Milan Děžinský

Walking Around an Island

2017 | Host

* * *

Before you go deaf, you’re blind.
You talk to the creator
only to find out he’s just a go-between.
Why couldn’t it be the rain, or a turtledove
on a wet bough or someone with a knife.
Or someone with a knife?

From a car passing by
the hand gestures: We’ll eat your heart.

That’s just the spirit wandering and searching for what to leech its imprint onto.


Song overheard in a bar

Kiss me as if I were a girl.
I just want you to know I’ve got red dress and the moon,
pumps on high-heels and I’m alive.

Wires crackling like traps, honey, I’m on fire.
Here in my body is an unborn child.
I know when evening comes I’ll die happy.


* * *

Still during hotel breakfast
during coffee drinking
the scintillation of your hairs,
before we got surrounded by riders on ponies,
crooked Chinese teeth, thick glasses and short legs.
We’ll never know
what your youth makes of it,
what happens inside a travel bag, zipped-up tight,
with a brush and a comb in embrace,
before we die for one another, each in a different distance
underneath a snow crust,
what about the toes in Cossack boots under the table,
their every single motion
running through the dream like dog sleigh.


A Kiss

From the platform a woman sends her word like a kiss,
A word I cannot decipher:
Before it can sail to me, it gets hit by a punto,
transporting a wardrobe so large
it seems someone has a car hidden in a wardrobe.

The automobile is perhaps off to the sea in Karlín and Libeň,
or to the borders of south mountains, along whose slopes
you’d make it to a tarn
in which the fish, when they collide,
ring like bells.


I Would Like to Come into a Merry House today,

so that my wife smiles at me as on our wedding day,
so that no-one’s standing at the door,
so that nothing’s peering in through the windows,
so that the wind whispers in the eaves.
The spirit bloweth where it listeth.
Look at your wife, she’s smiling already,
her tongue is flat decorations,
colour differences,
a combination of sweaters.
Even the most beautiful poem says what I’ve long known.
Poem is not life.
It’s okay for it to end by breathing in.


Song from a Jukebox

I liked your voice so much,
but kept watching your hands,
the slender fingers, constables.

Why did you come to me at night?
You’ve come from the desert,
finding a boat made of one trunk.

A long pirogue.

Why did you come to me at night?
Why did you come to me at night?


Translated from the Czech by David Vichnar