Wednesday 16 June 2010

A poem by the Flemish writer Peter Holvoet-Hanssen

The magician comes

Picture a southern terrace in let’s say Marseilles
you occupy a lousy room in the Rue de Mazenod
eat and drink like a jolly frog with an imaginary companion
look up, rub your eyes: no richly rhymed rhetorics
Dutchman, the Flying Dutchman ties up at the quay

A seigneur descends the gangplank in a natty cape
his trunk advances jauntily beside its master
the cutlery stands to attention at the Marseillaise
and your friend chokes on his bouillabaisse
you knew the magician would come

His palace is as big as your imagination, picture it to yourself
it is enthroned in creamy clouds like Nephelokokkugia
the female slaves there lick his wand, he flicks pearls at their navels
thrusts his little battering ram between the guru’s chubby cheeks
throws him into a dungeon so dark even the enlightened one shudders

When the magician comes

You do not fear his wrath – you’re lucky, you certainly had it coming
even more, you smash all the plates at his feet
you fill his boots with pastis before he can even say ‘abra...’
you place him in front of a carnival mirror and paint his portrait
he genially crooks the corners of his mouth, finds it ‘impressionnant’

You imitate a sunset, most impressionist
until he starts to nod – dismount your easel while he’s still asleep
for if he suddenly starts, sea horses will run aground
if his balls nag, consumptives will shag themselves sound
if you summon him, you’ll be astounded

The magician comes

No comments: