Plays

Essays

Critique

Novels

Short
Stories

Selected
Poems

Political &
Incidental

For Posterity

 

 


email:

anthonysteyning59@gmail.com

 

Should you wish to skip the Intro,

click on a work to the left

or scroll down directly to

 

Recent Revisions & Additions

It's where all the new stuff first pops up

 

  

   Taking a breather before one of my public readings at the Shakespeare & Company in Paris,

 

but not before a cab tried dropping me off here.

 

September 2017: Welcome to Anthony Steyning's homepage. ===========================================

 

Literary Fiction & Critical Non-Fiction Lab

 

anthonysteyning59@gmail.com

 

* * * * * * *

 

Life's a bitch, but she ain't all bad!

(Bogus XVIII)

 

* * * * * * *

 

    

And don't forget my entertaining blog

at

    www.steyning.wordpress.com   

 

or

to listen to the beguiling

 

Bet.e & Stef

 

I linked up with these soothing vocals, recorded at the Outremont Theatre in Montreal, posting them halfway down my Selected Poems section

 

Ipso Facto?

Abso Lutely!

 

 

* * * * * * *

 

 A Passion

 

I was busy explaining to a slow friend of mine that the 'inspired' and 'possessed', but probably epilectic Hildegard von Bingen was not Crosby's German love child, when I shouted  'I don't believe it, that man writes like his sofa!', later blaming my small outburst on the premature evaporation of my drink. A writer I know was interviewed from his own living room on Twittish Television, the thing a brown, soft, dull monstrosity with flowery pillows, quite static and like its owner... utterly straightlaced.

The internet’s different; no comfortable, outdated stuff should clutter it. In this spirit my site proposes to be a living document: I frequently re-think and re-draft my texts keeping them fluid and relevant. In fact, following their evolution might be of interest to international readers sympathetic to my work, perhaps even ready to do some cross-referencing as my novels find their roots in my essays and my essays in my novels depending on which one was written first. So that constant minor changes are aimed at reinforcing coherence and occasional overlapping a vital feature, given that modern life also plays that trick on us. Yes, it all sounds very complex, doesn't it? But intricacy looms only here and there. Didn't Orwell warn us we can't over-simplify, that it leads to crypto-totalitarian or at least despotic 'truths'?

All this demands a subversive type of writing, digging deep and trawling wide, exposing where not only all that beauty but the hurt began. And on this bumpy, twisting road, cutting through layers of bunk, I frequently discover how matters really stand, affecting people in surprising or even insidious ways. My last move to recreate these findings through half-real or fully fictional characters and core dynamics leading to specific human drama. In other words, fascinating events relived not via more headlines or insipid generalities but through ordinary people, from their urgent walking shoes and the pavement of the day on up.

Now please select play, essay, critique or a novel from the navigation bar on the left for the first part/chapters/paragraphs of each literary work.

 

I collaborate with

www.aldaily.com

 

 

CLICK ON EACH PRINTED NOVEL TO ORDER YOUR AUTOGRAPHED, FIRST EDITION COPY

 

                                                                   Print

 

                             

Both hardcovers are in the collection of the Yale and Harvard libraries

The Applicant now on Kindle by Endeavour Press for only 2.99 Euro:

 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Applicant-Anthony-Steyning-ebook/dp/B01GHIEZKO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1464952529&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Applicant

Budapest My Love now on Kindle by Endeavour Press for only 3.99 Euro::https://www.amazon.co.uk/Budapest-My-Love-Anthony-Steyning-ebook/dp/B01FSXAF58/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1464100049&sr=8-1&keywords=budapest+my+love

 

  E-Novel

 

Clowns now available as an E-Novel for only $ 2.99

Please order a copy from

http://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Clowns-ebook/dp/B006XXHSDA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1327922720&sr=1-1

 

This is my first critique, from The Unbound Underground:

 

This book is an immensely gratifying experience. Where plot, character, language and historical context are concerned this book succeeds, brilliantly keeping everything focused, factual, and against all odds, fun. This book is engaging and teases the reader with tantalizing foreshadowing, without becoming too enamored with its own literariness. It's intelligent and emotionally honest, while still maintaining the pace of international intrigue.

Pass it on!

 

ALL THREE NOVELS WOULD MAKE TERRIFIC FEATURE FILMS WITH RICH CHARACTERS AND UNUSUAL, DRAMATIC PLOTS NOT WITHOUT HUMOUR

 

 

Enjoy ...

 

 

BELOW THE TIGHTROPE

                                                

Amsterdam's Hegeraad Café. A. Steyning in black sombrero & white scarf & rapt APPLICANT prime suspect: obviously waiting for Godot... to crash. Or is that Leni Riefenstahl up there? Singing her immortal I'm forever blowing Goebbels? (Read Truth & Lies)

 

 

* * * * * * *

 

 

Recent Revisions & Additions

 

 

I completed But by Friday he was Dead (Subtitle: McRae's Journey) and hope to get a UK or US Literary Agent to help me protect my copy and film rights, placing the work on both sides of the Atlantic. It's a 134 page XXI Century novella reflecting the full pulse of our times through the eyes of 3 priceless American characters who run into a visiting Reuters foreign correspondent in New York.

The work offers juicy character analysis besides high voltage intrigue when it slides from a political story into a murderous thriller. It uses electrifying world-view and historical nuggets with outrageous humour; knowing that you can't get a good story out of a salad, think Henry Miller meeting Graham Greene at a well-stocked, late night Manhattan bar..!

****************************************

 

 

The French VOUSvoyer and TUtoyer do not translate into YOUrinate.

(Pleased to meet you! Do you mind if we yourinate, it's so much more informal...)

 

 

Given all that violent chaos in the cosmos, a peaceful, totally windstill morning on a comfortably sunny beach is in itself the miracle, then us!

 

 

The Current Whitehouse Is A Dignity Free Zone

 

Populism is when the positioned placate the uninformed

 

 

In the city of Utrecht, The Netherlands, in a busy shopping street, there's a zebra crossing for homosexuals. But no one has ever seen one using it. Homosexuals? No, Zebras!

 

 

To kill is to exhibit a tragic lack of creativity. Djihadism has nothing to do with someone's God, it's defeatist, hang-dog fatalism, an organised deathwish with the added bait of promised glory. Too bad fanatics are dumb and sincere, imagined revenge with violence all they possess; empathy, what's that?! And it started with the early assassination of all curiosity; the initial creed...

 

 

                                                      

HEADLINE: UNDER THE MORAL LEADERSHIP OF DONALD TRUMP AND BILL COSBY THE U.S. IN URGENT NEED OF OPEN HEART SURGERY!

Hey! The Doc'z dizz way, ztupid....

 

 

  ****************************

 

Daylight Savaging time

       

They come from below

They come from above

They invade from all sides

 

Round the reef

They swim and they float

They crawl and meander

With dizzying colors, stripes

And bizarre eyes

Creatures as if straight from outer space

Arriving and having to eat

Stinging, snapping, swallowing whole

 

But why the silent horror?

 

This is worse than New York!

 

*************************************

 

                                                                                                                 

Existence is life inside a pinball machine

 

SATIRE IS NO JOKE

 

Jean-Paul Satyr

 

All Polanski wanted to do was screw someone his own size

(His Jekyll & Hyde move, so he could Ejeculate & Hide)

 

Don Quijote de la Mancha loosely translates as Don Quijote, Man of the Stain

 

 

THE NUDITY OF SOLITUDE, THE NUDITY OF SILENCE

 

No taste for death, no place for doom

 

 

By definition absolute leaders are absolute murderers

 

I'll have a Ginger Male, she said

 

Light of day is beautiful, existence terrible sometimes

 

 

Being the cruelest is the dumbest way to the top. Whereby harshly governed nations inevitably remain fifth rate!

 

 

In all my thinking what I need most is time. Let's face it I'm slow, but like the elephant, perhaps not insignificant

 

 

BELIEF IS CONSTRUCTED MEANING

 

Just had my stomach checked by a very pretty nurse, and in it she found three butterflies

 

Looking Back Forward

Days can’t be captured, moments only superficially by way of photographs.  But he would stop time, cage fleeting happiness with the simple trick of looking forward 10 years, then immediately reverse from there, so enshrining the now....

 

 

Socalled wise old men usually turn out to be literalist old farts who've learnt nothing

 

 

LIFE SUGGESTS ONLY THE POSSIBILITY OF MEANING

 (Just as the hunt is more satisfying than the kill )

( Or that the journey is all that matters, the destination really immaterial)

 

 

If we are the opposite of nothingness, we should prove we merit existence every single day of our life

 

                                                           

Empathy and Intelligence are very closely connected

 

 

To be happy is to be free of any kind of fear, which has nothing to do with being fearless

 

 

When only one of the two is inevitable, it's not life that is absurd, but death

 

Some men are so intelligent, they actually know how to cry

 

Sillas Salvaescaleras is not a Greek philosopher, but a Spanish stair lift

 

An aerial view makes a mass, circular religious procession look like a slow moving clusters of insects. But the same for the faster moving vehicles on a L.A. freeway, those mechanical ants on wheels occupied by tiny human beings showing how close by instinct we remain to them

 

 

*********************

 

Wittgenstein struggled with his own super intelligence, which at times had no place to go. For the grand irony is that he had to use language to tell us language is a straight jacket and misrepresents. That the word or sound 'snake' for instance has nothing to do with the animal, but I think 'snake' is only an aural tag to differentiate it from 'shoe' or millions of other items, inanimate or alive. Yet when at a certain moment both are absent, become abstract, unable to be pointed at or touched, everybody understands exactly what's being discussed. So what's so misleading about this? I rather think a printed sound, by way of a reference number or barcode in the form characters, promotes clarity and exactness in absencia of the real thing so facilitating truth, not circumventing it.

Unless he meant it is word sequence that wilfully misleads sometimes, attempting to impose or enforce a brutal lie.

But why do I have to guess?

You're not clear Ludwig, my boy!

Victim of your own diagnosis...?

 

*************************

 

" I seem to wake up on the wrong side of history, every bloody morning!" he sighed.

 

 

Dialectic Materialism evaporated when Marx & Engels evolved into Marks & Spencer

 

 

If only Putin listened to Rachmaninoff

 

 

hostile acts emanating from a deep-seeded inferiority complex, not only confirm but perpetuate the rot

 

After dry cleaning not only did my suede jacket shrink, but logically also its button holes. Though not its buttons, so that as a result I cannot close the damn thing anymore. Let this be a message to astro-physicists: when the whole shrinks, the holes get smaller!. Or should I have studied gynaecology..?.

 

A State of Flaw and Order

 

People not only get the Government they deserve, they get the Religion they deserve, because man created God in his image in his attempt to obtain a survival placebo.

 

Unless of course a lonely God wanted a friend, someone to show off all that planetary beauty He created to, but that smart/stupid and ingrate friend got totally out of hand

 

 

Stanislavski was not a Methodist

 

 It is not life itself that is surreal, but one in which Magritte and his mockeries are taken seriously.

(this is not a computer)

(this is not here)

 

Canadians are cold-fashioned, but warm-hearted

 

On Mordecai Richler: 'Twas the bastard Davidoff, and his pal Old Glen whot got a damn fine writer!

 

Middle East: And Aristoteles Wept

 

- MODERNITY: I met her on the Internet, and her name was Lydia. When she signed off XL, I didn't know whether she meant Love & Kisses, that she is Full Size or a Roman 40 year old

 

- I was busy paling in comparison to almost everyone, when the phone rang!

- Who called?

- A savage beast!

- What kind of beast?

- Hope!

- A beast called... Hope?

- Couldn't kill her..!

- Cage her...?

- Can't live with, can't live without her..!

-  Sonuvabitch!

 

FATALISM IS DEFEATISM

 

         I have started drafting a novella, under the working title

 

     

                                                   Ulysses and the Man-o-War

 

                                                                    Sub-title: Frankie & Billy

 

Every day, early, when a still gentle sun rises over an east facing promenade, the breeze as always toys with waves rolling west, and a young Frenchman named Billy walks his Labrador on its hard yellow clay. It is known as the Paseo Maritimo, from where he hopes to catch a glimpse of his father taking his morning swim. And where they meet after Frankie rises earlier, the way parents always seem to, afterwards having breakfast together, chatting, beefing, reminisce. The place from where the young man’s eyes never fail to drift towards northern Africa, beyond the azure, and from where a generation ago his family had left.

But then, suddenly, that familiar scene changed; the weather, as so often occurs, within minutes turning radical. And it worried him, for he still hadn't spotted his old man in this rapid squall, born over the strait of Gibraltar where Mediterranean and Atlantic skies instead of kissing, sometimes brutally collide. Ochre the earth of the Spanish coast, striped with the colour of old blood and new, like its flag, its history, its dances, its afternoon, summer bullfights, yet this morning distant fishing boats quickly pulling in their bobbing nets, seagulls crying, warning each other, preparing for strong shears and gusts, and all the anchored oil tankers off the Rock solid but bucking nervously on their chains, agitated, like the young man’s mind. Not necessarily by those dark clouds rising on the horizon, it wasn’t the first time he had seen them, or his dog running wild and excited, chasing balls of flying dust, but because his father Frankie hadn’t come home last night and might have gone straight to the beach, take his ritual swim and wash off his nocturnal sins, at least it’s what he hoped.

But he saw no swimmers in the early morning water, his eyes scanning the surf for a bald man slowly trawling parallel to the sand as long and as far as he would last, and before letting himself drift over shallow submerged rocks so as not to get cut and ripped. Then step out, heaving himself out of the sea to let his wobbly legs carry him onto the shore. The Romans calling this land Finis Terrae, end of the erstwhile world, but now a place where Frankie swam and dealt with his worries, his doubts and the constant memory of what Billy, the son, thinks continues to be his father’s greatest defeat.

The tide was also rising, the new wind whipping south-westerly, the waves already three metres high, pulling away at a man and his struggles, a man in the centre of one, two, and now three storms, the time of year the water chilly so that he would last half an hour, not more. A man dressed not in bathing suit but in an ordinary shirt and torn jeans, having raced into the kelp and froth already in distress, for Frankie was there all right and invisible to the few people walking alongside the beach, including his son.  A man in a battle to leave it all, first the booze, suddenly, too suddenly, then the other pain, the constant pain of paternal betrayal, this morning in a state of delirium tremens, swimming with spastic, fisted hands, kicking, kicking ferociously into those empty yet loaded waves, thinking if not to beat them what are these tides for? Tsunamis to be fought, in his pastis, his mickeys, his endless pitchers of Ribera del Duero wine. Fight, kick those tides as if they were time. And time the space in which the trust between men can get destroyed.

 

Ideologies are made for small people by small people, and nearly always wrong, Frankie used to think. Even so, they too are tides, and for the masses, but what about the links between a father and son? No not between him and Billy, the kid, but between his own Dad, and him. Sure there are tides in paternal love as well, but never, ever the end of respect. Thinking, the thinking, the years of humiliation never letting up, intensifying every dangerous day, more, more, especially now while he battled and swam, the jellyfish invading him, a Portuguese man-o-war nearly engulfing him, stinging him into a swollen, bloody mess, cut into by the salt, blasted by the floating, pounding sands, on his eyelids, his neck, the still rising sun beginning to strafe from in between the sudden clouds.

 

 

(Only a start, more to come.... But in order for me to finish this classic story I need to spend 3 or 4 days in each Oran, and Marseille. It ain't far from southern Spain where I reside, but I just don't have the moolah right now! So I've been thinking about crowdfunding, or krautfunding as my Berlin friends aptly pronounce it.)

 

What If

What if… the brain is like a face, pretty, ugly, elongated or puffed, skin marked or not, loose or tight, of colour indistinct, wrinkles deep, nose pointed, dull, long, short, chin double or tight, lips large, thin, ears flat, wide, eyes oblique, dark, myopic, below brows bushy, frown sudden, smile furtive, muscles of laughter relaxed, uncertain or fake, cheeks hollow, teeth not stained, but uneven,  gums pink, jaw sunk, suddenly jutted in ways undefined, hair patched, black, brown, blond on grey turf, memory inscribed long ago, opinions caked with acts to match, whether it is night or day, dry or wet, hot or cold?

Or more like a landscape, a voyage in it, through it, on it, in which case desert, forest, swamp, plain, mountain range, ocean, beach, ice field, a river, a lake?

 

Would it help navigating our fellow, our selves, circumventing calamity, heartbreak?

 

 

 

-Beckett's ugly beauty: When he opens Murphy with the Joycean, somewhat awkwardly phrased, yet beautifully poetic The Sun Shone, Having No Alternative, On The Nothing New.... he admits that, by itself, the sun shining also has nothing new, so that what we have here is the Nothing New shining on the Nothing New, and not so much a reverberation, as perhaps a lazy start.

 

- In his hand, close to his mouth, he held something that looked like a smoking turd, but must have been a Havana

 

- Remembrance of Things Past is a lousy translation of Proust's A la Recherche du Temps Perdu in that all things remembered are in the past, making this a tautology. In Search of Lost Time is only slightly better as search and loss are mutually implied with 'lost time' sounding like a factory problem. The latter also has no rhythmic quality whatsoever, and why I would settle for Of Days Time Forgot! But then whoever came up with the simple movie title Time Regained hits the proverbial nail right on the head.

 

- Tombs filled with the ignominious: Are they also set free?

-And A Reminder To The Haughty!

Never forget, Ma’am, sitting down at dinner, in your splendid gown, adorned with your finest jewels, that the waiter's balls, however-well-covered, dangle only 23.5 cm from your face.

- Now, may I have your over-reaction!?

 

- There is nothing sadder than an empty theatre, except for that desperately hurting child, outside!

 

       And then this small bed-time thought

 

- True intelligence creates awareness

- The first notion it produces, recognising the self

- The second notion, to ask the self a question

-This question: Why?

-The third notion, finding the answer

- The one immediately implied, pinpointing purpose

- Man in search of purpose as much as needing a morsel of bread, a gulp of breath

- The difference that he can make the former up, compromising his true intelligence, and a greater tragedy than death.

- Off with saviours and amulets.

 

 La Concha

I live below a cubistic looking mountain, about the size of Aix-en-Provence's Mont Sainte-Victoire, Cézanne’s domain.

No, it wasn’t painted by Braque or Picasso, but in the ever changing light of day appears that way, delineated against the endless sky, an anchor, seemingly altering its appearance every hour on the hour, its sharp yet subtle angles stacked upon each other, reaching up towards its Matterhorn-shaped top.

Flat planets are dead planets. There would be no life on earth without constant volcanic action added to solar heat: humanity following flora and fauna in their footsteps, the last one to join the biological fray, and why I cannot live without my mountain, my life, itself the child of tectonic might, tenderly watching over me.

 

 

- WHORES DON'T MOAN...

 

- My gay pal William who works for NATO in Brussels brags that each time he travels to Washington, he stays in a Five-Star General. (He doesn't like Rear-Admirals, especially in choppy seas)

 

- Woe, begun! What strikes me in nature is that prey never fights back! No anger, no indignation, something that I would call unbearable equanimity, and acquiesced brutality also common in parts of the human world. For is it normal to go gentle into that not so good night?

- I'm a friend of hours

-Gravity, that tireless sculptor of flesh and earth

 

THE CONFORMIST

    Magnificent! Nearly every frame a study in camera composition. I wish I could paint like this, in prose!

 

- Some will kill to belong, even when what they believed in has vanished long ago. Conformity a compulsive abstraction, or is the excitement of doing something significant even in theory, too strong for small minds? (Moravia/Bertolucci, the film)

 

- Do a story on a sneak love theft during a large public calamity, called: Under Cover of Conflict, like in a warzone plotting to steal a neighbour's pretty wife by anonymously denouncing her husband and having him arrested and eventually executed. Then patiently consoling her, consoling her, consoling her, with her coming to think Who is this wonderful man who by miracle came into my life?

 

- During her worst moments, the hours of profound loneliness, the elderly widow would grab a mop, turn it upside down, put on a tango, and passionately dance it through her kitchen, over and over again. No, not her last tango, and definitely not in Paris.....

 

Espermatozoïdes Caseras no es un filósofo Griego

 

- During an interview David Foster Wallace refers to "The reality I live in...", indirectly admitting there are other, in their totality larger, by definition more important ones.

 

 

A Dog Named Dylan

(push full screen button for extra canine effect)

 

 

Rage

Man should neither live

like mole afraid

of darkness,

nor as someone’s slave

‘ been given

sight.

Only taming himself

by feeding not stealing his other,

raging at injustice

and at day’s end,

 any held out

false

white

  night   

(now if only I could find a bulldog to record my Rage poem)

 

-Goethe, one 'good' old German, said he'd take injustice over anarchy anytime. But he didn't live under Stalin, Hitler or in someone else's police state. Where order remained the greatest injustice of all,  dictators early on slipping into moral autism, creating their cruel, their idiotic thugocracies.

- My doppelgänger is made of anti-matter, he rides antilopes, eats only anti-pasta and drinks anti-freeze. He is a semi-conductor who leads the orchestra half of the time, I do it the rest of the year.

-Godard equates age with space, as in: How much space have we left?

- Or as in: Time is the space one needs to reach someone else!

- The President of Brasil noticed the solecism of the Carnaval dancer, not wearing anything underneath her miniskirt, inviting her up to his tribune, then up to his palace, en-suite up to his private chambers. She wasn't around when he was forced to resign.

- The super-collider people have a point. This morning my neutrinos made it to the bathroom before I did.

                      

- I've added at least twelve poems to my collection, please scroll down under Selected Poems and check them out!

- You're in trouble when you think you're lying on a porcelain-white beach, a stone's throw from azure water, taking sun, when it starts to pour, and you look up into the suddenly grown-dark sky and all you see hanging up-high... is some damp, curly hair and two pink slices of roastbeef.

- C'est Emmenthal, mon cher! (Elementary, my dear?)

- Waugh, be gone!

 

Rangoon Night

(2009)

 

When

Between two orders

of rotten Sushi

Aung San Suu Kyi

deliberately

sings

Auld Lang Syne

                                                                 off key

I drown

sudden sorrow

in shoddy local Sake

And before

New Year's Eve's

slow Burmese death

So

should

She

 

Read my 1 Act tragi comedy Charlie's Not Home Much Anymore! It's up under Plays, the objective to electrify. A blaze! Jake has tracked down elderly Charlie, suspecting him of horrible war crimes. He uses every trick in the book, including playing on the other’s evident loneliness and trying to speak and joke like him to gain his confidence. All of this to have the fugitive come clean without offering him any redemption or reward. Old Charlie’s been on the run all his life and uses every cunning device, speaking evasive nonsense and telling banal jokes to say absolutely nothing and in the first person singular at least, deny everything. What evolves is a hyper modern war of wit and linguistic acrobatics, both funny and immensely serious.

 

Last Call

(revised)

 

A lush

and sultry

evening

A mist

of shadows,

a veil

of Blues,

a breeze

of fine,

white breasts,

in semi-darkness

A

low-cut

down-dress

waitress

loathing rush

and hushing,

making

leaving

slow

and

most

reluctant

As

that

late

night

beguiling,

she

the stage

And

not

the

Act

 

Exactly what happens to me. Struck by a luminous idea, invariably told that I don't know what I'm talking about...

 

 - Rococo was Baroque's Dadaism, Postmodernism nothing but Neo-Retro, then again everything's Neo-Retro! And this is not art-wank!

- Poor bastard, always grabs someone else's convictions, and when they no longer work, steals another one! (See the Charlie play)

- The Veneration of St John the Fascist (See the Charlie play)

- When asked about the stunning shape I'm in, I tell them mornings I do a full workout including weightlifting, afternoons topped off... with a little shoplifting.

-Read about Tape's Last Krapp, in Waiting for Beckett (Essays)

- The man having the genital transplant was fondly re-membered

-Sorry, Pound and Eliot! I don't like poetry needing translation back into its own language. Deliberate obfuscation, go eschew yourself!

 

-The Axeman Cometh

 

                                                                    Café De Pilaren

 

After the tourist season rolled by the natives would reclaim their rustic watering hole; Bergen a pretty village on the coast where everyone knew everyone. Which could be an oppression worse than the one intrepid tourism imposed, in summer, crowding roads! For is it good that in winter these folks can tell exactly who’s entering the establishment, at precisely what time, in the way the old door knob gets turned and the frontdoor gets pushed open, then closed? Hesitatingly, firmly, softly, or impatiently, with some sort of care or aggressive abandon, followed by the immediate certainty which anecdote will again be told, out of a collection of only six or seven, heard or overheard a hundred fold! Beforehand also knowing which drink will get ordered and imbibed, by whom, the tired waiter bringing the bill in the same amount, paid with the same reluctance precisely two hours on. In spring the invading masses welcomed back with predictable relief, a certain gratefulness prevailing, despite their foreign tongues, the loudness and the shouting clothing. Or would one want to go to Bergen at all, let alone live there, by the sea that most no longer saw? Only that door knob, not loved, but feared if not by all, apparently by most?!

 

                    Confessions of a Feathered Friend

 

Here I am, sitting on the roof of collected notions, a construction put up over centuries by people wanting so badly to be wanted, that for lack of better, they invented someone doing just that. Then attempt making this invisible presence not only visible but permanent, by building this monstrosity, as if it changes anything. And only because sitting outside, on the grass, playing the same game, cannot be passed on, they think, although this would be so much more... genuine.

I landed on the parapet of what feels more like a gaol than a place of inspiration and joy. Built, believe it or not, to keep out many of their playmates, but at least giving me the chance to rest and reflect after one of my own flights of fancy. They call it House of God, but up here wired it electrically while below and at dark shutting doors to keep out the tired, the hungry and the sick as if these suffer by the clock. And making me wonder how they built these enormous structures with a stiff neck, always looking the other way, yet endlessly at and after themselves.

And what about the prejudice that comes with saving your hide before saving the one of others, by the creatures building these structures? Because even if they have no fur and no hair to speak of, hides they do have, and thick ones, too, though no feathers. Telling us we’re unclean, diseased and defecating all over, when they’re making a mess of things wherever they dwell. Mistrusting and killing each other when they feel like it, in the name of a slow brainwave, they call Lord.

Here, hold my horn-rimmed glasses and my cigar and my Manhattan and I’ll show you in the Wall Street Journal why we stand accused of infesting society. Though look, look at me, I didn’t hurt anyone, releasing my droppings all over the place, spreading viruses or waking up the world with loud cooing all the time. That’s them and almost a business it seems.

Truth, by definition, cannot be prejudice, they say by way of self-defence and unable to take the slightest criticism, insisting that if hundreds of thousands of a certain kind do something, they’re all guilty and subversive to boot, especially if and when not of the same prayer. But even if I’m peaceful, clean, entertaining, providing and sharing, they’ll still insist they’re right about me. And that’s when I say, as long as there’s one who’s different, one with pin-striped plumage, they should never say ‘They’re all like that!’, don‘t you agree? Afterwards hectoring it’s all in the proportions, that true, nothing is absolute except their faith, and claiming all the same to be overwhelmed by us, when actually they’re the ones doing all the overwhelming. Implying we’re the invading kind, taking over their society, and certainly, we have our own vision, at least I do and so do mine and so what? Though we must learn to keep a low profile, not flap our wings too much, because down there they’re in control, not up here, thank who or whatever for that.

No, more I look at them, less I want to be like them despite some of that fleeting success of theirs. Sure, sometimes I wished I could cross my legs and sit like them, and least when reading my newspaper, but as for the rest they’ve lost it. Like if I built myself a granite coop with smart, stained windows and a huge, bolted door, coercing dozens of mine to sit inside and sing dressed up, no longer able to hear the music produced by water and wind, by songbird brothers, and sisters, and others of course.

  

It’s good to be out looking in, it’s good to be up looking down, it’s good to be few and free and strong, when they’re many and weak. I know I’m sitting on their structures, but I can leave and they can’t, the price they pay for visible permanence. I can float, sail, rise, dive, crossing oceans on my own, eating, drinking, resting, feeling happy and living just as long, with those I love, flying along. And I’ve never killed or hurt anyone. So of those two worlds, which is the better one? And this Lord of theirs, does He know what company He keeps, what He has also wrought?

But now forgive me. I'm off to see an ornithologist... about that pigeon stool I use, to express myself.

- Oh, go practice onomatopoeias!

-The Spanish writer Manuel Alcàntara puts it this way: Somos un pueblo estupendo para la pesca. Si tuviéra rio... ( We, the Spanish, are a nation of terrific fishermen, if only there were a river!) ( He said it, not me. But the fleet is large!)

 

- En Español pueden ver y escuchar mi video sobre Beckett y Godot: watch?v=56SqMG0yFQY

 

 

KAFKA IS DOROTHY

 

 

watch?v=ke1L_HUmpDI

 

Kafka’s is the art of comic exasperation, deploying absurd even paranoid pseudo logic, labyrinthine insurance company and regulatory double-thought and dead-end speak, at one point probably convincing Derrida and the rest of deconstructionists, to become plumbers.

 

Of course, calling officials, their projects and indirectly the Government itself the Arrangement, says a lot about Kafka's own state of mind. (Personally, I think the Deranged is more like it!), but he still created world literature out of the texts that as an insurance lawyer and later a Workman's Compensation Board verifier, engulfed him. He imitated the structures of treacherously simplistic circular language so prevalent in his daily work. Additionally, the endless incompetence and deliberate deception on the part of both the authorities and the public constantly placed him in the middle of one contention or another. This triggered his Walter Mitty-like imagination, a form of self-defence, his day-dreaming both escape and a distancing from recurrent nightmares, off-setting them and other health problems to preserve his sanity.

 

 

The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy heaven. This is beyond a doubt, but doesn’t prove anything against heaven, since heaven means, precisely, the impossibility of crows!’ is a famous example of a statement of breath-taking incongruity. It only makes one laugh; even by correcting it to say the absence of crows wouldn't make it much clearer. Like some dyslexic atheist debating the impossibility of dogs, instead of gods, unless the case at hand is the result of a translation problem, as I haven't read the original. Anyway, the whole thing a bit like saying a statement by a person doesn't make sense, because the man is mute.

 

 

Yes, Kafka was a great tragicomic figure, one for whom in the end even a fire hydrant represented some sort of totalitarian threat. His humour all part of that self-defence, as was exaggeration. For I visited the castle in Prague; it's an innocent enough structure, housing contemporary government offices, but as it’s located on a hill overlooking the Moldau, in Kafka's dreamy eyes exercising an authority far beyond its real scope. Yes, the Prague Castle is as innocent as one on a medieval Spanish hill top, in particular those high coastal fortifications and watch towers in Andalusia, constructed to keep exactly who (?) out, as invaders were and had been... the Moors themselves!? Part of a paranoiac 'arrangement', in other words, the Moors ultimately getting defeated in the interior of the Iberian peninsula, as was to be expected, and by the Christian Kings, not by wily Barbary Coast pirates or some other invading naval force. So that these castles were not what they were cracked up to be, more part of someone's fantasy, as in the case of Kafka.

 

Shades of combatting windmills then, and Don Quijote. Taken in mostly by the symbolism of the Prague Castle, Kafka did set out to unmask that menacing old fool behind the curtain, much like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, at the end of the day both lodging victory. For Kafka is not only Don Quijote, Kafka is Dorothy, though a much better writer than she!

 

***

 

- Courageously crossing Okeanos, Sir, performing months of strenuous field work in Greece, are you able to tell us: Do goats have a clitoris?

- I'm sorry, I don't speak ελληνικ!

- Not even with your new fiancée?

- Especially with her!

- Must be quite a beast, Sir

- When I was young I got some guacamole all over my ukulele. It was horrible, horrible...

- And why call it a watch anyway?. Do we call a pair of glasses a see? Our hand a touch. Our ear a listen. I have a pimple on my smell, did you notice?

- And what's with a fly? Do we call our dog a walk? A fish, a swim? Or if we can do no better than calling an orange an orange, isn't the very least we can do calling a banana... a yellow?

 

-                                               -Faculty Prince: Oh, no! Not another iconoclast!

- Maverick: Oh, no! Not another conformist!

- Faculty Prince: Sudden changes kill, structures protect!

- Maverick: Structure is past. Past doesn't protect, past confirms

- Faculty Prince: Anarchy's not the cure

- Maverick: Neither's apathy

- Faculty Prince: I'm neither a coward, nor a parasite

- Maverick: Then let me breathe

- Faculty Prince: How's that? Do I suffocate you?

- Maverick: No. Your absolute certainties do!

 

- The dim-witted never give death a second thought. It or le mal-d'être, strictly speaking the condition of suffering from your own intelligence. If you have any. The agony it sometimes creates. The anxiety of it. For better or worse, the ability to recognize yourself in the mirror of animate existence. Cognition commotes, doesn't it?

- Outrageous (White) Lies:

 

My son has discovered he's allergic to towels, the reason he can't shower

Posing naked is proving allergy to textiles doesn't leave me any scars (Starlet)

I refuse to read Proust, because of the recent French ban on imported British beef (British Political Commentator)

If you hadn't let him in, I wouldn't have slept with him (Arletty, the French actress, to her accusers, about having had a love affair with a Nazi Luftwaffe general, in occupied Paris, during the the Second World War)

- Having absolutely nothing to do with this: Many obstetricians are obstinate patrician

- My friend Scarlett O'Hara may have had a heart condition

- The Dutch word for 'accident' is an 'unhappiness'. An unhappiness occurred on the night of St Peter, when a bull broke loose bolting into Mrs Entwistle's porcelain shop, causing great damage and agony. An unhappiness, indeed...

- Read about arsenic and black lace around white thighs in A Kiss By The Clowns

- Political aside: N-K : Terrible societies where the young get a single career choice: become executioner or victim, nothing else. Whereas historically we have fought for and opened up the beautiful space that exists between these cruel extremes.

-

 

- Hitler proves Einstein wrong: contrary to common interpretation E = MC2 stands for Energy equals Madness times the Speed of Light, squared. The great physicist belatedly recognizing the limitless energy emerging from massive daylight idiocy and, somewhat embarrassed as you can see, accepting the amendment I formulated.

(Besides his brain Einstein also had one hell of a tongue, the tip of which nearly reached the end of his chin, suggesting he may have had some other expert abilities.....)

-The question is, can satire take satire and parody, parody?

- Today I won't scrub my rabbit, but may rinse my hare instead

- I don't think it'll moose, but do you think it might reindeer?

- Gide, the French writer, suggested that by the time he's in his fifties a real man should have had syphilis and the Légion d'Honneur, though not necessarily in that order. While Brecht, the German playwright, acidly asked Why be a man if you can be a success? And speaking of the horse's mouth: He should know; by all accounts old Bertold was not much of a man, but a great success. Would that standards vary...

- It's not easy being mediocre he must have sighed, and of course it's hard work. Nearly as much as being brilliant, he reluctantly discovered: Read COBB'S JOLT

 

                                                      - Cobb's hurting!

                                                      - What happened?  

                                                      - He got struck by her wallet!

                                                      - Was it full?

                                                      - Yes, or he wouldn't have been struck by it!

                                                      - Sure hope he doesn't get Ballsheimer's...

                                                      - Forgetting her? Forgetting us?

                                                      - I hope not!

                                                                                                                                               

                     

Fairy Tales: Cervantes wrote we're not immortal, but we should live life as if we were. This essay is not some tiresome Karma running over Dogma rant, but a passionate plea for dignity in human affairs by an ordinary XXI century citizen, hoping to eliminate 'truth' jobs once and for all. The Proctologist helping the Philosopher to get over himself. More like what Katherine Hepburn had to say, insisting We listen to the song of life...

Tradition: The Critical Core: Can't teach an old dogma new tricks (D. Parker)! Read about the treachery of tradition, how obstinate tradition is obsolete tradition, and the way in which Every man's a nation could change all that. How Michel de Montaigne already said it 400 years ago: If I can't govern the world, the least I can do is govern myself. With this author adding that the real, the only Body Politic is me, is you, plus that shooting new roots is always healthier than inheriting them...

Truth & Lies: "It's all a misunderstanding," Leni Riefenstahl admitted. "I had a mad crush on Adèle Fitler."  (You read it here first!)

Waiting For Beckett: read why I concluded that Godot is a deeply religious play, not in a conventional sense perhaps, but in the way that any Godot would do, as long as we are wanted ... (Because with this of course comes a sense of protection, the warming fairy tale that something or someone looks after us, that we're not mere clouds of chemicals going the same place as dead rodents.)

On Fundament: deals with robotic believers, obstinate literalists willing themselves to denigrate the metaphor, killing life for total lack of moral imagination. Could it be that Mars was formerly inhabited by them, viewing what was left behind...?

Humour/Laughter/Silence: paragraphs 5, 6 and 11 were altered, adding notions that the very best comics are always deadly serious, and that while some like to think of the Messiah as a joke, I submit that much to the contrary Humour is the real Messiah, or that the young Bororo men in Niger dress-up outlandishly once a year and humour a woman in order to win her hand, obliged to prove they can make her laugh and smile rather than impress with crude masculinity: not bad for a desert tribe. Or: Just line the street then march up to the gates of cruelty and incompetence and laugh out loud, before turning to your even louder silence. Damnation....

Plus... These days, everybody writing yet again about Freud, I make the link between him and that old Canadian trick of putting a small piece of fur round the keyhole of your front door, when it's freezing cold and dark outside and you're groping to get in... (track the name in my blog)

 

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Contact Stella Bascuñan to obtain specific rights for certain countries and/or language domains at my posted e-address

Caveat Lector: In order to protect international copyrights, all my works have been deposited with EU & US based notaries.