Selling to the lowest bidder
Poems from Dessa underbara stränder, förbi glidande (‘These wonderful shores, gliding by’, Söderströms, 2001). Introduction by Claes Andersson
We don’t have our whole life ahead of us. Talk about your experience. About the sensual, about giddiness and falling, about the time you were out of your mind. I bow down, I proceed by trial and error. Wait. Time is short. I begin with light, light that’s autumnal sky-high all-embracing. When I painted I saw nothing but the light. Within the light: the invisible creating that hallowed feeling under a tree. Each tree holds the light in its arms like a child or a lover. Birds ruffled with light, breeding inside the tree’s head. The touch of light’s wind on the tree is like a caress on the skin. Birds that are everywhere, no one ever catches sight of them but sees them all the time.
Who am I? I do not know. I am my image of myself and the image of me in my mirror. I am your image of me. I am my image of the image of me in you. I am your image of me in your mirror. The photo of me as a child represents a boy who resembles me as a child. The child fell ill with adulthood and was completely forgotten. Dissolved, used up. I don’t know where he is, if he existed, but he does not exist.
When I heard the wonderful Janne Thomsen play Bach on her
transverse flute of silver I entered into the music to such a degree
that for a moment I experienced myself as the flute that her lips so
wonderfully supply, softly and pliably blew her body-warm air
into. Blow blow blow your hot air into my air hole I cried out to
myself until my wife awakened me, hissing that I was not to fall
asleep in the middle of the concert, and in the first row besides, and
as a representative of the Finnish cabinet and of our entire Nordic
social structure. I have decided to come back in my next life as a
silver flute. Janne, here! come!
I wake up out of a political dream, I have just murdered the president. I have been sentenced and stare into the muzzles of the rifles of the firing squad I, such a peaceful human being? Luckily I awaken before the bullets pierce my breast and blood dims my gaze. I have to think this over before things come to a head, I pull down the shade. It looks dark outside, that cannot be denied. I hear how my neighbor’s naked wife with her marvelous nipples is opening the window. Like an ecstatic swarm of sperm the light casts itself over her, one can always imagine. I remain in my darkness until it begins to grow light. Where does the darkness go when the light comes, and where my longing?
A happy person does not know what happiness is. That’s why he’s happy. Happiness is for the unhappy man. He strives for it and thus never attains it. When you get old, happiness shrinks but its specific gravity increases. I have lived a full life but still I haven’t had enough. That’s what it says deep in my heart. If there’s something worse than growing old it would be not growing old. Humility is the most lamentable of lies and the most indispensable.
Everything lawn is for sale. The room, the books, my hands, the piano, the silverware, all the accessories. I don’t sell them to become rich, rather to become poor. I sell to the lowest bidder. In your place in our lovers’ bed the scent of newly melted snow lingers. Pleasure that has survived the winter, a child’s mitten, a bottle of wine, empty. What is constant is in transformation, in the losses, yes, in what is transitory. No light is like the light of human beings. Why complain that the river streams toward the sea, these marvelous banks, gliding, past
Translated by Rika Lesser
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