Dear —, I take this video* outside the MÃ¼nchner Freiheit metro station in the Schwabing area of Munich. Later I have dinner with strangers who also happen to be friends. Everyone speaks in German, which I understand fairly well, but don’t speak. I have to live with four or five languages like this: understand, but don’t speak. Receive, but can’t produce. I am called a Catholic schoolgirl because of my outfit, which includes a white collared shirt buttoned all the way to the neck. A throwback to my dandybutch days, but they donâ€™t get that. Because Iâ€™ve been married to a man since I was twenty, everyone assumes Iâ€™m straight. In any case it is meant as a compliment, and it is also true (the two not always coinciding), because from the age of 6-17, I was indeed a Catholic schoolgirl. St. John, St. Simon, St. Francis, watch over me. Miracles still occur to me the way sickness occurs to my blood. The way writing occurs to my blood. Because I believe in it. After dinner I am lifted into the arms of three tall white men and have my photo taken for the amusement of all. It is supposed to be funny, my smallness and brownness against their tallness and whiteness, and the thing is, it is funny, it is very funny, thatâ€™s why later that night Iâ€™m in Neuperlach Zentrum, in one of the immigrant-heavy suburbs of Munich (“one of the least desirable places in Munich to live… many non-German foreigners live here”), leaking vinho verde, vomit and urine. I am carried home like a wounded god, weeping. The home I am carried to is not mine, but it never is. This is only the third time Iâ€™ve ever been so drunk. The first two times were because of death and loneliness. The next day on the television I watch Tunisian migrants getting kicked out of Italy and subsequently trying to enter France. Now Sarkozy wants to revise the Schengen agreement. I watch them being ushered onto a bus, at least two French police officers to each Tunisian. The bus is going to take them to a detention center. Whenever I think of Europe, the first thing I think of is a camp. The suffering and humiliation promised by transportation in Europe. Later my father-in-law lingers far too long on an interview with Jean-Marie Le Pen. Too long for it to be just an occasion to make fun. Someone says that despite Le Penâ€™s obvious repugnance, it is difficult to argue with him, as a rhetorician, he is exceptionally good with words.
I miss you, —. Why did you die? Today I canâ€™t bear to be good with words, —, when this is what it means to be good with words.
I invent a dream. Here I am, running towards, or running from, storytelling. Because it’s a dream, I can’t tell which one. I know which one, but I can’t tell. Can’t tell it. I run towards or from that still-scalding joint where words come together. Where I speak or scrawl the name of someone dead and someone dead comes to life. Having never been a good storyteller. Like the country I can never really be from, I have a fragmented nature. An archipelagic nature. Am dispersed, seductive, and violenced.
One thing thatâ€™s correct about the word plot: itâ€™s where you put the bodies.
I try to teach someone English. The someone is a petulant cat I dislike more and more as time goes on. Obviously I can only teach animals, humans are too far gone. For some reason I start with the parts of speech. Why do I start with the parts of speech? When I myself am so remote from speech. I am convinced that speech has many more parts than this. Than this what, this when, this where, this why, this how, this who.
What writing happens, when writing happens, where writing happens, why writing happens, how writing happens.
And who writing happens. Who writing happens to. And who is happened by the writing.
Did you hear me, —? This is supposed to bring you back to life.
MÃ¼nchner Freiheit means Munich(er’s) Freedom. Freedom of Munich, and of the people of Munich. As you know, —, Iâ€™m not a MÃ¼nchner. The way Tunisians arenâ€™t Europeans. Freedom has never really been a word meant for me.
*Translation: YOU CANâ€™T HELP IT IF YOUâ€™RE WHITE.