You mustn’t be afraid of people, my friend, people are only flesh.
— Jakov Lind, from Landscape in Concrete, trans. Ralph Manheim
(Paintings: Francis Bacon, Three Studies for a Crucifixion, 1962)
GPOY: Meine (geistliche) Geburtsort
Nobody knows why everything around here is so placental, but everybody realizes that it’s normal, because here everything is normal. This is my town.
A town made of Liptauer cream cheese, Lipizzaner horses and Lilliputians of roast chicken, bauernschmaus, liver dumplings and liver sausage, a rhyme, a phrase, a proverb and perhaps not even that but only a waistline, a shoe size, a collar size, a hat size and perhaps not even that but only the family vault of Maria Theresa and Franz Josef and the children Kalifati, Rübezahl, Krampus, and Nikolo Christkindl and Andreas Hofer, who died of scarlet fever, whooping cough, measles, chicken pox and Basedow’s disease.
In the municipal hospital, where the saviour was born into the world, the saviour of Kahlenberg, who went upstream to Kriau to free Richard Lowenherz from Mauthausen, but now he too is dead and buried at the central cemetry, to sleep forever side by side with Lueger and Seitz Kaltenbrunner and Mozart. There he lies with Dollfuss and Fey and Robert Stricker of the Zionist league, and Prince Eugene, who freed Vienna from the Turks, and the heroes of the Karlmarxhof and the heroes of the Heimwehr, and nobody knows how there can conceivably be such a city.
Which calls itself the teat of the occident and has suckled nothing but madness.
— Jakov Lind, from Ergo, trans. Ralph Manheim
“There is a plague called man.”
I just finished reading Jakov Lind’s Landscape in Concrete—holy fuck! what a book!: as if a womb were to suddenly devour the baby in the final stage of pregnancy; as if everything was digesting everything, perpetually.
I might feature some passages, but it’s such a cascade. If you like Bernhard (e.g., Gargoyles), try this one by Lind.
(Image: 1966 Grove Press edition; no artist credit, could be Lind)