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Editorial: Issue 6

Table of Contentsfor Issue 6

The Bamberg Apocalypse

Cover illustration: The Bamberg Apocalypse

This year’s no man’s land includes not one, but two special features. The long-awaited documentation of Ann Cotton’s and Monika Rinck’s 2010 interlingual performance “Rotten Kinck Ohne: The Igel Flies Tonight” features visuals, texts and audio episodes – from John, the Hypnotized Irish Man to the Side Effects of the Translation Trance. In “Terrariums and Teramachines” we present the results of the translation tandem between poets Lars-Arvid Brischke and Donna Stonecipher, who joined us for a special transatlantic dialogue on “The Poetics of Sustainability”.

And the issue contains the usual wide range of work submitted by colleagues far and wide – with poetry by Dieter M. Gräf, Christine Marendon, Monika Rinck, Peter Rühmkorf, Ulrike Almut Sandig, Daniela Seel, Jan Wagner and fiction by Zehra Cirak, Eleonore Frey, Michael Lentz, Eva Menasse, Michael Roes, Lutz Seiler and Keto von Waberer.

Isabel Cole, Katy Derbyshire,  Alistair Noon : editors,  no man’s land

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Editorial: Issue 6


Ginger-Blossom Space
SINAI ENDLESS 1 – 3
BUTTERFLY (COMMENTARY) ON THE MOTOR-BARGE
MUD-
ZUNI< NY



Grey stone without forest.
Tongue. Sedan.



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



Pling – plang – little plate
Lyrical poets are mad
The rationalist’s lullaby



the russian woods


you may take this house as an outpost


botanical garden
guericke’s sparrow
the lexicon of superstition
rainworms



chameleon


Two Handfuls of Lemon-Yellow Desires


Books


Samples from Hans: An Account


You Worry Too Much


Gluttony


As-samt / The Silence


The Balance of Time


Sadness

Ginger-Blossom Space
SINAI ENDLESS 1 – 3
BUTTERFLY (COMMENTARY) ON THE MOTOR-BARGE
MUD-
ZUNI< NY

Author: Dieter M. Gräf
Translator: Andrew Shields

GINGER-BLOSSOM SPACE

your latihan hands,
their fledgling tremors,

so softly promiscuous

to things,
their sliding through
the hands: redder

and redder car

Space for the
feet that visit
the hands.

ginger-blossom space,

your antelope
evaporation – –

 

SINAI ENDLESS 1 – 3

1  SECONDS OF SINAI.  ENDLESS

tiresome halo, like the one
the flies form.
Orange

skeleton of a smoldering
fire;
glittering colors
of the seconds of Sinai,
of an
earthhopper, for example:  long,
butterfly  leap  into  its

orange, then becoming stony
again.
Camel-like boulders;
the desert mountains’ elephant
skin

 

2

the engulfing
rock,
into it
hands.  The
rock feet;
face of the
rock
on a
just imprinted
breast

 

3  HIBISCUS, HALOGEN-

everything adorns itself, adorns.

Androgynous hibiscus opens,
reaching out all the way;

Bedouins, the white perpendicular.

Children palm
off poverty ribbons:
the solar wrist;

to burn oneself on the cliffs.

A bow toward Mecca, toward
the slaughtered, night.
Waning halogen moon;

single Venus,
the most beautiful of all.

 

BUTTERFLY (COMMENTARY)
ON THE MOTOR-BARGE

Water  Time
falters but for
W. C. W.
after
this sphincter
spot a

getting-it-on, coloring

of intense burden,
tipped shining
into trip water.

butterflying time.  Going
under a mild wake.

To over
take the beauty
of fish.

 

MUD-

evening rush of rain from leaves
of the tree next door
going to
the moon side: to the tidal
patches,
the giant saltmarsh
hares.  Orange-red beak
of oystercatcher, its clear
signal sounds                                       amid the murmur of black
headed gulls;

bird-field

crescendoes.  Glasswort eyes that
overgraze the silty mudflats
& at night, it’s said, hedgehogs
ambush the bird eggs in
an orgiastic frenzy.
By day,
the reading room, seaside,
for swimming beside
the North Sea, whose temperature’s wrong  —  —

 

going along the paved island

lines till they tatter

in swash marks

From the dismantled railway          posts,
the most hermetic language.            In mudshoes

 

on wet sand’s wave decoration.
Green algae hair growing into
mudflat puddles; bird arrow’s path,

becoming, toward the water, a bird-of-air

 

Back to what’s more solid
into the “Radieschen”‘  to tip
                                                   Jever Gold.

Further,            past

places like Norden,
Sande,

Leer  —  —

 

 

Grey stone without forest.
Tongue. Sedan.

Author: Christine Marendon
Translator: Ken Cockburn


Grey stone without forest.

Grey stone without forest.
The gardener may
not dig there.

Grey stone: a reflection of us.

You sleep badly, sense
the wakefulness and sleep
in others’ eyes.

I really think it’s
the animal we can’t
leave in peace.

Will I unknot myself?
That it’s this – this –
I don’t know about myself
is weirdly lovely.

Do you remember?
Oh, I remember all right:

To lose sight of
the Amazon region
would look like tears.

 

Tongue. Sedan.

I didn’t know this corner of
the country. I was sent a letter
asking me to come. I’m coming,
I cried, and lost my luggage before I’d
even set out, including the book, a
present and the card with greetings from my town:
eating strawberries in the necropolis. Haste
urged memory, which way, can you
remember? I had to sleep, slept
on the journey, in my sleep I dreamed that
in my sleep I found flowers and thought of
bringing a little something: that’s the usual
thing away from home. Dreamed that,
arriving, I was handed bowls
the flesh was tender, red as cactusflower
empty-handed and sound asleep
I was carried over the border.

Originals © Christine Marendon
Translations © Ken Cockburn

Moorlands Totilas
Rabbits
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 …

 
Rabbits

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

Pling – plang – little plate
Lyrical poets are mad
The rationalist’s lullaby

Author: Peter Rühmkopf
Translator: Henry Holland


Pling – plang – little plate

Pling – plang – little plate,
you’ll break first, then you’re wise
I am the son of Huckebein
and Leda, his good wife.

I am the coal, I am the coke,
the raven, silky black
I sure do love the man in the street
and on him turn my back.

Here the heaven knows no joy
and the joy is all unlit
and the light gets sieved through more than thrice
before they’ll publish it.

How can one single Vaterland
produce such bottomless gloom? –
I load my head with a picnic of thought
for worse yet times to come.

And show myself, or so you’ll think,
down on the paper, white:
as if a savvy, enlightened head
could thus become light.

 

Lyrical poets are mad

Acrobatics on the highest heights,
obscure and self-referential
dreaming up beings made solely from words
unreal and unessential

What moves us to it, why, what for,
do we leave the mat at all?
To scribble down a spurious, “Who’s who?”
in the time of a nose-dive fall.

What d’you see of below from the highest point?
The whole world lost at sea.
I say: writers of poems are certainly mad
and truth-seeking readers, will be.

I play my piano on the astral plane
four-footed, forty-toed, capable –
back down on the ground they no longer hope
that we’ll ever be made accountable.

Lorelei exposes her hair
beside the filthy Rhine . . .
I gracefully float in fear for my life
between friends, Heaney and Hein’.

 

The rationalist’s lullaby

At last the moon has risen,
and caught between hope and depression,
I’m unmoved by its face.
Ju-jitsu or do yoga?
I draw the inky toga –
evening’s curtain – and cocoon my space.

The stars ruck up together
– clear star-observing weather –
as if betting, each to each.
And I will sing, “contester –
above all play the jester!”;
before the Lord curtails my speech.

I’m happy to let the moon wait there.
D’you think she’ll help my mood there
or transform my whims into deeds?
I’ve got time unending,
so plenty spare for fending
off anyone who cares to join me. Take heed.

I would, if I could, remain,
bare-nosed and spouting flames,
from the withers of a horse.
Until I fall off with a thud
– out of Guenevere’s arms – into the mud.
I’ll say what I think. And propriety my arse.

Lord let me scorn your kingdom –
who’d season there my spring times?
who’d forest using my seed?
Who’d wheel my little bedstead
into a pre-heated care-shed
where I can fuck things up in peace?

Oh heaven, quite uncalled for –
if moon, kicked on with golden spurs
were to jump right over the earth?
Who the devil aroused the dog then?
Nurse your wrath you loved ones,
and poke the fires in what you say are hearths.

The guests have gone: leftovers
left lying, just don’t bother:
your cheapest jibes not voicing.
Tired of what you’ve seen often
let a pure yawn soften
the comfort of evening’s poison.

“Heinrich-Heine-Gedenk-Lied”, “Hochseil”, “Variation auf ‘Abendlied’ von Matthias Claudius” by Peter Rühmkorf
From: Gedichte, Werke 1 von Peter Rühmkorf, Bernd Rauschenbach, ed.
Copyright © 1959, 1962, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1989, 2000 by Rowohlt Verlag GmbH, Reinbek bei Hamburg
Translation © Henry Holland

the russian woods

Author: Ulrike Almut Sandig
Translator: Bradley Schmidt

the russian woods were what we didn’t care about, where
we didn’t go, where sheaves of light shot up to
the spruce crowns, red, where the ashes
from cigs and bent steel covered the ditches
along the field. on the outskirts of the village
tables moved and something woke us
late: further on was the end of the path.

no trespassing land mines / heath
barrier clearing moss fringe / crater red deer
empty villages / brick halls heather. there were

caravans of tanks, trucks, dark green tarps, inside
stood forty men, they gazed back
out in rows, all heads shaved. and there was
this one that stood still four hours, in july
in the heat, alone on the crossing, till they rolled
by in thirty machines, and he raised his right

arm: yield to military / till dust and the barking
of dogs and he doesn’t move / thin
boy sunset / the centre strips green. they’d always

been there and sometimes broke slats
from the fence and sliced off cabbage and
shot the hens. whoever was full up
went on to the fish pond, to the sun, and swapped
badges with children, red and sickle for
friendship. whoever did that didn’t come back for
a long time. we waited in vain.

 

Original © Ulrike Almut Sandig
Translation © Bradley Schmidt

you may take this house as an outpost

Author: Daniela Seel
Translator: Steph Morris

 

you may take this house as an outpost
of my conscious being for example
in the nooks and crannies creatures
scurry without an eyelash between them I tried
to track them for ages but could not capture
things which slipped so swiftly by
forced to squint continually perhaps it was a trick perhaps
I lacked equipment I wanted to get a grasp
but was in no position to develop the habit
of being a bee spider mouse this house
has no brows beneath which I might withdraw
blinking what would I then know
of that concocted cat
had I the nose of a rat

 

Original © Daniela Seel
Translation © Steph Morris

botanical garden
guericke’s sparrow
the lexicon of superstition
rainworms

Author: Jan Wagner
Translator: Chenxin Jiang

botanical garden

weighing the words against you –
the couples walking silently along the raked
paths, flowerbeds buried in leaves, trees naked,
the wrought iron flowers of the fence are cool,
the light aristocratically pale
like wax – the greenhouse glinting on the hill.
with its white ribs, fin de siècle,
it reminded me of that whale skeleton
hung in the museum from invisible cables
which seem to rock it. it would catch
your eye as a child, that monster, swept
up onto a beach from primeval depths,
asphyxiated by its own weight.

 

guericke’s sparrow

“…more precious than gold, it does not
change or decay…”

– Otto von Guericke –

what is this, invisible and yet so powerful,
that no strength can resist it? the townspeople
crowd around meister guericke
and his construction, the vacuum pump,
which towers over the room on its three legs,
complete with the obscene graces
of a mantis religiosa. the luster of bronze,
and the glass sphere, its recipient: inside it,
the sparrow has begun to flicker
like an ethanol flame – the air
tightens. outside the window
plums are ripening, the warmth hums, grass
is growing on the ruins. a copperplate etching
from old magdeburg hangs on the wall.
the infallibility of the pendulum clock,
diopter, pedometer, astrolabe;
the globe on the table, where
the back fin of new zealand has just
cut through the pacific. as if from afar,
the persistent trotting of a horse-drawn cart.
“this dead sparrow,” someone whispers,
“will fly through an empty sky yet.”

 

the lexicon of superstition

you have to chase the redbreast away from the roof.
instead you sit with the cold view
out the window at your back and cling onto that
thin hazelnut branch.

the sky is draped with black cloth, behind which
they roll the barrels of heavy wine.
the long drawn-out groaning of trees, as though
scaffolds were rocking in them.

and you with your back to the window… behind the panes
the thunder flicks its white blade open
with a deft hand. it’s the redbreast, you should have
chased it away.

 

rainworms

that summer, the earth lay cracked
and dry. with alternating current and wires
we made a false weather in the ground,
to attract the earthworms, to offer up each
hermaphrodite on a thin hook. years later

i see their shadows stretch across the sky, gigantic,
in dark clouds, and the world outside the window presents
itself as a cold square. i wait for the knocking
at my door while, behind the glass, the rain
falls and falls. i mistrust every drop.

 

Originals © Jan Wagner
Translations © Chenxin Jiang

chameleon

Author: Jan Wagner
Translator: Adrian Nichols

 

more ancient than the bishop’s staff
which he drags behind him, the crook
of his tail. come down, we call
to him on the branch, while his tongue
zips out like a telescope, and he tucks away
the constellation of a dragon-fly: an astronomer
who splits his glance between heaven
and earth – and thus keeps his distance
to both. the domes of his eyes, armored
with scales, a fortress within which
only the pupils budge, a nervous
flickering behind the arrowslit (once in a while
you’ll come across his skin like an empty
stronghold, like a long abandoned theory).
come down, we call. but he doesn’t
stir. he vanishes slowly among
the colors. he slips into the world.

Original © Jan Wagner
Translation © Adrian Nichols

Two Handfuls of Lemon-Yellow Desires

Author: Zehra Çirak
Translator: Marilya Veteto Reese

Be a keeper and come to me but only if you can leave again. So come to me on the same slippery slope so that we can hold onto each other and carry each other along. Here’s to residing in To Have and To Hold and to being capable of nothing more than mutual astonishment. Or come via secret unspeakably quiet paths with your hands outstretched for thievery. Perhaps you can save yourself with an excuse of taking from the mouths of a babe, with the restless gaze of hunger. It moves away more quietly yet casts its eye toward an intersection where confrontations await someone quite different.
The man with his hands in his pockets, his head tilted back, looks at the sky where several swallows fly, requiring acrobatics of his eyes. The skin of his lovely slender neck, which rests as if captive in a white shirtcollar, is redolent with lemon. These he stole from a tree during the night, not a public tree-one with an owner and a house. The man pulls his hands from his pockets and runs them over his face. He wishes it were at least a year from now so he would have already forgotten. Lemon theft and consumption was not his plan. He bit into them with his shiny teeth. Fresh and sour, the juice ran down his chin, yet actually left nary a stain on his collar, only small burns in his heart.
A swallow-child practices flying home. Missed the nest again! The calls of those who’ve made it lend courage and perseverance. The swallow-child flies its rounds. A woman behind a window of a house watches the opposite balcony where the swallows’ nest is. She counts the swallow’s flights. Comes close to crashing into her window, just managed to miss it. Start afresh. The seventh time by now. Watching and counting and hoping, all the while the woman tries to imagine how many false starts she’s had in life. When the swallow finally disappears into the nest, the woman paces up and down in the room. She sits down on her own shadow which she’s forgotten on the armchair. There she cries just a little to herself. And these tears slowly reaching her lips taste of lemon even if they do somewhat burn with memory in the corners of her eyes.
She says, “Come to me, if you can leave again.” She tells him this written on a scrap of paper. She doesn’t give him the scrap until after the point in time when he could have come to her. She has a triumphant look, as if she’d gotten the best of him. She says, “I bet you dreamed of something that nice.” She yanks the scrap away, rips it in half and stuffs both halves into his pockets. There he stands straight as an arrow with his fists in his pockets and looks at the sky as if the swallows flying their zigzag paths were incredibly interesting. She goes over next to him and sniffs his impeccably white shirtcollar. Everything goes all yellow before her eyes.
Chicken with olives, garlic, white wine, capers and fresh rosemary, baked in the oven, cooked along with unpeeled lemon quarters. Meant for sharing. Not to everyone’s taste. By no means a new recipe. But upon enumerating the ingredients, the mouth waters anew for fingertips yearning to be licked. It was the meal of a man and a woman sitting in a nearly-empty outdoor café opposite one another who didn’t know each other. Many tables were still unoccupied. But only this one had exerted its magnetism on them. Had they enjoyed their meal?
It isn’t too late yet but twilight breaks over the sky and over the couple.
Knowest thou the land where lemons blossom? Just about everyone knows it, that song written by the master poet. The lesson for the apprentices is the empty grab bag that they fill up by poking their heads inside.
Do you know the ways of the human body which aren’t sure if they want to be known? Or if they want to hear if a voice says to them, “I want you like I want a country where luscious fruits grow?”
If gazes, captive behind sunglasses, are glad not to seem dishonest, rather simply blind to such things.
Two people walk side by side through streets that are loud and full of people. Both of them do not look at one another through their sunglasses. Each of them knows the words in the head of the other. But without touching they taste something on the lips of the other like the fear on their own.
Dread is colored yellow like the wings of a fine lemon-yellow brimstone butterfly perching on the shamelessly red blossom of a poppy. The bloom looks like silk panties. Shimmering and lascivious, the black center of it is like the depths of a dream.
What is the butterfly dreaming of while the poppy blossom sways back and forth in this wind? Soon it won’t be able to hold on any longer. But it can fly onward, preferably with the wind, accompanied by some pollen covering it like bodily fluids exchanged during loving. Some in its mouth, some on its sex and beneath the skin something else remains, too. But you can mutually rinse that off, suppress the thought, emote it away. That happens to people during the day and the night. But what do flowers do at night?
What do flowers do at night? The nighttime is ravenous, garrulous and moonstruck. The flowers lie ready like greens to be nibbled on a tray or were carried off by hands or lie forgotten in a corner that is glad to have them for a night. That’s what flowers do at night: they smell, and occasionally a poppy smells of lemons. But that’s not so bad, since it still looks like a poppy. That’s what it is to be a flower like that at night.
Flowers at night in a house, the house stands on a narrow and deep street with tall old houses and lovely streetlamps all in a row emerging from the facades of the houses like soldiers. The streetlamps are the guardians of the night in case the flowers should get lost, fall from the hands carrying them or fall gradually upon the street in the glow of the streetlamps. Then not only the flowers but also the streetwalkers standing and walking there are protected from being trampled. They do nothing other than keep blossoming and keep waiting at night. They await the glad cries of those who find them, “Look, I found a flower even though it’s nighttime!” Thus many a chosen streetwalker becomes a flower girl of the night.
What do flower girls do at night? Naked, they lean a little more out of their ‘vases’, those open windows, blooming after the act of love, with smiling faces outward and shining bottoms inward. And they listen to a group of passing street musicians. They are still playing “besame….besame mucho” at dawn.
The musicians collect the fallen petals along with the hoped-for tossed coins or the night’s smiling female mouths. The flowers of the night are addicted to pleasing. They wait in bloom or in wilt. They wait in color or black and white, they wait even without scent and never do they speak of the distant day to each night. Sad, the flowers and the mouths, but only if they are picked apart by greedy and oddly empty hands and kissing mouths that think of themselves as they seek. The kisses of the flowers, as those of the girls, are comforting and helpful. They assuage something, the flowers of the night.
A woman, a man, both are meant for one another in order to love each other and not in order to live with each other.
She says, “Come, if you can leave again.” After he was gone she felt hungry, and cut fruit into small chunks with a knife. The last ingredient in the fruit salad was lemon slices. Unpeeled sweet-sour refreshment. She didn’t want to eat the salad. She wanted to smooth it over her body. In dreaming of this idea she became careless and cut the tip of her little finger. The cut was deep. It bled heavily. She pressed the cut part down firmly and bandaged it despite the pain. Then she went ahead and simply ate the fruit salad after all. The wound gave her goosebumps for days afterward. At some point she healed, the spot around the wound still quite sensitive. A small scar remains to remind her. And whenever she rubs the damaged little finger against her thumb she feels her addiction to the memory of the short nighttime period in which she blossomed so happily like a bloom just released from its pleated bud, when her inner radiance was quite yellow with delight.

 

“Zwei Hände voll zitronengelber Wünsche”, by Zehra Çirak,
© Verlag Hans Schiler, Berlin
Translation © Marilya Veteto Reese