Friday 15 June 2012

Three poems by the Flemish writer
Paul Bogaert


You never hesitate when you speak
and you’re a spitting image when you’re silent
of somebody who just knows best.
But now a little vomit clings
like words still to your lips,
to your open mouth, you can’t make it
leak out, make it speak out.

You must learn to inhale slowly
when I kiss your moist lips,
your goose-flesh tongue.
The uvula needs perfume now:
you should put the atomizer aperture
inside your mouth and squeeze –
and swallow, not choke.


Just as one glimpses cockroaches
(that one discovers later in the cake tin too),
one can react to what the wall clock shows.
Not to the hours that penetrate the walls
of homes or offices.
But to the hours that, spattered off the hands,
now vanish and are vanished quite,
although in glitter-packs they
still cling to the retina.
That is what the wall clock shows us.

This is the century of buttons

This is the century of buttons.
Every photo’s sceptically examined,
even though it shows reality.
Becomingly lit and charmingly framed
every pool seems well worth it (private).

This is the century of benefactors
and bed sores. Genuine sheepskin
lessens the forces of friction.
Synthetic sheepskin is not advised.
This is the century of the hard-to-close peignoir.

This is the century too of medleys alas,
of sheet-white luxury and voodoo and stocks.
Every day sees fellow human beings die.
We’re certain of well-nigh nothing.
But we show our body as it is.

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