Issue 2/1998 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems From Aurinkopunos (‘Sunweave’, WSOY, 1997). Introduction by Jyrki Kiiskinen

Evening in Manhattan

the mechanism clicks
in the past I suppose it was called
falling in love but now we’re expected to merely
note that the cogs of chance have revolved into a propitious position
chemicals catch fire for exciting actions
under the street old fire moves under the sewers
maybe an alligator

they are calm creatures but we of course aren’t
we bounce off of each other into each other
flee from earth’s death the rising motion
the forest grows into skyscrapers petrifies
into the rings of suns

we look into one another’s eyes
so that no one else would exist, so we could forget
millions of others, we look into one another
deeper, we want deeper and deeper,
than any beast or divine entity
we search the sciences’ graveyard. the siluric engraving
no one knows how to read that bears our names

then we could want one another and say: ‘only the two of us
exist, only we love, the evening is
a granite sphere of space around us’
but even tonight love is sold out
its liquid substance pumped
into every vein

we measure this extract for luck
my coat wraps you and for a moment you are popular
to my fingers, with all my senses I buy
up all your editions
are we not unique, are we not unique
even though every man would thus love
any Venus or woman in Vogue?

On the table

who cares for it
the world gets distorted under
its lens, no wonder then
that reading
gives you a headache

I prefer
simple things
a black coffee cup its bottom still
covered by black coffee
a spool of thread that won’t let you know
where the thread starts, paper clips
so thin they don’t
have anything much to say

but stretch out their legs and are very quiet
if they dream they don’t report on it
the room is calm now
only this little murmur on the table
look they curl up here close to us
cup, spool of thread, and paper clip
cup, spool of thread, and paper clip

The sea’s bounty

why are you wondering how
to this small table
have been brought all the shells
and tentacles of the Mediterranean
go on, from one creature to the next:
the sea in an oyster shell, a broth of algae
salt tells tongue stories
about the first water
the sea, a living creature, greeted us once
on the Atlantic shore with ten-foot waves
then rushed back into its solitude
it owns a duplicate of the sun, at night it gives
the moon to the sky
it made a present of us, hid its egg in the sand

it gives words and gives salt
it gives itself and we eat

Utö island

I did not choose
the sea but the sea chose
I did not give the land a mind but
wind commanded out of my throat the words
that had been put there

and salt rubbed off
against the cliff wall, built
monuments to unspeakable feeling
spruce fenced with pine and shed
its weapon onto a tussock
wind raised the radio operator’s dream
out of the ship’s bowels
interpreted a message that made no sense

then the island resembled a vessel
on whose walls meaning boomed
such empty yet weighty things
they kept on echoing and still do

Translated by Anselm Hollo


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