Juergen Theobaldy, Three Poems

Warhol, Marilyn Monroe (1967)

[My translations of three poems by German poet Jürgen Theobaldy, b. 1944; also short stories, essays; as member of ’68 movement, one of main representatives of ‘new subjectivity’ and Alltagslyrik of the 1970s; conscious continuity with Born and Brinkmann, influence of US poets like Williams, O’Hara, Creely, Olson; ‘in poetry everything is allowed that keeps its language alive’]

Cream Cheesecake

Then she shoved
the plate aside
and told me
she’d always
wanted to achieve something great
something extraordinary
she’d wanted
to give her life some value
but now she’d been noticing
how everything was melting away
into banal conversations
habitual afternoons
with people who were just
killing time
and I sat there quietly
because for quite a while
I’d been feeling the urge
to go to the toilet
because of this cream cheesecake
and I didn’t dare
interrupt her
because what she was saying
was beautiful and how
till she asked me
how it was like for me
I did write poetry
and I said yes
I write poetry
excused myself
finally went to the loo
and contemplated
my valuable life

Mirror

We leaned against the wall and watched
them both hoe into each other.
They danced around, then the short
dry blows began onto the leather jackets.
Jimi went inside and selected ‘Blue Suede Shoes’
by Elvis. He came back when the two
fell against the parked Ford Taunus.
The mirror broke off, they stopped
and crammed their shirts into their jeans.
We had nothing in particular to do and went
back in to our beer glasses.
The two guys went through to the back
to comb their hair in the loo where
the old mirror still hangs above the wash basin.

Light

As I climbed down
the desiccated slope
through the dust, the bus
had left, gone
with jammed doors,
I saw the islands drifting
far off in the haze, no foliage,
I saw the water sparkle
through closures
of calm, light and afternoon,
I saw the waves,
gently opened like pages by the wind.

Summer went and stayed
in this moment
for another year.
I went, I stood, was there
and had nothing on me,
no bread, no water,
no bag of grapes,
just this moment,
this blue far and light
in spaces, in my eyes.

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~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on March 4, 2012.

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