J. August Buehler, Martin Zet: the animal and the city and flowers

Getting down and into it, I hope to write for some time with no other objective than to entertain, let you know and otherwise dispel the feeling of just sitting here. The coffee’s gone cold, and the plaster snake remains unpainted. The warmth of those around me, Marketa, Crafty, Dave, Penny, Marisa, One, Blue Shoes and Loser Mate, blows in through the open door, curls the papers on the floor, trembles the windows. , How should one cut and paste these lives, and should they be given at all? We went dancing and drank wine. We went for a ride. The walls bend around the room. The tequila is...
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Getting down and into it, I hope to write for some time with no other objective than to entertain, let you know and otherwise dispel the feeling of just sitting here. The coffee’s gone cold, and the plaster snake remains unpainted. The warmth of those around me, Marketa, Crafty, Dave, Penny, Marisa, One, Blue Shoes and Loser Mate, blows in through the open door, curls the papers on the floor, trembles the windows.
How should one cut and paste these lives, and should they be given at all? We went dancing and drank wine. We went for a ride. The walls bend around the room. The tequila is hot and burns holes at the bottom of the well. We stagger on in the morning. Get on buses and traverse the city.
I have my arms around a loose assortment of people, souls, burnt out and scrappy warriors, those who ache and stumble, blind, longing, but full in the morning and drained at night. We half play and are getting serious about it all, about putting our stuff up on the walls, getting it out and opening up. Getting old. The pictures all come back now overexposed with the light exploding from around the dulled edges, into the eyes and washed in living reds, blacks and whites. We celebrate to live and die as we pull back the sheets, grip around the middle, cough once and then again, leaning forward to make coffee, get out of bed, get back into it again, to keep busy, because after all it’s in those moments when nobody calls and you’re on your floor and the waiting’s begun and the dust settles, an old thing, the waiting, a country thing that actually reverses in the city; inside out it becomes a panic thing, a horny thing, a shuffle through magazines looking for that article, or a tapping of the finger, cleaning the windows, anything’s better than watching the dust turn around your breath and settle on your legs and hands, resting evenly on the floor.
Best to drink coffee and smoke a cigarette, and dance, in tune in humming in motion in flight. I love to ride a motorcycle around curves like running my hand over a smooth hot piece of metal and then the moment you stop at a crossroads and the engine cools and ticks and the silence falls like a body, and lightens again as the light and sounds of crows fill the space. The colors are green and red and blue and so solid you have to squint to mix them, blend them, so they streak a little. The air is sharp here, too, like down by the stream that runs near your home as we walk with your two pointers lopping ahead. It takes two to crash through the door and up to the chest and put your face in the water. Two to climb out and dry on the bank. A solid stand of oaks. An open, breathing space.
Spring in the city brings beautiful lies in the shape of hopeful permanence, in the shape of devastating city symmetry. A longing to be inside people and their things, where the heart leaps and burns.
And it’s time that gets it all in the end, time as it erodes and changes us and undoes us. We let go and float and hope for the best, for a time when somebody will claim us for their own, that will settle matters and eternalize us, make us whole human and undespairing. And time, unflinching wench, gives up nothing, not even a shrug or a wink. It doesn’t exist it’s not real. It’s beautiful and terrible and lives and doesn’t care.
Two dangerous animals butt heads and rut over fallen timber, where love is hate too and inside out it dangles tauntingly in front of you and you never see it and one day it is gone and you never see what became of it. And that’s okay too.
I like walking through the city, the brushing of the bodies, the strange tactile sensation of sticky summer movement through a crowd and all the breath goes up and over the town and chimneys. Summer brings street corners at night and exchanges, slow parting, the screech of windows opening, cries from the alley slumber and Hamlet at the Globe, the sound of falling apples and wine. Summer brings stasis and stopping and sun that lingers and offers itself on sheets of metal and cloth that stains red and goes hauntingly pink, rouge and then night. Summer brings murder and release. Summer heaves and breathes and sweats all weekend under lime and oak, and summer never goes away. It starts with a crack under an object, a tea cup, as if the cup were emitting what it knew all along, and pours out what was pent up for months, through the doors and windows and laughing its way into your clothes and the back of your neck.
So I follow now in furs the animals as they retreat to the herd and head for the forest, their heads held high. When I was young I hunted animals, deer mostly, and shot a few, and I can smell all those smells now. The flashes and waits, panic and angelic feel of fur and blood. I respected what I killed because I was taught to, but I was also taught not to, to be up in a tree and see the world move as light falls from the sky, and the trees fall to the earth, softly, in time. The early dark fall mornings in the back of a car, green alien light from the dash and turning off the highway down a dirt road as we crunch though snow to a place where animals may be. Where they are, we are assured, or we wouldn’t be there. Again the silence of noise, the slamming of car doors and the heat of coffee in a red plastic thermos cap, burning my hands, blow nose, sling rifle, feel fear, walk into the brush, boots sliding cautiously not to snap branches. The city too hunts and holds, prepares, launches and falls, as much of autumn is sliding fear and coolness and even walking.
Winter in the city brings truth in the shape of boxes opened, kicked into the street or stored until one day, surprisingly unlidded, unstopped, unmasked. Winter brings love, too, in the shadows of ash fires, in the dullness of moments, the window streaks and hearts.
We could dance in winter and feel each other through sweaters and jeans. We could follow the trails of Cesky Raj or not and get lost, because of the helplessness of it, the letting go of the sun this time, and the human, animal, warming that happens under blankets, at night, as we give up and become ourselves for each other, in winter, in embrace, and here winter love sets in, and then the animal, and the city.

every day now I go further—when
the cast iron splinters against the wall

it would be so easy to knife into
a sea as cold and blue as this one
with its white lights and boiling icebergs
that shoot into the sky like sculpted dolphins

in all this silence the sea moves
under foot in the darker chambers
where fish heads are nailed to stone walls
and rusty anchors sink through forest floors

Sounds. Like sound dreams and sound people. Light from inside out, in sound relief. It may take years to find the right one. To image what is in the sound. To ease the splitting of morning and night. To heal the separation. In fact, to salve what burned and itched for so long, at the point of separation. With noble face often times more animal—more forest animal—than city human. With camera in hand Marketa stands at a great distance and draws shades of life from the tactile visible world and then infuses them with memory and story. Parked cars implode in the dead of night. Come morning, the punched glass runs over scorched metal like slow water, touches the street and its light penetrates her open eyes.

And here, as this cityworld’s landscape gapes openly into dawn, she scales down the side of a building with her carefully concealed camera hitched tight in a special leather holster made just for these excursions. Poised against the stone of the building, her gloved fingers tented, the black tips of her rubber shoes resting on a heavy stone window ledge, she listens for, and hears, the creaking beds and doors of human lives as they rise and fall headlong into the day, as they engage the madness of traffic and work, as they open themselves up to the dangers of conscious life and motion.

The stories unfold from there, she knows, and so she waits with her eyes half open, flickering vermilion slits. Just as the air begins to assume a certain quality of light that almost glistens, she lets herself fall hissing into the cool darkness of the shadows below and then swings out on blue ropes until they lock her into place, hovering over the street. Hanging in emptiness, she snaps away at the mystery of strangers emerging into the morning. She turns quickly on a swivel as a window bangs open behind her.

A repetition or a ritual, leading to frozen gray sound dreams of the profound within the mundane. In open space, she hears first and then sees. Nobody ever looks up as the gossamer threads that hold her over the street on an airy windlass send her singing back up to the rooftops, the evidence of something having happened, captured and curled, slowly cooling within the bowels of her camera.
Tall Woman

tall woman slinks in black leather and red canvas shoes
opens doors at night
as lights blink off and street lamps tremble like cold spoons
between your teeth
the snuffing of the lamps
knows no bounds to the sad and aching heart
still it goes on under the skin of tall woman
in the voice she no longer uses
she is open, she is so open that everything hurts
they say she’s mad
and bruises at the slightest touch
she’s so in love
and they say the hills have drawn up like smooth muscles around the city
she peers over the broken-teeth landscape
and pads silently past the haunted train station
where dead artists film the night in colored sheets
and strip your eyes
but she resists
and plunges deeper into the heart of the city
behind the busted-out box of paints and magazines

where she grates open the iron door waiting there
banjos sally forth, volley thrice the alley shadows
bob jauntily down the street and away
she knows the work that still must be done
and there’s more to come
only she’s tired, and that’s fine
tall woman leans against the stone wall
sinks to the cool pavement and closes her eyes
leather colds to her legs like thorns and ice with sound
when she crosses her heel over the top of her foot
moon shapes
it’s night in the city and quiet where animals walk alone
tall woman with back to wall in no cage in no manner
the stalking panther turns in bladed grass to the heart of vision

Rain Stones

It pains to stand in the rain
and smoke this cigarette
my knuckles bleed
and it hurts to see the ends come together
of all I have done today
with the stones in the garden

Marisa raps on the glass
and opens the window

I can’t stand it—
my shirt is soaked to my back
I climb through the window
and pinch her baggy breasts and pull her
knotty gray hair

the police break in the door
we wail and shout
and throw eggs and steal their guns

Marisa is in love, she says, with me
and we smoke her shoes for food
and through the clouds and walls and years
we pick the child of room and space
and wonder how it could ever be better
how it was never before and how

when Marisa stands on her gangling toes
in green sandals, I place the rain stones
in the garden in such a way that it turns
but gold, and we can’t help the dance

we could never help but dance


CAn’t get the boot off without the skin come too! Ah.
I gotta scoop the water, too, over my hot feet
and they spit like bacon and steam the car windows
inthe strEEt. Jagged. I rip the nail in two, hot potatoes!
and stomp the ice puddle with both my feet. AH! AH!
They’re staring at me, I see them, thou they think I don’t or care.
Bits come off me! Ripe baking meat and fish heads burst.
Light shoots from my eyes in great buttery gouts!
Ah! That’s crafty one. Newspaper wraps stops up the bleeding meatloafs AH!
They can’t see what I read deep designs in the cRAcks in the pools on the street!
They don’t know how I fold sheet plastic neat or crumple beer cans down to dimes
with my bare hands till they sing for holy mercy, and I AM! Or pinch Marcy’s bottom
and makes her laugh till she cry! WITH LOVE!

Home Is Everyday Now

For the opening of new space
for the life of fridge and plant and all the accumulated stuff of two lives.

It’s hard to know the balance of where to begin
and come to terms with how it will end.
Death of the moment comes like a snowball in the eye
a faint shriek on the edge of wake
a slide down a slippery slope.

No more can we pretend we are alone and safe.
Our youth is done and closed.
The cardboard boxes of photos and darts have long parted in the rain.
Now before us stands kitchen waiting to be cleaned.
There is a shine there in the crack between the doors.
Someone must open the window and let it in.

Unknown voices of neighbors who both shout like guns
and cast stick shadows over the streets.
The redwood beads in the window sway and click
and give us pause,
the nights deepen such and we imagine
somewhere the floors creak, and those too become known.

Each one framed in a memory and placed on the wall
and only later, much later, in the yellowy of age
do we recall how one step there was silence and two lips over,
a memory on the wall, but it’s the getting used to, the familiarity,
that damns and sets us free. The very knowledge of one
goes deep, far deeper than the knowledge of many
the vines on the walls, the age of the walls, the new paint on the walls.

There are echoes here of what can come from a piercing look
your eyes which anchor me to earth, which tie me to now
which know far more than they admit,
from the soundest of ice breakers
floating on water, warm enough to know how long
the sadness of knowing exactly how long
and the blueness of knowing exactly how long
with the heart and the beat, and in there, somewhere,
is the pulse of the forest gone home, and the home gone forest.

We imagine writing into the night by candlelight
I look up, watch you moving your hand across the page, and now I know
that was you I saw along the green moonlight path
between the solid stand of oak, the grass so lush it blazed.

Show me your lasso, ring me around the knees, drag me down, I beg you,
to the earth, so I eat the earth between your knees, and cry there between your knees.

I can no longer help myself, nor do I want to.
The daytime has invaded our space and
filled it with light
has covered our paper notebooks
with salt and lime,

there’s nothing left and the bed heaves and buckles in the corner,
the chimney smokes openly the herbage of what we’d stored

and the dogs we never had howl
bang their tails inside cupboards,
the blue art of one-stroke paintings
slashes across the white walls.

And we paint them again, the journey and the painting, the journey out
the front door to the nearest restaurant with good light.
We are clearly mad, the way we talk nonstop and fill our white cups time and again
they never seem to empty, they never go away, they too are familiar

the cups and the filling and the drinking, the neverendingdrinking
and the neverendingopening of the menu of what we bought
and what we sold, what we lost and what we gained
we no longer stop and reflect, buy candles and hesitate.

We milk the cow, shoulder the scrap heap and move the hill.
The animals bay from the cellar, and shit on the floor.
That too gets done and learns to shine—
and becomes dear.

The worry and the fear and the slap and the damn of the
tree horns in our chests and guts,

get expressed in the beaded
necklaces curled in jade nuggets and white soapsuds
in a small bone cup on the lacquered
trunk in the corner where rest a chair and bowl of mandarins.

There was the day balloons filled the space of all colors and shapes
of salmon and robots and clowns and hunting knives and gilded fangs.

They filled the space with their rubber noise and false cheer.
How like the balloons, how like the balloons to do such a thing.
And through it all I waved my arms and from the other side,
from the very far side of the room, you stood and waved back,

the noise and roar of the balloons were testament to the motion
of our bodies
this sea
these lost snatches of air in the sudden explosion come home.

You waved and slashed out with your arms and I could see you
fall finally and rest,
all came tumbling down, the balloons, red and green and orange
bulrush and mandolin and Chevy ’55,
pounded down around you.

You lay and laughed there on the floor, all awash, all agolden
and I waved to you
happy to see, happy to be, at least this near, at least this far
knowing that there will always be more.

The City

the city in new architecture believes
in ends to its days

as the door opens in smooth shadows
tall woman steps out into the long light of August
and squeezes her thick hands between the white stones
she fears nothing but the sound of the dust
powdering her red canvas shoes

as billboards gone one with the gallery
as Marketa rises from bed and scans the skies
for ancient animal traces
all in a moment each moment we are revealed
in the landscape of the city no longer feared

as madman One lost and pounds the pavement
in drag torn from his body of disjointed ruins of limbs
as he pounds a hole in the pavement and slips through
he knows the ends of the days and the city

as it goes and so it goes the city it goes
as young girl Marisa hangs from a live wire and sways
on the new moontime wind
she sways and thinks and fears only her soiled dress
what mother will say and the city it groans

and opens its borders and is clean and shine
concrete ducts tremble and shear
the sun pounds glass towers and burns on a slow turn about
hovers in open space
on one hundred million threads of thin steel and copper

how it can be so real and clean

as canals sunder and surge into pure air and sound
there is no worry and fear and fear and we all step back
Dave walks his black dog in the shade
as his knees crack like walnuts and he bends
and slips on a snail that makes him laugh
and the city sees and winks

in the new heat
Marketa slips on her sunglasses and pulls back her hair now white
for now she sees through the shadows of lives
her wisdom is old old
as ravaged color streams on the banks of storm and field
her insight burns her will and will consume her in time
her hair is white over her ears and her ears
as she bides on the corner near the newsstand
the news comes and goes and she lowers her eyes behind her glasses
as the city puckers and breathes under her feet

as men and women tumble through sliding doors at six
eye for the release of home
as the city turns one degree to the sun
as the shadows fall over my hands
and Grace grips by the throat
and incants her way to free and song
as the city belongs
the city belongs and fears no more the end
of bad falling stars
the end of perfect art longing
the end of asking and taking
the end of letting go and be

somewhere high over the A-frames and gabled rows
Marisa is electrified
a slender pin of light piercing the bellows of the sky
she forms a blazing pinwheel in slow loops on locked arms
her burning rags wrap her body and sear

as Dave turns once and slides to the pavement with his dog Penny
she rests her head in his crotch
her hind legs twitch and she gets old
Dave gets older slower
they get old and hold no grip
time slips away and the city it does hear

the city is no older and no younger than it was
the city has opened its doors and windows
and all inner lights and shadows have gathered in the center square
for Marketa removes her glasses and presses the camera to her eye
she holds poised for the shot to capture what will never be
to never be the city now knows and understands and draws up its shoulders
holds its head erect and breathes through its land and bleeds with its rivers
the city it breathes and knows it bleeds and in the sudden flash:
the city lives

*******Martin Zet, 1995

language: ENGLISH
Gewicht: 150 g