NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 1 - Winter 2018 - Page 92

poetry By Chantal Bizzini translation by J. Bradford Anderson From TRANSFER, written in echo with Different Trains by Steve Reich. 2. Europe — During the War Denn es ist Blut von ihrem Blute und der Inhalt ist von dem Inhalt der unwirklichen, undenkbaren, keinem wachen Sinn erreichbaren, keiner Erinnerung zugänglichen und nur in blutigem Traum verwahrten Jahre, da Operettenfiguren die Tragödie der Menschheit spielten. — karl kraus: Die letzten Tage der Menschheit (Vorwort). For it is blood of their blood; the content is the narrative of those years, unreal, unthinkable, accessible to no waking sense or memory, only preserved in bloody dreams, when operetta characters played out the tragedy of mankind. — karl kraus, The Last Days of Mankind (Preface). 1 no one can ignore it… the sirens in every city, more than announce, create a new climate, life troubled by the passing of these huge shadows, of boxcars that you see full of people, full of animals, that don’t know where they are being led despite the conductor’s announcements, city names, in stations where you don’t stop; and ink freezes in the inkpot and night drags on… These same years, in other places, the speed is slower, but a very soft wind crosses Europe, a network is woven, and the crisscrossing rails are abandoned; men and women on the road, on foot, exchanging words… frozen years; but always the smiles of children, in the night of the morning… From now on train travel means flight, hunger, cold, danger; how to get away from it? barely breath and become other; because the trains run in hell, everything, all around, becomes strange, we are… our arms, our estranged bodies… the snow is there, everywhere, it reflects smoke and towering flames, our fellow human beings, in this chaos of palpable forces, of cries, without judgment, without expectation, survival… no one could ignore it, passing through the countryside, you would see people, in the camps, behind barbed wire… The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year, Of wailing winds, and naked woods (…) 2 Weak, under the sirens’ wail, and suddenly thrown where there is no more time for forebodings; they have given way to devices whose wires are crossed — that tie us together — a hard rain falls, the cloud spreads like smoke at night… same old words, then there are questions, a jump into the dark… someone strikes, several times, quickly, the knocker, no one, he starts over, then there are rumblings, scrapes and acceleration, you get up, in bed, the patient is drenched in sweat, and the mother unhinged…