Portrait: without seeing
Looking like the police
Jauntal Crossing

Author: Peter Waterhouse
Translator: Ann Cotten

Portrait: without seeing

Being alarmed
and being armed, being like an arm
how armful am I, to my right and left,
I lift the arm, I lift my alarm.
Being broke as an arm. My armies
turned into my arms. I am harmed.
Elbow? But more a bent
like the knee kneels and cracks and knots. Do arms ell?
Ell your arm straight. She held her arm straight.
Or to lie with bending arms on the bed, on the belly.
Red as well. Maybe soft too.
Or was hit. Or he hit. Or she hit it. Beat it.
Bare. Ow. Shit. Outer. Who released the arms? Alarm.
Who’s been loosening, mobilizing the trees, what’s afoot,
the birches born, the pears born, the rivers being human,
the beans bent, the elbows ellbent, from horse beans to freeways,
from tomatoes to automatons, speech lent from speechlessness, worlds from woods,
trains out of rainforests, the branches cleaned,
leaves allowed to leave, who alarmed the trees,
top hits out of heat, tophitlers, grass turned to grass,
the folded mountains faltering in to asphelt, unfurling, the sea increased,
winter turned to “did he win”, shine to coin,
the tulips tuned, applied, wired, why
amplified, the tulips wham,
why is the land called America, why not I am Erica,
Erica not in shape, but: the Critical States of America,
from beak, speak, from go to home, from creep home to
secret, from secret regress, promises turn to premises,
from thaw to thought, first deuce then Deutz,
first the valley, then Italian,
first nought, then oughtn’t I,
first elder, then older,
how can I bud, can I still rain,
can I still snow, I am freezing and can’t be
frozen. I’m turning without rotation
and I know, I don’t snow,
I don’t tiger, don’t snake,
I can no longer fly and lay eggs,
I have no porpoise,
I will, have no wool,
am a rival, no river, not fluent
am birthday child but no child,
my name’s Mister, have no master,
have heart, am not called heart,
have house, am not called house,
have shoes, am not called shoes,
I don’t run away like the animals,
live in the rainforest not,
I’m not iguana, nor mouse, nor mole,
I can only molt, not like a bird molts, more like
Mauser: wham, M 98,
the fingerprint, bent on the trigger,
wham, ow, over,
I’ll conquer thee, stern shore,
my body is more mili and anti,
rather terro, very mistic,
very extre-optic, mentalistic, oscopic,
embedded in armour, nalistic, jour-istic
and the vocabulary is filled with is, I full of is,
I am not, but I is,
jaguarless, unamuled and non-milky,
and the isthms, but I don’t seem like flower,
I don’t taste like eucalyptus and no longer say
masjid but mosque, not tisu but tissue,
not tigasegi but triangular, I say telescope
instead of teropong, tunnel instead of terowong, I say
see, view and war, in Malay expressed by
one word, I no longer say tempoh but calm and quiet
but tempoh is the very quiet and
I don’t say telpon but telephone,
I no longer say susu and suasana and sisi,
not orang but human,
not bola but ball and shot,
I have the words in love and the word I
and in Malay I and in love are both sayang,
no longer puisi but poetry,
no longer pensel but pencil,
not nyamuk but gnat,
no longer nanas but pineapple,
no longer earth surface muka bumi but our faces,
our faces like surprised territory,
the nose and the heights of the eye overrun with visions,
the eyes rolled over, the face occupied,
no longer meriam-meriam but cannons,
target and death and name one and the same word
and I speak the arctic lands and places
Queen Mary Land King Gregor Land
Sabrina Land Wilkes Land
Belgica Mountains Wohltat Massive
Amery Ice Shelf Wegener Inland Ice Shackleton Range
New Swabia Joerg Plateau English Coast
Ellsworth Highland Zemlya Aleksandra
American Highland Ingrid Christensen Land
but I no longer speak Pada malam yang gelap-gelita
itu dia memasang sebuah lenterna yang sangat gemilang.
Triggered and transposed and portrayed.

Shall I now portray or prohibit,
support or oppose.
I hold the world against me
it is more tigerly and a- and unicorn and unarmed
and scared as the scorpion.
All words armed?
Armed to the teeth and words?
Is there the other expanse than that from head to foot?
Who can unshow the woods and the animals,
costume, prohibit the animals,
dress up the trees, leaf the flowers, garden them, tempest them?
Am I still able to rain? Able to tiger the tigers?
I am no longer tigered, but my children tiger round me.
I am not striped, only the poet’s eye strips earth and sky,
I am no longer touched.
The cats don’t see me. Was I fauna
and the cats saw me?
Was I incorporeal? Can I touch, be attached?
The jaguar doesn’t attack, it approaches on paws, bites.
In the kitchen the apple is bitten, not attacked.
Do I have a body? Why doesn’t the tree have a body?
Do elephants have not bodies but elephants?
And do apples have apples?
And my cheeks have two cheeks?
Am I not, quite clearly, eary?
Doesn’t the finger hang together with everything?
Am I animal after all?
Am I footless, though I have two feet?
Have I lost my head, right inside my head?
Could nothing more occur to me?
Do the animals walk incorporeal through the forest and are invisible
and are animal and I have no enemy?
The animals don’t live in the woods, they whoosh in the rainforest?
The unshown souls? There in the bushes,
there in the tree tops, there in the nettles, under the leaves
and in the rain and in the mole hole and there on the lips,
there on a cheek of an iguana,
there inside the elbow