melting & burning

November 6, 2016, 12:21 am
Filed under: quote | Tags: ,

“We overestimate everything we pin our love on, and for this reason it sometimes requires contradiction and criticism, for love alone is living and precious, not the object we pin it on.”
– Herman Hesse.


“With A Sleeping Body” – Serge Van Duijnhoven
December 12, 2013, 7:35 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

I want you to see through my intentions
I want you to know the price of desire
the scale of things, I want you to understand
why they overestimate the kindness

I want to hear you say:
“everything just serves to win
everything is tactic; we all

I want them to keep our secret
how we chase each other silently like hunters
I want us to be willing to put our souls at stake
like we insert a coin in a slot machine

I want to go back in time to when I still learned from my dreams
I want to have the marks I left on your skin back
I want to able to feel you with my eyes in the dark
trace with my nails were you have been

I want your hands to wrap me in cool sheets
I want to see if your side differs from mine
I want you to be stronger towards the end
I want to give you the idea that you are winning

I want you to feel a foundling without me
an eccentric in the void, I want to see you tremble
in the cold, I want you sweating, rubbed warm
I want you rabid, praying for repentance

I want you to be able to read my mind
I want you to be able to touch my heart
or the fatal spot, I do not care
who causes the wounds, I do not care

how many there are, I just want to take an interest
in what dominates me. I want to be in a beautiful place
when I die. I want to be able to drown in the Red Sea
injure myself on a poisonous coral, wash up

on a snow white beach, with your taste still
on my lips. I don’t want to destroy you
I wouldn’t know how. If only I could say:
I will forget you, if only I could say:

I’ll leave you alone
but I can not lie
I always think of you, truly
I will forever think of you

Translated from the Dutch by Marijn Rombouts


ik wil dat je mijn bedoelingen doorgrondt
ik wil dat je de prijs leert kennen van verlangen
de schaal van de dingen, ik wil dat je begrijpt
waarom men het aardige overwaardeert

ik wil je horen zeggen:
‘alles dient slechts om te winnen
alles is tactiek; wij spelen

ik wil dat men ons geheim zal bewaren
dat we elkaar geruisloos achtervolgen als jagers
ik wil dat we bereid zijn onze ziel in te zetten
zoals we een munt inwerpen bij een gokautomaat

ik wil de tijd terug dat ik wijs werd uit mijn dromen
ik wil de tekens terug die ik heb nagelaten op je huid
ik wil je kunnen voelen met mijn ogen in het donker
met mijn nagels nagaan waar je bent geweest

ik wil dat jouw handen me in koele lakens wikkelen
ik wil zien of jouw zijde van de mijne verschilt
ik wil dat je sterker zal zijn naar het einde
ik wil je laten denken dat je wint

ik wil dat je je zonder mij een vondelinge voelt
een zonderlinge in de leegte, ik wil je zien bibberen
in de kou. Ik wil je zwetend, warmgewreven
ik wil je hondsdol, biddend om berouw

ik wil dat je mijn gedachten kunt lezen
ik wil dat je mijn hart kunt raken
of de fatale plek. Het interesseert met niet
wie de wonden veroorzaakt. Het interesseert me niet

hoeveel het er zijn. Ik wil alleen belang stellen
in wat me beheerst. Ik wil op een prachtige plek zijn
als ik sterf. Ik wil kunnen verdrinken in een Rode Zee
me verwonden aan een giftig koraal, aanspoelen

op een hagelwit strand, met jouw smaak nog
op mijn lippen. Ik wil je niet kapotmaken
ik zou niet weten hoe. Kon ik maar zeggen:
ik zal je vergeten. Kon ik maar zeggen:

ik laat je met rust
maar liegen kan ik niet
ik denk altijd aan je, echt waar
ik zal voor altijd aan je denken

Love in the Dark Country – Kapka Kassabova
March 22, 2013, 9:36 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

Tomorrow for twenty-four hours
I’ll be in the same country as you.

The sky will be constantly shifting,
the morning will be green, a single morning
for my single bed. And in the night

as the dark country goes to sleep
a church bell will measure
the jet-lag of my heart.

I’ll open my suitcase and unfold my life
like a blanket. In the dark country I will lie
all night and wonder how this came to be:

the one light left in the world
is your window, somewhere in the land

of thin rain and expensive trains.
And instead of maps, I have an onward ticket.

Death of a Friendship – Harry Guest
August 27, 2012, 10:06 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

I mourn, now that your house contains
such fractured shadows.
This wine you’ve handed me
tastes sour. I joke and you do not laugh.
When you speak, assuming my approval,
I stare into discoloured
depths of my glass, longing
to get away.

Rain drives against your walls. The few
shrubs you have planted shrink in the cold.
Where there was amity, questions
echo between us. Tufts of dark
lilac branching from tall vases shed
minute dry flowers like grief
for a lost fragrance, leave
on the smooth piano scattered omens
neither of us can read.

The past is empty of romance,
its summers flecked with heartbreak
and its negatives destroyed-.
But weren’t there moments when
the blue sea glittered, when the lithe
curve of a diver forged another
link between wave and cloud?
I wonder, though, in fear
were those young grinning faces always
plague-marred, was the fun a lie,
were dreams we’ve jettisoned
mere husks about this dirt,
dislike? One fiction may
have replaced another for
wherever I look with you I find,
instead of light, a slyness.

We could not name the truth. What used to brag
lies in your cupboard under lock and key.
You care no more
for angels or the underdog,
translating all the terms we used
into intolerance. Your world
now clusters round
the emulation of the rich.

I can’t feel glad about old times
because I am afraid
that what I see here I suspected then
but shunned the knowing.
The tarnish of this has rubbed off on me.
The years we shared look counterfeit. If so,
more than affection died today.
What hurts perhaps the most
is that in you as in a mirror shows
not only what I could have been
but what I was or am.

“Too late for anything, too early for nothing” – Tadeusz Dąbrowski
May 12, 2012, 7:51 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: , , ,

Unexpectedly we’ll meet again years later,
quite on purpose we’ll mix beer and wine
with vodka, to ride bicycles in the middle of the night
around the estate, unexpectedly bumping into the high

kerbstones, trampling flowerbeds, cutting our cheeks
on branches that have sprung up unexpectedly, then un-
expectedly to fall over, and pushing our
warped bicycles, come to my place, to dress

our wounds, and then lie down to sleep, in the morning
to copulate unexpectedly like animals, out
of fear that something will unexpectedly return

that we felt years ago, copulating like people.


Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones


Na wszystko za późno, na nic za wcześnie

Znowu niespodziewanie spotkamy się po latach,
będziemy z premedytacją mieszać piwo i wino
z wódką, by w środku nocy jeździć rowerami
po osiedlu, niespodziewanie uderzając w wysokie

krawężniki, tratując klomby, tnąc policzki
o wyrosłe niespodziewanie gałęzie, by się nie-
spodziewanie potem wywrócić, i prowadząc
zwichrowane rowery, przyjść do mnie, by opatrzyć

rany, a potem położyć się spać, by rano
kopulować niespodziewanie jak zwierzęta, ze
strachu, że powróci niespodziewanie coś,

co czuliśmy przed laty, kopulując jak ludzie.

The Sonnets to Orpheus XIII – Rilke
April 14, 2012, 9:57 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were
behind you, like the winter that has just gone by.
For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter
that only by wintering through it all will your heart survive.

Be forever dead in Eurydice-more gladly arise
into the seamless life proclaimed in your song.
Here, in the realm of decline, among momentary days,
be the crystal cup that shattered even as it rang.

Be-and yet know the great void where all things begin,
the infinite source of your own most intense vibration,
so that, this once, you may give it your perfect assent.

To all that is used-up, and to all the muffled and dumb
creatures in the world’s full reserve, the unsayable sums,
joyfully add yourself, and cancel the count.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

A Bachelor’s Valentine – Stephen Dunn
February 14, 2012, 5:09 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

When, next day, I found one of your earrings,
slightly chipped, on the steps leading up to
but also away from my house,

I couldn’t decide if I should return it to you
or keep it for myself in this copper box.
Then I remembered there’s always another choice

and pushed it with my foot into the begonias.
If you’re the kind who desires fragile mementos
of these perilous journeys we take,

that’s where you’ll find it. But don’t knock
on my door. I’ll probably be sucking the pit
out of an apricot, or speaking long distance

to myself. Best we can hope for on days like this
is that the thunder and dark clouds will veer elsewhere,
and the unsolicited sun will break through

just before it sets, a beautiful dullness to it.
Please understand. I’ve never been able to tell
what’s worth more—what I want or what I have.