Going do Delos

 

*

Going to Delos

It’s like when you were fifteen, and knew

hers was the most beautiful face you ever

would see, but could not – would not –

tell her this, or, maybe, see her again; you sat

looking, not moving, hoping

for a miraculous impression

something like a stigma, that would fix

itself into your horizon. It is just like that,

but, this time, for no particular reason: you stand

perplexed, while the salty earth is burning, slowly,

at your feet. A bird using the same

touchstone. A cloud splitting over

an old sacred column. It is just like this,

only, this time it’s an old marriage;

the world – forever young.

(Mykonos, 2016)

*

The last summer, and back again

A rain of flowers out of a blue sky: God

has spoken, fluent and calm; in words

as cold as premonitions.

He spoke of the wound in the eye

of the world. It's the only thing

that can heal us. But we cannot see.

I dreamt bathing in a shallow tub

filled with acid. Now the king

of Nomansland is holding court.

Now he weeps,

there are no more

                               worlds

                                            to spare.

Like in the last book I read that summer,

when the furry leaves no longer tickled

the laughing spot right behind my throat,

and my cocoon of stories fell away.

I think I grew up, then.

So, in that last book the wicked

king died and the treasure was found

by the children. But I cried and cried. It rained

two weeks in a row. Oh,

all the sad stories of the death of kings!

Things that cannot, ever, be repaired, even God is owing

someone

something,

that unforgivable

debt. For who can forgive Him? We grow. We grow up.

We console ourselves and grow old.

Sad, irredeemable things which are

celebrated in heaven: angel

feathers, and a sudden kindness, not

addressed to any of us. That pure sadness,

the mourning of God.

The wound

in the eye

of the world.

(Zabrze, 2016)

*

The name of the doors

The wind tore the mountains apart and he
came back dressed like an undertaker. He spoke down
and his eyes were glazed with contempt. Then came the earthquake,
but all that was in it was a cold speed, brushing
against everything fragile inside human hearts. The Black Death
of all fragile things. Not even
a real direction, just the reverse
of a vacuum.

But if the poet is a prophet
then
there are roses galore in the names.

Wetiko!

named,

falls away,
like a vortex
of flies.

(Warszawa, 2016)

 


 

En skog, en dag
Kvinnor och män och många himmlar
bakåt i tiden. Bleka tändstiksfabriks-
flickor kommande ut
i dimman, en len julidag.

Kanske precis lika len som idag.
En längtan som väcks i magens luftgrop -
att bara gå ut i skogen
och gå; i en skog utan slut.

Vi kör tillbaka och pojken frågar
efter ett barn som långsamt dött
för hundra ar sen, förgiftat av fosfor.

Vi blir ledsna tillsammans.

Doften av sjön blandas
med klar linddoft. Många himmlar bakåt,
bara några blå, såg en ung John Bauer
upp och var helt
orädd. Då som nu
                             - alltid -

står Smålands skog
oberörd, som en mörk famn
full av himmel, full
av död.

(Jönköping, 2016)

*

Om klippor och bin
Med kinden mot den varma klippan
och surret av bin
på andeavstånd.

Det är precis som att flyta
in i en dröm, tillbaka,
där saker och ord möts igen,
barndomsplatser som behållit
magin. En sommardag

som idag är en dröm
av stadsbor, drömd
i ett mörker av ett nordligt år.

Idag är honungen
av en årskalender, med spår
av små kvicka biben överallt.

Ingen tid att försaka
i detta land, så långt ut i norr,
där klipporna är drömska
och bina

lättfotade.

(Stockholm, 2016)

*

On the importance of improbable things

Stockholm is a garden of Eden
from a childhood book. Not the one
with the lamb, peacefully asleep
side by side with a lion.

But one with jasmine in full bloom,
side by side with blueberries
and heather, mixed with the
tumultuous smell of linden
and wild roses.

An ambrosia, not active
on bodies, but on these membranes
surrounding the minds, constantly fluttering,
making us, alternately, separate
and linked to each other - the breath
that God gave Adam and Eve.

(Uppsala, 2016)

*

Tessinparken

The thing about childhood places
is that they allow us

directly into their dreams.
We see how our own

are spun into and from
their fabric: the currents are clear,

and palpable, as storms and rivers.
The young woman with the bike has

a familiar stride, a swiftness
of the elbow I have seen before,

I am sure, thirteen
years ago, sitting

here, in this place, when it dawned
upon me that

the children who play here
would have

the same lining
of light in their dreams

as I do, that
they and I were connected

by the way laughter carries,
reflected off the warm cliffs

and the water surface.
People come and go, but the trees are here

always, the guardian co-dreamers.
Only they know our real names

and they wish us well. This park,
on a July evening,

is the only proof I have
of home.

(Amsterdam, 2016)

*

Medea

Mother of untouched teddies,

smooth identical dolls, and of plushie


rabbits, hanging by the ear at checkout.
Of ready-made cards, wishing on

birthdays to best dads
in the world. Of mugs

lined up, wearing

red red hearts

on their sleeves. Mother
whom no one shall mock,

not like the rest.

Holy mother, pray for us,

pray for all that has been cut

off

and thrown away.

(Palermo, 2016)

*

Boy with a Greyhound by Paolo Veronese

A victor's calf, eyes

cast down, not by modesty

but sheer entitlement.

What does he see down

there? Not the stone

cradled by dust, nor

his friend's foot.

Not his own shadow. No,

his gaze does not focus

on the ground, but goes

right through.

Down

to the entanglement of roots,

to the worms excreting earth,

to the bones of sinners

and dogs.

(Castellammare del Golfo, 2016)

*

One more letter

The first dove that came was taken

down by gun fire. The second

died from the pesticides

on the olive branch she held her beak.

The third is here now: a city pigeon,

mangy and limping, with sparse blue-gray

feathers, his eyes red and orange,

like Hephaistos'

kiln.

God has not

forsaken us.

(Plakias, 2016)

*

 

I am a streetpoet


It was 1968 and the gods
descended from Mount Olympus
and walked among us. I was

barely five, following
the grownups around Paris.
The pavements were humming
and the old Halles

were still full of light and shades
trickling into rivulets and puddles, swift
to the touch. Without the strong

narrating voice, connected
by dream’s umbilical cord,
I listened with my body.
I

don't remember Louvre and the grand boulevards
only the mayflies of dust
and the smell

of ripe fruits, like the inside
of churches. The face of the street smiling at me
from so close, like a good mother.

Yes, I know what was
underneath those flagstones. I am still
full of whispers,
like a dry, empty shell.

(Rethymno, 2016)

 

*

Still running
to John Burnside

The runners of thirty years ago
still keep on running,
only now indoors, on treadmills
and bikes fixed to the floor. I can see them trampling,
as I walk past the gyms in the city.
Their tracks abrupt, directed at
blank window panes. They keep
on trampling. Confined within buildings,
the huge hollow spaceships, powered
by pedals - any time now
they will all take off,
like flocks of gigantic migrant rooks
over our cities.

(Durham, 2016)

*

Humility and ecdysis

The gift of the paternal

inheritance: jobs like fatal illness, that grab

by the throat. That we slowly die of, to become free.

Yersinia pestis, rank, excel, commute

by train,

by plane,

by car,

by asphyxia.

Kronos was called,

he must

maintain order in the face

of Heaven and Earth.

He must

sterilize all that goes bad. All that rots.

(out of the wound love gushes)

(out of the wound love bleeds)

A crack in the sky, like Christ’s shattered flesh,

do you hear the drumbeat? The rhythm

in the walls.

(out of the wound love pours)

(out of the wound love overflows)

The heart has no choice.

(Sheffield, 2016)

 

*

Modern Albatross
Barreleye fish,
living near the depths where
light turns to blackness,
have transparent heads.
Even in perfect darkness
they are able to see,
straight ahead, upwards, downwards,
by moving their eyes
around in their head.
Taken up to the surface,
they fail to impress:
they decompress
and
their heads explode.

(Sheffield, 2016)

*

Uppmuntrad

Jasså, sa nu blir man lite hög av att sitta pa sas-flyg,
folk fikande, talande svenska intill
och Köpehamns flygplats transithall,
som uppmuntran till att hoppa av
och iväg med taget bara.
Hemlängtan, en sån märkling grej

(Copenhagen, 2016)

*

Undercurrents

I dreamed of watching, together

with a blond childhood friend,

a train to Morocco passing by.

Its massive body was slowly crashing

through a small, modest room with net curtains.

Then it rolled away and the room

regathered, a gentle wind

in the curtains. A framed

calendar picture on the wall.

When I got up I found

Muninn’s black feather

on my bathroom sink,

a book lying face down

on the shelf. Everything

is riven now, even the clouds

are undecided. Only weeping and wine give

something like an afterimage of solace, fading

into the body; not really there, a hallucination

of relief. Everything is riven,

and God’s own little lockpick

has been called for.

Feel the bones within you taking flight -

this is only

the beginning.

(Sheffield, 2016)

*

Power, all around

That layer of dream which is like the abyssal

zone of the ocean, darker than space,

where all is one with gravity. There

I am a transparent tube.

To wake up shatters lungs,

makes heart rattle, one comes up with

body all wrecked with pain. Nothing

can be brought up, no name, no language,

no story, resurfacing is possible when naked

inside.

The likeness of cause and effect, the calm of the facts

cannot fool us, not now, not any more.

Something has burst. Tubular roots snap and fill

veins and stars with a pulse.

Skin, so thin.

I mistook my feet for roses and snakes,

walked away with bare, crooked gait.

(Sheffield, 2016)

*

Med långa meningar

När jag var liten
kunde jag
hypnotiseras
med långa, slingrande ord.
Jag lät allt va, stod där och gapade,
lyssnade till långa meningar jag
kanske inte ens
en gång
förstod.

Ord. Jag tycker
fortfarande
så mycket om dem.

(Sheffield, 2016)

*

Transparency

I am too old, too young,

too woman, too androgyne,

too straight, too gay, too

excessive,

too wise, too clueless, we are

too slow, too love,  

too soft, too sore. Too

lacking,

too failing

to follow standards

to

irrelevance.

*

To Leonard Cohen

Goodbye, beautiful Elder,
so good of you to have walked
nearby, if always
one step removed.

Today I
woke up again
to a skyfull of doves, with
a gift of wisdom
on my pillow.

Time
is like air - whatever
we breathe in, we become
a part of. But not
the other way round: things become

real only when
drawn in by the very last.
Irredeemable passing
invites a return.

So here's to
very mortal poets.

(Tattershall/Boston, 2016)

*

Great again

Gray linoleum land
covered with thick,
sticky film. Buildings,
boarded up alongside
the tents of the homeless,
black tears on brick walls,
a feast
of stark camera necks, "surfaces
may be slippery".
Train filled with
smell welling up
from the toilet.
This is not austerity,
this is overflow.
It's what trickles down.

(Leeds/Sheffield, 2016)

*

The Mr. Brainwash life philosophy

In a time and place

I aim my camera

at what makes it possible to breathe.

Not art. Not meditation.

Just one-breath jailbreak.

(Leeds, 2016)

*

 

Self-guided tours in unloved spaces,
exhaling chill of the timeless order.
Makeithappen. Exciting. Excel. End
of history blowing cold in the air.
Synthetic plants in plastic pots,
in the corner
a plasma TV, hectic by itself.
Folders scattered like petals.
Welcome,
we are delighted that you
have chosen us.

(Stockton, 2016)

 

*

Burghead

Winds are born as lithe, compact bodies,

brought forth with a scream into this world.

The fisherman’s well is empty now,

water spirits gone, no translator

for the watcher of skies. A thousand prophecies

unresolved: it could be the tongue of the heavens

or just an old murmur, repeated, again and again.

This is a place where things long to be found

but stay suspended between sea and rock,

thrice as uncertain, thrice as newborn. One

of the so unusual places

where no soul ever

gets lost.

(Sheffield, 2016)

*

Whiter shade
The whiteness of paper and hands
before the music comes on, the time
of prophecies gone awry,

now coming together in a murmur,
leaving behind no ghosts, no echo, no song.
If everything keeps coming back, stitched together

by a patient thread of gravity, it is also true
that each time things lose some of their heat,
each time they come back colder.

The lights have long been
turned out. There is no
virtue in winter. This is it: the end.

Everything remains, all is stillness.
We can take with us
nothing, only

all that we love.

(Sheffield, 2016)

*

A ride through the material world
Pick up your mat and walk. See:
everything is poetry. Clouds,
people talking about the Black Death
on the train. More clouds. The rumble of rails,
conductor drawing face with rolling eyes
on ticket. He smiles up his cheek. All is swift but
inconclusive. All is a matter
of heart.

(Stockton, 2016)

*

Abraham
He thought he heard
God calling, so he went up the hill
and he swallowed the stone.
His liver moved aside,
making place. Stars embraced him,
heaven’s amniotic
fluid. And he stood still
for seven years. But no one came
to claim him. He had mistaken
his own groan for the voice of God.
One day things shifted,
something in him cracked, he threw up the stone -
they embraced.

(Durham, 2016)

*

Through a glass
Sometimes the mirror is a lake,
my face - a rippled surface, and the stone
a mystery. Clouds upon clouds,
the horizon has turned
the other cheek. Whatever comes fast
is not worth having,
some buildings and trees just keep rushing by.

But sometimes the train stops and
eyes meet the headlights of a car,
standing at the crossing, never to forget.
Barely seventeen, gazing into the unseen eyes
of the car’s driver, brother, sister, God,
a bottle of cheap wine
beside me, my friend meeting art
in the dimmed light of the carriage.

Lines are moving, we all know that, even
parallel lines sometimes
cross, between
Heaven and Earth.
The train goes on, and I am at a loss
for words, but I know
they will come, so I hold my breath.
Sometimes nothing comes up, and sometimes
the mirror intersects
with someone else’s Cosmos.

(Sheffield, 2016)

*

Resurfacing
Some time ago I stopped dreaming
of winter. Now my dreams
are of waking up
and of sleeplessness.
In one I am allowed inside my childhood home
together with a small
group of Japanese tourists,
we take photos of some old things.
I ask the new owners:
if there is anything you'd throw out,
please consider giving
it to me, instead.
But they keep everything, even
a pile of old train tickets
made of brown, solid cardboard.
They offer only a candy wrapper. Not a big
deal. But I get a stroll
in the house. Even the attic,
where all the winter clothes
are kept in summer. It smelled,
as always, of Christmas
night Mass
and nuts.

(Leeds, 2016)

*

Make no bones

On the day my mobile phone

connected directly to the Galaxy,

and started receiving

messages, though it was out of range,

a thick veil covered the city

and I met a sad man, asking

directions. He introduced himself as

astronomer, looking for his class.

We were dozens of kilometres

from campus. Spring was still

a possibility, distant but bold. The world

spat out venom under its

breath. I wish I had

told him the truth: per aspera

ad astra, but right then

stars descended on us

like a murder of

haphazard crows.

(Stockton, 2016)

*

The winter fair
A poem is the surrounding space
cast in thought, but without
the thinker. A complete skin left to try on:
a light that can be seen only
in peripheral vision,
leaving an aftertaste of cinnamon
and a slight suggestion of wormwood.
A muffled blackness of night,
kneaded into a soft
vibrant pulp,
soothing to the palate.
Lightly, it enfolds a stall
half-digested, semi-solid
in between heartbeats,
then, retreats back into the
throat. Just like a song
pushing through, up to the
surface. A bell rings:
someone, somewhere
has been forgiven.

(Warszawa, 2016)

 

 

Iceland

Icelandic Earth: young and fearsome,

resplendent in Cyprus-blue sky

and snow ellipsed by flows of lava.

Here she does not lie,

she does not play pretend,

she does not reassure us:

that the material is everything

there is, that the are no monsters

prowling the woods.

The black forest on both

sides of the road

is imaginary. The wolf

in the sky is real.

The passerby the only

border

between them.

(Egilstad, 2016)

 

*

Like silence before storm,

like darkness before dawn,

like business before pleasure,

like function before form,

like coffee before road,

like age before beauty,

like think before talk,

like cart before horse,

like cry before hurt,

like pride before fall,

like pearls before swine,

like dust before die,

so comes

poetry before revolution.

(Höfn/Reykjavik, 2016)

*

Iceland. Going North.

Mountains are mountains

for mountains' sake,

with names, but without

a reason.

Among them, isles

of benign

human presence.

I have been to this land

so many times

in dream, I know

the gravity of its shadows,

I am at home in places and scents:

a déja vu

that hums in the bones.

This is the place to get a life reset

without dying, an Earth baptism, where

the liminal is made visible:

the way the sky

fuses with the mountains,

how cliffs sprout fuzzy clouds,

the fields made of the same brutal kindness

that sweeps

the asphalt road,

a road

that is a leap

of faith.

A revelation at the crossroads.

(Reykjavik/ Warszawa, 2017)

 

 

Nobody is born a prophet
His hands are tied,
he listens at doors
and hears even more
(much more)
than desire.

He is the modern
lover of Apollo,
sensual, watching;
the doors -
he knows
- will get absolved.

The fountains are silent
but he learned the pulse
by heart,
by blood,
by medulla.

Voiceless. Yes,

he has been there all the time.
It is we who were
deaf and absent.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Niebo nad Europš
Kto patrzy w niebo
ten zobaczy anioły
przez chwilę,
przez mgnienie, zanim
stopy
splšczš się jak węże i œwiat runie w dół.
Leży leży jak długi
człowiek
w poprzek drogi,
jak igła kompasu,
a nad nim niebo gwiaŸdziste,
a pod nim Ziemi sól.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

2017
It’s Thursday night and minus one,
the city is crawling one breath closer
towards the hell I never saw, only
walked in its footsteps, again and again.
The city of war: people wrapped up in quilts
in the streets of my city,
this good city, city with a heart.
He said: I have a dream, it’s of a
hot bath and a warm bed, you know.
There was nothing heroic
about him, not at all.
The lights are out, the music’s over,
a feast of friends, spare change, and foam.
He held a pink
baby blanket over his arm,
like a happy, frivolous toga.
Side by side, man beside man,
army of urban soldiers,
loyal till the end.
I stared into the void
and the void glowered back.
It had the eye of hope,
mercy, and faith.

(Sheffield, 2017)

 

*

Lamentation

King Lear is dead
but miracles are still
likely to come.
The long march has halted,
the heart has fallen out
of the mouth of the city
and lies, like a small bloody animal,
at the crack of the curb.

Miracles are still possible.
Rain is falling on the homeless’
tent city. Should we weep now,
or have we missed the cue
long ago?

The King’s crown of weeds
has been tossed in the air
like a bride’s flower wreath.
He opens his eyes,
no dreams
want to come.

The tide rises, the tide falls like breath.
Miracles
are still likely.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Definition of a poet
A poet is a kosmonaut.
Still going places.
All the way.
Dreaming of fire and of kisses.
Knowing quite well how to take off.
The stratosphere is cold.
But pink.
Small step, small world.
Poetry is not a rocket science.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Ceremonies of spring
My grandmother kept all the summer clothes
in a wardrobe in the attic. Through winter
they absorbed the cold and stillness
of the unused space. In April she used to
take them out to catch some air before they
were worn. Windows opened wide -
a ceremony of spring, a recurring liturgy
of seasons. My grandmother always wore
the grey coat to Easter Mass. It smelled
of naphthalene, the smell of darkness and
the Easter church. Each year she said how unusually
chilly it was that particular year.
I knew the coats held the mystery
of spring and resurrection. When
she died the wardrobe was carried
down the stairs and placed in a dark,
enclosed space, doors folded round
its cavernous stomach.
I don’t believe spring ever really came back since,
even if it tends to get warmer
in April.

(Sheffield, 4/2/2017)

*

Lupercalia

It’s been days and weeks
and I haven’t felt like crying.
Tears won't coagulate,
and there a ladder in my throat.

It’s become something
of a beautiful duty:
an eye for an eye,
orbit for orbit,
and dust for dust.

This is no time for teeth
to crumble,
no time for mercy
of despair.

And if I howl, please tremble with me,
please embrace me!
It is because
I’m pure darkness.

I’ve come back a wolf.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Emil Lindells Väg

When we lived by the lake,
side by side with the old
mental hospital we heard
the story of the man
who one day took a run up

along the corridor, dashed
forward, with his head bent down,

and smashed his skull
full speed, against the ribs
of an off-white hospital radiator.

The bone split and he saw
the light.

I keep dreaming of him, waiting
in the place of blood,
but I know that, with firmness,
there will be good fortune.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

What would saint Valentine say
In Pink Mushroom lane
people kiss like crazy, cats
sit on roofs, as it should be.
Poets run with it.
The train is announced and it takes you to
the island of Utopia.
All other destinations
have been cancelled due to
signal failure.
You may be pleased to learn,
that the catering was trapped
at Reading, we apologize.
You know they don’t mean it,
but you dance dance dance,
more incarnate than ever.
After all, the Earth has been
transubstantiated.
Yes, the whole planet.
And we.
In
Pink Mushroom lane.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Static on the line


Their eyes were closed
and they stood
in line. In the dream

there is no suggestion
of a purpose,
just the indispensable.

Like in a 20th century
painting. The last
they knew was

hunger. It was in the eyes.
A weight that opens
the doors.

(Alicante, 2017)

*

Figs from thistles

There is a tree that grows
under the river.
My right arm is torn
and the blackbird sings loud,
louder than the roar
of the trains.
Carriage after carriage
cutting obliquely through
the glistening cold.
The landscape does not
give birth, not anymore,
not for a long time.
My right arm is torn
and there is a flood wave
coming through
security.
Nothing is delivered,
nothing forlorn.

(Durham, 2017)

*

Red

Blood in the sky,
blood on the pulse,
music and clouds
today:
all red.

Winds whisper
to the beads of dust,
reciting sorrowful mysteries.
They are all
the holy family, millions of them,
the saints of Syria,
their feet
carry
the weight of the Earth.

Seas and shifting sands,
dark matter flowing
in the veins of the world,
flushing out dreams,
all blood,
all red.

(Durham, 2017)

 

The song of the evil twin
There is a brass orchestra
playing in my thumb,
and all the way through
to the other side,
where something big
is happening.
But I don’t know what.
The plaintive trumpet,
the saxophone, all
drenched in the starry night.
A storm of feathers
obscures the view, or
someone would have
known these are the times
of particular beauty,
something like home.
They told us not to walk
this way, this path
leads nowhere and
the river has run dry -
instead of water: trumpets
and quicksand.
Verses turn in on
themselves, like
teeth growing inwards.
The soothsayer was wrong.
There was no danger
ahead.

There was nothing at all.

(Stratford-upon-Avon, 2017)

*

Postcard from Mare Nubium Hotel & Spa
We played astronauts
landing on the Moon,
many small steps,
and the ground was soft
to jump off and forth.
The Moon is, you see,
like a giant mushroom:
one side makes you bigger,
and the other is dark,
you can take off the gear and
inhale the breeze.
No one sees.
We’ve been there so many times,
we would know how to find
the places one day,
when we grew up and
took a rocket
up, to the holiday spa,
or else, dream our way
back again.

(Stratford-upon-Avon, 2017)

*

A fisherman's call

I am the wounded king.
I died for no cause.
It hurts to be dead.

My sons and my daughters
fight for my bones.
But the blood is not mine.
It's all theirs.

It hurts to be dead.
The land is a grave.
Something like sanctuary.
Something like a skin.

I’ve broken my staff.
But I’m keeping my coat.
The night is too cold to dream.
The night is a wound.

All is quiet now.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

driving yesterday, stopped to let her cross the road
my windows closed
she walked lightly, dancing to the music
I was listening to

(Warszawa, 2017)

*

Widziałam Madonnę w autobusie.
Nie była frasobliwa -
uœmiechnęła się do mnie.
Potem autobus odjechał
w stronę Okęcia
i œwiaty znów
rozplštały się.

(Warszawa, 2017)

*

Między nocš a œwitem
czarna sylwetka
powoli
idzie ulicš w dal.
On już wie,
że grób jest pusty,
że narodzony z Ziemi
tym razem
przybrał jej ciało.

(Warszawa, 2017)

 

Connecting journey
This train can take
you anywhere.
It runs on rails
of mystery.
Its flanks are blue,
it sings love and respite.
And, believe it or not,
it's completely free -
but you have to
catch it first.
Betwixt and between.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

From a dreamspace

Dreaming light:
going back
to discarded places and bodies.

Floor strewn with things:
molts, insects' legs. Rustling
cupboards, delicate suggestions
of something sprouting:
maybe mold, maybe second chances.

Letters keep coming,
filled with the
borderline knowledge
of what could have been.

One step too far -
and the darkness opens,
turns trespassers inside out.
There: the enlightened.
Here: the raving mad.

*

Crossroads

Frost at the end of the park
lays down its head
like a wounded dog.

All the while
stars keep buzzing,
celestrial bodies turn
in their sleep.

There is a force that
draws them together
and it runs right
through the mind.

Even if not much more than that,
the human mind is a string
that plays
music of the spheres,
stronger than distance,
even stronger than sense.

And so it may be:
the stars and the frost -
lovers forever.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

The recipe to survive in a world of alienation

Always wear something Swedish.
Don't let things cross the threshold uninvited.
Alienation spills over.
Leave contaminated things when you come home.
Bags, shoes, shirts - all
should be purified.
From time to time turn your face
right onto the northern wind.
Breathe.
Forget shame; shame is a rat,
a plaguebearer, it carries
seeds of contempt.
Inhale sunshine.
Go barefoot whenever you can.
Plot to overthrow capitalism.
Write a poem.
Hug an honest man.
And if you run
always think of dandelions.
Never forget guilt;
we are all
brothers and sisters in guilt.

(Oslo, 2017)

*

Closer

Splinters of light
fall through the filters,
dreams circulate
in the bloodstream
of the world.

Sometimes - wounds open,
shapes bleed through.

I love the light,
I said,
and then I saw the Moon
waiting, patient,
at both ends
of the tunnel.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

The broken

Suddenly wearing
the face of a character
in a children's book,
a tale of two bears.

And how the smell-tract
sometimes falls
out of sync
with the rest, and it
spills out stories
belonging elsewhere.

Tapped lightly:
summer and a celebration,
the chill that lingers on
but the hand is tired.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Spring comes

Spring comes
in mysterious ways.

At times as liberation,
the surfacing of truth.

Sometimes an explosion,

above and so below,
in a wild leap of faith.

Now and then it roars
like thunder,
or love.

And sometimes it sneaks in,
smooth,
like betrayal.

Knock and you will wake
her dreaming.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

End time festival

Stars fall down
from heaven
like manna,

they come down
like fireworks.

A rumble, a blitz,
a tsunami of stars.

At the end of days,
all around us wishes
keep coming true.

(Halifax, 2017)

*

8 June 2017

Fever has broken, small
shells fall out from the space
between windows. I saw the Grail

in the sky. People were
pointing at it from the train.
It was overflowing
under grey clouds.

White lambs were grazing
In the field - they looked like a lawn
blooming with clover.

I met one like me
in the London underground:
we talked, we laughed, it was good.

No bridge yet,
but there was sound
of flutter.

(Sheffield, 2017)

 

*

Łagodnoœć

Kraciasta torba targana wiatrem
rozdziawia paszczę przy drodze.
Jadš, jadš samochody.
Torba, z natury łagodna, z bezgłoœnš furiš
miota się, kłapie,
obszczekuje.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Abundance

Everything is love

and every song is a love song: the street,

the empty bottle, the rain, the scar,

the hungry dog. The straw, the stabbing

hand, the infinite sadness of vinyl.

Failing, letting down,

reaching out. The litany of trying.

I dreamed of green fields and

people long ago, of

trees and stones, wars, clouds,

and longing. Underneath

it all runs a lovesong, kinder and

wilder than anything.

All is love. All is uncalled for,

unconditional.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

A complete overhaul to its appearance

I lack words so I collected words shed. All of them are words shed.

For the people of Grenfell Tower.

Please tell the people in Damascus that they were loved,

tell the people we love them.

Muhammed, Omar’s brother,

Five-year-old Isaac,

Khadija Saye, artist,

Mariem, with the yellow sunflower,

Abdel, who called his sons,

Lovely smiling Sheila, 84,

Jessica, she would have been very scared, has anyone seen Jessica?

Tell the people we love them.

We just hope that they will find him.

It's been a real journey, tears shed, highs and lows,

but mama,

I'm an artist exhibiting at the Venice Biennale!

Fire resistant cladding would have cost 5000 pounds.

Fire resistant panels for L24 per square metre,

a L2 increase on the standard.

All of these people are homeless.

A complete

overhaul to its appearance.

We are the same as those people.

It could easily have been us.

I'm a 50 year old woman with a good income. 

But I swear to God, if this outrage caused a riot,

I'm fucking joining.

Fuck the media, fuck the mainstream!

I couldn’t speak to residents

because of security concerns.

What I am now absolutely focused on

is ensuring we get that support on the ground.

An abdication of responsibility. 

An abdication of responsibility. 

An abdication of responsibility. 

I want there to be a revolution in this country.

(Sheffield, 2017) 

 

*

Father's Day

For my paternal grandfather Stanisław

The father of my father
dreamed of keeping bees
and of getting away, up north,
where everything was unfamiliar
and a man could have as many friends
as bees, all around him.

(Copenhagen, 2017)

*

Earth landing
We are landing. I see
how water becomes
transmuted to sky.
The surface ripples
with the sun, full of honey,
drops down, too heavy,
and spills
all over the city.

(Copenhagen, 2017)

*

Dreaming Jan, my maternal grandfather

The green room opens. A table
and some chairs.
That is all.

The light is its own shadow
and there is a
suggestion of a window

opening to a garden
full of phlox and wild
strawberries. I can hear

him whistling to the doves,
I know that they always
descend on him.


He feeds them and then,
with his beautiful craftsman's

hands,

carefully lights a cigarette
(no filter). I know
everything is going to be fine.

The green room is the closest I can come
to earth, apple trees,
grinding wheels,

and God.

(Copenhagen, 2017)

*

 

Wszystko

Odzyskać wszystko: szałwię,
Pnie jabłoni, bielone na wiosnę,
Spadające lichy,
Korbkę studni, szpachelki,
Klapcążki, konewkę,
Kształt szpary w chodniku,
Zapach pomidorów podlewanych szlauchem,
Mlecze, śniący orzech, huśtawkę
Z szczebelkami,
Ale, przede wszystkim, porządek porzeczek,
Czerwonych, białych i mocno-kawowych.
To jest bardzo ważne, bo od tego
Zależy początek i koniec.
Tak jak dwa buty.
Założyć je, wrócić.

(Warszawa, 2017)

*

Zbuk

Na niebie stłuczone
jajo feniksa.
Strzaskany ptasi zarodek
z dziobem większym niż reszta.
A nad nim -
ciężko wirują grudki nieba.
Pod nim -
wietrzny ul
niedopełnionych snów.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Falling

The body is a membrane
between two spaces.
The senses face one
but the other rests hidden,
comes up in dreams,
in madness, and pain.
Being here is kind of music,
a kind of tickling. As I sat

in the theatre, I was taken
far up, my sinuses fluttered,
and I came down with
a roaring earache.

There is always a landing.
Gravity is the language
of maternal love, it holds
things together.

All else may fail,
but objects still fall,
accelerate,
everything falls
together,
in love.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Schody
Raz do do roku na schody
wylegały latające mrówki,
pijane nagłym dodatkowym wymiarem.
Trzepotały bez strachu,
bez kierunku, wyzwolone z cienia,
leciały wprost na nas.
Następnego dnia zmiatałyśmy kupki skrzydlatych truchełek
i wrzucałyśmy do ognia pod blachę.

(Stratford-upon-Avon, 2017)

*

Żytnia
Cug warszawskiej ulicy,
gorąca czarna rzeka, świergot
tramwajów.

I nagle staję pośród szumu zboża.
Duch pola prześwieca przez
sklepy, parking, ogrodzenia,
autobusy, pędzących ludzi.
Lekki podmuch przynosi
zapach kłosów bez cienia.

Ona,
w wianku z chabrów, w białym welonie
idzie wprost ku mnie, na wskroś, jakbym to ja
była zjawą.

Zrywa się
burza
spoza obu kadrów.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Pay slip

Pay as you go
Pay as you sit
Pay as you shit
Pay as you dream
Pay as you are
Pay as you stumble
Pay as you rise up
Pay attention,
Pay them back
Like they paid you.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Sudden concert. Rome.

(to Anke Strauss, who is researching hum and organizing)

A space in darkness.

Come music

Draw tears,

draw blood,

draw hum.

 

Reverberation,

inside of God's chest,

music to be sung

with hands.

Gushes,

fills bodies,

charges the bones.

Flows with us

out

into the streets.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Czas hien - opadły, odarły
z wszystkiego, co zbędne.

Jak lekko

(Warszawa, 2017)

*

Lipiec 2017

Uwielbiam Warszawę
A szczególnie
te letnie spacery Krakowskim Przedmieściem
Mazowsze w lecie pachnie lotnym piaskiem
i całkiem
niedaleko do nas jaskółkom


W taki czas
jak jeść lody to śmietankowe
a jak nosić koszule
to tylko czerwone


Taki lipiec w tym roku

(Warszawa, 2017)

*

Ania

Miasto, pełne wróbli,

my dwie na murku za Placem Unii.

Mówisz:

"Może by założyć letnią

kieckę? Ale ja tak lubię

ganiać w portkach

cały rok, na okrągło."

Całe popołudnie przegadane

o Marksie, o Heglu,

śmiejesz się do liści

nad nami.

Potrząsasz głową,

zrywasz się - już późno.

Ja jeszcze zostanę.

Zielono mi, Aniu,

zielono mi w świecie, który

niosłaś ze sobą,

gdzie można żyć

całkiem

bez zazdrości.

(Warszawa, 2017)

 

*

Dla Ani Z-J

Czytałaś wszystko.

Wierzyłaś w lepsza Polskę

i w zielone drzewa.

(Warszawa, 2017)

*

Mephistopheles was downsized and his job was outsourced

Be a success,

unconditionally,

be best!

Your choice!

This is the new

categorical imperative.

Everybody must be an artist.

Everybody must be

a world class famous professor.

Only minus the suffering -

that's a complete no-no.

This is the new

non-elitist

talent management experience.

Afterwards you may

fill in a customer

satisfaction

survey.

Welcome to

project life as a loveless marriage.

(Barumini, 2017)

*

Blue

The end spills out,

loses focus.

Unbound,

everything turns blue.

Sea and sky - blue,

cornflowers in August - blue,

veins through skin - blue,

life and death - blue.

Breath by breath,

tone by tone,

dust shooting out

for the stars.

(Olbia, 2017)

*

Railway scales

A touch of crimson,
not yet tone, just a sunset
and a window pane.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

Connecting train, 1979

Rustle
of frost
setting

on bone.

Sore bluntness
of the early train.
A swig of winter.

This is

all there is:
cigarettes and
the improbable heart
flirting with
Cosmos.

To and fro,
out of order.
Out of place:

the bitter
wake
of the flow
within.

(Burghley, 2017)

*

Jan
As I grow older
the mirror ceases
to be a surface
and focuses
inward.
More and more
often I come close
to catching the look
that I miss so much.
A sky blue
smile
slightly
up and beyond.

(Łódź, 2017)

*

Det regnar igen

Regn är som
hemkomst. Trots allt
är vi främst havsdjur,
och bara dels tvafota fyrfotingar.
När det regnar
blir vi barn igen,
sma grodorna,
med svans
och framtid.
Även om
vi förhastat oss,
ilat bort.
Som krigare.
Men när det regnar
är kärleken
närapa skinnet.

(Łódź, 2017)

*

On foot

Walk with me

in cities,

in vast open plains,

up and down hills.

To the riverside.

There are bounds

more sacred than angels.

But each step throws

up matter and dust.

Breath is born

in the loneliest pit.

It dies

extending,

into the blue.

(Warszawa, 2017)

*

Home
Sand coloured sky
hovered
over flat land.
I walked straight ahead.
And then
Earth attracted me
and I fell,
my body thrust
against hers,
5.97 sextillion tons
right into my arms.

(Warszawa, 2017)

*

Loty

W górze ptaki lecą na południe,
w dole liście kołują na północ.
Z dołu w górę zyzgakiem wzbija się foliowa torba.

(Warszawa, 2017)

*

Spełniciel
W samotności prawie równej Bogu
węszy, wietrzy sny,
zjawia się na krok przed aniołem.
Lekko dotyka ramienia,
ale wzrok ma ssący,
z ust płynie słodkie,
duszące powietrze.
Potem zdziera ci z pleców świat.
Płaszcz nie płaszcz,
Graal nie Graal -
wszystko przepełnia
swoim kałem.
Słowa zrozumiałe, ale związek między nimi
niepojęty. Nie "i”, "ale”, "tak”, "nie”,
zawsze "zamiast zamiast”.
Ziemia go ni ziębi ni parzy.
Diabellein znaczy dzielić.
Nic innego nie umie.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

work in progress
So little time,
such relentlessness:
the abused nouns,
subjectless sentences,
tense tenseless verbs.

Verse crammed into tables.

Shirtless and cloakless,
we have nothing to lose
but our time.

Incessant fizzy buzz in the background,
we are all ears now,
we are all going deaf.

(Barnard Castle, 2017)

 

*

Jesień w tym roku taka przejrzysta -
jak na dłoni widać
oba krańce świata.

(Sheffield, 2017)

*

The North

Mouthful of sorrow, the names of the hills -
not in vain. And here she comes,
wearing her crown of dust.
The people from pit towns
still walking, but autumn is glorious
this year. The year of remembrance,
clearer than anything has been
for decades.

The mystical
body
of the past.

Not in vain,
nothing in vain.
If people think her an angel
it is the black that has settled
and the silence has stretched -
scar tissue and concrete.

(Quarry Bank, 2017)

*

Sheffield station. Autumn afternoon
Black on black,
sustain pedal on, all the way.
Big starry windows.
One listener, but fine,
his yellow socks
up on trouserlegs.
His hands in the air,
beard in rapture, plastic bag
yawns on the floor.
People in and through,
must make a living, take part,
reluctantly in what they hate;
some might have danced,
some mourned.
All the petals have fallen
a long time ago.

(Sheffield, 2017)

 

Back

Index