4e 1938 SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A MOTHERLESS CHILD
> download Word-Doc
WERFEL I'm sick. I feel so sick. I never felt so sick before. It feels as if my head were full of water. It's going to explode from the pressure in my brain. Maybe it's just nicotine poisoning... Why not? Only yesterday I inhaled, and I said to Alma: don't worry, it's just ... nicotine poisoning. But I'm afraid it isn't. It must be something else. My fingers are yellow from the nicotine
they are yellow. And I'm blind
I can't see anymore
I know why
it's because my eyes are watering
An ugly bowlegged Jew with nicotine-fingers and watering eyes, permanently watering slitted eyes - I've read it in her dairy! And maybe she's right! Alma is always right. You can't cheat her. I hope our poor child doesn't have to be exhumed after all. That beautiful child! He really moved me! My son! My Martin!! I loved him! I loved him so much! In spite of his hydrocephalus. At least it proved that you were my child, and not Walter's. It's unshakable testimony!
Today a child was born into the world
The trees bestow blessing in different ways-
A son, a child has entered our aging lives,
Through birth, a spirit and a person now will live with us.
At least she didn't abort you.
I'm so depressed. I'm miserably depressed. It borders on total helplessness. Weakness. Mental Impotence, not being able to think. Anxiety. a flood of associations pressing into my brain
I can't control them anymore
. My God, what's happening to me? I'm losing my power
I'm losing my ability to think. Am I really getting impotent? Psychically impotent? I still have to
I don't want to
There's so much disorder. There's chaos in my head. An ocean of disorder is drowning me!
Today a child was born into the world
The trees bow silently, their heads in prayer--
This is bad. Bad poetry. Nicotine poetry. Matchbox wisdom. Water words. Dissolute . Inaccurate. Unsuitable. Wishy-washy. Aphoristic superficial! I'm a pitiful clown, juggling with words. Anna! Gucki! My saviour. I gave her freedom
in a vanished world. A World of Yesterday. A paradise lost
never to be regained
(Sings:) «Sometimes I feel like a motherless child...!» Blood pressure is almost 80 to 160. Tension but much too high. Should stop smoking at once. No precision in describing minute feelings... Uuugh! (He squeezes the paper into a ball, and throws it away.)
East Asian monastery. Monks appear and ask us to take off our boots at the entrance. We are getting surprisingly comfortable straw sandals in exchange, they flatter our feet. Enter the monastery's garden. Huge wilderness. A small path leading through high grass, with creepers and dense vegetation. Large snakes are crawling across our path , they're countless. Shooting forward or just lying around. Surprisingly the monks allow themselves to be bitten by them, calmly and composedly. Me too. But full of fright and only to be polite, a well mannered guest. It's my ambition to act according to the secret code of the clergy. My mind is not yet contaminated enough to allow me to step on a snake's head, although I'm longing for it.
And on top of everything - there's the current situation. Prague has been occupied by the Germans. Another devilish nightmare. My sister Hanna is trapped! She missed the train. Where will I sleep today and feel at home? I cannot regard Austria as my home any longer. I feel a stranger there. Where is my home? In Prague? I can't go back to Prague! There is no place for me to go! I am three times a stranger: as a Bohemian among Austrians, as an Austrian among Germans, and as a Jew everywhere in the world. London? Who needs me in London? Anna? This is exile, the bitter taste of exile. I haven't got the strength to even start imagining it. Let alone to confront it in reality! But the day will come. Inevitably. And then we will have time. Plenty of time
What shall I do? - Suicide. Suicide? She didn't even want to go to Horvath's funeral. She forbade it. Why? After all he looked almost alive there among all the yellow, grey-green faces of all the Immigrants who had gathered in the mortuary. Actually he looked the most healthy of all of us... I can't do it. I'm afraid to do it...
Oh Lord, rend me asunder!
I am still a mere child.
And I dare to sing.
And I name you.
And I call things by their names!
O Lord, rend me asunder!
What is this dull and wretched pleasure ?
I am not worthy of the blood from your wounds.
Yes, yes. I must commit suicide. I must! But I'm terribly afraid to do it. I can't stand the vision of pushing the barrel of the revolver against my head... it's still my head! It would be easier to take poison. Poison, yes. But I haven't got any
- Instead I find myself arrested! The inspector thumbs through a huge black file for an eternity . Haven't I been on the cover of Paris Match?! «Un de plus grands écrivains contemporains»! That's me! One of the greatest writers of our time! - I'm afraid I won't survive these minutes, even if they are already past. I'm about to faint. But would it make sense for someone who hasn't done anything to faint? I told you: the restrictions of the immigration law do not apply to me! My summons here is a mistake! A terrible mistake! Why have you had me summoned to this court, Franz Kafka? Am I on trial in one of your novels? I'm not a beetle! I am not K! I want to read America! Ha! Even in your fragments you are far better than this merchant's son from Northern Germany! For me you are the real Nobel Prize winner, and not him! Not this Thomas Mann! I sent you a big bunch of roses and my novel Verdi. It was the last book t you touched before you died. Before you coughed yourself to death. A dream is not enough to feed a man when he's forty years old. Even a starvation artist can't suffer that long.
I am looking forward to my execution. I'll dress especially for the occasion with the special , black, velvet costume of an Italian Bajazzo. Of course I'm not alone! It goes without saying that the room isn't empty. A colleague keeps me company. I think it's Egon Erwin Kisch. He will also be decapitated - Karl Kraus, that ugly monster, will certainly be shot. And a deep inner feeling tells me that he deserves it much more than me! (He puts his hands up to his head.) Ahhh! I knew it! I knew it! There is another world, a world of ghosts! «Only sometimes, Sir, only sometimes.» is the answer of the ghost. What is he doing now?! He starts to shave me! I think I know him. He's an ex-worker, who has fallen off a roof. Strong feeling of damage caused by the dead. Intimacy, yet through intimacy. Then light. And transformation. Smell. Passing processions. Shadows of the past! Ernst Lubitsch! Erich von Stroheim! Fritz Lang! Bert Brecht! Fred Astaire! But why?! And where?! And what for?! Sleep. Slumber. Ecstasy. Levitation just in vain. Nicotine addiction? (He puts his hand to his chest.) And that pain... That heaviness... That pressure in my chest... I wish it happened in my sleep. Without me feeling a thing.
Thank God there's been no answer yet from Berlin. I's the only thing that's keeping me alive. No answer is still better than a definite »No«. If only they'd admit me to the German Writers Union of the Third Reich! That would change everything. Oh God! It would be a life preserver for a drowning man. It would mean hope... Hope? Hope..! What can I do except cling on to any tiny hope?!
Hitler enters, he's frail and old as ever he might be. His fly is open, and his penis can be seen. It's frightening to watch it. And he asks me: «Did you notice?» And before I can even give an answer, he starts growing, and is becoming a young and sturdy man all of a sudden! And he throws himself at me, and hits me as punishment. - I'm a full grown man! I'm a full grown man! It's not my fault! Man is dumb! I wouldn't have come back unless the people on the street had recognized me by my face! I'm a full grown man!
I've given you a farewell kiss,
and still I'm holding nervously onto your hand.
I warn you time after time:
watch out for this and that.
Man is dumb.
When will the whistle, the whistle finally blow?
I feel that I will never see you in this world again.
And speak plain words - no comprehending.
Man is dumb.
I know if I loose you,
I would be dead, be dead, be dead.
And yet I would still like to flee.
My God, how much I'd like a cigarette!
Man is dumb.
I find myself lost in the streets, and choked by tears,
I look around, bewildered.
For no man's tears can say
what finally we really mean.
Man is dumb.
The pleasure of art is not a pastime, it's the opposite: it's a death-time.