Pavol Janik

1956 / Bratislava

Ode To Joy

Where are those old poems?
What were they actually about?
And who gave a tinker's about them.
Somewhere in us
something from them has remained,
a charge timed in Nuremburg,
a Frankfurt porn cinema,
a coca-cola opposite the Moulin Rouge,
Lenin inside a Marseille shop window,
a faded postcard of the Cote d'Azur,
documents stolen in Rome,
undeveloped photos
of the leaning tower of Pisa,
a night in Florence,
Bolognese poofs,
pigeons at six in the morning
on Saint Mark's Square,
an over made-up customs girl
on the train from Vienna
to Devinska Nova Ves.
Where are those old poems?
Now nobody will write them any more.
They never made sense to anybody.
They've suddenly switched off the power in Europe.
A darkness has started, that which
existed before the invention of light.
We walk on the ceiling of our flat
from memory.
Children laugh at us in their sleep.
At the entrance to nowhere
they'll return us the entrance fee
to life,
which was worth it
even though not so much.
Only for death you don't pay.

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