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One Small Step For . . .

In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in **missing** diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. It is estimated Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote

March 1917

               A trail of wet footprints across one of the court yards. Tiny footprints. A child’s. Perhaps a woman’s. Starting and stopping as if out of nothing and into nowhere. She must have walked through a puddle, or some melting snow. This little waltz by an invisible dancer. I held out my arms, a partner at last.

Putin and Stalin Walk Into A Bar

~ Vlad, you murderous whore.

~ Josef, you cold, cruel killer.

~ Greetings and conquest be upon you.

~  My people are letting me down.

~ Oh – and a Happy Birthday!

~  You remembered.

~  Well, the way you’re going . . .

~  Yes?

~ It will be your last.

~ You think Ukraine can defeat me?

~ If it walks like a duck . . .

~  They are an army of pissants.

~  And quacks like a duck . . .

~  They survive on American guns.

~  And swims like a duck . . .

~  They were lucky to sink ships.

~  Vlad, listen to Uncle Joe.

~ Yes?

~  You are going to have to duck.

~ The Russian people will defend me.

~  Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

~ Yes?

~ Tzar Pretender!

~ Yes?

~ I know the Russian people.

~  Yes.

~ I slaughtered them by the millions.

~ Yes.

~ Enjoy your birthday – while you can.

DE  BA.  UEL

“For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground, And tell sad stories of the death of . . . queens”

I alter but one word from Shakespeare’s poem. I feel I’m allowed.

I concentrate upon the word “sad”. I feel sad about the death of Queen Elizabeth II. I note, that in newscasts, and on the internet, and from personal conversations, many folk feel “sad”. An unexpected sadness. A sadness that is greater than the loss of people close to them. They are surprised.

And so am I.

Today’s funeral took place on my birthday (by the Grace of God – I do not know) . So I’ll always be able to answer the question “Where were you when . . .”

I watched seven hours of the day from London and Windsor. I did not get tired. I could have watched more. But I am content – I won’t be delving very far into replays. The Queen’s removal from the earth was fully documented.

It is true that Queen Elizabeth has been with me all my life. I was greatly interested in her, and the history of her family. She took her part in two of my novels. I saw her five times in my life. I found her an exemplary leader and a fine human being. I am not alone in this. She was thought so the world over. Perhaps that is part of her commonality – everyone knew of her, everyone had an opinion. The majority of those opinions were positive.

I felt pain when she went up the steps to St George’s Chapel for the last time. She can hardly be thought of as a friend, but, perhaps . . .

Perhaps, on this occasion, friendship can be a one way street.

Blessed Be, Elizabeth Regina! Those Choirs of Angels are singing loud and clear.

~ Dale Estey

They Struggle Out Of Their Wheelchairs To Bow To Queen Elizabeth

It is the final day to view the Lying-in-State of Queen Elizabeth. Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of folk have made the journey. People are now asked NOT to make an attempt to add to the queue. There is not enough time left to reach Westminster Hall. The waiting time from the end of the queue is currently 10 hours.

I have been watching the lines passing the coffin for hours. It is fascinating to see all these people, whose connection to each other is respect for the Queen. They are of all ages,,races,and social standings.They all, in their fifteen seconds, show some physical sign of respect.

On many occasions, women and men in wheelchairs (most of them elderly), have slowly, and with difficulty, stood so they can offer the Queen a bow.

Her late Majesty was clearly revered.

~ Dale Estey

A Curtsy For A Dead Queen

A lady, in the garb of a what might be classed as ‘common’, after her slow trudge of hours and hours, in the endless queue of mourners patiently waiting to pass the flag-shrouded coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, stopped and looked long at her fallen monarch, and then executed the most heartfelt curtsy possible.

The line keeps moving: https://www.bbc.com/news/live/uk-62902778

All The Ducks Were Not In A Row As They Sparkled

Paw, my cat/kitten,

Black as soot

With one white mitten,

Was beside himself

(almost literally),

When he came across

A mother duck,

And a dozen ducklings,

Frolicking in a small pond,

Inland, on Partridge Island.

He came to get me.

I always follow.

The ducklings swam in,

And out,

Of sparkles on the water.

At times, it was as if

They wore sparkling jewels.

They’d bob for food, and

Pop back up with jewels of light

Around their necks,.

I have never seen such a thing.

And Paw . . .

Paw stood in awe.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

Franz Kafka Did Not Like Vienna, And Visits It With Hate

  In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in **missing** diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. It is estimated Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote. I am as accurate as I can be in my timeline. On these July days in 1917, in reality, he travelled to Vienna. He filled in no diary entries, but I have him express opinions he mentioned elsewhere.

15 July 1917

           What pretence have I not endured?

17 July 1917

            Vienna – a city which I hate. The forced gaiety of the people is as cloying to me as the rich desserts which gag my mouth. They live on the borderline with death, and their sweat reeks of terror. It drips onto their ghastly cakes as they peer across the table to see what their companions have. “Shit in; shit out,” as my father would say.

18 July 1917

           I took a night train from Vienna. Not only was it the quickest conveyance available, but I did not have to look at the wretched city in the dark. It’s not a place of dreams, but of nightmares. But, perhaps it was foolish to flee, since my destination is a nightmare.

Yes, It Is Kafka’s Birthday, And The World Celebrates

03 July is Kafka’s birthday. Celebrations are running rampant in the world.

Hearty renditions of “Hip hip hooray” with an exuberant “Huzzah!”, echo through every major city, and each quiet hamlet.

And this year, I will dive (and then delve) into the new book containing all of Kafka’s various drawings. Some are a tad odd.

I have written Franz the following letter (as yet, unanswered).

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

My Present / Your Future

Still in this World

A Life Away

Dear F:

You would find it perverse to be wished a “Happy” birthday, but your response would be gracious. Such is the reality you understand, and how you deal with it. I have found that your reality is actually real.

Although it will give you no pleasure – well, ‘little’ pleasure – you are correct in all your observations.

Governments become the tools of the bureaucracies which run them. It doesn’t matter what type of Government, from the monarchy under which you lived, to the right wing horror of fascists that called themselves socialists, to the inept socialism pretending to be ‘for the people’. All three governments held their sway over the city where you spent your life. All three oppressed the people they ruled. All three looked after themselves first.

Writers are either writers or they aren’t. The urge to write encircles one like a snake around its prey. Feed it and it won’t quite squeeze you to death. You can not ignore it – even at your peril. It is with you every hour of every day, ever inquisitive and (sadly) always looking for something better. You have thrown up your hands to ward off the snake. Sometimes – some few times – it loosens its grip.

Love is a see-saw of extremes. Every high guarantees a low. Every low reaches for a high. Every high reaches for a high. When these hills and valleys are eventually levelled, they are still desired.

Sex is highly over rated. The thing of it is, even rated fairly, ’tis a consummation devoutly to be had. Yes – I know – you appreciate Shakespeare. On a par with Goethe, even if you can’t bring yourself to say the words.

There is no castle with walls thick enough to hide against the perils of being human. Which is why you never tried.

Except the grave, of course.

Except the grave.

Yours,

D

~~~~~~~~~~~

And, in my novel about him, Kafka In The Castle, I gave him this diary entry.

03 July 1918

The anniversary of my birth.

In celebration of the day, I did not make it my last.

Kafka Plans An Escape From His Life

In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in **missing** diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. It is estimated Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote. 

############################

19 June 1917

           I arrived here tonight far later than usual. I had been on a day trip for the Institute, dealing with a court case for a few hours. I was in the station at the furthest reaches of Prague, waiting for the last train to bring me downtown. A taxi would have been more efficient, but I found myself in no hurry. I walked around the station, and found myself staring at the Departures List. All those places, with many trains still passing into the night. Bern. Copenhagen. Florence.

     I had a large amount of the Institute’s money with me (I had won our case), and all my travel documents in order – the war can be circumvented by bureaucrats. I think it was just having all that money which gave rise to such ideas. I realized that, with the right explanations, even London was possible. If I so desired. I had it all arranged in my head. The official letter I would send to Max, before I left the empire, authorizing him to pay back the Institute from my bank account. I had even figured – accurately – the interest to add for each day up until next Monday. And I knew I could trust him to tidy up my other business matters – my apartment, and this tiny house.

     I would tell him to destroy all my manuscripts – he could use this stove. Other letters I could write from other places – to Ottla, to F., to my parents. I thought that I might even be able to eventually make my way to Palestine. That would meet with Max’s approval.

And the trains kept departing before my eyes, one, and another, and another. They were not even crowded, the hour was so late.

And then, there was my train. Back into Prague.

I was the last one on.

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