I had read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I had seen those images before — but not out in the open, outside of my head projected against a wall for everyone to share.
— Klaus Koblitz, after first viewing Nosferatu, from the novel Kino, by Jürgen Fauth
Still, the music plays though no one listens under the screen’s
great flicker — too taken, too caught up with the shock. Nothing
could prepare — not the cellos’ deep groan at the bottom of bowing
violins moving in wave from the pit as if the world depended on
that rhythm for its turning, not the rumble of tympani giving order
to darkness, and not the seats’ tense shuffle of legs and feet.
Nothing could avert the look.
Always the eyes. After the beating
of horses’ hooves crossing the mountain pass, a hush troubles
the sounding clock and cut thumb from the table’s midnight meal.
Eyes just visible over wrinkled papers — such a strange,
We wait the creaking of an opened door — for
death itself under the archway, arms stretched tight beside the hips,
long fingers fanning out for some malevolent, unspeakable craving
— first oboe, then strings — for delirious surrenders of the body
to the will.
Shadows creep the tilted wall, banister, and bed —
both hands reaching, that rodent grin with its burning. He rises
from the silent wood, climbs the ship’s hold with its wet smells
of turned earth, then walks the murky prow below block
and spar. Rope dangles from the deck. All fragments
of obsession and need to do the self in — while
wisps of smoke feather the moon’s
unbendable story to opiate fogs
of a stunned perfection.
sweetly out against the fabric of her innocent
time in a black and white pose like
a frozen knock at the door. She’s holding
a blunt gun vertical to her one straight
leg, but she wants her thick smile to
tell you it is more than probably loaded.
Even if she can’t use it as well
as a lingering, violent sub shadow behind the
radio, she’d probably end up doing a lot
more damage to everyone’s image of her hair’s
bobbed heavenly meaning with it anyway. The dangerous
world could still be navigated and bought for
beauty, it just couldn’t be stopped from ruining
everything else nice in the process. Ah, the
screaming masses, always good for a buttery laugh.
There are always going to be sideways places
one can slide into that will provide the
necessary historical vehicle for a moment’s dreamy getaway
from the grime. Go ahead, run my face
and you’ll watch the many frames of hiding
pop up just below and beyond the surface
of the reflecting scum like scratches to the
drowning light. Kino wants to know when it
will be her turn to dance her way
out of this town, to leave across the
floor a trail of broken tries once and
for all. It’s all there, in the dark
cigarette circles under her eyes, in the stuck
gasps between her teeth, in the feather pinned
hats and the soft leather shoes that showed
off the curves of her feet with such
undulatory promise, in the pouring rain’s new heart.