András Bajtai: Fear keeps me alive

For Márió Z. Nemes

About childhood just indirectly,
like cancer. Annoying like the shattering
plaster, and sneaking as the walls
covering you every night.

*

Fear keeps me alive. The dread of
getting hit when running across the road,
or when you can’t get through in time
and traffic is frozen because of you.
Awaiting the green sign, but
you hear the honking already,
you see gestures of the drivers.
And you are afraid. Of the dusties beating
you, or falling asleep on the last subway,
and who knows what kind of tunnel will
dawn find you inside. True, some nights are lucky
when you are motionless under a blanket,
like some bag left forgotten at a locker.

*

Emptying a lost handbag.
A butcher’s work. There’s no reward for such.
It’s just like opening the glass coffin:
expired debit card that will get devoured
by the machine. Some ibuprofen.
Cherry flavored condom. Lipstick.
Sitting at the bathtub, imagining
the woman, the owner you’ve never met.
With a boner, but
still holding the handbag. Later
you pry the floor beneath your carpet,
hiding the strange heritage and hoping,
that one day the unknown woman may return.

*

Because I desire other women as well, sometimes.
You are not enough for me. Just like neither
two hands, nor ten fingers could be satisfying.
In my mind I undress strangers, telling them
all about the places I pleasured myself at,
not making love to them until finishing the list.
Asking them to do things, that
I’ve never asked you for. To sit
on my face, to let me press my nose into
their vagina. To use the little spoon,
while stepping on my wrist and
choking my blood vessels. Because I lied to you.
I was behind the wallpapers already.

*

The cities behind those wallpapers. Since
long years – I think – they are the reason
I don’t do anything useful. Nothing special.
Not shoveling snow with bloody palms every morning,
neither guarding trash heaps at spring cleans.
I don’t disembowel fridges, or
put marzipan figures on the top of melting cakes.
Being just a stripper, at least I learned
poledancing through all these years.

*

After waking up, I wait patiently
for the blind cat to be put into the window,
then have breakfast. Flies scatter all over
my omlette and slice of dry bread,
but I don’t wash the dishes until
the first stroller gets pushed across the sidewalk.

*

The stroller I never dare to check.
I’m jealous of the first oncoming boy,
who has an inked crescent on his face,
and I start to worry when I spot the
armored van with money inside,
besides the fat guy and his machine gun.
In my mind I take you apart and put together
again, throwing up on the subway and the bus:
being so long and dark like a brake print.
Then I imagine the drunk caretaker
changing lightbulbs with trembling motion,
and it makes me calm again.

*

My parents were consumed by the yellow bus
fourteen years ago, my sister was drowned
in a cellar filled with water, my friends
were victims of a peepshow from hell.
I was lost wandering in the schoolyard
because of the vast mist,
and the lightpoles were ripped out by someone.
Now I have nothing to do around here already,
this boredom makes me furnishing forgotten
suburban pubs, where I’m both the bartender
and the very last regular there.

Standard

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