Posts Tagged ‘Michael Silverblatt’

Desmond Painter. Dennis Cooper en Johann de Lange?

Monday, June 28th, 2010
Dennis Cooper

Dennis Cooper

Ek kom gister toevallig af op ‘n gedig van die Amerikaanse digter en skrywer Dennis Cooper (geb. 1953). Tematies herinner die gedig my nogal sterk aan Johann de Lange se treffende gedigte, uit die laat ’80s en vroeë ’90s veral, oor ‘cruising’ en anononieme seks.

Cooper is op ‘n stadium beskou as ‘n verteenwoordiger van die sg. ‘blank generation’ van die 1980s. In ‘n inleiding tot Cooper se bundel The Tenderness of Wolves (1982) skryf Edmund White soos volg oor hierdie kategorie digters en skrywers: ‘In one sense the refinement of the blank generation consists of not selling anything. No moral lesson, no political message, no political outcry, no artistic slogan — nothing is insisted on and the voice is never raised. Indeed, this is a world governed by style alone…’

Ek wonder tot watter mate hierdie beskrywing van ‘n soort apolitiese estetisisme (as ek dit so kan stel), met die vooropstelling van persoonlike styl en lewenskuns, wel ook van toepassing is op die werk van iemand soos Johann de Lange? Ek dink daar is sekerlik verbande te trek tussen Cooper en De Lange se werk uit die 1980s, en interessante vrae wat gevra kan word oor die historiese en maatskaplike kondisies wat hierdie soort estetiese ingesteldheid in die 1980s moontlik, en vir sommige kunstenaars noodsaaklik, gemaak het. Ek wonder ook wat die verskille en ooreenkomste was tussen kondisies in die VSA en Suid-Afrika in hierdie verband? 

Ek plaas Cooper se uitstekende ‘No God’ (uit The Tenderness of Wolves) hier onder. Die gedig is opgedra aan Michael Silverblatt. Silverblatt is self ‘n interessante karakter; sedert 1989 is hy die invloedryke aanbieder van ‘n radioprogram oor skrywers en boeke, Bookworm.

 

No God

for Michael Silverblatt

 

Sometimes I go to the pornos,
look through films for a face
I remember from youth, grow
distracted, drive the street
till I find it drawn in shadow


over another, open my car door
and swipe love. My Mercedes
still smells empty seven years
later. The dust from a thousand
big hiking boots, tennies and


sandals blurs softly into the
fur at the foot of the seat
nearest my side, where guys have
enthroned themselves for long
drives, slouched in the vinyl,


having gazed inside from the
sidewalk, like into a wishing
well. I parted the traffic
tonight, prowled for a young
man who looked like a shadow,


saw this guy staring straight
through me, swaying downtown
in loose jeans, with something
vague on his mind. He’ll go
with me, do what I do. Nothing


else interests him this side
of death. Like me he’s just
moving farther away. I can give
him a ride there, because my
route takes me over his haunt


like a man who, so long ago,
gathered livestock lost in the
snow, ran out of gas and froze
going home. We touch in a black
car, on a black road, until numb.

 

[1982]

 

 

 

  •