Freke Räihä (Sweden)
Freke Räihä (1978, Stockholm) is a poet and translator living in the rural Degeberga in the south of Sweden; in 2012 the Swedish publishing house Smockadoll released this book of mine, Nomos, an autobiographical prose-poem formed using the places I have lived in. The attached three poems (The wardrobe, The bedroom, The living room) are all from the chapter “Musikantvägen 10C, Lund” where my grand parents on my mother´s side lived. I have released 17 books as of 2019, most of them in Swedish but a few minor in English, and work as a writing teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing behind me. I also do translations and other forms of poetry, essays and criticism.
The final translation of the book Nomos was done as a part of the Coracle Literary Residence I attended the summer of 2018 but a few poems have appeared in Osiris, LUNA LUNA, Sahitto, Crevice and Paris LitUp during the years. This book earned me my first scholarship.
The amount itself was overwhelming, like the seething sea cease and thus the seething sea suffice us; immense — ‘esimerikiksi elefantti’ — garment after uncut garment, also the cookie jar: a museum, a door to another world, a suitcase; whose sun set when the room closed, whose flash light had three magnetic stripes, like a set of Christian values not be affirmed; the doll of the eye dilates, extends into the darkness; the dolls of my eyes extend in the darkness; like in an equal uterus; untouchable, cleanly: the poverty and the misery — gathered in a manicure: over variegated fabrics, drawers, boxes, over the shoes, hanging, over blouses in the hands of my hands, its gestures across the face.
Landscaping and rippling, with the eye on the wall, up against and on the walls now; grandfather’s exchange bowl filled with a two-crown coin — now empty in my kitchen, like an optional metaphor — like phantom light-heartedly armed and the white bed covers I inherited, threw away, allowed to dissolve; that white structure I tore against. On the bed, at the bed, like the end of the balcony; the room had only the one exit. Always a book, always a notebook. My path was already set. Pearls. A role. A position. You covet what you see every day.
THE LIVING ROOM
In the foci of windows, I could not reach: octagon, the crystal, the candles, the failing silver-legs, the Finnish stone tables, the coarse Finnish couches; where I once won a game of poker with a two- and a three-of-a-kind; we played for matches, like today; in the white rocking chair and a collection of elephants which was a grandfather’s gift; an alcoholic’s gift of heart, grandfather was indeed an elephant in a department store: a machine hall, a library with me in it; cupboards and boxes filled with the secrets of the fantastic and the peanuts salted, salted, salted from ceramic figurines.
It was often the lack of insubordination, like the incomprehensible newspapers and the yellow stuck to the walls. The images. The hard buttons of the television struck against the world; against nervous systems and routines and in father’s shared whisky was the strength a malted barley and apple a simplicity today turned into elegance. And in the white rocking chair, pivoting conflict.