Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Legend of the 672nd Night (Das Märchen der 672. Nacht)

by Hugo von Hofmannsthal ; translated & adapted by Jeff Gabel

Was tired of social life at 25 yrs – felt uselessness of my stuff, belongings despite their beauty – the thought of my death never left me for long, often came up during the most beautiful thoughts & memories – I told myself “where you’re meant to die, your feet will carry you there” – cause death wasn’t a horrifying thought, rather solemn


I kept 4 servants, loved them duty to help them but a burdening feeling couldn’t escape their gazes – went alone in the most remote corners of the garden under thickest foliage but still felt pursued by gazes – 15 yr old self-abusing servant girl’s icy evil stare recovering after she survived by chance a jump from window – only from close, up very close to them did fear of gazes subside


Trip to town on account of servant to save his name – arrived late afternoon no one home except a cook & a scumbag scribe sitting in half dark gateway – gave only short grumbling answers, ugly people – I left – my house locked up in town cause I move to mountains w/ servants for hot summers so I’m a traveler in my own town and curious like a traveler & have to go search for lodging like a traveler & curious walked unknown streets finally came to dried up river, from there followed a bleak street lost in thought – turn right – entered a dead forlorn silent alley that ends in a tower-high set of steps – a jewelry store run down – nothing but crap in display window – until I saw 1 piece reminded me of my old servant woman – thin gold w/ beryl – went in to buy – old jeweler took me to back room inadvertently over his shoulder gazing saw silver half-blind mirror –saw my 15 yr. old servant girl’s face in it – I was pleased by the multiply wound gold chain wearing around her neck – I asked jeweler for one like it – he’s wrapping up my shit in tissue paper & I walk over by a window w/ bars – see neighbor’s garden – beautiful, back border 2 greenhouses & a high wall – jeweler let me in thru a back courtyard door – I walked along wall to 1st greenhouse, inside rare strange narcissuses & anemones, shit load of them, & strange foliage unknown to me – looking up it’d got dark w/out that I’d noticed – sun down behind houses – didn’t want to get caught in someone’s garden at night. I’m gonna just go look thru the panes of the 2nd greenhouse quick & go – holy mother, as I walked up to greenhouse some one’s looking at me from inside w/ face against pane – I jumped back almost crapped myself – after a moment calmed down, it was a girl, 4 yrs old max, white clothes & pale face – I stepped closer w/ horror, unpleasant feeling in back of neck & constriction in throat & chest cause this kid looks exactly like my 15 yr old servant girl, I noticed as she stares motionless at me w/ evil gaze – the same light eyebrows, fine vibrating nostrils, thin lips & one shoulder carried a little high – but the servant girl never induced so much horror for me as this kid – I can’t turn around knowing she’s staring at me – I have to be near to kill the fear – I ran to the door locked from OUTSIDE – found a low latch, cut my pinky pushing it open –inside the girl ran up to me as I ran to her & she tried to push me back outside, it was hard not to step on her – I bent over her face, pale as a sheet, eyes full of rage at me, shaking, her small lower teeth pressed w/ an unnatural fury into her upper lip – I stroked her hair, & the nearness killed my fear for a moment til I remembered my servant girl recovering in bed when I touched her, all pale, & she opened her eyes & gave me the evil stare – poking feeling in my temples & throat, horror, hand in my pocket I felt sthing cold & pulled out silver coins – I gave them to the girl, she dropped them at her feet – they fell thru cracks in the floorboards – then she turned & walked away slow –I’m afraid she’ll come around & lock door from outside – I should’ve left then but wanted to give the evil kid enough time to leave the garden – not much light at all left, plants took on strange shapes, senselessly threatening branches emerged from the half dark, very uneasy feeling, & back behind them it shimmered white, as if the kid was still there – a row of wax flowers in pots on a shelf – looking nothing like real flowers, more like masks w/ eye sockets grown into the petals – I counted petals to pass the time – I’m finally ready to leave, went to the door, it didn’t open – that evil 4 yr. old bitch locked me in! I wanted to scream but afraid of my voice – I beat the panes w/ my fists –outside everything dead silent, behind me rustling leaves, maybe the girl’s back, but probably just the leaves & branches settling I said – but anyway I turned & peered thru dark tangle, in dim on back wall saw a rectangle w/ dark outlines – I crept towards it not worrying about the plants & pots I was stepping on & the leaves & branches closing in & collapsing behind me – the dark-edged rectangle was a door – it opened – fresh air blew in my face, behind me I heard the pressed-down leaves & crunched branches rising like after a storm – Now I was standing in a narrow passageway w/ walls on both sides – Up ahead after ca. 15 steps the passage ended with a facing wall – Trapped again I thought but walked ahead anyway in indecision – then saw a narrow opening in the right wall broken out – from the opening a board led out over open air to a platform on the facing building
[to the exterior facing wall]

Beyond the platform the opening was covered w/ an iron grated gate – Impatient I stepped out on the board many stories high, as I neared the gate I imagined it open outwards, my hands slipping from the slick iron bars like a child’s fingers in exhaustion and apathy, & then crashing on the wall and falling to my death -- but, the gate opened out w/ enough room for me to swing myself thru onto solid ground but ended up inside some shitty apt bldg. hall, found the stairs & left the trashed out bldg. w/ a hatred for the senselessness of all this misery. I headed for a pt. of town where I could find decent lodging, while longing for my own bed – Passed by the shitty houses where the soldiers live – Thru a window w/ bars some soldiers w/ yellowish faces yelled something at me w/ gloomy eyes. I raised my head & smelled a stale suffocating smell from inside. I didn’t understand what the soldiers wanted but they woke me out of my daydream. I looked in the courtyard large and gloomy at dusk – the bldgs. inside were shitty too – there was a straight line of ca. 20 horses w/ a soldier dressed like shit on their knees in front of each horse washing its hoofs. I went over to them, they must’ve all been from the neighboring villages, they hardly spoke. It was hard for them to hold the

[to the exterior basement door]
horses’ front feet so their heads & their exhausted yellowish faces bounced up & down like under a heavy wind

[to the wooden column inside]
Heavy wind - The heads of most of the horses were mad ass evil ugly w/ ears set back & a strange way of pulling up their upper lips which showed their upper teeth (Eckzähne) – They also had malicious rolling eyes & an odd way of pushing air out of their crooked nostrils in impatient bursts – The last horse in the row was especially strong and hideous – it was trying to bite the fucker in the shoulder that was washing it. This fucker had such hollow cheeks and such a deathly sad expression in his exhausted eyes that I reached for some silver coins to help him – then I remembered that the fuckin evil kid in the greenhouse dropped them under the floor – so I looked for some gold coins – at that moment the fuckin evil horse looked at me w/ maliciously pulled-back ears & rolling eyes – it looked even more evil than before cause of a Blesse level with the eyes that ran all the way across its face. At this disturbing moment a long-forgotten face came to mind – never would’ve remembered otherwise – The memory that goes w/ the face wasn’t as clear – I only knew it was from my 12th year, somehow connected to the memory of the smell of sweet warm shelled almonds – then I remembered it was the hideous contorted face of some poor fucker in my dad’s store that I’d seen, contorted from fear cause everybody was threatening him cause he had a big ass gold jewelry and wouldn’t say how he got it – so the fucking face leaves my thoughts, I’m still digging for gold coins in my pocket & suddenly some thought holds me up, in indecision I pull out the gold jewelry w/ the beryl wrapped in tissue paper and throw it under the horse’s foot. I bent over to pick it up, & the horse kicked sideways w/ all it’s strength right in my nads. I screamed & writhed on the ground w/ my knees up, some soldiers carried me up to a room, put me in a bed searched my clothes & took my jewelry & gold coins, & out of

[to the wall outside next to the bathroom]
out of sympathy for my ceaseless moaning they left to get me one of their wonder doctors I woke up after a while – the pain distracted me from the fear of death for awhile – then I felt a much weaker fear, one I’d felt before, but this time I felt I’d overcome it – I cursed my servants – they’re the ones – led me into the town, into the jewelry store, the greenhouse, & under the horse’s hoof – fuck’em all! Then I fell back into a massive numbing fear, wined like a kid, not cause of the pain, but the misery, looked back at my life in bitterness & disavowed everything that I’d been. I hated my premature death so fucking much that I hated my life. This internal tantrum wasted the last of my energy – I got dizzy & slept a violent sleep for awhile – then woke up & wanted to scream cause I was still alone but couldn’t – I threw up bile, then blood & then died w/ contorted features lips so twisted that teeth & gums were showing giving me an unfamiliar evil expression.

The End

Friday, April 15, 2011

Reitergeschichte (A Tale of the Cavalry)

by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, translated & adapted by Jeff Gabel

July 22, 6am – a Streifkommando, the 2nd squadron of Wallmodenkürassieren (cavalry), the cavalry captain Baron Rofrano, left the Kasino San Alessandro w/ 107 riders and rode towards Milan. Open radiant landscape, and indescribable silence. Morning mist rose from distant mtn. peaks like motionless smoke clouds against a radiant sky. The corn stood w/out movement, & villas & churches glowed between pristine groves. The Streifkommando had barely gone a mile ahead of the farthest outpost from the front.

good morning
for Officer Anton Lerch

--Weapons gleamed from the corn fields & the scouts reported enemy foot squadrons – under fire – Officer Anton Lerch’s Streifkommando attacked them from the side & drove them out of the field, soldiers from the Manara Legion w/ strange headdress
--Scouts reported suspicious figures in a villa up a drive lined w/ Zypress tress – Lerch took 12 men w/ Karabiners & they took 18 students of the Pisa Legion captive
--½ hr later Kommando took a passing man, suspicious in his harmless & unlikely appearance ; found sewed inside his jacket important enemy plans
--ca. 10:00 Kommando confiscated a herd of livestock – immediately afterwards scouts under heavy attack from enemy from behind churchyard wall – one of Lerch’s lieutenants counter attacked over the wall, pursued, took new captives & some heavy weapons – The wounded & captives were sent back to the front to report the good news – Lerch’s troop rode to Milan


Corroboration among enemy captives that there were no more enemy troops in Milan, nor their barricades or supply storages – So Officer Lerch couldn’t resist the chance to ride thru the grand beautiful city w/ his troop – Under the commotion, the ringing of the noon bells, they rode in, their 4 trumpets blaring the general’s march into the radiant steel sky, bouncing off the thousand windows and back onto the cavalry, & the unsheathed swords – amazed faces to the left & right everywhere like an anthill – cursing & fearful figures disappearing behind house gates, sleepy windows opening, the arms of beautiful strangers

they rode past a shit load of famous buildings – entered Porta Venezia – leaving thru Porta Ticinesea


the woman & the foreshadow of near future

So not far from the latter city Porta, Officer Lerch believed he recognized some woman’s face in a window they passed by. Turned his head around in curiosity, and wouldn’t you know it, at exactly the same time he noticed a few stiff footsteps of his horse, like it got a pavement stone stuck in its front hoof or something, so he pulls out of formation & into the courtyard of the house where he saw the woman & dismounted. And no shit, no sooner did he lift the white-boot brown horse’s foot to check the horseshoe, a door to a room opened up right out to the courtyard & he saw a fancy, almost still-young woman in a disheveled morning gown standing there, behind her a bright room w/ windows opening out to a garden. On the window he seen some small pots w/ basilica & Pelagronien, & a mahogany chest & a mythological group made of Biscuit (wft), and a Pfeiler(arrow) mirror that showed the opposite wall of the room which had a secret door through which was disappearing at this moment some old fucking guy – so now the Kommando leader remembers her name, plus, that it’s the widow or divorced woman of some Croatian RechnungsLower officer – that he’d spent a few days & nights w/ her in Vienna about 9 or 10 yrs ago in the company of some other fucker, her actual lover from that time – she just stared at him in a half flattered Slavic manner, & his blood rushed into his neck & under his eyes – while the somewhat dainty way she talked to him and also the gown & the room setup made him a little apprehensive. But while he was following a fly w/ a dull gaze as it was flying around above her hair clip & noticed nothing around him except how he would, in order to shoo the fly away, at the same time lay his hand on her warm neck – at this time he suddenly became conscious of all the successes of that day, from the top down, so that he heavy handedly pulled her head forward and said “Vuic” – he ain’t spoke her last name in 10 yrs. & probably completely forget her 1st name. “Vuic” – he says – “we’re rolling in here in 8 days, & then this place is gonna be my quarters” – as he pointed at the half-opened door to the room. He heard doors slamming inside, he felt was being pulled away by his horse’s pulling on the reins, then it whinnied like hell so he got on & caught up /w his troop, having had no more of an answer from Vuic than an embarrassed laugh w/ her head bent down into her neck. But the spoken word made his authority valid. – following alongside the troop, no longer w/ a lively stride, under the metallic weighty burning sky, his gaze lost in the haze that followed them, Lerch’s mind was still in the room w/ the mahogany chest & shit – living like a king in 8 days, comfort & violence, slippers & sword, w/out active duty, Vuic’s fine white skin – shit, that old fucker that disappeared thru the secret door, he’ll be an easy buy-off, keep & tell secrets, bring me tobacco – Ahh shit – I can’t wait.

In the afternoon the Streifkommando ran into no new resistance, & Officer Lerch dreamed away. But he had a thirst now for unexpected booty, gratification that falls in your hands. The thought of the 1st entry in that room w/ mahogany furniture was the thorn in his side, around which all wishes and desires revolved.

It’s the shit for Officer Lerch from here on out

Close to evening, the horses is fed, halfway rested up. The Streifkommando is riding in an arc attempting to push thru to Lodi and the Adda bridge, where an encounter w/ enemy troops was very likely. Officer Lerch thought this one village set back away from the road in a dark ravine w/ half destroyed tower seemed suspicious in an enticing way. So he waved over 2 soldiers, the Gemeinen Holl & Scarmolin, & they broke off from the troop to go check it out. Fuckin Lerch hoped they’d surprise an enemy general w/ insufficient defenses or otherwise extraordinary booty, his imagination was so reved up. They came up in front of the miserable, seemingly deserted dump of a village – He sent Scarmolin left & Holl right and told them to ride around to the outside. So Scarmolin and Holl went around the outside of the village & Lerch got out his pistole & got ready to gallup up the center – but his horse had to watch it’s step cause of the hard stone surfaces that had some kind of slippery grease poured on them. The village was still dead silent. Filthy houses left & right – no kid, no birds, no breeze – the mortor had fallen from the houses – ugly images were drawn onto the bricks here & there w/ charcoal. Now & then Lerch saw between bare door frames inside – saw some lazy half naked figure laying down or hauling its ass thru the room like if their hips were dislocated. His horse walked in heavy steps, like its back legs were made of lead. While he turned & leaned over to check out the back horseshoes, footsteps dragged out of some house – as he straightened up he seen some woman walking past right in front of his horse.He couldn’t see her face – she was only half dressed – her filthy torn dress of flowered silk dragged in the shit in the gutter, her feet was in filthy slippers, she walked so close to his horse that the breath from its nostrils moved the greasy shining clump of curls in her hair, that hung in her neck under an old straw hat but she didn’t move any faster & didn’t step aside for the cavalry officer. Out from under a door to his left, 2 bloody rats biting each other rolled out into the middle of the street – the rat losing the fight let out such a disturbing scream that Lerch’s horse stopped & breathed hard & thrust its head to the ground. A kick in the thigh brought it on forward again, & the fucked up woman had disappeared w/out that Lerch saw her face. Out of the nearest house, some dog came rushing out w/ its head raised, dropped a bone in the middle of the street & tried to hide it in a crack in the pavement. It was a white filthy bitch w/ hanging jugs. She scraped like mad then grabbed the bone & carried it a little bit farther. As she started to dig again, 3 other dogs’d joined her. 2 were very young w/ weak bones & loose skin. W/out being able to bite they bit each other w/ dull teeth. The other fucker was a sighthound, light yellow, but it had such a bloated body that it could only drag its ass slowly on its 4 thin legs – spanned body like a drum, its head looked too small – in the small restless eyes you could see a terrifying expression of pain & repression. Then 2 more dogs joined them – a meager white dog, exceptionally hideous, w/ black streaks running down from it’s enflamed eyes; and a fucked up dachsund w/ long legs, looked very old.
The white bitch ran back & forth in front of the horse like a crazy fucker. The 2 young dogs nipped at the hooves w/ their weak muzzles - & the sighthound ran its ugly body at the hooves. – The horse couldn’t go forward. Lerch aimed his pistol at one of the dogs but it didn’t work – he kicked w/ both spurs, after a few strides they were past the fucked up dogs. But right away the horse had to slow down again cause a cow was blocking the road. But the cow was terrifyed by the bloody mist and the fresh hide of a black cow nailed to a door post – The boy leading it to the slaughterhouse w/ a switch had to whip & beat it to move it along – but not before it grabbed a mouthful of hay that Lerch had fastened to the saddle. – Lerch finally passed the last house of the village & could see the course of the road up ahead wind thru the country side as he rode between the low crumbling walls, beginning w/ on old one-arch bridge over an appearantly dried up creek. But he felt such an indescribable heaviness in his horse’s stride that it seemed like he’d spent an immeasurable timespan riding thru this fucked up village.

Then his horse starts making heavy breathy sounds that he’s not familiar with – looking around for reasons, then looking to the distance he seen a cavalry soldier form his own regiment coming from the other side of the stone bridge towards him, at approx.. the same distance from the bridge that he is – it’s an officer too, on a brown horse w/ white front feet – he knew that he’s the only one in the troop w/ a brown horse w/ white boots, so he speeds up - & the other fucker speeds forward too at the same tempo – they reach the bridge at the same time – Lerch pulls up the reins abruptly for a retreat as soon as he recognizes himself as the other officer – before turning he stretched out his hand towards the other being w/ spread-out fingers, the other fucker did the same, & then suddenly he wasn’t there no more – Scarmolin and Holl came riding up the dried-out creek from both sides, and across the meadow, loud & not too far off, the squadron’s trumpets were blowing “Attack” -
the trumpets blew “Attack” – Lerch galloped forward across the meadow – saw the squadron racing towards a wooded area where enemy troops were emerging, saw the 4th section break off from the squadron & slow down, he was suddenly on threatening ground,then in a thick cloud of dust then in the midst of the enemy, swung his sword at a blue uniform, saw nothing but enemy faces & uniform colors, dismounted in a flurry of swords, cut the throat of the nearest to him, pulled him from his horse, saw Scarmolin next to him w/ laughing face cutting off someone’s rein-fingers & then striking deep in the horse’s neck – felt the deluge loosen –

was suddenly alone – alone but behind an enemy officer on an Eisenschimmel horse – The officer wanted to cross a stream, the horse wouldn’t go – The officer turned it around – a young, very pale face w/ a pistol pointed at Lerch – Lerch stuck his sword in the officer’s mouth w/ the power of a galloping horse – pulled out his sword & grabbed the reins of the other fucker’s horse as it lifted its feet light & delicate like a doe over its master’s dead body – Lerch rode back to his squadron w/ the horse booty, the sun threw a monstrous red thru the heavy haze onto the meadow. Even in spots w/ no hoofprints, it seemed like pools of blood standing. A red reflection was on the white uniforms & laughing faces, the howitzers & weapons glimmered, & most of all the sun lit 3 fig trees where the soldiers were laughing as they wiped the blood off their swords. Officer Lerch seen the squadron trumpeteer, who was blowing Appell. Lerch rode from one section to the next & saw the squadron didn’t lose a single man, plus they got some horses & weapons. Still w/ his new horse beside his own, he rode up to the squadron captain & reported. The captain listened unattentively. He waved a lieutenant over, gave instructions, the Lt. immediately grabbed some other fuckers & pulled the weapons booty & some of their own weapons over to a swamp stemming from the stream & dumped the suckers in, then chased off the load-pulling horses that they’d captured – During this shit the squadron held itself in 2 files, in a somewhat suppressed laughter –even the horses were restless, especially the ones w/ the captured stranger-horses between them. Everyone seemed like they was pumped up and ready to roll into new battles. At this moment, squadron leader Capt’n Baron Rofrano rode close up in front of his squadron – as he raised the lids of his somewhat lazy blue eyes, he commanded – “Let the booty horses go!” The squadron stood dead silent – only the horse captured by Lerch stretched its neck & nearly touched w/ its nostrils the forehead of the horse Lerch was sitting on. The Capt’n put his sword away, got out his pistol, & as he wiped off the dust from the gleaming barrel w/ the back of his rein-holding hand, he repeated his command w/ somewhat louder voice “Let the booty horses go.” Then counted “one…two…” After “two” the Capt’n’s gaze turned to Officer Lerch who sat motionless & stared at him. Though Lerch’s persistent gaze showed a kind of devout trust from yrs of service, in which an oppressed subservient nature only lit up & disappeared now & then, his conscious was almost totally clueless to the enormous tension of the moment – but rather flooded w/ a multifaceted web of images of an unknown comfort & satisfaction – and then from a depth, almost completely unknown to him – arose a primal rage towards this fucker there in front of him that wanted to take his horse away, such a horrifying rage towards that face, the voice, posture which can only arise from years of close quarters & still only arise in inexplicable ways.


Whether or not sthing similar was going thru the Capt’n’s mind, or weather, in this moment of silent subordination, it seemed to him the intensity of a dangerous situation was getting out of control, remained unresolved: w/ a casual, almost dainty movement, the Capt’n raised his pistol, & w/ a disrespectful raising of the upper lip, counted “Three”, shot immediately – Officer Lerch was hit in the forehead, he fell onto the neck of his horse, then between it & the stolen horse to the ground

all the other fuckers let their stolen horses go real quick, before Lerch even completely died

The Capt’n calmly put his pistol in the holster – soon had the squadron ready for battle w/ enemy who seemed to be regrouping in the distance

The enemy never attacked, shortly afterwards the squadron safely reached the southern outpost of its own army –

The End

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some woman watching On Golden Pond on cable

Some woman watching On Golden Pond on cable and thinking she loves all her children, but probably loves 2 of them better than the others

A fucker whose dad told him he's not very exceptional

A fucker whose dad told him he's not very exceptional at anything so he should be happy with what he gets, but his looks are maybe good enough he could hook up with a lot smarter woman than he is

Monday, April 4, 2011

Poor Archiving, Poor Recall : the previous 9 posts, plus 3 more captions

Going through some old piles of folders and papers this weekend, I found copies of drawings that I sold yrs ago from the 1st Series of 50. I didn't keep very good records of my work, all i have are these bad photocopies, but at least I have the text. They're scanned in the previous 9 posts, the April 2nd posts.


Besides these photocopies, I sold others from the Series for which I have no image or text. All I found were 1 or 2 keywords with the corresponding Series number written on paper, which were supposedly going to remind me of the original works. Of these, I recall the rough content of 3 of the stories. Though I obviously can't produce the drawings here and I can't accurately reconstruct the text, I've re-written the 3 captions here the best I could based on memory:

#17, Some woman saying "i think i can arange that" to try to sound hot and also like she's composed at the same time while she's about to start scaming with some fucker on the couch

#29, Some fucker waiting in the emergency room where there's a TV up high on the wall that's showing a talk show about couples that let each other have affairs as long as it's in another country

#37, Some woman walking home from work and talking really fast and excited to her husband on her cell phone asking if their guests that are coming to stay with them are there yet

Saturday, April 2, 2011

#45 of 50, 1st Series

A guy that always tilts his head from side to side whenever he tells foreigners legal and historical things he knows

#42 of 50, 1st Series

A slacker on vacation watching a foreign religious performance & thinking of everything he has in common with everybody he knows, but doesn't know that the real reason he's getting emotional is cause he loves himself

#33 of 50, 1st Series

Immigrant that raised 4 sons in the U.S. that were more capable and had better tolerance than everybody they were around but they all ruined their lives from bad marriages, cause it was harder to tell who was a fuck-up than it was in their own culture

#30 of 50, 1st Series

A philosophy professor that got tired of figuring out ideas for a lot of years that all come out to be part of the same 3 ideas & he ended up telling his students that philosophy isn't that important & Nietzsche's just an old bitch

#22 of 50, 1st Series

Picture that just got taken of a writer that's almost famous that will make people way in the future wish they could be in pictures like it too, cause they will look at it in a romantically historical sense

#18 of 50, 1st Series

A fuckin guy that was always jealous of his sister's family and got invited to her son's art opening and wonders why artists need to get a degree if they don't have to prove things & figure shit out

#5 of 50, 1st Series

Couple from a snowmobile party who stopped ahead of the others so they could go behind a snowbank and do drugs

#3 of 50, 1st Series

A woman that is smart like an intellectual is but she never developed her critical thinking skills and she doesn't have very much natural talent, so her life stopped getting better when she was about 26