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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.

Krzysztof Śliwka

Poem

Sestina

Sleepy barbaric pimply bi’s
Nuzzle crosseyed nervous pies
Winds tense sags when we’re randy
Down silent tongues drips brandy
Ether absorbs erratas’ dominoes
Amphetamine’s corpse corpse amphetaminose

Down the canal drift dead Spaghetti-oes
As the drooling devil finally buys
Columns by the gross signed D & The Dominoes
While a stoned cur has his fill of pies
Horns hush as we welcome a grandee
Controlling hands make the boys randy

But was the grandee really randy?
Down the gullet’s shaft slid x-brandy
Uneven rhythms tolled for a dandy
Rage devoured the gap-toothed bi’s
Jealous as dogs of their oyster pies
And relationships tumbled like cascading dominoes

Will records be broken? Are there enough dominoes?
What god man or hero needs brandy?
Whose lasting commitment to pies
Will make Pisceans randy?
Make galley-slaves of rank bi’s?
Cut through the slough of your candy?

No matter who fears your candy
Nor where glint the bones of dominoes
Beyond the bridge lie the bi’s
In ambuscade up to their eyes in brandy
Psylocybin mushrooms make them feel just dandy
Drooling and ruling over those pies

And we know all there is to know about pies
And how tolling will harden the candy
Will it be LSD we’ll pay for through the nose
Or an engaging round of x-dominoes?
Caught off-side face as sorry as randy
I know: no more shandy nor shady alibis

Nosing amphetamine would you play dominoes?
In thrall to brandy and enchanted pies
Let’s sweeten to randy embittered bi’s

Translated by Tadeus Pióro.

Krzysztof Śliwka, who was born in 1967, lives in Ząbkowice and Wrocław, but until recently spent most his time travelling in Europe. He is currently enrolled in the screenwriting programme at the Łódź Film School.

His publications include:

Spokojne miasto [Peaceful City] (KŁódźko: 1989)
Rajska rzeźnia i inne wiersze [Heavenly Slaughterhouse and Other Poems] (Dzierżoniów: OBOK, 1993)
Niepogoda dla kangura [Bad Weather for Kangaroos] (Bydgoszcz: Świadectwo, 1996)
Gambit [Gambit] (Kraków: Studium, 1998)
Rzymska czwórka [Roman Four] (Poznań: Obserwator, 1999)
Sztuka koncentracji [The Art Of Concentration] (Białystok: Kartki, 2002)

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