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A drowned driver of a beer truck was dumped onto the table
Someone had stuck a dark-pale lilac-colored aster
Between his teeth
I cut out the tongue and gums
With a long knife
Working from the chest outwards
Under the skin,
I must have touched it, because it slid
Into the brain right next to it.
I packed it into the chest cavity,
Between the wood shavings,
As it was being stitched up.
Drink up in your vase!
–Gottfried Benn, Kleine Aster in: Morgue und andere Gedichte (1912) (S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Estimated total calories members of Congress burned giving Bush’s 2002 State of the Union standing ovations:
A fertility scientist named Panayiotis Zavos announced that he had created human-cow embryos that were theoretically viable, but denied that he planned to allow such a hybrid to be implanted in a woman’s womb. “We are not trying to create monsters,” he said.
A statistician determined that the five most common first names among New York City taxi drivers are Md, Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammad, and Mohamed.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”