And the Cancer-Month continues. I have been already invited to a few cancer-parties here in New York, so far, the sign “cancer” seems to be my soulmate (astrology) partner I feel well being surrounded by them, the sensitive souls. Me as the pisces, fish goes through all emotional water waves… so we can become creative based on the feelings and reflections. We can make up the world full of virtues.
My soulmate definitely is the writer from Prague, writing in German, feeling in Czech, I should stay humble by telling, I feel the same: German is my literary language but Czech my emotional, in my heart…
Today has BIRTHDAY the sensitive poet, writer: FRANZ KAFKA.
I dedicated him the short story: IN THE JACKDAW COLONY. This happened to me with HIM.
Happy, peaceful birthday! Wishing you from America, the country you have never reached, but I did, feeling happy here and landed.
One of his soulmates was the Czech journalist Milena Jesenská. I already feel this like a deep connection with Franz Kafka. More you can read in the story I wrote.
IN THE JACKDAW COLONY. Here is a short part from the whole story, soon will be published in a book by Bohemian Paradise Press. I wrote it in German, feeling in Czech.
“German is my mother tongue and as such more natural to me, but I consider Czech is the language of the heart, much more affectionate, which is why your letter removes several uncertainties; I see you more clearly, the movements of your body, your hands, so quick, so resolute, it’s almost like a meeting.”
― Franz Kafka, Letters to Milena.
In the Jackdaw Colony
by Milena Oda
translated by James C. Wagner
Dedicated to Franz Kafka and Prague
You write that perhapsyou will come to Prague next month. I almost would like to ask you: don’t come.You would just have to go away again.
(Franz Kafka to Milena Jesenká)
What an obtrusive feeling! I want to spend this summer in Prague. In Praha. In the city and in my homeland where I always felt foreign and, at the same time, so close to people, my heart pounded when I met with them, with whom I am friends to this day. We are strange, foreign, alien at home.
I wish to spend two months in Prague. I visit Praha often in my thoughts. Now I wish togo there, to draw near to the city and the people, but I do not want to describe Prague, I want to weave the city’s atmosphere into a story. Or in tone. The author always forms a part of, the shadow over her story. I want stillmore. It sounds kitschy, but for me it’s significant. I want to encounter someone, to discover someone. It sounds suspect, particularly from a (Czech) writer. For hardly any author writes about him, because this someone has become a city industry. He’s everywhere: on T-shirts, coffee mugs, dinner plates, advertising columns, posters, books, the IC train and a hotel – or perhaps a hostel, too? – are named after him, after Franz Kafka. His doleful, sick eyes that have become a marketing device follow every Praguer, every visitor, the new capitalism has taught these people an odd business. I claim the right only for myself, furtively, softly: to encounter him.
I come from this country and write, like him, in German. Being torn is not alien to either of us, the way everything else is.
The Kafka industry doesn’t interest me, I won’t go into the city center, where I’d have to look at this acultural tastelessness. I’ll imagine to myself how he lived there and experienced the city. Again it sounds ridiculous, but for me, only for me, precisely that is important.
Prague behaves toward its inhabitants like an alluring, charming woman, a diva, a vampire, who never lets them go. She torments them, whips them, but always withlove. This small, narrow, romantic, almost familiar and yet reckless metropolis holds all of its residents in a tight embrace. “Little mother with claws.”There is something mysterious, poisonous and yet intoxicating about this city, where many sigh, (imbibe), despair, but which many also love very much. Herpoison has lasting effects, one must always come back again.
At thebeginning of the summer I find myself in a garden in the middle of Praha 6, in Bubeneč.
I intend to write here. I live on the ground floor of a beautiful classical house. The terrace door leads to the garden, where there stands agiant tree. Above the tree buzzes a swarm of happy jackdaws. They must breed in this old tree. Jackdaws are typical Praguer colony breeders, which I also only know from Prague, the little mother with the jackdaw claws! In what other city are there so many jackdaws?
The darlings of this city accompany the bustle of Prague with their chatter. I observe these skilled and nimble fliers, joyfully following their acrobatic flight maneuvers with my eyes. I love their urgent cry, the loquaciousness of the clever birds. In the neighborhood I hear Czech. In the sunshine, under a parasol, at a table and with my laptop. I’m enjoying the summery atmosphere.
But I don’t get around to writing as quickly as planned. My brain is still occupied with how I might best encounter him. Him, Franz Kafka. What do I commence with my inspiration and aspiration when I am in Prague? How can I make my wish into areal experience? Wonderful romantic images appear before one’s eyes as a small part of inspiration! How do I make this true for me?
I have one small consolation, if nothing happens here, perhaps I will encounter him someday in Berlin. Franz Kafka has already accompanied me in Berlin. Once I learned wholly unexpectedly that I live across from the building where Felice Bauer lived. I live on Winsstrasse, at the corner of Immanuelkirchstrasse. She livedin building No. 37. F.K. sent her letters there, and surely he visited herthere at times, before she moved to Charlottenburg. “Emigrate, Milena,emigrate.” He, too, sought refuge from Prague, like me, in Berlin. “It greatly attracted me, it was on my way. I began to consider the possibility ofrelocating to Berlin … But to live alone in Berlin was admittedly impossiblefor me, in every respect, and not only in Berlin, even to live someplace elsealone.” Yet Prague, my homeland, formed his alien home. How do I get him at myside, how do I bring him to visit me now in Prague?
Moreover,today is a special day: July 3rd. F.K.’s birthday. I congratulate him. I’mexpecting him just today. What form will the notorious muse come in? Please, let me experience this joy, to encounter him, breathes my pleading voice. Thosewho live on inspirations know what I mean …
Isun myself at a table in the garden and type on my laptop: Where are you, Franz?
“I have to think about you constantly, please don’t be frightened when you feel my lips on your neck,
I didn’t want to kiss you, it’s only helpless love.” A delightful trip into fantasy, carrying on such a dialogue. I read the Letters to Milena (Milena Jesenská….)
“Today, Milena, Milena, Milena – I cannot keep writing otherwise. As such I say to youthat the only thing really Czech about Milena is the diminutive: milenka. Philology says so, whether you like it or not.” In Czech, milenka means lover. Milena, lovingly. I write my thoughts on a slip of paper. “Thank you for your visit,” magic words that go directly into my bloodstream. Are you already here? I sense him, hear the voice, my voice, sense my longing for this reality! Longing is a lie, but I lend the expression of my longing wish its truth. “Amidst the noise of the world, let me experience joy.” Wherever you are, Herr Kafka, you should come by today, celebrate your birthday with me. I wish you peace and courage, like you I know quite well the restlessness and fear that expose one and bring one’s helplessly naked body to trembling … It is important to overcome all resistance. Stay a while. – The words rhyme in myhead like a poem. I love every image. If the encounter happens, I will speak tohim in the formal fashion, as is appropriate … With all due respect!
SuddenlyI hear a soft birdcall, it chirps glumly. Not hard to find the dolefulchirping. In the garden under the tree I find a small black bird; frightened he turns himself onto his back with a small movement of his wing, again and again he turns away from me with this tiny winged motion, it costs him a lot ofenergy. He looks at me tremblingly, tries to run away. He is a young bird, butold enough to know danger. We both are shy and fearful.
What should I do with him? I want to take him carefully in my hand, but he doesn’t want to … I have tocatch him, I’m afraid, but I want to rescue him … I grab a basket. It works. Caught. He chirps more fearfully still. I’m afraid, too, don’t birds carry diseases?! I keep him in the basket, even if he can’t fly anyway. I examine him more closely, what kind of bird might this be?! And it is quickly recognizable,– yes! He belongs to the magnificent and intelligent acrobats! And right away Iunderstand it, too – I decode the message immediately. We have reached the pinnacle of the astonishing. Unbelievable: the little bird is a little jackdaw, which must have fallen from the tree.
A little Czech kavka.
That’s right, v instead of f. But in both cases you pronounce it “Kafka.” In English, kavka means: jackdaw.
Now it all makes sense.
The story was published in Germany in “Ostragehege”. The original you can read on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/notes/milena-oda-láska/erzählung-in-der-dohlenkolonie-von-milena-oda/10152030361809062