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Reprinted with permission from Altered State — The New Polish Poetry. Edited by Rod Mengham, Tadeusz Pióro and Piotr Szymor. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2003. Price: £10.95. This selection was chosen by Rod Mengham and John Tranter. Visit the publisher’s website.

Bartłomiej Majzel

Poem

Scrumping

straight into the wall, at 125 mph.
this will be the pole star, maybe a collision,
pink skin will be ground up like spilled crystals,
and one scrap of cloth will dance like a butterfly.

a bright glow will hang overhead,
a luminosity too much for us to bear,
if it fades we should run straight ahead
creating angels in the wall like me.

you are my see-through background,
which I’ll hit as the pupil is hit by cities
alight, when joy dies no one gives
the family black flowers, the pupil open as

a gate is unfeeling as a button.
it’s been a hard day. I’ll screw my eyes up tight
to rest, in the end, we have to find a way to live.
on polychromatic feast days.
or weekdays, or the Last Days.

Translated by Piotr Szymor and Rod Mengham.

Bartłomiej Majzel was born in 1974 and lives in Katowice, where he works as an organizer of the annual arts and literature festival. He is a world traveller of some renown and has traversed on foot much of the Gobi desert. A bench in his honour is to be erected somewhere in the Sahara.

His publications include:

Zabraknie nam krwi [We’ll be Short of Blood] 1992
Robaczywošć [Vermination] (Bydgoszcz: Šwiadectwo, 1997)
Bieg zjazdowy [Downhill Race] (Kraków: Studium,2001)

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