Percutio pilot issue 2006

P e r c u t i o

Software: Microsoft Office




Entschuldigung Gunther Dietrich

Three poems Scott Hamilton

Hoi Forscht! (German version)Arno Loeffler

Hoi Forscht! (English version) Arno Loeffler

The assassination of Marion Dufre\ne James Norcliffe

From The Blinding Walk K.M.Ross

[A thursday. Une femme.] Olivia Macassey

Graeme Allwright le retour Mark Williams

Graeme Allwright Comes Home Mark Williams

After Apollinaire Jack Ross

Poems from ancient Egyptian fragments Michele Leggott

Uluru Rudi Krausmann

From The Half-light Mila Kovan

Guy (Debord) and Me Grant McDonagh

Present? William Direen

Allegory: Lesson of the Birds Brett Cross

Two translations from Li He (790–816 A.D.) Mike Johnson

French New Zealand William Direen

New Zealand Pilgrimage Vale/rie Baisne/e

Pe/le/rinage NZ Vale/rie Baisne/e

Muttermal Thomas Findeiss

Birthmark Thomas Findeiss

Sous la poussie\re, la plage Sandra Bianciardi

Beneath the Dust, the Beach Sandra Bianciardi

Letter to Ernest Renan Stephen Oliver

Poems from Schneepart (translations into English) Paul Celan

In Cool Light : In der kuhlen Luft Chris Walshaw

UEberbruecken, Leben, Schreiben Nils Plath

Bridging, Living, Writing Nils Plath

Notes on the contributors






Next text




The aim of Percutio is to publish work in its language of creation so that each contribution may gain meaning from and offer meaning to surrounding works--be they drawings, photo-essays, meditations, extracts from writing-in-progress, travel notes, transcriptions or poetry.


This "trans-cultural" issue draws from the work of historians, poets, painters and researchers whom I have come across in New Zealand, Germany and France. Where space has allowed, translations accompany the original texts.


Thanks to everyone who took the time to provide their own translations and to those who took part in the collaborative task. It is hoped that Percutio, in partnership with Titus Books, will provide a useful and encouraging platform.



Percutio a pour but de publier chaque texte dans sa langue d'origine de manie\re a\ enrichir le sens de travaux aussi divers que dessins, 'photo-essays', pense/es, philosophies, prose extraite d'oeuvres en cours etc...


Ce nume/ro "trans-culturel" est tire/ du travail d'historiens, poe\tes, peintres et chercheurs que j'ai croise/s en Nouvelle-Ze/lande, en France ou en Allemagne. Dans la mesure ou\ la maquette le permet, chaque texte est accompagne/ de sa traduction.


Je souhaite remercier ici, tous ceux qui ont pris part a\ ce travail, en esperant que Percutio, en collaboration avec Titus Books, fournira un espace de recherche original.


W. D.






Next text 

About this web journal


Click on the Titus logo at any time to return to the list of contents.

Cliquer sur le logo pour retourner vers la table des matières.


Since French letters do not generally 'render' well on the internet, a new convention has been adopted: acute accent = /, e grave = \, circonflex = /\. All accents follow the appropriate letters,


Accentuation: aigu = /, grave = \, circonflex = /\. L'accent se trouvent toujours apre\s la lettre.








Next text 








der aufruhr verschleisst und uebergibt sich

waehrend die vagina erinnernd die stirn runzelt

der betroffene unfruchtbare mensch erscheint zum termin

in bezug zeiner gangart ist er hinterbliebener einer tradition

und als anhaenger der betonung sklave der betriebsamkeit

der verlorene sohn meldet seinen bankrott mit nasenbluten 




apology                                      translated by William Direen & G.D.


the riot weakens and gives up on itself

while the vagina recollecting the forehead frowns

the dismayed unfruitful guy shows up for the appointment

from his way of walking you can see he's left over from a tradition

and as an adherent of stress a slave of industriousness

the lost son announces his bankruptcy with a bleeding nose



les excuses                                 translated by Sandra Bianciardi


la re/volte s'e/puise et rend les armes

pendant que le vagin plisse le front sous le souvenir

interdit, l'homme ste/rile parai/\t a\ l'audience

au regard de sa de/marche c'est l'he/ritier d'une tradition

tenant de l'insistance, l'esclave de l'affairement

le fils perdu, en saignant du nez, trahit son e/chec    






Next text 





Te Kooti and His Natives Visit Terror Upon Matawhero


The pen had lost its firepower.

A sword through Biggs, the racist


magistrate: swords through his wife

his child. Blood pooled, and hardened,


begat a nimbus of flies:

'now hear ye


the doctrine of

the upraised hand.'




The equipment is well-maintained

but obsolete.


The stream flows between mountains

but its surface is smooth.


The quill is sheathed

but documents still circulate.


The doctrine is a book

with no back cover.






Next text 





Te Kooti et les indige\nes se\ment la terreur sur Matawhero translated by Titus team        


La plume perd de son pouvoir.

Une e/pe/e au travers de ce magistrat raciste

Biggs : des e/pe/es au travers de sa femme

et de son enfant. Le sang a coule/ et s'est fige/.


Que naisse un nuage de mouches.

Maintenant e/coutez


la doctrine

de la main levee*


La machine est bien entretenue,

bien qu'obsole\te.


Le courant de/vale la montagne

bien que la surface en soit plane.


La plume reste dans son e/tui

mais les papiers circulent encore.


La doctrine est un livre

sans couverture.



*Emble\me de l'e/glise fonde/e par Te Kooti.






Next text 






I will knock at an empty house.

You will knock on an opened door.


We will smile and throw up our arms

like soldiers eager to surrender.


You bow your head in a field of wheat.

When you raise your eyes

walls lean towards you,

and a blue dome stops the sky.




Jerusalem                                 translated by Titus team


Je frapperai a\ la porte d'une maison vide.

Tu frapperas a\ une porte ouverte.


Nous nous sourirons et le\verons nos bras

comme des soldats impatients de se rendre.


Tu penches la te/\te dans un champ de ble/.

Quand tu le\ves les yeux,

les murs s'inclinent

et un do/\me bleu arre/\te le ciel.



*Je/rusalem (Hiruharama): where French nun Suzanne Aubert lived and worked 1880-1895 and where poet James K. Baxter tried to create a community for outsiders of New Zealand society in the early 1970s L'endroit ou\ Suzanne Aubert a habite/ et travaille/ avec des Maoris, et ou\ le poe\te J. K. Baxter a fonde/ une communaute/ pour les exclus de la socie/te/ ne/o-ze/landaise.




Next text 





Te Reo Ke


Open the book. The book is empty.

Open the book. The book is running water.

Open the book. The book is clear running fire.





Te Reo Ke                                                  translated by Titus team


Ouvrez le livre.          Le livre est vide.

Ouvrez le livre           Il s'est transforme/ en eau qui coule.

Ouvrez le livre           Il s'est transforme/ en feu clair qui court.








Next text 

ARNO LOEFFLER                          translated by Arno Loeffler



Hoi Foerscht!


The average European often expresses bewilderment upon learning that New Zealand's head of state lives in London and her name is Queen Elizabeth II. "O! She's still head of state!?" Of course she is. Who else? After all, New Zealand is still a British colony, even if most New Zealanders regard their country as independent. Certainly, New Zealand is a sovereign member of the United Nations, but what does that prove? When World War I came to an end New Zealand being one of the founding members of the League of Nations (28 April, 1919) was one of the parties of the Peace of Versailles of 28 June, 1919. This neatness was appropriate, for the population of the sparsely settled, British, largely autonomous colony at the other end of the world had contributed disproportionately to the victory of the British Empire over Germany and its allies. New Zealand's losses, and those of Australia, were heavy. To this day ANZAC Day(1) is celebrated in New Zealand and Australia on April 25, and since World War I New Zealand has considered itself a nation.

           Formally, however, New Zealand never became independent from Great Britain. The Statute of Westminster, passed by the British Parliament in December 1931, granted the self-governing Dominions Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Foundland, South Africa and New Zealand a legislative status equal to the one enjoyed by Great Britain. After long hesitation, the New Zealand Parliament ratified the Statute on 25 November, 1947. Since 1986 New Zealand has had a codified constitution (New Zealand Constitution Act 1986), and on 1 January, 2004, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London ceased to be the highest New Zealand court of appeal. The Constitution Act 1986 however still links the person of the New Zealand head of state expressly to the British succession to the throne(2), although the New Zealand Crown is no longer regarded as identical with the British one. What is more, several constitutional laws of the mother country from the time before 1986 are still in force in New Zealand, such as the Magna Carta Libertatum of 1215 and the Habeas Corpus Act 1679.

           Thus in some way New Zealand is still a colony, 166 years after the Treaty of Waitangi. But is that really such a bad thing? In strict historical terms, the British mother country is itself not independent. When the English King Richard Coeur-de-Lion returned from the Holy Land in 1192 he was captured at Erdberg, near Vienna 21/22 December and subsequently taken to Duernstein Castle. In March of 1193 Duke Leopold IV of Austria handed him over to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI who imprisoned Richard at Trifels Castle and claimed the immense ransom of 100000 marks (= 6000 buckets of silver = two years' takings of the realm of England) half of which was meant to pass over to Leopold. Furthermore he demanded Richard's participation in a campaign against King Tankred of Sicily. At the same time King Philip August of France and Richard's Brother John Lackland (who was holding the regency in England and who was later, after he became king, to sign the Magna Carta still in force in New Zealand today) both offered to pay the ransom on condition that Richard remain imprisoned for another year. Henry VI brokered a deal with a third party, Richard's mother, Eleonore of Aquitaine, who raised the ransom. In the meantime Richard pledged himself, to hold England as a fief from the Emperor and to swear Henry the oath of fealty. By doing this, Richard acknowledged the supreme sovereignty of the Emperor for his Realm of England.

           Nominally, England is still this Imperial fiefdom. The fact it was unified with Scotland in 1707 (forming the "Kingdom of Great Britain") and with Ireland in 1801 (the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland", since 1920 "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland") has had no effect on its status at all. And in the Treaty of Waitangi of 1840(3), still in force and of constitutional rank today, the Pakeha contractual party is named "the Queen of England" or "te Kuini O Inganari".

           On 10 August 1804 Emperor Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire pooled his hereditary Austrian lands in the "Kaiserthum Oesterreich"(4) and proclaimed himself first hereditary Emperor of Austria(5)(thereby giving himself a second title as Francis I of Austria), in order to forestall the falling apart of the Empire and to maintain the same rank as Napoleon I(6) enjoyed . On 6 August, 1806, Francis put down the Imperial Crown(7) and declared the disbandment of the Roman Empire. Francis' double emperorship however, had already violated Imperial law, so that the Empire had in fact ceased to exist in legal terms in 1804. The disbandment of the Empire had been immediately preceded by the foundation of the "rheinische Bundesstaaten" (the Rhine Confederacy) by grace of Napole/on, in Paris 12 July 1806. Liechtenstein was, under French pressure and allegedly without even knowing(8), a founding member of the Rhine Confederacy that declared in its founding document the exit of all its members from the Empire. Liechtenstein itself never proclaimed its exit from the Empire. It should be noted, by the way, that Prince John Josef I of Liechtenstein had temporarily renounced his position as ruler, when his principality joined the Rhine Confederacy, in favour of his third son John Charles Anton, and had personally remained in the service of the Austrian Emperor as a diplomat and a military. The Prince's trick to kiss both Emperors' arses at once is still regarded as quite a historical feat in Liechtenstein today, and is being celebrated throughout all of 2006, with much fuss and talk about "200 years of sovereignty".

           John's ruse was successful: After Napole/on's fall in 1814 he resumed government, and Liechtenstein remained sovereign, with the result that today Liechtenstein is, in fact, the only remaining Imperial principality; 200 years after the disbandment of the Empire Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein rules over his territory inherited from the epoch of the Empire, and he is endowed with the title he inherited from that same epoch.

           In view of the non-existence of any other princes of the Empire it can justifiably be argued that Hans-Adam II is the legal successor of the Emperor.(9) As for Elizabeth II of Great Britain, she is Hans-Adam's tenant. And since New Zealand, as we have seen, has not renounced it quasi-colonial status, Hans Adam is also the liege lord of Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand.


On whom did the assembled chiefs at Waitangi in 1840 ultimately confer their kawanatanga? It may be argued that, without knowing it, they indirectly conferred it on Hans-Adam II who, according to the Liechtenstein constitution shares his sovereignty with "the people". Article 2 of the "Verfassung des Fuerstentums Liechtenstein vom 21. Oktober 1921" (Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein from 21 October 1921) stipulates, "[...] die Staatsgewalt ist im Fuersten und im Volke verankert [...]" (the authority of the state rests in the Prince and in the people). "Dualism" is what this unusual construct is called in Liechtenstein. Does this "people" include the people of New Zealand?

           Things get even more confusing when you look at the Treaty of Waitangi. It was issued in two versions in February 1840, in English and in Maori. In the Maori version the Maori chiefs conferred on Queen Victoria, i. e. the Crown, "kawanatanga" and retained "tino rangatiratanga" over their lands, villages, resources &c. "Kawanatanga" is the transliteration of "governorship", whereas "tino rangatiratanga" roughly means "full chiefship". According to the English text the chiefs ceded "all the rights and powers of Sovereignty" to the Crown, retaining "the full exclusive and undisturbed possession" of their own affairs. This means that in Maori's view, they did not become British subjects in 1840 as they never gave up their sovereignty; Pakeha, however, thought, by the transfer of "kawanatanga", that they had also secured sovereignty over New Zealand for the Crown. In order to get rid of this unlovely misunderstanding, New Zealand Parliament ordered a new Maori translation of the English text in 1869; the key terms had suddenly been replaced by other words. To this day, "tino rangatiratanga" has been the crucial political claim of the Maori. The legal implications of what happened at Waitangi in 1840 are no less complicated than those of what happened in Trifels Castle in 1193. When Richard finally returned to England he was crowned a second time. Who knows what he did that for. Perhaps he wasn't the brave but stupid crusading knight most people take him for, and this symbolic second coronation not only reconfirmed his royal dignity in the eyes of his subjects, it also made it clear to anyone who doubted it, that Richard hadn't legally conferred one bit of his full royal authority on anyone during his involuntary stay in Germany, no matter what happened in Trifels Castle. Today Richard might say, using the terms of modern Maori:"Ha, Hans Adam! You can claim what you like, but I've still got my tino rangatiratanga!"




1. On 25 April, 1915, the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) of the British Army landed at Gallipoli, aiming to take Constantinople and the access to the Black Sea. The operation failed. The last surviving allied soldiers were evacuated on 6 January, 1916.

2. Constitution Act 1986 Pt I. See Section 5's direct reference to the Act of Settlement 1701.

3. The Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti O Waitangi) is considered the founding document of New Zealand. It was signed at Waitangi, Northland, by William Hobson, 'Consul and Lieutenant-Governor' for the Crown on one part and 43 regional Maori chiefs on the other part. More than 500 further chiefs signed in the course of the following eight months.

4. "Emperordom of Austria"

5. Francis II as Holy Roman Emperor, Francis I as Austrian Emperor

6. Self-coronated "Empe/reur des Français" 2 December, 1804.

7. For the full text see footnote 7 of the German version.

8. The "Rheinbunds-Akte" names the Prince of Liechtenstein as a party to the contract; Liechtenstein, however, is not to be found among the singatories. At the end of 1813, after the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig, the Rhine Confederacy, meanwhile comprising almost the whole of Germany, redissolved.

9. Counter-arguments privilege the fact that Liechtenstein left the Empire a fortnight before its disbandment, and that it possible the Empire had already been disbanded as early as 1804 anyway.

Note: The title 'Hoi Forscht' = 'Gidday Prince!' The first Prince of Lichtenstein was so popular people in the street are said to have called out to him in this way.




Next text 




Hoi Foerscht!


Durchschnitteuropaeer reagieren oft erstaunt, wenn sie hoeren, dass das Staatsoberhaupt Neuseelands in London wohnt und Koenigin Elizabeth II. heisst. "Ach! Sie ist immer noch Staatsoberhaupt!?" Natuerlich ist sie das. Wer denn sonst, schliesslich ist Neuseeland ja immer noch eine britische Kolonie, auch wenn die meisten Neuseelaender ihr Land als unabhaengig betrachten. Gewiss, Neuseeland ist als souveraener Staat Mitglied der Vereinten Nationen, aber was beweist das? Als der Erste Weltkrieg zuende ging, war Neuseeland als Gruendungsmitglied des Voelkerbunds (28. April 1919) eine der Parteien des Friedensvertrags von Versailles vom 28. Juni 1919. Diese Nettigkeit musste schon sein, denn die Bevoelkerung der duenn besiedelten, britischen, weitgehend autonomen, Kolonie am anderen Ende der Welt hatte durch die grosszuegige Entsendung von Truppenkontingenten gemeinsam mit Australien ueberdurchschnittlich viel zum Sieg des britischen Empire ueber Deutschland und seine Alliierten beigetragen. Die Verluste von Neuseeland und Australien waren hoch. Noch heute wird in Neuseeland und in Australien am 25. April der ANZAC Day(1) gefeiert; seit dem Ersten Weltkrieg begreift sich Neuseeland als Nation.

Formell wurde es jedoch nie von Grossbritannien unabhaengig. Das Statute of Westminster, im Dezember 1931 vom britischen Parlament erlassen, gewaehrte den sich selbst regierenden Dominions Australien, Kanada, Irland, Neufundland, Suedafrika und Neuseeland denselben legislativen Status wie Grossbritannien. Nach langem Zoegern ratifizierte das neuseelaendische Parlament das Statut am 25. November 1947. Seit 1986 hat Neuseeland eine kodifizierte Verfassung (New Zealand Constitution Act 1986), und seit dem 1. Januar 2004 ist das Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London nicht mehr die oberste neuseelaendische Appellationsinstanz. Der Constitution Act 1986 bindet die Person des neuseelaendischen Staatsoberhaupts aber nach wie vor, obwohl die neuseelaendische Krone mit jener Grossbritanniens nicht mehr als identisch angesehen wird, ausdruecklich an die britische Thronfolge.(2) Ausserdem sind etliche konstitutionelle Gesetze des Mutterlands aus der Zeit vor 1986 noch in Kraft, z. B. die Magna Carta Libertatum von 1215 und der Habeas Corpus Act 1679.

Irgendwie ist Neuseeland also immer noch eine Kolonie, 166 Jahre nach dem Vertrag von Waitangi(3).



Aber ist das denn so schlimm? Schliesslich ist, historisch gesehen, das britische Mutterland selbst nicht unabhaengig. Als der englische Koenig Richard Coeur-de-Lion 1192 aus dem Heiligen Land nachhause zurueckkehrte, wurde er in Erdberg bei Wien am 21./22. Dezember gefangengenommen und anschliessend auf Burg Duernstein verbracht. Im Maerz 1193 lieferte ihn Herzog Leopold V. von OEsterreich Kaiser Heinrich VI. aus, der ihn auf Burg Trifels festsetzte und die immense Loesegeldforderung von 100000 Mark (= 6000 Eimer Silber = zwei Jahreseinnahmen aus dem englischen Koenigreich) stellte, die zur Haelfte an Leopold gehen sollten, sowie die Teilnahme Richards an einem Feldzug gegen Koenig Tankred von Sizilien. Gleichzeitig boten sowohl Koenig Philipp August von Frankreich als auch Richards Bruder Johann Ohneland, der die Regentschaft in England inne hatte und spaeter als Koenig die in Neuseeland noch heute gueltige Magna Carta unterzeichnen sollte, die Zahlung des Loesegeldes an, wenn der Koenig noch ein Jahr laenger in Gefangenschaft bleiben wuerde. Heinrich VI. schloss das Geschaeft mit einer dritten Verhandlungspartei ab, mit Richards Mutter Eleonore von Aquitanien, die das Loesegeld aufbrachte. Waehrenddessen verpflichtete Richard sich, England vom Kaiser zum Lehen zu nehmen und Heinrich den Treueid als Lehnsmann zu leisten. Damit erkannte Richard fuer sein Koenigreich England die Oberhoheit des Kaisers an.

England ist nominell immer Reichslehen geblieben. Die Vereinigungen mit Schottland 1707 zum "Kingdom of Great Britain" und mit Irland 1801 zum "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" (seit 1920 "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland") aendern daran nichts. Und im Vertrag von Waitangi von 1840, der nach wie vor Gueltigkeit und Verfassungsrang besitzt, heisst die Pakeha-Vertragspartnerin "the Queen of England", bzw. "te Kuini O Ingarani".

Kaiser Franz II. fasste am 10. August 1804 seine oesterreichischen Erblande zum "Kaiserthum Oesterreich" zusammen und proklamiert sich selbst zum ersten erblichen Kaiser von OEsterreich(4), um dem Zerfall des Reiches zuvorzukommen und seine Ranggleichheit mit Napole/on I(5). zu wahren. Am 6. August 1806 legte Franz die Reichskrone nieder(6) und erklaerte das Roemische Reich fuer aufgeloest. Franzens doppeltes Kaisertum verstiess allerdings gegen Reichsrecht, so dass das Reich eigentlich 1804 schon aufgehoert hatte zu existieren. Der Reichsaufloesung war die Gruendung der "rheinischen Bundesstaaten" von Napole/ons Gnaden am 12. Juli 1806 in Paris unmittelbar vorausgegangen. Liechtenstein war, auf franzoesischen Druck hin und angeblich ohne eigenes Wissen(7), Gruendungsmitglied des Rheinbundes, der in seiner Gruendungsakte den Austritt aller seiner Mitglieder aus dem Reich proklamierte. Liechtenstein selbst erklaerte nie den Austritt aus dem Reich. Fuerst Johann Josef I. von und zu Liechtenstein hatte uebrigens anlaesslich des Beitritts seines Fuerstentums zum Rheinbund zugunsten seines dritten Sohnes Johann Karl Anton voruebergehend auf die Regierung verzichtet und war persoenlich als Diplomat und Militaer in den Diensten des oesterreichischen Kaisers geblieben. Das Kunststueck des Fuersten, beiden Kaisern gleichzeitig in den Arsch zu kriechen, gilt heute noch in Liechtenstein als historische Glanztat und wird 2006 ganzjaehrig mit grossem Brimborium als "200 Jahre Souveraenitaet" gefeiert.

Immerhin war Johanns Trick erfolgreich: Nach Napole/ons Sturz 1814 uebernahm er die Regierung erneut, Liechtenstein blieb souveraen und ist heute das einzige verbliebene Reichsfuerstentum; Fuerst Hans-Adam II. von und zu Liechtenstein herrscht 200 Jahre nach der Reichsaufloesung mit seinem aus den Zeiten des Reichs ererbten Titel ueber sein aus den Zeiten des Reichs ererbtes Territorium.

Darueber, dass Liechtenstein zwei Wochen vor dem Reichsende aus dem Reich ausgetreten ist, wollen wir angesichts des Nichtvorhandenseins weiterer Reichsfuersten gnaedig hinwegsehen. Ausserdem war das Reich ja moeglicherweise bereits 1804 aufgeloest. Mit Fug laesst sich also sagen, Hans Adam II. sei der Rechtsnachfolger des Kaisers.

Fuer Elizabeth II. von Grossbritannien bedeutet dies, dass sie Lehnsnehmerin Hans-Adams II. ist. Da, wie wir gesehen haben, Neuseeland noch immer nicht seinen kolonialen Status abgelegt hat, ist Hans-Adams auch der Lehnsherr von Koenigin Elizabeth II. von Neuseeland.


Wem haben die versammelten Haeuptlinge 1840 in Waitangi ihr kawanatanga letztlich uebertragen? Man koennte sagen, dass sie es, ohne es zu wissen, Hans-Adam II. uebertrugen, der seine Souveraenitaet laut Verfassung mit dem Volk teilt. Art. 2 der Verfassung des Fuerstentums Liechtenstein vom 21. Oktober 1921 schreibt vor: "[...] die Staatsgewalt ist im Fuersten und im Volke verankert [...]". "Dualismus" heisst dieses ungewoehnliche Konstrukt in Liechtenstein. Ist mit diesem "Volk" das neuseelaendische mitgemeint?

Die Sache wird noch verwirrender, wenn man sich den Vertrag von Waitangi anschaut. Er wurde im Februar 1840 in zwei Versionen ausgefertigt, auf Englisch und auf Maori. In der Maori-Version uebertrugen die Maori-Haeuptlinge Koenigin Victoria, d. h. der Krone, kawanatanga und behielten tino rangatiratanga ueber ihre Laender, Doerfer, Resourcen etc. "Kawanatanga" ist eine Transliteration des Wortes "governorship", waehrend "tino rangatiratanga" in etwa "volle Haeuptlingsschaft" bedeutet. Gemaess dem englischen Text hingegen traten die Haeuptlinge der Krone "all the rights and powers of Sovereignty" ab, waehrend sie "the full exclusive and undisturbed possession" ueber ihre Dinge und Angelegenheiten behielten.

Nach Ansicht auch der Maori wurden sie 1840 damit keine britischen Untertanen, da sie ihre Souveraenitaet nie preisgaben. Um dieses unschoene Missverstaendnis aus dem Wege zu raeumen, liess das neuseelaendische Parlament 1869 den englischen Text neu auf Maori uebersetzen; die Schluesselbegriffe waren ploetzlich durch andere Woerter ersetzt. "Tino rangatiratanga" ist noch heute die zentrale politische Forderung der Maori. Die rechtlichen Folgen dessen, was 1840 in Waitangi geschah, nicht weniger verworren als die rechtlichen Folgen dessen, was 1193 auf Burg Trifels geschah. Als Richard endlich nach England zurueckkehrte, wurde er ein zweites Mal gekroent. Wer weiss, wozu er dies tat! Nun, vielleicht war er ja nicht der tapfere, aber bloede Kreuzritter, fuer den ihn die meisten halten, und diese zweite, symbolische, Kroenung bekraeftigte nicht nur seine koenigliche Autoritaet in den Augen seiner Untertanen, sondern sie fuehrte auch jedem, der seine Zweifel hatte, unmissverstaendlich vor Augen, dass Richard waehrend seines unfreiwilligen Aufenthalts in Deutschland kein Bisschen seiner koeniglichen Autoritaet an irgendjemanden rechtsgueltig uebertragen hatte, ungeachtet dessen, was sich auf Burg Trifels ereignet hatte. Heute wuerde Richard vielleicht, sich der Begriffe der modernen Maori bedienend sagen: "Ha, Hans-Adam! Du kannst behaupten, was du willst, aber ich habe immer noch mein tino rangatiratanga!"





1. Am 25. April 1915 landete das ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) der britischen Armee mit dem Ziel, Konstantinopel und den Zugang zum Schwarzen Meer zu erobern, in Gallipoli. Die Operation schlug fehl. Die letzten ueberlebenden alliierten Soldaten wurden am 6. Januar 1916 evakuiert.

2. Constitution Act 1986, Part I, insbesondere Section 5 mit einem direkten Verweis auf den Act of Settlement 1701

3. Der Vertrag von Waitangi gilt als Gruendungsdokument Neuseelands. Er wurde am 6. Februar 1840 in Waitangi, Northland, von William Hobson, "Consul and Lieutenant-Governor" fuer die Krone einerseits und 43 Maori-Haeuptlingen der Region andererseits unterzeichnet. UEber 500 weitere Haeuptlinge unterschrieben in den folgenden acht Monaten.

4. Franz II. als Kaiser des Heiligen Roemischen Reiches, Franz I. als OEsterreichischer Kaiser

5. Selbstkroenung zum "Empe/reur des Français" am 2. Dezember 1804

6. "[...] Wir erklaeren demnach durch Gegenwaertiges, dass Wir das Band, welches Uns bis jetzt an den Staatskoerper des deutschen Reichs gebunden hat, als geloest ansehen, dass Wir das reichsoberhauptliche Amt und Wuerde durch die Vereinigung der confoederirten rheinischen Staende als erloschen und Uns dadurch von allen uebernommenen Pflichten gegen das deutsche Reich losgezaehlt betrachten, und die von wegen desselben bis jetzt getragene Kaiserkrone und gefuehrte kaiserliche Regierung, wie hiermit geschieht, niederlegen. Wir entbinden zugleich Churfuersten, Fuersten und Staende und alle Reichsangehoerigen, insonderheit auch die Mitglieder der hoechsten Reichsgerichte und die uebrige Reichsdienerschaft, von ihren Pflichten, womit sie an Uns, als das gesetzliche Oberhaupt des Reichs, durch die Constitution gebunden waren. Unsere saemmtlichen deutschen Provinzen und Reichslaender zaehlen Wir dagegen wechselseitig von allen Verpflichtungen, die sie bis jetzt, unter was immer fuer einem Titel, gegen das deutsche Reich getragen haben, los, und Wir werden selbige in ihrer Vereinigung mit dem ganzen oesterreichischen Staatskoerper, als Kaiser von Oesterreich, unter den wiederhergestellten und bestehenden friedlichen Verhaeltnissen mit allen Maechten und benachbarten Staaten, zu jener Stufe des Glueckes und Wohlstande= s zu bringen beflissen seyn, welche das Ziel aller Unserer Wuensche, der Zweck Unserer angelegensten Sorgfalt stets seyn wird. [...]" Aus der Erklaerung Kaiser Franz II. vom 6. August 1806.

Die "Rheinbunds-Akte" nennt den Fuersten von Liechtenstein als Vertragspartei; Liechtenstein fehlt aber auf der Unterschriftenliste. Ende 1813, nach der Voelkerschlacht bei Leipzig, loeste sich der mittlerweile fast ganz Deutschland umfassende Rheinbund wieder auf.






Next text 







The assassination of Marion Dufre\ne

           (d'apre\s le dessin de Meryon)





the canvas had been gifted

spread out like a picnic rug

almost de/jeuner sur sail

a sail lifting the women's

breasts lifting as the trees

and the crewmen looked away

towards the sailing dinghy

limp in a nibbling bay

there was a three-cornered

hat conveniently scattered

on the ground

the trees leaned

from a wreath of smoke

drifting towards the scene

it was a moment frozen

a stopped clock

twelve figures circled around the moment

in the act of supplication

a confusion of giving and receiving

later the sky would be filled

with charging cavalry

and the tumbling clouds

would disgorge riders

who would descend to

find fine buildings

spacious boulevards

and cobblestones





           2 the judgment of Paris


after the instant the numbers

would have peeled off the clock

but for the moment all is tableau

Marion unaware of the declension

from maiden to skulking demon

the food proffered

the adze raised

Marion unaware of the axis

between sustenance and death

passing through his head

sits in state like a hospital patient

in the midst of a visit by goddesses

a curtain hangs on the strange

pillars of judgment on the flimsy

pallisade guarding the bay

near the twisted driftwood

and the contorted trees

Marion sitting frozen under a sky

of stone between life & death

& the distance between them







so there were demons

but no reason to ask why

Marion was no angel

there was that business

in Van Dieman's Land

pickets of ribbonwood

how could they help?

any more than the

garrison could save

Lieutenant Meryon

from the Akaroa clap

and horses in the sky





           4 famous last words



the names murmuring

together merci merci

merci the little waves

mumbling at the shore

the wind shifting the leaves

this way that way this

what is there more

to say at the end but

thank you thank you




Note on the text

The assassination of Marion Dufre\ne was prompted by a lithograph I first saw at the Hocken Library in Dunedin, in which Charles Meryon imagined the event. Marion Du Fresne (Dufre\ne was Meryon's spelling) was a French navigator who stopped at Tasmania and the Bay of Islands on his way to Tahiti in 1772. He did not reach Tahiti. In one of the most violent of the early interchanges, members of his party, including Marion himself, were massacred by local Maori, provoking a massive reprisal in which 200 Maori lost their lives. Charles Meryon visited New Zealand as a young naval officer in 1842 and was stationed in Akaroa. Later he was to become a significant artist and one of the great engravers of the century. Many of his later etchings contained surreal juxtapositions and symbolic images presumably the result of the dementia which overtook him. He died in an asylum in 1868. J. N.






Next text 






Extract from The Blinding Walk                                                 


           The car trip began, with Yehune in the front seat cradling the book of maps while Mairi drove, her larger friend Celestine relegated to the back seat with Mel. At some point or other, he wasn't sure when, Yehune had given up on the idea of trying to get back to their original direction. There was that electrifying but aimless feeling in the air – some unacknowledgeable spice in the interplay of personalities whenever male related to female, pushed down under the hitcher's bland assumption that all this was nothing more than a way of eating up the miles. And they were doing that, the small French engine howling and rumbling and shunting them through space, if only in the direction of Paris. In the meantime, there was nothing much to do except practise his technique, asking Mairi question after question about herself, keeping his mouth shut as much as humanly possible while she answered them – and the third part (so often neglected even in the face of good intentions) – trying to remember what she'd said. That was with a view to further chats. Which pretty obviously would never happen here. He looked out on the right side wall of her hair, which gathered to a floating point at the end. There was something in the way her legs in jeans controlled the pedals, hand gripped wheel or gear lever, something decided, reserved, expressive in her sweeping changes from one lane to another, like an underlay to her brief and subdued-vivacious catches of words.       

           He'd worked out that her pronunciation was Scottish a while before she told him she lived in Edinburgh and was something she called an 'artistic secretary'. Celestine, by contrast, had a flat in the 10th Arrondissement in Paris, which was where they were headed at the moment. Not information that ought to have concerned him too closely, you might have thought – but something in the act of renouncing his own destination had freed him to any possibility, opening bets again, adding a speculative link on link that he could always reset to zero whenever he wanted. ... Either that, or there was something prophetic in it: something that told him that a chance meeting by the side of a road in the sticks of France could go on to dictate choice of country and means of living to him and a lot of other things besides; reset the human currents in new eddies; harden and change them all; and set them hurtling towards their respective fates... something in the moment-to-moment apprehension of a personality, where the complexity was of an order far beyond physics, beyond the refinement to a sum of unities, where it seemed that messages true or false could be gathered from the tendency of an eye, some affinity in speeds of vibration, or the feather textures of surfaces seen through the premonitory air that whistled around them in the cabin of a moving car.

           This girl Mairi was quick enough to ask about him in return. Yehune gave her the necessary details, along with some more upbeat anecdotes of his recent travels. And she surely couldn't have been counterfeiting that appearance of a deep and natural interest in what he was saying. ...

           'Mont-something? Chauvier...' she broke in.

           'Oh, right, Montchauvier. Sellie\res. Swing on left.'

           'Right here? Or...'

           As for Mel, early on he'd begged some of the water in a net of plastic bottles floating around under the back seats, and after that hadn't said a word or uttered a single sound that Yehune could remember. Nor was Celestine especially talkative. Yehune might possibly even have spared a thought for what it might have been like for his friend, sandwiched between packs and car-rubbish and a stony Celestine in the rushing dark, seeing hills and lights pass sinuously backwards in a disjunct spirit-world of sick fatigue. It did occur to him to wonder how long the guy could hold out, drinking all that water. The answer to that was, not long. A crisis came after a while, Mel piped up, and they stopped a few miles after that in a roadside cafe/. By some agreement between the girls, the drivers were swapped at that point, Mel allowed to flop in the passenger seat, and Yehune and Mairi left to their own devices in the back. She was tired after driving.

           His shoulder served as a warm support. Which was only the beginning ( – long since they'd passed the last junction for which his advice could have been useful, and were set in that inexorable current-system from which Paris was easier to connect with than avoid) of their exploration, tentative feeling out of a new affinity, settled back there among the packs and a residue of wrappers and books and mats and bent umbrellas, while the dark cruised over them, lights passed like gigantic praying-mantis elbows in the sky, side-forces continually pushed and thrust at them so that no way was noticeably up or back or forward; and hardly the ghost of a noise came back to them out of the front seats.






Next text 






From The Uncanny Truth About Abelard


Le 4 septembre 1977

Mais j'y arriverai, j'arriverai a\ faire que tu ne me lises plus. Non seulement a\ devenir pour toi plus illisible que jamais (ça commence, ça commence), mais a\ faire en sorte que tu ne te rappelles me/\me plus que j'e/cris pour toi, que tu ne rencontres me/\me plus, comme par chance, le << ne me lis pas >>. Que tu ne me lises pas, c'est tout, salut, ciao, ni vu ni connu, je suis tout a\ fait ailleurs. J'y arriverai, essaie aussi.

-- Jacques Derrida. 'Envois', La Carte Postale

(1980, Flammarion, Paris)


4 September 1977                                                                                        [Tr: Alan Bass]

"But I will arrive, I will arrive at the point where you will no longer read me. Not only becoming more illegible than ever for you (it's beginning, it's beginning), but by doing things such that you no longer even recall that I am writing for you, that you no longer encounter, as if by chance, the "do not read me". That you do not read me, this is all, so long, ciao, neither seen nor heard, I am totally elsewhere. I will arrive there, you try too."

(1987, University of Chicago,

Chicago & London)



II [A thursday. Une femme.]


10:28pm on Apr. 10

"What he did was to hold the reel by the string and very skillfully throw it over the edge of his curtained cot."

                                             --Sigmund Freud, Berggasse, Vienna: 1921


10:19 am on May. 19 pp 54- 55

I didn't notice what was on that page, but it was wrong

to leave it open there, spine up on Artaud getting it

wrong about Abelard,

getting wrong, so that you misread me in every

tense. My double,


I did not leave you, I have said that before.

I am speaking in your voice after all


9:00 am on May. 23

What you told me then, had the speaker been any but yourself, must have fallen upon deaf ears; for, to tell the truth, I had never read the Letters, I had no intention of reading them, and I assumed that their problems were sufficiently well-known already to persons less illiterate than myself: but I do remember your telling me that the First Letter was, in your opinion, from the hand of Jean de Meung, a literary forgery, designed to create a background and a justification for the rest. You then knocked down the whole card castle....

 --Charles Scott Moncrieff. Lung'arno Regio, Pisa: 1925


4:22 am on Jun. 19

Da fanden sie den Wolf und schlugen ihn so erbarmlich, daB er hinkend und heulend bei dem Fuchs ankam. 'Du hast mich schon angefuhrt,' sprach er.

"They found the wolf, and beat him so mercilessly, that he went to the fox limping and howling. You have misled me finely, said he."

--The Brothers Grimm. Kassel: c. 1822


5:06 am on Jul. 02

Dubious translations, again. You have been reading

these other letters, for

recognizing your writing and phrasing I find your

comments everywhere. Strange marks and

conspicuous 'silences' where you have trailed the

pencil along the bottom of the margin.


Can see where you are thinking, your ghost is on

every page


1:07 am on Aug. 21

It is more than beginning; it is an endlessness of begin-

ning. He put his finger into the wound.

And afterwards believed.







Next text






Le Retour. Graeme Allwright a\ Wellington                       translated by Titus team


En de/cembre 2005 l'ambassade de France a\ Wellington a fe/\te/ le retour de Graeme Allwright en Nouvelle Ze/lande apre\s une longue absence. Allwright a quitte/ la Nouvelle Ze/lande dans les anne/es 40 pour faire carrie\re sur les planches en Angleterre. Il a abandonne/ le the/a/\tre pour traduire en français des chansons de folk, et au de/but des anne/es soixante il est devenu plus connu en France que les artistes dont il a traduit les oeuvres, comme Cat Stevens ou Leonard Cohen. A l'a/\ge de 79 ans il vient de terminer sa premie\re tourne/e dans le pays qui l'a vu nai/\tre, tourne/e baptise/e 'Before I hang up my hat' (avant que je ne tire mon chapeau) ce qui veut dire 'avant que ma journe/e ne s'ache\ve'.

           'Tenue de soire/e' me/\me a\ la ne/o-ze/landaise, ça n'est pas tre\s difficile de repe/rer Allwright au milieu des invite/s : de/tendu et gaillard, bronze/ avec des sandales aux pieds, il discute passionne/ment avec les invite/s. On lui donne a\ peine la soixantaine. Graeme commence a\ jouer. Il se tient debout devant la chemine/e victorienne tandis que Mischa Marks, guitariste de Wellington, joue assis a\ ses co/\te/s. Il s'amuse en me/\me temps qu'il divertit les spectateurs. Il gratte sa guitare tout en se balançant d'avant en arrie\re. Il interpre\te avec entrain dans les deux langues "Les copains d'abord " de Brassens et " On the road again " de Willie Nelson avant d'enchai/\ner avec "Bouteille de vin " de Tom Paxton. Une e/quipe de tournage braque ses came/ras sur Allwright, lui donnant ainsi l'envergure d'une star, et montre aux Ne/o-Ze/landais combien il est estime/ en France.

           Apre\s le spectacle je me pre/sente a\ lui et e/voque au cours de la conversation Jacques Brel, une grand idole de la chanson, Allwright me re/pond : "Tiens ! Je ne l'ai jamais croise/!" Bien sûr ce ne fût pas seulement une soire/e pour ce/le/brer le retour au pays d'un enfant de Nouvelle Ze/lande mais aussi pour ce/le/brer son adoption par la France. La tourne/e d'Allwright qui a dure/ deux semaines a affiche/ partout complet et bon nombre de journalistes l'ont interviewe/ pour qu'il leur raconte le voyage extraordinaire qu'est sa vie.




Next text 





Graeme Allwright comes home


The return of French folk music icon Graeme Allwright to his birthplace New Zealand was recently celebrated at a reception at the French ambassadors residence in Wellington. Allwright left his homeland in the 1940s to pursue a career in the English theatre. He subsequently abandoned the theatre and instead, at the age of 40 he found himself a new career translating popular folk songs from English into French. By the 1960s he had become more famous in France than the original artists whose songs he played, such as Leonard Cohen and Cat Stevens.

           At the age of 79, he returned to play his first concerts in his birthplace in a tour dubbed 'Before I hang up my hat'. Amongst the semi-formal attire of the reception guests Allwright was not hard to spot. Looking closer to 60 than 79, he cut a relaxed but energetic figure; spindly, tanned, wearing sandals and eagerly engaged in conversation with the various guests before playing. Standing in front of a Victorian fireplace with local guitarist Mischa Marks seated beside him, Allwright was clearly there to enjoy himself and entertain the crowd. Rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet while strumming a nylon guitar, he performed spirited renditions ofGeorge Brassens' 'Les Copains D'Abord' and a bilingual version of Willie Nelsons 'On The Road Again'. Introducing Tom Paxton's 'Bottle Of Wine', Allwright dryly noted "This got me a certain reputation in France". A French TV crew followed every move, which served to deepen the New Zealand guests' awareness of Allwright's stature in France. After the performance I managed to introduce myself to the musician and in the course of conversation mentioned Jacques Brel, to which Allwright replied "Ah! I never met him!"

           Clearly the reception was not only a homecoming, but also an affectionate acknowledgement by the French of an adopted son. Over the next couple of weeks Allwright played to packed houses and made media appearances to explain to New Zealanders the truly remarkable journey of his life


Next text 






After Apollinaire


                                              Il y a des petits ponts e/patants


I                      There's a big steel harbour bridge


Il y a mon coeur qui bat pour toi


crush                There's my heart beating for you


Il y a une femme triste sur la route


you                  There's a woman trundling across the road


Il y a un beau petit cottage dans un jardin


against             There's a fibrolite bach in a garden


Il y a six soldats qui s'amusent comme des fous


my                  There's six skateboarders crapping out like loons


Il y a mes yeux qui cherchent ton image


breast               There's my eyes searching for you



like                  There's a stand of eucalyptus trees on Forrest Hill


(& an old campaigner who pisses as we pass)


the                   There's a poet dreaming about his Chantal


There's a beautiful Chantal in that big Auckland


dove                There's a pill-box on a cliff-top


There's a farmer trucking his sheep


a                     There's my life which belongs to you


There's my black ballpoint scribbling scribbling


little                There's a screen of poplars intricate intricate


There's my old life which is definitely over


girl                  There's narrow streets near K Rd

where we've loved each other


There's a chick in Freemans Bay

who drives her friends insane


strangles           There's my driver's licence in my wristbag


There's Mercs and Beamers on the road




There's love


noticing                       There's life


I adore you







Next text 








my god my lotus

my blue water lily

riding with the north wind

           across the Lake of Myrrh

gentle your fingers in my hair

           your sweet breath behind my ear

blossoms float past us

           we're part of a galaxy that whirls

I want to put on sheer linen

           and go down to the river to bathe

walking a little ahead knowing

           you're picking up the vapour trail

I'm your spice girl I make everything

           all right






little sister every day I want you

           like frangipanis and the lemon tree

in blossom

the sun is high I shake your branches

           and white stars fall on me hola

Mebebs flourish Ir-trees burst into bloom

the stone-blue flower and the mandrakes

           send out their dreamy magic

fennel runs wild ginger festoons the paths

           hibiscus butterflies unfold everywhere

life expands

when you're here with your spice garden

and your tropical ricochets

let's drink birthday wine






Notes on the preceding texts

Michele Leggott's poems are from Cairo Vessel 1 and Cairo Vessel 2 based upon English translations by K. Kitchen of Ancient Egyptian fragments. They were published first in the NZ magazine BRIEF, and subsequently by Auckland University Press as Milk and Honey. The Egyptian texts upon fired clay came to us as fragments (98% of all ancient Egyptian papyruses and ocstraca have been lost). They were pieced together by late 19th and early 20th century German and French archeologists who then deciphered them. It appears there was once (dated 1280BC) one vessel, a large vase (below) whose pieces now belong to two collections. The text which curves towards and away from us (requiring the turning of the pot) would have been sung. So the clay was not only a surface for a (probably pre-existant) song-text but a casing that held contents and could be lifted. What did it contain? Wine to pour during an amorous encounter at which the song might be sung? The vase was found (as with all Ramesside lyric-love poetry) on the site of a construction worker's community and their village at Deir el-Medina. A scribe (of which there were several in or near the village) would have been employed to record the words on the vase. Given Egyptian preoccupations, it is possible (though I do not argue it) that the text was written on the vase to commemorate the death of the poet-musician who used to sing it.


                                              the blood of my songs

                                              will dry into words

                                              and the jar will be dashed into pieces 







Next text 









nature in millions of years

created this huge monolith

this red buddha

reflecting the dreams

of the aborigine

& the colors of nothingness

of the invaders

against a pitiless sky

restless in silence




                                                          Uluru (R.K.)


                                              die nature in millionen jahren

                                              ershuf diesen riesigen monolith

                                              diesen roten buddha              

                                              der die traeume der eingeborenen       


                                              & die farben des nichts         

                                              der angreifer

                                              gegen den harten himmel      

                                              sind rastlos im schweigen






Next text 






Extract from 'The Half-Light'


In the street outside there is a burnt smell in the air. The street-people are burning the cow-dung again: it serves as fuel for fire, and keeps them warm during the nights. They cook dense and gratifying food the aroma of which comes to him from across the streets with a pure faith in life. It would make sense to start eating immediately, after his unintended starvation, but he can't take food off hungry people. He can buy what he needs at a respectable restaurant. He goes to one of these where a man with a limp and a bright smile asks him for an order. "What would you wish, sir?" the man says to him.

For some time he is unable to fully grasp the nature of the question: it has the aura of a summons from God, a cosmological significance. This man seems to be willing and able to provide him with anything, at all, that he could desire. He has merely to say what this thing is, to utter the bare fact of his desire, and it will come to him. It seems almost unthinkably impossible, that such things occur. He exists in a place where complete strangers come to him, of their own free will, to ask of him potentially his greatest and most cherished desire.

He has no idea of how he should answer the man, who waits - again, it is remarkable - in an epitome of patience for his response. The man offers him a cardboard menu from which he might narrow down his choices from the spectrum of possibility. It seems a fair compromise, if he is unable to come up with a certain answer of his own. He can choose from these things, and it will come to him: the fact is intoxicating.

He looks at the card and words come out of his mouth before he has become aware of them: sweet black tea. From out of nowhere black tea with sugar will come to him, arrive, and he will then be onto another course of discovery. There is something remarkable in all of these things. He has known them before, but never the remarkableness. He can already taste the diluted sugar on his tongue, and it becomes the quality of this novelty, the remarkableness. The experience of sugar - he doesn't know precisely how to describe it - is in things. It is a desire, though one he is happy to entertain. Often a desire is a submission, a form of bondage to the desire. This one is a desire, on the other hand, that will be coming to him and he will be able to dive deeply, deeply into it without fear.







Next text 






Dedicated to the Greenpeace members currently engaging Japanese

whalers in the Sub-antarctic




Guy & Me


Go down, go down all you blood red roses

 (19th c. NZ whaling shanty)



Ignorance is bliss, so I guess the rich and powerful in France (and more recently Australia) whose practise of systematically crushing immigrants till they felt they had no alternative but to hit back, must be ecstatic right now.

           Or maybe not. In France, where it originated, but in Australia (and New Zealand too) there remains the memory of a theory that posited the total negation of class society, that provided a sketch of how that negation might play out, and even worse , its available to consult pretty much in its entirety, at any library, internet cafe, or to anyone with a text capable mobile phone at any one of a number of online archives, The Bureau Of Public Secrets being my own most visited. Since 1968 when the situationist-inspired occupation movement achieved its high point when 30 million workers were out on the largest wildcat strike in history, in absolute rejection of every value, every practice, every form of hierarchy and servitude that French and global capitalist society had to offer, when capitalism and its spectacle were only saved by the reactionary practises of the Stalinist Party, desperate to regain control of the French working class in an unholy alliance with the entertainment industry and the Gaullist State, that theory has, in bastardised forms permeated every level and niche and aspect of global culture, shaping and reshaping power, how the world is structured, and how it trades.

           Yet most of this seachange was a result of one decision made by one (French) man, Guy Debord, in about 1963, that what was necessary to make a reality of the "construction of situations that go beyond the point of no return" posited by the Situationist International (the avant garde arts group he 'led' in the sense of being the most extreme member, the most ahead of the game) was an analysis of the Leninist left itself and its objective role in the maintenance of the status quo using the same dialectical method Marx himself used, as did Lukacs and Korsch. This analysis he published in Society of the Spectacle (1967), which was promptly labelled the Das Kapital of the 20th century.

           When it ebbed under threat of the ultimate violence that defeated the Paris Commune a hundred years before, the occupation movement left the Theory to future movements many of which took it up whole or in part, right up to and including the repeated assaults from global society's grassroots that have effectively hampered the WTO over the last 5 years.

           There have, of course, been repeated attempts to nullify the theory, to sterilize it by labelling it as too intellectual or as some vapid form of dated hippy ideology as do many anarchists, or to superficially embrace it without grasping the real meaning of it as do the pro-situs who seem to think it is some kind of cool hermetic jargon exi= sting for them to consider themselves superior to everyone else without ever even attempting to achieve any of the radicalism or coherence of the original SI and those who've followed on. Most contemptible by far in my view, though, have been the members of elites -- philosophers, academics and writers -- who've claimed to "Supercede" the SI's example, to have constructed a "New" form of radicalism and rationale for social progress in Post-Modernism i.e. where you no longer fight the alienation innate to capitalism, but embrace it, revel in it. Fraudulent scum to the man.

           The few who continue to display some integrity in this regard, (available to someone restricted to the English-speaking world): the Luther Blissett group, now renamed Wu Ming, for ongoing cultural detours, New York's Not Bored and aforementioned BPS [Bureau Of Public Secrets]. There are other archives, websites and even publications that have fragments of the theory and or the story.


          Comprehension of this is such a difficult, such a fugitive thing, yet it's also the simplest thing in the world . It begins with disgust, terror, horror at the world we're all trapped in, revulsion at the endless queue of venal, corrupt politicians and businessmen, the ceaseless parade of atrocities, but it doesn't end there. It's the same in Paris as it is in New York or Christchurch, where I first came across the theory in 1975, it becomes effective when we REJECT all of that, ALL of that and start to look for ways to move beyond the values and practises of the charnel house.

           France and New Zealand have distanced themselves from the current bloodbath in the Middle East. The American state, in the grip of the neo-con death cult comes closer to bankruptcy and implosion by the day. The WTO, The IMF and the World Bank have all been discredited in their embrace of the corporate model of globalisation, and will only survive if they abandon that model. Support for Bush's war collapsed when he refused to confront Cindy Sheehan and provide an answer as to why her son Casey died. In the city Bush constantly evokes in citing "the attacks of 9-11'" 30,000 New York transit workers have gone out on strike against the advice of their national union. If Debord were alive today, I think he would not be entirely dismayed with the current state of the world revolutionary project he helped (re)launch 30 odd years ago.


29 December 2005


New Zealand




Next text 






Present?                                                                     18 February 2005


To change the circumstances of your life is to change your future as it is to change your past. No past exists apart from its present. That is not to say it is linked by cause--it is inherent in the present. To think about the past is an act, ongoing penetration of the living store--it becomes integral, existent: when we are no more, there will be no past. We do not discover the past, we uncover elements of times which correspond with our conception of it. The past does not exist. We exist, as do those elements which reinforce our conviction. The past is not dissimilar to that which does not exist as we exist, and which does not fall completely within our conception of existence, because there are always things we do not know, things we can not know. Details of a family--sooner or later we arrive at a point where there is no further information, but we believe there is further information.

           To try to influence the future is to wish to penetrate a mirror which absorbs our form without offering us another side. There is no other side to ourselves nor to existence from this angle. No future for you. No future for me. There are beings, existent forms who sense their surroundings, frame their world, evaluate a non-existent past, and dream up initiatives for surface change. They exist in ways we do not yet understand. We understand some of these ways better than before, but understanding has uncovered more that we have yet to understand.

           Because we exist in ways we do not understand, many believed that existence was granted by that which we do not understand but which understands us. We installed the hypernatural in a parallel present that controls past and future and all. This did not help us to understand or accept ourselves, it drew us into a metonymy whose ancient attributes predate the records of all families and which brings us today, bathetically, fatally, to the check-out counter.

           Man is an animal who speaks; with speech came renunciation. The altar stage broke the most obvious law of survival. Sacrifice offered a false but powerful and empowering sense of purchase on the future and exit from the past, but so too does renunciation of renunciation, as does the repudiation of renunciation or purchase as fruitful gestures. We know, more than we can know. It is in our making: poie/\tikos.





Next text 








Allegory: The lesson of the birds


Arat, an aging tui, called a meeting of the birds. Human dwellings had been encroaching on the woods, and a young bandit by the name of Thomas was wreaking havoc. He was not only ruining the peace of the tiny community, he was threatening the population. Every morning, slug-gun slung across his back, he would slip out of his house, cross the backyard, traverse the creek and enter the dark, creaking woods. He would stake out a patch amongst the trees and wait for birds. Then he would pick them off. He had killed 7 robins, 3 finches, a thrush and 2 minahs all on one morning. This week he had winged a wood pigeon, maimed three tui's, blinded a hawk and murdered a pair of blackbirds. He even stalked injured birds, showing them no mercy. At least with a cat the birds on the high nubile stems of the upper reaches were secure, but no such refuge existed from Thomas camouflaged and nestled amongst the long grass. At any moment a bird could be knocked clean off its perch and sent skittering to the grave.

The birds decided what must be done.

Next morning, as the sun rose to blush the spring leaves with a wash of amber and crimson, an unusual triad of fauna were sitting on top of a tall rimu that overlooked the yards of a group of houses: Arat the tui, Florence the finch, and Erin the falcon. Their attention was focused on two pigeon houses on poles near a round marble bird-bath glistening with water. From the house just next to the pigeon houses, the sounds of clanging and human gurgling could be heard.

'They are up,' whispered Arat. The back-door of the house opened. 'Is that her?' he asked.

'That's her' replied Florence, as a young girl, about 13yrs old, walked towards the pigeon houses with some slices of white bread.

'Then go, you two!' squawked Arat, 'You know what to do!'

Florence allowed herself to be clasped within the gleaming talons of Erin, the falcon.

'Go! Go!' cried Arat, and Erin dived towards the girl on the lawn, screaming past her head before rolling Florence to ground and screeching back towards the trees. Mary (that was the girl's name) was running over to rescue Florence when 'Go, go!' husked Arat from the tree-top and Erin made another swoop, causing Mary to recoil and Florence to flutter further away from her. In this way Florence and Erin drew Mary to the end of the cul-de-sac, then down to the stream and across it. Finally, Florence let the girl take her quaking body in her hands. Mary stroked Florence and was promising her she would protect her from that nasty falcon when she spied a young boy, about 12 years old, lying in the grass not far away from her with a slug-gun cocked to his eye. He was aiming at a thrush on a distant branch. Mary cried out 'NO!' but it was too late. The thrush fell like a dead weight off the stem and onto the ground.

Mary screamed at him, 'You bad boy! You bad boy!' She ran up and she started hitting him.

'What are you doing, leave me alone,' Thomas cried as he tried to fend her off.

'You're stupid,' said Mary, 'why are you shooting the birds?'

'I do what I want,' said Thomas. 'What's it to you anyway?' and he tried to move away.

Mary's voice stopped him in his tracks. 'I'm gonna tell your parents. You can't just shoot birds. You wait till I tell your dad--you'll be dead meat.'

'No don't, please don't,' said Thomas, 'he thinks I'm shooting cans, he'll give me a hiding if he finds out.'

'Do you promise never to do it again?'

Thomas scuffed his foot.

'You'd better,' she threatened, 'coz I'll be up here every morning, and if I ever catch you shooting birds you'll be in for more than a hiding! There's a law against it!'

Thomas shuffled a bit before giving in, 'Ok, ok, I won't shoot them any more.' He gave her a hostile glance, 'Now leave me alone,' and he pushed passed her to make his way back to the house.

Suddenly the little finch regained its energy and wriggled out of Mary's hands, flitting swiftly to the nearest branch. Mary became aware that there were birds everywhere, rosella and wood-pigeons, mynah, blackbirds and finches. And how tame they seemed, coming right up to her! Mary couldn't believe her luck, and look right there, a tui, a real beautiful one, I can almost touch it, and it's gurgling at me, that's lucky isn't it? They always say it's lucky when a tui crosses your path. Well today must be the luckiest day of my life; and she broke into whistling as she returned to her parent's house for breakfast.






Next text




LI HE                                                            translated by Mike Johnson



Long songs, short songs


long songs split my coat at the chest

short songs razed my speckled hair to stubble


the heroes of our time are nowhere to be found

dawn to dusk, raging fevers have me shake-shaking


thirsty, I scoff wine from the jug

hungry, I tear raw millet from the top of the dike


chill and drear, the moon keeps turning

until a thousand miles go green


infinite peaks by night, each sharply etched

the bright moon shoots between the crags


I give chase to the moon among dark rocks

before it breaks loose beyond far peaks


now I have lost my heavenly toy, no more frolicking

and my hair's bleached white before the song is done




Next text          




LI HE                                                 translated by Mike Johnson



Song of the wilds




duck-feather tailed arrow

bow of the finest mountain mulberry

may, with true aim, bring down the canny goose


in my old and tatty linen all gray and stained

I front the bitter north wind


drunk by dusk

I pass through the fields, singing





poor of purse may be rich of heart

some prosper, others starve, why blame the spirits?


here's a winter wind seeding spring willows

holocaust branches suddenly clothed in bright green mist







Next text 






The French in New Zealand 1769-1938


Around 1850 the numbers of Taha Pakeha came to outnumber those of Taha Maori. New Zealand had rapidly become non-Maori. Both the numbers and percentage of Maori would diminish until Maori made up only 5.6% of the total population in 1901. Statistical research used to use the adjective 'European' to denote this new majority, though it was overwhelmingly British and then British and Irish. These were the cultures whose representatives ruled the country and reflected or ordained popular opinion.


           The official history of the British and Irish in New Zealand has made use of official documents and has focused, naturally enough, on those mentioned in them. Other stories are beginning to be told which include those of European minorities who did not have political power, or of those influenced by representatives of them. Each minority preserves its version of its own history in the colonial situation, and as Arno Loeffler points out in his essay in this issue, and as Ralph J. Crane is not afraid to emphasise in English Postcoloniality, the colonial situation is not a thing of the past. New Zealand does not have power as a modern nation. In contrast to the histories of a host of other countries colonised by various European powers, in neither New Zealand nor Australia "has the colonizing power left or in any real fashion relinquished the power acquired by invasion" (Crane, 1996). Today, as in the 19th century, any non-British presence is quickly charicatured. Behind the fences which minorities erect against incipient racism there are their stories, an other side to the history and present make-up of New Zealand. Their collecting might help us to decide what form of 'auto-sovereignty' ensues.

           As for the French, it has been a long history of suspicion and caricature. Their role in the lower South Pacific ended, at least officially, with the Treaty of Waitangi (1840); thereafter the French were regarded as harmless outsiders greatly admired for their "flair". A brief history of the French as outsiders is followed by a glimpse of their role as insiders.


In 1769, official history tells us, local Maori were at first hospitable to Jean de Surville and his crew when the St Jean Baptiste anchored in Doubtless Bay. Many of de Surville's crew were suffering from scurvy and the overall health of the crew had been poor for several weeks. De Surville's Catholic chaplain is credited (by Christians) with having conducted the first Christian service in New Zealand on Christmas Day of that year. The visit did not end without misunderstanding, however, and the unchristian taking by de Surville of a high-ranking Maori, Ranginui, who would die of scurvy off the coast of Peru.

           In 1772, friendly relations were established between the crews of the French ships Mascarin and the Marquis de Castries and local Maori in the Bay of Islands; then Marion and twenty-six of his compatriots were set upon and murdered (see the poem by James Norcliffe in this issue). There are varying theories as to why this happened, but it seems likely that the French had broken a tapu upon an area of the shore. In reprisal the French, under the command of Lieutenant Crozet, massacred an estimated 250 Maori. These events, the swings from good faith to bad, from trust to treachery, entered oral history and formed lasting impressions of the French among certain tribes. The first French contact with Maori, like that of the Dutch (Abel Tasman) and the English (James Cook) before them, had been marked by misunderstanding and the spilling of blood.

           In 1830, rumours spread among the British population in New Zealand and Australia and among Northland tribes that Lieutenant La Place had been surveying around the mouth of the Kawakawa River with the intention of claiming New Zealand for "the tribe of Marion".

           In 1835, English-born Charles de Thierry appealed to the French government to help him found an independent republic in the Hokianga. The French regarded his claims (20,000 francs paid to the missionary Thomas Kendall, who then paid thirty six axes to local Maori for the banks of the Hokianga River) as legitimate. The affair created such a stir that the British representative James Busby hastily cobbled together a treaty of sorts with local Maori in order to rebuff this utopian project. The French were seen as an unwelcome and a rival foreign (European) power. De Thierry arrived in 1837 to find his documents were accorded no legal significance. He lived the rest of his life in Auckland, teaching music.         

           The fifty French and thirteen Germans who settled the Nanto-Bordelaise colony at Akaroa in the South Island of Zelandia Nova, in August 1840 were not particularly religious. Perhaps they were even chosen for their lack of conviction, since the colony had been planned in 1839 by anti-clerical Freemasons, among them Jean François Langlois and the former Prime Minister and industrialist Duke Decazes. French freemasonry may have been anti-clerical, but it had great hopes for mankind and could be qualified as anti-royalist, or at least, even today it lacks the royalistic element found in British freemasonry. (We might also note that modern New Zealand has as many Lodges of the British form as modern France has of the hardly compatible French form.) When they arrived on the Comte, escorted by the government corvette the Aube (captained by yet another Freemason Lavaud) each of the sixty colonists (who had been recruited at the last minute in Le Havre and Rochefort and were according to John Dunmore "unskilled") was given five acres to live on and free rations for seventeen months. They set to work with little more than their bare hands to create a workable community. French law was administered and French was spoken. Wheat, oats and barley were grown, and the men were perhaps of rural origins, for by 1844 the community could boast 438 pigs, 369 sheep, 145 goats, 36 cows, eight oxen and two horses. Catholic priests, traditional teachers in France, taught the young, however, and there was lively exchange with the English and Germans in the vicinity. The businessmen behind the Akaroa colony had hoped that the South Island would eventually be French. The British, however, had unilaterally, if not legitimately, declared sovereignty of all of New Zealand on June 17th, 1840. William Hobson had arrived in the Bay of Islands with firm instructions to establish all of New Zealand as a British colony. The Nanto-Bordelaise company wouldn't be wound up until 1849, and then only because the French government would not risk another war with England by challenging the latter's spurious annexation of the South Island. There are no records of intermarriage between French and local Maori during this period although in and around Tauranga another group of Europeans, including some French and Danes, did intermarry with Maori, and these families are today influential in the Tauranga, Bay of Plenty and Waikato districts.


After the Treaty and France's acceptance of it, French catholicism penetrated both pakeha and Maori milieux, from the capital city to the hills of Hiruharama and it can be argued without too much effort that it left its traces in the very DNA of New Zealand culture.

           Between 1838 and 1885 the majority of the clergy of the Catholic Church in New Zealand were French, but unlike their English counterparts, French missionaries were not expected nor able to play the "religious hand" of a colonising state. Their imperialism was strictly of the evangelical variety, and many of them had left a France where they felt, themselves, to be the outsiders. The French revolution, major changes in legislation regarding the role of the Catholic Church in France, and the sacking of many churches including the ancient libraries at Cluny, were still within living memory. French Catholics had been the last of the major denominations to arrive. With them the story of an intimate French presence in New Zealand begins, one which is only beginning to be told.

           The Marist Jean-Baptiste Pompallier was based at Russell where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. He was in favour of the chiefs signing, and brought about some changes to the text which assured tolerance and protection of non-Anglican Christian faiths and of the traditional rites and practices of the Maori. He and many of his missionaries gained trust and mana among certain tribes. Some Maori came to regard the Bishop himself not simply as one who respected them when many did not, but almost as one of their own. The recent exhumation of his bones and their re-interment in New Zealand is a sign of this. A tribe or a whanau stakes a claim for the body of one of their own. Apart from Pompallier's winning personality, and notwithstanding conflicts within the Catholic Church (that is to say, power struggles between growing Irish and diminishing French factions within the hierarchies) French influence occurred in the teaching and care of the Marist brothers, Society of Mary fathers, the Religious of the Sacred Heart, Daughters of Charity, Sisters of St Joseph de Cluny, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the Congregation of Our Lady of the Missions, the Convent of the Holy Family in Ponsonby (established in 1862), the Dominican Sisters, the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre (whose head office is today in South Auckland), the Marist Sisters, the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, the Little Sisters of the Assumption, the Sisters of the Cenacle, the Sisters of Jesus and Mary, the De La Salle Brothers, and the Little Sisters of the Poor, all French orders or congregations. E.R.Simmons writing in 1990 noted, 'Today there are at least eleven orders [whose] connection with France is not merely historical, because in all cases they have been and still are in continuous contact with their order in France.' The Society of St Vincent de Paul deserves a mention for having clothed some of our better poets over the years.

           French and Irish Catholic missionaries, being unmarried, were able to claim a position in the social network which a married missionary could not. I was fortunate to hear Marie-Madeleine Lejeune-Waddington reading a recently-transcribed journal description of Suzanne Aubert, of a "Gargantuan" Maori feast held at Jerusalem in 1885 in her honour (mentioned in Jessie Munroe's biography of Aubert). Giselle Larcombe (University of Canterbury), has been studying the diary of Father Antoine Marie Garin, who was based in Northland. Others are on the trail. I would like to contribute a small text (with the agreement of the interviewee). It is a transcription from an interview conducted 31.12.1992 with Andrew W. Direen, who was educated (1934-1938) at the Marist Brothers Juniorate at Tuakau (just south of Auckland) with a subsequent year at Claremont (where there was only religious instruction and it was intended that pupils would go on to the Novitiate stage). It describes everyday life in the Juniorate and hints at the dialogue (or silence) between the boys who were mainly British or Irish and the brothers of the French or Dutch orders.


At Standard One [1929] we went to the Marist Brothers, the Petits Fre\res de Marie, founded by Marcellin Champagnat, and I had a good series of teachers.... The bad boys got the cuts with the cane. The same boys always seemed to be in trouble. Like the La Planche brothers, Albie was one, they were always in trouble, always getting the cuts. One turned out to be a very successul scrap metal merchant. They lived down Saltwater Creek, the other side of the Gardens.


[At the Juniorate, 1934] There were also Dutch priests of the Millhill order who came out to convert the Maoris, and there were a lot of Maori in the area. They said mass and were quite characters. They had motorbikes to go around the Maori villages. [The boys] were taught by some of the finest teachers, they gave us [sixty or seventy students] a very good education. Sport of course. We used to go for plenty of walks, or get taken by truck and then go walking through the bushes and forests in the area. And once the Waikato heads I remember, by bus or by van and then foot... kauri forests, and... they had special places... plenty of walking. They had a farm to support the school and there were three brothers who I don't think were academically inclined who did the farming. They were just like ordinary farmers, pretty rough and ready, and they looked after a four or five hundred acre farm. They grew the veges, although we also used to do the gardening, flower gardening and vegetable gardening. I think that's a very good idea, to do gardening. The principal of the juniorate (which is what it was called) was a Brother Chanel. He had a shotgun, and he'd take the shotgun and pot rabbits. And we used to dig rabbits out as well. There were plenty of rabbits in those days. They used to put rabbit proof fences in. Heavier netting was placed down into the ground below the fenceline, which I suppose stopped them from burrowing through. We used to dig out the rabbit burrows and knock them on the head or quite often corner them where there was this netting and they couldn't get out. You got so much, a penny or something like that, a tail. And some of the boys there had come from farming backgrounds; they knew how to kill rabbits and how to skin them. They used to dry the skins on bits of #8 fencing wire formed into a loop and hang them on the fences. We slept in dormitories... were of all ages. We all had duties, we used to peel the spuds, and help in the cookhouse and look after the chicks. A couple of brothers from Auckland (not religious brothers, Sullivan brothers) they were pretty good at looking after the chooks. They always had trouble getting (civilian) cooks, because we were so far from Auckland and a small community. I remember one who used to get drunk on his day off, and he used to come back and create merry hell and throw everybody out of the kitchen. That was his domain, you know. [Description of refectory building and playing fields] So it was a well-organised outfit. [...] We had good singing teachers. One of the brothers was a very good singer. And we had a choir. There was a centenary celebration of the Catholic Church in New Zealand, and we sang there, in Auckland [1936]. Each teacher had different fields. Brother Patrick was the chemistry man, he was very good. We did Latin and French, Chemistry, English of course, Maths, Geometry, Algebra and Arithmetic... and ah yes, plenty of religious education, mass every morning and plenty of religious instruction. They rang the bell and everyone got up and washed, down to the chapel in the same building. The Brother Provincial lived there too. A Frenchman, the Head of the Marist Order in France came to visit once and gave the older pupils a lecture on sex. The accent was on religious education but it was a very good secular education because after all we were going to be teachers.... They had quite a lot of defections later.







Next text 




VALERIE BAISNEE        translated by Vale/rie Baisne/e                         



A NZ pilgrimage


She admires the Hunua Falls

Says it is a pony tail

A ribbon of pearls

Enshrined in a green casket

And turns back to kiss her lover

Throwing pebbles of boredom in the water.



They say we don't need cathedrals

In the bush we have our fern pillars

with their vault-like canopy

and, in the Kowhai our own choir of tui

But we need self-controlled mowers for our city gardens.


Cape Reinga

Two oceans meet

The sunset over the cape lights the eyes of the spirits

illuminates the coast the sea with fiery words          

We will look after the dead, our land our ancestors

But the hoon on the beach below

Sends his message in a can of beer

Smashed at the head of his girlfriend


In Rotorua

Lady Knox tries to wash her clothes

Whiter for the tourists           

Despite Waimangu's acid remarks

Rotorua will never be a melting pot

Colours refuse to blend in the pools

Leaving streaks over unsolved land deals    

And bubbles of protest in the country.         


Let the dogs run on Kare Kare beach

The children build sand castles

Nobody plays the piano now

It was a nineteenth century story you see

Today we have the symphony under the stars.







Next text 







Pe\lerinage NZ


Devant les cascades d'Hunua

Admirative, elle s'e/crie

Queue de cheval

Ruban de perles

Encha/\sse/es dans un e/crin verdoyant

Et se tourne vers son amoureux

Ricochant son ennui sur l'eau


Terre du Nord

Pas besoin de cathe/drales, disent-ils

Dans la fore/\t tropicale, les fouge\res les valent

La canope/e fait la voûte

Les Tui des Kowhai la chorale

Mais pour nos jardins en ville des tondeuses automatiques


Cap Reinga

Deux oce/ans se touchent

Le coucher de soleil sur le cap allument le regard des dieux

La co/\te, la mer s'illuminent de paroles de feux

Nous che/rirons nos morts, nos ance/\tres, notre terre,

Sur la plage en bas, dans une canette de bie\re

Le vaurien lance son message

Sur la te/\te de sa compagne il se fracasse


A Rotorua

Lady Knox lave ses ve/\tements

Plus blanc que blanc pour les touristes

Malgre/ les acides remarques de Waimangu

Rotorua se sera jamais un creuset

Dans les mares les couleurs se de/rangent

Salissent les traite/s jamais re/solus

Et le pays fait des bulles de protestation


Laissons les chiens courir sur Kare Kare

Et aux enfants leurs cha/\teaux de sable

Personne ne joue du piano aujourd'hui

Ca, c'e/tait une histoire dix-neuvie\me

Jouons la symphonie sous les e/toiles







Next text 









Es gibt kein zweites Mal auf dieser Welt,

und selbst das erste Mal ist mehr als fraglich.

Cubanische Musik und weicher Nachtwind nuetzen wenig,

wenn man schon tot ist und zu nichts mehr tauglich.


Im Leerlauf rollen wir auf unser Ende zu,

durchlaufen all den grellen Laerm der Metropolen,

subventioniert durch Drogen und Religionen

und suchen nach den Stellen wo wir Liebe holen.


Der Staub der Knochen, die uns freundlich stuetzten,

treibt zwischen fremden Galaxien hin und her,

bis irgendwann entropische Prozesse dunkel blitzen,

in denen es uns noch nicht gibt und schon nicht mehr.


Und doch gelingt es immer wieder und ich loese

mein Herz vom Traegermaterial.

dann sehe ich das Leuchten, Meteore und das Boese,

und auf deiner Haut das Muttermal. 






Next text 



THOMAS FINDEISS              translated by William Direen                     





There will be no second time upon this earth

and even the first time is more than dubious.

Cuban music and a soft nightwind are of little help

when you are utterly useless, already extinct.


Freewheeling towards our end,

passing by all the shrill tumult of a city

propped up by drugs and religion,

we seek the point where we will pick up love.


The dust of bones, our kindly supports,

drives before us and backwards between alien Galaxies

in whose entropic processes, flashing darkly,

there is, as ever, nothing for us.


And yet this goes on repeating. I tear

my heart from all that supports it.

I see the light, meteoric, malicious

and, upon your skin, the birthmark.                                                                       






Next text 





Sous la poussie\re, la plage


           Sous la poussie\re, ce soir, c'est la plage. Fabuleux. En fin d'apre\s-midi, des milliers d'hommes et de femmes y affluent de la ville entie\re. Elle est si profonde, et si longue qu'en arrivant je ne vois pas la mer. Mes pieds s'embarrassent dans le sable sur une centaine de me\tres puis elle est la\, devant moi, a\ l'infini. Dans l'horizon lointain et sur toute la largeur du rivage immense les indiens sont comme une nue/e d'oiseaux dans un champ qui restent debouts, immobiles, et regardent la mer, ou marchent lentement le long du rivage, s'assoient en cercle et sur les barques des pe/\cheurs aligne/es au bord de l'eau.

           Les saris, et toutes sortes de drape/s volent au vent le/ger, dans la lumie\re tombante. Le bord de l'eau est comme crible/ de ces graines colore/es et en me/\me temps noircies par le contre-jour, elles forment un courant long et irre/gulier qui s'e/coule comme un ruisseau suivant au hasard les cavite/s du sol.

           Des familles et des groupes d'amis se prome\nent, une jeune femme avance le pied dans l'eau, puis se recule brusquement en riant, comme partout dans le monde, me dis-je.

           Et puis sur le sable, tous ces points fixes ou bougeants imperceptiblement : ce sont des marchands, des vendeurs de glaces, de the/, de poissons grille/s rougis au paprika ; ceux qui font tourner les mane\ges en bois a\ la force de leurs bras, les mendiants et les loueurs de cerfs-volants, ceux qui proposent des pistolets en plastique aux enfants ou des barbes a\ papa enferme/es dans des sachets plastiques et qu'ils portent sur l'e/paule comme des ballons de baudruche. Ils iront tous ce soir dormir dans les rues alentours, enveloppe/s dans ces couvertures qui les ve/\tent a\ pre/sent, a\ me/\me le sol, perche/s sur des charettes, ou des amoncellements d'objets re/cupe/re/s.

           Pourtant, le spectacle de tout ce monde me/\le/ et a\ perte de vue apaise l'esprit de chacun et fait oublier l'activite/ incessante de la journe/e ; le temps d'ailleurs n'existe pas, a\ quoi sert de calculer des jours et des nuits qui se succe\dent a\ l'infini. C'est une foule qui n'est pas une foule, et sa rumeur se confond a\ celle de la mer.

           Assise sur le rebord d'une barque, croisant les regards curieux et les sourires constants, j'ai vu s'effacer dans la nuit les vagues et leur e/cume et, avec elles, ces ombres qui passaient devant moi.







Next text 




SANDRA BIANCIARDI                            translated by William Direen



Beneath the dust, the beach                                                                 


This evening, lying beneath a layer of dust as if in a fable, the beach. It is so long and wide that upon arriving I can't see the sea at all. I walk with difficulty upon the sand for a hundred metres or so until I can see it there in the distance.

           In the early evening thousands of local Indians gather here from all over the city. Right now they are flocking over all the length and breadth of this immense space. Most of them remain standing, motionless, and look at the sea, others walk slowly along the shore; still others form small groups, standing or sitting in circles or in the fishing boats that line the water's edge.

           Saris and all sorts of cloth are flying in the breeze in the failing light. The shore seems to be granulated like rice, coloured and at the same time blackened due to the strong backlighting of the sun, while the sand seems to flow in sleek currents like a stream which would follow at random the depressions and meanderings of an uneven terrain.

           Families, too, and groups of friends walk about; a young woman dips her toes in the water and withdraws them quickly, laughing, as people do everywhere in the world, I say to myself.

           And then on the beach itself, fixed forms or those moving imperceptibly: these are the merchants, the ice-cream salesmen, or vendors of tea, of grilled fish reddened with paprika, who turn merry-go-rounds with nothing but the force of their arms, and who rent out kites or sell ice-blocks or pink and orange candy floss enclosed in plastic sachets hoisted upon their shoulders like inflatable balloons. They will all sleep in the surrounding streets this evening, on hard ground, leaning upon barrows or the bric-a-brac of found objects, their bodies wrapped in the cloths that drape their bodies at the moment.

           And in spite of this variety, the spectacle of everyone together stretching to the horizon soothes the spirit of each of all of us, helping us to forget the incessant activity of the day. Time, moreover, doesn't exist: what would be the point of counting the days and nights filing after each other into infinity? It is a crowd which is not at all like a crowd, its murmur indistinguishable from that of the sea.

           Sitting on the edge of a fishing boat, observed as much as observing, I have been watching the waves and their foam vanishing in the night, and with them those shadows which were passing before me.






Next text 







Letter to Ernest Renan


                                   My doubts glitter, glacial.

Metal bars are shadows standing vertical as -- say,

                                   in a prison.


But for whom? A large question that holds space

                                   enough, wouldn't you agree?


Between your death and now much has been lost;

the value of confirmed doubt, for instance.


The corridor back from self-to-self, sans ego.

A quality of mind that forgives / foregoes nothing, an

                                   assurance whereby perception,


for its own sake, validates ...



Perhaps the day of your death is like

any other, geostrophic rhythms continue fluidly

within subterranean cycles.


A bird will locate its migratory route

according to magnetic fields, in unhurried recall.


                                   Though in 1892,

the year of your death, an energy spike peaked on

                                   the invisible graph of


Mont Blanc glacier, and a hidden lake burst,

releasing 200,000 m3 of ice, water and mud down


upon the village of Saint Gervais,

sweeping away 200 lives under the white mountain.


A sinkhole appeared the size of a football field

                                   in the Mer de glace


As though by a spear thrust from Jupiter Poeninus

                                   Celtic god of mountains.



                                   Maybe your soul

does dwell back in time, in the shape of a white sea bird,

mournfully turning upon the hill above Tre/guier,


circling all night the ruins of St Michel,

that lightning blasted church, seeking access

through the boarded up doors and windows,


looking in vein for the secret entrance to the

lit days of your childhood, there to make a votive offering to

your Breton gods at the ruined altar.







Next text 




PAUL CELAN                             translated by Jack Ross


These versions inspired by Schneepart (1971) by Paul Celan

are dedicated by Dr Ross to Dieter Riemenschneider & Jan Kemp





About 20 April 1970, around Passover, Celan went from the bridge into the Seine and, though a strong swimmer, drowned unobserved. [...] Mail piled up under the door of his barely furnished flat. Gise\le called a friend to see if perhaps her husband had at last gone to Prague. On 1 May a fisherman came upon his body seven miles downstream. – John Felstiner





Language doesn't just build bridges into the world, but into loneliness.


SNOWPART close-ribbed   to the last

updraft                       in front

always gap-windowed



flat dreams shave

stiff brist

led ice


hew out word

shadows         cord them

round the ringbolt

in the pit







Poems: gifts ... gifts to the attentive.


ORESPARK  deep in the

upthrust          f/orefathers


you get away

with it

like fossil

sperm             saying an only


to them


chalkspoor megaphone


found lost

in the karst beds

spare               clear







Poems are sketches for existence: the poet lives up to them.



daybreak         your

multidimension/locational WANTED

poster vital statistics



smile at you

the dent of Dasein

helps the radar



the Manukau

silts up the vaults







La poe/sie ne s'impose plus, elle s'expose

(Poetry no longer imposes itself, it exposes itself.)


DARK splinter echo

nerve im


the groyne above the turn

where it ends up



it's not

just look


the worship



riflebutt away

from prayer silos


one none







when is it not a question of last things?



hold up my eye

till you appear


how many seagulls stall

above your forehead?

The word rattles like surf

my negative by



a stone-mad swinging door

give up

too early         night





Next text 




CHRIS WALSHAW                             C.W. & Martin Sennett (tr)



In Cool Air                                                In der kuehlen Luft 


In the cool air                                                In der kuehlen Luft

through our morning window                       durch unser Morgenfenster

the cooing of pigeons                                    hat das Gurren der Tauben

has sounds and rhythms                                den Klang und Rhythmus

of bed springs                                               von Bettfedern

and your breathing                                        und dein Atmen

has the same rhythm                                     hat denselben Rhythmus

suffusing in noise                                         verschmilzt mit dem Laerm

of early traffic                                               morgendlichen Verkehrs


I kiss you on the cheek                                 Ich kuesse dich auf die Wange

and you say                                                   und du sagst

'why did you do that?'                                  warum hast du das getan

I kiss you on the cheek                                 ich kuesse dich auf die Wange

and hold you tight                                         und halte dich fest

and you say                                                   und du sagst

'why did you do that?'                                  warum hast du das getan


You look at me                                             Du blickst mich an

with big blue wide-open                               mit grossen blauen weit offenen

cool morning eyes                                         kuehlen Morgenaugen

with blue veins                                              unter denen sich

stretching below them                                   blaue Venen ausbreiten

and I say                                                       Und ich sage


'why do you do that?'                                   warum tust du da






Next text 







UEberbruecken, Leben, Schreiben                             fuer C.P. in K.


"Lesen ist wie ein UEber-setzen von einem Ufer zu einem fernen anderen, von Schrift in Sprache. Ebenso ist das Tun des UEbersetzers eines ’Textes' UEber-setzen von Kueste zu Kueste, von einem Festland zum anderen, von Text zu Text." (1) Das lesen wir in einem Aufsatz von Hans-Georg Gadamer. Ein nicht mehr ganz neuer Topos und eine Bildlichkeit finden wir hier wieder, mit deren Hilfe die Vollzugsweise des Verstehens in der Auslegung und sein grundlegendes Sprach- und Literaturverstaendnis be-schrieben wird. Schon das Lesen von poetischen Texten in der eigenen Muttersprache gleicht nach dieser hermeneutischen UEberzeugung einer UEbersetzung, die fast wie eine UEbersetzung in eine Fremdsprache ist. Auffaellig, dass sich auch hier die Aussagen zum Lesen, Verstehen und UEbersetzen von Metaphern des Ortes verbuergen lassen.

Die Bruecke, ein erhabenes Symbol. Die deutsche Sprache kennt den Begriff des Baukunstwerks. Bruecken zaehlen zu ihnen--und sind doch vielleicht mehr als jedes andere Bauwerk einer primaeren Funktion unterworfen. Die ist klar definiert: sie garantiert den Transport. So scheint es. Ein Satz aus einem Dokumentarfilm laesst uns etwas anderes wissen: "Die Autobahnbruecke traegt eine Perspektive in die Landschaft ein." Der Titel: Reichsautobahn. Regie, Buch, Schnitt: Hartmut Bitomsky, 1986 erstaufgefuehrt. Er handelt vom Bau der deutschen Autobahn: ein gemachter Mythos, ein Gesamtkunstwerk, in dem Bruecken wie einst die Kathedralen wirken sollten. Der Kommentar: "Es gab zwei Fraktionen von Brueckenbauern, die ihre Auseinandersetzungen hatten. Architekten hier, Ingenieure dort. So waren die Rollen verteilt. Die einen wollten moderne Bruecken konstruieren, aus Beton und Stahl. Die anderen wollten Bruecken mauern mit Steinquadern und Moertel. ’Schwere Mauermassen und enge Boegen lieben wir an alten Bruecken,' sagten die einen. ’Wir verlangen die deutliche Heraushebung der Funktionen, die klare Darstellung des Kraeftevorganges bis in die Einzelheiten hinein, Sauberkeit auf jeder Linie, Verzicht auf jede nicht notwendige Zutat, Kompromisslosigkeit, einfachste und klarste Form.' Das seien seelenlose Rechenwerke, entgegneten die andern. Die Aufgabe des Baumeisters ist, Material und Massen zu formen und nicht zu reproduzieren. ’Mit Quadern bauen, heisst den Raum zu gestalten, die Autobahn wird zur Plastik, die im Raum steht. Beton ist ein kuenstlicher Stoff, er kriegt keine Patina. Aber Steinbruecken sind feierlich wie Domgewoelbe.' (...) Es wurden fuer die Autobahn Steinbruecken und Stahlbetonbruecken gebaut. (...) Die meisten Steinbruecken hatten in Wahrheit einen Betonkern. Die Steine waren vorgeblendet. Wer ueber eine Bruecke faehrt, wird ohnehin nicht viel bemerken von der AEsthetik des Bauwerks. Die Bruecken waren bestimmt fuer den Blick jenseits der Autobahn."(2). Sie waren Teile einer als Kunstwerk konzipierten Anlage eines Streckennetzes, heisst es, und weiter: "Die Autobahn machte einen Schnitt ins Land. Sie stellte einen Zusammenhang her."(3) Zerteilen und Zusammenfuegen, Teil einer Operation. Zusammenhaenge herstellen, die sich dann von anderen beobachten lassen. Und nur von anderen. Jene Leute aber, wir, von denen in Elfriede Jelineks Wolken.Heim zu lesen ist, beobachten sich nicht bei der Fortbewegung. Sie sind emphatisch gestimmt: "Ein schoenes Gefuehl, in der Nacht ueber unsre Autobahnbruecken zu fahren, und untern strahlt es aus den Lokalen: noch mehr Menschen wir wir! Ein heller Schein. Die Figuren, Fremde wie wir, Reisende, stroemen in die Busbahnhoefe, um sich zu verteilen, von Ort zu Ort (...)."(4) Wir sind wir. Wir, die wir uns bezeugen. Wir, die wir hier sind. Uns gehoeren. Bei uns sind. Zu Haus: Kein Ort fuer Selbstbeobachtung.

In konventionellen Vorstellungen wie der Gadamers sorgen die UEbersetzer als ordentliche Brueckenbauer hingegen fuer einen "bestaendig fliessende[n] Verkehr", sie garantieren eine stoerungsfreie Vermittlung zwischen dem Selbst und dessen Lektuere. UEbersetzungen, wenn auch von praktischer Notwendigkeit, gelten einer konventionellen Bestimmung nach als dem Original nachrangig und als sekundaer. Die Autoritaet des Originaltextes, insbesondere des literarischen Selbst als einem Irreduzibel-Besonderem, gegenueber der UEbersetzung bleibt damit unhinterfragt. Sie wird in ihren Effekten fortgeschrieben. Was nichts anderes heisst, dass die Autoritaet des Originals ueberliefert und dabei zugleich die Machtsetzung verschleiert wird, die von ihrer definitiven Bestimmung ausgeht. Auf diese Autoritaet wiederum beruft sich eine Literaturkritik, die als gesetzgebende anerkannt zu werden verlangt.

Kann denn aber ausgeschlossen werden, dass beim Grenzueberschreiten--selbst nach einem moeglicherweise vorausgehenden Bau eines Brueckenkopfes, also bei einer sorgfaeltig vollzogenen Operation--Gespenster begegnen? Gespenster, die dafuer sorgen, dass der sich in der von ihnen heimgesuchten UEbersetzung von Woertern in eine andere Sprache ergebene

Verlust ihrer Bildlichkeit, nicht immer der Verstaendlichkeit zugute kommt, sie nicht zur Ruhe und Einheit kommen laesst.

           "Kaum hatte ich die Grenze ueberschritten, da stuerzten sich mir die Gespenster entgegen." -- Ein Zwischentitel aus Friedrich Murnaus Nosferatu (1922) taucht in Jean-Luc Godards Allemagne Neuf Ze/ro (1990) auf, dem Produkt eines Filmemachers, der offen zugibt: "Im gesamten Film gibt es beinahe kein eigenes Wort von mir. Es sind alles Zitate, aber sind durch meine Erinnerung gegangen." Ein Satz bebildert eine Vorstellung. Reden, also Zitieren, mit den Worten und Bildern anderer. Also fremden? Was kann man anderes erwarten, hier und jetzt? Anschliessend setzt Eddie Constantin, der hier den wiedererwachten Lemmy Caution aus Alphaville (1965) darstellt, ueber den Fluss. Direkt neben der Glienicker Bruecke. Einer Bruecke, deren oestlicher Teil im Westen, genauer gesagt im amerikanischen Sektor von Berlin lag. Eine besondere Herausforderung an die Perspektive, ueber die eine Grenze verlaeuft, unpassierbar gemacht im Alltag. "Wir mussten die Bruecke vor Angriffen aus dem eigenen Hinterland und von Westberliner Seite her schuetzen. Die Soldaten der Grenztruppen sind hier, wie im gesamten Grenzsystem, fuer acht Stunden aufgezogen. Rund um die Uhr hat hier ein Grenzposten gestanden. Dieser Posten hat nicht direkt auf der Bruecke gestanden, denn die war ja aus Sicherheitsgruenden total verbaut.

Vorne waren riesige Sperrelemente aus Beton, sie waren mit Blumen bepflanzt," erinnert sich Thomas Segeth, von 1988 bis zur zur OEffnung der Bruecke in der Nacht vom 9. auf den 10. November Kompaniechef der Sicherungskompanie.(5) Sie diente als die Kulisse fuer oeffentlichkeitswirksame Entspannungsgesten: den Austausch von Agenten, in den Worten der in der in Berlin, Hauptstadt der DDR ansaessigen Nachrichtenagentur ADN "Kundschafter" genannt, die in Grossraumlimousinen mit getoenten Fenstern stiegen. Unter dem Blick von Fernsehkameras und Fotoapparaten, also Medienapparaten zur massenhaften Verbreitung von Bildern, die den sonst nicht sichtbar zu machenden Kalten Krieg und die das Denken und Leben bestimmende politische Blockbildung illustrieren sollten. Eine stilechte Inszenierung der Wirklichkeit, die sich die Fiktion--den Agentenfilm--zum Vorbild genommen hatte. Auch dazu gemacht, von beiden Seiten beobachtet zu werden und nach beiden Seiten hin zu beobachten.

Die Bruecke verbindet, heisst es in Heideggers "Bauen Wohnen Denken", "nicht nur schon vorhandene Ufer. Im UEbergang der Bruecke treten die Ufer erst als Ufer hervor. Die Bruecke laesst sie eigens gegeneinander ueber liegen. Die andere Seite ist durch die Bruecke gegen die eine abgesetzt. Die Ufer ziehen auch nicht als gleichgueltige Grenzstreifen des festen Landes den Strom entlang. Die Bruecke bringt mit den Ufern jeweils die eine und die andere Weise der rueckwaertigen Uferlandschaft an den Strom. Sie bringt Strom und Ufer und Land in eine wechselseitige Nachbarschaft."(6) Will man nicht mit Hilfe von UEbersetzung versuchen, jenen sich zwischen Text und Text, Kultur und Kultur auftuenden Abgrund zu schliessen, sollte es dann nicht die Aufgabe zu sein, mittels der UEbersetzung diesen Unterschied zu denken und in ihr selbst die Positionierungen und Obsessionen von UEbersetzungsoperationen zu entdecken zu versuchen? Sie stellt uns die Frage nach der Art, wie jene Textoekonomie beschrieben werden kann, die durch die UEbersetzung hindurch zirkuliert. Das ist eine Aufgabe des UEbersetzers.











NILS PLATH                                   translated by Nils Plath



Bridging, living, writing                                               for C.P. in K.


"Reading is like a translation from one riverbank to another, from writing into language. The work of a translator of a "text" is a translation from coast to coast, from one mainland to another, from Text to Text."(1) We read this in an essay by Hans-Georg Gadamer. A not-entirely-new topos is presented here, as well as a familiar figurative language, with whose help the execution of understanding in interpretation and interpretation's basic linguistic and literary concepts are described. According to this hermeneutical view, even the reading of poetic "texts" in their original language is equivalent to translation. Reading resembles a rerendering (translation) into a foreign language. Two entities again, separated. It is remarkable how many statements about reading, understanding, and translation are secured by metaphors of place.

           The bridge, a lofty symbol. The German language contains the word "Baukunstwerk": architectural art-work. Many bridges belong to this category, but, perhaps more so than any other type of architecture, the traditional definition of bridges subjugates them to the domination of a primary function: a bridge guarantees transportation. Or so it appears. A sentence from a documentary film tells a different story: "The autobahn bridge registers a perspective in the countryside." The film's title: Reichsautobahn. Direction, script, editing: Hartmut Bitomsky, first screened in 1986. The film is about the German autobahn, built in the thirties, a man-made myth, a perfect piece of art, whose bridges came to have the effect that cathedrals once had. From the voice-over: "There were two factions among the bridge builders that butted heads with each other. Architects here, engineers there. That's the way the roles were distributed. One side wanted to construct modern bridges out of concrete and steel. The other side wanted bridges built out of massive stone blocks and mortar. 'We love the heavy walls and narrow arches of old bridges,' said one side. 'We demand a clear emphasis on function, the clear presentation of the building forces in every detail, clean lines, avoidance of every unnecessary accessory, no compromises, the simplest and clearest form.' The others called this soulless calculation. The task of their builder was to form material and mass, not reproduce it. To build [...] means to form the space: the Autobahn will become sculpture in the space surrounding it. Concrete is an artificial material, it has no patina, but stone bridges are as festive as cathedral arches... [The outcome was that] stone bridges as well as concrete bridges [were] built for the Autobahn [...] and, in fact, most of the stone bridges had an internal concrete structure. There was only an illusion of stone. Whoever drives over a bridge won't notice much about the aesthetic of the architecture anyway. The bridges were meant to be viewed from beyond the autobahn."(2) They were parts of a network of roads conceived as a work of art, it was said. And more: "The autobahn cut into the country. It created a context."(3)

           To divide and connect, part of one operation. To manufacture connections that can then be observed by others. And perhaps only by others. For as we know from reading Elfriede Jelinek's Wolken.Heim not everyone observes while driving. They are in an emphatic mood: "A good feeling, to drive through the night over our autobahn bridges. Underneath them, lights shine out from the pubs: even more people like us! A bright light. The characters, strangers as we are, travellers stream into the bus stations, distributing themselves from place to places..."(4) We are we. (The ultimate tautology.) We, who attest to ourselves. We, who are here-- Belong to us. Are among us. At home. At least soon.

           In the conventional view, such as that of Gadamer, translators are proper bridge builders who, conversely, take care that there is "constantly flowing traffic." (And if the traffic is blocked, clogging up, one feels disappointed.) They guarantee an undisturbed mediation between the self and its reading material. Translations, although also of practical necessity, according to the conventional definition, rank behind the original--they are of secondary importance. The authority of the original text, especially of the literary self of irreducible distinctiveness, remains, in contrast to the translation, beyond question. This authority is perpetuated by the effects of the translation: the authority of the original is handed down. At the same time, the act of force that comes from its definitive purpose is veiled while a type of literary criticism develops, demanding to be recognized as law, which refers to this authority.


What if we, while a border is being crossed--even after such a strategically planned operation as construction of a bridge or bridgehead--encounter ghosts? Ghosts that cause a loss of figurativeness, ghosts that haunt the translation of words into another language without serving understanding, without allowing us complaisant rest in peace and unity. "I had hardly crossed the border when ghosts came toward me," reads an intertitle from Friedrich Murnau's Nosferatu (1922) that reappears in Jean-Luc Godard's film Allemagne Neuf Ze/ro (1990). A portrait of a country undergoing unification, becoming something, a state in a state of emergency, unshaped and undefined, depicted by a filmmaker who frankly admits using the past to portray the future: "In the whole film there is almost no word of my own: it's all quotations, but they have all passed through my memory." A sentence to illuminate an idea. To speak, that is, to quote, with the words and images of others, foreign ones? Traces of memory to describe a time yet-to-come (avenir). Can one ever do anything else here and now? After this intertitle, Eddie Constantin, playing the re-awakened secret agent Lemmy Caution from Alphaville (1965), ferries himself across the river right beside the Glienicker Bruecke in Berlin, a bridge whose eastern part was in the west: more exactly, in the American Sector of Berlin. The bridge poses a special challenge to the perspective, since over it, in daily life, ran an impassable border. "We had to protect the bridge from attack from our own hinterlands and West Berlin," one former commanding officer recalls: "The border guards here, as throughout the entire border system, kept an eight-hour watch. There was a border patrol around the clock. This patrol did not stand directly on the bridge, since it was completely obstructed for reasons of security. At the end of the bridge, there were enormous concrete blocks; they were planted with flowers..."(5) The bridge served as the stage for public-pleasing gestures of de/tente: the exchange of agents, who in the words of the Berlin GDR news agency ADN were called "scouts" (Kundschafter). They got into large limousines with shaded windows, observed by television cameras and journalist's cameras; that is, by apparatuses used by the media to spread images meant to illustrate an otherwise invisible cold war and a block building determining the thoughts and lives. The bridge, a true-to-style staging of reality that used a form of fiction--the spy film--as its model, became, in turn, the model for yet other future spy films. A bridge, made to be observed from both sides had become an observation platform of use to both sides.

"The bridge connects", says Heidegger in 'Bauen Wohnen Denken', "not only pre-existing banks. The banks first appear as such when crossing the bridge. It is the bridge that places them on opposite sides--through the bridge, one side is distinguished from the other. The banks do not run along the sides of the stream like insignificant outlines of the solid land. The bridge brings not only the two shores together but, one way or another, it brings the hinterland behind the shores to the current. The bridge brings river, bank, and land together in multi-layered reciprocal proximity."(6) Without the bridge, banks and land were unthinkable or, at least, unrecognizable as different entities. If we are reluctant to cross evident abyss between text and text, culture and culture, translation and translation, might we not, with the help of translations, perceive and apprehend this difference and try to examine the jostling for position and the obsessions that are closely linked to the very act of translating? An obsession with voids, for instance, or one that turns difference into a stabilizing force capable of forging (forming) identity. The task is also a question: how may this 'economy' of reading that circulates throughout and through every translation be described? This can be called the task of the translator.







1. Hans-Georg Gadamer, 'Lesen ist wie UEbersetzen', in: Gesammelte Werke, Band 8, AEsthetik und Poetik 1. Kunst als Aussage, Tuebingen 1993, p. 284.

2. Hartmut Bitomsky, 'Reichsautobahn' in: Jutta Pirschtat (ed.). Die Wirklichkeit der Bilder. Der Filmemacher Hartmut Bitomsky, Essen 1992, p. 75.

3. ibid p. 76.

4. Elfriede Jelinek, Wolken.Heim, in: Elfriede Jelinek. Stecken, Stab und Stangl. Raststaette. Wolken.Heim. Neue Theaterstuecke, Reinbek 1997, p. 137.

5.Thomas Segeth, commanding officer of the security forces from 1988 to the opening of the bridge during the night of November 9-10, 1989; see: Thomas Blees, Glienicker Bruecke, Berlin 1998.

6 Martin Heidegger, 'Bauen Wohnen Denken', in: Martin Heidegger. Vortraege und Aufsaetze, Teil 11, Pfullingen 1954, p. 26.










Valerie Baisne/e is Professeur Agrege/e at University of Paris 13. She was a teacher at Auckland University 1991–97 and is the author of Gendered Resistance (1997).


Sandra Bianciardi is a painter recently returned from a research trip to India. She lives and works in Paris.


Brett Cross is chief editor of Titus Books*, bringing to the light the work of several of the writers who appear in this journal. He is based in Auckland.


Gunther Dietrich's Spulwuerm (poetry) has circulated in Berlin in two editions since 2002. Some of his art was exhibited in Dunedin in February 2006.


William Direen's energy goes into literary or musical projects. He lives in Paris and edited this journal. His latest novel Brakeman was published by Titus Books (2006).*


Thomas Findeiss asked to be described as an inhabitant of the Milky Way. A philosophical novelist, he lives in Berlin.


Scott Hamilton is an Auckland-based research student and self-avowed political militant. He is editor of Brief literary journal (published by The Writers' Group*).


Mike Johnson is a poet and novelist in his own right (Lear, 1984 and Dumb Show, 1996). He teaches creative writing in Auckland.


Mila Kovan studied poetics at the Universities of his native Sydney and of California (with Gary Snyder). He draws inspiration from travel and eastern philosophy.


Rudi Krausman left his native Austria for Australia in 1958 and has lived there ever since. He is a poet, editor and playwright, publishing work in German and English.


Michele Leggott is a widely-published New Zealand poet and researcher. She is the coordinator and maintainer of the NZ Electronic Poetry Centre.*


Arno Loeffler is a History and Philosophy graduate from Berlin University. He has visited New Zealand several times and is an adept of NZ music. He has translated Nusquama by Bill Direen for Titus Books (2006).*


Olivia Macassey is an Auckland-based poet and researcher. Her debut collection Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction was published by Titus Books (2005).*


Grant McDonagh has discussed his Post-Situationist worldview and worked with poets, painters and musicians of several generations. He is the editor of Ultrazine.*


James Norcliffe has been fiction editor and is currently the poetry editor of long-standing NZ literary journal Takahe.*


Stephen Oliver's poems have appeared in journals in New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, USA and the UK. His last two publications are available from Titus Books.


Nils Plath, lecturer in comparative literature and textual design, has published essays on sites and spaces as varied as quotation marks, landscapes, galleries and continents.


Jack Ross lives and works on Auckland's North Shore. His latest experimental novel The Imaginary Museum of Atlantis was published (2006) by Titus Books.


K.M.Ross lives and writes in Edinburgh. His first novel Falling Through the Architect is available from The Writers Group*. He is the editor-in-chief of Crywolf Books.*


Chris Walshaw is curating the development of new and experimental theatre in Berlin, where he is a prime mover in English Theatre.*


Mark Williams writes songs for his band Marineville, plays in other bands (such as a Brel covers group), and is organisor of screening projects at the NZ Film Archive*.









Brief. Adventurous literary journal with a political conscience. The editor is Scott Hamilton. 50 Aroha Avenue, Sandringham, Auckland, NZ.


Crywolf Books. An independent web distribution initiative:


English Theatre at F40. Fidicinstrasse 40, 10965 Berlin, Germany. F 40. Presents new and recent English-language theatre in the heart of Kreuzberg:


NZ Electronic Poetry Centre. A 'gateway to poetic resources in Aotearoa New Zealand'.


NZ Film Archive. Cnr Ghuznee & Taranaki Sts, Wellington.

Takahe literary journal. Subscriptions & info: PO Box 13-335, Christchurch, NZ.


The Writers' Group. 50 Aroha Avenue, Sandringham, Auckland, NZ.


Titus Books. PO Box 102 Waimauku, West Auckland, NZ.


Ultrazine. Anti-authoritarian magazine: 329 Wilsons Road, Christchurch, NZ







           Jimmy: That's all, Hugh. The whole story. You know

                            it all now, Hugh. You know it all.

Translations. Brian Friel





Rights & Acknowledgements

All rights including storage in a retrieval system reserved

©2006 Percutio & the authors.


Droits de reproduction : Percutio, les auteurs et ayants-droits 2006

Re/dacteur en chef: William Direen


The full catalogue of Titus Books may be viewed at


Le catalogue de Titus Books est disponible sur


The poems by Michele Leggott published in BRIEF and then by the University Press of Auckland (Milk and Honey) drew from reconstructions by K A Kitchen (Poetry of Ancient Egypt, Paul Astroms foerlag. Jonsered. 1999).


Les poe\mes de Michele Leggott e/dite/s dans le journal Brief puis par la Presse Universitaire d'Auckland (Milk and Honey) ont e/te/ inspire/s par K A Kitchen (Poetry of Ancient Egypt, Paul Astroms foerlag. Jonsered. 1999). L'image de l'ostracon e/gyptien et le texte de de/part se trouvent dans Cairo Museum Catalogue, 1901.


Translations were carried out or advice was given by: Vale/rie Baisne/e, Sandra Bianciardi, Brigitte Bousquet, Gunther Dietrich, William Direen, Mike Johnson, Rudi Krausmann, Arno Loeffler, Nils Plath, Dr Jack Ross, Martin Stennert, Chris Walshaw. Titus team signifies a colloaborative effort or that helpful advice was given.


Les traductions sont dues a\ : Vale/rie Baisne/e, Sandra Bianciardi, Brigitte Bousquet, Gunther Dietrich, William Direen, Rudi Krausmann, Arno Loeffler, Nils Plath, Dr Jack Ross, Martin Stennert, Chris Walshaw. Titus team dans le texte indique une collaboration.




Thank you for respecting the rights of the authors and for acknowledging Percutio 2006 in any reference to the works as they appear above.



Paris, 2006

Software: Microsoft Office


              Titus Books              Web Magazine