American Muscle


young artist

[I wrote this (in secret) a couple of weeks ago on Mustang Island, South Texas, first in German without the headlines and the triptych format thinking of France because the landscape around Corpus Christi struck me as similar to the Camargue (where I once lost a boot). Apart from the rattle snakes, of course.

Heimat” is an otherwise hard to translate strictly German version of “home” – think the opposite notion of “my home is my castle” and you get the meaning.]


The feeling to belong here in America is not free...
umlauts and the characteristic throat crackle are missing...
the price is the upwards and sideward opening of the artificially
narrowed European horizon.  Only downwards there's nothing to do:
we Germans have dug deeply enough already.  The forest is ours,
the sea belongs to the Brits (as Canetti observed) and the Americans
have heaven. The French don't need any of it because they're always
the first when it comes to good food. While the other guests still
play hide-and-seek, les croutons already say cheers. Beckett wrote
in French because you can stain silence in any tongue.

We love to play, all of us, black or white, yellow or red, dead
or alive.

At night I lie on my Texan air mattress dreaming, as sluggishly
as I can, of Heimat, of the bitingly cold Berlin. But only
the dragon flies listen. Rattle snakes sunbathe in the dunes:
I practice the whistle that mollifies them until they get off to the
scarce sleep of the serpents. Then I pick them up with my driftwood
stick and sling them towards the sun so that they
                sail as far as the Camargue where my shoe is still
                       stuck in the sludge, humming to itself.

© 2010 Marcus Speh. All rights reserved.

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