Tuesday, February 20, 2007

O dead danelion!

So, how to extinguish the cold fires of the past? What conclusion would you publish with the world between your fingers? Its wednesday night in Mezobereny and I'd bet I'll be drinking in the old man bar in about 15 minutes. I bet I'll remember something there, the feeling of crushed powder tunneling through my nose, or the cadence of a long forgotten orgasm, echoing like the scream of a barn owl through an empty hayloft. Or maybe I'll revive some summer night, closing my eyes on the hood of a honda civic, I could see miles into my triumphant future. And when I return drunk and lonely, I will write something about the church bells, the soundtrack of this sad now, words that trick themselves into sounding hopeful, when all they really are, are scracthes of another existence stenciled into a hollow narrative. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll have another glass of wine and watch zoolander, and dream of possibilty, glory, love. Here are two little embryos. They might be poems one day. But if I kill them now, those artsy republicans will try to kill me, and then this beautiful blog would extinguish, and as its most dedicated reader, I'd rather that not occur.
Our Foreign Tongues

Like an old Hungarian woman pushing
a bicycle down a dirt road
the rain drives the window.

Like a ex-lover dialing your phone number
over and over and over, a call
that you wished you could answer,

and let some silence say something,
that you did love her, that you never
meant to take anything away,

or that you only left because you can’t
stay anywhere long enough.
You can’t take your shoes off,

nor your coat. You can’t come inside
out of the weather. You can’t love
a life that is so clearly unlovely.

If there was a silence strong enough
to say that you never use her recipes,
that no warm meal can offer

sufficient warmth and that you remain
in the rain watching wet grandmothers push
their broken bicycles home,
then you’d say it. You’d say it.

Mezobereny February 17

Maybe it was all the yellow things,
or the years of dirt distorting the view,
but for the first time, I felt
I was on the right side of the window
that we do not exist on accident.

The yellow crumble of old churches.
Sparrows in canary costumes.
In Bekescsaba, woman drag axes
down the street, mangy dogs order
coffee and no one is interested.

Something dramatic happened,
It had to do with yellowness.
Why else would such a serious
steam burn my eyes,
like a lost Saturday in summer?

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Mezobereny Feb 15

I just got the internet installed in my apartment. I’m hoping that this is a good thing. For the past week my hot water turns cold every other day, and friendly bearded men come around to try to fix things, to make the American tourist/teacher/milkman feel milkfed. It’s a rough mustached dark teat that I suckle. I want to offer them something. I point to the wine and they shake their heads. For some reason, I think financial tribute is too cheap.
Fanta might be the best soda in the world. I am feeling sick and it’s the only thing that kicks my clock. The men, my dark portly heroes decline the Fanta as well, probably because it is too tasty to actually drink. It’s like in the Thomas Lux poem Refrigerator 1957, when he doesn’t eat the maraschino cherries, “because you do not eat, which rips your heart with joy.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Storks and Suicide

There is a stork's nest outside my window. I pray that my prayers will fall into the nest and fertilize some sort of seed. As an afterthought I hope that it will not bring my students any American babies, even that storks of all nationalities will outlaw the creation and delivery of American babies alltogether. The neighbors say the storks are suicidal or cannibalistic. At least that is how I translate their swooping hands. Maybe they are just trying to replicate the gliding flight of the immortal white birds, but i know something sinister hides beneath their fingernails. Here in the warm wet dusk everything glimmers, yet its a sad shine, somethng so beautiful and fleeting, I know nothing will endure for long. The winter here is a sterile season, all things brushed with a grey polish. All certainity is certainly uncertain.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My superpower will probably have something to do with the fact that

my walls are made from wood
and my heart is a chainsaw.

Monday, February 12, 2007

All roads lead to everywhere (except Romania)

We tried to walk to Romania. Our legs got sore. Our red-headed entourage was set on fire. I have brown hair. We went north instead of east. We never made it to Romania. I stepped in two kinds of poop. Some satelitte witnessed our sad saga and lied to us about our location, so we pretended we were in Romania. Then we made out. (okay i watched people make out). We looked out across the wrong train tracks. As we kissed, our boots sank in uncertain mud. I pictured your toes squirming like worms. We were nowhere at last.

Okay. So there are several silences per second here. The silence of a fabricated Romania. The silence of church bells introducing an abandoned field. The silence of the great nothing sleeping around the corner. So here's a poem about it. I wrote it about Budapest, but the same feeling has lingered everywhere I go in Hungary. I am a drunk American and I am beginning to enjoy the spaces between me and everything I have said and will say.

The Fires of Budapest

You can’t see the dark,

light absent, a language unlearned.

Budapest buzzes lethargically

as a bee, or an old incandescence

from a forgotten attic, seen through

a window during a hurricane.

There is no word for please, no room

for flippant lips or polished teeth

in our squalid cloudy lives. Yesterday

means tomorrow and tomorrow

is some foreigner’s bad idea.

Finally, when the flood arrives

we will thank our God.

The only serious revolutionaries left

are vigilante cats. Stone Heroes repeat

the same line, something about suffering

and terrible beauty. Petofi was killed

by the right word on the wrong battlefield.

Night and silence are always sinister.

Even the church bells hiss a warning,

“There is nothing at stake here.”

Nothing means everything

and everything is the last thousand years

shackled to our ankles.