Monday, 20 July 2020

Klaus Høeck: Section from 'In Nomine'

There is no way of shortening this extract from 'In Nomine'.
Klaus Høeck paints huge canvases.
This is just a tiny part (pp. 110-117) of his wonderful book.
For the entire text, go to here

To download a zip file of the text and explanatory material, go to here

‘memory with variations’

           my other root reach
es deeper down than holmen
           cemetery deep
           er than the rose that
i have just planted this last
           autumn in the name
           of omar khayyam
deeper even than meta
           physics and sili
           cates right down to the
heavens is how far its lov
           ing kindness reaches

           memory can be
come recollection become
           a whole series of
           years that cannot be
distinguished from each other
           on the grid of the
           calendar no mat
ter how much i attempted
           to wipe the pane clean
           so as to gain a
final glimpse of my mother
           out there in the dark

           my mother rose a
gain for a instant when i
           opened a bottle
           of polish alco
hol which was from her life
           time (spirytus rek
like a delayed heirloom my
           mother rose again
           like the genie of
the lamp from ninety six per
           cent pure alcohol

           but when i discov
ered the black spots (thrips from last
           year) behind the glass
           which covered the por
trait of my mother (taken
           by mydtskov) i was
           suddenly afraid
that nothing remains of
           the dead though that
           did not call the ex
istence of god into ques
           tion in any way

           memory can be
come recollection can be
           broken into bits
           and pieces by the
chimes of the clock from pade
           sø church a late de
           cember day no mat
ter how much i attempted
           to retain my moth
           er’s image as one
true unity among the
           sundays of advent

           my mother was born
and grew up on amager
           near artillery
           road - i do not know
much myself about that is
           land’s lanterns and fog
           horns (i refer to
rifbjerg’s poems) but i stand
           nevertheless despite
           all this with my one
leg firmly planted in a
           marcadian soil

           her childhood passed to
put it briefly like any
           other childhood sur
           rounded by the heart’s
willow scrub - no not complete
           ly like childhood for
           all of her brothers
died either of volvulus
           or of the black i
           vy of tubercu
losis up at the coast hos
           pital at refsnæs

           my mother has be
come an evening walk down by
           the sea a sharp smell
           of iodine in
the sinuses a bank of
           clouds moving westwards
           become a stab in
the heart with a knitting need
           le an english trans
           lation in anoth
er book which as yet only
           exists on paper

           my mother has be
come a rococo chair with
           canvas embroider
           y of yellow ro
ses embroidered by herself
           or has become a
           bell-pull with the words
‘happy christmas’ in cross-stitch
           my mother has be
           come a bottle of
pectin become kitchen salt
           a raging winter

           my mother has be
come three glasses of jim bean
           brand bourbon whisky
           a pinch of lemon
verbena and an open
           sandwich with smoked ha
           libut and pepper
one late evening when i put
           memory to the
           test empty memo
ry’s and midnight’s wicker bas
           ket full of seaweed

           and memory ad
vances stealthily on stock
           inged feet in its sharp
           smell of clementines
and brine ‘can you remember
           can you remember’
           it whispers with a
voice mysterious and draped
           in crape - ‘yes i clear
           ly remember you
and your seven league boots with
           holes in’ i answer

           and oblivion
sneaks in like a thief in the
           night with its shoes on
           backwards ‘have you for
gotten have you forgotten’
           it whispers with sil
           very voice - ‘yes i’d
almost forgotten you and
           your moth-eaten ta
           ble runner hiding
at the back of the linen
           closet’ i admit

           i assume that my
mother had a post mortem
           done on her just as
           elegant as a
cut by lucio fonta
           na that her heart and
           her kidneys have been
examined much more closely
           than her conscience has
           been that she was not
stuffed with cotton wool and tow
           and forgetmenots

           my mother has be
come three shovelfuls of earth
           an urn of ashes
           mixed with white roses
become three millimetres
           of hoar frost on the
           grass at holmen cem
etery become a look
           full of wild dreams be
           neath the snow showers be
come the last seven words in
           this poem by me

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