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Answering Kleist: Richard Duraj

Richard Duraj

Kleist’s letter answered

Dear Henry. Or is it ‘Dearest’? I hardly knew ye. To whom it may concern. I remember eighteen-o-five as a time. As a matter of fact. As you were. The average year would be 1910, I guess, just between you and me. Would this be a Germany both of us could be comfortable with, at least a little, the best of both worlds for a meet and greet? When the bus came and stopped at the bus stop, when the doors opened I entered, then showed the driver what must be shown. Always. And I thought of you, ‘thought’ in the broadest sense of that term. I wanted to write something. I saw streets like you wouldn’t believe, through the windows in this little city named fittingly Berlin. Most if not all the trees you ever saw aren’t here anymore. Carriages are automobiles now and pigs can fly. Would you wonder out and about, wandering through the parks, with its nature unfolding, with that grin you could have been known for, if you were here with me? It was January, when you wrote Earnest. It must have been cold that winter. As every winter. I’m not a good conversationalist, but I’m quite the listener, drifting ever further away from you, into my own mind, never listening in this endless suburb, the bus halting neither here nor there. There is a Kleiststra├če in the city I grew up, certainly, and I never thought about it. There was a girl I liked, perhaps loved, in my own silly way. She was a looker, but when I saw her I don’t think I was ever reminded of Europe, ready to get fucked by the metamorphosed Zeus, bull virility and all. Poor Earnest, being a canvas your feelings could sublime themselves on. No wonder he didn’t write back. But i jest. I did the same thing. It’s evening now. As it must be. Time to move on. I left the bus at the Kleistpark. Shadows grow here between the columns, there’s a rectangle of green, being green and nothing else. It’s not easy being green. A muppet once sang that. It could make you wonder why. But why wonder, why wonder. So there’s that. I hope you’re well when this letter reaches you.

R. D.