What's In A Title

Berliner Novelle, by Peter Hacks

Let me begin with a not-so-well-known German poem/song that will, as of today, always be part of my experience in reading Peter Hacks. The following text was written by Hoffmann von Fallersleben (what a name,eh). For those who don’t know, he’s the dude that gave the world the lyrics of the anthem chestnut-full-of-fun that Haydn put to music and the Nazis ruined: “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”.

(A short English summary of this poem follows.)

Der Frühling kommt hernieder,
der Winter muß entfliehen,
und Frühling wird es wieder
sogar auch in Berlin.

Im milden sonnigen Wetter
kann man spazieren gehen,
und Kräuter und grüne Blätter
im Tiergarten wieder sehen.

Den Gruß des Frühlings singen
die Vögel in jede Brust,
und alle Welt muß ringen
nach Freude und Frühlingslust.

Der Eckensteher Nante
blieb lebensmüde und matt;
weil er das Leben kannte,
hatte er es herzlich satt.

Er geht zum Tiergarten traurig,
er geht und hängt sich auf.
Im Tiergarten – o wie schaurig!
Beschließt er den Lebenslauf.

Das gibt ein eigenes Rauschen
im grünen Busch am Bach,
und Leute, die da lauschen,
die gehen dem Geräusche nach.

Gendarmen und Polizisten,
mit Rettungsmedaillen geziert,
und viele gute Christen,
die kommen herbei spaziert.

Sie schneiden ihn ab vom Baume,
sie reiben ihn, bis er lebt,
und Nante wie im Träume
denkt, daß er im Himmel schwebt.

Allmächtiger, hab Erbarmen!”
So spricht er, “was seh´ ich hier?
Im Himmel auch Gendarmen?
Nun ist es aus mit mir!”
(Er stirbt)

The poem is about a dude named “Der Eckensteher Nante”. (This is hard to translate; means something like “The Corner Standing Nante”; but it is also used to describe a certain trait in some Berliners.) Obviously, Nante is not a man of much success. In fact, he’s had it with life, politics and, perhaps, Berlin. So he goes to a park and commits suicide by hanging himself. Unfortunately, probably like the compulsive and non-creative life in Berlin today, he doesn’t have much success at that either. After some people, including the police, save him, he awakes in the soothing arms of what he thinks is heaven and says: “Oh my, there are Gendarmes in heaven? Well, that’s it for me!” Then he really dies.

Yeah, that pretty much summarizes my experience in Germany, as well, although I haven’t quite made it to the hanging part (yet). And if you’re asking what this poem has to do with Peter Hacks’ play…? All I can say thus far is that it’s in the title. Fallersleben’s poem is also called “Berliner Novelle”. Am I the only one out there that smells literary conspiracy here? Two works about the misery of being German and I am alone in seeing the connection? What? You don’t think these pieces are connected? Nor are they worth any kind of (worstwriter) scrutiny? OK. You win. I’ll just have another Hefeweizen while reading a play.

Here’s a Tommi summary of Berliner Novelle (the play) in English. Keep in mind this play is only about sixty pages long. Also, Eulenspiegel Verlag and/or Peter Hacks calls it a Dramolett.

A one-legged American professor, Dr. Andrew Di Verona, is visiting East Germany during “the advanced 90s of the twentieth century”. Dr. Dietmar Schiller, a former and now de-frocked East German university professor and his family are providing the American with a bed for the night because the organizers of the event that brought the American forgot to consider that he couldn’t make it up the stairs of the town’s only available hotel. All other hotels in town are booked because of another event. (You would think that East Berlin, after the fall of the wall, was a busy place, eh?) Those participating in this ad hoc hosting situation include Schiller’s family, which consist of his wife, Irmtraut (what a name, eh), and his daughter Herta – who is “an ugly girl of 2,10 meters”. Mr. Jamal, “a businessman”, rounds up the cast of characters.

The play has some family squabbling, the presentation of anger management issues by Schiller’s socially depraved wife, and a sexual turn of events that would make anyone studying the characteristics of Euro incest cringe. (The late part of the first decade of the 21sts century would tell any theatre manager in Austria NOT to touch this play!) What the play is trying to portray, though – the dysfunction caused by capitalism induction – doesn’t get lost in the odd twist of events that Hacks writes about. The reality that faced (faces?) the former Eastern States of Germany is picturesque in this play – if you can stand a stage with an ugly girl of 2,10 meters that likes to romp regularly with her dad.

Getting back to the poem connection.

One thing that got me thinking while reading Peter Hacks’ play had to do with Fallersleben’s poem. As mentioned, Hacks’ play is about dysfunction – which includes Berlin. In a different kind of way, Fallersleben’s poem is about the same thing – in Berlin. The thing is, good authors are tricky. It’s no wonder that Hacks might have had something else in mind – not with his play but with the title. And I think I might have seen through his cleaver disguise.

Here’s my run-away theory about this play and poem. And please, take this with a grain of salt while sleeping in your salt bed…

The title “Berliner Novelle” is something like a code. It is a code known only to a few writers of truth. The reason it is code is because, even if we are told that the Stasi is gone, some writers just cannot get tyrannical conditioning out of their system. Since I’m not a very smart writer – like Hacks – all I propose at this point about the codification of “Berliner Novelle” is that Berlin = dysfunction and Novelle = short. Simple enough, eh? It even works for Fallersleben’s poem. I could get somewhat more complex and say that “Berlin” = the centre of all things wrong about being German. (Munich does too but who wants to actually write about that stuck-up hole in the ground?) But I wouldn’t want to over do it.

Or? Part 1.

Berliner Novelle is really a great little play – and it definitely goes beyond just providing losers like me fodder for making fun of the country I have to live in. With that in mind, why isn’t it being performed somewhere right now? I would actually put effort into seeing this play. Knowing what I know, I would make fun of the missing American leg and yell at the stage: “Is your missing leg a metaphor for Detlev Karsten Rohwedder? What about Alfred Herrhausen?”

If I were a student of literary sciences I could have a field-day analyzing Berliner Novelle. Seriously. I would leave out the leg metaphor thing and put some effort into comparing it to Fallersleben’s poem. I would also have a bit of fun getting down & dirty in the text and picking out all the detailed innuendo, metaphors and other literary trickery that Hacks employs to show his disgust of what has become nothing more than an annexed nation-state (of the US) that speaks too much German.

Or? Part 2.

Even though I find Hacks’ play hilarious, there is an underlying sadness about it that warrants some serious theatrical attention. It is a play that portrays a country in the middle of a tyrannical metamorphosis. The moment of change that relieved the world of the former German Democratic Republic – obnoxiously loved by so many – has nothing to do with the integration and annihilation of one sovereign nation but instead is about the all-exclusiveness of another sovereign nation and its consuming and excreting habits. How ironic when one considers that Peter Hacks literally ran away from the very same system in the 1950s that eventually would gobble him up anyway. Perhaps that’s why this play is so short and yet misses nothing!

I might have found the/a artistic work that I’ve been searching for ever since the early 90s – and it goes well with the time it takes to down a glass of German beer (a half litre play, indeed). It is certainly not a definitive work – about German unification – but when one considers what (west) Germany has produced about this historical period of (in)humanity up to this point… Well, there is still hope that works of art containing substance may yet be found hidden in former East German desks.

With that in mind, I say leave all the nonsense produced up to now about unification to the lost generation of (West German) Steppenwolf readers and writers spoiled by their Wirtschaftswunder inheritance. They are all too preoccupied with the extras of their new state-subsidized company cars or how they will look on global TV during the next World Cup. We can also leave all the Ossie stuff produced on ARD/ZDF in the same bin that we should throw the €2B German theatre landscape – that in my opinion has yet to produce any real works of art regarding Unification.

The thing is, I thought to myself before embarking on the journey of reading this play: what a boring title. I have since learned that there is a great deal to be found in something as small as a title.

Rant on.


Girl Things Wet

Feuchtgebiete by Charlotte Roche

This post is NSFW.

Note: If you plan on reading this book when it comes out in English then you might want to steer away from this post. I’ve taken the liberty of my own English translation of some of the text which might be kind of a spoiler. And so. Spoiler alert! Or maybe not.

Ironically, the cover of this book is pink and includes the raised image of a bandage. Underneath the bandage is the title in a dot-matrix, Teutonic font. Every time I picked up this book it reminds me of the one natural application of the color pink that I do not hate. Luckily this book deals with that one thing en masse. So I hate the colour pink but I do not hate this book.

Now get this. Since it’s publication, Feuchtgebiete has received a lot of attention and has been an amazing success for Roche. As of March 2008 it has sold more than 500k copies. At one point it was even number one on Amazon.com. That might not sound all that great at first but then consider that it reached the top of the list while published in German. Again. Let me make sure that got across so that my worst-readers get it. This book reached the top selling list while printed in German on the .com and not the .de of Amazon. As a wannabe struggling writer who writes in English but lives in Germany… Holy shit! I’m the one who needs a pink bandage.

My hat is off and I bow deeply to Charlotte Roche. Say what you want about this book. It’s either bad-mouth wannabe pornography or it’s new-fangled erotic literature. Either way, Roche did a pretty good job writing it. One of the basic criteria I have for good writing is when an author makes me think. I don’t care about grammar, structure or formula. If it’s creative, has passion and makes me think, it’s winner. This book has all of that–and a lot of good old fashioned smut. And that’s the only worst-criticism I have of the book. There’s simply too much smut which takes away from getting any protagonist message across. Either that or I’m just too old to understand the body fluid workings of young women these days. But I’ll leave it at that for now on account I’m no lit-critic. Moving on.

The heroine of the book is Helen. She’s 18 and somewhat…confused. No. Wait. She’s angry. Whatever. Here’s how she opens the story (Tommi translation):

As far as family goes, taking care of the elderly means a lot to me. Just like any other child with divorced parents, I wish my parents would get back together. When my parents require elderly care the first thing I’m gonna do is put their new partners in a nursing home. Then I’m gonna take my divorced parents home, put them in the same bed, and take care of them till they die. It will be a moment of happiness for me. So all I have to do is wait patiently. I have the situation under control.

After that all you get is more than two hundred big-fonted pages of hemorrhoids, vaginal fluids, one-afternoon-stands, and a few lines of girly-wisdom that perhaps this media driven world could put to use. Oh, there’s also the underlying emotional pain of a young woman and her having to finally grow up. If you can get past the nonsense of a young girl’s obsession with herself in the form of consuming, utilizing and sharing every fluid or particle that the female body makes, then you will get to the soul of a person whose feelings are so hurt that… her anus (kinda) explodes. Helen tells the story from the hospital bed where she has to have an operation on an/her anus. It seems, as part of her girl-body obsession, she cut her anus while shaving. Yeah, right.

While reading Feuchtgebiete I kept thinking of two things. One was how they are going to translate the title. Thus far I’ve seen articles using ”Wetlands”. I don’t think that works at all. My preference would be ”Girl Things Wet”. Luckily I’m no translator. The second thing I kept thinking about were the cheap paperback porn books that I read when I was young. You know, the books where sperm was called jism and the word fuck somehow never reminded one of “fuck you asshole”. Am I the only male born after 1960 to have read A Man With A Maid written by Anonymous? Anywho.

The only thing that really bugged me about Roche’s book were the amount of explanations she uses and thereby imparting a wisdom that perhaps only sexually active young (very young) girls can fully understand. Wait. Does that make any sense? Nomatter. Here some of Roche’s/Helen’s pseudo-wisdom (Tommi translation):

  • It’s only a fantasy if you get horny thinking about it.
  • Once I did a coffee peepee test. My father taught me this. When you get up in the morning you have to pee because your bladder collects everything overnight. Once you’ve emptied yourself in the morning you’d think that all the pee was out of your body. Then when you drink a cup of coffee your body is so poisoned that it collects more water in order to clean everything out. As soon as you finish your coffee you pee more fluid then the coffee you actually drank. I’ve proven it, I used a coffee cup one morning and it overflowed with pee. I proved my father correct that coffee dehydrates. My mother wasn’t happy at all because she doesn’t think urine should be in a coffee cup.
  • (After claiming that tampons are a waste of money): The other half I fold long-ways till I have a long thin clothe. Then I roll it in small, tight stages till it becomes the shape of a thick wurst and then shove into my pussy as high as it’ll go. How’s that American tampon industry!
  • Dear (worst)reader/writer, I’m sorry, but the following I can’t (won’t) translate, because, well, I don’t even know what the fuck it means  but it sounds kind of cool in a German sorta way: Trauer- wettstreit gewonnen durch vergezogene Trauerarbeit.
  • (Helen speaking to herself): Don’t be disappointed. The next self-fuck will be better, Helen, I promise.
  • After eating a burgar: There’s nothing on my body that my fingers can leave alone.
  • About boys: For a boys eighteenth birthday their parents always invite them to a local whore house.
  • Sex while menstruating: A good pirate sticks it in the red sea.


And that’s not all. Here the interesting German words that Roche uses.

  • Fickverabredung = fuck + appointment.
  • Käsebaby = cheese + baby.
  • Röbbelkönigin = something about rubbing her pussy and being the queen (the best?) at having an orgasm while doing it.
  • Körperausscheidungsrecyclerin = body + expulsion + recycling.
  • Muschirosapink = the color of a black woman’s vagina.
  • Blutschwesternschaft = blood-sisters; the ceremonial sharing of menstrual blood. But! It’s more something like the American Indian blood brothers thing. I guess.
  • Fickurheber = fuck + initiator; Helen cuts a hole in her panties when she’s on a date with someone she wants to fuck, that way, when petting gets going, the guy is surprised but gets the message that she wants to fuck without having to go through all the rigmarole of a date. (Where were these chicks when I was young?)
  • Rasurhindernisparcours = razor + obstacle + horse-show-jumping-course; the name she gives the rim of her anus as someone is shaving her/it.
  • Sexandenkenkaubonbon = sex + souvenir + chewable candy; she’s describing the stuff that’s left over after sex and what she does with it.


Last but not least, here are three words that Helen gives to the most precious of her female parts. I’ll leave translation up to your imagination or your ability to research/google it. Seriously, I’m tired of all this nasty stuff.

  • Vanillekipferln
  • Hahnenkämme
  • Perlenrüssel


Although the writing is at times very trying, especially for someone who ONLY read porn when it was innocent, this is a fun read and has a creative, if not profound, ending.



Rant on.


Party Conventions Are Fun. As Are Golden Cages.

The short play “Der Parteitag” (The Party Convention) by Peter Hacks begins with one of the first words I remember learning after I moved to West Germany. The word? Genossen. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a believer in hate – but I hate that word. It’s like the word Auspuff. When said, no matter what it is supposed to mean, it just sounds stupid.

Thinking about Genosse takes me back to a time prior to moving to Germany in 1989. As an American, my association with Germany is/was unavoidable due to my German born mother (she’s no longer a German citizen) and a few Prussian relatives with hearts of gold. Needless to say, my curiosity was always high regarding Germany and Europe. Quickly after moving here, though, my curiosity was dampened. The European Union was in full motion, communism was dying, people had positive bank accounts and vacation time and pseudo-laissez-faire politics ruled everything. With that said, I was/am a non-believer in the European Union experiment (it will never succeed), socialism/welfare is as bad as communism, and the only thing Europe has to offer the world, other than money, is its past and some seriously hot, promiscuously feminist, emancipated women. Thank goodness that a great deal of my personal interest lies in the reading and writing of plays, eh.

Since I’m on the subject of moi…

As a young fellow curious about culture, history, languages and unshaven German girls, I thought it appropriate to visit the east Germany. During a summer visit to West Germany in 1986 I made arrangements to go to the other side. Remember, in order to see anything outside of east Berlin you had to have something like a host and/or sponsor. Luckily I knew someone in the west who knew someone in the east and one thing lead to another and I eventually got my papers and crossed Check-Point-Charlie and beyond. Tickled to death, I suddenly found myself among (real?) communists. I had no idea they could be such fun. What a blast we had! I traveled all around east Berlin, of course, and then went to places like Sanssouci and the Spreewald forest. As a good western tourist I bought cheaply printed versions of The Communist Manifesto for all my friends back home. Oh, and I laughed the first time I had to wipe my ass with crumpled-up newspaper. Subsequently I wanted to visit the east every time I visited the west. But before I could do that, that damn wall fell. I will always equate the falling of the Berlin wall with: the party is over.

The meaning of comrade.

The word Genosse means “comrade”. The word comrade means something like “friends” – I think. Where I come from the word had/has various associations. You know, communism, Brezhnev, Fidel Castro, dysfunction, etc., etc. Since I was never known for being a social butterfly or having many friends, the word comrade was useful as I tried to play the The American Dream game. At the height of the Ronald Regan assault on Evil Empires, I would joke around as any anti-authority American would and call people comrade. Comrade may mean friends but it has nothing to do with making them.

Fun in America included complaining about it. But there is no place in America where such complaints can be heard. In America you either go with the flow or make your own little Microsoft. There is no convergence of extremes. There is no shared road. Life in America was/is nothing but a measurement stick of externally determined, move the goal-post to suit the outcome of the game, dead dreams. One can only ask how such a place won the cold war. It must have something to do with humor as much as never used precision weaponry.

Rebellion and bad mouthing your country.

I’m not ashamed to admit that while cursing the American system in my youth I was also spitefully waving a Cuban flag. Seriously. If I had to make a list of people I’d like to meet, Fidel Castro would be on that list. But don’t misunderstand. I hate “communism”. I don’t hate it because of the Soviet Union, the GDR, Cuba or even China. I hate communism because anything humans try to collectively organize – as history has shown – fails. So the only real thing to do in a world where the collective tries to run everything (ironically it doesn’t matter if the collective is capitalist or communist) is to rebel against it. For me, that’s what Fidel was all about. To hell with his communist-dictating bullshit. Fidel Castro was/is nothing but a big whiny baby that successfully told papa-bear to go shove it. I think that’s cool.

The great thing I remember about communism is that you could easily make fun of it and still have fun in it. Forget all that Stasi krapp or KGB nonsense. If the commies knew how to do anything it was do nothing and having fun at it. I always wondered why the American way of life couldn’t be as tolerant. Let’s face it, if anything has come out of the fight between opposing political ideologies of the 20th century then it must be that the winner doesn’t just take ALL but he also thinks a bit to high of himself.

Stage Direction: Enter Peter Hacks from radical stage left.

After reading Der Parteitag – and Hacks reminding me of some of the things I rebelled against when I was young – I couldn’t help but ask when and where Peter Hacks wrote it. Even though the play farcically portrays a system that he obviously wishes to scorn, it does so in a way that makes you (me?) ask: Could he have come up with a better plot? How about a few more intriguing characters? Or how about a little change of scenery?

Well, if he did all that then it wouldn’t be a Dramolette, would it?

So here are a few guesses regarding the questions I have about this play based on my (limited) experience with communists. Mr. Hacks either wrote Der Parteitag while angered out of his mind from bureaucracy or he wrote it while contemplating how things – political or not – never change. At the least, he does a pretty good job of continuing the tradition of making fun of the dunces that called themselves communists – and in reality were nothing but a bunch of under-achieving thugs.

The main characters in this play are not just die-heard communists but also (aghast!) women-comrades. What could a man intend to say in a politically motivated play that borders on the absurd while portraying communist leaders as women? Was Hacks going through a kind of Lysistrata phase? Your guess is as good mine. Hacks goes so far as to intellectually over-indulge while trying to strive for new ideological and/or literary heights. I think. For example: one of the issues to be discussed at The Party Convention deal with the two competing political platforms. One of the platforms has to be chosen in order to lead the party into the future. Does he name one of the platforms “right” and the other “left”? No. He calls one “Sozialvisionäre Wiedergeburt“. He calls the other “Pragmatischen Utopismus”. That is, Social Visionary Reincarnation or Pragmatic Utopianism. Ugh.

Is it me or do others when they hear such things feel Marx turning in his grave?

And it doesn’t stop there. I caught myself laughing as I read that a political party (according to Hacks) doesn’t require two wings to fly. Such an assumption reminded me of the current political system in the United States where capitalism is definitely a one winged beast – that simply never had a wall that could be brought down. (That’s right. It only builds tall buildings that can be brought down.) But I didn’t only think of my beloved United Mistakes while reading this cute little play. Hacks also made me think about how life really is in this (west) German golden cage that to me is the last bastion of communism in the west.

I digress.

At this stage in my quest to get to know Peter Hacks I’m not sure if he was/is a writer of the absurd. But this play smells dearly of absurdity. I may be wrong but my guess is he wrote this play after the fall of the Berlin wall, which also could mean that he wrote with a unique kind of compulsive skill. It is the skill of writing what one truly thinks but doing so in disguise. Who knows, maybe this is a kind of a theatrical stream of consciousness thing – even though I’m not sure if that actually exists.

Unfortunately, the book in which this play is published doesn’t give any information regarding its time-line. I’m not sure I want to research it either. The idea that Hacks wrote such a short but meaningful play about humanities most interesting failed experiment is good enough for me. It puts him on my bookshelf with Vaclav Havel and Milan Kundera. Hacks is not just portraying the downfall of communism but something that transcends political ideology. As I was reading the play for the second time I kept imagining superimposing early 21st century capitalism in the text. It would probably work without any rewriting. I think that’s a pretty cool achievement.

Rant on.


You Are Your Environment. Sometimes.

When I was growing up (in America) I was told that life and all it entails would be determined by environment. That included not just the land and trees and waters and smog but also each and every person that I would encounter. As with any other society or country, the environment I was forced to grow up in was a disarray of hierarchical microcosms, pyramid structures and endless peer groups and clicks. Before having much guidance or knowledge, I went about daily life never really knowing what the hell was going on. After all these years of unwilling expatriation, I’m sure growing up in Germany wouldn’t have been much different.

It’s ironic that today “environment” has become more of a crutch on which most individuals make a political stand. More than ever before, and thanks to corporatism and compulsive behavior replacing labor/work, the merit of having achieved something as an individual has become null & void. Individuals have no environment. And so go the Americanisms: you are a/the product of (your) environment, you are what you eat, take care in the company you keep, etc., etc.

Naturally, very few people are successful at self-determining their environment and doing it in a way that isn’t obvious. Even those with big and fancy cars, nice houses and neat-o-torpedo consumables are so unaware of where exactly they are in this/their environment that it is impossible to notice that everything around them is going to hell in a hand basket. Buying stuff is the new ideology. Blind consumerism is, in fact, a new deity – and it conveniently includes codified religion that controls walk-on-the-earth politics. To add to the flame, blind consumerism is the messianic monarchy with the perfect family full of beautiful princes and princesses – and no inbreeding. Ain’t that neat.

Seriously – Part 1.

With that in mind, all hope is not lost. There are still a few trying to find their own way – with or without environments. In fact, I hope I am one of them. (Stop laughing!) And I’m almost sure that Peter Hacks was one of them. Now that I’ve read a few more pages of his work, and even though he’s dead, it’s kind of a good feeling to know that “environment” transcends individual life and there are examples of those who made it beyond all of the nothingness that rules everything today. I mean, come on, what is “environment”?

We are all so sympathetic to the likes of Al Gore and Jurgen (kiss my ass) Trittin and any other high-brow jerk-off that thinks the problems in our air, land and water are because of the hydro-carbons we burn and hence, require governmental (Messianic?) intervention? I say/scream: bullshit. Environment is a state of mind, not a place of being. But I could be way off track.

Seriously – Part 2.

With that nonsense in mind, I will continue reading Hacks and asking the same question over and over and over: why the hell did he go to the GDR? What, up to that point in his life, put “communism” on such an ideological pedestal? Was it uncle Adolf, Brother Mussolini, Genghis Khan, Snow-frickin’-White, that drove him to the land of relinquished individuality and zero environment?

Sure, the beginning of the 20th century must have been a nightmare for those who thought philosophically about anything. But to think that one man (Marx?) could actually establish a framework that would make societies function better… Well, I guess I have the advantage of time AND the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution.

Whether you call it Stalinism, Marxism, Maoism, or what-ever-ism, time has proven why it all has failed miserably – and will continue to fail. (Please, no remarks about China.) When everyone finally woke up to what was happening in the late 80s, early 90s – including Peter Hacks? – there were two things that were missing: belief (in something) and environment. For all it’s failures, so-called capitalism enables belief in almost anything. And now that “environment” as been defined anew… Well, you can buy/politicize something to fix that. (Ain’t that right, Al Gore and Jurgin – let’s rid the world of cans – Trittin?)

Seriously – Last Part.

But I’m not here to argue political ideals. I’m here to state vaguely and without much empirical evidence that even though Hacks obviously made the wrong decision to give up individuality for the collective, it doesn’t matter because he has long since transcended being just another button in/on the machine. He seems to me to be one of the few that was able to determine his own environment. And I’m diggin’ that.

I just finished reading his “Dramolette” (it’s something like a novella but for the stage) Phraates. Did Hacks have delusions of Shakespearean grandeur, or what? If he did, I think that’s cool. At the least, by reading this little play, I learned something about one of the kings of Parthien – which prior to reading this I didn’t even know existed. The play even reminded me of the wackiness of Shakespeare’s Troilius and Cressida and, maybe even a bit of King Lear. Obviously, dealing with his “environment” as best he could, Hacks was able to emulate one of the greatest writers in history. If this keeps up, I’m gonna burn my collection of Brecht paperbacks.

Oh. Below is a cute little poem by Hacks with Tommi translation. I really dig short poems. Short poems have been been a slight obsession of mine ever since those tyrannical professors made me explain The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams.

Er müht sich Jahre, bis er überhaupt
Verstanden wird. Und wann wird ihm geglaubt?

His efforts take years, until he’s actually
Understood. And when is he believed?

Rant on you lovers of the communist,


PS Please don’t send me any money for the above translation otherwise the publisher might see to my deportation on the grounds of mis-using German.