Poems by Pavol Janik /  Translated into English by James Sutherland Smith

 
Poems by Pavol Janik
 
 
PEDESTRIAN WITH ABSOLUTE RIGHT OF WAY
 
Live life
without a car.
Be slower than a trolley bus.
Be tired.
Be late.
Be unable to get out of the city.
Be unable to arrive at yourself.
Be a pedestrian.
Entire and without impediments.
 
To subvert the rules
regardless of anything.
 
 
I’M WITH YOU
 
It’s completely me –
height 180 centimetres,
measurements 108 by 83 by 107,
weight 73 kilos,
five military qualifications
and even more civilian,
brown hair, green eyes,
born on the occasion
of the Hungarian Uprising,
bashful and christened,
married with three children.
I don’t beat out a rhythm in English,
but I’m of the world.
 
Send me fan mail,
postcards and gifts,
books and pictures,
busts and bacon,
booze and flowers.
Support your poet
who, instead of you, behaves
like an idiot.
Write to my European address –
Slovakia.
 
Call me,
all of you, who love me,
who can’t live without me,
or least die.
Call the number 314 212,
my automatic telephone
will pick up 24 hours a day.
Don’t be ashamed of your feelings.
God is watching you –
at last do something stupid.
Send some dosh to my account
SSS 3478228.
Remit to my pristine account
your dirty money,
I’ll launder it day and night.
You can rely on me
to spend it all on myself
as opposed to other
charitable institutions,
christmas clubs and other swindles.
 
I’m waiting for your letters,
spiritual outpourings
and filthy lucre.
I know
that all
the better sort of people are shocked
that the worse have not improved.
They can go
and get stuffed.
 
 
UNSENT TELEGRAM
 
Inside me a little bit of
a blue Christmas begins.
In the hotel room it’s snowing
a misty scent – of your
endlessly distant perfume.
We’re declining bodily
while in us the price
of night calls rises,
waves of private earth tremors
and the limits of an ocean of blood
on the curve of a lonely coast.
 
Translated into English by James Sutherland Smith

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