Saturday 20 June 2020

Klaus Høeck: 'http://imagine.stop' (2011)

Klaus Høeck
on-line poems

                                     imagine all the people
                                                        living life in peace...



         imagine: that
you see me standing on an
         upturned beer crate and
         reading this poem
out loud in fælledparken 
         with tightly clenched fist 
         (not all that much worse
than in the glyptotheque a
         mongst all the marble
         statues) in a true
bombardment of eggs and of
         rotten tomatoes

         imagine: that
you see me in a papa
         razzi photograph
         completely masked be
hind a black balaclava
         and with EAR
         crocheted across
the forehead (based on an i
         dea of dan tu
         rèll) busy setting
fire to this poem in front
         of police station one

         imagine: that
you see me at one of the
         huge pigmeat factor
         ies to the west of
copenhagen (whose slurry
         tanks resemble ne
         oclassicist ar
chitecture) and imagine
         that i am nailing 
         this poem to the 
stable door whose thesis is:
         all power to the pigs

         imagine: that
you see me speaking from the
         parliament’s rostrum
         clad in impecca
ble dinner jacket a rose
         in my buttonhole
         while i scatter this
poem (duplicated en
         masse) this ‘oprop’ this
         airborne pamphlet o
ver all the assembled mem
         bers of parliament

         imagine: that
you see me standing at as
         sistens cemetery
         a late afternoon
in september at the grave
         of michael strunge
         in the process of
reading this poem aloud
         with the aid of a
         toy megaphone this
poem with the refrain: death
         is not a poem

         imagine: that
you see me at a midnight
         mass in the church of
on the sortedam embank
         ment where i read this
         poem aloud in
a seance with a loud ven
         triloquist’s voice as
         if it was john len
non himself who read it for
         the congregation

         imagine: that
you see me out at one of
         the capital’s land
         fills standing like a
silhouette against the eve
         ning sky on the high
         est mountain of ref
use with seagulls whirling round
         scattering to the
         four winds this poem
like waste paper over the
         expanses of waste

         imagine: that
you see me entering the
         israeli embas
         sy that is loca
ted at lundevangsvej num
         ber four in helle
         rup with a red-check 
kitchen curtain wrapped round my
         head) handing in this
         poem as a pro
test note against ‘moderate
         physical pressure’

         imagine: that
the carrier uss kitty
         hawk is on its way
         to the persian gulf
while you’re reading this poem
         laden with (you will
         never believe this)
beef tenderloin steaks and with
         no less than twenty 
         million deepfrozen
poulards for the starving af
         ghan population

         imagine: that
the carrier uss theodore
         roosevelt is on
         its way across the
indian ocean (as you
         read these lines) laden
         with all kinds of fruit
and vegetables for the af
         ghan population 
         suffering from scur
vy dysentery and lack
         of vitamin c

         imagine: that
the leathernecks and all the
         drafted reserves are
         fighting their way up
onto the seashore like some
         third anabasis
         (while you are busy
scanning these lines) in order
         to reestablish bridg
         es the road system
and the whole infrastructure
         in afghanistan

         imagine: that
a whole armada of b-52
         bombers (flying for
         tresses or maybe
flying saucers) drop hundreds
         of tons of medi
         cine over kabul
containers with blood plasma
         with antibio
         tics and with tetra
cycline while you are busy
         decoding these words

         imagine: that
hercules planes (almost like
         migrating birds) are
         flying over af
ghanistan’s mountains (while you
         try to understand
         these words) while they drop
artificial limbs injec
         tions syringes and
         bandages (almost
like bowler hats in a paint
         ing by magritte)

         imagine: that
several thousand cruise mis
         siles are lighting up
         the islamic sky
and tv screens (while you are
         spelling out these words)
         like fiery souls on
a pilgrimage (instead of
         totally des
         tructive bombing) like
some sort of bengali fire
         works of the spirit

         imagine: that
the president of the U
         SA itself (the 
         merciful amer
ican) whose heart is wrapped in
         the stars and stripes while
         you are turning the
page is issuing right here
         a decree that grants
         the sum of ten bil 
lion dollars to the red cross 
         and the red crescent

         imagine: that
the president of the u
         nited states gives a
         speech that is without
any phrases and clichés
         (yes it sounds incred
         ible while you de
claim this final verse) in which 
         he makes out a blank 
         cheque to afghani
stan and in so doing ends
         up winning the war

         imagine: that
and i am sending this poem
         to the danish in
         telligence service
(PET) as a postcard (on the
         front of which there’s a
         reproduction of
peter breughel’s famous en
         graving ‘torture’ from
         the year fifteen hun
dred and fifty nine) as a
         simple reminder

         imagine: that
i am sending this poem 
         to the defence in
         telligence service
(FET) as a valentine on
         26 june so as to
         underline that the
constitutio caro
         lina crimina
         lis (the torture act) 
has been abolished signed in
         invisible ink

         imagine: that
i am sending this poem as
         a perfectly or
         dinary letter
to arne melchior (though in
         a lined blue envel
         ope that smells of la
vender) this poem that concludes
         with the following
         lines (freely after
cosper): what i said was kill
         sir and not pilsner

         imagine: that
i am sending this poem
         as an inquiry
         to carmi gillon:
what’s moderate physical
         pressure? – is it a
         box on the ears a
flattened nose or a head butt –
         maybe the sole dif
         ference between a
fractured skull and torture is
         just a judas kiss?

         imagine: that
i’m e-mailing this poem
         to augusto pi
         nochet’s website
under the title: poe
         ma tortura – ‘span
         ish boot’ – ‘falanga’
‘palastinian hanging’
         ‘the iron lady’ ‘ ‘the
         tortoise’ – ‘the sub
‘marine’ – ‘telephone’ – ‘basti
         nado’ – ‘wooden horse’

         imagine: that
i am telefaxing this
         poem this dark en
         cephalogram this
blackbird wing this black orchid
         petal of shame to
         ariel sharon
with the purpose of drawing
         his attention to 
         the tokyo de
claration and UN conven
         tion against torture

         imagine: that
i am placing this poem
         this dark cardio
         gram this torn-off wing
of a butterfly this neg
         ative taken from
         the frozen star es
palier of the internet
         where you are able
         to read it in white
on blue at the address: http//:

         imagine: that
you are reading this poem 
         in your daily news
         paper jyllandspost
en on the front page or per
         haps on page seven
         imagine this
remarkable coinci
         dence (this instanta
         neous deja-vu) tak
ing place between fantasy
         and reality

         imagine: that
i dress up as a turk and
         then immediately
         begin to inte
grate myself – i remove my
         fez and place a
         small red and white da
nish flag on my table con
         sume a slice of roast 
         pork write this poem 
in english and then translate
         it into danish

         imagine: that
i assume the role of a
         somalian ref
         ugee quickly turn
ing danish – i wipe the shoe
         polish from my face
         and i say: ‘go-daw
do’ – while at the same time i
         put my signature
         underneath these words
using both my real name and
         my fictitious name

         imagine: that
i dress up in the entire
         equipment of the
guerilla but just as rap
         idly try to be
         come danish again:
i study a hymn by grundt
         vig swallow a carls
         berg pilsner and re
cite this poem in broken
         funen dialect

         imagine: that
i prostrate myself on a
         coir mat that is fac
         ing mecca but at
the very same moment re
         place my turban with
         a clap-hat (not so
as to ridicule my dan
         ishness – but because
         that’s how it is) while
i chant this poem out loud 
         and in sign language

         imagine: that
i print the word ‘jihad’ on
         my website and with
         out hesitation
change it to: ‘rødgrød med flø
         de’ in honour of
         the danish author
ities and the police (but
         in actual fact i
         i go on to print this
poem at the address – http://

         imagine: that
i register at the sand
         holm camp as a tal
         eban refugee
but switch to danish
         just like that so as 
         to demonstrate my 
good intentions and that i
         hand over this poem
         as proof of my mas
tery of the danish lan
         guage and literature

          imagine: that
i’m reciting a poem 
         by mahmoud dar
         wish at the danish 
people’s party conference 
         in fredericia
         but that before the
conference is over switch
         to reading out this
         poem to demon
strate true danish sentiment
         (and integration)

         imagine: that
i appear disguised as my
         self in order to
         say or rather to
write this poem expressing 
         how proud i am to 
         be danish just as 
all other conceivable 
         peoples are proud of 
         the fact that they hap
pen to be all other con
         ceivable peoples

         imagine: that
i send this poem along
         with a large dose of
powder to olivari
         us himself – that would
         be both malevo
lent and infamous – no i
         do not send a large
         dose of oliva
rius powder to doctor

          imagine: that
i sprinkle potato flour
         over this poem
         (like sand in ancient
times) and i send it in an
         aerogramme to the
         national serum
institute on amager
         that would not only
         not be amusing 
but criminal as well so
         i do not do so

         imagine: that
i pack three crushed headache tab
         lets along with this
         poem and then send
it in a letter that is
         incorrectly stamped
         to novo nordisk’s
offices in nørrebro
         only someone who
         is really sick would
do such a thing so i don’t
         do so after all

         imagine: that
i fill up a condom with
         icing sugar and
         powdered sugar and
send it along with this po
         em (whose title is:
         the arabian
powder) to the royal the
         atre – typical
         of a nerd or a
sheer psychopath so i re
         frain from doing so

         imagine: that
i dip this poem into 
         rosehip powder (from
         rugosa and ca
nina) and send it to my
         self in a tiny
         package that has been
sealed with both tape and string in
         lots of colours that
         would bring postal de
liveries to a stop so
         i do not do so

         imagine: that
i record this poem on
         a cd-rom and send
         it to the sunlight
factories (somewhere near glo
         strup?) in a lined en
         velope full of soap
powder – that would qualify
         me for a mental
so i do not pursue the 
         thought any further

         imagine: that
i send this poem to king
         christian the fourth
         in roskilde cath
edral in a package full
         of baking powder
         and potash (to be
spread out when night comes) complete
         with the sender ad
         dress http://imagi (although of course
         i do not do so)

         imagine: that
i dedicate this poem
         to osama bin
         laden and send it
to him in a letter that
         is marked ‘personal’
         along with a tea
spoonful of salt (to be thrown
         over the shoulder)
         but that even in
this particular instance
         i do not do so

         imagine: that
i am a fifth genera
         tion immigrant which
         is unnecessa
ry for i actually am
         (from prague’s garnet stones)
         but what’s even worse
i am also a first gen
         eration immi
         grant to funen and
am presenting this poem
         as a confession

         imagine: that
in the very dead of night
         i have my own fa
         mily reunion 
on a central leaf without
         a word of funic
         speech and asylum
even though both my wife and
         my dachshund are jutes
         have i done something
wrong? – consider this poem
         an apology

         imagine: that
this poem is an exer
         cise – is the result 
         of my very first 
language lesson – ‘jeg vil ha
         blohævn’ – i intone
         naah ‘blowhævn’ no try
again – ‘jeg vil ha bloooh
         hævn’ – i try to say
         ‘bloohævn’ i write down
and here is my best attempt:
         ‘jeg vil ha blohævn’

         imagine: that
it’s more difficult than one
         might think to become
         a native of fu
nen overnight – take local
         dishes for instance
         there i’ve only reached 
an infusion of buckwheat 
         (fagopyrum es
         culentum) and not
the porridge itself (with this
         poem recipe)

         imagine: that
‘Integration’ was to ex
         amine how funic
         i could claim to be
and ask ‘what is quintessen
         tially funic?’ – the
         apple trees and the
black squirrel – i would ans
         wer – would the poem
         then be given the rubber
stamp – would i then have passed the

         imagine: that
the neighbours start asking: ‘what’s
         he want with that’ (the
         poem) or what sort
of a bloke is he? and why
         does he call himself
         counsel for the ducks
whenever he talks to hunt
         ers? imagine
         that i am una
ble to answer these questions
         will i be expelled?

         imagine: that
this poem is illegal
         and quite unlawful
         because it refers
to a collection of po
         ems that praises ur
         ban guerillas and
freedom fighters (terrorists)
         and therefore contra
         venes a new set of
laws – will i stop being a
         funen citizen?

         imagine: that
the above-mentioned collec
         tion was written while
         the poet was on
social security and
         therefore not at the 
         disposal of the 
labour market while he fid
         dled with his art – the 
         question then is: will 
he be retroactively 
         banished from funen?

         imagine: that
this poem’s an election
         poster for the lib
         eral party ‘vens
tre’ sprinkled with the scrunchi
         est eurostars on
         blue and white or with
the letter v for ‘venstre’
         written in a high
         ly slipshod fashion 
(you have to remember that
         i am cackhanded)

         imagine: that
this poem is an elec
         tion ad for the so
         cial liberals you
read in a daily paper
         while you are actu
         ally reading it
(yes – you read it right you lit
         tle four-eyed monkey)
         did it end up on
the paper through your powers of

         imagine: that
you find this poem printed
         in the yellow pa
         ges or in the free
ads newspaper or in what
         ever white paper you like
         as an election
slogan (for the centre dem
         ocrats) a sort of
         prototype that can
be used for ever because
         there is nothing there

         imagine: that
this poem is hanging as
         an election post
         er for the social
democrats on all the coun
         try’s lamp posts as a
         red echo of a
red stutter as a red e
         lision a red re
         dundancy of words
and sentences that have long 
         since lost their meaning

         imagine: that
this poem is blowing a
         cross the asphalt (like
         a brochure for the
danish people’s party) like
         a question in the
         rain or an answer
in the wind – and where is it
         blowing to? – like eve
         rything else dirt waste
paper and rubbish all end
         up in the gutter

         imagine: that
you are reading this poem
         on a bus window
         as an election 
graffiti (for the uni
         ty party) sprayed with
         green and red paint – what’s
the mirror writing say? – (are
         you illiterate?)
         the same as in or
dinary writing: stop all
         scrawling on buses

         imagine: that
this poem is an elec
         tion ad (for the con
         servatives) that you
receive with the morning post
         rubber stamped and full
         of the strangest wa
termarks and photographs of
         people who have al
         ready been consigned
to the high-lustre surface
         of oblivion

         imagine: that
this poem has been pasted
         over an elec
         tion poster for the
socialist people’s party
         so this is some kind
         of palimpsest where
the original text has
         been lost for ever
         completely blown to 
smithereens by new words on
         the ancient tablets

         imagine: that
i’ve been given the leading
         role in a love film
         (a melodrama)
directed by lars von trier
         and that i just like
         goethe’s werther (des
pite the difference of age
         between us) leave this 
         poem behind as 
a love letter and perhaps
         a farewell letter

         imagine: that
i’m taking part in a por
         nofilm recorded
         in color de luxe
where i i stand doing a flash
         next to a marble
         fountain (precisely
as jean jacques rousseau once
         did) and that this po
         em will then subse
quently be used against me
         as an indictment

         imagine: that
i’m taking part in a ma
         fia film of the
         very worst kind (a
real b or c film) in which
         standing by a swim
         ming pool (painted by
david hockney) i mow down
         the critic j.k.
         with a submachine
gun and that this poem’s his

         imagine: that
it isn’t poul reichardt at
         all who wins the da
         nish trotting derby
in the film ‘the red horses’
         but me (with the num
         ber thirteen) ima
gine that he and i have ex
         changed identity
         and that consequent
ly it’s poul reichardt who has
         written this poem

         imagine: that
you see me sitting on my
         haunches in a brand
         new war film in the
throes of relieving myself
         in an afghan ditch
         while u2s and awacs
keep an eye on me and the
         bombs keep on falling
         imagine that
i end up by wiping my
         arse on this poem

         imagine: that
you do not only see me but
         you also hear me
         pronouncing these words
in a new version of ‘star
         wars’: the empire strikes
         back both now and in
afghanistan – both here and
         now – post scriptum: this
         poem has not in
any way been contami
         nated with anthrax

         imagine: that
i have a part in an a
         nimated picture
         as osama bin 
laden who in a mass of 
         flickering lines and
         background music from
the pop group ‘aha’ surrend
         ers to the court of
         justice in the hague
and that this poem is a ticket
         for the premiere

         imagine: that
you see me riding into
         the sunset in a
         spaghetti western
(not at all improbable
         because all art has
         something to do with cheating
with time) leaving behind me 
         this poem as a
         reward poster with 
the immortal words: wanted
         dead or alive

                                     klaus høeck

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