No. 6


Agnieszka Kuciak 

Translated from the Polish by Ryszard Reisner  



At times it’s like returning. At the door
dogs wag, tails brushing aside years
of absence. Again you can pat
their shagginess, old table, pimpled old
wall notched — maps of dates and names,
measured in childhood, wishing 
still to grow taller with each line.
Just as the meter measures: standing next
to a wall of paper, dates and names, faith
in wall, to which you can always run up to
from a drizzle of slow syllables again
into runaway rhyme downpour. And
at times it’s like fate that likes to seal
intention with a pause or place it in another
poem, where there’s no longer home and family.


And to drop absent-minded oranges
into that grave ? what a ‘four par’!
For a short while this Pozna? woman  
is where battle rages: for a bagful of suns 
(dearer for being bought cheap, all
the sweeter to be with pepper) should she
descend like Orpheus, Aeneas or Dante
among the now dead? And with the oranges,
not him, return to those appalled a little
in mourning?
   Decision: to stay
and to one great regret add one small one.  


At home washing doesn’t stop, time mangles, meets
all but our blankets, towels and sailing sheets!
But again aunty sits here with alarm clock,
here running late all this life!
Tick Tock — yes we sigh — at last time for her 
to wake. Be so. Finish keeping faith
of right-handed time, which has passed
criss-crossed on mandala minutes.
Tick Tock, — yes mumbles unassertively
the watch, though aunty doesn’t start to be.


It is akin to a map in Braille and back of fountain,
to a flying shadow over carved rosette,
to a Belle Époque dream over a high wall,
where no euro is lost between heirs still to be met,
there, where beauty. And boulder traps fast
white heather, boxwood, plume after plume of grass.


Here under metro stairs shrieking leaves brake.
On suffering the Old Masters never made a mistake.
The earth vibrates from its traffic criss-crossing
and breaks the dream of EU pushers of pens.

The weather still Congo here, sunglow pink setting,
down always to business Europe.
Small incidents are treated with music.
mais la vie passe, mais la vie va ailleurs.


If terra parens means anything to you:
Here governs importance, here sleeps wealth.
Everyone passing. The egg eat raw
(truth here has the taste of raw eggs)
and check, you who come, their rocketing prices :
le rêve, le bureau et ce qui passe.


Without a bad word for the world, wings too weak
here Icarus would have fallen. No questions:
neither myth nor passport. Falling,
still the norm for leaves, drops, gravities
and cyclists. The shapes of a heel,
Flemish brush, resolution splitting hair,
paint him in Montgomery, maybe a part of you:
A library of dust jackets, park express passing,
school for children of roads, sea, circus,
church heaven-high framed in bone,
the General — takes ten in uniform of stone,
moving stairs to Immovables,
traffic circle and twelve-star hotel,
house out of graffiti  for visiting cars,
emperor wide and embassies on parade
in arms coated encircled, ce qui passe.




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