Translated by Mark Kanak
doberan / doberan
virgin dreams in july
where a swan dies, a city arises,
or so it’s said. sometimes lanes,
cellars and windows flung wide are remind one
of gliding across the northern sky. time
swells then, and the chilling blatantly blurs
the meridian: virgin dreams in july.
the wind / der wind
and nevertheless, the fishermen know:
today there’ll be cabbage and potatoes,
for the wind’s blowing sideways.
but soon, they say, and you
believe it, there’ll be a catch again.
the wind, however, is just as it was before.
noone is ever the only / niemand ist der einzige
noone is ever the only
boy in town. but you only ever
see the others when you’ve learned
to move about in the city.
big kid / kindskopf
you emphasize your youth
with a grown-up gesture.
i, on the other hand, no longer want
to be so young, said the big kid.
threat (til the time comes) / drohung (bis es soweit ist)
from this point forward i am going
to write to you every day, and if you hear me,
the poetry is over. perhaps.
if you don’t hear me: i’ll be over.
YOUR POEMS / DEINE GEDICHTE
are like a great novel full of the art
of the thrill or between eros and death everything
that courses through the hearts of men, a collection
of unusual loves and wolf whom i quote
in countless letters to prove
i only want to take what’s torturous from you.
are a riff in my head
phones guitars drawn downward, from my ears
to my driving legs, eyes flashing
texts and drafts, the heart a lonely hunter
moving rapidly and life is a dancefloor brawling over
cascades of whimping winegrooves.
after all, how would you desire me any other way.
FULL BLOOMS / VOLLE BLÜTE
oranges / acacias
the sea is not far.
just now, a boy in kneesocks flashed,
a photograph one can approach. a boy dressed
in white in a field,
just now the blood-orange glass flashed:
a photograph, one approaches it in a rapid
move. then, from the background,
a painting shines forth, pale. an impression,
a tree develops and suddenly
the boy has the countenance of a woman in her mid-thirties, a
summer dress illuminated in white, behind it, a cloud.
the sea is not far.
but music? there is no noise
other than the surf, the woman
between the beachgrass and sea
is picking acacia branches, the acacia tree a cloud,
quite slow! but
the picture unfolds even further, the pale painting
becomes a photograph again. the tannins don’t heal;
just now, there was another flash: the woman’s dress on the dune
has ugly spots.
AUGUST AND ACRE / AUGUST UND ACKER
for jacques austerlitz
you open your eyes: sand
you open your eyes: snow
you crash to the ground and find
a child that you once were.
a boy in high socks,
a boy in silk in a rugged white
of august-desert and field.
the nostrils are blown bloody, wish for
wind and not this dug out home.
a boy in high socks and golden frays,
and one hears a stealthy tractor,
and one hears random cries. the boy
has a glass in his hand, strapped to the back
the shoes are filthy
of august-desert, acre and sand.
you open your eyes: snow
you open your eyes: red
you squint, the boy raises his hand.
crash, he waved at you
and is drinking the oranges dry now.
MEN AND WOMEN IN A DREAM / MÄNNER UND FRAUEN IM TRAUM
the men that are lying on the bed of a cheap hotel room
and staring blankly at the ceiling all dreams the same
dream; even those that aren’t alone
have one thing in common in that second
before a lover or a girl just met some slut
with just-washed hair plods from the bathroom
and withdraws sulkingly because the guy ain’t thinkin’ nothin’
with the light and the blotting on the carpet
a dakota, completely unpainted, on rotted tires
in a rusty hangar, in a bay, an
enchanted green bay, half buried in the sand –
and sapphires, emeralds, rubies and pearls, two boxes
as booty on board. the hell with the gold, the hell
with all women that scratch each other’s eyes out
just to wear one of those stones on their neck; the hell
with them that they wanna get fucked just because they’re
no longer worth the bling.
a dakota in an enchanged bay
and chocolatebitter boys to which the cloth clings
to the loins, soaking wet, when they drag the boxes onto the land
in order to roll the shiny trinkets back and forth
with their tongues in their mouths, and with bulging cheeks
forcing a shining smile.
dampened noises invade from the street.
neither the girl nor the flapping of the ventilator
that only drives the yellow into the corners can soothe
the thin aloneness. in every hotel of every larger city
of every goddamned corner of the world, men are
lying about, just so. every one of them has long known the answer.
BUENOS AIRES, BIELEFELD, BONN / BUENOS AIRES, BIELEFELD, BONN
one of the motors fades, bangs a few times
spits out smoke and thunders.
when you get home,
you’ve got a different world beneath your feet.
the yard is full of foliage, the ivy-birch fallen or
the wife is busy on the phone. you’ve still got the desert
in your head, the trip was a taste of
salt and color: in the living room lies a jacket
that’s not yours. bielefeld, bonn.
when you get home
nobody’s bothered, it’s a different world.
you wait til the phone is free.
you change the filter and fly out again.
blood and beer (chicago 1932) / blut und bier (chicago 1932)
you can’t see anything from the gates. the city
blocks the horizon, is much rather the line itself, sharpied
between milled flour and smog. within it: too much surrounding.
life, a shameless filth. from somewhere or other, noise, lights,
dancing on the wall, water from bleeding lake michigan,
along the streets janusbreasted hydrants, reflexes of spray
on crumbling walls, marble dummies. all that
building on the absence of land, trees and open spaces. but then,
though, yes: a parade of the almighty disciples is jamming
the ravines between babylonian towers: panic
between the facades, the mirrored ones grimmace,
and corpses drink their beer from the chicago river.
only much later, the gangsters discover the rooftops.