|"the solid and thoughtful cow"|
poetry 2.0 by Dieter Moitzi
available today on amazon
for only US$ 0.99
The metro doors slammed shut with a bang, the train sped out of the station. Xavier found a seat and gazed at his fellow travellers. They were only a sparse Sunday crowd, most of the others looking the part: prim and proper middle-aged, middle class suburbians, some with kids in neatly ironed shirts and blouses and navy-blue trousers or skirts, their shiny hair parted in the middle; most of them probably riding toward a boring Sunday lunch. One old lady wearing her pearls like a shield against the squalid functionality of the metro sat across from him. She was looking outside, her mouth pinched in a way that signalled she had switched to uncommunicative mode.
Xavier slipped his hand in the breast pocket of his black shirt and took out his mobile. One of his friends had published a poetry collection, and he had promised he’d read the ghastly thing and give an honest feedback. Why anyone still bothered writing poetry and worse: publish it was beyond him. Poetry was dead, wasn’t it? No one read poetry anymore. No serious publisher would publish poetry anymore.
Why would they, honestly?
There were simply too little words in a poem, no story, no plot to talk of, not to mention a tedious propensity to dwell on moonlit skies (or as an option, just as horrid: starlit skies) and the green, green, green hills of some uninteresting countryside nobody cared for but the poet.
With a sigh, Xavier switched on his mobile, chose the Kindle Reader program and opened the file of his friend’s book. His friendship was being tested here, for sure. The cover showed a brown cow that was looking steadily into the camera, half-blurred but for its warm, dark eyes. In the background, Xavier could guess a foggy October-landscape. Again, he man sighed. Did the cover try to tell him something? Alright, it went along with the title “the solid and thoughtful cow”. But what did all this mean?
Xavier looked out at the station the train had just entered. Unwillingly, he was thinking of his philosophy lessons at the Sorbonne, many many years ago. The professor, a self-described communist Nitzschean who, paradoxically, would only ever wear priceless suede jackets and designer jeans, could talk for hours about his favourite philosopher and rant against those who misunderstood the German genius. Xavier remembered most vividly one lesson where the professor had started a debate about Nietzsche’s most famous phrase that God was dead. With a chuckle, he recalled one of his fellow students, a red-cheeked, plump girl from New Hampshire, who had protested in her shrill voice, searching for words in French. Of course, she hadn’t stood a chance against her teacher, who had had decades to learn how to win any decent argument. Not that the girl had anything serious to hold against him; all she could do was brandish her naïve faith the way a virgin in a B-movie would brandish her cross to ward off a vampire.
Xavier returned his gaze to his mobile screen. He started to read the first poem and was rather pleasantly surprised. No moon, no stars, but vivid images, a biting bitterness, with a pinch of existential angst. Few words, as he had feared, but each one seemed perfectly in place. At first, he didn’t get the meaning of the conclusion, until he remembered his friend was blogging, too, and had garnished his blog with the photo of a pair of deep blue eyes he had found online. Fitting, Xavier mused.
He read on. Still no moonlight, still no greenery. Urban scenes, serene and to the point. He was enjoying his read. Finally, without noticing, Xavier had reached his destination. He switched off his mobile, bewildered because he hadn’t realized how long his metro ride had taken. He had been too busy reading and thinking.
Maybe poetry’s not so bad after all, he thought. Makes you reflect on things, makes you meditate on your grip on the world that surrounds you. That's something we don't take time to do very often, for sure…
But let’s remain realistic, Xavier said to himself as he climbed the stairs toward the exit. My dear friend won’t become rich overnight. It’s just poetry, after all.