4e 1938 SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A
sick. I feel so sick. I never felt so sick before. It feels
as if my head were full of water. It's going to explode from
the pressure in my brain. Maybe it's just nicotine poisoning...
Why not? Only yesterday I inhaled, and I said to Alma: don't
worry, it's just ... nicotine poisoning. But I'm afraid it
isn't. It must be something else. My fingers are yellow from
they are yellow. And I'm blind
can't see anymore
I know why
it's because my eyes
An ugly bowlegged Jew with nicotine-fingers
and watering eyes, permanently watering slitted eyes - I've
read it in her dairy! And maybe she's right! Alma is always
right. You can't cheat her. I hope our poor child doesn't
have to be exhumed after all. That beautiful child! He really
moved me! My son! My Martin!! I loved him! I loved him so
much! In spite of his hydrocephalus. At least it proved that
you were my child, and not Walter's. It's unshakable testimony!
Today a child was born into the world
The trees bestow blessing in different ways-
A son, a child has entered our aging lives,
Through birth, a spirit and a person now will live with us.
At least she didn't abort you.
I'm so depressed. I'm miserably depressed. It borders on
total helplessness. Weakness. Mental Impotence, not being
able to think. Anxiety. a flood of associations pressing into
I can't control them anymore
. My God,
what's happening to me? I'm losing my power
my ability to think. Am I really getting impotent? Psychically
impotent? I still have to
I don't want
There's so much disorder. There's chaos
in my head. An ocean of disorder is drowning me!
Today a child was born into the world
The trees bow silently, their heads in prayer--
This is bad. Bad poetry. Nicotine poetry. Matchbox wisdom.
Water words. Dissolute . Inaccurate. Unsuitable. Wishy-washy.
Aphoristic superficial! I'm a pitiful clown, juggling with
words. Anna! Gucki! My saviour. I gave her freedom
a vanished world. A World of Yesterday. A paradise
never to be regained
I feel like a motherless child...!» Blood pressure is
almost 80 to 160. Tension but much too high. Should stop smoking
at once. No precision in describing minute feelings... Uuugh!
(He squeezes the paper into a ball, and throws it away.)
East Asian monastery. Monks appear and ask us to take off
our boots at the entrance. We are getting surprisingly comfortable
straw sandals in exchange, they flatter our feet. Enter the
monastery's garden. Huge wilderness. A small path leading
through high grass, with creepers and dense vegetation. Large
snakes are crawling across our path , they're countless. Shooting
forward or just lying around. Surprisingly the monks allow
themselves to be bitten by them, calmly and composedly. Me
too. But full of fright and only to be polite, a well mannered
guest. It's my ambition to act according to the secret code
of the clergy. My mind is not yet contaminated enough to allow
me to step on a snake's head, although I'm longing for it.
And on top of everything - there's the current situation.
Prague has been occupied by the Germans. Another devilish
nightmare. My sister Hanna is trapped! She missed the train.
Where will I sleep today and feel at home? I cannot regard
Austria as my home any longer. I feel a stranger there. Where
is my home? In Prague? I can't go back to Prague! There is
no place for me to go! I am three times a stranger: as a Bohemian
among Austrians, as an Austrian among Germans, and as a Jew
everywhere in the world. London? Who needs me in London? Anna?
This is exile, the bitter taste of exile. I haven't got the
strength to even start imagining it. Let alone to confront
it in reality! But the day will come. Inevitably. And then
we will have time. Plenty of time
What shall I do? - Suicide. Suicide? She didn't even want
to go to Horvath's funeral. She forbade it. Why? After all
he looked almost alive there among all the yellow, grey-green
faces of all the Immigrants who had gathered in the mortuary.
Actually he looked the most healthy of all of us... I can't
do it. I'm afraid to do it...
Oh Lord, rend me asunder!
I am still a mere child.
And I dare to sing.
And I name you.
And I call things by their names!
O Lord, rend me asunder!
What is this dull and wretched pleasure ?
I am not worthy of the blood from your wounds.
Yes, yes. I must commit suicide. I must! But I'm terribly
afraid to do it. I can't stand the vision of pushing the barrel
of the revolver against my head... it's still my head! It
would be easier to take poison. Poison, yes. But I haven't
- Instead I find myself arrested! The inspector
thumbs through a huge black file for an eternity . Haven't
I been on the cover of Paris Match?! «Un
de plus grands écrivains contemporains»! That's
me! One of the greatest writers of our time! - I'm afraid
I won't survive these minutes, even if they are already past.
I'm about to faint. But would it make sense for someone who
hasn't done anything to faint? I told you: the restrictions
of the immigration law do not apply to me! My summons here
is a mistake! A terrible mistake! Why have you had me summoned
to this court, Franz Kafka? Am I on trial in one of your novels?
I'm not a beetle! I am not K! I want to read America!
Ha! Even in your fragments you are far better than this merchant's
son from Northern Germany! For me you are the real Nobel Prize
winner, and not him! Not this Thomas Mann! I sent you a big
bunch of roses and my novel Verdi. It was the
last book t you touched before you died. Before you coughed
yourself to death. A dream is not enough to feed a man when
he's forty years old. Even a starvation artist can't suffer
I am looking forward to my execution. I'll dress especially
for the occasion with the special , black, velvet costume
of an Italian Bajazzo. Of course I'm not alone! It goes without
saying that the room isn't empty. A colleague keeps me company.
I think it's Egon Erwin Kisch. He will also be decapitated
- Karl Kraus, that ugly monster, will certainly be shot. And
a deep inner feeling tells me that he deserves it much more
than me! (He puts his hands up to his head.) Ahhh! I knew
it! I knew it! There is another world, a world of ghosts!
«Only sometimes, Sir, only sometimes.» is the
answer of the ghost. What is he doing now?! He starts to shave
me! I think I know him. He's an ex-worker, who has fallen
off a roof. Strong feeling of damage caused by the dead. Intimacy,
yet through intimacy. Then light. And transformation. Smell.
Passing processions. Shadows of the past! Ernst Lubitsch!
Erich von Stroheim! Fritz Lang! Bert Brecht! Fred Astaire!
But why?! And where?! And what for?! Sleep. Slumber. Ecstasy.
Levitation just in vain. Nicotine addiction? (He puts his
hand to his chest.) And that pain... That heaviness... That
pressure in my chest... I wish it happened in my sleep. Without
me feeling a thing.
Thank God there's been no answer yet from Berlin. I's the
only thing that's keeping me alive. No answer is still better
than a definite »No«. If only they'd admit me
to the German Writers Union of the Third Reich! That would
change everything. Oh God! It would be a life preserver for
a drowning man. It would mean hope... Hope? Hope..! What can
I do except cling on to any tiny hope?!
Hitler enters, he's frail and old as ever he might be. His
fly is open, and his penis can be seen. It's frightening to
watch it. And he asks me: «Did you notice?» And
before I can even give an answer, he starts growing, and is
becoming a young and sturdy man all of a sudden! And he throws
himself at me, and hits me as punishment. - I'm a full grown
man! I'm a full grown man! It's not my fault! Man is dumb!
I wouldn't have come back unless the people on the street
had recognized me by my face! I'm a full grown man!
I've given you a farewell kiss,
and still I'm holding nervously onto your hand.
I warn you time after time:
watch out for this and that.
Man is dumb.
When will the whistle, the whistle finally blow?
I feel that I will never see you in this world again.
And speak plain words - no comprehending.
Man is dumb.
I know if I loose you,
I would be dead, be dead, be dead.
And yet I would still like to flee.
My God, how much I'd like a cigarette!
Man is dumb.
I find myself lost in the streets, and choked by tears,
I look around, bewildered.
For no man's tears can say
what finally we really mean.
Man is dumb.
The pleasure of art is not a pastime, it's the opposite:
it's a death-time.