if magic
a place of shadows
melting on the short grass patches

Author: Farhad Showghi
Translator: Harry Roddy

If magic is obvious in the first place, then it’s elsewhere, this advantage being easily confused with hall lighting and immediately lost from sheer air. It’s possible we look to all sides, whereby we start outside all over again. Up to the right we see a wisp of cloud, like us here, in the situation that’s arisen. We move tea and fruit and what goes with it: Our visibility and gladly pomegranate seeds, questions about flowers and leafy green perhaps. And then sugar. Sugar as the only word in the middle of the garden. The bright gleam now comes from the sun up to the left. And finds the child that has my hands and for a while also a broadened range. Just then something darts by. A That there! further toward the front. Up to the passing time. In this situation that’s arisen.



A place of shadows. And once more the undersides of leaves, the distance from voice, a walk in that direction. Unweakened with cloud movement and father and son. And hair on the back of the hand: to have to bring forth with the lips what’s been eavesdropped close to the eye. Just now time wants yet to move from the feeling of fingers into tying the shoes, in order to pass. Speechlessness follows. Tarried under open skies. A biting-and-rustling should belong to it. A handful of cones, blue allium, lily leek. Piled up corn, still piston-like. We see that we can see the park. The damage to the tiled fountain. And further left: the unfamiliar with fruit, with tea in the niches and child’s play. The place of shadows. Still wants an audible sound. The point in time over the knuckle tips. Sounds like sun here so near the greenery. The thumbnail can easily change to tongue and back. Saliva glimmers. Looking becomes air of cypresses.



Melting on the short-grass patches, silence and a division of time are just called: Drenchedness with slaughtered hen. Like the surrounding village is already called, but hardly to be heard from the street. The long drive is an easy liaison with a stone wall, with looking and sitting. To which we’ve already deboarded. A lot of ground under the feet affirms the sun up to the knees. Passing clouds too, their remains at the back: The context with outer air, with gleaming and slaughtered hen. We now make a next movement. We have the waiting car. And certainly a shoulder. Instead of wilderness of rocks fringes and a temple-region.


From In verbrachter Zeit.  kookbooks, 2014.



the american light

Author: Nadja Küchenmeister
Translator: Harry Roddy

Tell the teacher we’re surfin’
The Beach Boys


one day i was struck by the american light. it was a warm
summer evening, just back from the river wuhle
dragging a pulsing bundle of gnats and various

aerial bugs. we had black rings under our nails,
hair damp like after a bath, throats scratchy
from the emptiness of an afternoon aflame behind us,

clay crumbling from our pants, crumbling with each step:
a hint lay there like a fuse leading to the scene
of the crime, and even if you wanted to follow it,

at first you didn’t follow. we came swarming with clashing
splashguards, in the stamping march of a company,
starving and parched: we shaved the meadow

with our wide treads. sounds escaping our throats, animal-like,
almost pleasant, how they made our pulse palpable in thumb
and index finger, wild throbbing even in our knuckles.

we would later be called home. i still remember how far the street
seemed, with hardly a car gliding by, and how a bird,
a buzzard perhaps, circled the housing estate screaming.




yes, this american light hung mornings from the balcony
and in the evenings sparkled on the kickstands. where
it came from, i don’t know, but from then on it no longer slipped

out of sight, which was odd. i couldn’t look at the clotheslines
without feeling a pull in my stomach. i couldn’t go into
the cellar without seeing it in the chalk-white walls, or in the paint

of the cellar doors…it shone here too. broke through tiny little hatches,
dotted the wardrobe, and where the hedgehog had wintered
in its nest of wool and paper crouched a yellow square, waiting.

it was the same for me in the courtyard: my light got tangled
in the badminton racket. thrown back from a window, a flash,
it photographed me. glowed in the floral pattern of the awning,

then a white something trembled, mirrored by my watch, over
postered walls and softly grazed the fabric covering our campbed.
we were always together now, my american feeling and me.

the lines in front of the stores got longer. one gradually lost
all context. that’s all people talked about, but no one was bothered
by the waiting: all the way to the hairdresser’s they stood, quacking away.




such excited quacking! at breakfast they stared
hysterically at their plates, oh well. but what really made me
wonder: my light got brighter, day by day, and somehow

even more american. and still no one else felt it. the clouds
for instance were lit up from within and on the playground
the little cake-tins glowed like fire ripped from the sun.

was it just a trick of the sun? maybe. i already had the sun
under suspicion, as at times things want to tell you
something, but they don’t know how. and so i stayed still…

never said what i saw in a little puddle before the main
door: a well full of light! and when the commuter train
arrived in the station and sparks sprayed under its wheels

i kept these exploding stars and even the flickering
of my lids to myself. and if i’m to be honest:
it wasn’t that hard. i already knew, had noticed

early on, one can’t share what’s on the inside.
one shared enough as it was. the lines in front of the stores
diminished, but the quacking continued unabated.




elbows poked from aprons, braced themselves against great
clamor, while we sharpened our spears in the courtyard, on
windowsills fitted out with pillows. the kitchen voices talked

the end of a utopia into being, or something like that. i really
didn’t listen and the others’ ears were still ringing
from all the screeching on the wuhle. the picture

of the bloody ripped-up duck and her cut-off duck feet,
beak teetering in the duckweed, all that left a burning
image on my retinas. but we didn’t have to report on the mud,

not on our hair, sticky with fear, not even on the griesinger hospital
and its mute guests. we carried our survival back home
like a fresh wound and no one said a word.

then there was my light! it came rolling up from the wuhletal station
and lifted me in its bright glistening and twirled me through the air
and showed me the way into the doleful city…next morning,

as a sunray cleared away the fog and the silence that had spent
the night on the meadow, it gushed over gülzower street,
the hedge and the ping-pong tables: the full splendor of america.


From Unter dem Wacholder. © Schöffling & Co. Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 2014.

There is water here
Pomegranate tree
I play

Author: Farhad Showghi
Translator: Harry Roddy


There is water here. Flowing nowhere else but here. Cheats the hands as it pleases, silver for instance in another’s charge, without support or sleep, finally frittering itself away in its own pattering, and so open for the next-best request for patience: Just about washing the crossing air.


Pomegranate tree. Will be our report. Thus bestirs itself soon. Has decided for a length. Let go in a wisp. Wants to embody itself there, be able to reach back to its own fruit. Whereby east reveals itself as wind and not the beginning of speech. Daylight is in transition. Finishing touch doesn’t materialize. In the same space we resemble. First each other. From pure distraction. We then go in our form of appearance. There is silence, certainly. Village joy also. And compact Fusilier tulips. Yet by a wide wisp, what we report.


I play open the lids, prick-up-my-ears too. I play getting dressed. I play look-out-the-window with the chair. What was sung was almost birch, no eyebrows, not my hand. I have to tell my father.


From In Verbrachter Zeit. kookbooks, 2014.