Nora Bossung, Two Poems
[My translations of two poems by German poet Nora Bossung, b. 1982; first poetry collection 2007. I shot the photo on Broadway in Sydney: ‘Ooh!/Eye/Use’, seems to sum up Capital’s sexualized commodification of our urban land- and mindscapes… How about a ban on all billboard advertising, a form of visual dictatorship by corporations, as in some parts of the world?]
On the last bridge before the exit
we never dared
throw rocks at the convertibles.
In the fence was a door where we
came from our property to the meadow’s edge,
cracked, brown, like the scab
of traffic noise. An afternoon,
so empty without reason, was parked here
on the hard shoulder. Every half hour
we glimpsed from that bridge
the latest model train, a white tail
disappearing between the tree rows.
The Shell service station smelled so great
of petrol and inside you could
buy the ice cream we
smeared on our cheeks. That was
when we still called trains sensations.
It wasn’t that bad and on the trees
maybe she is my mother
maybe my sister my daughter
looks so much like me
– Helga M. Novak
Moody goods trains tugged at sleep,
demolished the house. Next to the window
steam came out. I lay alone.
Into the garden crept an industrial zone.
Too little water under the skin
to cool off against the alkaline heat
sent over from the wringers,
man-high washing machines,
the driers spat sickly-sweet air.
Then her frosty voice. I was wrong
to my bootstraps. Wrong organs moved in me.
Give them back, give back your brain, lungs,
I lay in the glassy fog. She danced
in her room, enamoured of herself.
I no longer existed. Next to the window
steam came out, only not on Sundays,
the washerwomen had their day off.