Tuesday 4 February 2020

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer: Idyll 3


Night has been notified. Demons are due, it seems.
The bat you fear so much squeaks winging through your dreams.
I stood this morning on a spacious fascist square.
The sun was strong. With shade to spare. I felt fine there.
The waiter served my coffee with a graceful gesture.
The day came, ticking softly, slowly gaining texture.
Once it was stylish here. Those who could get their way
might get hot water, he a better bath, let’s say,
than me. Decaying concrete falls from coffered ceiling.
Hand on your cup, watch out for cracks and paint that’s peeling.
All things have always something that is worth restoring.
Life’s nothing else than constant buttressing and shoring.
The boilers in my houses are all quite corroded.
A girl weeps. I repair myself till I’ve imploded.
This mortal life needs maintenance that makes no sense.
You paint what two days later is a clapped-out fence
and all you wash today tomorrow coats with grime.
The one I haul on board’s the woman I next time
lose to the normal stream of weather in the main.
Mind well these words of mine. What was your name again?
And will you hold me close in this night that’s so queer?
For all those demons are mere figments of my fear.
Night has been notified. I could myself make small
in all your toxic rose-pink, gentle know-it-all.
My head lies on the chopping-block of your bare shoulder
I pull the duvet over you. It’s getting colder.
Gaze with your eyes of blue straight into my blue eyes
and stroke me ice-cold dead. It’s like an enterprise –
what I do, you do for me, and what people do.
The white steeds steam, will’s young and green in me and you.
‘Anon! Jump on my back. I’ll bring you far from here.
I’ll feed you lion marrow, hooves of many a deer.
I’ll teach you how to fly on the curls of your hair.
The beasts will keep you warm, imagine and you’re there.’
Yes. All these kinds of things I’d dearly like to say
Instead of which I’m wasting time explain away
how Holland sends me coloured letters every day
and threatens acronyms if too long I delay.
Apologies, this poem’s aim has never been
political. Pour more wine. Let music now begin.
And at the centre of the table lots of snacks
from Albert Heijn. That makes things fine. And our wisecracks
that by the third sour hour have simply gone to pot
when chattering in our old shack is more than shot.
Come closer, love. And choke me softly if you can.
Make love to me just like an axe. What is your plan?
That I the griffins that I have should start to burn?
With your green hands brush all my yellowed teeth in turn.
An ape is for a green ape such a lovely thing.
It retranslates the world. It wears a golden ring.
You know why animals regard us with sad eyes?
I do. They want to look like us, assume our guise.
The cows desire a god that writes books which endure. 
And birds too want a son of bird that will for sure
last till the final tweet is sent and yesterday.
And camels want to gently sway not far away
from some dilapidated wall, if not instead
five times a day to sniff a cloth bow down their head.
They see how humans lose themselves in untrue hope.
For animals there’s only truth. A cause to mope.
The one who cannot flee into green fantasy,
as can a cow escape its shed to some vast sea
of grassy meadows with lush flowers that never stop
and genuine horizons, lives but for the chop.
All animals are Buddhists, although unaware.
To unawares be something means the name’s unfair.
That is the koan of the dog. The poodle’s core.
To be quite conscious isn’t modern any more.
We’re simply something, and half-heartedly at best.
Our own true being is to us a long-lost quest
and thus we are so much, though unaware of it.
And only forms still know the names we truly fit.
We do not open them, afraid of crashing down.
In fearful figures we’re expressed in which we drown.
There’s still a little bit left over of one wine.
No, don’t go off to bed yet. For I find it fine
to talk to you of animals, of formulating,
of mouldered grooves through which the wind shrieks unabating,
demons that I’ve invented wholly on my own.
My cheek is black. I talk too much? You set the tone.
The bat’s not genuine. Please give me now a kiss.
I’m not all-knowing, though aware of much of this. 
I chew on glass, though I’d prefer to be transparent.
Are there still snacks? Is my sheer panic so apparent?
Must get the washing in. Bad weather’s on the way.
That’s barking. Hear it? Did somebody ring? Please stay.
Let’s just sit down, relax and eat what you’ve prepared.
The floors will cope for now with liquid not been spared.
Already rung your mother? Are you scared, unsure?
The shards are packed in cases in the corridor.
And the insurance papers? Know where they might be?
Despair ascends in sodden letters to my knee.
The animals are without brandy yet again.
The red blots on the squares of Melba toast aren’t rain.
Already rung your mother? Now the evening ticks 
like some small suspect parcel at the station. Fixed
is what has been fixed up. Where can my tool-box be?
I can mend leaks that you know nothing of, can’t see
when from the bedroom you the bat attempt to chase
and in your hands’ cassation no more questions raise.
Night has been notified. Demons are only fear.
Can you patrol the corridor that’s outside here?
I feel like glass. I only wish you were my mother
Then in the clammy grass we could lie close together.
It soon will rain for sure. You’re right, we think alike.
You kiss me like the fractious sea the fragile dike.

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