Selbstporträt IV – Self-portrait IV

Die Dunkelheit nahm dem Mädchen seine Gedanken. Und übrig blieb nichts. Sie stolperte davon und der Bach verschluckte sie. Sie trieb davon, bis sie irgendwann merkte, dass sie auf einen Stein inmitten des Baches lag und die Sonne auf ihren Rücken schien. Der stumme Fisch sprang aus dem Wasser und verschwand wieder darin.
Das Mädchen blieb liegen, bis die Sonne es vollends getrocknet hatte. Dann breitete sie die Flügel aus und flog davon. Sie wusste nicht, ob es die Schwingen des Adlers oder des Schmetterlings waren.

The darkness took the thoughts of the girl. And nothing was left. She stumbled away and the stream swallowed her. She was washed away by the water. Then she noticed that she was lying on a stone in the middle of the brook and that the sun warmed her back. The mute fish jumped out of the water and disappeared in its waves again.
The girl stayed where she was until the sun had dried all of her. The she extended her wings and flew away. She didn’t know if they were the pinions of the raven or of the butterfly.

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Fragment XI

Und dann kehrt ein Moment der Ruhe ein, am Ende des Tages, endlich werden all die Geräusche still und in Stille gehüllt bleibt nur die Trauer. Der Tod macht vor dem Leben nicht Halt. Aber das Leben macht auch vor dem Tod nicht Halt. Wir dürfen nicht aufhören zu leben, selbst dann nicht, wenn uns ein geliebter Mensch genommen wurde. Und die Trauer verklingt in der Stille. Und die Stille flüstert uns Vertrauen zu.

And then a moment of silence reigns, in the end of the day, finally all the noises cease and shrouded in silence grief is left. Death doesn’t stop in front of life. But life doesn’t stop in front of death, too. We aren’t allowed to stop living even if a beloved person has been taken from us. And the grief ceases in silence. And the silence whispers faith.

Fragment X

Manchmal können wir Menschen nicht helfen, denn sie sind in ihrer eigenen Welt gefangen, und es gibt keine Fenster nach draußen. Vielleicht hören sie deine Stimme, aber sie sehen dich nicht, und deshalb wissen sie nicht, wann sie vertrauen sollen. Manchmal entscheiden sie sich das Falsche zu glauben, und verlieren etwas, dessen Wert sie nicht kannten, obwohl du alles versucht hast, um ihnen zu zeigen, was sie niemals sehen konnten.

Sometimes we can’t help people because they are caught in their own world and there are no windows to the outside. Maybe they can hear your voice, but they can’t see you, and because of that they don’t know when they should trust. Sometimes they decide to believe what isn’t true and lose something which they never knew the value of, even though you tried so hard to show them what they were never able to see.

Du (IV) – You (IV)

Und dann war der Moment da, in dem ich endlich wieder in deine Augen blicken konnte, in dem ich meine Arme um deinen Körper schlingen und dich ganz fest an mich drücken konnte. Der Moment, in dem wir endlich wieder vereint waren. Ich war zurück von meiner langen Reise, war wieder zu Hause angekommen. Ich würde deine Hand nicht wieder loslassen.

And then the moment was there, the moment in which I could finally see into your eyes again, in which I could wrap my arms around your body and keep you tied to me. The moment in which we were finally united again. I was back from my long journey, was back home. And I wouldn’t let you go anymore.

Über einen Fremden – Of a Foreigner

Sie schikanierten ihn, riefen ihn bei verschiedenen Namen, gingen ihn an, beschuldigten ihn. Es waren kleine verachtende Gesten, Blicke, zweifelnde Fragen, fast zufällig nur, aber sie waren immer da, jedes Mal, wenn er nach draußen ging. Er ertrug all dies, aber sie warteten nur darauf, dass er die Fassung verlor, dass er auf die Respektlosigkeiten reagierte, sein Frust und seine Wut Überhand gewannen, denn dann würden sie sich bestätigt sehen, dann hätten sie etwas zu erzählen, könnten noch mehr Angst und Hass schüren gegen die Ausländer. Und es sagte nie jemand etwas, wenn sie sahen, was ihm auf der Straße angetan wurde.

They harassed him, called him names, attacked him, accused him. They were small disdaining gestures, glances, doubtful questions, almost coincidentally, but they were always there, every time when he went outside. He bore all this, but they only waited that he would lose his self-control, that he reacted to their disrespect, that his frustration and anger got out of hand, because then they would have confirmation, then they had something to talk about, then they could fan the flames of fear and hatred against foreigners. And nobody ever said anything when they saw what was done to him on the street.

A Bedtime Story

Selena is excited. It’s the beginning of summer and today her parents will go to the country side with all their friends. It’s the first time this year and also Selena is allowed to come. Which means that she can play with the cats and the dog Ciccio, that she can go on the swing and show the tricks she learned in her friend’s garden, like hanging head first on the swing. But what she is most excited about is that she is allowed to stay up until past midnight.
While her parents prepare everything for the get together in the evening – they promised to bring the antipasti: olives, different salads, Taralli – Emmaselena jumps around unable to sit still. She wants to bring her bag with the toys, so Ciccio can play with them. Only when her nostrils sense the smell of the self-made Taralli, she comes to the kitchen full of curiosity. Her mom is the best Taralli-baker in the town as Emmaselena sees it, and she loves these savoury ring-shaped biscuits which are typical for their region.
Her mom looks stressed. There are so many things to do at once. Emmaselena decides to help her and because of this she opens the oven to see if the Taralli are ready. But when she sees them her appetite is so strong that she can’t help but take one from the oven. Touching the hot tray she feels a strong pain which seems to flash across her whole body. A howling comes from her mouth.
„Selena“, her mom rushes to her, carries her away from the oven. „What are you doing there?“
She doesn’t look sorry. She looks angry. Selena starts to cry even louder. She only wanted to help her mom and now her mom is angry.
Her mom puts her hand under running cold water and the pain becomes less. But Selena can’t stop to cry. It hurts that her mom doesn’t see her initial attempt to help.
„Look, the skin is just a little red. It’s going to be fine soon“, her mom says putting her to the ground. „Now go to your room and play. I don’t need a mischief-maker in the kitchen right now.“
Selena is desperate. She wants her mom’s arms around her body giving her comfort. She doesn’t want to leave the kitchen. She wants to see how the Taralli will be taken from the oven when they are ready. Yes, and maybe she also wants to try one although she is almost too shy to just think this wish now. When she doesn’t move and her crying doesn’t end her mom lifts her up without mercy and places her in the corridor closing the door behind her back. Now also Selena becomes angry. Does her mom not understand how it makes her feel? She won’t go to her room, she decides. She will stay right in front of the door until her mom comes to say sorry.

But everything is long forgotten when they get into the car in the late afternoon and drive to the Trullo, the round white house with the grey stone roof in the countryside which is owned by their friends. Selena doesn’t think anymore about her burnt finger and about her broken heart. All she thinks about is Ciccio who surely can’t wait to see her finally.
When they arrive she can already hear him barking full of happiness. Once the car stops Selena jumps out and runs towards him embracing him in her caring arms. Ciccio licks her face and jumps around, making her fall to the ground. Emmaselena laughs.
Then she hears her parents‘ friends welcoming them. Quickly she gets up.
„Ciao“, she says and Cosimo lifts her up. She likes Cosimo. They have their birthday on the same date and always celebrate together. He will turn 60 this year and she will turn 7. Cosimo always smiles when she is playing, he also smiles when the others don’t smile anymore because they don’t like her games but she wouldn’t stop, for example when she sits under the table and pretends that all the feet surrounding her are monsters she has to fight against. But sometimes Cosimo makes her very angry, too. She remembers last year, when he threw her into the sea from the rocks and her whole mouth was full of the salty water.
Also his wife greets her warm-heartedly. They like to have this energetic girl around.
Some of the guests are already there, the others are coming soon. They put a long table on the terrace where everybody has space to sit. They start to serve the antipasti Selenas mom had prepared. The air is filled with their laughter, with their loud voices and their jokes. But Selena only hears them from afar. She left the terrace to play with Ciccio. They roll around on the grass, Ciccio barking and Selena screaming out of joy. Selena has just started to teach him to do some tricks when they call her to sit at the table with them and eat. Then she has a new idea. She will hide and not say a word until they start wondering where she is.
It’s Cosimo who comes to look for her. And he finds her immediately because he still knows her hiding place from last year and the other years before. Selena sighs. She always hopes they will forget where she hides usually.

Everybody has arrived now and the dinner can start. Selena looks for a seat close to the Taralli her mom made. While she eats Selena listens to the conversations of the adults. She likes it to listen to them and to discuss with them. And she knows that they like to hear her opinion because they always laugh when she explains it to them and sometimes they even ask her what she thinks. So she always tries to follow what they say and to evaluate everything with her own understanding. She is the only child on the feast. Of course also some of her parents‘ friends have children. But they are older than Selena and they always decide not to come to the country side to celebrate but to stay home. Selena finds it hard to understand why they would decide so.
When the topic comes to childhood stories and also some of the mistakes Selena made in the past are told again she feels like she must say something. She doesn’t like to hear these stories and the laughter of everybody while she feels embarrassed. When these things happened she was still small and didn’t know better, so it isn’t fair to laugh about this. Then she hears her mom telling what happened in the kitchen this morning. Selena gets up and climbs on the table standing in the middle of all the food. She knows that this is something which usually shouldn’t be done but when her parents and their friends have wine in their glasses they never stop her from doing it. Instead they laugh about it and sometimes even clap their hands. Selena wants everybody to listen to what she has to say. Cosimo helps her to draw all the attention on her.
„Listen to what Selena wants to tell us“, he says.
When everybody is quiet and looks at her she inhales deeply and starts.
„Never spit on the head of a child. For you never know what the head will become.“
It’s a proverb she heard her grandmother say very often and for her it seems to fit the conversation right now since they talk about childhood stories – even though she never understood completely what this proverb means. She always wonders if the spit is some kind of magical mean and the head will transform into a monster. Sometimes when she thinks about this at night she becomes very scared and has to sleep in her parents‘ bed. She is surprised that the adults don’t react with fear but burst out laughing.
„Tell us another one“, they shout.
And because this is the only one Selena remembers in this moment she says: „All lizards lie prostrate. How do you tell the one that suffers from belly ache?“
Everybody applaudes. „Brava, Selena!“
She climbs down from the table and sits on her chair again. For now she has said enough.
The table is emptied and filled again with the first course. It is pasta prepared by the hosts. A very typical kind of pasta in their region – orecchiette with a vegetable called cime di rapa. It’s delicious. While they eat the meat is already grilled in the clay oven next to the terrace. It will be their second course. Sausages and beef with potatoes spiced with rosemary. They eat and drink and the voices become more excited and louder with every bite. In the meanwhile the moon rises. It’s a big and yellow moon. Selena runs to the small stone wall. There the moon is not hidden by the trees and she can see its full circle. Also Ciccio runs to her when he sees that she stood up from the table. Together they look at the moon and Selena imagines that he is a werewolf and that she tamed him and he follows her everywhere and protects her. Cosimo comes and tells her about the stars in the sky and their constellation. Selena follows his fingers pointing on different stars. They are not very bright tonight because the moon shines with all its power.
After the main dishes they eat the dessert. One of the guests made a cake and another one brought a cream which they eat with the first fruits of the year. Selena can’t tell what she likes more. The Taralli of her mom or all the sweets.
Music is playing. Some of them sing along, some dance. Selena knows she has to climb on the table once again to present her new skills. „Look“, she shouts and tries to do belly dance. The adults laugh. She likes it when she can entertain them.
After the sweets they eat fruits, nuts and in the end there is an espresso for all the adults. It’s late now and the air becomes cooler. Emmaselena sits on the lap of her mom, a wool blanket tied around her body to keep her warm. She can feel now how tired she is. She still tries to listen to the conversations of the adults but the voices seem to come from far far away, she can’t distinguish the words anymore, it’s only a humming in her ears… And then she falls asleep.

Mit Dir – With You

Alle zünden ihre Laternen an und lassen sie los, und dann fliegen tausende Lichter in den Himmel, und das tausendste Licht sind wir, dort schweben wir durch die Dunkelheit der Nacht, immer höher, bis es scheint als wären wir ein Stern am Nachthimmel, und bis man uns gar nicht mehr sieht und nur noch Träume sich vorstellen können, was wir auf unserer Reise erleben werden.

Everybody lights their lanterns and let them go, and then a thousand lights fly towards the sky, and the thousandth light is us, there we hover through the darkness of the night, higher and higher, until we seem to be a star in the night sky, until one can’t see us anymore and only dreams are still able to imagine what we will live to see on our journey.

Fragment IX

Es gibt nicht eine Wahrheit. Wahrheit setzt sich zusammen aus tausend kleinen Wahrheiten. Wahrheit ist nur das, was wir uns entscheiden zu glauben.

There is not one truth. Truth is made by a thousand of small truths. Truth is only what we decide to believe.

Wieviele Züge noch

Da haben wir gesessen
neben den Gleisen am Bahnsteig,
in dunklen Nächten;
Züge um Züge geatmet
und Züge beobachtet,
wie sie vorüberbrausen,
und unser Leben beobachtet,
wie es vorübersaust…

Da bist du aufgestanden
von dem Bahnsteig auf die Gleise
auf wackeligen Beinen
und ich habe mich gefragt
wieviele Züge noch,
wieviele Züge noch, bis es vorbei ist?

Da hätte ich dich zurückrufen sollen,
sei vorsichtig,
dein Leben ist zu wertvoll,
du bist zu wertvoll,
aber meine Nächte
unterschieden sich nicht von deinen.

Wir haben die Züge nicht gezählt,
denn es waren zu viele
und es waren zu viele
als dass das Schicksal
Mitleid mit uns hätte haben können.

Dich haben die Züge mitgerissen,
an Lungenkrebs gestorben,
unter ihren Rädern begraben,
geteerte Lunge,
geteerte Straße,
und mich haben sie zurückgelassen
und ich frage mich:
„Warum?
Warum dich und nicht uns beide?“

Da gehe ich auf der Straße
die grau ist und leer
auf der Straße aus Teer
ohne Schienen, ohne Züge,
ohne Halteort.