Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rainforest Sketches by 'Bo' The Grocery Godzilla

Edward Hopper: Room by the Sea



Balthasar is an idiot. To be crashing into objects like that! It is not that objects opposed him. If they did, would not have been objects. We assume that, in that instance, they'd become subjects. When objects turn subjects there ceasee distinctions between Balthasar and objects he/she/it is bumping into. Everything fits  this scheme of blind crashing. Doing it over, over, we too bump against ourselves, into others like ourselves,  everyone bumping everyone else— surely this must be tiresome. To bump relentlessly into oneselves.  What headache! A migraine even. Imagine that. I do not want to think about it. It is too early in the day to mull over.  Atrocious reversal of the basic physics, it should be noted : stop Balthasar, stop. 


That little quiet street, that little calle. With a mutt seated every evening, exactly on the same spot, in front of the sliding iron gate to an apartment building. Calm like a small copper statue, staring, waiting, turning its head. Who is she waiting for? A hand that will feed her and give her soft caress. A stray's yearning not to be understood by words? Every evening, the crepuscule descends slowly, like some soft golden and pink snow on one of Santiago’s best neighborhoods. Maybe one is born here in some previous life. Maybe one spent one’s days in the golden sunny street just like this might have been one of the innumerable strays, expecting, expecting, for each of the passers by, each occasional car making a turn down the street, one block, two blocks, past the spot where you sit and wait, with the night approaching, the passerby turning the next corner, against the false hope quashed, the flea biting, the uncertainty and fear rising in your Heart.



Surrounded by lush primeval forest snares,  we paddle into the impenetrable thicket. Through many labyrinths of aqua, the canoe fleeing one tribe of man-eaters, getting closer to the socalled civilized world. How tasty, the Frenchmen, cowardly species that they are! But, no, not tonight, sires, this Night devours Selva Amazonica. Not tonight. Even better: never.  You'll never catch us, you dastardly punks . For always we've lived by the light of my own candle, and we shall once perish by such. As God is the shepherd. Let the vultures, the birds of this flawed paradise feed on flesh and bones of others, of nobody— not now, not tonight, not ever. Goodbye, the endless star-night, the water dripping off the paddle, those silver guides in the night, the night in the labyrinths of aqua. 



one of the renegade angels, falls down to the parched island surrounded by the brilliantly turquoise sea. the night ululates and shimmers, the lush jungle threat is everywhere.   as for luck, a narrow path,  and on this patch of dirt,  a hodgepodge truck is puttering, leaving behind a swirl of dust; the driver, quiet, he does best not to ask questions. from nder the horizon, the evening star lights the world, the renegade forgets where he comes from. other events are possibly reported: a scribe writing with ink extracted from cuttlefish. a cross-eyed shaman examining bones of dead animals. the feathers and scalps of prisoners decorating walls of the stilted hut.  on the island, aeons before, the extinct species congregate in great numbers. one minute all life pulsates and vibrates, multiplies and congregates, the next, all is gone.  all that universal labor, the work of generations, the millenia and millions of years of devolutions, evolutions, revolts, revolutions, now the truck gets mired in mud, the tribesman painted in war colors surround it, what a threat! this reversal to the stone age, so much sadness in their expression, no Tesla among them for sure...only, oddly enough, hear the sound of the bouzouki from afar, from some remote place, possibly on another island even... 


Already the sun was battling the dismal gray sky when Frum got up intent on breaking away with his humdrum existence. His life was to change abruptly, the message crumpled there, in the guts. Also, the palm of his right hand itched like crazy. Letters were exchanged. Universities were hiring again. Now, before such an important journey, he soaked the blue jeans in a round basin. To hand wash clothes ordinarily meant a dull chore. On another level, it was a good exercise in mindfulness. The signs of life on that eventful Wednesday include a garbage truck doing its rounds. It does it around the clock: Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Frum thought he could recognize the driver and two jovial garbage collectors shouting to each other, back and forth. Everything else was rather on the sad side. Doom, but not your average Doom. As a native Ostdeutscher, Frum knew all about Doom, and he could recognize the endless shades and nuances of Gray and Doom. A lesser writing Hamlet-machine could have spun several tomes on the topic. Not Frum though. Frum was in a hurry to leave. Universities were calling; ministries were funding the student productions again. Tempus Fugit Frum cogitates and here —we too must leave. It's a good time to say Goodbye, Frum, and Good Luck.


el día cuando papá compró una papelera rosa, mi hermano y yo pensé que algo grande se está cocinando. era un basurero enjuto, de un color de electric Pink. un buen pie profundo y un ancho de medio pie sólido. ¿Qué está pasando con nuestro papá? dijo mi hermano felipe gregoriano, y es exactamente lo que quería saber. Sabíamos que se estaba ocupado trabajando duro. Sabíamos que aún tenía grandes planes por el futuro. Sabíamos que era el afortunado. Aunque nunca le gustó hablar de ello pero vi una de sus entradas de diario donde cita a Camus. dice algo como, Gilbert Jonas (el personaje?), dibujante y pintor, creía en su estrella. y ahora lo sé, esto también fue lema de mi padre. Todos querían al compañero por esa razón de su fe absoluta. Todos lo querían para ese regalo el más grande, el más raro entre nos seres humanos — vivir y dejar que los demás viven. No quería interferir, no quiso tomar partido, el querido papá. y ahora que se fue arriba con los amigos celelestes, o dondequiera que lo que podrían llamarse — tenemos solo esta papelera Rosa para recordarnos a su estrella.


Tetsuro is a phenomenon of iron will, strength, tenacity. There is nobody that matches Tetsuro. Tetsuro brings out the best and the worst in people. For Tetsuro can go through fire and brimstone. From Tetsuro, there's no hiding, provided such safe abode was even contemplatable. He drives out our subconscious fears (innumerable), at their utmost, Tetsuro does. Our unstoppable Tetsuro. A golem to look up to, a role model to many of us Japanese soldiers. An ideal father we've dreamed of. Long live the masked avenger Tetsuro!


The Law of Attraction

the girl in a mini sits in a cafe, minding her own business, reading a book perhaps. without better things to do, a badge pig passes by. and because the thick annoying thing has the power to harass and intimidate if it so elects, the girl feels uncomfortable. and so do we, the rest of the coffeehouse eaters enjoying early afternoon in the sun. go away you fucker, we think, and true enough, by the inscrutable laws of attraction, the fucker moves along, staring at the girl. the girl scratches her exposed knee, flips the page, and when the pig is gone —lifts her head, sighs a relief, the tension all gone, the day still good and full of promise.


Confined to a room.  He, or I, not certain any more.  However, despite television and computers, both in Stone Age yet, in the room, not allowed to keep stones.  Keeping stones is strictly forbidden. Stones are not to be kept here, the landlady barked. Sometimes it makes one wonder.  How would it be: to use stone for a headrest? Like mountain ruffians and bandits of legend.  Die Rauber by Schiller.  Those were the days.  Deep in the black mountains, raiding nearby post offices and banks.  No, take it back.  I, he, it trims his, mine beard. In the mirror anybody reflects back. Whose, the unshaven mug? If only he were Confucius, if he had anything vital to say.  But he does, god, how he does.  These days of wine and roses are. Get back where you came from. Stay here.  Multiply.  Go West, young man. Take your two stones with you.  First, a small Danish river pebble. Another, Carnelian, so smooth, lovely to touch Carnelian.  But, here some news: deathly struggle on the window sill, the spider and the fly, the scene of a horrendous energy struggle, you must repent, you spider. Every day that much uncalled for killing. Even today. Easter Sunday. Or maybe Monday. It is what they tell us it is. It doesn't know what it is. It is unlike fly killed by a spider or a folded newspaper, an unknown biped wielding the paper. Confusing, these words, these days, wine and roses. Are not.
 At night, going out through the roof of the head.  Up. We want to get up, to get out of here, out of confinement, out of wars, out of somebody's endless wars and warmongers.   To be liberated, the room of shining white stones.  From there wave at the self below, the top of his uncombed head seen from above, seated, not thinking, not knowing, not seeing.  Only erection is still there. But, that was yesterday.  Once, in another time, still in the room, it could have been the same or the different one, I was he, and able to hear birds.  I dwelt on the canticles they were making. Those trills, calls, mocking cries. On the repertory: bird sonatas. toccatas. solos. arpeggios. Competing bird choirs and orchestras. From the stone headreast, one sumises a dizzying orgy of song, sometimes, but it seems as it might be late at night, or very early in the morning.  Someone somewhere listening to the radio.  Their radio. Their endless orgy of hatred and war-mongering. Then all becomes quiet.  Rooms, stones falling, featherweight. 

un alpinista ávido

Además de ser un escritor famoso, Sr. Kawabata también era un alpinista ávido . A menudo estos combinó dos raros o, últimamente, no es tan raros, habilidades. A veces escribía primero (por la mañana). Me encanta escribir en la mañana, él haría murmurar a sí mismo, es mi mejor tiempo (creativamente hablando). Entonces él estaría fuera de casa, preparándose por ascender otro pico de la montaña. Todo ordenado, listo para él en la antesala esperaban sus amigos fieles: sus botas, la muletilla, su mochila; támbien su amigo viejo, un artiodáctilo ungulado llamado Yagi-san, cargado con las provisiones.

Vamos entonces, Yagi-san, el famoso escritor trino, y ya que se marcharon de hecho. A través de las colinas y valles, por las callejuelas solitarias, lejos del hedor de la ciudad, de los peligros de la carretera, de los tocadores y guaridas de ladrones, el maestro Kawabata y su viejo fiel. Hoy en día todavía escribiremos, murmuraba bajo su aliento, quando llegamos a tal y tal por tan y tan. Otras veces, el Sr. Kawabata no se sentía para escribir, así que de inmediato que sería escabullirse a los miembros del hogar alineados por edad y por orden de senioridad — ansiosos de saludarlo y desearle éxito en sus incursiones de montaña. Sin embargo, aún así, el Sr. Kawabata escribió. Escribió todos los días. Escribió por sesenta años. ó todas las madrugadas, ó desde cinque hasta once de la mañana, el grande Sr. Kawabata, ó alimentado solamente con el té y sus poderosas facultades imaginarias.

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Miroslav Kirin: The Work of a Lumberjack Is Invisible


Red Light, photo by Miroslav Kirin


Daj mi da zgužvam papir.
Iz daske u podu da iščupam čavao.
Sa zida da sastružem slike.
Jesi? Dobro.
Sad vodom isperi znoj.
Jesi li čist i suh?
Pripali mi, molim te, svijeću,
još su teška vremena.


Let me crumple this paper.
From the floor-board let me pry the nail.
From the wall, scrape off the pictures.
Done? Good.
With water now wash your sweat off.
Are you clean and dry?
Please, light a candle for me,
for times are still hard.


kad slobodna su mi leđa
po njima ne poskakuje krumpir
i rajčice ne strepe da će ih zgnječiti
kad slobodna su mi leđa
prsti u sandalama slobodno ispadaju
bicikl ide sam od sebe
možda i mene dovede sebi
kad slobodna su mi leđa
i svi drugi su bar malo slobodniji


when my back is empty
no potatoes bounce
in the market bag
no tomatoes afraid of being squashed
when nothing's on my back
toes fall freely out of my sandals
the bicycle needs no help accelerating
it might even bring me to some sense
when my back is empty
everyone else becomes somewhat lighter too


Iščupao sam mrkvu.
Priznajem, nije bilo lako.
A i odgovornost je to:
mogućnost da s grudicama zemlje
cijelu zemlju povučem u svemir.


A carrot I pulled out.
Not an easy task, I’ll submit.
The responsibility of it:
A possibility that with the small lumps
I pull the whole earth out into Space.

Suha mora, suha mora.
Nasukale se ribe, rakovi, hobotnice.
Zlatno prstenje klija iz pješčana dna.
Korijenje mu već odraslo stablo
na drugom kraju svijeta.


Arid seas, arid seas.
Stranded fish, crabs, octopuses.
Golden rings sprouting from the sandy bottom.
Its roots already a mature tree
on the other end of the world.


U ponoć netko siječe drva.
Preko rijeke stiže tek mjesečeva svjetlost.
Razmišljamo sve do jutra.
A onda – stop. Nema dalje.


At midnight someone is chopping wood.
From across the river barely stretches the moon light.
Until morning we contemplate.
Then – stop. Nothing else.


Žaba se odjednom napuhnula,
više nije znala što bi sa sobom.
Htjela je potom biti žarulja,
ali ubrzo je pregorila.
U mraku smo tad spokojno
lovili mrave i komarce.


Not knowing what to do with himself
a frog suddenly inflated.
A light bulb she wanted to be,
but soon had blown.
In the dark calmly
we hunted for ants and mosquitoes.


Na granu sjela vrana.
Nikako da se zanjiše (ta grana kvrgava),
odbaci vranu visoko u zrak.
Nema u njoj više nikakve težine,
Sve se stislo, miruje


A crow sat on the branch.
Which failed to sway (such a knobby branch),
to launch the crow high in the air.
Without the weight now,
all shrunk and limp, it rests.


nema više glazbe
to što dopire znano je
unutrašnjosti svake kutije
kutijo ispovijedi se

nema više stabala
odustalo se i od razgovora s njima
samo drvene stolice
stolice ispovijedite se

sklopio sam oči
glazbenici još stoje
šume listaju u proljeće
ispovijedam se


No more music
what reaches us is known
to the inside of every music-box
you music-box, confess!

no more tree trunks
talks with them have been abandoned
only wooden chairs remain
you chairs, confess!

when I close my eyes
the musicians are still there
the woods are leafing out
I'll confess

Translated from the Croatian
Boris Gregoric

Miroslav Kirin (1965): is a contemporary Croatian poet, essayist and photographer.