– Selections –

Gratitude is due to Professor Charles M. Carlton of the University of Rochester
in Rochester, New York for his invaluable critical reading
of the whole English version. Heathrow O’Hare.

     gazing as symbol

I am seated at a coarse-grained axe-hewn table
I place several slices of bread on it by my side
I pour some wine into an earthen mug until
a few drops go over its brim
the windowpane before me is a limpid streamlet
the glaring light reduplicates my body
into twelve clarifying shadows
from its place above in the left corner
a slightly bent icon is keeping watch
one of its eyes gazes at me while I am peering
through its other

Mary Magdalene

a woman with thin spider-like arms had knelt beside me
letting her hair fall onto my face
as if I had died and the margins of my blood
were dissolving into some kind of mist
the city smoke was climbing from a motionless chest
windows were dripping
mirrors were flowing wax-like and sawed-off
poplar tree trunks went flat under the asphalt
the streetcars overtook everything else they were capable of
mixing themselves up according to an absurd logic
that was all I could feel: the way space the way time
could only move along in a parallel fashion
the way the alkalis loosen up rustling down the walls
as if they were a moon-stricken foliage in this world
we loved each other also because we went about it very slowly
we were almost perfect
her thin arms her black hair growing out
of a black comet
which cannot reach out beyond the horizon
she had knelt letting her hair fall onto my face
as if I had died and only the lightest of things
could ever affect me now

the sleep of the angel

across the street with its visage nestled under its wing
the angel whom I had been waiting for was asleep
so I was not the only one to have noticed the black swan as it sailed over the asphalt
with its neck outstretched so
that its body seemed to be hanging limply from it
the old man played the same old tune in D on his double bass
the city itself was in D and so were the world and time
he bent over his instrument when the swan sailed past looking
as if he had committed suicide by sticking the bow into his belly
I too felt an urge to let one half of my body pass away
so that the shadow of the other half might float above the water
above the coral reefs and their closed casements above shop
windows and the headlights of cars above a trebled second
above space curved over a double bass that is my angel
dozing among its silky pillows
coveting my electrified flesh and my introverted blood
wrapped around my bones I was not the only one
to have noticed the swan sailing over the asphalt my companion
remembers the fact and would be any time willing to testify
about my footprints on the pavement at the border of the water
about the shirt which lay like an empty birdcage about my basalt
temple about my hands about the quanta of each and every atom
even though a profound silence would envelop my name
even though my blood my sap would forever flow unknowing
whether animating a tree or a human being


in our wake throb stars luminaries quicksilver vapors
an immense cenotaph
on top of which a wax woman is melting
her kernel stays perpetually the same like a choral
by Johann Sebastian Bach
a bluish plume of smoke raises an identical world
a celestial homology
which makes me travel in thought to the point toward which
my death is but a convex trajectory
a bluish smoke a woman which gets ever thinner with every
atom of her untouched body
scattering about our shoulders and arms a fertile light a seal
which unravels itself slowly and on purpose
and as we silently approached the Manichee we sensed
she was weeping we received a tear in our outstretched palm
and each of us in turn fell asleep
in her arms

brother of mine

the palm of my hand is smooth like a child’s forehead
the waters have trembled my lips bite into them
as if they were an apple
the flesh of En-lil my brother
behold the giant eye treading barefoot
leaving behind its imprint ring after ring
here is a list of the names of my dead the leaves
under which the soil stays always moist
and my shadow waxing and waning
a sign that I’ve drunk up the air of the night
and am still thirsty
I’ve tendered my open palm to you which was so smooth
that it seemed devoid of a destiny
and so guiltless that no flame could ever touch it
you shouldn’t have shunned me
my good fellow I didn’t know how to weep
then all I knew was how to extinguish my own self

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