land of well being
the world is flat, then, after all. musically
curved at its finite edges, where
the few houses stand like scattered dice.
this lake, i'm told, is called green shimmer.
how reluctantly the light leaves the water,
the gentlest waves, tiny wrinkles, still
faintly illuminated. such magnanimity.
panoramas, not extending sideways,
not stretching like straight lines, broadly
from east to west, not these tired perspectives,
but curving round behind me with a whisper,
as if of their own accord, joining
to make a perfect shape, the circle.
"a parte ante" and "a parte post", i read
there, are the names given to the parts
of eternity that lie in front of me and behind,
and i thought to myself: what the heck.
each and every one
feelings like dropped pebbles, show me your hand.
the oval shape of summer, do you remember: euglena,
it will all be simple, all of it, and each and every one a nucleus,
it's like chemistry, your elements are void, void, void,
you repeat yourself, you're adrift, the stroke of the hour smudges.
shoot skywards, with the crazed efficiency of a water sprout
then crown the stalk with a ring of withered leaves: this year you can do.
the letting go, two people descending into formlessness.
jardins des tuileries
in the gardens a sweltering inclination
to symmetry, box trees, conically civilized,
heat, and once again the selfsame fountain,
overloaded, mirrored along a psychic axis,
just faintly confusing. so hot. then me
as a variant, holding his sweaty hand, a veil,
like an inner mist, condensation, droplets,
we think with our hair, with our cilia, and
where it exits the body it enters again,
it's warm like stepping indoors,
a steamy room in the lung's midst perhaps,
the cunning softness of oriental cushions,
devotion to the beat of chopping hands and
the symmetrical aftertaste of our boundaries.
today, around lunchtime, i saw my thinking,
it was a meadow, grazed bare, with hummocks. though
it could have been foothills of moss-covered mountains,
the kind of fuzzy green carpet fed on by reindeer.
no, just a busily bulging landscape beyond
the tree line, and it sure was close-cropped.
the thoughts passed over it, a little light-headed,
like currents of air made visible, no, more
like a fleet of immaterial hovercrafts. they used
the hummocks----------------------as ramps.
tour de trance
my task, she said, was poisoning time
how everything turned, repeated, expanded
and rotated, heat was a space so vast,
so disastrously large, was an arena
in which the wreckage of objects drifted,
savage impacts in the distance, no one heard,
everyone felt, the pulsing aftershocks.
where something was missing, it all got bigger,
turned, rotated, lurched about
and then came to rest in the centre.
fatigue was a cure, the weight
of the atmosphere, hallucinogenic heaviness
cushioned, it was turning less now,
as if the impacts, in their very substance,
were subject to dilution, as if
time, torrential space, were being precisely and
tenderly poisoned, the chemical weakness
rising in its fabric, frothing, suffocating,
the accumulated white layer of
crusts becoming richer, the impacts
fading into toxic noise, it turns,
turns imperceptibly, and stops.
to refrain from embracing
translated from the German by Nicholas Grindell
83b London Rd
Peterborough, Cambs. PE2 (BS