Der Zuschauer

A Journal of Essays and Reportage on Drama, History, and Literature

Gorkyland: Death Comes to History

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Things keep happening; people keep getting tossed; women get caught blowing men in the cellar, off you go. Others are told to leave for what? Why? Who knows? People keep getting tossed. Then people die. One King of Naples, hispanic, a Yankee/Giants/Mets/Jets fan, has numerous wives, girlfriends, comes up from Jersey and does the Boston system and eventually, after one year or more, gets housing, and then dies within weeks of moving out and in. Dead two days when the police find him. We last spoke on Superbowl Sunday. I congratulated him on the Giants’ victory; he graciously accepted my congratulations. There is more to tell: grey hair, pony-tail, constant cane, white bathrobe. No hint of drugs or booze so far as I knew, but what do I know? Now? Then? Tomorrow? There have been some various controversies regarding the use of artwork amidst texts, and god, we writers just are happy to have some access to publication and money per line or word. We don’t decide these matters; Ekaterina Degot, decides this; Max Klinger decides this. We just do the writing, I just do the writing, such as it is. There are commissars as well; people, women most often, who decide about correct language, human kindness in a nutshell cliché. There are commissars who watch Law and Order: SUV, pop-eyed, uncritical, and yet, are all over your attitude and tone of voice. Prohibition is so very inside the heart of every American woman in the United States. What are we to do? What is to be done?
I find it hard to keep straight, I find it hard not to worry about being appalling, shocking, nasty. There are dogs in the ditch; there are butt-ugly skanks, skags, assholes in the square. There are people who are experts on Wodehouse and know nothing about Celine. There are excuses for Eliot and there is rabid hatred of Pound. There are hefty Norton Anthologies Of African-American Literature. Who actually reads Black History in February? Do you? There is a book published this past January, Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters, edited and translated by the English poet, Michael Hofmann, that I think is superb and useful for anyone who is hacking away in the trade: meaning writing at anything at all. I have read Roth in German and English. He is one of ours, if you and fate will allow me to assert this. But then, evidently, I am a dog; I am not a son of the soil, I am not a man of the factories and cow barns, a pork butcher to the world; I am only a writer, I am a white man and I get Faulkner’s expression, “a train car full of cannon balls” quicker than you do. I’ve seen men drink shoe-polish, and I’ve seen men drink sterno drained through cheese-cloth; I’ve seen men drink Listerene and I didn’t care whether they lived or died. There is hope and faith in The Brothers Karamazov that is above the underground, but then Dostoevsky was a gambler and where’s the recovery in that?

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
copyright 2012. Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

February 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

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