Po angielsku

Marek Czuku

BEAUTY

look how beautiful it is
said one inspired critic
when he saw a creature
of seven legs
seven heads
and seven names

unfortunately
the creature was primitive
and didn’t pay to it
any attention

[translated by Jerzy Jarniewicz]

LOVE POEM

I love
when you put out my eyes
with the voice of love
when you talk
about cancer gnawing
channels
between fingers
when you burn my feet
with mint
my feet used to the touch
of the mouth

and that is why
I love
the living
hairy rat
which cankers
the hours
from our guts

[translated by Jerzy Jarniewicz]

POLITICS

somewhere and sometime
a mouse and a cat
used to eat from one bowl

it would’ve lasted till today
if the cat hadn’t been told
that mice are edible

[translated by Jerzy Jarniewicz]

AN EMPIRE YOU ARE

An empire you are if you don’t know I’m telling you
And obstinate mouths are swallowing big stones
To dress the words in the consistency of stones
To build a fortress in place of a glance
In place of what hangs and what haunts
Taboo and enough naked eyes remain silent

Empire when it grows doesn’t fraternize with another
Avoids the gestures of joy and despair
Ignores the voices that come from under the earth
Hammered in bronze remembering the past
As a camel it goes conquering tapestries
Which the uncrowned sun soon turns into ashes

If you don’t know I’m telling you

[translated by Jerzy Jarniewicz]

IN OUR SANCTUARY

The street was full of martial communiqués
It greeted me with the shouts and the rattle
Of guns I found shelter inside a gate
Like an heir of conspirators should
Faced by the lethal aggressiveness
Of communiqués I ran along the walls
To our house
You let me in Opened the door
Naked and submissive You lay down
On the carpet and I could do with your
Body whatever I wanted Outside the window
Foreign armies were doing justice to each other
Blood started dripping from the ceiling Thirsty
For freedom we drank it as a nectar In our
Sanctuary I conquered you as the first
Warriors conquering the earth The light
Went out and through a broken window we could hear
Mothers’ voices whispering prayers
And then we couldn’t hear any more shots
Nor the groans of the dying
Calling us
Into the streets

[translated by Jerzy Jarniewicz]

CRAIG RAINE SENDS A POSTCARD HOME

Poles have complicated mechanisms
Devoted to others Heartless to their kin

Sometimes they pretend to know less
Than they can understand though

Their knowledge is bookish
They cause pain unaware

Of the sharpness of knives Their tongues
Are flexible Speech is distinct And

Screams can be heard under the windows
It is their proneness to sentimentalism

My wife appreciates Poles because
Of their honesty and concern

For an European nation
They are too rough Hewn

Maybe in stone If I saw
Them on Easter

Island I wouldn’t be amazed
But would simply close my eyes

[translated by Jerzy Jarniewicz]

STONE CIRCLES

1.

April passed by a long time ago.
Starveling roots are probing the ground
where nothing’s known, why
and for what. What kind of civilisation is that:
these barrows, sham-UFO and this…
scepticism of tourist guides.

It’s raining. Muffled shadow of pine-trees
hides wet green and navy blue of clothes.
Forest like forest, but certainly some kind of mystery
rules here, probably even a mystery
with capital M (positive energy,
a poem about writing, July).

Trivial thoughts next to salvific ideas.
Pound warms himself on the shelf
like a cat. Difficult phrase of Eliot
and too many truisms. The weather
is still foul, but always
there’s a hope.

Stratum upon stratum — for thousands of years.
The wise man’s slide and eye.
Casual comments, accidental relationships.
Is it only a sphere of psyche?
Volumes and tons of books, generations
of monks and warriors. Lack of words.

Describe what you saw.
In the global village ants
swarm in the ant hill,
the curtain is draw aside, the cock crows.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
So much for details — for now.

2.

My husband works too much,
especially nighttimes.

Bury her on Doły,
it’s such beautiful graveyard.

The price of fuel reaches
almost 4 PLN.

It’s all because of EU.
Do not leave me alone.

You think that I wouldn’t manage
on my own? Get

lost, go to hell.
Is it nice to talk like that?

I think I’m gonna tell my mom.
That what, that what, that…

3.

knock-knock-knockin’
on heaven’s

door

all I want
is you

4.

Is this the civilisation of love
or persistence?

Nach Hause
take a short cut,

so near the damned,
dead city,

where all water
dries out.

The erudite point
was supposed to be

placed here, but
unfortunately

I left my books
home
.

[translated by Robert T. Rutkowski]

THIS IS WHY I WRITE

These small revelations
without which world
would be the same

1.

Birds outside my window
are making brand new day
bearable and natural,

just like this left shoe
on right feet
(or something like that),

just like impertinent tap
in the kitchen through which
time leaks,

just like your name
written in the desk
(seemingly) with sympathetic

ink or
— I said —
you will listen, or…

2.

This element of surprise
and reaction, truly,
uncontrolled,

but it supposed to be
so beautiful,
the trees, the forest

of words and meanings,
senses and nonsenses,
I’ve tried to say

truth and lies
but that’s another
trite

3.

You say you don’t know
how heaven tastes.

Well, I don’t know either,
but now I’m drinking my coffee.

Its smell flows
even under my nails.

Things you like are better
than things you don’t like.

I like the smell which
flies up at the moment.

Unless now
You messed up directions.

4.

We’ve been talking for about an hour,
what am I saying, a lifetime.

You’re taking a shower
and I wait like some

strange, exotic creature
not satisfied with

“I’m taking a shower”.
This is why I’m writing a poem

without hope that
you ever read it

(a confession without confess),
because it’s the matter of faith

to believe that you will finally
walk out of the bathroom.

[translated by Robert T. Rutkowski]

THE DOER

Jorge Luis Borges lived for 87 years. In 1960 he published the package of short stories, sketches and poetic work entitled The Doer, which is said to be the pearl in rich possession of the great Argentinean.
I was born in 1960. I would like to live for 87 years.

[translated by Robert T. Rutkowski]