translations

from the Polish of, amongst other poets, Halina Poswiatowska, Anna Swirszczynska, Yuri Andrukhovych (a Ukrainian poet but I worked mainly from Polish translation), Olga Lalic-Krowicka, Robert Naczas, Grazyna Wojcieszko and Ida Sieciechowicz have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation, 3:AM Magazine, qarrtsiluni, Poetry International, Zeitzug, Diner, lyric and The Cider Press Review, among other places.

'Trick of the Light' by Robert Naczas, The Tram Dream' by Grazyna Wojcieszko and 'Amplified Insides - A Soundtrack: Swing Baby Swing!' are full length collections.

here are some tasters:

yuri andrukhovych

Absolutely Vodka

Vodka fatally depraves
male company.
There has to be at least one woman –
or it’s straight to the grave. In the
third hour, the beast awakes,
in the fourth, waving
of razorblades or axes becomes possible –
in the fifth – tearful confessions,
kissing of hands and feet.
At least one woman is indispensable
so it doesn’t all look quite so revolting.

This time, there was no lady,
and it was the fifth hour.

He tries to read something
in my palm.

Oh, he says, I can’t even
tell you the whole truth, y’know.
Say it, I say.

(I’m past caring, though I’m ready
right now, for anything – thirty years old, because
I’m ready because it’s the fifth hour, because I have a right
to the truth, because it’s all the same to me).

Oh, he says, I don’t even know
how to tell you, y’know.
Give it to me straight, I say.

(I don’t give a damn, even now – cut veins
or a bullet in the head – in my only-just thirty years
because I’m wasted, because it’s the fifth hour, because I want
to know, however awful it might be)
.

At the third attempt, he tells me
his ‘forty seven’. Ah – what relief!
A whole seventeen years! What space!
What transparency
on the horizons!

I remember it as if it were yesterday:
around three am
the whole gang bursts out into the fresh air
everything drunk, no cigarettes left,
stumbling, we cut through the darkness.

Then suddenly something like this:
I wipe my sweaty palm on the green grass, yes, exactly,
green because it’s the middle of April.

 

from 'Songs for a Dead Rooster'

trans Sarah Luczaj

grazyna wojcieszko

Blue day

 

Yurek,

the sea is talkative today 

it's having a talkative blue day 

and the waves brought in a stormy 

rabble

 

on the beach a shocked herring 

shocked that it's not working 

its just not working for him at all 

swimming

 

his mouth won't shut 

his mouth won't shut and his lips 

flap in the wind and remember 

something

 

his tail records on the sand 

on the sand it writes of the stomach 

of the eaten-up bowels

of the liver 

 

he gazes with an astounded eye 

an ever paler eye  

he looks at the misty world 

and the sky

 

the sky is azure blue today 

he has an azure blue day of indecision

he doesn't know what to do what to do 

with his memories

 

 

from 'Incantation'

trans Sarah Luczaj

ida sieciechowicz

YOU NEED TO

 

You need to stand. Up. Amongst other things. For instance. The forest base. Slightly moist must. Wind breaks in the branches. The river’s cut off. The nailed bridge hangs. Children fall asleep like truck drivers. At the edge of the road. The train goes on. Someone’s hair touches the bars. How high is freezing? How low does god go? A woman holds a watering can in an abandoned hand. Long dusk soaks all the way along the stem. The sacks are probably hidden. The murdered don’t remember. Those who kill would rather not. I rip the tiny fishbones from the meat, it takes years. Wilted nooses go pale. Daybreak’s skint, smokes a roll-up. Flu winter. February snow. A crushed huddle of people walk into the glassed cabin. There is no smoke. It moves.

from 'Amplified Insides - A Soundtrack: Swing Baby Swing!'

trans Sarah Luczaj