Ingmāra Balode


there is something open in you same as
you cannot force a flower to close same as
a cat walks you cannot stop him you cannot know

the last night of summer is open in you
stars leap over it as ones that know
what to expect and women in yellow dresses
press to the sky press as feet against feet
in the last nakedness of trust

you can neither write nor tear nor sing it off
all that vastness breaks up yet no drop drips to the
like gold like sand we are and flow through ourselves
we are big like giants like castles
invisible dark like a bird
hiding in an oak tree

and fragile too yet inside us
there is so much life that is reborn
like tiny
light yellow rays on a


in the spring that corner looked brighter
you passed it visible to the last moment
with a new face tense with a rush of tenderness
the street has turned its back
it has covered itself with hard leaves

you make a turn
flat like an acacia whistle hurting one’s mouth
and disappear
into the July darkness that suddenly has the arms of November

is it really not going to pass will I really
flutter through the park with leaves every spring and kids
will ride over me in strollers is the wave really bigger
yes the naval port’s been destroyed the czar looks sadly on

no it will not pass otherwise I’d slowly
turn to sheets of ice by the shore
and the running feet of children
would kick out my ears
and silence would arrive and also muteness
(concrete drives roots in sand
water drives forgotten limbs to shore)

but above water keeps sloshing in old construction sockets
but above dandelions keep opening in all parks
but above children keep mirroring themselves in cheeks of men
they laugh about the first birdsong stretched out way too long

if I passed that would be the end the last bastion decayed staircase
see I too am
booming in the roots of concrete silence in the relentless sea
every day hands beat against the shore
every day a scream drives
golden veins into the concrete

How nice that you are home, I suddenly thought. I have silence here and the kind of feeling that comes when you are really seventeen and, looking into the faces of friends, you see highways swish by in their eyes. Roads flow, the white lines and nights, and mornings yet to be flow, speech flows, nothing is said, brother’s right there. Little brother who hears you laughing, smoking, waiting for bursting buds and crying. Who knows that the smell of the bakery around four in the morning is you ironing ribbons until light steals into the house. All day you can carry them along.
I don’t know if the light smell remained on shoulders. Knowledge is tiny bulbs on an experiment board in physics. Writing on the wall: think; yet all that you know is – love. A word that you’ll preserve like a treasure for all coming years just to yell out from time to time: “My heart meanwhile swells larger than the arse of a Damascan wife”. But for the moment you have only Nazim Hikmet, birds and delicate lips. I like you smelling of wind. Bring in some firewood. Bring wood to get warm.
Caress me for the sake of all these nights, bitter rails and forest paths. Hands are birds, I am Nils Holgersson, I would like to travel like this forever.

To change skin

The old lilacs were pulled up to install electricity.

The window lost its gentle shadow.

I gradually turned into a girl
who’s gazing into the mirror more often
than standing by the window and waiting waving you good-bye.

in all sketches of today there is one and the same imprint in the corner – give us some redemption a little more tenderness it cannot be that everyone has gone to paris it cannot be that we are not here we did come after all an our hungry glances were swallowed by the menu
look such faint light on the floor a piece of chalk falls on the pavement draw the street no one would know whom to call to snuggle to talk close if not for these tiny scratches joy anger desire and smiles in the crooked faces of chiaroscuro

put back the file on the millimeter paper walking drawn that does not have its own track the only sound silence in past perfect what could we have known I must have been happy you said crashing against today’s sky losing any direction for living here be your own notebook I will give you a pencil

Something different

to love is
something different after all.
to believe in a pair of shoulders and a back
distance duration quietude.
in all seasons
to observe it in peace and joy
to be fragrant and touch it
like the apple-tree outside the window.
in all seasons. in bitterness in saltiness
in fragrance that returns once a summer
to present us with memory.
lucid. in the green grass.

to love different.
that is looking through the dust
waiting for the homecoming.
to cry bitterly when a departure
is the only appropriate way
but not on earth.

only gravel roads where a child
stubs its toes running
and sticks petals on fingernails
plays princesses rings a bell of bitterness

different. to return home at dawn.
press against a warm and sleepy shoulder
feeling the swish of highways in ears
and the tinkle of friends’ voices.

upon waking
only coins tinkle
with which on his Saturday walk he
will buy hard candy –
in colorful clusters
on which you can cut your tongue.

I think I fell in love with a handful of your dreams
I think they’ve long since been mixed with mine
I think we’re cycling off on every road

lying with our bellies in the sand plucking lemons making whistles
ruining our sandals on the stony passages of hilly towns

I think we have gone somewhere
having left just a smattering of berries
for our long summer breakfasts

kiss me there far away
I say from here
without moving my lips

and you kiss me there
far away
without moving your lips

I found myself sleeping like a child
thumb pressed against my lips
— like Jean Paul Belmondo –

outside the window
there was
nothing at all

the fog had stuffed the city into a suitcase
the entire world into a suitcase including jrt godard and hermanis and
taken it away

to where you see feeding off the white drifts
a few sparse trees planning
to bloom once again

but I no longer knew
whether I was coming or going no true path
exits were all replaced by entrances
door jambs white as pain

no one will come in your dream and will not offer
a smoke either
you will fear the awareness that
— possibly –

that’s really it

that much of the outside
edge of the world by your window

that much silence
and you have to choke

that much peace
as you would have gladly danced

that much loneliness
motionless like the void

the sun was shining today, i was out walking and thinking about the fence along which mom and i, in may or maybe september. the light sometimes has the same timber in may and september.
I bought pablo, a small, lonely leopard-lion. let him sit on the table and stare with his mouth sewn shut just like you.

Translated by Ieva Lešinska

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