Tuesday 30 July 2019

Henrik Nordbrandt: 'Offshore Wind' – Part II


After the month of death comes that of resurrection:
February. In an ice-cold bathroom
you stand naked and with black wings.
The water refuses to run. The world refuses to turn.
The window can’t be opened. And the person
standing here only almost resembles you.

For you are defective. It’s the fault of the month.
It’s too short to complete anything.
Your wings won’t do, and you discover
to your horror that your arsehole’s missing
as a portent of something much, much worse.

The uniform is on a hanger behind the door
with instructions in the inner pocket.
That’s the price for escaping: Just
say you’re Napoleon and they’ll believe you.

For the rest of them are Napoleon, too.


Down in the cellar I couldn’t see anything
on account of my sun-glasses
I discovered, when I finally took them off
and angrily flung them from me.

Now I’m sitting here and can’t see the sea properly
because I’ve got reading glasses on
and can’t read what I’m writing, either,
because the sun’s too strong.

Out of pure obstinacy I keep my reading glasses on.
and no power on earth
will get me to go down into the cellar for my sun-glasses!
That’s what my life’s like. What all human life’s like.

That’s how the war continues.


It’s raining.
And because it’s raining
it’s never done anything else except rain.
There is actually
nothing else but rain
and all dreams
are about that fact that it’s raining.

And it’s my fault in particular
that it’s raining.
It’s my fault
because it’s my fault that I was born.

I was born because I lied
about the rain itself:
‘Suddenly the sun breaks through
and ignites a white gable.’
I once said.

That’s a lie.

That is why I was born
because it’s raining.

That’s how it’s raining.

So have all of you understood, then,
what I feel like in rainy weather?


Something fell down from the Universe
and made an enormous, deep hole
but there was nothing
inside the hole.
- So now they stand there every Sunday
and stare down into it
and, for the same reason,
call it Hell.

Next to it is another hole
and at the bottom of it
a small church
which you can get down to
via a staircase
and then look up out of the hole.
- So that hole
they call Paradise.


Since this morning
I’ve been lying in wait to take revenge
on the pigeon
that shat on my head.
it simply ignores.
I’ve thrown a stone at it
without hitting it.
The garden hose is too short.

It knows perfectly well
that I’m after it.
It also knows why
the bastard!
It’s sitting up there in its dovecote
playing the innocent
so it makes you want to puke.

Sooner or later, I’ll get it!

But, just think! I think to myself:
Just think if Harold Bluetooth
not to mention Esbern Snare
had read these words
what wouldn’t they have thought
of me!

The moral being
you should take good care of your country’s history
and be kind to animals.


Divide your friends up by to how much they bring in for you.
Tell them you love and admire them as often as you can
and give it the whole works.
They’ll only think: ‘No one can be that smarmy.
How could I ever have had such a thought!’
Don’t be afraid to give presents, either.
If you give them to the right people, you’ll get back twice over.
Avoid the poor and the persecuted
unless they have the world’s eyes on them.
If so, make common cause with them.
Use other people’s sufferings with no inhibitions.
The way you do your pictures
they can easily be seen as expressions of sympathy.
For your powers of persuasion are just as great
as your strokes are imprecise.
And don’t be afraid I’ll give your name away.
Everyone who knows you and has read this far
has already recognised you
as I know, at this moment, you see yourself.


The waiter radiates respect.
He hates me, because I speak his language.
If only I’d been a stupid
American tourist
a stupid Englishman, a stupid German
a stupid Frenchman or a stupid Italian
he would have clapped me heartily on the back
and tried to cheat me.

But I am someone who speaks his language correctly
with an accent he cannot place
and who he therefore hates.
It gives him
the feeling that I know him
better than he does himself.
And he’s right about that. That’s why he hates me.

I take a sip of my beer, write
this and light a cigarette.
He’s there in a flash with an ashtray.
I thank him
and pass him the sports supplement from the newspaper
which he’s been eyeing for a long time
and ask him if he’d like to have it.

Of course he would!
At the same moment he’s taken it
he feels he’s been seen through
and hates me all the more.

If I had spoken without an accent
he would have thought that I was like him
only more fortunate.
He would have looked at me
as you look at a more fortunate brother
with a mixture of envy and admiration.
But my hint
of an accent inspires him with loathing.

He hates me.
If it hadn’t been a punishable offence,
he would have killed me.

I finish my beer, get up
acknowledge him with a cool nod
and leave him far too big a tip.
So that’s quite clear to him!


the temperature was 32°C in the shade of the house
where the women sat silently on a low bench
without needlework or anything else to busy their hands with.

the men gathered in a corner of the garden.
Most of them smoked but no one said anything.

some of the women began to scream.
A group of tourists out in the street
stopped to take a photograph.

the screams had become dirges.
It was incredible how many they knew by heart.

a white car came and left again with something
it had fetched from inside the house.

only a little boy was still in the garden.
And his stick and a dead rat.

the temperature was 41°C in the shade
of one of the garden’s two olive trees.

I asked the neighbour who it was that was dead
but didn’t quite catch the answer.
It was something about some-woman-or-other-in law.
I had never been all that good at families.

they washed the bed linen
and hung it up on the line between the two trees.
The rest of the evening
I wondered who it could have been.

I suddenly realised:
It was the one, of course, who hadn’t been with the others.

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