Moorlands Totilas
Eye-Tentacle Fish
Unio Weasel
By Dint of ta Screen
Heaven’s Hardness

Author: Monika Rinck
Translator: Nicholas Grindell

Moorlands Totilas

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.

Eye-Tentacle Fish

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.

Unio Weasel

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.

Heaven’s Hardness

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

1, 2 and 3

Author: Claudius Hagemeister
Translator: Nicholas Grindell


Morton stood at the stop and waited for the bus – for the seventh bus. So far, each time one had folded open in front of him with a hydraulic hiss, he’d been obliged to let it go without him – sometimes he was irked by the adverts on its flanks, other times the driver was too grumpy. Morton shortened the wait with a risky game: he played Top Trumps with destiny. If he managed to spot four cars built the same year in the traffic that streamed past between two red lights, then by the time he retired, the pension adjustment factor would be 1%; if not, it would be minus 1%. He was trailing by 1:3 (meaning an adjustment factor of minus 2%) when the next bus approached – which also pulled away without him. Its yellow was too garish, Morton found, and even after the bus had long disappeared from view, he screwed up his eyes in memory of that blinding, blazing yellow. The next bus lurched, the one after that braked too jerkily. Others clanked, squealed, smelled of smouldering rubber or had indicators blinded by dirt. There were bugs stuck to windscreens, dented fenders, over-inflated tyres and badly adjusted rear-view mirrors. Drivers struck him as gruff, wily, derisive and bureaucratic, passengers as cranky, psychotic, contagious and brutal. If he carried on like this, thought Morton, while not boarding a bus whose driver was quite obviously both underage and undead, if he carried on like this, he’d be late for work today.

Later, at home, once he’d called in sick, he stepped out onto the balcony, rested his forearms on the balustrade and imagined himself gliding up the outside of an office building in a glass lift. At the top, he stepped out into a rooftop garden where girls twined themselves round the slender trunks of flowering mandarin trees. Morton wandered through this celestial grove like a king, until the dew on the balustrade had soaked his shirtsleeves. Shivering, he went back inside, closed the balcony door, and made himself a pot of tea.

The next day, he boarded a bus where the stench of sour filter coffee rose from forty throats.

The autumn remained bleak and foggy, the winter was hazy, and after a brief respite in spring, the summer was a washout. One cold, wet September morning, the bicycle he’d bought during the thaw in March was nowhere to be found, and he had to take the bus again. Climbing on board, he noticed immediately that the other passengers had fallen victim to a strange illness. It was as if they’d been freeze-dried: unable to move, with crumbling brains, they stared into space. Presumably, toxic plasticizers from the upholstery had eaten their way through the seats of their trousers. Morton remained standing and tried to keep his balance while the driver gave the bus the spurs, causing it to bolt like a bull at the rodeo. There was a smell of sulphur.


The phone extension for his former payroll clerk was indelibly stamped on his mind, the way other people never forget their teenage sweetheart’s number, and every time he got into a tight spot he compulsively murmured the sequence of digits to himself, 21143, as if the mere memory of permanent employment promised safety; whenever his composure, his belongings or his life were in danger, he murmured 21143, 21143, and it was very probable that his last words, whether the cause of death was lightning, cancer, arteriosclerosis, murder or misadventure, would be 21143.

A synthetic bell sound. Looking up at the display he compared the number now flashing with the one on his ticket: twenty-one, fourteen more before his turn. He checked the clock: he’d been waiting three hours. 21-14-3. It wasn’t the first time he’d asked himself whether this facility was the waiting room for the afterlife and his caseworker a demon charged with assessing his clients’ eligibility for the various post-mortem states: blessed, unblessed, undead, execrated, cursed, damned to all eternity.


The Reaper had upgraded his equipment, swapping the scythe for a high-power rotary brush-clearing saw. What hadn’t changed, however, was the way he granted Morton a few minutes before the inevitable to ponder his waning life one last time. In a fluster, Morton tried to put his finger on a few definitive moments, but they eluded his grasp and all he was left with was the memory of a dream. In this dream he, Morton, was on his way to work. Catching his reflection in the window of an underground train, he noticed he had inadvertently been shaving only one side of his face, clearly for some time. Later, in the canteen, a female colleague sat down at his table – probably out of sympathy, for she, too, wore a one-sided beard, although, in contrast to his bushy tangle, hers was geometrically clipped. Morton regretted never having courted the bearded dream woman’s real (unbearded) counterpart. She had been the only ray of light at his work, which offered nothing else worth thinking about now, and Morton rued never having switched jobs, a move he had often contemplated. It grieved him to be leaving so many things unended at the end – facial hair removal, romantic odyssey, choice of career. To take his mind off this, he talked shop with the Reaper about the best place to make the cut.

The weight of expectation is making me ill, thought the Reaper, grimly. And I don’t even know if the departed really expect something specific, or if it’s all in my mind. Perhaps I could still make an impression with a conventional scythe, a tool less prone to malfunction. The ignition coil of his motorized model, one with a chisel-tooth circular blade, was broken again, rendering him sadly unable to mow down Morton, this total loser. Fucking loser, he thought once again, and if there had been a salivary gland between his bare bones, he would have spat.


Originals © Claudius Hagemeister
Translation © Nicholas Grindell

what about the animals?
orpheus charms beasts of lesser quality

Author: Monika Rinck
Translator: Nicholas Grindell

what about the animals?

now that it’s becoming clear, consider my animal cooked.
futro. the fur. it foams and it boils, the heat
of the prongs, the limp little animal. the neighbours the neighbours
what were their names? it’s coming unstuck, coming loose.
timbers working themselves free. something bloody
well plonked down, fundamentally bungled. it’s a fiasco.
the blond roof of straw. how it thrashes about. does battle
in the wind with the wind, a beating. a rumbling.
anything to salvage or extinguish, perhaps? anything burning?
do the animals need evacuating? plucking from the flames
at the very last moment? no, i hear no screaming.
the animals are fine. which means you can rest at last.

orpheus charms beasts of lesser quality

here he sits, at barren altitude, the pines have already moved in.
as have the oaks, beeches, boxes and the like, the lyre lures.
and just supposing the reason he lost what had almost been
granted was the same as with oedipus: downright arrogance.
look, don’t look, going, not going, she’s gone. here below: animals.
what doesn’t happen by itself is sublimation. there’s no two
ways about it. after the plant parade, the animals lay themselves
at his feet, harmonious and motionless the soft-shelled turtle,
the side panorama of a heath sheep, the amputated legs of a lynx,
the grumpy disposition of the badger, snakes come and squint,
bear sows maltreated by saints under the yoke of christendom,
hairy wilderness harnessed in place of oxen, a dismal sanatorium
of insolvency. hunted shadows, shadows hunting animals. animals on ice
and animals on drugs. the healthy animals are doing something else.
a steeplechase. or something with steppe. the healthy animals are watching
their step. dainty hooves dancing the latest steps. not so the crane.
the horses hit by traffic. the inside-out dogs, their fur long since grown
into the cerebellum, moronic hares and the narcotic beast par excellence:
the fleeting unicorn. the whole clanking crew. and now: sing one more.
one of your lovely songs, orpheus. and orpheus sang. and sang. and then.
then came the maenads and took things in hand as only they can.

© Monika Rinck the originals:
was ist mit den tieren and
orpheus charmiert bestien minderer qualität
zum fernbleiben der umarmung © 2007 kookbooks, Berlin
Translations © Nicholas Grindell

pond too
what it’s all about
my thinking

Author: Monika Rinck
Translator: Nicholas Grindell

pond too

in the place where once was something
the hollow fills to form a pond.
the water is immediately blackish.
stagnant. in it, imagined, firs.
blackish too. and closely packed.
what comes next happens once a dozen years:
at the centre, the void rises up
meniscus-like and hoists the spot
furthest from the banks into a hook.
thus, finally, the sunken shoreline
reappears, consisting of:
rot-black moss,
distempered fauna
and something like caoutchouc.

what it’s all about

a whole landscape of ponds,
pale grey loam, mountains of building rubble,
then the insects, very large dragonflies,
hovering flat out, buzzing.
crossed skeeters use the matt varnish
of the collected water to leap from,
to land on. a ruffling. a trilling.
then their predators, the frogs
and, at the end of the chain, us too.
we walk. wade. drag our feet so.
who’d have thought it so hard to walk, so slow,
with tired, tired out knees.
the leaps. the landing. the foul sheen
on the water. the slightest touch,
such a sudden shove, minuscule rings.
atoms vibrate, vibrate in the neutral position.
frogs swallow. dragonflies. then us again.

my thinking

today, around lunchtime, i saw my thinking,
it was a meadow, grazed bare, with hummocks. though
it could have been foothills of moss-covered mountains,
the kind of fuzzy green carpet fed on by reindeer.
no, just a busily bulging landscape beyond
the tree line, and it was definitely close-cropped.
the thoughts passed over it, a little light-headed,
like currents of air made visible, no, more
like a fleet of immaterial hovercrafts. they used
the hummocks                                as ramps.

These extracts from Monika Rinck’s
zum fernbleiben der umarmung
(kookbooks, 2007) appear courtesy of kookbooks

Translation © Nicholas Grindell

See Monika Rinck’s poems in Alistair Noon’s translation,
no man’s land #1

The day, squander
Heel Bar

Author: Tom Schulz
Translator: Nicholas Grindell


in accordance therewith, everything is
nothing but soapsuds / for the trash gullet

were we to find the place again
the mouth where the river
bid us farewell, the stones crashed

so that we crossed soma with social
ethics, the umpteenth bastard genre
the petrified flower, the pastoral kiss
in a cave full of stalactites

as we kicked ass through ornate
alabaster, butterfly schnapps
on our billowy breath in the meadows
of happiest Mondays

o genius, we sleep-sated ones have spent
too long showering in this century!

the inspired rugs in the corridors of the real
school spawned sorcerer’s apprentices, the bulge
flaws got bellies, we thought as much

but the word doch makes the rounds of mouths
left open, this nes-and-yo

away with the staircases, the wisecracks
let’s stick the art instigators
with the tannic fruit of their soul
into this eternal shop window display

all we lovers of herbal fizzy drinks
wanted was … cuckoo be damned!
ousted fledglings uppermost
derided beauty out of the frame
you sweet burning mulberry tree


The day, squander

whatever you do, do it
into glad oblivion:
it all blooms without memory

(look at the wild thyme
in the loins of a pre-Provençal night)

there is no port in the port
only the dew and the ropes

there is no longer no longer

there is no longer
the sell-by-tag on a swordfish
in a shop for maritime gear

how deep is the ocean
(at an unclear point
where the text’s not quite tight
and the poet’s the brainburger)

I two-timed with the losses
up to the roadstead, where this insane
joggling whinnied like a taxi nag

what you must do, let it go
into glad transport

the forgetfulness of a street
corner that I was

when you outside the ice cream parlour:
a beanpole with woodruff

the Gnostic worm, the glowing
thread of a colony of lanterns

count me among the berries
count me among the quinces

make me flitter
before a fluttering blackbird gown


Heel Bar

Find a job
or be Rilke

open up the large and spacious bar
of the sea, I’m only saying
(from a poem by)

we’re just kind of lapwing children
kind of shooting stars gone down in flames
just kind of fumigated roses

the concertina is the way to go
(sailor stop your dreaming)

my soles squeak, my footfalls
are not quieter in Scarytownsville

the shoes I was given
wept before crocodiles

(We turn on our heels
pursued by the sprinklers in a multi-storey car park

when the shops shut, we’ll give
the business community a run for its money)

I love it when you
get my goat & fully shall we diss
the present, we’ll steal
the ture the fu too & lock them
in a zoo

we bidders of farewell in the Azores
we’re just split balconies with falls
just these tearfully dried up cisterns

Suni, we fall through the night
like empty bottles down the lift shaft

the boxer
frank lampard
george best
breakfast in nha trang
cyclo riding in saigon

Author: Stan Lafleur
Translator: Nicholas Grindell

the boxer

glass chin, that’s how they tended to
rate him, the smart alecks at the ringside

but he always did what he could. what he
wanted, besides boxing his way through

was god’s little secret. as a child, he once
revealed on the late show, they had had

to fasten a cutlet round his neck to make
sure that at least the dogs would play

with him. by then of course, his liver-like
gloves had long since been hung

round the neck of a silent admirer

frank lampard

frank lampard, whose father was frank lampard senior
and whose three brothers, one older & two younger
were all of them called frank lampard, this particular
frank lampard was a truly outstanding football player
far better even than his father frank lampard, who also
knew a thing or two about football, just the same as
frank lampard’s three brothers of the same name had
also inherited this top family talent – but none of them
made it as far in football as frank lampard himself. he
compressed the midfield into impenetrable matter & if
necessary, or just for the fun of it, he’d whack the ball
into the net in person, while his father & brothers and a
few others, whose name had also been frank lampard
for generations, followed frank lampard’s performance
down the pub, cheering it and sousing it with thin lager


george best

when did it all start going so inhumanly
wrong then, asked the room service guy
at this plushy hotel where he was relaxing

with a few bottles of vintage champagne
twenty grand in cash on the bedspread
& under it the incumbent miss universe

punch-wise, too, he was already pulling
more with the ladies than he packed on the
pitch & he drank, barely over the op, to

the health of his new liver. what do you
mean wrong, nothing went wrong, he
replied, shaking his head at so much false

pity & depending on his intake, his passes
went either into touch or to delighted fellow
inmates on the wings of the prison tea

breakfast in nha trang

a labourer fell from the scaffold. her
eyes burst like hard-boiled eggs on
impact with the street. i was taking
a sip of coffee with my fruit salad
when i saw her falling like an idea
an unimportant headline that falls
through the entire newspaper. the
burst eyeballs revealed her hidden life:
poverty-shuttered hard work, dogged
belief in the hereafter, getting old with
no plan, like a docile, patient little animal
& now, surrounded by cries, passers-by
drizzled with the honey of the morning air
hefted onto a vehicle, bound for midday


cyclo riding in saigon

in the cockpit of a cyclo, i had myself
driven round district one, my chauffeur
pedalled like a slave & just could not
believe it, he had gone to great lengths
to get me as his customer too, asked
ten times the price & got double, i said
ROUNDABOUT. in amongst hundreds of
mopeds we crept forward breathing
murky exhaust fumes & sweating like
pigs, people waved to us, whole families
sat astride their motobikes, toothless
old bags at the roadside sold shellfish
& snails cooked over the fire until the
smell of soup mingled with the heat
haze, horn honk answered horn honk &
accompanied the roar of motors as if the
ground was breaking open beneath us
shops peered cautiously at the asphalt
sucked wares into their cavernous dark
merchants leaned against awning poles
to watch our passage. we quickly became
the sensation but after the seventh round
the driver got off his saddle, FUCK YOU! he
said, THANK YOU! came my asiatic answer

note on Jonah
riff-raff: (bosch)
inventory of the world

Author: Hendrik Jackson
Translator: Nicholas Grindell

note on Jonah

the word that does not come to pass –
and yet, we do not go into the immanence
of a big-bellied, dark, barely
discernible life, self within self
in the whale’s wide ocean –
it streams, flows
over the eyes

always you waited for a sign
– undying stubbornness
and the whole sky was hung with
luminous creatures, thus did we trickle
the lie into Jonah’s ear
go forth into the world
into the windswept void



rain made its own sea and the sea its own waves, clouds
swelled above the sea’s white surf – bright sounds –
and like dust on the tape track, everything mixed together
the voices, whispering, stand out from yesterday, from the
dead conversations, woven into the moiré of swelling
…sss…welling interferences, wherever the wind goes, whether
it softly surges rushes subsides, lightly lifts, like fluff
hushing with a rustle or into ash grey silence – a hand movement
as if after prolonged illness all simultaneities were to end
all gusts to switch tack, reared up, questions simply to arise


riff-raff: (bosch)

small cohorts bear flags eagerly on through the days up the mountain
riff-raff with the cloven hoof of avarice; while I wait for some
sidetrack or other………………………………………………
with an occasional flattering of the tarps and –
games devoid of emblematic charge and –
sun at my shoulder

inventory of the world

travels? voices? (buzzing wires) – on landing you looked: heavenwards
in flight perhaps you belonged to the inventory of the world, in the child’s eyes.
at first the panorama lies there like a lizard, then suddenly it’s whizzing past
a gradual fading of intensities, dread shimmered in the glass
(bobeobi peli guby) you hummed. all we do anyway is animate strange interiors:
gleaming between global vacancies (straw dolls all aflame). but
sucking on melancholy or crowning the kingfisher bird of the year
– is one and the same. like in endless loops, overcast state of emergency:
totally fogged (an email) autumn burns into view – wafts out the cockpit door.