Eva Wollenberg / Seismogram

Posted March 5, 2012

Phonème Cutting the Head in Two, 2010, from Seismogram.

Eva Wollenberg lives in France.



Thrust out your tongue as snakes do
to better feel presence
flash your emotions and then
in case of war.

Only the beloved sanctifies you
but these are pleasures people mustn’t
get to know about
in case of war.

From the language streaks that shatter
the quiet darkness
keep but the sharp tip
in case of war.

Coming into sight is difficult
it tears you apart
voices thunder & beat:
“We must walk on ropes
vertical                                      horizontal
we must walk on ropes
tightly stretched        slippery in the rain
with our mouths open
our wings flapping around
reach Betelgeuse
the heart the glowing

But here’s the thing             I am not there
I have fallen to misty pieces
yet you attempt to name and embed me.



Liv Ullmann’s open screaming mouth filmed by Ingmar Bergman in Ansikte mot ansikte or in En Passion. Francis Bacon’s screaming being, in Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. Massimo Girotti screaming in the desert, naked, and filmed by Pier Paolo Pasolini in Teorema. The screaming Inuit masks, from Kodiak, Alaska, with natural wood lines symbolizing sound waves.

When I started Seismogram, I started collecting pictures of screams. I had already collected screams before, but only in my head, memory, and ears. At some point, it was as if everybody around me was but this howling magma. Black holes in the middle of faces, wide openings, yet seemingly unable to ever be reached by the sun.

I cherish this wish to forget civilization, shame, and identity, in order to become but screaming meat. The annihilation of everything I had believed to be me, the absolute regression, and the luminous humiliation of the wrong self. The caged self.

How bad I broke you that day. Silence. Never forget that the empathy for a battered horse broke Nietzsche’s very core. Seismogram is our song, my Dog. No bull cane, no fist, no weapon onto our white road anymore. Rise, Mother, and scream. Scream your life out with me. And please, blossom too. But don’t ever lose your soft dreamy eyes, grey like a stormy summer sky. We should try not to cry anymore when we remember the dog, because see, Mother, I show his dignity, and how pure he was, how loving; I show how he screamed in terror and pain, and tried to dig into the corner of the room to escape the bull cane. To dig into the corner of the room. The way we did during that time.

We will turn into calm mountains, Mother, after those waves of old screams. I will plant a light meadow, on which the past will rest forever. And other scapegoats will start singing their song, unafraid to become screaming meat, on which a silver skin will grow.

Author and photographer: Eva Wollenberg
Translation and editing: Sabine Huynh

Sabine Huynh is a poet, novelist and literary translator.