Can't Live Can't Give

six days before (Bismullah, No we will not let you go!)

 

I see a little silhouetto of a nam
Scaramouch, myoho will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning renge very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo kyo…

 

-k

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Yesterday (my tallest friend wrote me)

He has been living in Paris, and is about to return to Berlin. He was asking if I was there. And if I am writing. And how love is.

I said I was with a man. And then I asked him if that is love.

I don’t know if being with a man means love.

He answered.

I once lived with a man, we had breakfast and dinner together everyday, and always one of us did the dishes, and sometimes we did them together and talked about life while we rinsed the plates and dried the cutlery and then cleaned the table afterwards with a wet sponge. It was a good partnership. I don’t think it was love though. I think Love means whispering things in each others ears sometimes, nice and sweet things which are only meant for your ears truly, words which could be pies and deserts and beautiful dishes with nicely decorated food on it. We didn’t whisper those things into each others ears. We just ate them. And later washed the crumbles from our plates.

– W

This morning (while reading the news)

I started crying.

Dead children are being washed ashore on the edges of our continent.

Yesterday, while walking home, my old friend said she was touched by how N. said loudly in front of so many people that we need to care about eachother.

It is so easy to forget.

She said.

– W.

Yesterday (at a book launch)

The editor was speaking.

It is splendid.

He said, about the book about the sea.

And I would love to continue talking about it. But this morning we recieved news that a Swedish poet passed away earlier this summer.

He went on talking about the poet. He read one of his poems. Then he told us how he was found, in his sleepingbag, under a bridge. Then he stumbled in his words.

It is unlikely that this will happen to any of us.

He said.

Is it called a short way or is it called a long way?

Somebody mumbled an answer. Then he cleared his voice. And named us. The writers in the room. A., E., L. and me.

We want to take care of you.

He said.

– W.

time tells all and we disobey

It is with a long train of thought in which I end up laughing to myself, the type of laugh that used to make a good friend of mine think that I was seriously ill, until of course she realised that I have a habit of stifling my laugh, and that this combined with a plentitude of humour at hand made me come across as asthmatic or possibly fringing on something worse as of yet undiagnosed…this train of thought was one embedded in the flow of thinking of the inter-dynamics of certain few friends of mine, and of what they mean to me, and how much of that thing they do indeed mean to me… the things that sit with you, the tales you tell as imagined in telling a story once over again of how on a particularly amorous night, feeling certain threadbares wandering in a kind of wind that they magically muster up themselves, my thoughts would drag me into the dining room and in particular to the dining room table, jar of marmite in hand, as I would say: a large round table like this one, which I would open out so as it would become oval shaped, and slowly but with set determination I would spread a coating, roughly about five millimetres thick over the whole of the tables flat surface, until finally bit by bit the entirety of the tables surface was covered in this as evenly handed as my practice of doing this up until this point would allow, the surface would be encovered with this blackish brown marmite which would silently sit there somewhat coalesced and quiet. It would be at times like this that I would be have an inner hum of gratitude, thankful to the fact that my dining room table had coaster wheels on it so as to enable its ease in being moved over towards the window. By the window of course is where we would be placed so as to sit, as I would watch it glisten in this quietude, and it would sit there looking back at me, somehow ever falling with the moons light. It is at this point I imagine myself laughing in my friends company, as I fall out of my train of thought, into an embodiment of my packard bell ribs pacing sputtering queasiness out of me, bit by bit… and I have been daydreaming and as I go back to what I’ve been reading my eyes take up on the sentence where I left off: Artworks can be immensely subtle in terms of their moral commitments.

– K

Today (she wrote me)

She cannot give him my greetings because then he will know that she talks to me about him.

– W.

The last couple of weeks (breathing has been difficult)

Things come slowly. And when they are suddenly very present, it is hard to know how they first appeared.

Yesterday I had coffee with a good friend. I told her that things are tough. She said I already told her in an email weeks ago. When I got home I read the email I had sent her.

It explained how I had gone to a bar with a group of friends. When sitting down, a man had pointed at me from outside the window. When he entered he introduced himself in Icelandic. Because of the noise, I answered saying my German is not so good. He told me that his mother had knitted his sweater. I told him that my mother have knitted mine. Then he asked my friend if I told the truth when saying I was not Icelandic. She said she did not know what to say to drunk men. She must have been talking about drunk men over the age of 40. J. and A. who were sitting with us fit the category of drunk men perfectly, and to them she said things about Judith Butler. She did not say that she thought he was drunk loud enough for the man in the nicely knitted sweater to hear it. Then he said he was sorry about disturbing us. Very sorry. It had been a long day. He was a chef. Some days are long. Then I thought of the hours that go into knitting a sweater. His was knitted in a very thin yarn in colors that went well with his complexion. Greying red hair. Almost grey eyes. Like my sweater, his sweater was exactly his size. Non tailored clothes never fit that way. It might have been that the fall is here. I am melancholic about things these days. And I will probably some day be able to formulate it better, but somehow this man wearing this sweater that his mother put many hours into knitting being so quickly sorted into a drunk that my friends feel uncomfortable around broke my heart.

– W

September (Olli)

In a coffee house a man approaches me and asks if I am Olli.

I tell him no. He smiles and finds himself an empty table.

5 minutes later someone approaches him and sits down.

After a while the waiter comes to me with a berry smoothie and lays it on my table.

I say it’s not for me.

Finally the smoothie is taken to the man I was already once mistaken for.

-P

On Saturday (I heard things wrong)

After M. had leaned over and kissed me on both cheeks he hesitated. Then he leaned over towards me again. I thought shortly that Italians kiss three times, and that I had messed up, kissing him only twice. They don’t kiss three times. And I, being Norwegian, prefer hugging. Instead he smelled me.

‘Your ear smells nice.’

He said. Having a thing for ears, I became very happy, and thought that it was very attentive of him to notice. Then, as he walked away I realized he had been talking about my hair. I smelled it. It smelled sweet.

– W.

Just an hour ago (we got so angry)

Immediately as we were out of the hearing range C. called the woman we had talked to ‘WHORE’. I have known here for a bunch of years, but never heard her use that kind of swearing. In fact, I am more than sure we both want it out of our language. For forever. Since she was so angry I could let go. She said she would take a bath to calm down, even though she had just showered. I could go back to work. The next time, we will have to switch places. I will have to swear. Or do something else I will afterwards want undone.

– W.

A week ago (I let go)

It was rough on all of us. At first it was roughest on J. Maybe because she compromises less than I do. Maybe because she has a stronger belief that days are supposed to be good. At first I would tell her facts about migrating birds every time it seemed that one of us wanted to give up. Then, as I ran out on facts about birds, I started telling facts about jellyfish. The day before I got so tired that it felt like my body would start shaking if I did not spend all my energy, and then some, keeping it still, J.s sister arrived. They call her ‘The Pear’, just like they call J. ‘The Banana’. I do not have any nicknames. ‘The Pear’ was going to start an education to become a massage therapist the following Monday. As she massaged my shoulders she told me that the easiest way to tell the age of a blue whale is by counting the growth rings of the wax in its ears.

– W

Today (I read through my old handwritten notes)

One note was written at the library. Someone had forgotten to turn of the sound on their computer, it said. Suddenly a voice through the computers speaker broke the silence.

‘We are all Americans’, stated a male voice.

20 people turned their heads. They all looked up, moved their eyes, and without other mimics returned to their books.

 

– W.

These days (it is unusually hot here)

Every morning when I open the door from the hut to walk to the outhouse, numbers of moth leave the porch where they have been resting during the night. As I walk out they also fly into the new day.

One morning I get startled, as my mothers aunt, residing in the hut next to mine, suddenly stands in front of me, asking for water. Her well has dried up, she says. She is 85. She refuses my offer to carry the water for her. Then she tells me that this morning, just 10 minutes ago, the basin she keeps outside her hut to wash herself in had been covered by moths. She uses the word we both know for the insect, the one used in our language. The-ones-who-swarm-at-night.

‘The whole surface was covered. ‘

She said.

‘I thought of you, and took a photo with my phone. It is not a good photo, but stop by later and have a look.’

Then she tells me that she went inside and found a sieve and fished them all out of the water.

‘They all came back to life.’

She said. Surprised.

‘I heard on the radio that there are many ants around as well.’

‘Yes.’

I answered.

‘When I sit under the trees to get shade when working they fall down from the branches. When they land on me, they sting before I shake them of.’

‘They can take the fall.’

She answers.

 

– W.

Today (Live-chat)

A: please let me know if it is ok to write in English, otherwise i will translate to German. I would like to find out why I am still being billed for a contract That should now be canceled. I have filed all The Necessary paperwork

S.Gleich: German please. Welcome to order service for new contracts of O 2 . Here you can phone rates, O 2 DSL and data contracts order.

S.Gleich: In order to resolve your concerns, I associate you like in the department. Please use the waiting time to log in the chat window. This will take you immediately to the department in the future, select Customer contract extension.

S.Gleich: — Chat is forwarded … —

A: ok thanks.Kundennummer DE12157355

J.Schroeder: For this cause I put you through to the colleagues of the department. They can give you all the information. Please be a little patient, it’s straight on.

J.Schroeder: — Chat is forwarded … —

A: Thank you

P.Blum: Good day and welcome to O 2 . Please give me a moment to familiarize myself with your concerns.

A: ok

P.Blum: Tell me please your customer number.

A: Customer Number DE12157355

P.Blum: Starts with De …..

P.Blum: ok Thank you

A: Customer Number DE12157355

P.Blum: Thank you

P.Blum: Please tell me for data matching your birth date and the complete port address.

A: 11 July 1986

P.Blum: Yes

P.Blum: To what address the connection is running?

A: hühnerweg 86 But the link does not work, I have canceled in December, 2013, but I’m still paying, even though all documents submitted including my logout of life in Germany. I now live in Canada. I also returned the router.

P.Blum: The special termination is in the Department prior to processing

P.Blum: I can therefore only ask for patience

A: I have just received a bill for July, and I want to make sure that this amount is not deducted from my bank account, nor future payments.

A: I have already paid for 6 months I did not make the connection, and there is no money for me in Germany, with which this law that I do not pay me.

P.Blum: The termination is not yet through, so have the bill

P.Blum: I’ll give you one phone number from the Department of debiting

P.Blum: 01804 110855

A: When the notice is to be carried? It had been months since I requested this, it is an unacceptable wait.

P.Blum: Colleagues are always reachable from 08.00-20.00 clock or chatting

A: Are you not a colleague?

A: Are not you a colleague?

P.Blum: I give it as an escalation continued to the termination department that you are urgently waiting for editing.

P.Blum: I’m sorry.

A: If not, then please contact me with your colleagues in the right department and let them know how this situation.

A: I am sick and tired of requests. I need it now ended, there is no more waiting. It creates big problems for me.

P.Blum: I give it as an escalation continued to the termination department that you are urgently waiting for the processing

A: When do I get a confirmation of the termination? I expect that it will be done immediately, that is totally unacceptable.

P.Blum: I wrote you that I pass on this

A: If you do not confirm this, please connect me with the termination department now, and advise them as to the situation.

P.Blum: I give it as an escalation continued to the termination department that you are urgently waiting for the processing

A: I will not be with another pass on happy. 02 has passed me on infinitely, or more than 6 months and I can not anymore. Now I need a confirmation.

P.Blum: I can not confirm it because I’m not the termination Department Mr. de Freitas

P.Blum: I give it as an escalation continued to the termination department that you are urgently waiting for the processing

A: Why can not I connect to the termination department?

P.Blum: We come now so no further

P.Blum: Because the colleagues are not available for chat

A: Please can you demand that I be contacted directly by e-mail?

A: or Phone – +1 438 XXXXXXXX

P.Blum: I pass it on as an escalation.

P.Blum: The phone number I give with this

A: i have no idea what an escalation is. please explain.

A: I have no idea what is an escalation. please explain.

P.Blum: as the highest priority

A: I hope you can understand that this means nothing to me. Passed the highest priority? In any case, I thank you for your help, I hope I will not be made ​​completely bankrupt by this situation, but I’m already so.

P.Blum: ok I’m sorry

P.Blum: happy

P.Blum: A pleasant evening

A: you too. though for me it will be difficult to enjoy. goodbye.

P.Blum: Thank you

 

-A

Last month (The Beginning of Infinity)

man with grey hair

alone at a around table

facing the wall

in front of him a book 

The Beginning of Infinity

he holds a single toothpick

in front of his face

at arms length

and stares at it relentlessly

he brings the toothpick slowly

closer and closer to his face

until it is about 5 cm from his nose

then with a sudden movement

he returns the toothpick

to the starting position

and repeats the action

 

-P

 

This week he’s been in my thoughts

Each christmas he and I would inevitably pick up a cracker, knowing that what was inside was not to be much of a surprise, not that we went without but ‘to go without’ was something of a held belief with varying degrees in our household. We would hold the cracker between us, close, without slack, and exert strain ever more slowly knowing this is what was to be appreciated, this slowness of force to be persistently held taut and together. And while I do indeed keep him close, christmas will not be the same.

 

– K

Yesterday (I sent a letter across an ocean)

I do not know if you read the news from home, I wrote, but a fisherman just caught two ocean eels in his net. He took a picture of them together with his sister. They were all laying on the ground. She was wearing rain gear with details in pink. The eels were longer than her. There was a box with facts next to the article. It said that in the summer the eel swim to an area in-between the Sargasso Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. There, 2-3000 meters below the surface of the ocean, the eel spawn 3-8 million eggs.

– W.

Yesterday (a bunch of kids biked passed my friend)

One of them was screaming “I am not with them. I am not with them”.

– W.

Yesterday (the sky was bright blue)

First I noticed him for his good looks. Not very good looks, but way better than average. And he was tall which I like probably because I am tall myself. Then I noticed his blue hat and seeing his blue hat I saw that he was also carrying a long umburella casually over his sholder. Then I looked at the sky. There was absolutely no chance for rain. It was the sort of weather that would not change in days. No rain. This made me turn my head around and look at him once more. Just before I had to turn back to watch the traffic, I was on a bike, he pulled a rubics cube out of his inner pocket.

– W.

Today (I read about a past I never had)

As usual he started the mail with reminiscing the life we never spent together.

I read in my diary,

he wrote,

a note about the days we spent together at Hvaler.

It is an area where the upper middle class has summerhouses. They are placed along the sea. I have never been there. In his made up memories, that is where we spend our time.

1966, the journal said. You were reading ‘The Moon Is A Hard Mistress’. It surprises me that you were reading that book. I have gaps like black holes in my memory. I cannot remember that that was the book you held in your hand while balancing a glass of milk in the other walking barefoot through the glass doors entering the veranda in the morning.

Then he switches to the current time.

I will see you this summer,

he writes.

Then he gives me a warning.

It is not the full moon you should watch out for, as so many people think, it is the new moon.

 

– W.