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It is a whirlwind in here

The Ghost Of Kafka Walks

The Ghost of Kafka walks

(not stalks)


The streets

Of Prague.


 Prague,

(The place he would/could

Never leave
Until the last

Half year of his life)

He described as:
“The little Mother has claws.”

Which she did.

For him.


He managed

(In the last half year of his life)
To escape to Berlin

During one of

The
Worst times

Anyone could live

In Berlin


Until the end of the

Second World War.

But

That was years

Away.


But he escaped

With a young

Lover,

Which made things

So much

Better.


But his Ghost only

Walks
The streets of

Prague


Whereas

Kafka’s Ghost

Stalks

The rest of

The World.


~ D. E. BA  U.E.

Featured post

Margaret Atwood Travels Further Than Ever – Blessed Be!

the-testaments_margaret-atwood_3

I have noted some folk looking at this post from a couple of years ago. I had put it up because of the success of the television series, A Handmaid’s Tale.

Now, Ms. Atwood has produced a new novel, The Testaments, [which, by the way, has a brilliant front and back cover] with an international launch from London, England. I can humbly state that my part in her literary life remains the same.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was not my intent to piss off Margaret Atwood.

The opposite, in fact. I wanted her to know she was an inspiration.

She was giving a reading at the University of New Brunswick in my student days. I attended, but there was quite the gathering and she was whisked away at the end. However, I overheard there was a ‘gathering’ in her honour. Invitation only, of course. Academia and literati.

I crashed the party (that was the term used by the professor who clapped his sturdy hand upon my shoulder but – happily – did not thrust me into the night).

But Ms. Atwood was kept deep in many a learned conversation and I had no opportunity to converse. I did, however, overhear where she would be spending next afternoon – the historic University Observatory.

Next day I knocked upon the Observatory door.

It was not a cheerful Margaret Atwood who answered, and answered with alacrity.

She asked my name.

She asked my business.

And she asked how the hell I knew where she was. She had stolen the day to do some writing. Some ‘real’ writing, in this window-of-opportunity grudgingly offered on the book tour.

At least I was there to praise Atwood and not to bury her with some essay question.

Nor had I a manuscript to hand to her.

I might not have garnered a smile, but her curt thank you was reward enough.

For me, at least.

Featured post

The Little Old Lady Steals Dirt From The Titanic Graveyard

headstones-2

The little old lady

(and – she was – it’s no cliche)
[And – yes – there are
Two Titanic graveyards
But,
This is one
of them.]

Had a plastic
Shopping bag
And a
Hand trowel.

She had a straw hat,
And wore a
Flowered dress
(Though neither of these
Were necessary
To dig dirt
From the graveyard.)

She had,
At her command,
A huge pile
Of earth,
That looked as if
It had been dumped
By a Dump Truck,
In the middle
Of the
Graveyard.

If she thought it
Was just for her,
So be it.

She was industrious,
Scrape
Dig
Dump.

Repeated a number
Of times.

Trowel
Dirt
Plastic bag

And then she
Went on her way.

I did not follow.

There is privacy,
And then,
There is
Privacy.

~ D.E BA U.E

[Image] https://historicgraves.com/sites/default/files/gyard-photo/li-ctwn/gallery/headstones-2.jpg

Circles Rule – from Outer Space to the Confines of Earth and Humans

flames-outer-space-stars-patterns-circles-supernova-flame

[ It is more than just Space where circles rule. Try Earth Try History Try People Try Life.]

“Circles are the answer.

“Just look at any circle and you’ll see what I mean. Of course, no one else is to know about the circles. They must be very stupid if they can’t see something so obvious.

“Yet, you get hints, don’t you – all the time out there. And in your own life – the way things happen so you never get anywhere. Never change.

“The earth, of course, and the sun – well, that’s something you can see. Either way you look at it, the one goes around the other in a big circle that takes in the whole sky. And the earth and the sun and the moon are round  – all circles in their own right. So you have circles which are going around in circles, if you get my meaning.

“And if you look further – reach out into the universe as far as you can go – they tell us that everything is going around everything else. Smaller circles and elongated circles which take in such large distances that numbers become forgotten.

“Now, this means that everything, eventually, comes back upon itself. The beginning is really the end. That’s what most people would think – and that’s where they make their mistake.

“You see, things don’t start by beginning – they start by ending. It’s the end which comes first in a circle, so, instead of going back to where it started, it comes back to its end.

“That explains it.”

[Image] https//3.bp.blogspot.com/-3Ktlv3LFcKA/XIdSJYpIyqI/AAAAAAAAIEo/QNn-7NpIDW0qcAb6ULgxjUQ2ylswpNseQCHMYCw/s1600/flames-outer-space-stars-patterns-circles-supernova-flame.jpg

HM In Control: What are The Queen’s powers? — Royal Central

The Royal Prerogative are a set number of powers and privileges held by The Queen as part of the British constitution. Nowadays, a lot of these powers are exercised on Her Majesty’s behalf by ministers – things such as issuing or withdrawing passports that, without the Royal Prerogative, would require an act of parliament each […]

What are The Queen’s powers? — Royal Central

All Hallows approaches, and we who write fiction are hard pressed to keep up with Halloween reality.  – “New Orleans archbishop: Priest’s desecration of altar ‘demonic'”

The Archbishop of New Orleans said Friday that a priest’s filming of a pornographic videotape atop a church’s altar was demonic, and that the priest will never again serve in Catholic ministry.

Source: New Orleans archbishop: Priest’s desecration of altar ‘demonic’

Whose Lips Were Here Before Mine?

Whose mouth

Was on the tankard

In the tavern

Weeks

Days

Hours
Before I

Took my

First drink?

Yes, it has been

Washed

Steamed and

Scalded.

It is not

Germs

That concern me.

But who were

The lads and ladies

Who have shared

This

Self-same tankard?

What were they doing?

What were they planning?

Where were they going?

Of whom did they ponder,

As they sipped in thought

Or riotous laughter?

Hopes

Dreams

Worries

Fears

A belief in God

Or worship of Satan

The love of life

A desire for death
~ DE B.A UE

When The Government Fails And The Country Falls

il_570xn.566244460_bbizIn my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in his lost diaries.  Here, as the learned Doktor of Laws from the big city, he has been asked to speak to the citizens of the small village of Zurau, where he is living with his sister.

He is talking about the end of the Empire that the townsfolk have been living under all their lives. The Empire, the Emperor, and the civilization they know, is soon to be swept away. Will their lives go with it?

Kafka speaks the truth, and Kafka avoids the truth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

15 January 1918

This war. They wanted my opinions about this endless war. These earnest, honest men, awaiting the words from the Herr Doktor of Prague.

I agreed only to answer questions – that way I could not be accused of fermenting treason. Even in these troubled times, the law allows a man to answer questions. Assuming that the law prevails.

The law was present in the form of the policeman, attending this questionable gathering while still in uniform. He doffed his hat as he shook my hand. I would rather have him in our midst, than lurking in the hall, taking notes. We have nothing to fear from him.

“Will the empire last?”

This was first from their lips. And they must have needed to hear the words, for even the Emperor must know that all is lost. The Old Order, having fallen into the hands of dull and witless men, must succumb. The complacency of the age must be purged – but that has not yet happened. That awaits the next generation – and the destruction will be furious. But I do not tell them this.

I am skillful in what I do not tell them, for the truth is beyond their power to persuade or control. (Their next questions would have been more difficult had I not curbed the truth further still.)

“What will happen to Zurau? What will happen to us?”

And they have every right to worry. To suspect. When a society crumbles, it is those at the bottom who get crushed. But I told them that Amerika seemed a just power – not bent on retribution.

I did not tell them that a victor can do as he wants.

And I told them that we live in a secondary part of a secondary empire – the powers of destruction will be concentrated on Vienna and Berlin.

I did not tell them that during the death of a snake, the spasms of the tail can be lethal.

And I told them something which could really be of help. I told them, in this coming year, to grow more food: fatten more beasts: prepare, preserve and put away. Fill their cellars and barns to bursting with food and fuel. Buy some things now, which they can use for barter later if the currency becomes worthless. Look after their families and lands. Look after each other.

16 January 1918

I did not tell them that war is the end result of injustice and arrogance, and that it is oftentimes necessary. I did not tell them that when the natural balance is upset by human action, the cost of righting it must be made in human payment. I did not tell them that a country where neighbour is cruel to neighbour is a country mean for war.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Boats: I dunno why (since it’s vegetarian) but this is tempting enough to float my boat.

This Mexican-inspired dish comes together in under an hour with black beans, spices, some cheese and pico de gallo from PBS Food.

Source: Roasted Spaghetti Squash Boats

A Full Moon For October 1st, But Not For Kafka

kafka-comic

It’s a full moon on 01 October, so I wondered what my Kafka might have written in my diary novel about him called Kafka In The Castle. Alas, nothing at all. But, what he put in the day before and the day after might explain that he decided to take a day off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

September 1917

There was a knocking at the window this morning. A polite and concise rap rap rap. It awoke me while the room was barely light. Who could want me so early? And then again, an insistent rap rap rap. I was confused, wondering where I was. The panic of Prague weighted down the covers, and I was sorry I had opened my eyes. The room, the smells – even the bed – was not familiar, so I was both bothered and assured by the strangeness. When I realized I was not in Prague – for who could knock on my third floor window – I remembered I was in Zurau, where things were different. Here my window looked onto a yard, and anyone could  be at it. Was there something wrong? Was Ottla after my help? I even wondered, as I searched for my slippers, if her young man had somehow arranged leave from the army, and after much travail had managed to reach the wrong room. I could understand that very well.

I walked hesitantly over to the window, and cautiously pulled back the curtain. Such a commotion ensued that I stepped back in some fright. A bird flew immediately past the glass, its wings frantic as it screeched in agitation. It had been perched on my window ledge, pecking away at the frame. Ottla says it may have been after insects or grubs settled in for the winter.  “Insects in the walls of the house?” I asked.  “Yes.” She was quite matter-of-fact.  “It is a warm place for them during the cold months.”  I was not inclined to argue with the logic, but neither had I thought I would be existing in such close proximity with the tenants of nature. Houses for warmth and bugs for food. It is a blend of the base and the subtle which I can appreciate. Much – I like to think – as does the annoyed bird.

02 October 1917

Wrote a letter to F yesterday. And mailed it. I now hurt her as strongly as I ever loved her – yet the fuel which drives this vicious engine is just the same. The constant which is K. is beyond anyone’s redemption.

Alison Alexandra Attends A Party & Starts A Novel

 

192771-131-00e5aa76

 

Alison Alexandra had asked her partner, with far more innocence than the result entailed, when people were going to pair off and head for the bedrooms. It was such a lackluster gathering she figured it would take quite a jolt to generate any interest.

            And, she had asked her partner. It wasn’t as if she was angling for a tryst.

            But, out of the blue – and out of other people’s boredom? – within twenty minutes or so, she had a woman sidle up to her. Drink in hand. Held at a professional tilt, though there was no raised pinky finger. Voice low, though not as low as the woman thought.

            “Are you the one who asked if we are going to start to go to bed?”

            Alison Alexandra, used to fine drink since her university days away, knew the lady’s finely-tilted glass was but a prop and barely touched. The scent of whiskey came solely from the glass. As for the lady herself, butter would freeze in her mouth.

            “Is it making the rounds?”

            “Do you want to make the rounds?”

            “That was not my intent – no.”

            “Then I don’t know if you are successful or not.”  The glass touches teeth. “Your question is making the rounds with alacrity.”

            Alison Alexandra likes the word “alacrity”. It sounds like its own action.

            “Have there been any answers?”

            “Not to me.” There is a fleeting melt of the ice that is not in her glass. “Not that I’ve asked.”

            “Have you made a head count?”

            “I have not pointed and gone ‘eeny meeny miny moe’ – no.” The woman leans closer to Alison Alexandra, her lips now a conspiratorial distance from an ear. “But I do keep a select few in my vision.”

            “Has there been movement?”

            “There has been – if not corralling – some sidling up beside, with a ‘nicker’ into an attentive ear.”

            “Anything for a pair of knickers, perhaps?”

            The woman straightens with enough speed to lose a few drops of her conversational whiskey. She looks at Alison Alexandra in surprise and appreciation. A translucent mask is peeled from her face. She is animated. Her eyes are expectant.

            “You are new here.”

“You’re the observer.” Alison Alexandra smiles.

“But I never say what I really see.” The woman finally takes a real drink. “None of us do.”

“But you come up to me – with your observations.”

“In truth -”

The woman stops. She realizes how rarely she tells the truth. She is startled that she is about to do so. She is apprehensive.

“In truth, it is on a dare.”

“Someone has dared you to ask me?”

“Actually, a number of people have put money in a pot to see if this will happen.”

“To approach me?”

“Yes.”

“How much am I worth?”

The woman raises her glass and laughs. “A bottle of Scotch.”

“Good Scotch?”

“Not really.” The woman is apologetic, yet she laughs. “It’s not that caliber of party.”

Alison Alexandra can see a friendship in the offing. So much more important than a partner for the night.

She takes the glass from the unprotesting woman and has a drink.

“Better than this?”

“Not even as good as.”

“Then no one is going to get me out of my knickers.” This does not stop Alison Alexandra from taking another drink. She hands the glass back to the woman. “There. I’ve had my limit.”

“That surely won’t get you into bed.”

“I’ve been looking around.” Alison Alexandra looks slowly around again. “Not even a bottle will accomplish that.”

The woman looks at her glass. It is still nearly full. She takes a deep drink.

“I am not so pure.”

“Oh – purity has nothing to do with it.” Alison Alexandra does take a bit of care with her next sentence. “But I am very picky.”

(image) https://cdn.britannica.com/300×500/71/192771-131-00E5AA76.jpg

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