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from the September 2005 issue

From “Konwalia”

1. Sunday, Kazimierz Market

they have everything you can imagine here at least
that's what it seems like though as usual everything
amazes everyone with its poverty in fact

i can't see myself in it says one to another
who in turn sees her in it as sharp as the apparition
emerging from the entryway like sad reality

i dream about raspberries and end up buying plums
i go up there and get pissed off is all says yet
another to yet one more i can't stand it when people

force things on you with a bag full of plums
i follow them get pissed off later at home pissed
off good people so what am i forcing this on you for

2. Wednesday, "Health" Milk Bar

what's this? russians? i didn't want russians
one half with meat the other half cabbage
was my order i never eat the russians

what are you saying it says here russians
half a portion of russians it's your order
and half with cabbage just like you asked for

ma'am listen there's no way i can have asked for
the russians since like i told you i can't stand
russians you must have misunderstood me

for the last time already just make up your mind
what you want mietka could you put some russians
on this man's plate in place of the cabbage ones

3. Thursday, Gazowa Street

the doorbell rings i open good day we're from the city
if he were wearing a cap he'd salute me
we've come on behalf of the neighborhood watch

we're tagging valuables, electronics, appliances,
he says i don't have valuables i say though i
can give you my bike i guess my hands are trembling
it's too sunny here perhaps we should move

inside he says i'm sorry i can't let you in
you see it's chaos in here i still haven't made
my bed the door to my room is ajar you can see
the bed and the window and on the window-

sill ten maturing plants in a flowerbox
he takes out his marker and ultraviolet light
and carefully writes on the frame my i.d.

4. Saturday, Singer Bar

ernst jünger started smoking at the age of 102
tired of living probably he'd already quit
once before (to live longer?) in the twenties he still
used to smoke at least according to this book

all afternoon i read finally i get under the covers
and sleep and dream marcin baran has a brother
who dies and marcin goes to visit his grave
and on the grave is written narab

marcin and renata wake me we go to the bar
i'm still so sleepy i forget to take my cigarettes
conversation is groggy too only marcin is in a good
mood drinking vodka with lemon to the health

of all bad writers as if they'd given him the pulitzer
and makes fun of malenczuk who now at age forty
is just discovering brzechwa as if at age forty
all that can be discovered are new cocktails

i leave and imagine the centenarian ernst
at the kiosk buying his first pack of cigarettes
and finding inside it a coupon for a chance to win
a thrilling two-week vacation for two in rome

5. Sunday, Zamkowa Street

i had two dreams last night both of them i've forgotten
peliszko has two children now the second child
she gave birth to with complications two weeks ago

music lovers is on t.v. the child lies there
you can see the vague desires surging inside him
which peliszko eagerly circumscribes and fulfills

would you give it a rest he probably wants to sleep
i say feeling sleepy myself i'd like to be home
now in bed myself and look my wish is fulfilled

the hungarian quartet doesn't play half bad
or else i've just gotten attached i water the plants
outside a couple walks by with a white dog too white

for this evening but still it's worth listening to
thinking about neither death nor a maiden
only about a boy born with complication

Read more from the September 2005 issue
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