20 10 20

Haben Sie sich über­legt, ob der Herr Zweite Staat­san­walt nicht nur ein­fach Ihre Stel­lung haben will und Sie zu die­sem Zweck herein­legt ? Das hört man jetzt viel. — Neh­men wir doch mal an, Herr Amts­rich­ter, Sie bes­chei­ni­gen dem Juden seine Unschuld. Er hat nicht die Bohne pro­vo­ziert. War gar nicht zur Stelle. Bekam sein Loch im Hin­ter­kopf rein zufäl­lig, bei einer Rau­fe­rei zwi­schen ande­ren Per­so­nen. Kehrt also nach eini­ger Zeit ins Ges­chäft zurück. Der Stau kann ihn da gar nicht hin­dern. Und das Ges­chäft ist um elf­tau­send Mark ges­chä­digt. Das ist jetzt aber eine Schä­di­gung des Stau mit, denn der kann ja jetzt die elf­tau­send Emm nicht von dem Arndt ver­lan­gen. Also wird der Stau, wie ich die Type kenne, sich an den Sturm hal­ten wegen sei­ner Pre­zio­sen. Er geht natür­lich nicht sel­ber hin, da er als Kom­pa­gnon eines Juden ein Judenk­necht ist. Aber er wird schon Leute an der Hand haben. Dann heißt es, daß die SA in natio­na­ler Erre­gung Schmuckstücke klaut. Was dann die vom Sturm von Ihrem Urteil hal­ten wer­den, kön­nen Sie sich aus­ma­len. Der ein­fache Mann kann es sowie­so nicht vers­te­hen. Denn wie­so kann im Drit­ten Reich ein Jude gegen die SA recht behal­ten ?

Ber­tolt Brecht, Furcht und Elend des Drit­ten Reiches, in GS, Bd. 3, Frank­furt-am-Main : Suhr­kamp, 1967, p. 1114

Vous êtes-vous deman­dé si Mon­sieur le Pro­cu­reur ne vou­lait pas tout sim­ple­ment votre place, et si dans ce but il ne cher­chait pas Il vous perdre ? Cela se fait beau­coup en ce moment… Sup­po­sons, Mon­sieur le Pré­sident, que vous décla­riez le Juif inno­cent. Il n’a pas pro­vo­qué. N’é­tait même pas là. A eu la nuque trouée par pur hasard, au cours d’une bagarre entre d’autres per­sonnes. Revient donc, dans quelque temps, au maga­sin. Stau ne peut l’en empê­cher. Mais le maga­sin a per­du onze mille marks. Et c’est une perte que doit par­ta­ger Stau, main­te­nant qu’il ne peut plus récla­mer cet argent à Weihl. Alors, tel que je le connais, Stau va s’en prendre à la sec­tion au sujet des fameux bijoux. Natu­rel­le­ment, il n’a­gi­ra pas lui-même. En tant qu’as­so­cié d’un Juif, il pas­se­rait pour un domes­tique. Mais il aura des gens sous la main. On dira donc que des S.A. sous le coup d’une émo­tion natio­nale ont bar­bo­té des bijoux. Ce que la sec­tion pen­se­ra alors de votre ver­dict, vous pou­vez l’i­ma­gi­ner… De toute manière, ce ver­dict, l’homme de la rue ne le com­pren­dra pas. Car enfin, dans le IIIe Reich, com­ment un Juif peut-il avoir rai­son contre les S.A. ?

Ber­tolt Brecht, Grand-peur et misère du IIIe Reich, trad. M. Regnaut, A. Stei­ger, Paris : L’Arche, 1955, p. 48
13 10 20

The harm will come : it never doesn’t. It will open up our chests and enter here. Some days it will come by for­tune, some days by no agent in par­ti­cu­lar, and some­times others will bring it to us, either will­ful­ly or on acci­dent. Those others might trip, the harm spilling out of their arms onto us. We might all look at each other start­led. We might all have the harm then andeyes full of tears.

The others might take one look at us or many looks at us and decide we deserve the harm. We will look back at them with our faces in the forms of ques­tions or curses. We will say : Where my words or how they were arran­ged what causes you to bring this to me ? Are you upset with my body ? Do you seek ven­geance against the­way my eyes light up or how my body grows tense at the sun­light in par­ti­cu­lar angles ? And How dare you ! and What where you thin­king ?!

Some­times the ones who bring the harm will ans­wer, but both their ans­wers and their not ans­we­ring can be methods by which they bring more of the harm.

The harm will take away the hours of the day of lengh­ten them. It will drain from us six hun­dred and four­teen thou­sand tears. It will drain from us six hun­dred and four­teen thou­sand tears. It will force our per­cep­tions to it so that we do not see the moon in the sky or the red­dish-yel­low apple we would other­wise eat, so that even our dreams, if we are lucky enough to have them, go to the harm as if the harm has built tracks on which a train can only go toward the loca­tion of itself but never actual­ly arrive.

When our loved ones speak to us, we will not hear them because we will hear ins­tead the sound the harm put in us, which at first is the sound like an alarm set by acci­dent that sof­ty com­plains of itself, and then it becomes the sound of our own ears cra­shing against the harm, or vice ver­sa, until no other sound is left, and then we cannt remem­ber the­re­were ever other sounds at all.

The harm is always com­poun­ding, attrac­ting to itself more of itself, and with this pro­li­fe­ra­ting nature it begins to occlude what is true, right, neces­sa­ry, and urgent. The pur­poses for which one lives, and the­re­fore for which one exposes one­self to the harl begin to disap­pear from sight. One is left only with the harm and more of it, and more of it, and more of it, until there is nothing but harm and the harm spaw­ned from that. No lon­ger being able to see what is true, right urgent, and neces­sa­ry, a per­son can no lon­ger act on the true and right’s behalf, or even if some sli­ver of it remains une­clip­sed, the harm’s pro­li­fe­ra­tion can para­lyze any poten­tiel act.

It is per­haps bet­ter to allow one­self to feel the harm than to not feel it, for the harm may also be like an entry in the ency­clo­pe­dia of what has not yet been writ­ten but what is impor­tant to know. One­might find in this entry the genus of the harm and its rela­tion to other harms, might grow secure in a know­ledge of harm’s taxo­no­my. One might find there an account of the harm’s com­plex rela­tion to what is true, right, etc. that reveals cru­cial but elu­sive infor­ma­tion about what is just and unjust in the com­mon world. One might find infor­ma­tion on how to act in this fee­ling : what alliances to make or decline, what objects to lift with one’s domi­nant hand, what to do with the objects one’s domi­nant hand has lif­ted, how to ope­rate in the bit­ter sys­tem of the world as it is, whe­ther to turn left or sit down or touch hands light­ly with a friend and fol­low contra­dic­tions to their ends.

The harm can be stu­died like any­thing, eve­ry wept tear a text-book, eve­ry minute of shal­low brea­thing a mono­graph, seven hours and four­teen minutes of a slee­pless night a tedious-to-read but poten­tial­ly use­ful dis­ser­ta­tion on having exis­ted.

It is not as if what is true, right, urgent, and neces­sa­ry is a light, and what is harm is the dark­ness. They are both dark­nesses : they are both lights.

Anne Boyer, « The harm », dans A hand­book of disap­poin­ted fate, New York : Ugly Duck­ling Press, 2019, p. 165–168
12 10 20

The tears are auto­ma­tic. They drip down the cheeks, dam­pen books, key­boards, din­ner plates, post­cards, stee­ring wheels. I don’t weep from sor­row. I weep as a symp­tom. I don’t want to cry, but I do because of a medi­cine. It is as if my body weeps on its own behalf.

My body has rea­son to weep – more rea­son than I do – but there are times I join my tears in their crying, adding to the tears of side effet the tears of cause. Disease has bul­lied me into Car­te­sia­nism, but the mixed tears undo divi­sion through liqui­fi­ca­tion.

Can the tears of sad­ness, once shed, be extrac­ted from the gene­ral waters ? I said, some­thing else, « it is a mecha­ni­cal pro­blem and not a meta­bo­lic one. » I said to one friend, about the loss of ano­ther : I miss this per­son more than I will miss [the impor­tant body parts I will miss]. I inten­ded this to be dra­ma­tic but of course it was mat­ter of fact : of course the loss of a friend is worse than losing organs, limbs, or skin.

Can any par­ti­cu­lar loss be extrac­ted from the gene­ral sor­row ? All of the losing (of body parts, capa­ci­ties, people or rela­tions bet­ween them) com­pounds now into one elixir of loss, fumy and irre­vo­cable. It’s as if in all its crying my body know some­thing about sor­row that I refuse.

The only thing sad­der than exis­ting is not exis­ting, any­way, and eve­ryone should have known alrea­dy how impos­si­bly sad exis­ting is. I’d say « all that can go wrong » but the sad­ness of exis­ting isn’t any­thing gone wrong about it, only what is defi­ni­tio­nal : first we exist, then we don’t.

Anne Boyer, « The sea­son of Car­te­sian wee­ping », A hand­book of disap­poin­ted fate, New York : Ugly Duck­ling Press, 2019, p. 169–170
12 10 20

I have an image of a beau­ti­ful man or woman who walks in the door like Christ and ear­nest­ly spends some time with us like the UPS man does.

Ber­na­dette Mayer, Mind­win­ter day (22 décembre 1978), New Direc­tions Books, 1982, p. 35
12 10 20

An idea is to spend days wal­king nights wri­ting never eating, sleep only when it rains and have an occa­sio­nal beer.

Ber­na­dette Mayer, Mind­win­ter day (22 décembre 1978), New Direc­tions Books, 1982, p. 34