The song of the sirens
Orpheus took up his lyre and started playing.
The sailors hardly remembered the horror stories by now.
In vain did those few birds sing in the most beautiful voices ever heard by man, Orpheus brought in the fad of new songs, the kind of songs Jason and his men took up: the masculine chimes of times to come.
Already the world was divided: there was up and down, beautiful and ugly, true and false. Alone, unharmed.
Already you could descend to the netherworld and come up again. Alone, unharmed.
Already you could make a promise and break it. Alone, unharmed.
Jason was beating out the rhythm while the ship safely left the archipelago. Medea would not understand anything.
When they are hatched from the eggs and manage to clumsily wriggle to the sand surface, they start out for the ocean. The story has three outcomes: 1. crocodiles devour them; 2. a highway was built along the shore which they will try to cross; 3. they start out in the wrong direction: they are pre-programmed to direct themselves towards the lights flashing in darkness, but in our night everything is glaring: the hotels, the parking-places, the shopping malls.
If for no other reason, the older boys in the boarding school would beat him up because no hairs grew on his doodle. He was ten, a spindly child who came to the provincial small town’s industrial school from a village which barely numbered sixty. They forced him to rub off the dicks of the bigger boys.
And then a miracle happened: they agreed that he do it through the blanket.
The parents’ acquaintances, members of a Protestant congregation, came to attend the funeral in large numbers. While the boy’s friend held a speech, they were talking behind my back about the medication the doctor prescribed, about what they would buy for how much. One old woman was munching cake and offered some to her neighbour who also started munching. Cold February day. The boy was let down in the grave. The congregation started singing: metallic, cold, quivery voices. The one with the medicine and the one with the cakes sang along. How shall I survive here for five more years? The boys stand apart, their tears dropping on the snow.
Lee n’gum’s tale
I am a bricklayer. I live the bricklayers’ life: I rise in the morning, it is still dark, I go to work. I work all day, come home, it is already dark.
The memory artist
As long as he was a child they still somehow took it that he would remember everything, e v e r y t h i n g, e y v r e t g i n h, in arbitrary order. A child with a perfect memory could be anything: Solomon was training to become a violinist. But after an illness caught in puberty his hearing deteriorated and he eventually became a journalist. He never needed to take notes. For thirty years Dr Luriya checked on his perfect memory, on Solomon’s well-known streets that he walked day by day; in his imagination it was there — in a doorway, on a fence, on a street-lamp — he placed the words.
Solomon could not forget, but let’s cut the melodrama.
Solomon could not distinguish between the incidental and the ineluctable, in his head all things weighed the same.
They could not bear it, so he ended up in misery, a circus freak.
Since she turned 16 she had been thinking of her life as having a sole meaning: man. She loved, was clumsy, was dumped, she didn’t love but married nevertheless. She couldn’t become a perfect housewife, a perfect woman, perfect lover, perfect mom, but that was what they expected of her and she tried her best. She had two gorgeous children, big house, cars, summer holidays, anti-depressants. Whenever she had the occasion she said: I’m happy, I have everything. Whenever she had the occasion she said: those are dreadful, scum of the earth. Is she still alive? Did she kill herself? Mom, stupid mom.