freeze frame
vacuum

By Hendrik Jackson

Translation Catherine Hales

freeze frame

I

draught up our sleeves from the side wind, tiredness suppressing
a few half words, we moved into the colder frost-air by the rear frontage
of a distant building, a couple among the houses, at night
the tree (landing net) through which winds flowed off crackling –

slow spotlights silence disembodied steps, then movements
from a conventional plot (interim fade-ins). in her soft
white coat the ice princess flew overhead, ghosts passing through
the rows of seats, of houses (your hand lying lifeless in mine)

II

jingling of glassy icicles, the cold glass in front of the window display, a few
crystals (housing estate). for a moment there was a pure nothingness
the horizon turning wide (eyelids as though cut away) –
motionless layers of air, you were dreaming: this dull dull afternoon

a hairline crack – smiling, loudspeakers rattling in the ice tent
the steady humming of the transformer, as we swarmed out singly:
briefly disquiet, flying shadows over indifferent gratings
(old advertising posters) and away. darkness trickled through a hole in the sky

III

the door swung open: snow was falling (sleeping) in dense
flakes – and gusted up, then something half forgotten began
thoughts passing effortlessly – two people were standing unnoticed
as we did back then, attentive to an arm (fur)

at a turning, astounded, in a conversation about affection
my bicycle, frame and handlebar, cables and spokes
turning white, as though sprinkled with coconut (the heavy coats)
fine, doubting promises, your hair tied back

vacuum

I

these paths: starting at zero, magnificent. unbroken
blanket of new snow (silence) the light reflected like crazy
and footsteps footsteps. victory – decided, touch
unavoidable. not until the sun was really low did you

utter words again, showed reactions I hadn’t reckoned with, albedo
you said, your profile in the greyish yellow colouring of the light, hearing
straining into the icy landscape, whirling (air lanes) snow dust (glass spheres)
where the circle closed we stopped, emptiness enclosed us

II

fallstreaks, flame-coloured schlieren (nosebleeds, pressure on the eardrum)
in the sky. the reflection rising to a head, flickering
(flare) adjustment phenomena image disturbance, then –
lines of flight eradicated. each step in tow tensely awake

in the stream of the underground, tiled white the floor slight vibration
evil stench and stiff knee, of course: nude pictures, depressing stillness
seething mass (safely in trust) face (flat hissing) the way it turns
aside, side-on – contours, blurred. wires posts tunnels

III

may, ten in the morning. the day building up to a heat
that spreads out. writing about the redstart or about
the greenfinch, like frederick II, the ornithologist. his falcon,
it’s true, died (casual occurrences). from the cellar: humming of bees

immortal in weather continuing fine (under the wing of the older ones)
full of nearness – the day – was far away, calm on the bed, copied from
the salamander, with eyes (gummed closed). sun strained sun
extracted from honey. (blurred) land beneath me, threaded with dreams

From Dunkelströme © kookbooks 2006