Translated by Hildi Hawkins
The Beauty of History, Norvik Press, 2007


But this is nothing yet compared to the future and to Bucharest, where small Pioneers, their ribs showing individually through their shirt-fabric, carry on their lips the frightening name of their dictator day and night, on the raadio and television, in squares and on speakers’ platforms. Where every dearly acquired piece of meat bears the taste of sacrificial meat. Where sugar-backed maggots climb out of the dessert bowls of an expensive restaurant. Where anyone at all can receive laundry and also lose his notebook and his exposed film, if he has been naive enough t omake notes and take photographs. Where, as early as 1941, the bodies of Jews are seen in butchers’ shops hanging in place of animal carcasses.

But what is this compared to New York, where the wind Drives back and forth in front of the Plaza Hotel a bin liner whose black, shiny surface is, it seems, as if made for the Angel of the Lord to write a few notes about the end of the world. Iti s very possible that he has noted the answer to the question of why Kafka’s house in Prague shook when Brezhnev’s tanks arrived and why the gravestones in the old Jewish cemetery trembled and rose from the ground by themselves.

Perhaps the Angel of the Lord will also answer, on the New York rubbish bag, the question of why the tragic is always comical and why the cry for help of the famous dramatists, poets and writers concerning the bloodbath of the Prague curfew, a cry which no one hears, decides the future of many peoples, perhaps even that of the entire world.

Perhaps a couple of words have also been noted on the bin liner concerning the thick black smoke which rises from the windows which are broken in Harlem for amusement’s sake, floats as far as matter condemned to the rubbish tip, and makes the charm of objects empty, cursed and pathetic. The giant City spreads its black, rustling plastic wings and their shadow is like the shadow of the future. It reaches places it should not, according to common sense, be able to reach. It reaches back to the past, to the City of Riga and the glow of an early autumn sunset in 1968, which can be seen from the west window.

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