my bauble, my boat, my drawstring bag
in the east, lisa rothe

By Lutz Seiler

Translation Sophie Duvernoy

 

my bauble, my boat, my drawstring bag

kindly enough they never
avoided me. no, to the contrary
they said ‘can we smoke’ and
i said ‘but of course,’ one
can eat, drink, sleep, one must
while the time away, the nights
grow long, one takes
one’s punch at home or elsewhere, one
can be glad to own
a boat, after all
there’s also an ashtray here and
a shaver there. yes, they smoke
but kindly enough
theirs is no less
within their grasp
than mine for me:
always spilled slightly at the table, shameful,
vanished in the coat’s
lining, just
carelessly misplaced, lost or
swiftly forgotten right
before the start of a long trip. i’m hardly
under way and think

how beautiful are the sheep
and precious
i’ve hardly
turned homeward when
someone calls out from behind hello, sir

something’s lying here and
if i weren’t so weak and small
i’d have liked, just once, to ask in return:
is it my bauble?
my boat?
my drawstring bag?

Dedicated to Hans Henny Jahnn

 

 

in the east, lisa rothe

there were people, who,
when coughing, entirely
covered their faces & vanished: lisa rothe, what
we found in her nightstand sufficed
for the insect-black of her feet
sustenance for the foot-lamps
in snow, oil and refuse, so that was where

she kept the light, the piecesof mirror, we heaved, we found
the imprint of a sleeping head &
her excrement, water and quiet

remarks about ourselves, the ticking
of potatoes in the pantries, the inner enclosure, so
had she shrunk beneath the sounds
of a street, a stream, a

wismut stadium, so
had she gone out
in the beam of her task-lamp, slipped away
like soft food,
hard food, until you slept, soft food, hard
… we

had thrown the bedding
far back ourselves cheekbones
washed in snow, mistleblood … but
we endured the odor, the personal

infections, a
dance instructor from the eastern suburbs
slower than mandrake, bore … no,
one hears nothing more, now

one can truly
hear nothing more, mute
the potted meat flanks
her crude standing &

well-combed sleep, it is
september, the
animals are crowding
into the house, nothing’s amiss

 

From pech & blende.  Edition Suhrkamp, 2000.