New work – 19th April, 2007

I'll stroll perhaps a little less (poems)

Endre Kukorelly

New work–19th April, 2007

New work

"I’ll remain, not coincidentally, but neither
out of some resolution
       fixed and clear,
won’t amuse myself with thoughts of where I’d rather be,
somewhere, elsewhere, 
       rather than here"

A Fa
A fact, my father wore a hat.
It’s true, a stern brown one at that,
indeed, it’s so, and when
he tossed it on, a tad askew,
brushed back a strand of hair or two,
he’d give a half smile and then
-- don’t think that it was meant for me though --
off he went to work, not quite
as if he wanted to, not like
he really didn’t want to either.
All nice and properly.
A gentlemanly smile. He’d don it,
get across with it. Or on it.
-- So was it, after all, for me?
I’ll stroll perhaps a little less
Was raining, or they’d closed up early, or at the start
didn’t even have to bring a foil, the first time
didn’t have a foil yet, we hadn’t bought one, raining terribly,
and by the time dad and I got there the sports store had closed,
I went to fencing practice without a foil, everyone had one
except me, maybe others didn’t either, maybe there
were one or two apart from me who didn’t, in any case
as I recall I was the only one, no matter,
totally superfluous anyways, practiced without them, at least
at first, or if you had one, they’d bought you one, then
you could use it, not a problem, in the end have to practice the
same motions, whether you have a foil or not, do the same
stupid nonsense, course not really nonsense, I’m just saying,
have to do it, the same motions, but still, how does it look
when you lunge with nothing, I mean you practice lunging
without a weapon, you learn it, then practice, practice
endlessly, but the second time I had a foil, got one,
went again to the sports store on the corner of the
boulevard and I forget, I think Király street, went specifically
when they’d still be open and finally bought me
a practice foil, very nice indeed, bent quite nicely,
no matter what you stabbed, bent, then straight, sprang right back, quivering
the while, quite a quiver, like in Robin Hood
on TV, except that there it doesn’t bend, just
pierces right through, or at least they act like it pierces, terribly slick,
you don’t see a thing, did it sink in, didn’t it,
as if it really had impaled him, though it just went
under his armpit, or slid together, there are foils that
slide together, into some sheath, and then comes the scream
in the throes of death, done, he’s already dead, the actor,
sprawling, though not really, cause there’s this
knob on the tip of the blade, keeps it from impaling, if
there weren’t a knob the foil would be sharp, would stab through, then
it wouldn’t bend, it would really pierce, stab the guy, but
it doesn’t stab him, good construction, the kind that slides together, the kind that bends, I
had one that bent, pliable, what we bought on the boulevard, around
Mayakovsky street, I took that to practice, that was the best
part of it all, carrying the foil, one strolls quietly along
Izabella street with one’s weapon, like Robin Hood, should
the enemy appear he’d be impaled on the spot, in spite of the knob,
in spite of the fact that on the tip of the blade there’s a knob,
shame that there weren’t any chicks, I strolled with my weapon, looked
good I think, weren’t any girls at practice, and
no ball either, it’s not football practice, it’s fencing practice,
one kid brought a rubber ball, and before practice
we went ahead, played football, truth is we would have preferred to play football,
everyone wanted to play, and we were getting pretty warmed up when
the coach came in, fucking chewed us out, what the hell
is this, what’s going on, though nothing was going on, we were just
playing football, took away the ball, shouted this is fencing practice, a fencing Salle, got it,
he shouted, I don’t know if he gave it back, the ball that is,
back to the kid, and then lunges, for the whole
of practice we did lunges, afterwards I could barely stay on my feet,
next day I could barely get up, I don’t feel like doing this,
fencing, I told my dad, told him what was
up, that I didn’t feel like fencing, then what do you feel like doing,
he asked, I don’t know why he asked, he knew perfectly well
what I felt like doing, fencing is a serious thing, he said, well,
maybe it is serious, it’s true the weapon was nice,
it was nice that I had a weapon, I walked all
serious down Vörösmarty street, or Izabella, or Vörösmarty after all,
cause the Simonyi boys hung out there, who everybody was afraid of, including
me, the Vörösmarty street gang, and like this,
like this I wasn’t afraid, when I had my foil with me
under my arm, wasn’t afraid one drop, on the contrary
on purpose at night around eight or whenever, after training, came home
on Vörösmarty, thinking, now, now fuckers,
come now, Simonyi, cause now you don’t dare, cause second,
counter-six, lunge, and you’re finished, but of course Simonyi
didn’t come, not one of them, and my dad, he said
fine, we’ll go to the I don’t even know anymore
what the official name is, the league or try-outs or whatever, we’ll go
to the Fradi football try-outs, and he took me, and that
changed my life a little. Then there were other changes. Just so,
things change, I won’t list them now, I couldn’t even get them
all. I didn’t hit anything totally on, and they
never hit me. Had my foil for some time, kept
it in the corner behind a wardrobe. Sometimes I took it out, a little robinhooding,
then once I took it down to the basement, don’t know why. Don’t know
what I might have done with it. Then one day it vanished,
we threw it away or something, that’s a possible version too.
         (February 14, 1999)
If I leave the house the February
snow crunches beneath
        my feet,
for now, that’s it, just this little
is enough of everything
        for me,
I go out, then back again, well
maybe I won’t
        go out,
not too much goings-on, as for comings,
no one really comes
haven’t been over by the hillside
yet, don’t quite
just what’s there, guess a forest
and a curvy
stay here, I’ll stay here, that works, it’s fitting
that at least I should suit
I won’t count what doesn’t exist,
how many billions of units
       still left,
I’ll remain, not coincidentally, but neither
out of some resolution
       fixed and clear,
won’t amuse myself with thoughts of where I’d rather be,
somewhere, elsewhere,
       rather than here,
clearly later it melts, shines and dries,
drenched again
       the whole thing,
I sit in the sun, in a chair not uncomfortable
but not comfortable either,
right up till the middle of summer,
if it has a middle, not just an end,
       and if there
should indeed along come another
likewise awaited by no one,
Translated by Thomas Cooper


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