10/30/14

Bodies (3)

All alone on the restaurant terrace, I take a late lunch. Then I spent the afternoon slouching on a deckchair, watching the swimming pool scintillate in turquoise, in green, in blue.
It’s still muggy and hot. I try not to move, whishing for a fresh breeze to sweep away the stillness and bring in some air. In vain.
I’m the only person to use the deckchairs, too. When I arrived near the pool, the German couple was still there, still serious, still reading. As I took a little while to choose the right place, I didn’t pay attention. And when I finally settled down, I realized they had slipped away like two embarrassed parents who do not want to witness their son snogging.
At five o’clock, unnecessary hours have passed by in a flurry. I get up, dizzy, as though waking from a bad dream.
There’s a little door behind the pool bar. I decide to check out what’s behind; it’s the only option if I want to avoid the sleek receptionist.
A narrow lane zigzags between the hotel enclosures to the left and right. Flowers and lush leaves hang from the high walls: white and violet lilac, wisteria, passion flowers. Their fragrances permeate the air, an overpowering, syrupy, heavy mixture, with just a hint of salty moistness.
After walking for a little while, I reach the beach area. Hiçbiryerde is a tourist resort situated on the shores of a bay that forms a perfect semicircle bordered by rugged mountains with razor-cut rocks and crags. While my taxi was driving me to the hotel, I didn’t see any traditional infrastructure. No old, crooked houses, no photogenic stone bridges, no folklore. Everything looked new, modern, built for entertainment and vacation purposes.
From where I’m standing now, I’m able to decipher the overall idea of the real estate developers. The hotels follow the smooth curb of the bay without disturbing the natural harmony of the place. No higher than the trees surrounding them, they’ve been built behind a line of vast pinewoods, shadowy gardens, and parks. Several restaurants, bars, and mock-rustic beach stands form the front line. Deck-chairs, most of them empty, and beach umbrellas cover the area from one end to the other.
I take off my loafers and walk toward the sea, the white, warm sand caressing my bare feet. When I feel the water lick my ankles, I hesitate, looking left, looking right. Where shall I go now? Does it make any difference?
The answer, ridiculous as always, is no.
Whatever, then.
I return onto the dry sand and choose to follow the seafront to the far end, where sharp, black cliffs overhang the Mediterranean, to my left. With each step, the sand crunches and crumbles between my toes. Golden and shimmering, the beach sighs in the faint light while the day, exhausted, gives up and slowly dies. I taste iodine and metal on my tongue. The sea to my right-hand side is grey, still and flat like a mysterious mountain lake. The sky above, a low arch in grey and black, ends far away, where the glowing slit of the horizon lies on the waters, a yellow-orange line that reminds me of something I can’t define.
In the distance before me, two people are strolling away from me. My German couple? I only see their backs so it’s hard to be sure. They don’t talk, they don’t walk hand in hand; they just move on with regular, measured steps. They seem decided, but also withdrawn, partitioned, each one an isle of hazy loneliness.
There’s an old fisher boat that people have placed between the deckchairs like a show-off trophy. It looks out of place in this organized environment. As I go around it, I stumble upon a young man who’s building a sand castle with his two little sons. The kids are laughing and shrieking with joy while emptying the small plastic buckets they’ve filled with sand and water. Despite myself, I feel a smile creep up on my face. The young man smiles back and lifts his hand in greeting.
The late afternoon continues humming its melody, the melody of waves licking my bare feet, the hymn of pine trees whispering in the hot, damp breeze, all soaked with the primal fear that everything might last, that everything might end.
And I continue walking, words dripping, drop by drop, in my head. The half-silence of the beach becomes eternity, locks up my steps, locks up the grey and flat sea, the dying afternoon, the clouds, the stifling sky. It’s as though reality hesitated to show itself, as though I was floating in a surrogate latency, a strange in-between. Scalding truths linger, somewhere, behind a deckchair maybe, under the awning of a beach bar, behind a pine-tree, in the crack of one of these rugged mountains that rise like improbabilities around the village. My gums start to bleed all of a sudden, and I swallow my saliva, which has the metal taste of blood.
When I reach the end of the beach, where the black and sharp cliffs brave the sea, I settle down on the terrace of a restaurant. Little, neat tables; white plastic chairs. A woman sitting close to the edge, close to the water, is sipping tea. Two old men are playing at dominoes.
I order a bottle of water and a glass of raki. To rinse my mouth of iron and ash.
The yellow-orange slit of the horizon flares one last time, then gets smaller and smaller. The dim light turns even more diffused, grey, indifferent. I lean back. The end of this long afternoon shall taste of aniseed.
When I decide to order a second glass of raki, the waiter tells me in English, “You should go now. Mister Zenkin has arrived.” He catches me by surprise.
“What…? How…?”, I stutter while searching for my wallet.
The waiter seems to read my mind. He inclines his head, “You don’t have to pay. Everything’s been taken care of.”
“Oh. Well. If you need the name of my hotel, I’m booked in…”
“That’s not necessary, sir. We know.”
Dazed, I stumble back down onto the beach without looking back. “We know,” I whisper to myself. “We know.”
The waiter, the lonesome woman sipping tea, the two old men playing at dominoes stare at my retreating back. I can feel it. As I pass in front of the other beach bars, I get the same sensation: that everybody’s observing me. The beach and the low buildings nearby are empty, however. Completely empty.
And yet. Even the pine-trees seem to have staring eyes.
At one moment, after having walked on for I don’t know how long, I stumble upon the sandcastle again. Abandonned. The young father and his sons have gone, the waves are about to carry away their ephemeral construction.
At least, one thing that comforts me.


10/26/14

BOOK LAUNCH: "twenty-five. Poetry 3.0"

"twenty-five. Poetry 3.0"
by Dieter Moitzi
78 pages
including 14 black-and-white photos
Paperback: $6.74
Kindle Edition: $5.14
Available on amazon

To be frank, I don't know where poetry comes from.
I'm not talking about authors; they are well known most of the time. I'm talking about the essence of poetry, its origins within their authors. I confess: this is a mystery to me.
An even greater mystery as I am writing poems myself.
You know, while finishing the chapter for a novel means lots of work for me (especially because, being harsh with my own writing, I'm rarely satisfied with the result), poems just seem to, well, bubble up slowly in my head, take one or two days to ripen, then burst forth.
It often starts with a word, a sentence, a sensation I stumble upon in my everyday life. For instance, I'm listening to Laurie Anderson singing "Oh superman / oh judge / oh mom and dad…", thinking of a conversation I've had the day before about the difficult relationship someone I know has with his or her parents. "You raised us as / pale ghosts of your / measly dreams…", I'm thinking. Asking myself if it's not vital for all of us to "kill" our parents, in a symbolic, psychological, almost Freudian sense, if we want to be able to find happiness.
Or I'm walking down the street, and pictures, stories, emotions come to mind. Maybe "the wind, / the cold November wind / painting the sky a dark / and rain-streaked grey, / sweeps glossy pavements dirty…". Or "a streetsweeper hoses down / the pavement in front / of the construction site / where cranes, still silent, / stretch skywards, / whispering to each other / in their lost language".
It's often songs, song-titles, music that trigger off the unexplainable machinery that will lead to a poem. I've mentionned above how a Laurie Anderson-tune influenced one of my poems. Brendan Perry sings "Utopia", and I'm creating "Utopium". Goldfrapp sings "Annabel", and a whole life-story comes to mind, asking to be expressed in a poem. The Austrian singer / drag queen Conchita Wurst wins the Eurovision Song Contest, some narrow-sphinctered East European politicians call Europe "decadent," and "Western decadence, expunged" appears in my head. I could quote many more examples ("Improvised", "The city never sleeps").
Another possibility: memories. God, yes, Memory Lane—what a rich source for poems! "Picture of the past", "Feels like home", "Heathen summer", "Vandal" are but a few examples of how a memory, the momentaneous glimpse of the past have led to a poem.
And yet. These examples only explain the first step of creation, the Big-Bang-instant of a poem. The moment when the idea is born. But that idea needs to be transformed into words, sentences, stanzas, into a flow with different and fitting tastes, smells, colours, rythms… Where these elements come from, I really do not know.
Which makes writing poetry all the more fascinating.
Today, I'm proud and happy to tell you that my new poetry collection (including all the above-mentionned titles) is available on amazon (Kindle Edition and paperback). Maybe these few lines make you want to discover my work.
Don't hesitate to give me your feedback—it's the very air an author breathes!
Oh and thank you for hearing me out :-)

You can grab a copy here:
______________________________________


More Poetry available on amazon


10/23/14

Bodies (2)

After a cold shower, I get dressed. Black shorts, a black singlet. The air-conditioning hums a vibrating melody of its own, birds chirp outside, and in the distance I can hear an old 80s-number one-hit: “I like Chopin…” Watching myself in the mirror, I flex the muscles of my left arm, then my right. I feel my biceps and decide I’d better do some sports this week. One has to maintain one’s working assets, after all.
That’s when I remember I’m supposed to take a decision. To stay fit and muscled is not the best idea, I gather, if I choose to…
I rummage through the breast pocket of my jacket and take out my mobile. It’s an instinctive reaction. Even though I try to persuade myself that I only do it because I need to know how late it is.
Almost noon. And an icon is blinking. I must’ve received several text messages while showering.
Resisting the temptation to sigh, I quickly go through the messages. My network provider has sent most of them. “Welcome to Turkey; you’re now using the Turkcell network; here’s the pricelist for phone calls, text messages, multimedia messages; if you want to call someone in France, do not forget to dial +33 before dialling the phone number”, that sort of stuff.
Which leaves me with three text messages sent from three different numbers the international digits of which I do not recognize.
All three convey the same content:
we know who you are.
we know where you are.
we know what you’re doing.
Peeved, I look around as if to make sure no one else reads the messages. It’s no rational move. I’m alone in this big, chilly, glitzy but uninspired room.
we know who you are.
we know where you are.
we know what you’re doing.
I sit down on the bed, stare at the last SMS, and feel new questions bubble up in my head. How many messages have I received in total? What do they mean? How shall I react?
I could simply ignore their existence, shrug them off. I’m capable of that; better: I’m an expert when it comes to ignoring things, when it comes to muttering “Who cares?” It’s not a method that makes unpleasant things disappear, but one that helps to avoid questions. Which, in turn, helps to avoid stumbling upon unwanted answers.
But ever since I’ve spoken to Jane, I’m wading through a swamp of doubts. What if she was right with her zany explanations? What if this was a serious situation, as she suggested? What if I was really bound to shake off my certainties and react?
First, I found it ridiculous. All these stories about secret services, foreign intelligence agents, baksheesh, and stuff.
Oh, sure, in my opinion, father was capable of getting involved in fishy business. To spy on his country on behalf of a foreign nation shows enough bad taste that it would fit his character. Father was never one to shy away from bad taste.
I have evidence. He married mother, after all. And he was in politics.
Jane spoke about money, too; loads of it. Money father was supposed to have cashed in as payment for his permanent treason. A fortune. There again I recognize one of his traits.
But the more she insisted, the more I became inclined to not believe her. I found her stories too far-fetched. Why would the Americans pay to know what’s going on in the French government? It’s ridiculous!
Finally, I started to falter while waiting at the airport in Rome. Someone left me a voice message, that’s why. A man with a strong Eastern European accent whispering in English, “Not convinced yet? You should be more careful. Accidents can happen so fast…” The message bore all the signs of a B-movie. Yet it made everything Jane had told me look, and feel, real.
Doubts, doubts, doubts… they seem to grow and overwhelm me. I don’t like that sensation. I sigh.
That’s when the mobile vibrates again, pulling me out of my fruitless pondering. It’s a new text message written in a foreign language:
Yapmanız ne yapıyorsun
dur!
I only recognize one word. I’ve seen it a couple of times while riding the taxi that brought me here from the airport. It’s a word they use on their traffic signs. The word “dur”. Meaning “Stop!”

_________

SAVE THE DATE:
Book launch of my new poetry collection "twenty-five" on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014,
ON THIS BLOG

10/19/14

Bodies (1)

we know where
you are, we know
what you’re doing.

The purring air-conditioning is breathing on my neck as I’m reading the text message. My eyes sting, a shiver tiptoes up my spine. It’s bloody freezing in here. With a sigh I slip my mobile into the breast pocket of my black jacket and try to concentrate on the next task. “I’m Marc Laforge”, I say in English. “Someone must have booked a room for me.”
The receptionist is a thickset guy, almost bald but for some oily, shiny strands of hair he has combed over the top of his head. He looks me up and down, then his face curls into a slimy smile. “Yes, I’ve been informed of your arrival. Let me show you to your room.” The man’s English is faultless, his facial expression sleek and polite, his words remain neutral. And yet, something bothers me. The suggestive tone perhaps? Even if “suggestive” might be an over-reaction of my imagination. I’m very tired, so everything is possible.
The receptionist leaves the reception desk and places a dank hand on my elbow. “I hope you will enjoy your stay in Hiçbiryerde”, he says, lightly pressing upon my arm. He insists a second too long, which makes me understand that, tired or not, I haven’t imagined anything. He thinks he’s subtle, but his demeanour, full of insinuations, affects me the same way it would if he was permanently winking at me.
I don’t like it. My stare turns black.
The man doesn’t even notice. He lets go of my arm and turns toward a door behind the reception desk. “Erkan!” he shouts, his voice commanding. “Erkan!”
A young boy in red livery and with very black hair slips out.
Barely looking at him, the receptionist lifts his chin, snaps his fingers and points at my luggage with a disdainful twist of his hand.
The youngster bows, joins us, lifts up my suitcases. His face remains blank, his gaze fixed on his shoes. The air-conditioning in my back is still huffing and murmuring ominous, cold messages.
With an unctuous smile, the receptionist turns back to me. “Follow me, please, sir.”
Our little group proceeds toward the bay windows. We step out onto the huge and empty terrace of a restaurant, the muggy heat immediately coating us like a film. I expected bright sunshine before coming here; but apparently, I don’t deserve sunshine. An ashen haze veils the sky and stretches like cellophane over the country. Only some diffuse, strange and wadded light filters through, bedimming all colours. Lush plants grow around the terrace, but in these conditions, they look grey and dull. Palm-trees, pines, plane-trees, rose bushes, rhododendrons, bougainvillea, all sad and motionless, waiting for something to come about, waiting for a booming event to happen, waiting for rain to cool down the atmosphere. Or maybe for the world to die in a sigh of relief.
We’ve only made three steps, and I feel like a jugged piece of meat. My clothes stick to my skin. Fortunately, I haven’t taken off my jacket. Therefore my transpiration remains an unpleasant reaction, but an invisible one. The receptionist, who’s wiggling his broad ass in front of me, is less fortunate; little by little, dark patches appear on his blue shirt.
Behind a rose-bush, a man in his fifties or sixties wearing an expensive suit and tie is sitting at one of the empty tables, holding a cigarillo as thin as his moustache in one hand. He gazes at us, deems us unworthy of his curiosity, and goes back to leafing through the latest edition of the “Hürriyet”.
On the other side of the terrace, I glimpse a swimming pool and a bar. On first sight, everything looks empty, too. Yet when we turn around a bush, I discover a couple lying on two deckchairs. A woman, a man. They’re so obviously German that I reckon no one ever asks them to show their passports when they travel abroad. I guess they are retired. They both have blondish-greyish hair and wear serious clothes—shorts and polo-shirts—as well as serious faces. All in all, they seem tidy, clean, almost statutory. The missus is reading “Brigitte”; her hubby, the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. Although they don’t lift their heads from their paragraphs, I can’t shake off the impression that they’ve been observing me.
We step down from the terrace onto a concrete path that runs in odd curves through the perfectly kept garden. “We will have to walk a bit”, the receptionist explains. “Whenever he sojourns here, Mister Zenkin asks for the dependency. You won’t be interrupted there during your—”, he turns around and puts a lewd stress on his next words, “— your working sessions.”
I don’t react. I’m hot, terribly hot, and I’m tired. I’ve been kicking my heels at the airport a whole night long. Murat has informed me at the last minute; therefore, I haven’t been able to get a direct flight. Which explains why I had to accept a stopover in Rome. I got there at eleven p.m., yesterday. A young Alitalia chick told me they had problems with the connecting flights and had re-scheduled mine for this morning. She apologized, handed me a couple of vouchers for food and beverages, and led me to the VIP-Lounge, where she left me to my own, sad devices. I tried to read, I tried to sleep. But I spent most of my time staring out of the huge bay windows, observing the star-spangled night sky above Fiumicino, which I found abominably boring. Again and again, I paced up and down the muffled, soulless containment, turning around and around like the proverbial tiger in its cage.
My thoughts were turning around and around, too. Turning, turning, turning, a real washing machine.
No surprise that I’m so weary now. I never wanted to mull over things so much. It’s that Jane has provided serious ground for thought; that’s why I’ve accepted Murat’s invitation without hesitating a moment. I wanted, I needed some days to breathe. In order to not go bonkers. I shouldn’t have counted on Alitalia, though, to help.
We leave the concrete path and reach a low building. “Has Mister Zenkin arrived yet?” I want to know.
“Not yet”, the receptionist says. “We expect him to arrive this evening. He has asked me to tell you that he’ll… summon you as soon as he needs you.” This choice of phrasing seems to please him a lot; he can’t help but express his satisfaction that someone he must consider as socially superior is treated like an underdog by someone else, who’s even higher up the social ladder. “In the meantime—do you need something?” he asks, his voice still smug, satisfied, almost complicit.
“No,” I answer in a dry tone. “Just, you know, do what you’re paid for. Show me to my room, for a starter. That’s all I ask.” This is so not me! But that guy needs to understand that as a client, I remain superior to him. We’ll never be best mates.
I notice that my attitude hits home. The man’s sleek obsequiousness cracks and lets me catch a glimpse of irritation as he says, “This way, sir. Your room is upstairs. Follow me.”

10/13/14

Skyscraping

along the shore
the deep deep lake
mirror waters
a high mountain range
swimming backwards, lazily

maraca leaves
reminding me
of Rio and the thirteen
Samba lessons
back in ‘62

that’s all there is:
lake, mountain, trees,
all passionate,
yellow, red, and orange,
and a blue autumn vault

I scratch the sky with the diamond
of my wedding ring,
and through the tear,
stars, black, and more memories,
undead and sore