Archive for June, 2001
Extracts from the autobiographical novel Pienin yhteinen jaettava (‘Lowest common multiple’, WSOY, 1998)
The weather had not yet broken, although it was September; I had been away for two weeks.
The linden trees of the North Shore drooped their dusty leaves in a tired and melancholy way. Even the new windows were already sticky and dusty. The flat was covered in thick, stiff plastic sheeting. The chairs, the books, the Tibetan tankas and the negro orchestra I had bought in Stockholm glimmered beneath the plastic ice like salvage from the Titanic.
The windows had been replaced while I had been in Korea.
I unpacked the gifts from my suitcase. Lost in the sea of plastic, the little Korean objects looked shipwrecked and ridiculous.
My temperature was rising; it had been troubling me for more than a week.
I smiled and said something, not mentioning my temperature.
It was time to be a mother again, and a life-companion.
And a daughter…. More…
Poems from Tuulen vilja (‘Windcrop’, WSOY, 2000)
created for the deepfunnelled gloxinia – everything exactly right.
The sport of colours, survival (though I always felt I was
sunset in the morning).
I walk over the living, the playful swing of genes,
uniqueness in splinters: capsules,
family trees, root systems, leafage.
In the geneswing little deviations of dimension,
as if I were perpetually outlining waves with my finger.
The primal miracle of seeds: I press
a mixture of summer flowers in the soil, exploding
a serial miracle. More…
A short story from Ilmatasku (‘Air pocket’, Otava, 2000). Introduction by Soila Lehtonen
Father arrived by taxi with his black suitcases.
He stood in the hallway, casting a glance over father’s shoes, his trouser-legs. Under his arm was a folded newspaper; it fell to the ground when father bent to undo his shoelaces.
The newspaper was written in strange letters. It felt as if the saliva would not leave his mouth however hard he swallowed. Mother jumped back and forth; mother’s mouth chattered. He scratched the wall with his nail; it was scored with pencil lines recording how much he had grown.
When father straightened up, he filled the whole room. More…
A short story from Peili (‘Mirror’, Tammi, 2000). Introduction by Suvi Ahola
I’m getting so old, my Master and Mistress no longer take note of when I’m on Heat. They don’t even notice when some moisture comes dripping out of my innards, as a sign of it, like they did in the good old days. Anyway, this time I really boobed, I dirtied my Mistress’s Christmas slippers with my secretions. So what could I do? – if it drips it drips. I happened to be lying on my Mistress’s feet at the time, she’d invited me there herself. ‘Spot, Spot, come and warm my feet,’ she said. Of course I went, I always have done when I’m called, it’s rather nice. Your belly gets nice and warm there, and if you’re lucky your Mistress scratches your back now and then with her knitting needle. I sleep and snore a little – it amuses my Mistress and Master. But then the warming of my belly led to this boob – a big dose of this wetness slurped onto my Mistress’s feet. It caused a sudden departure. My Mistress yelled, and my Master flung me out into the yard. I’d scarcely managed a squeak before I found myself in the snow. I shan’t forgive them, no. It’s beyond my comprehension.
From Juomarin päiväkirjat (’A drunkard’s journals’, edited by Pekka Tarkka, Otava, 1999). Introduction by Claes Andersson
Iceland, Summer 1968
I don’t know how to describe what I see, the lava’s colors; the afternoon green of the grass, and I can’t tell if that white is buildings or snow. The mountains are fortresses of the gods, and if people’s construction projects irritate them too much, they let the ground shake, volcanos erupt and tum everything upside down, assign new sites to houses and different routes for cars. The gods’ noses itch when their breath is caught in pipelines and channeled into radiators and greenhouses. Sheep tear the grass but horses browse in a civilized manner. Jónas does not believe in the gods, but he is afraid of them, the gods are not pleased with the Americans, who do not know anything about the gods or history yet come here and start interfering with the land as if it were theirs.