The house of the rising sun

Issue 2/1998 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Nousevan auringon talo (The house of the rising sun’, Tammi, 1997). Introduction by Jyrki Kiiskinen

Closeness. License to kill. And to go on living
         becomes impossible.
 When you see a waterfowl’s eyes, if you see them
         in the dark, that is the right distance.

Now the fire power of our forces consists of infantry arms.
         You are hard ammo exercises, controlled
 regression, kiss of a porcupine, flower
                   from the great gardener's garden, who
                          shall be killed nevertheless.
         The one who in every piss-stained jail cell tries
                   to inch his own death forward a little.
*
If I knew where I come from and where I'm going.
        Back there in the woods lies a dead man,
                    snow on his back, alack alack.
 My dearest, my dearest, I brought the winter.
        Mother is trauma, father is sword, a dress sword
 to slash trauma, wherever he goes, even when dead.
         We have polished small errors so that they
               will no longer occur.
 We have descended like a cow's tail,
                       like sick cats we are,
         when there’s even just a little snow in our pockets.
 You old grey haystack poles, mothers, children
         of the plains, grandmothers' sorrow. Georgia on my mind.
 I put a nice tie around the dog's neck, to get away
               somehow, then he's allowed
         in Sandro 's pub, an oasis for dogs.
               And together we look through the rainy
         window: there we lie, both of us,
               far from here, perhaps in Georgia.
         Fingers and paw-claws dug deep into the soil.
 Onto us falls the snow, slowly, mother.
              Lots of slow beautiful snow.

*

I burst into flower. Was a rose of Eden.
        Just lived and was, bent over, walked.
 Stood under the rain spout for a long time, the dog got wet.
         Lived in the House of the Rising Sun.
 The lame and the sick in soul and heart
             were good at dragging each other
         back and forth, like specials on ground beef,
                     one parcel transporting another.
             What did we have, what was left to us.
        There was one star in the middle of the sky's lid,
             and mercifully there in the yard
                     withered that one and only flower.

*

White white lilies, white sails
              my only white flower
                     carry it far away.
 I ask, the way Jesus asked, what
              did you do to me.
 When after all I carried your pain.
       Trees grow over us and we can 't
 do anything about that. And the old lake
        its watery shimmer like a newly laid egg,
               the poem's lake, most suitable for drowning.
                         It's as if the time of illness were about to begin.

Listen, Jesus, you man carved with an ax,
onto whom aplastic bag was hung, later.
Here we lie, the dog and I, like halves of a
pike, complete with the beast’s underbite.
And Jesus says: but your agony
is yours and only yours,
it is your home in this world.

*

Life is vaccadee vaccadoo,
        you gonna be sorry.
 I use my brains creatively, as well as
               stirrup and gas pedal, clutch.
 I am that god, Janus-faced, the other half
      you can't see, a rock shines in the water, fish and subconscious.
 You can't see anything clearly, your eyes already clay,
      oh to be born a clay child, the clay's shout is mute.
 You won't see or hear when the light arrives,
      its electric horseman,
             lamps around horse and head
                   he rides into the dark.

Translated by Anselm Hollo

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