This time I want to play a little with some prose. Recently, I have read one piece of Kanon Literatury Podziemnej. This series consists of books read secretly; away from the eye of Big Brother. “Stan po zapaści” is a book written by Jacek Bocheński during harsh period of communism in Poland.
On the one hand, I love how the form of this book results from the plot. The main character who arrives at a hospital writes down what he experiences. The book which is held by the reader is a draft of the main protagonist. Thus, it reminds kind of stream of consciousness (and if a character has less and less space, the words are more and more cramped).
On the another, that was not my piece of literature, although it has really good fragments. Conversations overheard at the hospital which are a comment about the present are quite tiring. I hope other will enjoy this book more (like my fab nails).
“Stan po zapaści” – fragment. The condition after the collapse* – a fragment.
I’m looking at the bald one and suddenly a brainstorm. I know! The bald one is a Jew. I mean, he is, how they used to say it before a war, a convert. And rather, I recon, he is a child saved and brought up during the occupation by some simple people from catholic house, surely peasant, though he looks more like a child from a working family. Or maybe he grew up in the milieu of small craftsmen. His age matches. I don’t know why but after that conversation about fish I would bet that it had happened to him as imagined.
If we lived in Sweden or in America I could simply ask him about it. For example, in this way:
– Listen, my neighbour**, are you probably a Jew?
And he would answer: yes, neighbour. Or: no, neighbour. Or: Indeed, my parents were members of Jewish community, however the Nazis murdered them during the second world war and I was taken in by a catholic family and I embraced the religion of my protectors.
But it isn’t Sweden, it not in Poland. We shudder, observe carefully, go around with a distance, we are scared and ashamed.
* collapse as a medical condition (circulatory collapse) which has the main character and the metaphorical one
** neighbours in one hospital room
(translated by me)
The fragment comes from:
2009 Stan po zapaści. Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza Volumen, 44.
“Zebrało się śliny” is an anthology published in 2016. It contains relatively new poetry written by the “fledgling” authors who have just started describing this world of ours. Do I enjoy it? I am certainly intrigued. How the new generation see the reality? What do they want to write about? What they want to change? In every age, poets have been having their own list of requests and demands – manifests, inter alia, “Oda do młodości” [The ode to youth] of Adam Mickiewicz during Romanticism or “Koniec wieku” [The end of the epoch] of Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer during Young Poland (Modernism).
Kira Pietrek has written two poems named “manifest”. Does the values placed in it reflect poetry thoroughly? I’m feeling that in our era of fashionistas, being slim and sexy, kebabs and people who write about it I can understand the change from maudlin Werther.
become a member of certain grouping
which will deepen your willingness of assimilating new pieces of knowledge
find yourself an excellent teacher
do various things with your second hand
become a volunteer
maintain contacts with smart friends
practice an endurance training with strength and resistance exercises
have an orgasm
(translated by me)
A poem comes from:
2016 Zebrało się śliny. Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 169.
Andrzej Bursa is one of my favourites Polish poets. While reading his poems, the poetic harshness of his language hits the reader in every line. He preferred to write “fucked” against “discontent” and I prefer to read this than wonders about an abyss of the unspoken understatements. However poètes maudits lived only 25 years, his work is an icing on this twisted world.
Dzieci są milsze od dorosłych
zwierzęta są milsze od dzieci
mówisz, że rozumując w ten sposób
muszę dojść do twierdzenia
że najmilszy jest mi pierwotniak
no to co
milszy mi jest pantofelek
od ciebie ty skurwysynie.
Kids are nicer than adults
animals are nicer than kids
you say that this way of thinking
I must come to a conclusion
that the dearest to me is protozoa
paramecium is dearer to me
than you, you fucker.
(translated by me)
Jonathan Carroll shared a picture of Maggie Smith’s poem titled “Good bones”. It was basically a sparkle which has inspired me to publish my struggles with translation. A translation which comes across the creation (yet shitty one in my performence).
Życie jest krótkie, ale trzymam to z dala od moich dzieci. Życie jest krótkie, a ja ukróciłam moje na tysiąc rozkosznych, nierozsądnych sposobów, co zatrzymam z dala od moich dzieci. Szacując rozważnie, świat jest paskudny przynajmniej w pięćdziesięciu procentach, ale trzymam to z dala od moich dzieci. Na każdego ptaka przypada jeden kamień w niego rzucony. Na każde kochane dziecko przypada dziecko zdewastowane, opuszczone i utopione w jeziorze. Życie jest krótkie, a świat paskudny przynajmniej w połowie i na każdego życzliwego nieznajomego przypada taki, który mógłby cię zniszczyć, ale trzymam to z dala od moich dzieci. Staram się sprzedać im świat. Każdy przyzwoity agent nieruchomości, oprowadzając cię po jebanej ruinie, świergocze o solidnych fundamentach: To miejsce może być piękne, co nie? Ty możesz uczynić je pięknym.
(translation by Paulina Rudel)