da komisch fühlen, einfach am Wegrand auf dem Boden zu sitzen, da wo Leute vorbeilaufen.

– Warum komisch, was denkst du denn dann?

– Das die Leute mich bewerten, für anders halten.

– Ist das wichtig, was die Leute denken? fragte er.

– Nein, eigentlich nicht.

– Also, wer bewertet dann wen, wer bewertet dich eigentlich?

Jack hatte einen Geistesblitz.

– Ich mich selbst. Ich bin es, der bewertet. Es geht nur um mich.

– Genau. Du bist es. Und dann ist alles in Ordnung. DU kannst tun, was DIR guttut. Fühle einmal hier, aus der Erde kommt Kraft. Aus dem Himmel kommt Schöpfung. Vater oben, Mutter unten. Beide verbinden sich. Mit unserer Dreifaltigkeit können wir sie spüren. Willst du mal probieren?

Der Indianer schaute Jack fragend an. Das beruhigte Jack, und er stimmte zu. Er schlug vor, sich auf die zersägten Baumstämme zu setzen, wo die Sonne noch hinschien. Sie setzten sich darauf und führten ihr Gespräch fort.

– Schau mal, der große Geist gibt uns zwei Nasenlöcher und einen Mund. Drei. Zwei Nieren und eine Blase mit Harnleiter. Drei. Zwei Eier und ein Geschlecht. Drei. Zwei Lungen und eine Luftröhre. Drei. Zwei Augen im Gesicht und ein inneres Auge. Drei.

– Drei, bedeutet das immer Organe, oder was meinst Du?

– Auch, aber nicht nur. Zwei Augen schaffen eine dritte Dimension, mit der wir räumlich sehen können. Zwei entgegengesetzte Pole schaffen einen stabilen Kern, der unsere Mutter trägt. Zwei Hände, die tasten, schaffen ein Gefühl, das wir spüren. Zwei Ohren, die hören, vermitteln uns ein Wissen vom Geräusch. Hörst du den Vogel da hinten im Wald. Er ruft seine Artgenossen, dass sie sich bei ihm versammeln, den es wird Zeit, in den Süden zu fliegen, der Winter kommt. Die Zugvögel orientieren sich mit dem Magnetsinn. Sie verbinden Eins und Zwei und schaffen Drei!

Jack hörte nur mit halbem Ohr zu. Eine Stimme in ihm sagte: “Das ist unglaublich. Ich wandle in einem Wachtraum. Geronimo, oder auf jeden Fall ein Indianer, ein Schamane sitzt hier im Amsterdamer Stadtwald. Was passiert hier?” Sein kalkulierender Geist tat das Gerede des Indianers ab. Was sollte das mit der Drei? Wohin führte das Ganze? Zu seinem inneren Dialog gesellte sich ein Geräusch von außen. Ein lautes, hohes, forderndes Piepsen.

Etwa dreißig Schritte weiter im Wald saß eine Gruppe Rauchschwalben in der Krone einer Buche und führte eine heftige Diskussion. Es piepste und schallte aus dem Baum heraus. Wie aus dem Nichts landete ein Dutzend weiterer Vögel im Baum. Es wurde lauter. Schon kreiste eine weitere Gruppe um den Baum herum und wurde vom Geflecht der Äste und Blätter verschluckt. Es wurde noch lauter. Weiter Kleingruppen von Rauchschwalben erreichten den Baum unablässig und das Piepsen wurde zu einem bedrohlichen Tosen. Jack schaute einfach nur mit offenem Mund und weit aufgerissenen Augen zu. Als der Baum fast zu platzen schien erhob sich auf einmal ein Sturm. Eine Wolke von Vögeln erhob sich in die Luft. Der Himmel über dem Baum wurde schwarz, schrill und laut. Und plötzlich war es ruhig und sie waren weg.

– Hast du sie gesehen, wirklich gesehen, fragte Geronimo. Die Vögel fliegen jetzt weiter…in den Süden…auf den Kontinent, den die Europäer Afrika genannt haben. So wie sie unsere Muttererde Amerika und uns Indianer nannten. Für die Vögel von gerade sind diese Bezeichnungen unwichtig. Sie spüren Nord und Süd und schaffen Drei – ihren Ortssinn. Das bedeutet für sie Wärme, Nester, Nahrung – Leben! Atme mit mir. Durch den Mund ein, sauge die Energie der Mutter nach oben, durch die Nase aus, lass sie frei zum Vater.  Jetzt durch die Nase ein, die Energie des Vaters von oben, durch den Mund aus, zur Mutter nach unten… #

Auf Geronimos Gesicht zeichnete sich ein tiefer Schmerz ab. Er sah aus als hätte er alles verloren. Die positive Energie, die er noch vor ein paar Minuten ausgestrahlt hatte, war von einem Schmerz verschluckt worden. Jack fing an, für ihn zu atmen. Er spürte, wie sich Kraft in jeder Zelle seines Körpers ausbreitete. Zwei Nasenlöcher, ein Geist, zwei Geister eine Kraft…ein und aus, ein und aus…Seine Atemzüge wurden länger, leichter und regelmäßiger. Sie schienen den Krieger aufzurichten.

Während der Häuptlingssohn und Krieger neben Jack sich aufrichtete, gen Himmel, beugte sich Jack Stück für Stück gen Erde. Mit jedem Ausatmen durch den Mund näherte der sich der Erde, Wirbel für Wirbel voll gelassener Demut. Als er seinen Kopf nach unten baumeln ließ, entdeckte er einen zerknitterten Zettel. Er war aus Geronimos Tasche gefallen. Darauf stand “Entlassungsbescheinigung des psychatrischen Instituts der Allgemeinen Kliniken von Amsterdam.” Der Name des Patienten war unleserlich. Geronimo atmete mit geschlossenen Augen weiter. Eine leichte Brise kam auf und wehte den Zettel fort. Geronimo saß nun wieder ganz entspannt da.

Jack stand auf und zog weiter. Als der sich umgedreht hatte löste die Gestalt des Indianers sich auf und aus ihr sprang ein Panther hervor. Das schöne Tier sprang vom Baumstamm auf und gesellte sich zu Jack. Aufmerksam und doch gelassen strich das Raubtier neben ihm her und gab Jack einen riesen Platz zum träumerischen Schauen an seiner Seite frei. Die Abendsonne streichelte die hohen Baumwipfel, warf ein sanftes Lichtspiel auf den Waldpfad. Alles verlockte zum Weitergehen.

 

 

 

Tony the Peasant and the Cobra Circle

Long time ago, on Amsterdams south shore overlooking the north with its scattered boat factories, there lived an artist who had numerous wifes and kids. It was Tony the peasant, who never was shy to enjoy life. This or something like that was told to me on a bench overlooking Amsterdam’s north with its scattered hipster bars and artist quarters and its closed down boat factories early this morning by an older woman. The teller was Jannecke Eschet, a real diamond of Amsterdam’s artist scene, who has worked as a restaurator of art sculptures for half an eternity, it seems.

And as Jannecke told me the story about Tony the Peasant, who in reality is Anton Heyboer, one of the most famous Dutch representatives of abstract art and graphics, my imagination took me away and led me to this other man, who was of Jewish origin and whose family perished in the German concentration camps. I looked into the morning sky, elevated my thoughts far above the smoking industry in the background and my neurons took a short detour to Mars before I landed right back in the scene – and there he was, Tony the Peasant. A man whose colorful paintings purported an utterly optimistic outlook on life.

It was the year 1968, July 8th, 9.45 am, downtown Amsterdam. Tony the Peasant walked through Jordan. The quarter at the periphery of Amsterdam’s amusement district was still quiet. The first coffeshops and bars opened their doors and their owners looked sleepy, just ready for a coffee, a cigarette, a wine and a heart attack.

Tony crossed Harlem street and approached the Pharao, an institution in the heart of Amsterdam, whose reputation was so bizar that it was impossible to describe it. Pepo, the owner, a small, slim, bald headed man with a black moustache and merciless dark eyes – a creature blessed with ruthless ugliness, let Tony in and murmured something about having to clean up, Tony should take a seat at the rear table and enjoy whatever he liked to drink.

Tony then set down, took his pilote sunglasses off for a brief moment in order to clean them with the right sleeve of his lumberjack shirt, and put them back on. He overlooked the dark wooden tables, smelled the stench of yesterday night’s stale air and smoke, detected a smashed fly on the mirror behind the bar, sighted and took a sip from his whiskey. It was early, but not too late.

If Papa Abramovitch of the Warsaw clan of Ashkenazi Jews of Tony’s extended family who migrated to Amsterdam in the 17th century and set up successful Diamond businesses were still alive, then he had certainly scold Pepo for his negligence of courtesy, cleanliness and dedication to a job that required constant contact with customers. Papa Abramovitch was oldschool in that respect. And if he still were alive, which was very unlikely, then he would scold Pepo and say: “Det is niejt kosher end Dou best meshugge, wenn de deene Goral in de Hende von a Goy-Business legst!” (This is not religiously sanctioned and you must be crazy to put your life into the hands of an unbeliever business!”) It was a fact that Pepo himself was a Jew, since his Misrachi Ancestors from Turkey had migrated to Argentine and then to Europe, where the cynicism of history forced some of them to seek shelter with Polish Partisans and feed on human flesh during the harsh winters under German occupation.

Tony himself had never experienced a life or death situation, except for exotic love affairs behind the backs of five women he shared one roof with – both of them notorious in Amsterdam and beyond. Everyone who had anything to do with gastronomy, art and culture knew Tony. No doubt, he was a made an in Amsterdams cultural scene. One of his five betrayed wifes, who were all distinctively beautiful, may have cut off his best pieces while he slept as a revenge for his squirting off into another one which in mainstream society inflicts pain and humiliation – but it never happened. So Tony had no agonies to endure, and he wasn’t a character to manifest or attract too much agony into his life. Since his thinking remained positive, whatever happened, he could have sat just next to a landing marine on Omaha beach on a June day in 1944 and enjoyed a koffie verkeerd, the national coffee in the Netherlands, as he was thinking about different shades of red in a lunar graphic. Or he could have just sat with us, on the bench overlooking Amsterdams north, where closed down boat factories attracted hip artists. I was fascinated about his persona, which really just existed in my mind. And as we looked into the little harbour in front of us, the boats gently rocked in oily water, which reflected the blue sky and the morning sun with a touch of sulfur…

Nightshift insanity

Harry put his bag with the teaching material on the desk at the front of the classroom. It was pitch dark outside. The warm air was stuck between the downtown housing projects and didn’t move an inch. The city’s fog of forgotten illusions. Harry placed his slim, yet strong hands, which didn’t look like academic writing tools, on the desk and looked curiously at them, as if he became consciously aware of them for the first time. The stale smell in the class room mixed through the open window with the polluted city air, hours of concentration faded into the darkness.

Harry had gone through law school, graduated with a B.A., then moved on to follow his passion and did a M.A. in history and politics, before he topped his venture into academics with a Ph.D. in Philosophy. Parallel to that he enjoyed writing for newspapers and covered local issues around his university, before he decided to freelance as well in the Middle East during his semester breaks. Once there, he took a keen interest in the languages Hebrew and Arabic and learned them to perfection. Back home, he continued giving his best, which in reality was just a projection of his brilliant mind onto the outside world: Deep down his confused genius suggested to Harry that he was not good enough, because the universe of wisdom and knowledge was borderless. No company hired him for more than two years, not even the diverse universities he used to work for. Harry ended up being a freelance school teacher for new immigrants five days a week, his superior being a frustrated accountant with an addiction to blame and judgement, who radiated negativity upon her staff like a nuclear accident. Harry saw and felt that, and he tried to convince himself that he didn’t care, but it frustrated him.

The time just after class were moments of realization. The school was a former flat on the second floor of a run down housing project. Junkies were shooting up, shitting and pissing into the hallway. Also the rear entrance to the school from the yard bore surprises, when one had to ask people who chased the dragon on aluminium foil or shot up with a shared needle to move out of the way, so one could lock the bike to the fence.

This gave Harry a chance to contemplate the fortune of misfortune, since things could come much worse. He still did well. Especially since the latest refugee crisis had flooded the class rooms of integration schools. There was ample work left for decrepite life-long loosers like him, including daily reprimands by staff managers for irrelevant and fabricated accusations, such as rumours and complaints by semi-analphabete students, who were eager to payback the dire stress they suffered by having to appear daily in the free state-paid classes. That was one of the many free bees of the job, which an insane mind eager to continue punishing itself was happy to take upon itself.

Harry was so deeply immersed in contemplating negativity that he did not hear his superior approach. She was a sturdy woman in her mid-fifties with a huge behind and a tendency to injure herself badly every year, followed by months of recovery and lamentation, everybody around her had to participate and share.

She limped into the classroom, fine pearls of sweat on her upperlip. She smiled and wished him a good evening. The cold calculating eyes behind her glasses almost popped out of their sockets from inner intensity, a very common kind of fish on the common reefs of society. Her behaviour already signalled a major attack in the making, there was a psychological ambush in her bushes, which Harry imagined as wild grown and perversly stinking.  He took a deep breath and smiled at her.

– How can I help you?

– A participant came to my office today, Harry. You are doing it again, you cannot let it be, hmm!?

– What do you mean?

– Well, you know what I mean, don’t you? I think that people like you should be more grateful for the money they earn here…aren’t you? When I still used to work as a teacher I got far less than you, my friend.

– Well, times have changed, I guess.

-Yes, Harry, but we aren’t at the university here, where you can do what pleases you. This is a business, I have a business to run. Do you understand that?

– Yes, sure. So what’s the problem this time?

– Some of the pupils say you favor the Arabs over the others. You give grammar explanations in Arabic, they say. Stop that, alright!!

– I don’t really do that. I just remember that you entered my class a week ago, held a five minute speech in Turkish, accused everybody of messing up the tea kitchen and left again. Should’t you speak to me before you disturb my class and shouldn’t you speak German as well?

– Well, Harry, you know what a bad teacher does to our school’s reputation. These newcomers have big families and clans and everybody knows what a teacher you are. It’s not good for the school…

– So, throw me out then…I’ll take another job at another school tomorrow…or no, let’s say tonight…in 20 minutes…

– Well, I didn’t mean that. Now, don’t be so dramatic, okay…just calm down a bit…I’m just reporting what I have heard from others, do you understand that? You must also understand my position, I have so much work on my plate, and nobody helps me. Do you want to know how long I am sitting in the office every night just to make your mistakes right, hmm, do you ever think about that??

– Harry sighted, then looked at his wristwatch to signal that it was time to end this ritual intercourse. She understood perfectly, but was not satisfied with her performance so far, the lack of damage and emotional drama her critique had caused. Somewhere behind her sweety lips and dirty bush an idea formed, took shape and noticeably delighted her. With a sweet voice that remembered Harry of a ten year old girl that had just dissected a butterfly she said

– Well, Harry, and I shifted your working hours again, but this is certainly alright for you. I switched your evening classes to Heidi and the afternoon class to Thelma, and gave you the morning classes five days a week. Do you like that?

Harry immediately felt his pulse in his temples. His carefully worked out freelance agreement to work three days a week double shift, afternoon and evening, enabled him to manage a local chess players’ club with more than thirty members, pretty much the only delightful thing in his life at the moment. He didn’t answer, took his bag and tried to leave the classroom, but her calamous figure blocked the doorway. He turned away from here and tried to suppress the sharp pain that emerged between his eyes by breathing calmly. He turned towards her, nodded and said

-Listen, I need to go now. But my hours remain as is. You won’t switch or shift my working hours, because, if you do that, I will…

– Yes, Harry, what will you do? She interrupted him, smiling viciously. He was on her turf now, the courtyard of broken dreams, the pole of darkness, the manege of nonsense which only she controlled, or so she thought…

Harry approached her slowly, smiling like an iceberg, he bent over and whispered into her ear. Her smile disappeared abruptly and her face turned from high bloodpressure red to pale green. Her body structure looked as if it had collapsed onto itself, instead of a ballon-like presence a painful void. Harry passed her, she leaned against the wall of the classroom, and as he closed the door to the school, he read his favorite graffiti at the wall of the stairways:

“We must learn to be insane, to be mean, to be cruel without loosing our humanity!”

 

 

You shut your mouth…

He entered the stage. A tall, brilliant, slightly hunched guy. The talent sprang from his eyes like glowing sparks. Noone would ever hire him. To dangerous to let a shining star infest an insane structure with brilliance and ingenouity. People know what they want. It’s definitely not something out of the ordinary. Yet, he spoke. He rose up. He confronted an unwilling audience to listen to his theories every sunday evening at Nuno’s diner. And there is no room large enough for the intensity of an erupting vulcano that pukes out into the galaxy. That’s how it began every time he entered the stage:

“You shut your mouth back there…on the cheap seats! Just gimme 5 minutes to explain myself, explain, where I’m coming from…right into your mouth slut! Nowhere to fade, no place to hide from myself, or, for lack of a better explanation about myself and my intentions: big city looser stuck in the networks of nonsense, overeducated, almost to the extent of not knowing nothing at all…and from this venture point let’s sail into the open sea: A second chance was given to me more than once, never took it though. Positive to say that I am listening each day to personal development CDs that bring out the best of me, especially in traffic jams: “Hey, you piece of g…, get outta my way now, or I’m gonna go Israeli on you, gonna be Gaza here in a sec, let me brake each single limb of yours, one at a time, let me listen to my shit now…!” Well, when I told my therapist that I’m gonna break his legs if he calls my mother one more time a whore, that was an  eruptive peak of creativity set free in my veins, flowing from here to the Jordan…still trying to solve the Middle East conflict, you looser?! Gonna get stuck, get shot in the most presumptuous way…far out of nowhere, folks, I am coming here for you to haunt you with the most absurd stories you ever heard. Promise! Both English and German, tune in, whenever you like…”