Archive for September, 2005
Extracts from the novel Beige. Eroottinen kesä Helsingissä (‘Beige. An erotic summer in Helsinki’, Sammakko, 2005). Introduction by Tuva Korsström
Helsinki starts – where? Where a country girl will wear white corduroy pants if she’s eight and her pen pal tells her to. Where you’re allowed to jump in at the public swimming pool, and water splashes in your face no matter what you do, and it’s a long way to the bottom, you can’t touch. Unreal. That’s what Helsinki was like. Buildings that you recognized from pictures. A city where pictures were the starting point of your life, not experience. You step into the picture and begin your life. The step takes a long time. An entire youth. The first few days go well. You’re a tourist. The crowd of anonymous, noisy people is relaxed, you feel uninhibited. Nobody pays any attention to you. Then you start to want to feel. To talk. To say hi to somebody. The waiting begins, and there’s nothing you can do to speed it up. You have to live in the city. Ten years and you’re in, maybe, a little. Be there. Stay. You’ll circulate around the triangle formed by Sokos, Stockmann, and Forum department stores. They’re familiar from pictures, you’re wary of the others. The streetcar home. Home and downtown. The city. The lanes. Conduits. Lights. Trams. Taxis. Buses. The first negro. The first stop at a traffic light. The yellow stone building. The colorful cottages at the foot of the bridge. More…
Where roads reach through nights into a fresh infant nightfall with forest growing rooted to roots and stars, and darkness canters along on her black mare, canters along at a silent pace, she combs her hair on the starry comb and then slips into eyes to sleep.
But here nights are nights
of rooms, mere darkness:
light a light, it’s no night,
put out the light, it’s night,
and not here alone but everywhere
that rooms are ranged in rows
Houses sleep, breathe earth’s vastness
so that each of you, alone,
but neighbouring together,
will fill with stars.
From Vaeltanut (‘Travelled’), 1956 More…
Poems from Tapahtui Tiitiäisen maassa
(‘It happened in Tumpkin land’, WSOY, 2004)
Illustrations by Christel Rönns
Eli merenpohjassa Meritähti tuhat tonnia vettä yllä. - Minä jaksan kyllä, sanoi Meritähti. - On terävät sakarat, ja litteät pakarat ja paineenkestävät kakarat!
Extracts from the novel Valon reunalla (‘At the edge of light’, Teos, 2005). Introduction by Kristina Carlson
The village despised all those who left. They hated us too, though we were still only planning our final escape.
We used to escape the village. We would hide from its gaze in the forest or the cemetery where the gravestones were so close together that there was no room for the trees to grow. We knew why the freight train brought the village so many dead and so few living. It was the village’s fault. It had a wicked soul. The grown-ups didn’t know it. We knew it, but no one asked us. Death was within us; it was alive. Asking would have been too dangerous….
On the backs of the headstones we carved our own marks with the end of a knife. We blew out the candles laid at the graves of suicide victims. We worshipped them in the dark and no new candles were ever brought to their graves. The parents of those who died so young drove south. They were looking for stations with real waiting rooms and staff that made announcements. They sat on the hard benches waiting, waiting for the trains to come, at the right time; hoping the years wouldn’t wreak havoc after all, hoping they’d roll slowly back along the tracks, to brighten as they approached the village, giving life once again to their children. And everything could start over. More…