Hey, Hanzi!!!

    Listen to me! Listen! I’m here! I can see you!
    Can you hear me?
    Can you see me?
    Can you imagine me?
    I know you have other things on your mind right now, of course. I understand. No shit! Of course, I’m the last thing on your mind.
    Who in the world would be thinking of a self-conscious, semi-lost, slightly pretentious, self loving/hating, loser, writer-wannabe, show-off performer returning to a job he left with such hollow pride, only to return and ignore himself and the world with even more hollow pride, sitting in a, what seems to be a, gay coffee shop in the middle of Vienna, slightly off the middle of Vienna (the 9th bezirk, to be exact, but that’s not so far from the 1st as one would think, it’s not 9 bezirks away, like it would seem, no, it borders it, it’s its neighbor, so it’s just slightly off the 1st one, which is the middle of Vienna), a few days after he split his head open during that same show, just mentioned, that he returned to, and had it stitched and bandaged (the head, not the show, how would you bandage a show? oh, you could, I’ve seen some you really actually should), so that he now looks like an after-lobotomy sheik or a bizarre Michael Jackson-fan/fashion victim (I do have a girlfriend - this goes back to the gay coffee shop part of the sentence, just to put things in context, where there is no context to be had, yet, or ever), sipping what they call a “melange” (what the hell? it’s a cappuccino! but, then, you can order that, as well, what’s going on here, you pretentious Austrians, don’t you know that your Kapuziner monks invented cappuccino, anyway, so you don’t have to be afraid of an italian word, afraid so much that you have to replace it with a french one? which is what, less dangerous?), thinking, reading, wet-eyed, stitched-up, reminiscing, exploring, imagining you, YOU, Hanzi, while you are lying, naked, half (or three quarters, or fucking 99% - if mathematics is allowed in such non-mathematical equations as life and death, anyway) dead, sick, deadly sick, thought to be dead, naked, naked with typhus, naked among naked, in a pile of naked, dead, or half-dead, or 99% dead, naked bodies (or maybe they weren’t naked, maybe they all had some clothes on over their naked, naked dead bodies, maybe not all dead, maybe just half of them, or three quarters, or fucking 99%! - all, but Hanzi...), dead - death, all around - pushed down by them and to the left and to the right and maybe even up, pushed from everywhere, by the weight of the dead bodies, the pile of dead bodies, seeing it, imagining it, realizing it, believing it, sucking it up, out of a dead page, half dead, or half alive, or maybe completely alive, even if it’s just a page, letters, words, signs, meaningless signs, inventions, agreed upon, so that now they do have meaning, all of a sudden, they do, they mean, they tell, they paint, they cause thoughts and images and imagination, which imagines images, the world, the past, the time, some other space, or it’s the same one in another time, this little bit of space, filled with dead bodies and in the middle, where there’s no space, none, or just a little bit, just enough for you, but not really enough, so it presses and pressures and pushes, with death and sickness, on you, Hanzi, you, in the middle, in the past, in the pile, almost dead, on the way there, in the middle of it, literally and figuratively and for sure, but not at all, but almost, but not yet, not for a while, for a little bit, or a very long time, which is all very relative and there’s hardly a difference, anyway, oh, but there is, of course there is, when you’re in the middle of death!!! of dead bodies, on the way to death, because you were thought dead, dead from typhus and you are going to be burned with the rest of them, all of them, dead, to be burned, or not yet dead, but to be burned, anyway, as a mistake, or maybe not, maybe it’s all meant to be exactly how it happened, or it is all a terrible misunderstanding, a cosmic error of such proportions, that now, all of a sudden, where there was nothing, life exists, where it shouldn’t and so, now, what to do? except to kill and bring death and burn what’s dead and what’s not, all the dead, naked bodies and with them, Hanzi, lying, sick with typhus, naked, among them, waiting to be burned, imagining? what? a future? a bright future? happiness, and life and people dancing and himself among them, or none of it, nothing, because there is no future when you are in a pile of dead bodies, sick with typhus and about to be burned, you, your naked body, your typhus and all, together, straight towards death and no future - hardly even a present - and past, gone, forgotten, disappearing, never to return, again, never, ever, except maybe, as a glimmer of hope, a little spark in the distance, that could maybe, by chance, by mistake, by a cosmic error of relatively large proportions, or even a huge, no, infinite one, just a little blunder, ignite a bonfire of imagination in the future, burning the past in the future, which may be the present at some point, like all of future will be at some point, but only a little point, tiny, uncatchable point, that isn’t even real, the moment, or half of one, or a hundredth, or even less, so small, small like the passing of future into past, as it trips over the present, only to not even notice it, because there’s nothing there, anyway, so why this senseless tripping? and maybe there’s a chance, after all, that Hanzi’s moment in the pile, his end, so to speak, because, what else can it be? how can it appear to be anything but the end, when one is lying, naked, sick with typhus, already thought dead, in a pile of dead, or some only nearly dead, like Hanzi, or all dead, bodies, waiting to be, like the rest of the pile, burned, burned to death, forever burned, ended, forever, put to an end of oneself, how can anything but the end be possible in such a moment, in the eyes of anyone, everyone, but especially in the eyes of the one to whom this is happening, one, who is living it (if that can be called living, oh, but it can, yes, it is life, still life, because it is always life, ALWAYS, when it is not death, or not yet death), being it, being in the middle of it, living in the middle of it, but maybe, still, maybe, anyway, maybe, after all, the moment, the now, Hanzi in the pile, naked, sick, half dead Hanzi in the middle of other dead bodies, about to be burned, maybe there’s a chance that this moment will exist again, one more time, or many more times, but at least one more time, in the future, which then will be the present, and it will burn the fire of the moment, ignited by the spark of infinite chance, chance, that caused so much already, everything, already, including everything that led to Hanzi and his sickness and his moment of end, the fire of that moment, still burning, long after that moment, and shining, shining the light back into the past, straight into Hanzi’s mind, his imagination, his present and past, and illuminating him a path to the future, the fire, the hope, the realization, the connection, the imagination, the spark of hope, the strength that is needed, the power that is required, to overcome, to beat, to survive, to forget the present and hope for, believe in, the future, where the moment of end is being sucked up from a dead page, filled with dead signs, full of meaning, put there by a machine, many machines, one after another, typing letters, typing stories, printing books, binding books, packing books, shipping books, stories being contained, written and read, like a story Hanzi’s sister knew, and told, a story, an image, a moment, that could be the last, but turned out not to be, a moment overcome, survived, to be remembered, told, remembered again, to Hanzi’s sister, my grandmother, Berta, his sister, who remembered it and then, what was in that moment a distant future and not even possible, wrote it, years and years later, and then published it, in a book, a real book, with pages and letters, these signs, scribbles that used to mean nothing until they were agreed upon and now, for some time, they mean something, for a little while, until they stop again and are forgotten, and they contained, these weird signs, Hanzi’s moment, his naked body in the pile of dead naked bodies about to be burned, and my grandmother gave me this book, and with it, Hanzi, and the pile and typhus and the moment, the end, what must have looked like the end, gave it to me, to take, to take away, to Vienna, I took the book to Vienna, where I was doing the show that I left over a year ago, but came back, so I could do it in Vienna, and then banged my head in it, and bled, and got two stitches and got my head bandaged, then sat with that bandaged head in a gay coffee shop in Vienna (why gay in Vienna in this sentence - because Hanzi was in a concentration camp when he almost died daily, but especially when he was sick with typhus, lying in a pile of dead bodies that were going to be burned, so, Vienna is Vienna, it was the enemy then and gay was not a thing to be, and I’m sure there were no gay coffee shops there then, but now they are and it’s so normal, that you can sit there with a bandaged head, reading your grandmother’s book, even if you have a girlfriend), and read, and saw Hanzi in the pile, screaming at me, and heard him and shed a meaningless little tear and thought of him, saw him, alive, well, barely, but alive and he was there with me, in the gay coffee shop in Vienna, jumping at me from the pages and I told him: “Hey, Hanzi! Listen to me! Listen! I’m here! I can see you!”, I remembered, and he was there, with me, the moment survived, it got all the way to me, even though it must have looked hopeless then, like there was no future, but here was that future now, it was becoming the present and even the past, the past, like what you had and where you were, it connected, and if you could see me, here, now, making the future into the past, bit by bit, moment by moment, putting you in it, keeping you in it, if you could see that this was it, this was the future, with you in it, you would know that there was a future, and you in it, and your moment and the story told to Berta, written, shipped to a gay coffee shop just off the middle of Vienna (the 9th bezirk is just off the 1st, you know), and read, slipping, tearfully, into a bandaged, leaking head (maybe going in there through that crack, who knows how stories enter), if you could see that, then you’d know, you’d know it wasn’t the end, yet, not yet, even though it’s inevitable, it wasn’t that, yet, and if you knew that, it would give you hope, strength, give you the power to overcome, to survive, to crawl out of that pile and not get burned and not get sicker, and not die, but have a future, whatever it may be, i’m not saying it would be a better one, buy, hey, after a pile of dead bodies, come on, it must only be uphill from there, right? after what must seem like the end, anything is better, or, at the very least, not worse, right? right? it would help you survive, if only you would see that, if only you could find it in your mind to see me right now, this moment, this future, if only... but i’m sure it’s hard, right now, in the pile, with the bodies, with typhus, to have anything else on the mind, to see anything else but what is obvious and right there... the end.
    Can you hear me, Hanzi?
    I know you can.
    You know how I know?
    Because you survived.
    You must have heard me.
    So, listen, Hanzi! Listen! I’m here!
    It’s not the end, yet! Believe me!
    You can do it!readeo.html