Selected Poems

by Ondřej Hanus

Translated from the Czech by Nathan Fields

I

a gray tomcat sat me on a black leopard

and so saved me from a snake in the greenhouse

the first verse decides

through Holešovice underpass back into Mother

airtight sleep of narration spawns flaring micronarratives

a thing is the ekphrasis of essence and essence is the ekphrasis of God

that is the last use of matter

and a bottle of vodka is mother’s breast

unconsciousness is diuretic like sorrel

a pack of gray tomcats is silently running through the meadow

a steady gaze and jaws open in expectation

everything is a little smaller than it seems

syntax was definitively declared as an offense to the tongue

and a dream is the only thing impossible to mock

so then they cleanly shove a suitably chosen icicle into your skull

and you save your breath someone else will be needing it

but you won’t find that out if you don’t find it out

II

there is a flood on earth and some people die

others change into fish and others into angels

of all the suns only the March one has meaning

reminiscent of an anal orifice or a kohlrabi

of a cigarette only the first three hits have meaning

at Holešovice Train Station a single cigarette for four crowns

I’m a child again

and I murder butterflies and fowl

I’m maturing again

and I masturbate above an advertisement for bras

on the back page of the magazine Vlasta or Flowers or who knows

meanwhile others watch in suspense for what I will grow up to be

you sit down in the middle and the crossing gate starts burning, friend

lie down and you, too, start burning

under me black skin and behind my head the shadow of Mother

why did you have daddy before me

how do I outdrink that betrayal


III

all around is a sea of trampolines I jump on them

and I cannot stop

this is escape and not investigation

this is an opening leading to the first door

a preliminary autopsy embedded into the tongue with a hammer

whoever peels the plaster will be devoured by a moth

whoever reaches for their crotch will experience horrible absence

I imagine you naked mrs. doctor

I will draw a circle around you

I am a collector of mistaken acts

smashing through the crossing gate is impossible

a sample cut from forgotten meat

subject-predicate agreement with an ass

the pointing finger begins to connect unrelated points

the palm turns into a fat butcher vagina

you won’t stuff it with bread you will choke it with meat

this is an investigation not an escape

IV

the body is a layer of my thought and that is the peel of my soul

don’t worry mommy he’ll grow to her height

why are you cutting into her ear and come watch evening cartoons

memory begins where imagination ends

you won’t get over fear you won’t get over anxiety

what you keep in your pocket you’ll find under your pillow

pickled in a swamp like a drowned fetal sausage

your new friend is the giant hole in your sole

anything belongs here and so I bring you dreams like flowers

landscapes I’ve never seen

women I’ve never touched

women who’ve torn a piece from me

and now grow back you fucking little abortion

anxiety is a hole

anxiety is a perennial

anxiety is a feral cat

V

I am playing a game in front of me stand three figures

the middle one introduces itself as death


it wanted to be sliced

a hole should have been kicked through it

it had to be cut

so that it rolled out and stank

that wrinkled infant of memory

so that it was put under a knife

and brought around to the appropriate foreign tables

mommy you should have aborted me

what am I doing here not really a child until now

everything is a little bigger than it seems

it wanted to be cut out

it should have been torn out

it had to be once

it had to be twice

it had to be born three times

Caitlyn Garcia