Issue 3

Table of Contentsfor Issue 3

A No Man’s Land between Dialects

Anselm Kiefer, The Secret Life of Plants (La Vie secrète des plantes), 2002. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Cover illustration: Anselm Kiefer, The Secret Life of Plants (La Vie secrète des plantes), 2002. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

This year we shift language fronts to explore a new no man’s land between them. The centerpiece of this issue is an experiment conducted in Edinburgh in March 2008, when two German and two Scottish poets met to translate not merely between German and English, but between their respective dialects: Franconian and Scots/Shetlandic. An intentional challenge to the poet, the dialect, the language, translation itself – and a challenge that all rose to.

We are proud to present the outstanding translations as well as reflections on the process of dialect writing and translation itself, offered here in part as a new approach to more fundamental questions: How does language reflect a given natural, cultural and social landscape? How do poets find “their” idiom within this landscape, within the broader language of their society, its everyday speech patterns and literary traditions? And how do their translators, in turn, find their idiom?

In this spirit, the current issue focuses entirely on poetry. We hope that our excursion into the dialectic of dialect will shed a new light on the remaining work featured here, on the poets’ and translators’ use of language.

For instance, while Norbert Hummelt’s work mines the historical and cultural dimensions of specific landscapes, the overlapping strata of time, and Waltraud Seidlhofer’s poetry navigates the cityscape, mapping its labyrinth of facades, Daniela Seel turns inward, seeking an idiom for the vulnerable body. Gerhard Falkner, Hendrik Jackson, Bert Papenfuß and Monika Rinck – poets we have featured in previous issues of no man’s land – likewise focus on constructing radically individual idiolects.

One way or the other, poetry lives by finding specificity in the surrounding landscape of language and images that too often threaten to blur into generality.

Isabel Fargo Cole,  Clemens Kuhnert, Alistair Noon : Editors, no man’s land



Issue 3

liebe xii
es meer
iich möchäd ämall …
4 Haikus

Ach Goddla fell …
Neia Reifn drauf

the symmetrical nihilism of meatballs
promenade toward fungi, eumenides discussion & canalisation
punishment makes free, discipline’s in order

gas stations III

repeated test series …

what about the animals?
orpheus charms beasts of lesser quality

Chekhov in Crimea


“spring …”

liebe xii
es meer
iich möchäd ämall …
4 Haikus

Author: Fitzgerald Kusz
Translator: Alexander Hutchison, Donal McLaughlin, Sarah Tolley

[Translations into Scottish by Alexander Hutchison and into English by Donal McLaughlin and Sarah Tolley]
liebe XII Love XII Love XII



Fitzgerald Kusz
morng sixtäs suwisu nimmä,
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, 1973
Scots by Alexander Hutchison English by Sarah Tolley
es meer the sea the sea
es meer schbrichd middi felsn
es blaudäd, es brülld,
es flüsdäd seid millioonä joa

es meer werd ned mäid
es hörd ned auf
es machd immä weidä

es meer is blau
es is gräi
es is grau

es meer schbrichd middi felsn
di felsn horng zou
si schweing seid millioonä joä

es meer schbrichd middi felsn
di felsn braungs meer
es meer brauchd di felsn

miä väschdennä es meer ned
miä väschdennä di felsn ned
weä schbrichd mid uns

the sea claiks to the craigs
it’s been gabbin’ an bellochin
an wheeplin for millions o years

the sea nivver gets wabbitit
nivver stauns still
it’s aye tyaavin awa

the sea is blae
is green
is grey

the sea claiks t’ the craigs
the craigs are herkin close
their tongues have been tethert for millions o years

the sea claiks t’ the craigs
the craigs are thirlt t’ the sea
the sea is thirlt t’ the craigs

we canna faithom the sea
we canna faithom the craigs
fa’s spikkin til’s?

the sea speaks to the rocks
it’s been chatting, been roaring, been
whispering, for millions of years

the sea doesn’t tire
doesn’t stop
it keeps going and going

the sea is blue
is green
is grey

the sea speaks to the rocks
the rocks listen
have been silent for millions of years

the sea speaks to the rocks
the rocks need the sea
the sea needs the rocks

we don’t get the sea
we don’t get the rocks
who speaks to us

Fitzgerald Kusz
wouhii, ein lesebuch,
Cadolzburg 2002
Scots by Alexander Hutchison English by Donal McLaughlin
iich möchäd ämall …
A widna mine … I’d like to write

iich möchäd ämall ä gedichd schreim
des mä iberoll miidhiinehmä könnäd
su klaa daßs in jede husädaschn bassäd
ned viel gräißä wäiä daschndäiglä
obbä wemmäs rauszäichäd und vuälesädwirräd
aff amm schlooch allers anders

iich möchäd ämall ä gedichd schreim
wemmä draffrumdrambläd
derfäds ned kabuddgäih
wemmäs oozindäd
derfäds ned brennä
wemmä midderm messä neischdechäd
derfäds ned bloudn
iich möchäd ämall ä gedichd schreim
des kannä meä aufhaldn könnäd
dessi ausbreidäd wäi ä krankheid
gechä däi ka kraud gwachsn is
bissi jedä mid iä ooschdeckäd
iich möchäd ämall ä gedichd schreim
des einfach oofangäd
und nie meä aufhöräd
und middndrin iich

A widna mine, ae day, comin up wi a poem
that ye could cairry ony place:
that teeny it wid fit intil ivry trooser pocket
nae muckle bigger nor a hanky –
but if ye took it oot t’ read
aathin wid chynge in a blink

A widna mine coming up wi a poem
that if you danced aboot on it
widna faa t’ bits
that if you pit a licht til’t
widna be consumed
if you jabbit a knife intil’t
widna bleed

A widna mine comin up wi a poem
that quidna be foonert –
that wid spreid lik a dose o somethin
for which there widna be ony remeid
afore aabody wis richt smitten

A widna mine comin up wi a poem
that wid jist get under wey
an nivver come t’ a close
an smack dab in the middle o’t aa
wid be me

I’d like to write a poem at some point
that you could take anywhere with you
so small it would fit into every trouser pocket
and not much bigger than a hankie
but if you took it out and read it out
everything would change instantly

I’d like to write a poem at some point
that if you jumped about on it
wouldn´t fall apart
that if you set it alight
wouldn’t burn
that if you stuck a knife into it
wouldn´t bleed

I´d like to write a poem at some point
that couldn´t be stopped
that would spread like an illness
for which there wouldn´t be a cure
until everyone had caught it

I´d like to write a poem at some point
that would simply start
and would never end
and right there in among it all
would be me

Fitzgerald Kusz
muggn, gedichte,
Cadolzburg 2007
Scots by Alexander Hutchison English by Donal McLaughlin
4 Haikus
in jedä nachd vo
jemand anders draimä:
su kummd mä aa undi di laid!
tae dream o ither fowk
ivry nicht – jist anither
wey o gettin acquantit
dreaming of someone else
every night
it’s just another way of meeting folk!
Fitzgerald Kusz Scots by Alexander Hutchison English by Sarah Tolley
ä naßkalde novembänachd:
wenn di audo schloufm
fangä di bamm zum blaudern oo
a caal dreich November nicht
fan the motors are nappin
the trees crank up wi their claik
a chilly damp november night
when the cars are sleeping
that’s when the trees start chatting
Fitzgerald Kusz Scots by Alexander Hutchison English by Sarah Tolley
drei zeiln ibern schnäi? aff di erschd fälldä
aff dä zweidn bleibdä lieng
aff dä driddn schmilzdä
three lines aboot snaa
first it faas, syne it bides
neist it’s aa meltit awa
three lines about the snow? on the first it falls
on the second it lies
on the third it melts
Fitzgerald Kusz
wouhii, ein lesebuch,
Cadolzburg, 2002.
Scots by Alexander Hutchison

English by Sarah Tolley

so edz gäihi middä fernbedienung
aff di schdraß und drigg:
obbä di laid senn immä nu dou
richt, a’ve taen my remote
on a daunner ootside an thoombed it
– bit the fowk dinna tak the hint
so now i’ve taken my remote
out onto the street and pressed it
but the people are still there
Fitzgerald Kusz
schdernla, 144 haikus,
Cadolzburg, 1996.
Scots by Alexander Hutchison English by Sarah Tolley


Ach Goddla fell …
Neia Reifn drauf

Author: Helmut Haberkamm
Translator: Alexander Hutchison, Donal McLaughlin, Kay McBurney, Robert Alan Jamieson

[Translations into Shetlandic by Robert Alan Jamieson; into Scots by Alexander Hutchison and Donal McLaughlin; and into English by Donal McLaughlin and Kay McBurney]

Wurri herkumm, wirri haaß, wemi
Gleichsiech, wemi noochgrood

Wosmer kaaßn hemm, wosmi
Baggd, wosmi miedgnumma hadd

Wossi gsehng hobb, wurri
Gweesn bin, wossi glernd hobb

Weni droffn hobb, wossi
Derlebbd hobb, wossi waaß

Wossi kann, wossi kenn, wossi
Du, wossi sooch, wossermer denk

Wos dief drinhoggd, wosmi
Ausmachd, wosmer noochgehd

Wossermer aufkalsd, wossermer
Kolld hobb, wosmer oodoo hemm

Mid wossi wos oofang, wosmer
Wos oogehd, aus wossermer wos mach

Fier wossi groodsteh
Fier wossermi grummleech

Obber wossi woor, binni nämmer, wossi
Bin, bleibi nedd, wossi sei meecherd

Binni nunni – Ach
Wos waaßn iech?

Quhar A’m kum fæ, quhit I ans ta, quha A’m
Da læklie o, quha I takk eftir

Quhit d’ir kaad me, quhit’s
Grippt me, quhit it is’at’s shiftit me

Quhit A’m led een apo, quhar A’m
Gien till, quhit ler A’m hed

Quha A’m kum apo, quhit A’m
Livt trow, quhit I wat

Quhit I kan, quhit I ken, quhit I
Dø, quhit I sæ, quhit I miesel tink

Quhit hookers doon ati’me, quhit’s ati’
Mie makk-up, dat’at byds wie me

Quhit A’m yoakkit me ta, quhit A’m
Gottin t’miesel, quhit d’ir døn t’me

Dat’at I dø wie, quhit ta me
Hæs wirt, dat’at I makk wie

Fir quhit A’m upstaandin
Fir quhit I krug me owir

Bit quhit iens I wis, I im næ mær, quhit I
Im, A’ll no byd, quhit I wiss I wis

A’m no yit bien – Ach
Quhit dan ken I?

Where I come from, what my name is, who I
Look like, who I take after

What they promised me, what
Grabbed me, what swept me along

What I’ve seen, what
I’ve been, what I’ve learned

Who I’ve met, what I’ve
Been through, what I know

What I can do, what I know well,
What I do, what I say, what I think to myself

What’s deep within me, what
Makes me different, what’s on my mind

What I’ve brought upon myself, what I’ve
saddled myself with, what they did to me

How I begin something, what is
My business, what matters to me

What I accept responsibility for
What I pinch and scrape for

But what I was I am no more, what I
Am I won’t remain, what I’d like to be

I’m not yet. Och –
What do I know?

Helmut Haberkamm
Frankn lichd nedd am Meer,
ars vivendi verlag, Cadolzburg, 1992
Shetlandic by Robert Alan Jamieson
English by Donal McLaughlin
Ach Goddla gell mei Guuderla
Loard Abøn, Feth, mie Pierie ting
Oh lordy-me, rightey-oh, my babykins
hobberla sodderla siggsdersla etzerdla
hammer des aa widder gell

mei Guuderla

sabberlodder bloß a Momendla nu hobberla siggsdersla
braungmers scho morng nämmer machn no fraali gell

mei Heichderla

ach Godderla iech soogs ja bloß a wengala
bloß a Momendla nu siggsdersla

mei Muscherla

bloß a Hämpferla a Habbla a Hardla a Hafdla
bloß a Schieberla a Straiberla a Fardla a Steigla

mei Schlaggersla

gell nacherdla haddmer hald gschwind a Drimmla
un a bisserla sei Ruh aa widder gell

mei Waggersla

mei Bobberla mei Engerla mei Zeiserla
gell des säggsd du aa mei Scheißerla


O waatch noo, dat’s de noo, sies du dis, noo
jun’s wis nierlie don noo, feth

mie pierie ting

mersie me, choost a pierie start, O waatch, sies du dis
we winna hæ dis t’dø da moarn, trootæl, feth.

mie pierie swiet

O Loard abøn, A’m sayin, choost a pierie græn a’dis
Choost a pierie start mær, sies du dis

mie pierie spoot

choost æ haandfu, æ kælhert, æ gadderie, æ koos
choost æ løffu, æ bowlfu, æ kyshiefu, æ kjist

mie pierie tingaboadie

feth we’ll hæ wis wir pukkil in a mienit
an dan spell wis a pieriemintie start, willin we

mie pierie jooil

mie poppit, mie pierie aenchil, mie lintie
feth døs du no sæ da sam mie pierie skittrie-ers

na sies du, don

Oopsadaisy, there we goesy-woesy,
that’s-a-better now, rightey-oh

my babykins

bless my soul, just a wee minute, oopsadaisy, there we goesy-woesy,
now we won’t need to do it tomorrow, will we now

my sweetykins

oh lordy-me, only just a little-bitty more now
just a wee minute, there we goesy-woesy

my honeykins

just a teensy-weensy handful, a spriglet, an itsy-bitsy clump, a titchy-witchy heap,
just a bunchy-wunchy, a posy-wosy, a sacky-wacky, a boxy-woxy

my cheekykins

rightey-oh, we’ll have a piley in just a jiffy-wiffy
and then we’ll be able to relaxykins, won’t we now

my cutykins

my poppet, my angelkins, my little chickadee
you think so too, don’t you, my shittiekins

here we goesy-woesy

Helmut Haberkamm From:
Des sichd eich gleich,
ars vivendi verlag, Cadolzburg, 2001

Shetlandic by Robert Alan Jamieson

English by Kay McBurney
Neia Reifn drauf
nooch Bertolt Brecht
Njoo Quhiels On
eftir Bertholt Brecht
New Tyres On
after Bertolt Brecht
Iech hogg auf der Staffl am Oostraafer doddn.
Mei Vadder dudd di Winderreifn nooschraum.
Wui herkumm, moochi nedd grood noo.
Wui hie will, moochi aa nedd grood noo.
Is Gscheidsde wär, iech langerd mied noo
Un dääd helf derzu bein Schraum. Obber
So hoggi bloß doo un hald mei Goschn
Un schau un waaß nedd, wossi meecherd.
Sixd, etz sinn di Reifn aa scho droo.
Mei Vadder wingd, iech fohr dervoo.
A’m hookirt’po da briggstenns, bie da bøt-daddir.
Mie fædir snøds da wintir-quhiel bolts doon.
Quhar A’m kum fæ, I hæna will t’gjing dær.
Quhar A’m set fir, neddir hae I will t’gjing daer.
Da thing wid be fir me t’rekk a haand dær
An gie a pierie spell apo da bolts. Bit
Dær I hookir me, haddin mie chaas
an gaan, no kennin quhit A’m eftir.
Sies du, fu shøn da quhiels ir gød t’læv.
Mie fædir wævs, as oot a’dær I dræv.
I’m on the front step beside the shoe-scraper.
My father’s putting on the winter tyres.
I don’t want to go to where I’m from right now.
I don’t want to go where I want to go to, either.
The best thing would be to lend a hand
and help put the tyres on. I remain
sitting there just, though, and keep my mouth shut.
And watch, not knowing what I want.
Look – that’s the tyres on already.
My father waves, I drive off.
Helmut Haberkamm From:
Frankn lichd nedd am Meer,
ars vivendi verlag, Cadolzburg, 1992
Shetlandic by Robert Alan Jamieson English by Donal McLaughlin

New Tyres Oan

ahm on the front step aside the shoescraper.
ma faither’s pittin the winter tyres oan.
where ah come frae, ah dont wantae go right now.
where ah want tae get tae, ah dont wantae go either.
The best thing wid be tae get a grip
an’ help pit the tyres oan. ah keep
sittin there just but an’ keep ma gob shut.
An’ watch, no knowin whit ah want.
Look – that’s the tyres oan awready.
Ma faither waves, ah drive off.   Scots by
Donal McLaughlin
New Tyres Fittit

A’m oot front on the step aside the buit-scratter.
Ma faither’s pittin on the winter tyres.
Far a’m fae, a dinna wint t’ ging richt noo.
Far a micht seek t’ging, a dinna wint t’ ging aither.
Giein him a haun t’ fit the tyres wid be
The thing t’ dee. Hoowivver, I jist bide
Humphin here an zip ma moo.
An watchin: nae kennin fit a wint.
Aye, look, at’s the tyres on aready:
Ma faither gies us a wave, an I heid aff.
Scots by Alexander Hutchison


the symmetrical nihilism of meatballs
promenade toward fungi, eumenides discussion & canalisation
punishment makes free, discipline’s in order

Author: Bert Papenfuß
Translator: Rosmarie Waldrop


in spring our
doubts itch
in spring proud
hairs sprout and twitch
in spring insprings
the haircutter
O last borderguard
O let me painlessly
write writing
ragetowrite cou-
bored to death write
grow rank O grass


the symmetrical nihilism of meatballs

one cannot inany let no meatball
not rest on inanycase, aswellas isntit the case that
not every meatball does not correspond to not,
isntit, but also not even every second not in that sense
don’t i write the notworst german of all
aswellas as especially not
in order to give the “socalled” prime meatball a push
till my meatball is no longer not no meatball
& gives no more offence, complacent in its arrogance
& is all of the stuff that revolutions are made of
& ofcourse counterrevolutions too


promenade toward fungi, eumenides discussion & canalisation

cows, cows, cows; cow flops & coltsfoot I suppose
& black berries, the gate of fame sank in the brambles
brollacham & buhmann snuggeled in the basalt column quarry
right of the rhine and cisalpine wishsausaging wallowed
reticence & unprofessionality hours on tabula
drugs that mugged, love to the death your threat
but I won’t suffer it, rather die myself
tracked by a squadron of mediawise con men
snapped the schnapsnosed mammal thrice for air
his hellhound round the bend strolled on stormwatch
& we skulked bed-& bulletward into an inn
each thinking he gave more, than he took
& this loss is the so-called evil in the world
that never errs, we concurred; nonesoever twosoever
none, nothing, hardly even naught: go rest among the alders


punishment makes free, discipline’s in order
all floodgates open,                       do they have ovens enough
the pleiades drowned,                        the tollgate gone up
the magnus annus of the moon is over,   comment superfluous

the germans trip over themselves,               do they put their heads together
or make mincemeat of each other                    or the rest of the world
the undead red open their arms,                          a public fest sans merci

every foot in it is german,                                 gift champagne, free beer & gratis sex
repent of nothing & everything to boot                   this is a perfect mummydress ball

Originals © Bert Papenfuß
Translations © Rosmarie Waldrop

gas stations III

Author: Gerhard Falkner
Translator: Rosmarie Waldrop

tank & drum
nowhere an inside to berlin, city
flattered into beaming capital
bodies resounding
with progress, progross, polkas

years of lording it they mete out traffic
from one saddest to another thousand
next best basta blue
shady side of a slope beaming
as if there were things that last
as if the triad
did not lie otherwise in state. but

after a dozen long
trecks distance locks shut
speed pulps beauty
then only the word counts
the smallest home we can share

Original © Gerhard Falkner
Translation © Rosmarie Waldrop

repeated test series …

Author: Daniela Seel
Translator: Catherine Hales

repeated test series experiments on yourself with raw milk products or
cosmetic scents the eczematous areas grow to the size of handballs

marram grass imitation wood bed showroom all
somehow well-lit from all sides you were talking about community

of acquired goods and the future green of a development boundary post-
materialism they call it in the clinical way of clinical customers or

modern performance a fierce burning this urging
to the heart of the matter defying imagination this first person plural

years ahead your little prophesies: paradises and havens constantly
renounced unfulfillable fitting in this wickerwork wishing

the way ankles may whisper: floppity floppity! rounding in rooms the sound
of the hounds under the blue arching down to the ground layer for layer

particles shifting to shadowy shops for the calming of bodies the back of a hand
in a long and all-too-clear movement from eye to chest as though that would say

it clearly enough washed out lawns or the fault in the weave on the doctor’s collar
below which the collarbones rising and falling your hand twitches

while you try to concentrate on the diagnosis then later
the question as to the difference between self-deception and patience

and again this swollen awakening so you can’t get your eyelids up
residues a running like the crumbling of the saplings out of your earth

heavy shoe-soles drying a knowledge of dermatology and long
distance phone calls aglow with exhaustion

Original © Daniela Seel
Translation © Catherine Hales

what about the animals?
orpheus charms beasts of lesser quality

Author: Monika Rinck
Translator: Nicholas Grindell

what about the animals?

now that it’s becoming clear, consider my animal cooked.
futro. the fur. it foams and it boils, the heat
of the prongs, the limp little animal. the neighbours the neighbours
what were their names? it’s coming unstuck, coming loose.
timbers working themselves free. something bloody
well plonked down, fundamentally bungled. it’s a fiasco.
the blond roof of straw. how it thrashes about. does battle
in the wind with the wind, a beating. a rumbling.
anything to salvage or extinguish, perhaps? anything burning?
do the animals need evacuating? plucking from the flames
at the very last moment? no, i hear no screaming.
the animals are fine. which means you can rest at last.

orpheus charms beasts of lesser quality

here he sits, at barren altitude, the pines have already moved in.
as have the oaks, beeches, boxes and the like, the lyre lures.
and just supposing the reason he lost what had almost been
granted was the same as with oedipus: downright arrogance.
look, don’t look, going, not going, she’s gone. here below: animals.
what doesn’t happen by itself is sublimation. there’s no two
ways about it. after the plant parade, the animals lay themselves
at his feet, harmonious and motionless the soft-shelled turtle,
the side panorama of a heath sheep, the amputated legs of a lynx,
the grumpy disposition of the badger, snakes come and squint,
bear sows maltreated by saints under the yoke of christendom,
hairy wilderness harnessed in place of oxen, a dismal sanatorium
of insolvency. hunted shadows, shadows hunting animals. animals on ice
and animals on drugs. the healthy animals are doing something else.
a steeplechase. or something with steppe. the healthy animals are watching
their step. dainty hooves dancing the latest steps. not so the crane.
the horses hit by traffic. the inside-out dogs, their fur long since grown
into the cerebellum, moronic hares and the narcotic beast par excellence:
the fleeting unicorn. the whole clanking crew. and now: sing one more.
one of your lovely songs, orpheus. and orpheus sang. and sang. and then.
then came the maenads and took things in hand as only they can.

© Monika Rinck the originals:
was ist mit den tieren and
orpheus charmiert bestien minderer qualität
zum fernbleiben der umarmung © 2007 kookbooks, Berlin
Translations © Nicholas Grindell

Chekhov in Crimea

Author: Hendrik Jackson
Translator: Catherine Hales

he is leaning over his desk
into the light, which falls
in patches. outside tipped aslant
grey-black of tree-trunks, the broken-off
voice of the dispatch. steps of a crane
creaking floorboards, then the sea’s
constant rush of sound, silence of the stone

cries, cries, swirling
now from the veranda.
Marcus Aurelius: that a short life
should coincide with a long one
– formations of decay
trenches in the earth and bars of shadow
swallowed in blackness

Original Hendrik Jackson
Dunkelströme © 2006 kookbooks, Idstein.
Translation © Catherine Hales



Author: Waltraud Seidlhofer
Translator: Rosmarie Waldrop

a city consists first of all of facades.
everybody arriving in a city is immediately confronted with them.
there is no chance of escaping facades.
the facades of a city face the newcomer in a friendly, hostile or indifferent manner.
sometimes the facades of particular cities are similar.
this may be because of the kind of city (industrial, commercial, seaport etc.) or because of the period of construction.
the similarity of two cities may be a subjective feeling in a person.
here personal factors play an important part.
a special kind of similarity of two cities is their being opposites:
it is possible that 2 cities are different in almost all respects so that one can be called the negative of the other.
between such cities there is a particular kind of bond which is apt to affect individual inhabitants of these cities when they meet—perhaps by chance— in a very particular way.
when the inhabitants of the two cities have carried out their function, that is the comparison of the two cities, according to their abilities they may separate without further problems. new encounters will take place.
in all these encounters chance plays an essential part.

facades close rank.
they are serried.
their different color, form, style etc. does not keep them from lining up in blocks.
facades in closed rank are impenetrable.
from facades in closed rank no help can be expected.
it is impossible to speak to them.
it is impossible to stand up against them.
they will not answer.
one cannot demand that they take a position.
especially in late winter facades in closed rank convey disapproval.
evening and morning lights on facades in closed rank increases one’s insecurity.
facades cannot be circumvented.

here, unlike in c, said p, facades are pushed close together, it’s difficult to pass between them, occasionally you may find an unexpected doorway or alley to the next street, next square, but generally facades are forbidding if lovely, a contradiction that a non-native is hard put to get around.
in c on the other hand, said p, everything is planned on a large scale, the color white dominates, nobody has the impression of being crowded or imprisoned, rather, in c, you feel exposed to a freedom that borders on lawlessness.
did i know, asked p, that c had been planned and designed as the capital at the beginning of the century, and that these plans are still being carried out, a new government building is under construction now, the library was finished only recently.
did he know, i asked, that this city is first documented in the year 947, that even roman names for it are recorded, that large-scale building is only possible on the periphery; the inner city is simply too crowded and will or rather will have to remain so because this crowding, i.e. the inner city, is classified as a historical monument.
and historical monuments are impossible to get around.

from time to time buildings are torn down whose facades are to be left standing. it’s always facades classified as historical monuments.
for tearing down buildings whose facades are to be left standing a particular procedure has been developed.
in tearing down buildings whose facades are to be left standing particular caution is indicated.
the facades must not be damaged under any circumstances.
if, in tearing down buildings whose facades are to be left standing, there is a danger that the latter will collapse, the entire project has to be abandoned.
facades protect the buildings behind them.
facades are propped up.
access to them is made secure.
the window panes of the facades may be taken off temporarily.
jolts are to be avoided when tearing down buildings whose facades are to be left standing.
noise is to be kept to a minimum.
if need be the facades must be protected with tarps, plastic sheets etc.
loud talking is prohibited on the demolition site.
the facade is to be treated with profound respect.
debris must be cleared as quickly as possible.
the area behind the facades is off limits.
usually, when a building is torn down whose facade is to be left standing, a great many people gather.
they often wait for hours for the moment when the building that belongs to the facade is completely torn down.
the sight they are then offered is rare and therefore particularly impressive.
the facade has become transparent.

yesterday, said p, he went into city in the other direction.
he went as far as the train station,
down the steps,
through an underpass,
he heard a train pass above him,
climbed up stairs again,
walked on,
i asked him
how far
he said
he neither watched the time
nor could estimate the distance,
he could at most describe the buildings
and even that was not one hundred percent sure.
but i know exactly
how long it takes
to get to the school on the right
to the apartment blocks on the left
to the hospital
to the woods.
for me
itineraries and time are measured exactly
without exceptions
without secrets
and i am welcomed by relatives and friends
p however
has the possibility to come and go
he is not asked questions
his way is not blocked
no answers
are pushed at him
said p
he did not always find this state


Originals © Waldtraud Seidlhofer, Neue Texte, 1976
Translations © Rosemarie Waldr