That which has opened you,
That which has burned darker than blood,
Spilled over you
And over male skin,
Like the barren plains of longing,
That which has entered
And taken you
And full of secrets,
To the heights of being,
Lips upon lips
That have crossed the night,
Forever metabolized into pain,
Painting you on nothingness,
Extracting the word out of nothingness:
Heaps of windblown leaves, foretelling memory
That which you have starved out,
That which you have etched out,
With a cruel eye
And an inimitable hand
To the ashen glory of things,
The grisaille of ubiquity.
Translation: Tamara Soban
Hein Jaap Hilarides
Four variations on emptiness
How ‘d you describe emptiness?
A thousand shades of clay?
Humans map out space:
The city, the jetty, the Wadden.
I fill the senses of hourglass time.
Low tide uncovers sediments.
Flood silts onto the clay.
Sea gleams grey in oil paint.
Emptiness is never sweet to the ear.
The eye wants a non-existent image.
Where there’s nothing to see, it buzzes:
A gull’s call, sucking water, lisping reeds;
A peculiar improvisation of a wheezing sea.
Its singing tongue searches for the salty gully.
The sinus wave licking the tuned mudflats.
Love is never empty to the ear.
Beyond the dike the blue mudflats,
The silence of the grey reflecting light
And the vacuum of repeated nothing.
Our lass runs towards the blue light.
‘Look’, I say, and lift her up.
‘That’s an island. And this is the sea.’
She looks and looks, sucking up the words
Like the salty slime sucks th’ eternal light of the reflecting sea.
For Nika Zupančič
Horizon above horizon on a flat landscape, can that be?
For the oval eye the horizon consists of layers.
A grey white mass of clouds drifts across the flatlands.
A cow shuffles as a moving object through the meadow.
Look, behind the window the grass and reeds are swaying!
The Slovenian painter wipes and moves the layers.
Do you ever get tired of a horizon? she asks herself.
Can you forget yourself in the view, shut off the oval eye?