a mere house cat
is it going to snow again?
the germans with their distance fetish
in love lurks a desolate dungeon
kissing well is when things turn liquid

Author: Elisa Aseva
Translator: Priscilla Layne and May Mergenthaler



[a mere house cat]

a mere house cat I will probably never be able to keep. I have gotten to know these animals while wandering around, have admired them for exactly that.
on the farms there have always been countless numbers of them: they hung out in front of the barn or in the back at the widows’ settlement, they rested in the parlor, stared lying in wait for the fish in the meadow creek.
the farmers somehow lived together with the animals, against the animals, off the animals. time and again you stood in the blood, faced with lacerated animal bodies, men in rubber suits, guts. so I stuck with the cats that were threatened only by tractors + trucks on the freeway.
yet unfortunately affection comes in shades: the striped cats I liked well enough, but my true love was for the monochrome grey, white + black ones. the latter, by the way, were called mohrle[1] by the widows, when they liked me, they called me the same.

the blackness of the cats appeared extraterrestrial to me, as if they could drown everything in it. like a silhouette that has been brought to life, an omission from the universe. + and yes, of course I wanted to be black like a cat. to absorb every light.
not to cast shadows, but to be one


[1] “Mohrle” or “Morle” used to be a common name for black cats in Germany. The name comes from the word “Mohr,” which was used to denote people with dark skin color. Adding “le” serves a diminutive function, implying “little black one.” The word Mohr is from the Middle Ages and consists of two words: The Greek word moros which means dumb and godless. The Latin word maurus which means black, dark and African. In contemporary Germany, Black Germans and anti-racist activist consider the word to be racist and efforts are underway to rename streets, pharmacies, and other locations that contain “Mohr” in their name.



[is it going to snow again?]

is it going to snow again?
in berlin that always wears me out, the unavoidable mud, the dirty arduousness. both are plentifully available in the city anyway, after snowfall things fall apart. well, there is that one exciting weekend when kids packed up like insulated bundles pour into the parks. their sleds leave tracks behind, in them there are remnants of new years’ fireworks. here this color of old blood, there on the tree trunk speckles of sulfur. on the exterior wall posters arch down – piss that band that they like now played again. urine would’ve been a better name. stuff like that agitates me sometimes, when it is so obvious. no it doesn’t agitate me. it’s just a half-baked indifferent idea.
soon it will drip. snow pains me, when it falls everything else stops.

we’re standing at the window, looking through the glass fogged up by your breath. changing traffic lights.
i want to count down the world, up to your skin up to every word that is no longer needed. stay.

the cars start, they follow the blown over brake paths. gravel, eyeliner.
i put on some coffee, turn on the radio. nothing will remain, danger of slipping on ice.
maybe it just won’t snow anymore, not really. just one less vulnerable spot.


[the germans with their distance fetish]

the germans with their distance fetish. even in an intimate circle of friends there are
quite clear notions, this or that is PRIVATE, that is actually transgressive + whoever reveals too much
of themselves is at the very least, pitiful.

perhaps national socialism has left behind a hidden and at the same time physical
to germans, anyhow, it appears that feelings taste as good as sour milk.
+ closeness is when you take over the toilet stall from someone just to stand in the middle of their fumes


[in love lurks a desolate dungeon]

in love lurks a desolate dungeon – the possibility of loss, of abandonment.

Two people catch a hat + bump into each other recognize +
talk talk talk. about themselves of themselves
the wind carries them like merry leaves –
in the morning they tell each other fragments of dreams, laboriously.
eventually they release the parachutes
wheeze their fears into a scarf, throw their worst and silliest at
the Earth’s surface hurtling towards them.
the color of corn + rivers cast in lead.[2]
tentatively, first nips. stained by wine they remember their
childhood childhood cannothearaboutitanymorechildhood
eventually they place shimmering moths at their ears
+ and sprout blossoms while kissing

yes come shut the door lay the hand there pull up the covers.

in this color of this time

land but dive into the ground
more kissing down to the end
not the hand
don’t find
mouth agape
plunging through plankton

in the end 1 leaves the other in order to keep her as the one who never leaves. the one who’s left behind swallows the keys.
all’s dead that ends well


[2] A German New Year’s Eve tradition, banned in 2018, consisted of tossing molten lead into cold water and guessing one’s fortune from the resulting figure (molybdomancy).



[kissing well is when things turn liquid]

kissing well is when things turn liquid.
no, not just spit, I mean deeper,
in the muscles + other indurations.

kissing well is when I reach you,
making you partially firm + and partially soft,
without you turning into mud

kissing well is gums.
kissing well is falling but without fear.
down up over + away.

kissing well is an opportunity:
tossing into the waves
+ and sinking all the way to the ground.

the skill consists of not thinking about suffocating.
we breathe air for generations.
kissing well washes off fear from the anxious, faith from believers
worries from mothers.
we send floods.
algae waft + and jellyfish are rising from the bridges.

come here, coral. your reef sets me free.



foreigner – nowadays this term is
frowned upon but i like it.
if someone asks me whether i’m german, i
god no, i’m a foreigner.
when they keep asking then: african.
that i like because it often really bothers people.
(“really africa? one can’t tell by looking at
you. thought
you were from brazil/cuba/phillipines”). + nowadays it’s
only partially true, in
ethiopia i am also still

a free vast word.
i want to live where the foreigners
are, eat with the foreigners,
love foreign, think + importantly:
grieve – they just don’t do that
thus i dream that whenever
i die everyone will have become
foreigners, each in their own way.

in all people there is a foreign place. + who
maybe we will someday border on each other


From Elisa Aseva, Über Stunden Posts   (c) Weissbooks Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Berlin 2021