Picture Postcad to O.M.
no sicily, a clothesline in berlin …
Brownish-red and beige walls …
All the eternal chitchat …

Author: Hendrik Jackson
Translator: Rosmarie Waldrop

Picture Postcard To O.M.

I live in a crumbling ruin rough-hewn as if from the middle ages.
On the clotheslines hang bits of slavic cloth,
no hellenism to warm me, here the stoves are fed
with sulfuric coal, no horseshoe, I suppose,
above the threshold, applause brings a grunt
in heathen riot-tones. In compensation there’s no
Eldorado either, no disembodied hum of a thousand
lights, no quotationmarked cramming with notes
on this and that irreplaceable lotophage tincture.
Just a hairy-calved laugh at the screen
opposite or the unending chirp of the tram above the
firewall, the sleepy dozing off toward the unmanufactured.
but now come the romans and drink various
cocktails, and at my hi there give me a nod and the time of day.
though not yours, batjuschka, in your warm fur.



no sicily, a clothesline in berlin …

no sicily, a clothesline in berlin, with a plastic bag on it, as
if thrown down from the upper floor, except that the line is
carefully drawn through the handles. on the right a red light falls
on the fire wall, a young woman tastes her soup, bright interior
wide courtyards outside, above the wall the ghost of a soldier’s
helmet, tilted perspectives and steep blocks, falling facades
all around and a longish woodshed with sloping roof, freshly
dug-up ground, in the windows, like cockroaches, shadows –
people moving, bare winter trees outlined japanese style on the
screens next to the shrapnel holes and the rattling here and
there the order scattered over the night is full of resonance
we watch each other, hardly ever let each other out of reach.



Brownish-red and beige walls …

Brownish-red and beige walls, chimneys, resting in
opaque half-past-seven-late-summer-sheen;
Underneath, the steady stream-of-distant-noise, as so
lightly ends the day, a broad
Bridge pylon, pitted, the abdomen of a decayed insect
swept aside by a gust of wind.
Outside, the deck of the ramshackle boat, I think,
so under the black flag, the constant
Gliding off, proud dark, and rows of waves lapping
at the quiet Mainz bank, but blindly
Now gulls nearing and veering off, their flash
above the layers and sediments.



All the eternal chitchat …

All the eternal chitchat (skutschnie pesni zemli), night a trembling light in the room,
the casual friends, so indulgent, so much (yakking, fussing) tossing of balls balls, the mouths.
buff. your (invisible) part seems larger now than mine, which I put aside in a thought
by the window crack, in mutual command enthroning slumbering pride.

For all that we quietly left it as it was, the room, with freedom of eyes, fetters of death,
a process, hesitant, trickling through ignorance, of widening winds. until we
start talking of dayafterday, put on clothes and again practice a few gestures and moves.
and look sideways where it returns, unconscious as the warm swarming of bees from the hive.


From Einflüsterungen von seitlich by Hendrik Jackson
© Morpheo Verlag, 2001
All rights reserved
Translations © Rosmarie Waldrop

the symmetrical nihilism of meatballs
promenade toward fungi, eumenides discussion & canalisation
punishment makes free, discipline’s in order

Author: Bert Papenfuß
Translator: Rosmarie Waldrop


in spring our
doubts itch
in spring proud
hairs sprout and twitch
in spring insprings
the haircutter
O last borderguard
O let me painlessly
write writing
ragetowrite cou-
bored to death write
grow rank O grass


the symmetrical nihilism of meatballs

one cannot inany let no meatball
not rest on inanycase, aswellas isntit the case that
not every meatball does not correspond to not,
isntit, but also not even every second not in that sense
don’t i write the notworst german of all
aswellas as especially not
in order to give the “socalled” prime meatball a push
till my meatball is no longer not no meatball
& gives no more offence, complacent in its arrogance
& is all of the stuff that revolutions are made of
& ofcourse counterrevolutions too


promenade toward fungi, eumenides discussion & canalisation

cows, cows, cows; cow flops & coltsfoot I suppose
& black berries, the gate of fame sank in the brambles
brollacham & buhmann snuggeled in the basalt column quarry
right of the rhine and cisalpine wishsausaging wallowed
reticence & unprofessionality hours on tabula
drugs that mugged, love to the death your threat
but I won’t suffer it, rather die myself
tracked by a squadron of mediawise con men
snapped the schnapsnosed mammal thrice for air
his hellhound round the bend strolled on stormwatch
& we skulked bed-& bulletward into an inn
each thinking he gave more, than he took
& this loss is the so-called evil in the world
that never errs, we concurred; nonesoever twosoever
none, nothing, hardly even naught: go rest among the alders


punishment makes free, discipline’s in order
all floodgates open,                       do they have ovens enough
the pleiades drowned,                        the tollgate gone up
the magnus annus of the moon is over,   comment superfluous

the germans trip over themselves,               do they put their heads together
or make mincemeat of each other                    or the rest of the world
the undead red open their arms,                          a public fest sans merci

every foot in it is german,                                 gift champagne, free beer & gratis sex
repent of nothing & everything to boot                   this is a perfect mummydress ball

Originals © Bert Papenfuß
Translations © Rosmarie Waldrop

gas stations III

Author: Gerhard Falkner
Translator: Rosmarie Waldrop

tank & drum
nowhere an inside to berlin, city
flattered into beaming capital
bodies resounding
with progress, progross, polkas

years of lording it they mete out traffic
from one saddest to another thousand
next best basta blue
shady side of a slope beaming
as if there were things that last
as if the triad
did not lie otherwise in state. but

after a dozen long
trecks distance locks shut
speed pulps beauty
then only the word counts
the smallest home we can share

Original © Gerhard Falkner
Translation © Rosmarie Waldrop


Author: Waltraud Seidlhofer
Translator: Rosmarie Waldrop

a city consists first of all of facades.
everybody arriving in a city is immediately confronted with them.
there is no chance of escaping facades.
the facades of a city face the newcomer in a friendly, hostile or indifferent manner.
sometimes the facades of particular cities are similar.
this may be because of the kind of city (industrial, commercial, seaport etc.) or because of the period of construction.
the similarity of two cities may be a subjective feeling in a person.
here personal factors play an important part.
a special kind of similarity of two cities is their being opposites:
it is possible that 2 cities are different in almost all respects so that one can be called the negative of the other.
between such cities there is a particular kind of bond which is apt to affect individual inhabitants of these cities when they meet—perhaps by chance— in a very particular way.
when the inhabitants of the two cities have carried out their function, that is the comparison of the two cities, according to their abilities they may separate without further problems. new encounters will take place.
in all these encounters chance plays an essential part.

facades close rank.
they are serried.
their different color, form, style etc. does not keep them from lining up in blocks.
facades in closed rank are impenetrable.
from facades in closed rank no help can be expected.
it is impossible to speak to them.
it is impossible to stand up against them.
they will not answer.
one cannot demand that they take a position.
especially in late winter facades in closed rank convey disapproval.
evening and morning lights on facades in closed rank increases one’s insecurity.
facades cannot be circumvented.

here, unlike in c, said p, facades are pushed close together, it’s difficult to pass between them, occasionally you may find an unexpected doorway or alley to the next street, next square, but generally facades are forbidding if lovely, a contradiction that a non-native is hard put to get around.
in c on the other hand, said p, everything is planned on a large scale, the color white dominates, nobody has the impression of being crowded or imprisoned, rather, in c, you feel exposed to a freedom that borders on lawlessness.
did i know, asked p, that c had been planned and designed as the capital at the beginning of the century, and that these plans are still being carried out, a new government building is under construction now, the library was finished only recently.
did he know, i asked, that this city is first documented in the year 947, that even roman names for it are recorded, that large-scale building is only possible on the periphery; the inner city is simply too crowded and will or rather will have to remain so because this crowding, i.e. the inner city, is classified as a historical monument.
and historical monuments are impossible to get around.

from time to time buildings are torn down whose facades are to be left standing. it’s always facades classified as historical monuments.
for tearing down buildings whose facades are to be left standing a particular procedure has been developed.
in tearing down buildings whose facades are to be left standing particular caution is indicated.
the facades must not be damaged under any circumstances.
if, in tearing down buildings whose facades are to be left standing, there is a danger that the latter will collapse, the entire project has to be abandoned.
facades protect the buildings behind them.
facades are propped up.
access to them is made secure.
the window panes of the facades may be taken off temporarily.
jolts are to be avoided when tearing down buildings whose facades are to be left standing.
noise is to be kept to a minimum.
if need be the facades must be protected with tarps, plastic sheets etc.
loud talking is prohibited on the demolition site.
the facade is to be treated with profound respect.
debris must be cleared as quickly as possible.
the area behind the facades is off limits.
usually, when a building is torn down whose facade is to be left standing, a great many people gather.
they often wait for hours for the moment when the building that belongs to the facade is completely torn down.
the sight they are then offered is rare and therefore particularly impressive.
the facade has become transparent.

yesterday, said p, he went into city in the other direction.
he went as far as the train station,
down the steps,
through an underpass,
he heard a train pass above him,
climbed up stairs again,
walked on,
i asked him
how far
he said
he neither watched the time
nor could estimate the distance,
he could at most describe the buildings
and even that was not one hundred percent sure.
but i know exactly
how long it takes
to get to the school on the right
to the apartment blocks on the left
to the hospital
to the woods.
for me
itineraries and time are measured exactly
without exceptions
without secrets
and i am welcomed by relatives and friends
p however
has the possibility to come and go
he is not asked questions
his way is not blocked
no answers
are pushed at him
said p
he did not always find this state


Originals © Waldtraud Seidlhofer, Neue Texte, 1976
Translations © Rosemarie Waldr