Author: Monika Rinck
Translator: Nicholas Grindell
Hark! Hear how honey chronicles mock, black, gleaming, trained.
The beast does what you want and does it well, so well you almost
believe it wants it itself – how you want it is what it, too, wants.
We suspect it of pride. But will it ever be able to take on board
all the excitement it unleashes? A performance, almost sexual and
sometimes just as twisted, the ecstasy of tension or an intimate
bond between ruler and ruled. Even the strongest animal is
endlessly moronic. Says who? Adorno. Heels sprung, knees high,
pirouettes, transitions down at the gallop, insane shoulder machine.
A sea otter on a tight rein! As if nature were just one element among
others and could be switched, like a vehicle that goes on dry land
but that also goes on water, and then in the end it can even fly.
As if a horse were to fly through the sky! So please help it land.
Horses land best in jelly desserts that have yet to fully curdle,
in unset blancmange. Or they break into a gallop as they come in
to land, then hit the ground running and gallop on unscathed …
Hark! Hear how honey chronicles mock, with room-filling voices,
but without me seeing the room they fill. I’m in the hypnosis tent.
A gentle draught, trembling wavering lengths that soon fall still
from top to bottom once more, like opaque colours, orange,
with a voice passing through, interconnecting the sections.
It tells me what I am: I’m relaxed. So I lie alone in sound
and listen, I’m a pack of rabbits that have stopped scurrying.
Intervening in the soul’s dynamics: what’s associated, inhibit,
and what’s lately dissociated, re-associate. Changing cubicle.
But what do I clandestinely shed, what comes loose or snags?
Since images are not able to pass unharmed like a voice
through the pores of things, I’m blind rabbits, we’re relaxed.
Meanwhile, the hypnotist in lace stockings walks about invisibly
with muffled footfalls on the thick carpet between the cubicles.
Black-barked thighs, as if something were crawling concertedly
over them, like a voiced Z, buzzing, textured. I think: rabbits.
I’m relaxed, I have failed. Rabbits, rabbits, always rabbits.
Hark! Hear how honey chronicles mock, it’s by no means certain
that what’s clear is always light, it might equally darken itself
with high-power exegesis, but without forfeiting any of its clarity.
The way it is for fishes. Who can see the difference but not
express it. The eye-tentacle fish, for instance, that’s blind
to its own doodad. But who amongst us escapes this fate?
With the eye-tentacle fish, though, the doodad’s not blind to the fish.
It uses its outboard eye to distinguish precisely between
what’s clear but dark and what’s dark but also unclear.
With its eye-arm, the built-on telescope, it sees this clearly.
Look, an eye-tentacle fish disguised as an algae-covered pebble.
Insanely lit, far too bright. With this eye, it sees only what’s dark,
with the other it sees itself, if it’s light. With both, it sees
what’s clear flaring up in the dark, but because it’s in disguise
it doesn’t see itself. And one more thing: water mustn’t burn.
Hark! Hear how honey chronicles mock, in amber & ambergris:
delightfully (or frightfully?) the weasel couples in the thicket
with the cylinder head gasket, tubes, fan belts, twitching parts.
How fleet the weasel is, how heavy the very braked car wreck
from whose leaks synthetic emulsions flow, shimmering pink.
Crazy ’twas, the chronicle tells, as pines themselves did divest.
Needles dropped, arrows, dainty and fresh, barely controlled.
That’s the heavens’ blondest projectile – the sun? Or Sonja
with the silver rifle? Scenting stags. Birch trees mimic alternators.
Low on prey drive, a felled octahedron lifts its nose from the trail.
Ah, spare the forests, instead of stacking them with broken stuff.
For in good time, this old tub will inundate the pleasures. Recently
fit, in tender loving union with the remains of the tin roof (shed!),
now in a wretched state. Derelict. Condemned. Unio Weasel Finito.
By Dint of a Screen
Hark! Hear how honey chronicles mock, hair, hours, greed,
fireballs, the dump was ablaze. Space weapons plummeted,
unchecked, like icing sugar into hotels with indoor pools. I saw
the stud farms in the lowlands fall victim to random marauders,
or was it the waning health of a winch? Do something! By dint
of a screen! Lower it. Stare blinkingly into the asymptote.
I saw embers burn out, saw them expire and slowly disperse.
I saw animals that were milking themselves. Saw how they strained
something through a sieve. Round yards circled, a panicked herd
broke right through the middle of a giant pincushion. Reeds! I saw
the whipped flush in the cheeks of the tenors. I saw gangsters,
verdigris, mixed terrain, mimesis. Wickerwork was the arms trade
of a language family. Superior drug runners I saw partaking
of grilled fare and Peking vegetables. I saw, running their errands
in compliant impotence, chess hostesses, gramps, ushers.
I cast my eyes heavenwards. There were big birds up there, tracing
their lines. Heavens there were, even where usually: murder.
Hark! Hear how honey chronicles mock. A half-world of blue light.
Is it air or wall? Mute birds, decoy thrushes, nay sparrows,
captured in resin and hardener, cast in see-through cubes.
Makes you want to cry. Or chirrup and hop in lieu of bird.
But a heavy sleep still lies over you and only your dream
knows of the others. It thinks for you. As in: What’s a cabinet?
To purposefully place something inside, with sure swift hand.
Because it belongs there, an inroad, such a perfect fit, you shiver.
Now you lie awake in your tent of money, want to pay for everything.
Stay here, await the wall’s ending. Adorn the day’s edges
with slumber, no, worse than that, plait kitsch into your locks.
But look, vulnerable life in the morning, surely that’s not nothing!
No wrong word, get up, look out the window, how a half-world
of blue light brightens. There! An aurora moth lands, quivers, explodes.
Originals © Monika Rinck
Translations © Nicholas Grindell