procession route
or wearable protectorate
the classrooms lured her like fluorescent plastic ponies

Author: Janin Wölke
Translator: Jake Schneider

procession route: gray line ten minutes long between curved sunkenness and bleak
learning supplies/paradable asleep/comeon the crowd is always gawking: cam
eras out of sight/persistent creeping up: harpooners’ many years of expertise
they must all see I’m doing something wrong why else would she be crying
why else would they be gawking/HOLD THAT PENCIL STEADY!/WRITE
ALONG THE LINE!/the curls and loops and links exact only the whale
tipped over upward downward it was sighted where supposedly

it surfaced/PAY ATTENTION!/INCORRECT!/a thousand eyes
on drapes the writing’s on the grayish linens: mom
and dad are dancing in the house and here is gran
TIGHT!/don’t let it slip away: a whale with a
harpoon jammed into its belly/their
fixed jav’lins in his side he wears
and on his back a grove

of pikes appears

or wearable protectorate. grünberger strasse—wühlisch/grayish line ten min
utes long/paradable asleep/the pipsqueaks sometimes toddle with the crew
or little brother past the rocky penguins/holes in creatures’ skulls/oh that
celebratory orange first essential cigarette/an ernte 23 from fitschy on
the corner/all the pipsqueaks head to market hustle coins unwrap
a rustling glistening packet/laughing yakking puffingpuffing and
pretending we had absolutely sometime in the past for real
whatever/thick-haired boy with warts around his joint:
recoilingtuggingtongues/inside his face it smelled
like squishy stamped-on beetles/neck and neck
chain-smoking three/like spinning for too long
and throwing arms away/m. wails at night
like cow/each night I stand outside
her room hold my heart shut
push blood relation’s face
till he goes quiet runs
away or shatters

the classrooms lured her like fluorescent plastic ponies/aaa—
a perfect learning space: adaptable, acceptable, attractive

the one delightful/raised its arms/and she saw glistening
dark fluff inside its ’pits/disquieted and dumbfounded
learned passé composé in just a single lesson or
adored the german teacher/old, too old by far
who thrived on shady situations/these
solitary stable ties
without a dad
so where was dad?/a pit
ted traffic island near a high-rise:
I see you there not saying anything/a
motorcycle helmet in your hand/you turn
away/bring back a toy piano four years later/and
my hands are delicate/but still can never play/j. needs
to come to terms with present friendships next school year
the wind howls in the rooms when no one’s there a german
teacher falls from the sixth floor in fact that is one question I’ve
been dying to ask you againagain: why didn’t you, particularly you, love me?

full moon listening
lost and found
look at all sunday can do to us

Author: Marius Hulpe
Translator: Jake Schneider

full moon listening

just a couple droplets on the windowpane.
over the weekend, the man on the radio says,
it will all become clear. your elbows
resting calmly on the windowsill
like paperweights. or a teacher’s hands.
that’s how you learned it. you listen
to some wild boars at the forest edge
fighting for power in the gene pool.
fall came too early this time.
nothing was prepared for it, and here
come walnuts and conkers cracking
loud through the wood like skydivers.
in their trail, plummeting planes.
and you, crouched at the window, listening
through the night, from afar, to the impact.

lost and found

it was a thursday. we heard it plainly
through the porthole to the neighbor’s cellar: there,
after four weeks missing, she was.
one of the resident sisters hopped right
over the fence, shouted into the cold pit
and rang and rang the bell. the door stayed shut.
we tossed little bacon ribbons
through the rusty grate, sprinkled milk
to go with it. the reply sounded grateful enough.

that night a heavy-duty vehicle floated
through the drive-bay, its red brake lights
signifying dignified disinterest. no sooner had
my little sister brought the question to bear
than the listener’s head began to shake.
it is everyone’s own prerogative how things
that have turned up on their own property
should be dealt with. my sister didn’t hesitate
two seconds: the cat’s alive, she said.

the table was set, the gray-blue flag
of morning still waving outside the window, and there
sat my grandmother – glasses, paper – spreading
liverwurst sandwiches in a race against time.
wholehearted granola soaked all cozy and cute
in its porcelain basin, a few tears afloat
and glistening on the milk’s surface,
on its white skin, trembling with tension.
a tide of cocoa flakes hauled through the bowl,
dark shapes popping up and submerging.
the radio had been on for a century,
crackling decade by decade through the morning,
a kitchen crammed with world music.
outside the buses were proliferating,
crammed with children of a thousand parents
whose minivans, a few miles south,
were speeding into a tree, just then, on a sharp
curve, and the news didn’t come till that night.

look at all sunday can do to us
look at all sunday, look at all sunday can’t, look
at all sunday can’t do, what it can’t do to us –
pacify us since we’re an angry swarm of bees
outside post offices displeased with their balance sheets,
under interest tsunamis, the lava of interest upon interest
that springs on us hissing from a telenovela;
afraid of supernatural misanthropic attacks
by bambis and other objects of contemporary discourse,
like meek sheep we ignore the now we consecrate we
consecrate ourselves quickly with spaghetti, with a nice latte,
isn’t this fun, taking time off, giving away gifts
made of hatred and words, made of shopping bags,
speaking an idiom our very own, we sure aren’t
sure aren’t hobos not gangsters either, just a bit
a bit batty around the ears in our fear and our daring
we race and swim into the morning, into the blaze.

From Marius Hulpe, Einmal werden wir © Lyrikedition 2000, 2013
Translation © Jake Schneider