The time: The first poem of the new book, "Die Ballade von den geschenkten Blattern," is like a self-portrait of your way of working: From a bird of paradise crap grows a tree, whose leaves in turn contain the poet’s material in "private secret writing". Actually, you yourself are the bird of paradise that makes gold out of shit.
Peter RuhmkorfI’ll leave that entirely up to the imagination. When the poem was finished, my wife said: You have described exactly your method! But it depends on the ideas. That is why I have always contradicted Gottfried Benn, who said: Poems are made of words. But poems are made from ideas.
The time: Are you afraid that for once nothing will occur to you?
Ruhmkorf: No. I am rather driven by the fear that I will be crushed by ideas. I still have so many fragments that long for each other, that want to join together to form a poem.
The time: At the beginning of the new book it says: "Your field becomes narrower. (…) almost one furrow is all you have left". Is that the experience of writing in old age?
Ruhmkorf: However. You know the world, you have almost all the themes through, there is not much left to write about again.
Time: You write about Haydn’s "overconfidence in old age – perfect mastery of the means". Have you yourself reached this overconfidence of age?
RuhmkorfSometimes. At the moment I wrote this, I was listening to Haydn and felt in the mood. A moment of happiness.
The time: You still rhyme. "And a rhyme sounded – zwirnsfadendunn from the old people’s home," you write. If the rhyme whistles on the last hole?
RuhmkorfYes, and that is also his challenge. Our first language, the mother tongue, consists of two rhyming monosyllables: Mama, Papa, Wauwau, Pipi, Kacka. Then the mother says: The child can already speak! From this mother-child dyad language arises at all. And these are already very early, primitive rhymes.
The time: The rhyme has begun as an incantation, as magic, as in the Merseburg spells that you quote. Is it possible to use it today in any other way than ironically??
RuhmkorfIrony has always been a basic principle with me. But of course there are also unironic rhymes, in Benn, in Brecht, in Trakl: "Twilight full of peace and wine; / Sad guitars run / And to the mild lamp inside / You enter as in a dream" – that is beautiful, that is drug substance, that is not funny.
The time: In one of your Capriccios you speak of the longing for a return to an art in a state of innocence, where everything is still possible.
RuhmkorfThis longing concerns several levels, first of all myself – that I, as a verse-smith, can jump off again in a completely new way. There have been huge leaps between Baroque poetry and Klopstock, for example, which is absolutely incomprehensible! Klopstock could not rhyme properly at all! And then he begins, "Welcome, o silver moon, / Beautiful, silent vehicle of the night! / You escape? Do not hurry, stay, thought friend!". A beautiful poem, almost as if the clouds and the moon themselves were playing it for you. That floats quite differently, is rhythmized quite differently, not notched, and starts with something that wasn’t considered poetry at all before.
The time: Can there be such an epochal break again??
Ruhmkorf: With Brecht there was.
The Time: And with Ruhmkorf?
Ruhmkorf: Also. I’ve always tried something new, partly by going back to the old, by doing parodic things, not as a pooh-poohing of the old, but to put them in an ironic, but still usable light. I consciously join the tradition and have no understanding at all for certain new sounds – because they don’t take hold of me.
The time: In one of the new texts it is said as flippantly as succinctly: "Excuse me, the world is beautiful and must be celebrated."
RuhmkorfThat burst out of me when I stepped out of the door. No one has ever said that before. You can put this right in the face of a grumpy figure walking around. This is how I imagine it.
The time: In your poem "Looking back on my own life" it says: "frantic, / rotating, / towards self-consumption, / until the last bite and the last shit collapse in one rhyme / and the lead finally passes to the cockroaches". But this is the opposite of the beautiful world.
Ruhmkorf: Yes, it’s all quite a mess. And shall I tell you something? The audience laughs about it.
The time: And you like that.
Ruhmkorf: Yes. That means: In this shit the violin sounds again. You have to get that really high in the sky. And then there’s applause, I can predict that. I am a very unbelieving person, although I was brought up very religiously. For me the poem is something like a monstrance. An article of faith.
The time: But is there redemption beyond the poem??
Ruhmkorf: No. Only in the music hall. That is the great ability of art to redeem people, at least for a while. To soak them up. Or to communicate at all, in poems, for example. When I was still at school, we used to talk in poems. But I also know times in my life when I take poems by Else Lasker-Schuler or Benn or the devil knows who as a drug. One is no longer alone, one finds oneself again in the medium with one’s depression, one’s despair. But most of it is badly worked. It sticks to your lips like tobacco residue, which you always try to spit out. Away with it. (spits out)
The Time: In the new book you also make "considerations for a tomb" with a biogas plant – "Small flame still nourishing / beyond the fleeting occasion, / until the earthly substance is exhausted". How would you describe your relationship to death?
RuhmkorfIrony is also a kind of redemption in which one keeps one’s composure. That you don’t just fall into shit and depression. The role of literature is also that it makes the unbearable seem bearable. Whereby in this case it is hard on the border. But literature must go far.
The time: Do you always find it easy to deal with dying in this ironic way??
Ruhmkorf: It depends on the day. On the whole, I consider irony to be a form of expression and feeling that allows me to exist at all in this inherently terrible world.
The time: Is death your big theme now??
Ruhmkorf: It has been since my youth. But with increasing age, the situation becomes more dicey, of course. This higher cynicism, dealing with the vanitas feeling – that’s my field of work. It’s no use running out into the garden and clenching your fists. The scythe buzzes. You have to at least try to put it in literary terms. I’ve always wanted to write a larger dance of death, but I haven’t yet come up with the right form for it. I just always loved to dance, it’s so healthy for the bones…
The Time: Birds of paradise are also great dancers. So the bird of paradise of the new book is a kind of self-description after all?
Ruhmkorf: That remains mysterious. I don’t quite see through my subconscious either.
The time: You haven’t written a dance of death so far, but you have written a grave slogan: "Don’t look so stupid in this pit. / Only always purely into the good room. / a few shovels of earth and we have / dug a vale of tears behind us."
RuhmkorfThis was just a thought that flashed through my mind. The nearer the end, the more cutting the jokes become.
Cover text, abridged from The Time, 27.3.2008
Glimpses of light and flashes of thought by Peter Ruhmkorf. Age may have made Peter Ruhmkorf more mellow, but his doubts had not diminished: "Some things become more delicate, some more brutal, more greedy on all sides: your field becomes narrower. In former times the whole corridor to you at will, almost a furrow only remained to you."As an enlightener and as a man of the senses, Ruhmkorf has measured the melancholy fluctuation curves of his existence in virtuoso verse. Peter Ruhmkorf, Joachim Kersten and Stephan Opitz read with a witty lust for life. Music: Michael Naura, Wolfgang Schluter and Herbert Joos.
Hoffman and Campe publishing house, cover text, 2008
And the poets rattle
– Rarely is poetry presented in such an inviting way: Peter Ruhmkorf’s new volume of poems Bird of paradise crap is written for everyone, understandable for everyone. –
His new book of poems is a book of coincidence. Peter Ruhmkorf had actually wanted to turn his collected thought splinters and splinter rhymes into formally composed poems.
But then a cancer took hold of him, which he could not defeat and which prevented him from working. The first two thirds of the new book thus consist of the ideas that Ruhmkorf has collected over the course of the past years.
A good apercu, rhymed or not, is something perfect. The poet had more than apercus in mind, but the reviewer misses nothing. On the contrary, one can rummage in this book, many one-liners, two-liners and four-liners animate the reader to choose the one that suits him best.
The layout of the pages, which Ruhmkorf has supervised to the last detail, is perfect. Rarely is poetry presented so beautifully and invitingly.
Ruhmkorf notes how he sometimes felt:
And when you’re drunk again in the morning
reach your rat hole,
congratulations, ah, there’s still a light in the fridge.
The light that still burns, whether at mother’s house or at Father Stalin’s in the Kremlin – Ruhmkorf’s refrigerator lamp should have illuminated lyrical sparkles of this kind once and for all.
Ruhmkorf, this great defender of rhyme, has fought kitsch in poetry throughout his life, as others have risen up against dictators.
Right next to kitsch in Ruhmkorf’s cabinet of horrors is braggadocio, especially that of poets. To which he writes
He was a poet from shoe to crown
filled with education
like a vacuum cleaner bag.
Ruhmkorf is himself a poeta doctus, but he has always been scrupulously careful to play that down.
The bird of paradise to which Ruhmkorf refers has also clacked a few trenchant political comments into the book. "At a certain salary level, the class struggle begins." And: "Class struggle is waged from above: ‘discussion of envy’."
After the meaning of life
Most of the verses, however, revolve around transience: it is one of the main trigrams in Bird of Paradise Shit. The question of the meaning of life peeks around the corner, but Ruhmkorf doesn’t mess with it: "For the sake of truth, always a wide berth / around the last things made."
He respects transience, however: "It has aged, / not only the heart, the brain, the soul ages."Or: "Actually, everything is lamented / that would still be worth mentioning" – an enchanting, bitterly comic sentence.
Peter Ruhmkorf’s poems speak of a man who can be selfish at times and then enjoys it, but who basically upholds the "we", always writes "for us, for you":
Now somebody say something
against the world,
it really blossoms for us.
His occasional escapades in the name of the "lyrical I" are sometimes about love, but mostly about death. In any case, they are amusing:
But death is incessant and everywhere,
and these farewell parties are a nuisance to me.
However, once again the train of swallows
pursue, with myself as Oberschwalber
– Ruhmkorf’s preference for Gottfried Benn is also evident in these verses.
Formerly the whole corridor
To you at will,
almost a furrow only
This is laconic; the irony with which Ruhmkorf views the world he also applies to himself. In his entire oeuvre there is not one self-pitying line.
Ruhmkorf was able to finish 36 poems before the illness took him by surprise. One is called "Looking back on my own life…". It says:
From a certain indifference standpoint
could be perhaps even still
negotiate this or that ray of hope
(…) and you do yourself instead of your old age complaints
as a great benefactor.
Most amiably funny
The poet as perpetrator: Ruhmkorf is amiably funny. In "Retrospectively my own life" are also these verses:
Where the earth already like a crazy Brainburger
through the great capitalist snack bar whizzes,
On the occasion of the 100.On the occasion of Rowohlt-Verlag’s 50th birthday, Ruhmkorf wanted to have written many new, long poems, but he works slowly:
I was asked, what came together like that?
in the last year?
Ah, said I, just a song,
as simply as the hand with a comb
through your hair
a few pretty lines draws.
This is the first stanza from the poem "Widmungsblatt fur E.", E like Eva Ruhmkorf.
Ruhmkorf was unhappy because he did not get to write all his poems. Then a ballad fell into his hands that he had not thought of for some time, "Die Ballade von den geschenkten Blattern" ("The Ballad of the Gift Leaves").
It read at once like the program of the book that Ruhmkorf was able to publish on time after all. A bird of paradise shits in his garden, and the poet doesn’t pluck out the germinating plant, but waits: "A stem shot up, a little leaf on it, / that looked at me instead of green rather leadenly."
There grow the "ideas" with which he deals and on which he has always counted. Poetry, says Ruhmkorf, is not only work with words, one is also dependent on what comes to mind, falls into one’s lap, or is shat into the garden by the bird of paradise.
Who so far shied away from reading poetry: He need not shy away from this book. Ruhmkorf’s collected leaves from the bird of paradise tree prove that poetry is a genre that concerns everyone.
The tree in the ballad commends itself to the poet and the readers:
… because on every leaf there is a golden saying
written in private cipher.
And when you bag them Fitz for Fitz,
even the most oblique and seemingly dislocated,
and one day you will lack wit,
then only fall back on your possessions,
and the poets are rattling as ever..
And enjoy yourself confidently as the recipient of a gift!
Franziska Augstein, Suddeutsche Zeitung, 22.4.2008
ease of old age
– For his new volume of poetry, Peter Ruhmkorf has once again condensed half-completed poems, leftover and abandoned verses into "Best of the rest". The gesture of brokenness has given way to a strange ease of old age. It is a reading pleasure for all who enjoy tongue-in-cheek poems. –
At the beginning of the work is the bird of paradise crap. There is a good kernel hidden in it, from which something can become, a seed that rises in the garden. First it is only a poor sprout, the little leaves rather "leaden" than green. But that grows and grows, beyond all hedges and shrubs, and puts "my house in the shade," as the poet remarks.
Peter Ruhmkorf’s new volume of poetry begins with the "Ballade von den geschenkten Blattern". The parable of the bird of paradise crap puts a whole poet’s life into the picture, which has led to many, many "leaden leaves". In order to perhaps see the sun once again at the end, it is decided to get to grips with the "strange guest" with an axe.
In other words: one could put all those papers with half-finished poems, with abandoned verses, into the archives without looking at them. But isn’t there "on every leaf a golden saying" worthy of inclusion in the official work? Surely there is, and that’s why there is first of all a big flower reading in this book, a best of the rest, if one may believe the information of the introductory ballad.
Before presenting 36 new poems, Ruhmkorf gathers together 80 pages of scattered thought splinters, lyrical aphorisms, occasional poetry, poem fragments, sometimes just memorable formulations, punch lines or rhymes that are too good to be revealed ("This poem for Nicole Kidman / I could dedicate to practically anyone"). All the good and very good stuff that was left over from the less successful pages and was probably polished and reworked again for this volume.
One might read it as a kind of legacy of one’s lifetime with a workshop smell; later Ruhmkorf philologists will possibly have a lot to do with reconstructing the contexts of the individual verses, which stand here entirely on their own and cut a good figure in the process.
It is a reading pleasure for all who have fun with good and winking verses. Ruhmkorf has never been so close to Robert Gernhardt’s comic aphorism poetry, which was often born from the self-commitment to original rhyme:
If these syllables were ointments
they would tell you something,
and you would be like the swallows
nesting under my gable.
The gesture of brokenness, the feeling of tragedy has given way to a strange lightness of age. The more the organic foundation leaves something to be desired, the less the poet is apparently in the mood for seriousness at all. It may and should be laughed – if nothing else is left to you. And Ruhmkorf feels thoroughly contemporary: "At the moment, COMICS is capitalized / No problem, because: we ran at will…" Only occasionally does the punchline producer feel uneasy and "ponders the saltiness of youthful tears that have passed away".
Between Brecht and Benn, Ruhmkorf’s position was repeatedly located. Now he has moved even closer to Benn, who simply recommends himself more as a model for ironically crackling old man poetry. The Benn sound comes through quietly again and again, both in the rhymed pieces and in the longer poems in free verse, such as "Looking back on my own life…" – perhaps the best lyric in the volume.
Transience, thoughts of autumn and motifs of destitution have always existed in Ruhmkorf’s works. Now the like becomes the leading voice:
No heart attack without the support of yours
And the BARMER REPLACEMENT CASH,
and if in the morning you once again darkly drunk your
reach the rat hole,
Congratulations, ah, the light is still burning in the refrigerator.
Ruhmkorf combines the stubborn insistence on earthly pleasures with vanitas laments, whose comically broken pathos comes from very far away. Just as in the Baroque period the seemingly individual emphasis was often a matter of good craftsmanship and lyrical patterns, there is also something of a routinized relational approach in Ruhmkorf’s death poems, for example in "Grabspruch," four verses of sarcastic exuberance:
Don’t look so bedeppert in this pit.
Only always purely in the good room.
A few shovels of earth and we have
a vale of tears dug behind us.
And what has become of Ruhmkorf, the erotic power dauber?? From the singer of sexual pleasures, who liked to invite "ladies" and "women" equally to bed? At the end of the book there are some love poems – here one finds in compressed form those scenarios of the unwanted desire of old men, as they become novels in Philip Roth and Martin Walser:
That’s such pain that not even
are allowed to be recognized.
Suffering for which there is no sympathy in this country.
But so what, the poet-erotomaniac once reaped rich harvests, as he confesses proudly in "Dichterliebe" (Poet’s Love). Even if he is left behind today:
There are little girls blowing
up and down and there
and pointed discarded little mouths
after whom? if only it is not me.
Again and again one is grateful for Ruhmkorf’s combination of cleverness and poetry, for his aptly formulated thoughtfulness, for all the "connecting threads between sentence and soul".
Wolfgang Schneider, Deutschlandfunk, 28.3.2008
While, wonder, while
– Untiring in the Versstollen: Peter Ruhmkorf’s new book of poems offers insights into the poet’s workshop and the trade secrets of his inspiration. Once again the great themes of his life are varied in a masterly way. –
A handwriting as if on the run, crouched, as if letter after letter had to brace itself against the wind, pursued pursuers all, whipped forward by the poet, sent out to chase the fleeting ideas: this is what Peter Ruhmkorf’s manuscript pages look like. First we type, with the old Olympia, which occasionally slips a letter, then we add, correct, and rewrite by hand. Like hardly any other poet, Ruhmkorf is in love with the working process: he wants to show the clientele, as he likes to call his readers, again and again how much work, what effort goes into each of his poems.
That is why in the new volume of poems Bird of Paradise Shit facsimiles some manuscript pages that demonstrate the status nascendi, for example on page thirteen, where a poem that does not yet have a title begins with the following lines: "Well, okay, / you want to give the poet – / means practically living from one’s own sighs."Ninety pages later, a dejà vu occurs. Three lines have now become two: "So – well, you want to give the poet. / Practically living from one’s own sighs."They stand at the beginning of a poem, which now bears the title "Closed institution. This refers to the work of art whose autonomy in the face of banalities such as the "next elections" is invoked at the end with a pithy word: "Feierabend! / The poem is dense."
Children of a scattered conception
What has to happen for a poem to be dense, full to the brim and well grouted is something Ruhmkorf has repeatedly tried to describe. These are poetological encirclements of a highly complex process, at the center of which is an elusive entity called "Einfall" ("Incursion"). Ideas are music kisses and newspaper snippets, half-sentences, impressions, particles of perception, simply everything that is blown in and sticks, that is capable of creating tension, triggers associations and promises a rubbing contact, in short: inflammable material of any kind that could sooner or later be good for a poetic spark. Ruhmkorf hoards such potential spark carriers. In "Einfallskunde," written many years ago, he described the handling of them as follows: "Innumerable individual children of a scattered conception are brought in and examined for their usability and temporarily committed or ordered back to the reserve bank."Now quite a few only children have been transferred to the closed institution of a new poetry book. Some of them became the tinny, leaden sheets that the first poem tells of.
"Ballade von den geschenkten Blattern," pre-printed in this newspaper last year, is the great poetological opening poem, describing how a "bird of paradise crap" clacked into the garden grows into a tree whose abundance of leaves overshadows the poet’s house after a few years, so that the master of the house resorts to axe and saw. But as in the fairy tale, the tree now begins to speak – "pay attention, something illusive follows" -, throws off all its leaves at once, and announces to the "unbelieving letterpress printer" that there is a golden saying on every leaf, written in "private secret script", a supply, in other words, of ideas, spark bearers, and "poengts", among them, however, also "the oblique and apparently dislocated ones".
What Ruhmkorf describes here is nothing other than his own working method, his own stockpiling, the archive of ideas, the extent of which, however, threatens to overgrow his entire life. But the liberating blow cannot be struck with axe and saw. Liberation from the poetic raw material is only possible in the transformation to the poem, that is, through work in the verse mine.
Perhaps this poem was written when his serious illness made Peter Ruhmkorf doubt whether he still had enough strength for his craft. But now it opens the new volume with a gesture of triumph: "Die Ballade von den geschenkten Blattern" is the fanfare with which Ruhmkorf opens the curtain. For now follow on eighty pages the "golden sayings", the sometimes more, sometimes less carefully edited raw material from Ruhmkorf’s Sudelblattern thus. The short poems, aphoristic two-liners and four-liners are framed by the facsimile pages illustrating the working process, before about three dozen poems in the third part of the book conclude the volume.
The topics are predominantly the old ones: the love, the after fame and the "immortality border", petal and back act, the "cock-a-doodle-doo" and the dear colleagues like "Big Benn, the big staff rhymer". Particularly beautiful and touching is the memory of post-war reading, in 1947, when the question of Thomas Mann or Alfred Doblin, Buddenbrooks or Biberkopf came up, when the whole world was battered and bruised, when the reading Ruhmkorf heard the Berlin streetcars screeching through his room and felt a rift between himself and the magician from Lubeck, "which would not close until today".
Unlike Robert Gernhardt’s great "K-poems", which forced cancer into the metre, here the disease is rarely addressed directly. Like an annoying intermediate stage, it is skipped, as if only death was an issue for eternity, but not the malaise on the way there: "Not exactly risen in the morning either", that is already almost the whole disease dossier. The poet does not want to expect more of himself and his clientele: "It has aged, / not only the heart, the brain, the soul ages."Melancholy spreads. The fact that today’s youth is as pretty as never before and as stupid as seldom before, the doubt as to whether it is worthwhile "under Stoffeln, unter Toffeln, / noch irgendwie ein Ruf zu erloffeln," the conviction that today poems are needed for those who "read nothing and know nothing," these are bitter substances in the late work that can lead to bad resolutions in dark hours: "To become simple – radical. / Complicated, that was once. / Because, … subtlety / hardly any reader understands anymore."
But then it goes on again, the relationship between poetry and visual art is traced, absolutely masterly in "Bilderratsel wortwortlich," or once again, once again and again, a loved one is thought of and love is invoked:
While wonder while,
only one more line.
if I am not mistaken,
a little bumped harnesses,
that comes from being together.
Of all the leaves this volume gives us, this is perhaps the most beautiful – the loving poet as an earthen vessel. Ruhmkorf has wrested this book from illness and shown friend Hein a long pen. Because in the dovecote of German lyricism it is still the bird of paradise.
Hubert Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 29.3.2008
Poem, saying, verse
– Ruhmkorf’s latest volume of poetry Bird of Paradise Shit with the latest texts of the language artist. –
A rebuke in advance. To call a poet with such a lively production as Peter Ruhmkorf the "greatest living German poet", as Rowohlt Verlag believes it has to do for advertising purposes and quoting the "FAZ" on the back cover, is simply perverse. Reach out while the sentence is still true, this probably means. After all, it can not be long. Ruhmkorf himself gives the ironic answer to a calculation that so clumsily flirts with death in the book: "What else did I just want?? / Ah, the rope!"Contrary to appearances, death is not Ruhmkorf’s lyrical theme, but its negation in poem, saying, verse.
– bury –
we want this death, don’t we,
we do not want him at all.
Anyone who has ever been taken in by Peter Ruhmkorf’s poems may have fallen for their brash elegance or, already aesthetically trained, marveled at the modern link to classical-romantic traditions. Such artistry, however, would never have been worth much without sensitivity, without individual perceptiveness, which was the basis of the poems and which communicated itself seemingly effortlessly over the decades: "Come to the bar, defeated one, tonight, / don’t hide / yourself behind mummy bandages" – (thus the opening verses of "My Place in the Sky" from 1974/75).
The astonishing thing now is that Ruhmkorf’s poetry in the current volume with the beautiful title bird of paradise crap appears only to a smaller extent in its usual form. Hitherto his lyrical voice, for all its artistry and tendency to break, was the pathetic tinged one of a singer who used hymnal, elegiac, ballad, ode: that is, songlike forms. This preference, which is responsible for the recognition value of what could be called the Ruhmkorf sound, already stems from the Finist beginnings of the 1950s. And where Ruhmkorf did not just provide his blotted painting with rhymed captions, he remained true to it. As the second part of the book testifies, the bard has not disappeared either. But the following has been added: the saying-maker.
And what are these sayings! They expose everything and that on purpose. Accomplished some appear, unfinished many, relying on the imagination of the reader made curious all. Some of it will be encountered again later in the context of a long poem; here it must first stand alone. In their construction the sayings follow no fixed rule. They often have four or two lines, even one-liners occur. They are set in blocks of four, five or six pieces on one page with the visible effort to create optical movement: left-justified, indented, centered, right-justified, in constant alternation, a flowing picture.
The sayings boldly exhibit their being produced. Dashes and dots mark places where the poet has made it (so far?) did not consider it good to use words. Numbers show where how many syllables with meaning are missing. Brackets indicate that here an alternative would be suitable. And again and again: the search for the right rhyming words. It is a quarry that presents itself to the reader on the first 80 pages, by no means an unhewn one.
If one looks at the sayings as a whole, there is no transparent structure. At first, rather doctrinal rhymes prevail. There follows a stretch dominated by rhymeless, judgmental sentences. "So, a certain minimum appearance one must of course bring along." Or: "They take for individual freedom / what is actually only antisocial behavior."Soon there is a noticeable turn to the I, which makes it clear from which source the sayings draw their beauty and truth. It is the self-observation increased to poetic expression, whose power the poet does not tire of invoking even in surprisingly naive words:
I would like to read something new from me,
what is really beautiful and gives me pleasure.
And the joyful new actually succeeds again and again. The one-liner "Though ravished to the visceral nerve", which needs supplementation, may not be praised at all, so clever and beautiful is it. The rapture appears here as pure physique, twitching nerve. Only one word, which is added, betrays that the fulfillment failed: although.
The spray-maker, who likes to scold his audience in between, expects a lot from the reader. While the strophic poem offered this the possibility of dipping into a certain mood, often by refrain-like repetitions if already no statement, then nevertheless a lyrical moral established, the saying presents itself without aura, almost nakedly. It is more prosaic than the long poem, but that does not make it logical. Sentences, verses like the quoted ones either dock with the reader immediately or they fizzle out because they haven’t hit a nerve. Their artistic character consists in their "that’s how it is" – which does not mean the confirming reaction of the recipient, but their own appearance.
I blow up the bag of rolls
and hew it
Perhaps Ruhmkorf’s song-like poetry was always built around such memorable verses.
Poetry based on sensitivity can quickly topple over when it appears as naked as in the present sayings. The small form is dangerous. Ruhmkorf seems to know his weakest point quite well. Under the title "Ideology" it says:
Let the poor poem be repaid,
what to the political views of the author
So he would like it. The unsuccessful sayings are indeed predominantly political in their content – unsuccessful not in the sense that they are an expression of insubordinate sentiments, but that they renounce their claim to art in favor of a statement.
To revile the American president (alternatively: Josef Ackermann) in a saying or a poem, contrary to Ruhmkorf’s intention, simply serves the German common sense: hatred of the evil, supposedly most powerful man in the world, without whom everything would be humane. The truth of his ideology poem would rather be grasped thus: The decidedly political poems and sayings are mere opinion where they have no form. Where an autonomous claim to form crystallizes, a "political" theme may also succeed:
basically the whole Koran aims at
past life and up to the hereafter.
The rhyme here contains within itself the anachronism that constitutes the judgment on religion. But where form fails, little more remains of the saying than the resentment that gave rise to it:
Charlton Heston (former. actor, western) –
President of the gun lobby of the USA:
One gradually senses how the world power
Community of values? – No thanks.
Where Ruhmkorf’s poems and sayings are the aesthetic expression of individual impulses, they hold experiences that arise directly from art’s promise of happiness. Ruhmkorf himself is aware of the dependence on form, even if he himself may forget it from time to time:
The iamb would have squawked itself out?
Not at all, repeat it!
And is the boot worn through,
Sven Schulte, Berliner Literaturkritik, 26.5.2008
Writing is salvation as long as it lasts. Any conceit, big or small, a respite from the last things. In Peter Ruhmkorf’s poet’s garden there grows, it cannot be otherwise, a poetic tree of life. Its rustling leaves drive away idle thinking under the burdens of age and illness. The anxious being and the remaining time are relieved of an intimidating certainty. How this can succeed is shown by "Die Ballade von den geschenkten Blattern", the new volume of Peter Ruhmkorf’s 79th anniversary book. Years opened.
A born poet-fama: "I am a bird of paradise to you, / who strews a feather upon you, a song," once wrote August Graf von Platen. Ruhmkorf amazes there with completely different poetry swing. With him falls an Bird of paradise crap, which holds the seeds from which the poet trees grow into the sky. You only have to realize that. When our driving man from Oevelgonne / Altona unsuspectingly sets axe and saw, "Da fingen – Halt ein, unseliger Mann’, / die blechnen Blatter zu rascheln an, / gib Acht, es folgt was Illustres!"And behold, on the "collected leaf load" is found "Fitz for Fitz" an inexhaustible supply of poet wit and flash of inspiration "and it rattles as eh the Poengten…", belonging "even the oblique and seemingly dislocated."
Hardly has a more beguiling introduction to poetology been given. Eighty pages of words and sounds follow, framed by a few typescripts: briskly typed on the Olympia Monica with slipped capitals, spiritedly corrected with characterful handwriting. No doubt, a poem is not a stroke, but work. One minute a high-wire artist, the next a Sisyphus again. Everything lives on the merits of purposelessness. Only from the moving wording comes the work-encompassing freedom to which a poet is condemned. But diary-like writing, with its flood of detail, requires a sense of measure, variation, and proportion. Here the difference between perception and poem becomes clear. For Ruhmkorf, too, "Haydn’s old age overconfidence: / Perfect mastery of the means -".
And what storehouse of words and verses, what poetic portfolio opens up there?. What turmoil, when imagination and language collide! "Little flashing moments," vagabond words or verses on the long bench that mean only themselves: "Liebesgelachter" or "Bauernrosen wie Waschfrauenhande, / zart geknollen." Much is still without intention, words still have some way to go before they reveal an intention. Sooner or later they are led to the punch line.
Striding out once again with the Whitman step
the far reaching,
even with eyes that hang everywhere and rejoice: "Blue-green female budgerigar,
(ringed) flown to on Whit Monday".
In the fundus, everything can still show itself in abeyance:
you want to give the poet –
means practically living from your tears.
From your sighs clothe and nourish you:
I think the time will not last forever.
A good fifty pages later, the poem "Geschlossene Anstalt" is more resolute:
So – well, you want to give the poet.
Practically living on one’s own sighs,
the feeling that you don’t belong here:
Sitting still or standing on the corner:
Fellow empaths, I beg of you, draw nearer,
ladies first –
Acting unblessedly into time,
Words that still change in the mouth,
until everything contradicts itself –
The poet does not let it come so far: "Feierabend"! / The poem is dense."
"Looking back on my own life…" is what Ruhmkorf calls the section with three dozen "poems". They become no monologues full of doom, nowhere a trembling of the mind when remembering. Time passes, the origin does not.
Learned from the banished and the damned,
that inflamed us after the war,
in their spirit and that one never forgets –
Question to the erudite poem:
How long have you not sung,
I thirst for the one I do not lack,
means a world,
who already does not miss our origin.
The poet lives in the present, stands by friends, like Gunter Grass with a "birthday medallion". A disease casts shadows, but cannot occupy the issues. Death rather, that belongs to poetry. Always. But Peter Ruhmkorf still encounters Freund Hein sarcastically, more composed than panic-stricken, alternating with a self-confident lust for existence.
This morning suddenly me again
whistling in the street,
just like that Johnny Griffin
‘Wading in the Water’,
but not a bad sign.
If you please my parched index finger once
want to follow, objectively, what do you see?
Well, I don’t want to make it more difficult,
than it is:
THE PIT –
This poet does not need the veil of transfiguration, every "metaphor fumble" has long been discarded. Only when the last things trap not only "our dear desire" but also the verse, the poet pauses briefly.
And so much escapes you,
because looked at from despondent graveyard eyes,
the game is usually already in advance verschmissen.
Even the poem that considers itself too scrupulously,
leads to the stage,
where the foot of the verse is dislocated.
This book is a masterpiece in itself. Even if Peter Ruhmkorf has wrung it out of his illness, everything shows itself in perfect mastery of the means, an overconfidence of age remains the poet’s facon. Even more, a bird of paradise in full plumage has given us rare leaves in unquenched lust for existence.
Jurgen Verdofsky, Frankfurter Rundschau, 1.4.2008
A dance of death managed
– Bird of Paradise Shit is the title of Peter Ruhmkorf’s last volume of poetry. Shortly after publication, the seventy-eight-year-old died in June. The book was probably also intended as his lyrical farewell performance. In addition to last poems, it contains mainly rhymed and unrhymed soliloquies and mnemonic verses, aphorisms and sentences from the estate during the poet’s lifetime taken from his workshop by the poet himself. –
Possibly it is the life-giving comfort of being publicly perceived and perhaps even admired as a man of pain that has led three of our authors in the last two years to leave the protection of self-discretion when dealing with "their own death" (Rilke) and to demonstratively make themselves public dying men and women and to complete the chronicle of their announced death in the marketplace of the literary business. In former times, when they still believed more in the afterworld than in the fellowworld, our poets died more discreetly (& for yourself). Today before our eyes& for us?
Robert Gernhardt even wrote poetry about his cancer and worked on an opus posthumumum until the end of his life, Walter Kempowski received interviewers and put the finishing touches to his last works. And Peter Ruhmkorf? During his lifetime, he compiled a first selection of fragments from his disorganized estate of countless note sheets – a farewell spotlight on his unfinished poetic possibilities. And then received the interviewers with whom he went through his public biography one last time.
Peter Ruhmkorf’s Bird of paradise shit contains, in addition to the ballad interpreting the title, a number of poems that are, all in all, poetically not up to scratch, or better, not of the brilliant density of which he was once capable. Whether he has not even taken up one or the other poem, which the dialectic virtuoso among our lyrical "Wortmetzen" had rightly withheld from his earlier collections and had kept under lock and key, now nevertheless still when sweeping up and together to the Ultimo for the purpose of filling the narrow inventory?
One may ask oneself these questions – without doing the author, who is rightly revered, admired, and even loved, any harm; but it is probably better to ask oneself such questions when he no longer hears them. It is a misery as well as not quite unusual with artists and other people that in old age (for many reasons) what was once so easy and wonderfully successful no longer comes so easily from the hand or adjusts itself.
If I’m not mistaken, Ruhmkorf’s literary main& gold vein, the lyrical poetry production, from which he had extracted the most beautiful, filigree-robust-witty poetic jewels for about three decades up to the turn of the millennium, had not dried up, but it had become thinner. "Your field becomes narrower. // Formerly the whole field / At your pleasure / Almost one furrow only / Has remained for you," was the self-critical finding now in the Bird of paradise crap. But the wish remains:
After many – and garlands
still land a real hit.
But make no mistake, the simple things
are not exactly better understood.
The introductory ballad of the plant that grew out of a bird of paradise in the poet’s garden until it "overshadowed my house" also seems poorly constructed when it speaks of the rustling of the "tinny leaves" that previously looked rather "leaden", and then, under "clatter, clatter, clatter, clatter," the tree, rather like an overturned china cabinet, disposes of its "collected load of leaves" and instructs the "unbelieving letterpress printer" about the unexpected gift:
Because on every leaf there is a golden saying
written in private cipher.
And when you bag them Fitz by Fitz,
even the oblique and seemingly dislocated,
And lacked wit one day,
then only fall back on your possessions,
and the poets are rattling as ever ..
And enjoy yourself confidently as the recipient of a gift!
Thus poetically self-empowered ("Because on every leaf there is a golden saying"), the terminally ill man opens the arsenal of his poetic finds, ideas, soliloquies and improvisations, which he (a messie of word& Gedankenklauber- along with rhyming) over the years – like the early admired prose experimenter Arno Schmidt, who was related to him in many ways in literary housekeeping, his metaphors& "word concentrates". However, not systematized in "note boxes" like this one, but rather like both of its outsized predecessors Jean Paul, depending on the momentary idea "Fitz for Fitz" merely thrown on paper: for possible later use.
This middle section of Bird of Paradise Shit is the most beautiful and moving of this edition of poetic works of the last living hand of Peter Ruhmkorf. On the one hand, it shows us, by means of two, the notes framing (or embracing?) Facsimiles the poet at work on typed and handwritten crossed-out drafts of poems. That and how very, rambling, tough, circuitous, polished poetry "madeThe fact that the poet’s "self" is "a genuine spiritual constitutional organ of the poet’s ego" and was not received priestly, is demonstrated once again by Peter Ruhmkorf ad oculos to his readers. (He had already documented the lengthy genesis of "Selbst III/ 88", i.e. a detailed working record of his lyrical production, in the over 700 DIN A4-page facsimile volume of the same name in 1989.)
On the other hand, on 75 pages follows something like the sketch legacy of Peter Ruhmkorf during his lifetime in the form of rhymed or rhythmicized Merk& thought-sayings, poem-fragments and -frameworks, aphorisms and metaphors. A wide field full of often only pebble-sized ideas. Seriousness and jokus, vanitas and sexus, mortal sadness and joie de vivre, reflections and sottises on youth and old age, dazzling reflections on the intimate and the public, aphorisms on poetry, politics and society. And the punchlines almost always hit home, because the pointed joke was Ruhmkorf’s domain, not Gernhardt’s witty humor – even though, for example, "To do / What everyone does / Doesn’t exactly require heroism" or "On the little errand / I was afraid of the Goths -" could also have been written by Gernhardt.
More often, however, Ruhmkorf’s poetic rooster crows "heinesch": "Some consider it deep, / When some mumbo jumbo is thought – / To me a kiss already seems as a superlative, when it is brought to me" or "She spoke: I like you to marry, / (up above the little birds chirped) / but I prefer to stay away / from impractical lovers."And: "What comes later will possibly frighten you, / an afterlife even in Muslim corners, / that’s why I conjure you, instead of letting off steam up there / today, just to be on the safe side, on earth" – which he did with relish.
Above all, the reader, who is delighted by much here and also surprised by some, if he does not shake his head here and there, will, however, have to seriously consider that the "Late Ruhmkorf" and not a foreign editor has undertaken this "florilegium" and with his selected florilegium has given us a last insight into his own (& last) I want to convey my state of mind. That is to say: not only Lichtenbergian "Sudelbuch" excellence such as "Jungfrauen sparen ihre Unschuld fur Unholde," "Der Geschlechtstrieb ist ja nicht unbedingt liebenswurdig," "Ein blutunterlaufener Landstrich," "Er geht zu Leichenfeiern nur fur Honorar," "Ein verblabter Lichtblick," "Vollkommen durchlegene Symbole," "Liebesgelachter," or "Ich bin in keine Schule gehen / auber durch meine Irrtumer" (I went to no school / except through my errors). But also explicitly political statements such as: "From a certain salary level on / the class struggle begins," "They consider individual freedom / what is actually just antisocial behavior," "Capitalism eats its customers," or "Class struggle is led from above. ,Envy discussion’".
As he takes stock of his unfinished legacy, Peter Ruhmkorf reminds his audience that the poet, who lived by the self-imposed motto "Stay shakable and resist," was not indifferent to the political and social course of the world until the very end (as at the beginning of his poetic-critical word messages in "Leslie Meier’s Poetry Slaughterhouse" in the "Studentenkurier," later "Konkret").
"Looking back on my own life" (with this late poem he opens the third part of Bird of Paradise Shit, in which he collects last executed poems) heads for an illusionless balance:
Some things you can only endure, of course, if you know,
that one is already on the return journey.
Saying goodbye with pleasure simply
,Hold the fort’,
which is generally welcomed –
O b w o h l S i e ?
T h e S t e l l u n g ?
H a l t e n ?
Where the earth already like a brainburger gone mad
whizzing through the big capitalist snack bar,
until the last bite and the last shit in a rhyme
and the leadership finally passes to the cockroaches..
Often now in the obituaries of Peter Ruhmkorf his self-made "grave saying" has been quoted: "Do not look so bedeppert into this pit. / Only always purely into the good room. / pair of shovels of earth and we have / dug a vale of tears behind us." Well: a "Jammertal" was Peter Ruhmkorf the "Earthly pleasure in g" not always and certainly not completely& gar; to the half certainly also a joy valley for the poet and Peniden.
Always good to try something new,
Then the new grabs you by the neck of its own accord.
Just today I picked myself up again
and immediately managed a dance of death!
A dance of death called Bird of paradise crap. Done. Sela psalm ending.
Wolfram Schutte, title magazine.de, 30.6.2008
Once again wrest something from the dwindling forces,
to complete something once more before it can no longer succeed: Since time immemorial, angst-ridden artists’ dreams have revolved around their ominous work of old age.
Show that you are.
But not merely so, in blissful recollection,
but with the impudence of beginners,
off to the front, show new,
to you and me and us
that one does not immediately forget this ray of hope.
Come on, a love letter!
This is what the dream of old age sounds like in Peter Ruhmkorf’s work – despite all fatalisms a brazen nevertheless. Who in his new book of poems, Bird of paradise shit, reads, will everywhere encounter insolence and remembrance, numerous rays of hope and love letters.
Ruhmkorf shows that he is – half a century after the publication of his first volume of poetry, Earthly pleasure in g, in the same publishing house.
Yet these poems are anything but the normal output of an aging poet: Ruhmkorf, born in 1929, has cancer. For a long time it was uncertain whether he would be able to complete a book of poems. That he has accomplished it with great effort is a triumph with which Ruhmkorf has snipped the reaper:
Always good to tackle something new.
Then the newness grabs you by the neck of its own accord.
Just today I got up again
and immediately managed a dance of death!
Alexander Cammann, nexusboard.net, 24.5.2008
Bird of paradise crap
– Some comments on Peter Ruhmkorf’s new book of poems. –
I feel the same way about Peter Ruhmkorf as I do about a very few other poets who, strangely enough, all belong to his generation: I cannot read a poem, a stanza, not even a line that has escaped from his fountain pen, that he has hammered onto the paper with a typewriter or breathed onto the page with a pencil, without having the feeling of hearing his voice, his self-irony-flavored balladry, the Waterkantian linguistic timbre, this unmistakable double tone of pit-deep melancholy and the most audacious humour. When my eyes touch his writing, then the bells sound in my head!
Recently, on the way to Rotterdam, in the ICE, it happened to me: The F.A.Z. I had opened the book, had immediately fallen into a poem by Ruhmkorf, and straight away I thought I could hear his voice from the page. A preprint from his new book of poems, which I now hold in my hand: Bird of paradise shit. A wonderful title, tailored to the old colorful plumage of the world-fluttering bird of paradise Peter Ruhmkorf. What the title bird once dropped into the poet’s garden as a clack contained the seeds for the material from which the poems are made, the material from which the book has become, the donated leaves on the tree: I have already encountered some of the texts in this volume in their original sound Anno 2006, on a CD for which Ruhmkorf had staged them together with some musicians. Now to be read in black and white: the great poem with the title Looking back on my own life. This is also the title of the third and last part of the book, which contains thirty-six poems: Poems about poetry, love and death.
The thirty-seventh poem is at the very beginning of the book and is, in the truest sense of the word, a chapter in itself… namely the first one, a short one, just two pages long: "The Ballad of the Gifted Leaves", which tells of the tree that – sprouting from the bird’s mouth – grows towards heaven in the poet’s garden and – oh miracle – bears the fruits of many years, leaf by leaf:
Because on every leaf there is a golden saying..
Yes, and what leaves and what sayings! Spread over a good 80 pages, Peter Ruhmkorf has poured out a kind of Walpurgis bag here: the leaves shaken off the tree of knowledge. Notations, aphorisms, drafts, sketches, rhymes, words and phrases, jokes and truths. A microcosm in which it fizzes, bubbles, bangs and flashes that it is a bright joy. If there had been any philological proof needed that Georg Christoph Lichtenberg is still alive and kicking almost 210 years after his death, and that certain representatives continue his Sudelbucher – here it is: Peter Ruhmkorf and the shrewd Enlightenment philosopher from Gottingen, two cronies in the pubic forest, two giggling collectors who can laugh themselves silly in the face of a fragment of a word, a successful, because pointed, sentence. Examples? Please:
It takes a lot of artistry to lead a reasonably nice marriage,
A bloodshot land,
And it cried from its small ugly face, because no man would look at it,
Your age often no longer remembered, but tirelessly remembered,
Now that I have stopped hoping and prefer to sleep 2 hours more.
In May of last year, on the opening night of the Bremen International Literature Festival Poetry on the Road, should finally, finally read Peter Ruhmkorf. We had been trying to invite him to Bremen for years, but he was always stuck in a book project, tied to his desk by urgent deadlines, caught up in editing meetings that could not be postponed. In 2007 he had finally agreed! And then, as a result of one of several operations, I had to cancel it. I had the thankless task of explaining it to the audience on the opening night, in the expectantly filled hall of the Bremen Playhouse, the disappointment was palpable. The consolation to the coming, that is this year, a weak consolation.
Peter Ruhmkorf will not be able to come this year either, when the festival begins in mid-May. It is no secret: his state of health is serious, very serious. His new volume of poems, which I am telling you about here, he has wrested from himself. In pain, I’m sure. And probably also under fear. But this pain and this fear can only be guessed at, because what can be read there on the pages of the book has an almost floating lightness, and even where it is about last things, about topics such as farewell and death, which Peter Ruhmkorf has always touched on in his books, in his poems – yes, which he has even tackled with force and verve – he conjures up an atmosphere of amazingly serene cheerfulness, which is infectious, which makes even the knowing reader smile. Between Freund Hain and Heine, where Ruhmkorf has indeed claimed his place. He also keeps in touch with the sober Big Benn, with Ringelnatz and with the already mentioned professor from Gottingen.
There will be more and more.
It is getting heavier.
Michael Augustin, glossen, issue 27, 2008
famos, grandios, virtuos: pure word accuracy
One cannot add enough superlatives: this volume of poems is a delightfully fresh treat, without aftertaste, but tastily exploiting lyricism and political consciousness.
Peter Ruhmkorf juxtaposes everyday life and a state of emergency in such a discreet and sometimes surprising way that one is sometimes speechless and has to swallow hard when confronted with so much seriousness, irony and professional linguistic wit.
There is so much noteworthy poetry in this volume that it is hardly possible to single out one poem in particular:
20. July – People’s Court.
They rose up for the people,
but the people remained seated.
These lines reflect in a grandiose way the political profundity of the great German lyric poet, whom many have discovered too late.
Peter Ruhmkorf has rhymed here at one time, at another time expressed his criticism in pointedly placed word accuracy.
After all, it is these words, which are now used less frequently in everyday life, and these word neocombinations that give the special charm of Bird of Paradise Shit turn off.
Whoever reads this volume wants to read more, learn more, get to know more: of Ruhmkorf and the world. And perhaps this is the legacy to those of us who remain, which Peter Ruhmkorf gave us in his last book: do not slacken in grasping, comprehending and remaining curious!
Detlef Rusch, amazon.de, 18.8.2008
Peter Ruhmkorf, the most important German lyric poet of the past decades, is dead, and so his book of poems published only a few weeks ago Bird of paradise crap has become a legacy.
Some things become more delicate,
some things more banal,
on all sides more genier:
Your field is getting narrower.
Formerly the whole corridor
To you at will,
almost a furrow only
With the melancholy and rebelliousness of old age, Ruhmkorf, schooled in Heine, Benn and Fontane, wrote in his last months against his cancer and left behind a cycle of three dozen texts full of wisdom and humor, skepticism and comedy. And when you read it, you inevitably have the unmistakable Ruhmkorf tone in your ear.
The pleasure of reading the poems is not diminished by the fact that some of them, paying tribute to the illness, could no longer be composed by Ruhmkorf in the proven manner, but had to remain thought splinters, apercu, aphorisms: "The youth is as pretty as never / and yet as stupid as seldom", it says about the kids in times of fun culture.
Bird of paradise shit is a perfectly composed masterpiece, in which much, also self-ironically, revolves around transience, and a gift to the reader. The poet modestly, in his characteristic sound, with a tongue-in-cheek "Grabspruch" (grave saying):
Do not look so bedeppert into the pit.
Only always in the good room.
A few shovels of earth and we have
A vale of tears dug behind us.
ml, amazon.en, 16.6.2008
Poetry takes care of the memory
Peter Ruhmkorf survived the publication of his last volume of poetry by just two months. It is a bitter loss that this virtuoso (if not most virtuosic) voice in German poetry has fallen silent.
We will miss the ironic view of the course of time, the skilful correction of the point of view, the quiet melancholy that always shines through but never becomes dominant, the criticism whose justification was never in question.
Bird of paradise crap knows three parts: An explanatory opening poem, then hundreds of notes and small texts in which Ruhmkorf deals with death and life – at times almost aphoristically concise: "They hold for individual freedom, / which is actually only asocial behavior." And in the third part last poems "Retrospectively my own life…"
His "grave saying" may be quoted in conclusion:
Don’t look so daffy in this pit.
Only always in the good room.
Couple of shovels of earth and we have
bury a vale of tears behind us.
I wish him many more readers, even if he can no longer make them happy with new things; his work really still needs to be discovered.
Hans-Jurgen Singer, amazon.de, 27.6.2008
Ruhmi’s last master jokes
In his last volume of poems, the poet who combined wit and profundity like perhaps no other in the German language, shows that even age and illness could not harm the freshness of his spirit: A firework of short ideas and corny jokes such as "He was a poet from shoe to crown / filled with education / like a vacuum cleaner bag," or "This poem for Nicole Kidman / I could dedicate to practically anyone: / such a passe-partout poem. / Only for Erna it does not fit." is simply not imitated by anyone, as are some of the longer poems in this volume, such as "Ansteckendes Pfeifen" ("Infectious Whistling") or "Dichterliebe" ("Poet’s Love"), in which he recounts in his inimitable eye-twinkling manner an episode with a prostitute that inspired him to write some of his poems,
… until I get one of the sharper sketches
with Marcel Rex Ranitzen
found again in KANON –
O, how it blew me towards her:
Fee for the current year! –
But the answer sounded rather embarrassed:
Tomorrow I must move on,
Gardelegen service station,
but nice would be a travel blessing:
a signed voucher copy!
– this specimen of German verse humor is not to be missed by anyone who can do something with linguistic wit; it is another masterpiece, unfortunately his last.
M. Kunz, amazon.en, 23.7.2008
WHAT I DREAMED WHEN PETER RuHMKORF DIED
She is young and delicate, all powdered white; she works as a geisha, but only for a gentleman, she says, Count Dracula, who this time sinks his teeth not into the bride’s throat but into her cheek. Two dot-like marks, red, on her cheek, quite normal when consorting with ghosts. But suddenly, I looked away for a moment, her cherubic face is covered in predatory bites. And as she boards the packed bus, bacchanalian, enraptured, her light men’s suit resembles a full-body bandage. She stuffs all poems, her belongings, under the gauze, to the embalmed larvae and germs. Now she looks like a mummy, so upturned, between scrawny vampires.