a pork chop and a slice of bread – you’re

having good times, luxury

is just subjective anyway, you

tell yourself, you bite the bread …


Seen objectively, economically a

total failure your life, in any case: the

merchandise value of your pleasures

very low – okay, all volumes of Proust

(soft covers but new) cost nearly

200 marks at least back then, but

peanuts compared to the never-made

air-trip (hitchhiking through half of Europe

instead – more experienced than spent,

really impudent in fact) – Döblins

Berlin.Alexanderplatz then again

cost you a whole of 2 marks antiquarian, and

such a lot of Berlin in it, you don’t get

a short distance public transport ticket

through the city at that price


Maybe you’re even an outstanding

businessman, it shortly crosses your

head, in whose mouth you put a

piece of pork chop – tasty!


translation: Marco Kunz (with a little help from his friends)

Deutsche Originalfassung


You tell me, god is a balloon

and pump your gas lift in my time

I’m getting heavy, getting light

wind from azores wafts me away


Translation: Marco Kunz

Deutsche Originalfassung


What makes sense

in the end, maybe

it’s just the trivial –

rain-wet tarmac

smelled in may – one point of

time, just lived and

inhaled, what more

do you seek, what

more do you long for?


The great ambitions, bleak

and awful, just

fuel for burning,

travelling on


translation: Marco Kunz (with a little help from his friends)

Deutsche Originalfassung


What It Takes


You crumbs on the table there

between glass and jug—what it takes, to

see you the way I do now (exactly

what it takes, for the question to first

            be asked):

            Blood, screaming, gasp-

ing (almost strangled with the um-

bilical cord), shitty diapers, it takes pants,

the fear of the dark, all alone—the

fear of others, of getting walloped, fear

of school, diplomas, it takes the

first desire for girls, pangs of con-

science while masturbating (Grandma

looking down from heaven), booze,

it takes the joy of camaraderie, hitch-

hiking with tent and hash, it takes

the Doors, and it takes Rilke, Benn,

Beethoven and Hölderlin, the desire

to become wise and enlightened, to

write about the fight and the toil,

it takes poetry, at the edge of in-

sanity (though not just at the edge), the

first kiss, it takes hormones, a

woman’s thigh stroked by a hand and

mouth, it takes the move to the

big city, the highs on streets,

squares, forcing contracts on strange

people, your own apartment, blind dates,

it takes cocktails, it takes

that date where the spark leaps,

so that one stays together and I

move in with woman and dog

and hamster, often fighting and

making up (the hamster long dead,

the dog still howling), finally it takes

the dirty dishes, previously washed

by me, the mood which then

arrives, it takes my finishing

with the washing up, my sitting down

       at the

        table, on which you crumbs

are lying, there between the glass and

jug—where I look at you, with

my world-perception-device,

twelve-thirty in the morning,

in a kitchen in Berlin

Translated by Mark Terrill

and published in the Germany Issue of the „Atlanta Review“, 2009

Deutsche Originalfassung