translation and voice: Muhammad Aurfali, Damascus
original from Druckkammern (Verlagshaus J. Frank 2012)
- Dieser Blog ist eine Online-Werkstatt, in der wir Texte besprechen. Er ist offen für alle, die mitdiskutieren möchten und wird betrieben von G13, zu deren Publikationen ihr hier ebenfalls Informationen findet. Hinweise auf aktuelle Lesungen und andere Aktivitäten findet ihr vor allem auf unserer Facebook-Seite.
gdreizehn.lyrik [at] gmail.com
(Bitte schreiben Sie uns an diese Adresse nur bei Anfragen an G13 als Lyrikkollektiv; bei Anfragen an einzelne Autor*innen wenden Sie sich bitte an die Verlage.)
Lieber Max, Das Landschaft ist leer, warum? b
Lieber B, was meinst du damit? Gruß, Max
Ah, ja, ich meinte, wo sind die Menschen? Findest du es (tel aviv) wichtig, und warum? Es ist wichtig was Andere über euren poem denken? Tak!
hey brunburg, na dem gedicht geht m.M.n. gerade nicht darum tel aviv zu beschreiben. die einzigen leute die vorkommen sind die kontrolleure und an denen scheitert das lyrische ich wie auch an allen anderen dingen, die erscheinen.. was andere über das gedicht denken ist dabei aber weiterhin wichtig. also immer raus damit! gruß, max
Danke, Max aber ich verstehe nicht, was du meinst. so was ist wichtig (offene fragen!)?
Du uber israel/tel aviv geschrieben haben – das ist wichtig fur du, und warum?
Heir geht es um wahrheit, perspecktiv, und um unsere eigenen freiheiten… Seien wir doch ehrlich….schrieben/sagen was du menst, bitte!
liebe/r brunburg, das ist kein gedicht über israel/tel aviv. sonst hieße es ja „in tel aviv“, aber es heißt ja „nie in tel aviv“. hier geht es also ganz und gar nicht um die wahrheit von israel oder tel aviv sondern um das lyrische ich und dessen perspektive. die freiheit gelingt nicht. ehrlich gesagt: über israel zu sprechen ist eben nicht das, was der text hier macht.
Ich denke das word ’nie‘ schafft absurde, albern contradictions. Oder, die poem ist sehr romantisch. du meinst damit, es ist etwas mit leibe und sehnsucht zu erfullen? warum? uber liebe schreiben…liebe ist besser! Und, ichdenke, die Freiheit gelingt nicht ohne Gerechtigkeit! also, sage was du meinst..bitte. Tak!
na gut, gedichte sind ja nicht dazu da, dass alle sie mögen. bei deiner kritik bin ich mir allerdings nicht sicher, ob ich sie überhaupt nachvollziehen kann. für mich geht es in dem gedicht nicht um liebe. vielleicht um sehnsucht, aber auch eher nicht. um gewalt geht es eher ja, ziemlich sicher geht es um die position des lyrischen ichs, welches einen bestimmten ort nicht verlassen kann. ob es das so will oder daran gehindert wird ist nicht ganz klar. und diese ambivalenz ist mir bei dem text sehr wichtig. darum geht es mir hier auch nicht um ein eindeutiges liebesgeständnis.. eher noch invertierte romantik, was irgendwie auch gegenstand des buches „druckkammern“ ist, in dem der text erschienen ist.
was meinst du genau? wie verstehst du denn den text, wenn du ihn als romantischen text liest? was meinst du, wenn das wort „nie“ für dich alberne widersprüche erzeugt?
(we can continue this conversation in English, if that suits you better)
Dear Max, it’s nice to know of your response to my questions. You ask me: was meinst du genau? (what do you mean, exactly?) I very much like the poem for its landscape depiction, which is technicoloured. I consider this to be the reflective aspect of the poem and something very positive. It seems that the physical aspects of the landscape is ’seen‘ most clearly by ‚I‘. The references to the ‚controllers‘ or guards are somewhat ambiguous–one could say that ‚i‘ recognise their humanity but do not particularly like the role they play. I gather this is what you meant by ‚ob es das so will oder daran gehindert wird ist nicht ganz klar. und diese ambivalenz ist mir bei dem text sehr wichtig.‘ but do correct me if I’m wrong. The combination of such issues makes the landscape feel surreal or nebular, like something out of a Star-Wars film!
I can’t tell which world the lyrical ‚i‘ is from, actually! Perhaps, ‚i‘ am an angel or maybe ‚i‘ am lost? The lyrical ‚I‘ doesn’t explore the role/manifestations of god! It does not recognise the significance of the controllers. I, for one, know that ’soldiers are thick as shi*‘!
Furthermore, the poetic ‚i‘ is not trying to escape the guards, god etc. s/he is merely an passive observer, but considering Tel Aviv by its nature, perhaps s/he should be at more unease. This obscure interest in Tel Aviv/Israel make it a romantic poem! Why (do you) feel a sense of longing for it? What do we aim to achieve by this? You ask: What do you mean, that the word ’never‘ creates silly contradictions? (was meinst du, wenn das wort “nie” für dich alberne widersprüche erzeugt?). It creates contradictions because the so-called lyrcial ‚I‘ is in denial!! The lyrical i needs to acknowledge what it is and where it is!
Of course, you can/are capable of writing about love. I suggest you find something to love first, and how to love. tell me how that goes…obvious,though, isn’t it?! No contradictions. No lies.
PS: I eagerly await for your response. Take good care! B
Dear Bruni, I feel like this last exchange has made us come closer to the issue that interests me in this poem. I think that you and I agree on the ambivalence of the lyrical I’s position towards external influences – be it god, the controllers or nature („permanent boden vereist“). Were you seem to disagree is in the lack of synthesis the poem offers. Correct me if I am wrong: would you wish for a more thorough exploration and political/critical positioning of the lyrical I?
Writing about Israel in German is difficult by itself. However, nowhere does this poem describe an explicitly German position of the lyrical I. With regard to the interpretaive space this poem opens up I would therefore like to add one more dimension: the lyrical I is writing from a Jewish perspective. Considering this, the idea of „Israel“ as promised land is countered by the lyricial I’s impossibility to leave Germany and follow his/her god up the runway.. Tel Aviv would then be something like the modern version of Jerusalem (the „bashanah haba’a bi’Jerushalajim“ of the Jewish New Year), the (Jewish/German) lyrical I is not able to find its way to Israel – at least not through a poem written in German.
This much about the political/critical perspective I was interested in while writing the poem. I did not want to explore the political situation in Israel. As I said before, I did not intent to write a poem about Israel at all. „Nie in Tel Aviv“ is a thoroughly German poem which would leave its own limits towards the exotic if it chose to talk about Israel or anything so utterly disconnected from the German context the lyrical is positioned in.
By the way: Happy new year!
I’m delighted to hear from you! Thanks, very much!
I am glad that my criticism of your work wasn’t too harsh for you; I figured, that you would be able to understand it (without it making you cry*, for instance)!
It is interesting that you label/represent god as one of the external factors,
both in the literal and metaphorical senses of the phrase, as this would suggest to me that you are not entirely made-up about the nature of faith, beliefs, and worship! Would you call this a religious, spiritual, or philosophical matter? I think it is just a question of how we wish to direct our minds and efforts, and what we wish to achieve, at the end of the day.
This is something I learnt from the great poets of ‚Persia‘, who found expressions for the ultimate truth, through their explorations of ‚godly‘ concepts – in writing and through their daily practices. They became aware of themselves, of foresight, and their own/collective histories. This is what I would refer to as the ‚manifestations of god‘ but it is difficult to talk about this in greater detail, now. Those poets also had wonderful religious experiences, which like any other entity, cannot be likened to something else as we know it, without creating half-truths or horrible distortions. (By the way, I don’t mean ‚religious experiences‘ include wondering around semi-desert conditions in search of ‚the‘ answers.)
I am interested to know how you feel the Jewish perspective informs you work. The following suggests that it informs your work politically and possibly the Jewish myths too: ‚Considering this, the idea of “Israel” as promised land is countered by the lyricial I’s impossibility to leave Germany and follow his/her god up the runway.. [edited] at least not through a poem written in German.‘
I don’t think, in other words, that you are talking about Jewish or so-called Abrahamic spirituality, the meaning of Shabbat, or even the significance of the Tora/Halakha!! (The latter two define Judaism). Do you agree, with me at all? How do you identify yourself as a German-Jew, then? What do you mean by: ‚the impossibility [to] follow his/her god up the runway..‘ ? And “permanent boden vereist” (nature)?
Forgive me, but I really* don’t understand what you wish to achieve through the remembrance of a so-called ‚modern‘ Jerusalem? Where do these underlying issues come from? Does a modern Jew in Germany have to be cynical, in order to live happily in Germany…? [this would make an interesting essay topic] Please elaborate!
‚Writing about Israel in German is difficult by itself.‘ This, for me, is a contradiction in terms.
Do believe me, when I say, I like you, but think about it…you could be great!
Many Happy New Years!
Dear Mr Max, I eagerly await for your response. Best wishes, B
still getting closer. I wrote earlier that I do not intent to talk about Israel. And considering your last comment I want to add that I am not writing about spiritual Judaism either. From my point of view the poem deals with Judaism in a specific context under specific historical conditions. As such, German Judaism after 1945 has been defined by two things: Shoah and Israel. The first point implies a historical neurosis which defines everything by its connection to the German past. Its about the things that are and the things that could have been. The second point refers to a relation of Jewish identity to politics which can be expressed in the understanding of Germany as a harbour for departure towards the holy land. After all, staying in Germany seemed very unlikely after what had happened. Jews that returned to Germany, survived hidden or stayed as displaced Persons had to find a justification not only to others but to themselves as well.
Considering this background, I would not talk about a political perspective per se when talking about the inability to leave Germany for Israel – to understand Israel as the promised land does not necessarily mean to embrace political things happening „down there“. From my perspective, it is entirely entangled in the difficulty of establishing a positive identitiy as a German Jew. For the first two generations, this was not possible without accepting a certain degree of mythical longing and shifting it to the real/political entitiy called Israel. However, „Israel“ as a signifier can relate to many things – the political entitiy being only one among many. I wanted to highlight this confusion of symbolical Jerusalem and „real“ Tel Aviv. (and talking about the exoticism entangled in this idea of the „real“ Israel would be but one more interesting topic for a poem or an essay).
The lyrical I therefore gives an answer to a problematic that is not so much grounded in religion – as „Israel“ would then have to refer to Torah and Halkha – but concerned with a German reality. The factors I have called „external“ are external also in a way that they work to construct the image of „Israel“ through blue ocean, cold weather, excessive boarder control, lost god, etc. In this series of negative images the lyrical I therefore constructs an idea of what „Israel“ is in his imagination. The first fault of this construction lies in the identification of the mythical Israel with the real Tel Aviv. One can only expect the lyrical I to be disappointed once it crosses the ocean – a disappointment that grows not so much out of politics but out of a specific problematic of German-Jewish identity.
By writing about these processes of construction and error I intent to establish an approach I would call „pathological“ (and here, I am leaving the concrete sphere of the poem „nie in tel aviv“). It is pathological in a sense that the lyrical I writes from a perspective of utter fixation onto its own history, the way language expresses historical continutiy and how a specific setting inflates the concrete situation (e.g. forest/stars/naked bodies) and the abstract (history/violence/family memories). In this sense, I welcome your excurs on Persian poetry and will try to find some good German translations. Though, the focus on god as a positive entity will be something left to another poem and poetology. After all, god has been part of German history and the pathological stare of the lyrical I does not yet allow for an affirmative perspective on god. This may be left to the cure of which I have not yet found a language or a process of writing for it to be express without naivité or cynicism.
Thank you, Mr Max! What you have said is a break through, I must admit, and I hope you mean it!
I would still like to know what is important to you in your daily life, and what about the role of poetry?
If you would like to talk about any of these things in person, I’d make me very happy to see you!
Poetry without a clear sense of purpose would feel like nihilism, at its best, though! (How heart breaking or wretched would that be?!)
Best wishes ever,
I could try come to a reading, sometime. Could you promise to write about love, tho!!
ein bein am gleis hilft…..habe ich zuerst gelesen….
ja das kenne ich, ich war zwar mal in Belgrad gewesen, aber
so richtig da war ich doch nicht
Dear Max, I am eagerly awaiting your reply.
Hilbi dear, nice poem! Have you been to Belgrade?)
Thank you both
Ja ich war in Belgrad, aber völlig besoffen und gottseisgedank vor der MilosovicZeit
dear bruni, dear hilbi, I dont really know why you are talking about Belgrade right now. is it because of the poem? and what reminds you of the city?
concerning my eagerly awaited reply: I feel we have come to a close. If you want to communicate further, Bruni, lets continue on Facebook. my name is my name there. I cannot find you, though. (and still dont know who you actually are)