Moabit Sonnets I-X

By Albrecht Haushofer (translated by Cameron Lambright)

Albrecht Haushofer was a geography professor and member of the resistance in Nazi Germany. His father was an early geopolitical scholar whose writings were influential on Hitler and the Nazi worldview. Albrecht was implicated in an assassination attempt on Hitler and imprisoned in 1944. As Soviets marched through Berlin in 1945, Haushofer and fellow prisoners were released from prison, but were seized outside the prison by a passing Nazi SS squad and executed en masse. Five sheets of paper were later found clasped in the hand of Haushofer’s corpse, covered in tiny handwriting, comprising an 80 poem sonnet cycle written in prison. These became known as the Moabit Sonnets.

[ I translated the first ten of these sonnets some years ago, and they seem especially pertinent today. ]

I. In Fetters

For him, who is to sleep in it at night,
the cell’s bare walls will seem such vivid things,
rich and alive. His guilt and fate will weave
its vaulted air into a grey veiled light.

Live breath is in the grief that overflows
this building. Underneath its brickwork and
hard iron bars, a secret tremble can
be felt that reveals pain in other souls.

I am not the first within these builded seams
whose wrists the fetters slice into and bleed,
upon whose grief the wills of strangers feed.

Sleep becomes waking then as waking dreams.
As I listen, I sense through these grey walls
many trembling hands on which the same fate falls.

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Depression is a Killer, and it Almost Killed Me Last Year

Gosh, I can’t believe it’s been more than two years since my last post here. Hello readers, sorry to keep you waiting so long. If you pop back in occasionally to see if I’ve posted anything new, or if you subscribe to my posts and are happy to see a new one, I’m truly flattered. Let me update you about some of the things that have been happening in my life.

I guess since the title of this post is dramatic I should get to that right away. A big part of the reason why I haven’t posted in so long is because I struggled with severe depression in 2017 and 2018. In fact, I’ve struggled with chronic depression since I was a teenager. Last year the depression was especially bad and it was extremely difficult not to kill myself.

[I’m torn here as I write between an impulse to go on and on and the desire not to let this become another 10,000 word ‘draft’ like a few others on different subjects that sit neglected in my WordPress archive already.]

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, is strongly linked with depression, and has been increasing for twenty years. It has been a theme in my writing, because I have felt a strong, often constant, suicidal impulse throughout my adult life. Not killing myself is, by a wide margin, the most difficult thing I have ever done. Though it is no accomplishment.

Don’t be alarmed, this post has a “the rest of the story” and is not a cry for help.

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New Short Story is Up: “The Bastard”

Oh gosh, the time flies by. Sorry for the procrastination guys!

This month’s short story, “The Bastard”, is set in the aftermath of the sub-prime mortgage crisis during the Great Recession. It is about a man who is struggling through a mid-life crisis while trying to build an ambitious expansion onto his house. It’s a bit of slice of life, a bit of melancholy, a bit of humor, maybe a little bit of metaphor about the United States during the George W. Bush years… it’s a quick read that is well worth your time, so CHECK IT OUT!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

A few jokes I was asked to invent at dinner in honor of St. Patrick’s Day:

Q: What do you call half a potato in a small bowl of tepid water?
A: An Irish Martini.

Q: What is the difference between an Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman?
A: When an Englishman speaks, anyone in the English speaking world can understand Continue reading

The New Short Story is Up!

Ok, running a little bit late on this one, but the new short story is up on the Monthly Short Story page! The Last Man to Know Nothing imagines a future in which everyone in the world has been plugged into a neural network except for one lonely man who is left out of the loop. This story will probably come at you from unexpected directions and is extremely thought provoking, so please read it and enjoy!

Don’t forget to subscribe by e-mail or by RSS on the right side of the page if you want to be made aware of future updates. Have a great day!