Poems

Issue 1/1981 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Introduction by Pekka Tarkka

Wind’s whistling through Europe’s windows

In the moonlight
when the mirrors are screeching
cold light, a silvery curse
the newsreel breaks loose, gallops
the window pane into blackness

Wind’s whistling through
Europe’s windows, the sky’s
full of flying Pickwick Club papers

Just a moment

International terror’s
switchboard diagram: the transistors
are hijacking the plane

I keep on looking at the switched-off television:
cities one after the other
are rising up against their town plans, crumbling
into rubble, the refugee camp’s
the contemporary living quarter

in the ruins of her house
a poor woman’s celebrating:
now she’s rich, Hollywood’s refracting light has made platinum out of her
tin earrings

Just a moment

The cause of our death’s
always very dear to us
but the greatest happiness is to be
in a ringside seat at your own funeral!

Charles Dickens
was rocketed off into orbit round the world
wrapped up in a roll of wallpaper
His skull had a smouldering
candle in it, the tallow
was spilling in his eye-sockets, the lustre
came from junked moonlight

A full urn
of blackened transistors in the corner of the room
A wind’s whistling through
the windows of Europe, up in the sky there are the satellites,
alone

From Zoo (1979)

All windows open

Cool summer nights:
narrow bed, hard, held up by four pleasured legs,
a night snipped out of tissue paper
is rustling around us:
all the windows open
in us and the house
the moths fly in and out

From The Airship Italy (1980)

Smuggled heart

Mars I wanted to be, the red planet,
and battle with the everlasting energies in the blazing
thistlefields, Mars, and believe in storm
and that Chaos...
      come nearer, come up closer, come on
I was left a dark forest, heavily
            breathing, a floor
fabricated out of mist for me to genuflect on,
the crackling of a distant bonfire
      come nearer, come closer, I reek
            of damp smoke
I don't long for immortality any more, only night
full of the barbarous proposition of putrefaction,
in this light your body's glistening with
         a supernatural transparency, and yet
you exist, your lips have bloodsalt on them
      come closer, come near, let me
I smuggled my heart to you
through the night customs – this is the last frontier:
Some almost inaudible music's beginning,
we're wading slowly
into lucid water, feet feeling the riverbed, sleek clay,
your skin woman's skin child's skin my heart I
From The Airship Italy (1980)

The marks of little dirty hands

I’m looking out of a window with no curtains that a child’s pressed his tiny dirty palms on, stood on a chair waiting for mama to come. Tumbled down.

Spring day, putting your eyes out.
World order’s maintained
by hypnotic suggestion: in the beginning
was the contract with the Devil, at the last the equilibrium of terror.
The forest is mute against a sky that freezes even the smoke.

I keep on looking out of the window with no curtains. We’re not so well supplied with hope
that we can flash it around.

From The Airship Italy (1980)

Translated by Herbert Lomas

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