Blesok no. 88, January-February, 2013
Poetry


Tramontana
Translated into English by Paul Vincent

Erik Lindner



When I can escape my words no longer


When I can escape my words no longer

or his voice that robs them of force, sounds, the
child is cut out

for the spreading of her locks

know then
that seldom

does a hand push and stop.




Reason


Do not doubt that reason,
that reason, that reason, that reason.
A fly walks from the edge
to the centre of the table top
and back again, follows a few centimeters
of the side, enters the emptiness
of the pale white again, tries again
what I don’t know and then takes off.




The sea’s purple at Piraeus


The sea’s purple at Piraeus.

A flag creeps over the bell tower
when the wind turns.

A man steps over a dog.
A woman, bending, rubs her eyelid.

In an umbrella shop an umbrella falls off the counter.

On a narrow branch sits a dove
that falls off, flutters and alights again
the berry that’s too far away at the furthest tip of the branch
the branch that sags, the collar that puffs up as the dove shifts.

A girl who gets on the tube with a desk drawer.

On the thick sand down by the surf
an angler extends his rod horizontally
a bike next to him on its stand.

He stands feet apart as if peeing.
Bird footprints in the sand.
The rod arches over the sea.




8 September 1994


1. All that is born can disappear.

How on a boiling day a low bench
receives shade from seven olive trees.
How one’s bottom goes clammy in contact
with massive and age-old stone.

How the tramontana breaks the sea’s plane
and through penetrating light of a lazy sun
picks up and twirls the water’s surface
in hurricanes yellow, blue, ochre, sand, water.

Vertigo can dissolve, directionless.

Swallows that dive like bats do
along the steep cliff behind the bench
where the path winds its way through three bays
but still points only to France.


2. Nothing dies willingly in Port Bou.

The girl from Aragon on the beach
takes her skirt off and lopes like an antilope
through the surf while her leather bag
holds a writing case with ironwork,
She’s here only for this Sunday
that is like a nameless history.

An empty pedestal on a steel plateau.
Front garden of desolate customs post.
A rock that almost slides into the sea.
Give it designations colourblind
play of tramontana, wind as strong
as lofty mountains, makes you shiver in the sun.


3. All that is born can disappear.

The free provision of penicillin
and morphine. In the old pension room
two beds stand between a wall
of disease. You and I, who is the male one?

What is being a male? The scraping
of a blade across an inflamed throat,
how it feels to be shaved
one last time, for a party
you won’t attend. Or how
a child laughing throws sand
at the sun. Falling and no
shame till you rise again.


4. All that is not born can also disappear.


Sand, roots, helm grass, tracks that never
ran here. The inhabitants who gaze after
the traveller but do not give his description.
Their gait still disturbed after the building

of a monument. Now, as the tramontana
licks at your body and picks up you and your glasses,
carries them along. Where the passage brings
the churchyard to the edge of the abyss above the surf.

Details of it only the short-sighted can find.
How it got here? Fifty years ago. To for-
get such a thing is barbaric. Even the defacing
of an artwork is a cultural expression.

I did this. Unscrupulous. Today. Date.




To Acedia


1. She is where she saw him.
(A sideways glance
at the opposite lane.)

The case by his right foot.
A coat over the arm.

He asks: was her hand ever here?
He sits down on the upright case.

A hand burns on her abdomen
and a hand burns above
the revolving car tyre in the sun.

She wipes spittle from her lips.
She brushes sunlight from his suit.


2. When on her knee a filter cigarette
sticks into the opening of a matchbox,
she sticks a hand into her sweater’s V-neck.
Her fingertips on the collarbone.

A pin on his suit. (Milk from the searchlight.)
Socks with fine stripes in. Thumb edge under a brooch.

A smile in a hankie kneaded to a yawn.

Nothing escapes her.
No one escapes her.

A tea towel with no motif.
A loaf with no oven.


3. I think those birds are just right for a boat trip like this
she says and on the railing
her hand masks the graffiti.

She has a dress round her neck.
The make-up’s the day before’s.
A gust of wind and her ear lobe’s released.

His mouth seldom tastes
of the bunk in the hull.
Birds are tapping against the frame.




ID’s (fragment)


1. What matters is just that it’s somehow right
the chance to be a component, to belong
to a company, a collection. People
who get changed between the low hedges
and the barbed wire at the dune’s edge.

Playing cards fall on a towel in the sand,
provisions under cloths in a wicker basket,
a dug-in bottle from the distillery
where one of us has worked that day.
We run like everyone else to the sea

and back again, tap sand from shoes on the footpath,
embrace what’s left out in every conversation
when we part and know we’re desolate when
the driver of a tram calls out his stops
to the solitary passenger.




A man eats an apple in the park


A man eats an apple in the park
and the trees bend around him
the grass has flooded from the trunks
it crowds round his feet
the pond pushes plants up the bank
the man bites a chunk from the apple
and lets it topple onto his tongue
sucks the juice from it and chews it up
the pond shrinks behind the bushes
branches point up from the trees
an animal climbs up a trunk
and springs and sprints through the field
past the green at the roadside
back past the pond through the bushes
to a man who folds his hands
in the field far off in a park.




When I walk to the sea


When I walk to the sea
I can go two ways

- two ends of a line
she follows the words past her index finger

two fingers and a thumb rub
when I walk to the sea

the pile in the palm of the hand
fingertips removing grains
salting the meat just starting to burn

I must keep it in hand
if it comes from a jar
I can’t feel it

she points the way she’s reading
pricks the meat

when I walk to the sea
I can go two ways
my fingers rub

I sift the sea.




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