I first heard about Polish cities from villagers who there had driven wains filled with beetroots. They would always return with their pockets empty, but with every beetroot accounted for. A week had passed before their wives would recognise them. They would say: their faces got jumbled like a puzzle. And they themselves would not say a word about it all. Only after many years, already yellowed by alcohol, would they mention the taste of women in pools of beer*. And then for a moment their eyes would glow through the blurry bark and their tumescent members. And they themselves would dazzle. Like a star before death.

 

 

*They embraced each other, her small body was burning in K.'s hands; they rolled a few paces in an unconscious state from which K. repeatedly but vainly tried to rescue himself, bumped dully against Klamm's door, and then lay in the small puddles of beer and other rubbish with which the floor was covered. Hours passed there, hours breathing together with a single heartbeat, hours in which K. constantly felt he was lost or had wandered farther into foreign lands than any human being before him, so foreign that even the air hadn't a single component of the air in his homeland and where one would inevitably suffocate from the foreignness but where the meaningless enticements were such that one had no alternative but to go on and get even more lost.

Franz Kafka, The Castle

© translated by Serena Todesco and Silvestar Vrljić

O poljskim gradovima prvi put sam čuo od seljaka koji su tamo odvozili kola natrpana ciklom. Uvijek bi se vraćali praznih džepova, ali svaka cikla na broju. Tjedan dana bi prošlo prije nego što bi ih vlastite žene prepoznale. Govorile bi: lica su im se ispremiješala kao puzzle. A oni sami o svemu ne bi rekli ni riječ. Tek bi nakon mnogo godina, već požutjeli od alkohola, spomenuli okus ženske puti u lokvama piva*. I tada bi im na tren zasvjetlucale oči kroz mutnu koru i nabrekla spolovila. I oni sami bi zabljesnuli. Kao zvijezde pred smrt.

 

 

*"Oni se zagrliše, njeno malo tijelo gorjelo je u njegovim rukama, i oni se kao u besvijesti – iz koje se K. neprestano, ali uzalud pokušavao spasiti – otkotrljaše nekoliko koraka dalje, lupiše tupo o Klammova vrata, a onda se nađoše ležeći u jednoj lokvici piva i smeću koje je prekrivalo pod. Tu prođoše sati, sati u kojima je K. stalno imao osjećaj da luta ili da je već toliko daleko u tuđini kao nijedan čovjek prije njega, u tuđini u kojoj čak ni zrak nije kao zrak u zavičaju, u kojoj se od tuđinštine čovjek mora ugušiti, i protiv čijih se bezumnih omamljivanja ne može učiniti ništa drugo nego ići dalje, dalje lutati."

Franz Kafka, Dvorac

© Ivan Šamija