donderdag 4 juni 2015

I Can't Remember #4

I can't remember the name of the author of Moby Dick.

I can't remember her haircut, the haircut of the lady sitting next to the testosteron-filled US soldier in his limousine-like cabriolet. Both had a fairly confident grin as the car slowly shove alongside the spot where I stood, not far from Nurnberg I guess and in the bloody heat of summer 1976, with my thumb up to mud pointing fleckless sky. I can't remember her haircut, and it could be too much of a mess to remember anything else, as she was completely naked.

I can't remember most of the novels I read as a teenage. At the age of sixteen I must have read De verwondering, Baratzeartea and Het boek alfa, volumes I most sincerely enjoyed and with one exception only never read again, the Bolivian dairy of Che Guevara, one more exciting volume, many of the volumes Hermann Hesse had written and De Buddenbrooks, which I read in youth hostels and bed and breakfasts all along die Romantische Strasse. Other titles, among those the many novels Marnix Gijsen wrote, didn't leave a single trace, apart from one title, Jacqueline en ik.

I can't remember the name of that exacting, roundish squib teaching French. He had lived in Africa for quite a while, which added a snuff of pepper and salt to that overbearing thing of us being nothing else but ignorants and his unfortunate lack to notice anything else.

I can't remember the crew, the three of us of course, me looking at the pinewood outside, someone sitting at the wheel of the vehicle and a half of a dozen of galley-folk ready to get drunk. We had been pointed to take the Garbo trail to La Push, without any of the available gash. One of the girls had gone fat on a local gaslight. The engine took us to La Push, as usual, without any of the meat and no menace getting closer than half of the shop nextdoor.

I can't remember how long it took, ten or fifteen seconds or half a minute. I sat in front of a painting, busying myself with a cigarette, and I heard the noise, downstairs. Someone had entered the house. It must have been a Friday. Or Saturday maybe. No sound came from the marketplace. The sound came from the staircase where someone took the stairs up to the second floor. I noticed the key in the lock and for unknown reason decided to do as if I wasn't there. Someone came to the door of the studio, knocked on the door. After that and for at least ten seconds I heard nothing else but silence. The unidentified person stood in front of the door and I could hear his or her silence. I had no urge to speak to anyone, the painting had to be finished. Actually, I could have gone for a walk. The sound focused on the keyhole. The other, whoever he or she was, peered through the keyhole. It had the key inside the lock. I didn't move, stared at the cigarette. After a considerable period of seconds a new sound came from the staircase, a shuffle. I stopped busying myself with the cigarette, stared at the door and its keyhole. The sound faded.

I can't remember how many chickens the coop had. It had two regular Fraulein with beautiful plumage, the sort of chicken that someone who never had seen a chicken before in his whole life still would call a chicken, and it had Haans, as we called him, a small dude of English origin, stylish but rather neurotic though. Haans loved to flee from the coop and often sat halfway one of the poplar trees. He had a modest seraglio with cute little dames of English origin. Mathilde, as one of the regular ones was called, got slaughtered by a dog and Haans went for a journey never to be seen again. I can't remember what happened to the cute little dames.

I can't remember the circumstances all too clear. I sat in a large room among at least a hundred civilians off different age and rooting. A large female sat in front of me. She had an extensive hairdo. A yard away someone on a platform sat, in front of the grand piano. The repertoire had Chopin and a Brahms piece maybe. I later remembered it as the night that Chopin and Brahms stopped to have the meaning they had had. Most of it disappeared from memory, the female disappeared and with her all the others, the menu and the formal dresscode it must have had, all of it disappeared apart from one thing. She had an extensive hairdo.

I can't remember how many I read of the 480 pieces of Je me souviens, in 1999, when I had bought the 99 Hachette edition. I remember that I read that Reda Caire was shown au cinéma de la porte de Saint-Cloud, the very first piece, and I at least should have read the second and the third piece of that enticing collection of recollections, but for some reason it is more probable that I read far more of Jasper Rigole's variation 81 things of which I thought that I had forgot about and never again would remember, at least a couple of dozen of that, and of Le Tellier's version, entitled Je pense, at least two, maybe even a third.

I can't remember the name of the actor who did the seventh samurai, the drunk and brobdingnanian one, in Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai.

I can't remember the outline of her body and wouldn't be able to reconstruct it from memory, as I often did early Nineties, painting diary scenes from memory, but I do remember her name, Jenny, the Ostend female posing nude at Gent art school early 1976. She made me blush in front of all the others, as I never before had seen a woman naked.

I can't remember how it was, to be unable to recall that dazzling smell of paradise. After teenage, or earlier I guess, I didn't notice it all too frequently but it drugged me whenever I traced it, even more so as I was completely unable to trace its source.

I can't remember your name, I say. Maxime, she says. Oh, of course, yes, I remember, I say. I had a presentation here last year, she says. That's right, I say, we met last year, I asked your name, Maxime you said, and what a beautiful name I said.

I can't remember if I have seen one single sparrow since that visit to Berlin in 2012.

I can't remember if I ever have been in love with a blonde. I must have had an affair with a blonde, once, but can't remember all to precisely if she was a blonde or a darker type.

I can't remember (a) how often - or (b) if - I made use of a public toilet, the sort you have on marketplaces, in the lousy corner of a crowded street, beneath a bridge, just as often next to the bridge, or behind that shabby door with the male sign on it.
(b) spontaneously should be granted a moderate yes. Yes, of course. (a) however is extremely uncertain. Not all too often I guess. That dense smell of male allevation always hit me as extremely unpleasant.

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