Wednesday, January 03, 2007


To Fifi and Elfi, my teachers


Epiphany comes
In a veil of vain lust
Procrastinating between Jerusalem and Auschwitz
And I found her, in the morning
Wearing the heavy glasses of time
Reminding me of unearthly procedures
Of human faces
Of mechanical production
In the body of a young man
Like Celan
With the ashes of Shulamit
And the gray hair of Margaret's curls
The bridge between Grittli and us
In a world spirit
That could for one explain
So much burdensome homelessness
In the midst of our own tents
Thy name Jacob,
Then thy name Israel
Slightly comic
In Auschwitz
In Budapest
In Jerusalem
The three names
Like a Holy Trinity
For the perverted memory
They all fall into the grammar
Of Jerusalem
In her mourning
That has become evicted
That has become lawful
And Jerusalem,
You contain all the names in the world
The name that I wore
With pride
As I was being led toward dying
In the aftermath of my birth
A twilight of life
Instead of death
In the faceless unchosenness
Of Shulamit and Margaret
Somewhere drowning in the Seine
Or elsehow in the frontier with Spain
Nearing Todtnauberg

She knew about that strangesome feel
E. as well
She knew it in Jerusalem
Like we all did
Turning the waters from all the Noahs in the world
Into their mightiness again
And for good
In a moment of nothingness
As we entered the emptied out chapel
Without rejoicing
Stale like the stones
As though before the waters choked
And the primeval time stopped
In sempiternal momenta
That created the gaps
Between our names
Replacing them with crosses
And with silences
Right therein
At the top of the hill
From where they all walked
Toward their deaths
Without dying
Bereft of speech
Creating unpresences
From old essences
That no longer walk
But rather lead themselves
In a macabre spell
To Plato's cave
Paradise turned upside down
On the firm earth
Wet from the outrage
Of silent screams
And their speeches


Oh Endymion
How troubled I had been in those years
Half-standing by the gates
Near the railways
When I found out
You were not my father
That I had not seen you even once
At the tower
In Tuebingen
Or Heidelberg
And only here
In Jerusalem
That contains all the names in the world
I could make sure
That I remember all the hymns
And the supplications
That you sang for me
As I played with your father
In the eternal world
From where you vomitted me
In front of the gates
That would seal
The stamp
Of my noble birth


Auschwitz was the only name
That I could pronounce then
Because it contained Jerusalem as well
And I remembered the learning halls
And the philosophies
Which watered down as his fingers were cut
And only a faintly truth remained
After the course of the trains had changed
In Breslau
No longer from Athens to Jerusalem
Since that day
The only journey
Alloted to us
In the roulette of life
Was indeed
From Auschwitz to Jerusalem
Whereby all roads meet
And one truth chops the head of the other
As though Lessing had been one of our prophets
And him
Our older brother
Had told us
One should not fear
Because the bridges had been broken
Ever since Jena
And we could no longer speak
Without mourning
That is exactly why
Auschwitz and Jerusalem
Mean just about the same
In a comic way
Too much this-worldly
To sound funny at all
When you have been an exilee
Ever since those days
When you have already forgotten
The mother tongue
And then
All musings and mournings
Are bad translations
Bad mornings
Nighting away
With the same name

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