The Oldest Hands in the World
On this chair, as I am every morning, waiting
For the cappuccino and brioche to arrive,
And the girl with the oldest hands in the world,
I sense exile is a city reared by eternal artifice.
All sweet violence and thought and repetition.
Beyond what history has left of this topography,
The cup is whiteness, the coffee brown semen.
My first sip makes her appear with provender
And sandals from behind the insignificant ruins.
But for the time being, ruins are eucalyptus trees.
And she not a girl on her way to feed chickens
But a face concealed by dripping nets. Dressed
In black sails and hair dyed a Roman blonde.
The lips of her soul are burning sages, I know.
Her name, I don't. Only her hands matter.
Laden with broached scars, they remind me--
Home is where children sprout in rippled soil.
Where footsteps are mosaics of possibility.
To go on. Finish breakfast. Read the line
That ends in God's breath. Again.
Having accusedexecutedbledskinnedscattered them
For the beasts of Schoren Forestwe shot down the hillside
On a black sled. Scared shitlessmy brotherclutching
My boyish waistknees bentnose against ribsnot
Because of what we'd donespeedor father's finger-splitting
Beltbut because he'd forgotten his smile as the creatures' bodies
Went as cold and flat as Grandpa's blades used to slaughter Schweine.
December never ended without itthemhung like pink whales
In a heavy skyblood-soaked hayfires readiedground littered
With hooves. And whenever mother lugged another fatback inside
Großvaterguttingwould say: Rememberdon't be taking unless you're
Smile when you killHe'll remember when it's your turn. Laterled
By mother's suicide noteI hit upon those meatstucked away
An overcured history of infidelitiesmarriagesabortionsa box
Of Walker's Pure Butter Shortbread Petticoat Tails filled with Wehrpaß
Battle MapIron CrossPhotos: Grandpa smiling(striking, in uniform)
(Strained, in Leningrad)(deadly, between my freshly slit fingers).
Clearly. Nothing much is happening. Kids continue to wish.
For snow. The rest. For something other than the possible.
Something other than the fog. Settling as thorns. Frozen.
On fences. Winter, in its subtlest arrival, barbs our barriers.
Still. No one misses the ordinary. Not even the blackbirds.
Just as no one, on either side, misses the end of the world.
Rules of the Game
In the grimmest of moments
(translation, Friedrich Duerrenmatt)
don't ask for the impossible
Play by the rules
Don't judge the judged
You're one of them
Don't interfere, you're
already part of it
Be human, step back
We all get what we deserve
You can't save anybody
There's no injustice
only the terrible
You're what happens
It serves you right
fordere nicht Unerfüllbares
Halte die Spielregeln ein
Richte nicht die Gerichteten
Du bist einer von ihnen
Misch dich nicht ein, du bist
Sei menschlich, nimm Abstand
Jeden trifft ein eigener Pfeil
Du kannst niemanden schützen
Unrechtes geschieht nicht
Was geschieht, bist du
Es geschieht dir recht
Diogenes Verlag AG Zürich
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