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Jacket 18 — August 2002   |   # 18  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |

Erwin Einzinger – Six poems

Translated by Johannes Beilharz

Straight Across Two Poems by Verlaine

Cat with a cold, your harp will end up on the dirt pile!
Would you at least know three or four
Words that might possibly go with the dragon line
Or the spiritual celebrating the geese & swans

Somehow? Lonely, the lighthouse hurls God’s wrath
Against the strand. While I am kissing a hot & slender calf
Very near me: I make not a peep & stay handy like
                                    a maggot (in bacon!) ...
To continue electrically: »Freedom,« Hendrix, old soul

Servant, why always the same? Postscript: When even
Daisies had to sneeze, brave Anatoli Skobelev in far-
Away Moscow became the Bolshoi Theater’s new
Slide trombone player & and kit & caboodle cheered!

[»Quer über zwei Gedichte von Verlaine«]

Study for a Few Quiet Squares

Come on! Even little sister knows
That some things are lies: Just think

Of your home town, the wilted fur of the meadows!
In summer the children scream at each other under water

& then, as adults, will be standing there facing
Toothbrush and toothpaste as if lost. Or the morning

Will be stuck to the swing, well why not!
A falcon is perched on the fence along the freeway.

A line is being drawn across the sky.
Hot urine on burst chestnuts!

[»Studie für ein paar leise Quadrate«]

Birds in the Beer Garden

The active type of life, fortunate
Mustard ... Here I stand, here I go: only
Two quick steps away from the
Water where the stone dogs are barking!
(Arises the question of whether
Some special event will still break
Through all the brightly colored teeth &
monogrammed lighters? I wonder.)

[»Vögel im Biergarten«]

The Ex-gunboat Captain’s Widowed Daughter-in-law is

Annoyed because of the motor scooters in the entrance. Outside a
Wind that bunches up things, the glitter of power lines

In the rain ... »Be like a lowered torch in times of
                                    misfortune!« Where
Had she read that? Home again, she potters around a bit with

Fruit. The bell rings. Surprised, she walks to the door to see a
Man grinning with joy who tells her he has been watching her

For weeks & has felt for some time now that he should
Let her know. »We humans have to stick together,«

He says & is getting ready to embrace her. Which, understandably,
She will not have.

[»Die verwitwete Schwiegertochter des einstigen Kapitäns des Kanonenboots«]

Broken Mountain

The words wander in the amber light, in-
conspicuous but brave like the snouthog.
Then a blackout, brief wailing, almost Swedish.

A lot of December for such a small country!
Soft bells. It’s even possible to swing on time
Between ash trees! Only television seems

To be at wits’ end: There you see two toilet
Cleaners going at it like butchers gone berserk,
Slapping each other’s thighs over and over

Again, saying such funny things while
The music pretty please be a  song entirely sincere,
With lyrics like: Your heart is beating too fast ...

[»Zerbrochener Berg«]

Little Winter

Wet flags. Asphalt curves. Snow-dusted
Gravel. Fur ads in the background, snow
Spat on & somebody who bit into a bag.
Was the world inside any warmer?

The Righteous Brothers of the Calcareous Alps
Were playing on tape (in the vegetable section ...)
& deep inside the skull of the dances something
Was going on – wild monies, coated sparks.

Two country buffaloes stood in front of a
Video machine immobile: A black rhythm
Diva hissed at glittering instruments &
The instruments howled back at her.

A net of oranges was pushed by.
Rather colorfully packaged babies occurred.
Did a tiny little brain shutter open up? (An old
Flower child manned the cash register &

Knew all the prices by heart.)

[»Kleiner Winter«]

Photo of Erwin Einzinger Erwin Einzinger was born in 1953 in Kirchdorf, Upper Austria. He studied English and German Literature at the University of Salzburg. He is a teacher at the Bundesrealgymnasium in Kirchdorf, and lives in Micheldorf, Upper Austria. He has published: Das wilde Brot (novel, 1995), Kleiner Wink in die Richtung, in die jetzt das Messer zeigt (poems, 1994), Blaue Bilder über die Liebe (prose, 1992), Tiere, Wolken, Rache (poems, 1986), Das Erschrecken über die Stille, in der die Wirklichkeit weitermachte (prose, 1983), Kopfschmuck für Mansfield (novel, 1985), Lammzungen in Cellophan verpackt (poems, 1977). Erwin Einzinger’s translations from English include John Ashbery, James Schuyler, Robert Creeley and William Carpenter. The six poems presented here in translation are from the collection Kleiner Wink in die Richtung, in die jetzt das Messer zeigt.

Photo of Johannes Beilharz The translator: Johannes Beilharz was born 1956 in Oberndorf, Germany. He studied English and Romance languages and literature in Regensburg, Germany, and English Literature/ Creative Writing in Boulder, Colorado. He writes in German and English, and translates and paints. His literature and art pages are at

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