English

POEMS IN ENGLISH

Change

The new isn’t all these
cars from nowhere
or cornflower blue chairs in the kitchen

The new is that no
change occurs
never ever

Outside again we fall
outside and the trees being
so late this year

What is it you want?
A phobia a psychosis a sledge
a voice howling in the garbage chute

For Don Van Vliet

Jan Wolkers dreams

Just before I fell asleep
I saw a sheet fall,
the country sinking deep
beneath the sea

On an island Jan Wolkers sits
twisting sculptures
out of his aged body,
he keeps prying and scratching
where the words gave out

With his back he holds
the North Sea at bay

On the mainland the roads wind
away lost in the fog
and the sheep steadily sink
into the swampy ground

Jan Wolkers dreams
of a morning long ago,
of the smell of piss from thousands
of crowded cattle

He dreams of the woman
who sat in his sink
and a cold hollands

Getting somewhere

The dying Ezra Pound
looks back upon his life-work
regrets everything

”A swollen magpie in
unsteady sun”

To see:
the only real
knowledge is
in uncertainty

Night is black

I

On the street corner
on a winter sunday
neglected in an unexpected
snowfall

Only a fool listens
to the alarm clock
on a day like this with
a tired
timetable

I look too long
at somebody,
take out a criminal
claim for the snowstorm

When you should be
harmless,
not a crack
in the wakefulness leading
back to the dream
II

I lie sleeping, turn
carefully to the left to the right
but not too much
On my back a cat lies putting me
to sleep with claws in my back

One day maybe all this doesn’t
mean anything anymore, not even
A dog who was named Fidel
Or a record by Orup
that someone I liked thought was good

I lie sleeping, dreaming of
an autumn in Johanneshov
In the leaf-fog I see someone lose his
blackness, come closer with the dog
on a long string

It’s like being a tourist
not knowing where to go
when the souvenir shops are closed
One day maybe all this doesn’t
mean anything anymore, not even
III

Sometimes it is thinned out
and our shadows rattle
through the door

Here in an unfamiliar wakefulness
the world looks neither
kind nor common

Here the sun can hardly burn
away all decayed annual rings
IV

Deep beneath the railroad tracks
the shadows of the trees are taller
than the trees
Winds pass there,
elusively they circle
and turn their faces
to a sun that doesn’t
exist

We are below the storms,
the developers
and the ink cartridges
Harvest will be good;
I lift a dampened
fingertip
to the wind

Harvest

Roadside, august drought:
the second lets
it’s refuse drop

Harvest of clothberries
and mustard heather
Everything here crunches

Lavender burns
by the roadside, I see a
road sign, august drought

Asterisk in February

Heaven hatches house-sparrows
Children bred to kill and be killed
Nail nails and throw apple-cores
squelch in mud

*

The air smells of metal

Semicolon

You ask me
where the misery is.

It’s not here.
On the contrary:

the joy of a semicolon
at seven in the morning.

Road block

The summer streets resemble
Super 8 movies from the seventies

Say a year;
I say 1973
when everything still was possible
and Elvis still
was slim

Think a place;
a parking lot
somewhere in Tennessee,
scorching sun
on the roofs of the cars

I think it smelled of gasoline
and cracked, smoky leather

Cadillac

Wreck saved in the suburb,
parking lot container world,
black battleship on the road
Ride leaning in all directions:
steering-arm broken, rust in bearing parts,
hole right through the floor

Wintry carburettor spirit morning,
dark exhaust a despairing
car heater
This is no junkies car
no heroinist ford

my baby drove up in a brand new
Cadillac

A black early morning you light
your eyes,
stretch out your backbone between
my thighs, wonder how we
wound up like this

You flash blue
Venetian blinds dust
street-lamp yellow stripes

Elvis, cat litter and other important things

Get happy by Charles Bukowski
Get happy by the child who wants to vote for the left
Get happy by Einar Heckscher
Get sad by the cat litter, peed-in and lumpy
and the stinking bathroom
Get calm by that voice singing when it’s late
”Until it’s time for you to go”
Get furious at the memories just lying passive
in a shoebox; letters and photos
with their slowly vibrating messages
Get furious at the man outside the liquor-store
telling me I shouldn’t give money to the beggar
because he’s a lazy bastard with no will
Get calm by the autumn that has fallen in over Malmö
although people fold themselves in again, throw away
the flower-boxes
and take down the sunshades
Get sad by all the windows turning grey as safe-doors
Get happy by the child who wants to vote for the left
Get happy by Serge Gainsbourg

Poems translated by Lars Palm
© 2005-2007

WOODSMOKE / V4 EXHAUST PIPE

I

We mark out the woods with noise and flickering lights.
Like the headlights of an old car, cracked and blurred vision.

A Saab V4, half-blind and wrecked. Is there any way out of here?
The night is murderous. I see black shapes by the roadside.

”Be quiet. Just be quiet”, she says.
”Someone just died here, you know”.

There’s a breeze blowing, and clouds are forming shapes,
like disgarded petrol stations. Something’s just died here.

She’s sitting down now, saying a prayer, or maybe not.
”It’s always like this”, she says. ”You never understand, do you?”

Me, I’m just biting at the wind, in the shadow of the white house.
At the end of an endless tractor path. A cow’s breath away.

II

Useless: me, not him. Old man carrying strange,
arcane tools in a bag. ”it’s getting late”, he tells me.
”The potatoes cannot stay in the ground.”

He walks on, into the damp darkness of his shed.
A Fordson Dexta is waiting for him there,
all dilapidated chrome and rust and sky blue metal.

In the fields of discarded electronics, wires, plastic limbs
I’m rummaging through the silence, and the falling snow.
V4 engine suddenly cutting through the debris.

III

Nowadays I’m avoiding the villages, keeping to the dirt roads,
the unmapped places, the forgotten farmers, the abandoned houses,
the old cars sinking into the ground, overgrown with weeds.
Barely breathing anymore.

Stopping in the empty endlessness of a Swedish summer’s day,
slowly drinking beer and smoking under a beech tree.
Sitting on the charred remains of a burnt down house.
Music is playing somewhere, accordion music. A dance band
from the 1930‘s but ghost-like, as if played under water.

Hurrying back to the car, back to the villages and towns.
Passing the upside down-birds, just hanging at the end
of a summer’s day. Almost gone.

Above poem written in English, and later translated to Swedish. Part III of this poem became the song ”Huggelseke” on the album ”Dokument” by Telegraf.
© 2012