BETWEEN THE ISLANDS, STRANGE EXILES 2, THE “ODRA”, FRANKFURT (ODER), IN THE SUBSIDENCE OF TIME

BETWEEN THE ISLANDS

the day again reeks rather disgustingly
more defeats, today however ordered so that you’re not even angry
getting closer and closer to your wobbly hour
of unintentional ruination
so that afterward it’s the ever same old
but so far it’s longing and smiling
you especially find untrustworthy
in the balmy morning hours of a foreign city –
a continually repeated wrestle
with the clock, with escaping
the derogatory company of men of the world and somehow managerised folks
toying with punk, which doesn’t hurt
toying with punk, which fits, which has to, as part of something:

somewhere later in a deserted bar between the dead-end canals someone pulls out an old record of Bill Haley’s
it’s not, dunno –
together we peer into the countryside darkness of a sleepy periphery beyond the city’s all thinkable peripheries
trying to forget about something
whilst making our way from the sink and the storage onto the yard with the earth-closet
sometimes we yearn for complete pretermission
on the way to the tram stop Between the Islands

Translated by David Vichnar

 

 

STRANGE EXILES 2

catching oneself again belonging nowhere
the tram out in the industrial wastelands slowly admits darkness and rawness
and footnote comments appear more distant in the pathetic awkwardness of someone’s demonstrations –
we’re all criminals, or at least some of us
trespassing, peculiar looks aside
disagreement hanging upon lips
alighting at the Kablo Station
with farina of snow “assailing” the nape
waiting for another connection and then one more
the next bus finally arrives
circling round the peripheries of Lidls and Kauflands weary ah Weary
darkness behind their eyes’ cemeteries
descent alongside huge buildings of embezzlement
down the tunnels of disappearing quarters
with the loud laughter of passengers boarding the bus at further stops
to build the memory of places in strange exiles
to traverse the crossroads of looks from twenty years ago to try to hold onto something
before it dissolves again in the greyish giggling glooms

Translated by David Vichnar

 

 

THE “ODRA”

I reflect on what it’s like to be spending the last year in a foreign country
a chimera?
unsuccessful journeys into cities ending with –in and –ol?
or into some others
notes, pattering, vowels yelped out
tickets punched by a taciturn conductor, who merely points to the direction
indicated below to the right
I then follow the borderline, seguing into a river
walking round the place called Colony before the war
today just a lonesome tractor with a ploughshare for cutting grass
an enclosure with rams and indicator: 5 km to Destination
a few hundred metres a bike path ending
cyclists slightly bemused in the bluish dusk of the hidden sun
to be lost for a moment now
two countries you’re not at home in, not quite present in either of them
temporary outsidespace
to endure in it till the last cup of coffee on the island you’ve reached
by a wooden connecting bridge
a few tables, a tall white tent
under which a 6 ft. 6 in. man is heating up sausages
indicating a discount, in an hour the fire will be out, he says
words, a lone couple dreaming of a life together
sitting down by the grasses
untroubled and motionless

Translated by David Vichnar

 

 

FRANKFURT (ODER)

I pass, shreds of words already part of history
of the small ordinary one,
due to the track closure I wait with others for a surrogate line
a few villages in an orangish haze, a sundown we still seem to escape from
Petersdorf, Jakobsdorf, Briessen
people on the stops, awkwardly dragging their feet on the platforms
never a similar bus has passed through here, their worries
and also relief at seeing it come at last
just before darkness falls
shopping bags, shoulder bags with Adidas forever inscriptions, a netbag,
a black suitcase tied to a handrail with a white string
people keep quiet, the delay of the evening never to be made up for

Translated by David Vichnar

 

 

IN THE SUBSIDENCE OF TIME

We belong nowhere
the days that vanish before our eyes
days when we are silent
when the house is lonely, distant from all others
the days when we need nothing
when we hide behind doors
inaudibly moving things
stopping the clocks and
orienting towards the dusk
and towards the need for sleep
this can last for weeks before we wake again
and everything remains as it was before

Translated by Marja and Tihana Hamovič

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