Saturday, October 16, 2021

Friday, October 15, 2021

Beers & Books CXLI – Stefano D'Arrigo

Measured by the number of titles,
D'Arrigo's literary oeuvre is slim
- one volume of poetry, two novels -
but his monumental magnum opus,
Horcynus Orca,
whose perfection occupied him for decades,
was perceived as a masterpiece
of Italian literature
when the first edition appeared in 1975.
The first translation of this novel
into another language 40 years later,
the translation into German
by Moshe Kahn in 2015,
was consistently hailed by literary critics
as the discovery
of a hitherto internationally unknown
piece of world literature.

Translated with (free version)

Stefano D'Arrigo (15 October 1919 – 2 May 1992)

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Laughing Lhursday*

There it had happened.
During a photo session
Burro lost balance
and a second later found himself
backwards on the beer bottom.

As rescue was at hand
the bur(ro)lesque had a happy end, though.
Afterwards, Burro felt, as he said,
Aphrodite-esque risen from the foam.

* [For first time visitors]:
Typo in the title? Nah. It's just that
I would not let a tiny T spoil an avantgardistic alliteration.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Another year survived

Although I know that the longer I live the shorter I'll be dead, I shan't crow about.
I might regret, once ...

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Today 529 years ago

The American who was the first to discover Columbus made a fatal discovery.

Der Amerikaner, der den Kolumbus zuerst entdeckte,

machte eine böse Entdeckung. [G 183]

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 - 1799)

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Beers & Books CXXXIX – Anna Politkovskaya

We are hurtling back into a Soviet abyss,
into an information vacuum
that spells death from our own ignorance.
All we have left is the internet,
where information is still freely available.
For the rest,
if you want to go on working as a journalist,
it's total servility to Putin.
Otherwise, it can be death,
the bullet, poison, or trial
– whatever our special services,
Putin's guard dogs, see fit.*

Anna Politkovskaya
(30 August 1958 – 7 October 2006)

*Today 15 years ago, Anna Politkovskaya got murdered. Vladimir Putin celebrated his 54th birthday.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Beers & Books CXXXVIII – Flann O'Brien

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say that you need a change,

Flann O'Brien (5 October 1911 – 1 April 1966)

Beers&Books CXXXVII – Denis Diderot

We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us,
but we sip only little by little
at a truth we find bitter.
Skepticism is the first step on the road to philosophy.
The Christian religion teaches us
to imitate a God that is cruel, insidious, jealous,
and implacable in his wrath.
Watch out for the fellow
who talks about putting things in order!
Putting things in order always means
getting other people under your control.
No man has received from nature the right
to command his fellow human beings.

Denis Diderot ( 5 October 1713 –  31 July 1784)

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Beers & Books CXXXVI – Louis Aragon

We know that the nature of genius is
to provide idiots with ideas twenty years later.

Louis Aragon (3 October 1897 – 24 December 1982) 

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Nunca vas a comprender


Rita Payés * 29 September 1999

Beers & Books CXXXV– Michelangelo Antonioni

Scientific man is already on the moon,
and yet we are still living
with the moral concepts of Homer.
I meant exactly what I said:
that we are saddled with a culture
that hasn't advanced as far as science.

Michelangelo Antonioni (29 September 1912 – 30 July 2007)

Beers & Books CXXXIV – Miguel Cervantes

In order to attain the impossible,
one must attempt the absurd.

Miguel Cervantes (29 September 1547 – 23 April 1616

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Beers & Books CXXXIII – André Breton

There is nothing
with which it is so dangerous to take liberties
as liberty itself.

André Breton (18 February 1896 – 28 September 1966)

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Friday, September 24, 2021

Beers & Books CXXXII – Antonio Tabucchi

Like a blazing comet,
I've traversed infinite nights,
interstellar spaces of the imagination,
voluptuousness and fear.
I've been a man, a woman, an old person,
a little girl,
I've been the crowds on the grand boulevards
of the capital cities of the West,
I've been the serene Buddha of the East, whose
calm and wisdom we envy.
I've known honour and dishonour,
enthusiasm and exhaustion. ...
I've been the sun and the moon, and everything
because life is not enough.
I live quietly at home among family and friends.

Antonio Tabucchi (24 September 1943 – 25 March 2012)

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Laughing Lhursday*

Fortune favours fools,
or as a German saying goes,
"Die dümmsten Bauern
ernten die dicksten Kartoffeln"
(The dumbest farmers
harvest the biggest potatoes).

Once again
the old saying
offered me great comfort.

And here to put my genius
into the right perspective.

* [For first time visitors]: Typo in the title? Nah. It's just that
I would not let a tiny T spoil an avantgardistic alliteration.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Beers & Books CXXXI – Frank O'Connor

"No man is ever as anti-feminist
as a really feminine woman."

Frank O'Connor (17 September 1903 – 10 March 1966)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Beers & Books CXXX – Bernard MacLaverty

„There's nobody can fix this but yourself.
You are the only one
who can make the changes.“

Bernard MacLaverty *14 September 1942

Beers & Books CXXIX – Dante Aleghieri

                        "I love to doubt as well as know."

Divine Comedy
"The secret of getting things done is to act!"
Follow your path, and let the people talk.
"He who sees a need
and waits to be asked for help
is as unkind as if he had refused it."
"The hottest places in hell
are reserved for those who,
in time of great moral crisis,
maintain their neutrality.

Dante Aleghieri (1265 – 14 September 1321)

Friday, September 10, 2021

Beers & Books CXXVII – Mary Oliver

It's very important
to write things down instantly,
or you can lose the way
you were thinking out a line.
I have a rule
that if I wake up at 3 in the morning
and think of something, I write it down.
I can't wait until morning - it'll be gone.

Mary Oliver
(September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019)

Thursday, September 09, 2021

"Massoud Day"

The behavior of the Taliban
as well as their extremist attitudes
do not correspond in any way
with a tolerant Islam.

Ahmad Shah Massoud (2 September 1953 – 9 September 2001)

Monday, September 06, 2021

Beers & Books CXXVI – Andrea Camilleri

Sicily has suffered 13 foreign dominations
from which she has taken both
the best and the worst.

Andrea Camilleri
  (6 September 1926 – 17 July 2019)

Beers & Books CXXV – Carmen Laforet

I write short, my words tight
to the thread of the narrative.

Carmen Laforet (6 September 1921 – 28 February 2004)

Friday, September 03, 2021

Beers & Books CXXIII – Eduardo Galeano

Scientists say
that human beings are made of atoms,
but a little bird told me
that we are also made of stories

Eduardo Galeano (3 September 1940 – 13 April 2015)

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Play it again, Mikis

Thankfully bowing with deep respect.


Mikis Theodorakis (29 July 1925 – 2 September 2021)

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Beers & Books CXXI – Stephen Fry

"All the big words
– virtue, justice, truth, ... –
are dwarfed by the greatness of kindness."

Making History (1992)
Paperweight (1996)

 Stephen Fry * 24 August 1957

Beers & Books CXX – Julio Cortázar

The novel wins by points,
the short story by knockout.

Julio Cortázar (26 August 1914 – 12 February 1984)

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Beers & Books CXIX – Elsa Morante

The Secret Game (shortstories),
L'isola di Arturo,

Elsa Morante (18 August 1912 - 25 November 1985)

Inexpensive Progress

Encase your legs in nylons,
Bestride your hills with pylons
  O age without a soul;
Away with gentle willows
And all the elmy billows
  That through your valleys roll.

Let's say goodbye to hedges
And roads with grassy edges
  And winding country lanes;
Let all things travel faster
Where motor-car is master
  Till only Speed remains.

Destroy the ancient inn-signs
But strew the roads with tin signs
  'Keep Left,' 'M4,' 'Keep Out!'
Command, instruction, warning,
Repetitive adorning
  The rockeried roundabout;

For every raw obscenity
Must have its small 'amenity,'
  Its patch of shaven green,
And hoardings look a wonder
In banks of floribunda
  With floodlights in between.

Leave no old village standing
Which could provide a landing
  For aeroplanes to roar,
But spare such cheap defacements
As huts with shattered casements
  Unlived-in since the war.

Let no provincial High Street
Which might be your or my street
  Look as it used to do,
But let the chain stores place here
Their miles of black glass facia
  And traffic thunder through.

And if there is some scenery,
Some unpretentious greenery,
  Surviving anywhere,
It does not need protecting
For soon we'll be erecting
  A Power Station there.

When all our roads are lighted
By concrete monsters sited
  Like gallows overhead,
Bathed in the yellow vomit
Each monster belches from it,
  We'll know that we are dead.

John Betjeman (28 August 1906 – 19 May 1984)

Beers & Books CXVIII – Liam O'Flaherty

[left to right]
The Informer, Mr Gilhooley,
Two Lovely Beasts and other Stories,
I went to Russia;

A Tourist's Guide To Ireland (1929)

The Sniper [Shortstory I read in an anthology]

Liam O'Flaherty (28 August 1896 – 7 September 1984)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Beers & Books CXVII – Jorge Luis Borges

He measured the achievements of others
by what they had accomplished,
asking of them that they measure him
by what he envisaged or planned.

Jorge Luis Borges (24 August 1899 – 14 June 1986)

Friday, August 13, 2021

Friday is Skyday

Announcement of another hot day.


Sunday, August 01, 2021

Beers & Books CXIII – Mahmoud Dowlatabadi


Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
* 1 August 1940

Beers & Books CXII – Oskar Negt

This Work, published in 2001 by Steidl,
seems not been translated into English, yet.
Its title would perhaps read:
Work and Human Dignity

Oskar Negt * 1 August 1934

Friday, July 23, 2021

Doors ... and the Great Wall of China

Door is an insidious thing… I have thought about it time and again.

It is only for the possible – or what is more, the positive – existence of a door that one keeps on looking around a walled area… If there were no doors, walls could utterly maintain and stand by the significance of the impasse, to wit the constraint, evermore. Still, if so, every wall could be a decisively negative certitude and knew well what to do confronting everyone…

If there were no doors, each wall could, without a hitch, resound with the inscription suspended by Dante at the entrance to hell; but, regrettably, one has to confess that doors have deprived them of so impeccable and sheer a sense.
More than that, a door is a full-blooded parasite.

Its personality is totally subject to that of wall; still one should suspect this point, in that though only walls can justify the existence of doors, they cannot sustain the finality and their arrant emphaticness I referred to before, in the presence of doors. But, there would not be after all anything more useless and ludicrous than a door if there were no walls. However I do not know a thing about painting, I can easily paint such a door:

What is more ludicrous than a door that – separate and independent from a wall – tries to have a personality?

Yet, a door that is not constructed in any wall has the astounding potentiality of provoking thought…

I have given my mind to such a door; and sometimes it has made my mind think about borders and passageways of borders, with no change in its form necessarily.

Actually, a free-standing door that can be nothing, is a good passageway for thinking, through which one can find way to many realms.
The necessity of walls is felt soon by observing a door. I ask if we sense accordingly the necessity of doors by observing a wall.

I do not suppose so. It may be so, but not that much to me, at least. I find walls more logical than doors, and believe that doors are vacuous hopes: they repudiate the character of walls when opened, and their ((own's)) when closed.

A wall is simply not more than an obstruction if there is no door in it; but nothing betrays its own entity as a door that bears a heavy lock… Maybe that is the reason why we cherish Roman and Greek castles more than old fortresses, and maybe that is the reason why we feel relieved and restful by recalling those sumptuous and colonnaded castles; and feel dubious and anxious by remembering those stealthy citadels; maybe... I do not know...

One more point: the uncertainty that makes us to construct walls…

The lofty walls before which we feel a dire need for doors…

And the doors which should be secure and specifically invulnerable, and have heavy locks...

As though life would be impossible but among walls and doors, but among this hurly-burly, this ambivalence, this opening, closing, and reopening:

Building a wall,
Constructing a door in it,
Closing the door!

Is it not a laughingstock? Why, yes. On the whole, it is hilarious.
The Great Wall of China has been a matter of discussion at times – and each time with a different outlook. It is said that the Great Wall of China was founded to fortify the country against the invading northern tribes.

It was an interesting point, having had one third of a Chinese generation victimized; let us say, a whole generation… because the graveness of such a matter is not weighed through the number of its victims.

The truth is that what immolated an innumerable group of people was not the main surmise of the theory i.e. the possible invasion.

It cannot be said that only the general principles of this theory are modified here; the blind spot of the theory is that the constructors of the wall (not indeed their commanders) did not construct a door in that wall! As a result, the main catastrophe they wanted to ward off beforehand by wall-constructing, changed readily and came forth more unsparingly in the same form and structure they had walled! Ah! And this is, I think, the destiny of all those who overlook the importance of doors. The northern did not invade but the southern did not find any door to escape through.

I would like to confess that I was ungrateful to doors in the beginning of this discourse.
In the history we human beings make, nothing is more remedial to us than a door to escape through.

Doors are essential; even a door constructed in no wall…

In this world – of no validity – we live in, doors are more requisite than everything else, even the Great Wall of China…

Ahmad Shamlou (12 December 1925 – 23 July 2000)
Tr. by Mohammad

Beers & Books CX – Elio Vittorini

Talk in Sicily

Elio Vittorini (23 Juli 1908 - 12 Februar 1966)

Tuesday, July 06, 2021