Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
translation by Patty Crane

November in the Former GDR

The almighty Cyclops-eye went behind the clouds
and the grass shuddered in the coal dust.

Beaten sore and stiff from last night’s dreams
we climb aboard the train
that stops at every station
and lays eggs.

It’s rather quiet.
The clonging from the churchbells’ buckets
collecting water.
And someone’s unrelenting cough
telling off everything and everyone.

A stone idol is moving its lips:
it’s the city.
Where iron-hard misunderstandings rule
among kiosk-attendants butchers
sheet-metal workers naval officers
iron-hard misunderstandings, academics.

How my eyes ache!
They’ve been reading by the glowworm-lamps’ faint light.

November offers caramels of granite.
Like world history
laughing at the wrong place.

But we hear the clonging
from the churchbells’ buckets when they collect water
every Wednesday
—is it Wednesday?—
that’s what’s become of our Sundays!  end