No. 4 & 5


Petter Lindgren 

Translated from the Swedish by Lars Ahlström 


From A Slower Kind of Ink


At the end of the small tube that the doctor inserts into 
the rectum  of the patient there is among many other things 
   a tiny lens and 
an even tinier light. But there is also a photographer, 
a grip, an electrician, a few extras and a recently graduated 
script girl from Stockholm. Around this activity a small society 
has been created: barracks, day care, a supermarket, a restaurant. 
This creates new work opportunities. Some people say that the entire 
region has gained new life.

The Fuehrer alive

In the homes of the old people

in the very
old peopleís places

the indoor temperature
is always a few degrees above normal

The radio
is turned up louder than normal

you speak louder yourself

On the other hand itís difficult to make yourself understood
Itís like skiing in midday thaw

you slide backwards 
not forwards

The things you say
are straightforward
almost obscenely honest things

as if wearing far too warm clothes

You hear yourself agreeing that insanity
and artistic skill is something you inherit
or that the people who run the radio station ought to be fired

How your voice rings in the old 
Peopleís ears
it if rings at all

nobody knows

But when the old people sleep

you can move around 
in their apartments
quite undisturbed

You get an opportunity to read the serious news-papers
or you can leaf through photo albums
the old people has seen
the Fuehrer
when he was still alive

Itís quite all right to open the door to the balcony
and get some air

There are titbits in abundance

A look into the bedroom:

The bed lamp is lit
alone in the lull
between two breaths

The cane lies on the bedspread ready for travel

In the kitchen it is peaceful
The white goods shine

But the drinking glasses on the shelf are scratched and ugly
The dishwasher humming under the sink 
is responsible for this

The old people 
are the dishwasher manufacturerís best friends

While the old people are sleeping 

you can also take the opportunity to
arrange their pills

These are kept in boxes with transparent lids
sorted after time and day
Wednesday morning

there are two white ones
and a globular blue and yellow one

Actually that box looks like 
a block of flats with no roof

There the pills live
almost the same way as the old people

And it is always

some poor lonely 
little pill left

when the week comes to an end

A slower kind of ink

People gather in the squares, point towards the comet which 
   by now has
broken through the horizon for the first time in hundreds of years: a 
small inverted point of rubbed out ink over rooftops in the distance.


In the cold meat of winter fruit, where cloudbursts move along like 
transparent layers, there is a tinge of your hair: shampoo
and poorly impregnated nylon, pollen, stalks 
and other green things tangled in the black. 
Here and there a taste of zinc, like old mailboxes.

*First appeared in Verse



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with the authors.


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