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Sorry, this entry is only available in Latvian.

Trial

Sorry, this entry is only available in Latvian.

Rīga, Preses nams, 1997.

Poems from literary magazine “Descant”, No. 124, issued in spring 2004. Poems are translated by Margita Gailitis.

THE WORLD AROUND ME

The clearing speaks

I wouldn’t open my mouth if I wasn’t sure
you felt the same.

I’m confused. Full of shame. I don’t know
what is old in me, what is new.
Naked. Exposed. Empty.
Cleaned out. Guilty of change.
Maybe relieved?

Roots no longer draw juices,
don’t tear my flesh like cloth
as they dig deeper and deeper,
stretch further and further.
Trunks no longer stand tall
like farmers in revolt.
Magnificent torsos!
They sleep in a warehouse now,
wait their turn at the saw
to be sliced like bread.
I worry, worry about the pine,
the pine that grew
close to my heart.
Don’t tremble dear, don’t fear,
you were not cut for kindling
— I tried to calm her and myself —
but to be the foundation of a room.
I hope so. I do hope so.

I must now close my eyes against the sun,
for I no longer have shelter of foliage
to offer me shade
like a young girl offers a green jug
by a well.
Shade, which once allowed mushrooms to grow.

O, what a passion
for mushrooms, what desire!
Even the smartest ladies
drove here from Riga,
and on finding the chanterelle places,
their joy was as great
as that of gold-diggers finding gold.

In vain
I muse about lost days
when I was still a forest.
I find myself strangely still — I’m startled
when I spot some cranberries! What if they’re
drops of my blood?
And the morels — scabs over wounds?

As I begin life anew,
I’m riddled with tree stumps
like a mouth full
of dead teeth.
With holes, scarred, as if by sulphuric acid,
disfigured by remains of fires
where the last branches were burned.
I can only accept with wonder
all the new created in me —
pines the size of dwarfs,
elbow-length small birch
young willows, maples, linden, bird-cherries…
An oak like a salad…

Flowers of many colors, a robe
I throw over my nakedness,
I survey my surroundings,
the hospital ward
where I’ve been near death.
Is it a loss? Or a victory?

Already tomorrow I’ll escape into words
like a partisan escapes into woods.
At the horizon, a gold sun glitters,
but far away, so very far.

In the dense pine stand of thought
I’ll burrow into the darkness of a bunker.
I don’t know love, how many days.
I don’t know love, how many nights.

By a candle as by a bonfire
I’ll sing the oldest of songs
about friends fallen in battle
a loaded pen at their shoulder.

I’ll escape into words before
I’m discarded like an empty bottle.
Taking with me — only cigarettes
and a flower pot with a bit of earth
from my homeland.

A heavy wheel turns nearby.
I must get off the road.
But I can’t get off the road
because I am the road.

In the evenings water lilies
close their shutters
and lock themselves in.

They also are afraid
of the dark.

They also don’t know
that for the dark
there is no obstacle.

Riga in water

In water. In water
guides, tourists, brick walls and musicians,
knights and d-jays,
cobblestones and asphalt,
church spires, gutters and internets,
punks and brothers of the sword,
cloister nuns and night moths —
in water. In water
bastions, church organs,
guildhalls, town halls, city halls and computers,
the Cours, wars, choirs and graveyards,
markets, bridges, tanks and harpsichords,
banks and firing squads, fear and independence,
ramparts, shop keepers, dams, and sand hills,
ships’ masts and water —
in water.

“Riga conforms to anthropogeographic logic” —
a blurb from the encyclopedia,
but I say:
the most important thing in this place
is breathing
because
Riga is in water.
Riga herself is in water.
Riga herself is in water.
In water, in water.

Centuries sink like an axe into water.
Time is killed and thrown into water.
The people drawing water, themselves – into water,
The people pouring water, themselves – into water.

It is fall again.
Eternity signs off on water.
Water.

That’s why I say:
The most important thing in this place
is breathing.

Breath — full of wind, the head of a new poet,
breath — wind dancing in swirling skirts,
wind — in revolving doors of concert halls,
wind — in windpipes, vocal chords, voiced consonants,
in vowels, in rhymes.
In the tremor of musical triangles,
jingling brass trim of Liv shawls — wind —
wind created by theatre applause.
Breath — of English horns, Russian concertinas,
troubadours, crooners, eternal showmen…
Music, music — wind —
in opera curtains, bagpipes, bassoons
willow pipes, bugles, trumpets,
lamentation and exultation
in castles and gatehouses — wind —
breath, soul, respiration,
above the water the spirit takes deep breaths
with the lungs of a Christmas choir.
Gills expand like the Dom Cathedral organ.
Breath expands insanely
through the abyss of lost centuries.

“Riga conforms to anthropogeographical logic”
But I know
the most important thing in this place
is breathing,
because
it is fall again.
Eternity signs off on water:
Water.

All around hills of sand.
Living sand.
Riga herself in water.
Living water.

Living Riga.

Mother, father and I

Sometimes almost, almost
I believe the newspaper babble,
that in place of a father I have – NATO
in place of a mother I have — the UN,
and to support me as an orphan
soon in my palm will be an EURO.

Then I head for the woods much greener
than the greenest flag of the greenest party.
I head for the fields more colorful
than the most colorful market.
I roam the hills
that spill tenderly into each other
like the earth and the sky,
like mother and father,
when they were young like I.

Then I sit at the edge of a river
and the river becomes my mother — as warm as milk
as warm as a tear on a cheek.

Then I look at the sky
and my father approaches me —
as he did at the railway station long ago,
when I came home on holidays.

I am with my mother, and I will be even then
when I will be covered by the green turf
which, like a blanket, slides off for a moment.
I am with my father and I will be even then
when this watch will stop in my chest
like a used foreign auto.

That’s why I scream like a child
don’t bother me with your orphan’s courts!
I’m not an orphan!
Don’t find a place for me
in an orphanage!

It resembles too much a farm
where feelings are groomed for slaughter
and thoughts are intended for export
to some orphan country.

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