PROSOPISIA A venture A.R.A.W.LII... Vol - VI, No. 2, 2013


Translated by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough

Rosary on the Stairs

Even if
she were as resplendent as a rose
precipitous thoughts about her
each time not knowing if she
looked in his eyes
plucking sails off petals
she feared the northern wind
then the southern wilderness

if only
with one eye one thorn
one hand

even if
in the doorway on the porch on the stairs

if only
she dared
to look behind reverse herself
become her own inevitable pricking
avoir l’esprit de l’escalier
even if

if only
she shed no rosy beads
for him
this pearly echo on the steps.

Union with Kafka

He knocked feebly as if he wanted to leave empty-handed
when I opened the door there he was rescued and disappointed
then he stood in the middle of the room silent and absent
when a car alarm came on outside
he began to gesture like a salesman
of shabby goods
I didn't hear what he said
leaving he laid the flowers on a console table in the hall
I realized that he had proposed
I ran up to the window to see what he looked like from behind
in the yard children were playing

Eins zwei drei Polizei
One two tie my shoe

he returned unexpectedly kissed me clumsily
and reluctantly when the alarm came on again he ran down the stairs
in the yard an old woman was feeding pigeons
she stretched out an open hand to him as if to a bird
it seemed that no one and nothing could hear the persistent sound
that it was only in my head

for several years I was sick or maybe I simply went away

a letter came from the Office of Records a manila envelope
"Mr. Kafka. Priority."

In the Color of the Hollyhock – Chopin’s Waltz

He played
a waltz then meadow and air
she soared above the bittersweet grass above a sonata
and above a prelude
as if she hadn’t yet lived in her body
she said and invited him to her place
tomorrow afternoon

Mon Dieu!
she smokes a cigar wears pants
(is she a woman?) hats like flambeaux
her white-red costume
it’s rumored the blood of a Polish king runs in her veins
and she used to dance mazurkas polonaises
my God!

before long
he’ll move his fashionable grand piano to her place
she writes smart books each day after supper this new mother
like a pharaoh’s wife
she calls him her genius and her weakling
her children keep guard at the bedroom door hoping
he’ll die
on Majorca
he’s rasping and dying
the clamminess in his fingers and the monotonous
chords of rain are killing him
he fears death and compassion
the island doctors say he’ll die soon or
has died already

in Paris
salons await him
a dandy he puts on a gilet the color of hollyhock and gloves
like buckwheat white as snow
a crimson storm surges in his chest
its sparks will ignite everything
into a perfect fire

he coughs
and spits blood
behind his breastbone Polish homesickness
sleepless like cosmic dawn
she’s so terribly alive and beautiful
all around kings of life drink gobble have fun after them flood
and fire

far away there
he dreamed of light
and of the sky rising over a birch wood in pure fifths
and octaves
here beamed ceilings like tree limbs fall into hellish triads
who’s that?
play sonny don’t spare any sounds
don’t stop.

Translated by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough and Teresa Cedar

The Eye of John Keats in Rome

For hours it stands in the window
once in a while it casts itself onto the Spanish Steps
or into the Tiber

on the steps
it bursts and then like a gel medusa
returns intact into the dark-skinned palm of a street vendor

in the water
it swims and then flies to dry its wings
it sweeps the Hadrian arches of the bridges
the sky of the Vatican domes
the horizons’ caravans of pines

in the evening it orders the same wine
in the same bar
at last it returns to the window and writes on the pane with its finger

the crowds on the steps won’t let it sleep
it doesn’t know what to do next
so it starts all over

from the pupil
from the core.

Translated by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough and Teresa Cedar