to the airport

it seems you’re on your way to the airport to pick me up
but you’re just getting in the taxi to go back,
the driver’s smoking, smoke pushes against aquarium glass,
a voice misses the phone entirely and enters the carpark ticket machine instead
to the airport – it seems –
but in fact you go back (america shrinks to an island) crumpling into a fist
(in the car, air freshener sways through a prairie)
fingers and charcoal, somebody drawing a bird from a poem,
apollinaire’s alcools drying out
(ploughed fields folded up)
ink flows on to your lap
why does no-one ever talk about a man’s lap
even more terrible even more – a secret
see what thoughts can appear in the air

in between us

By Ingmāra Balode

uz lidostu

tu it kā brauc uz lidostu man pakaļ
bet patiesībā sēdies taksī un brauc tikai atpakaļ
dūmi šoferim pīpējot sitas pret stiklu kā akvārijā
balss netrāpa telefonā trāpa tajā parkinga kartē
it kā uz lidostu
bet atpakaļ (amerika pārvēršas salā) savelkas dūrē
(gaisa atsvaidzinātājs cauri prērijai šūpojas fūrē)
pirksti ar ogli kāds zīmē to putnu no dzejoļa g. a. spirti nožūst
(arumi saritinās)
un izlīst tuša tev klēpī
neviens nekad nedzied par vīrieša klēpi
vēl vairāk  bail vēl vairāk noslēpums
bet tādas domas var izdomāt gaisā

starp mums

Virtual walk

A virtual walk
becomes even more virtual as I turn
backwards and see
changing my screen into a nameless street on
someone’s unsigned postcard,
a few grey men falling
under a concrete flag.
Monument of Victory –
of what victory
Old men gather by it on the ninth of May
to invent their victory.
Tulips travel through the gardens of this wonderful
suburbia. A very virtual walk.
Young men, meanwhile, talk about another
rising over the sleepy park
on the gray scale hours marked
slightly pink
by dawn.
Yachts snore on the waterside nearby,
taking part in the victory
as children take their part
and the elderly take the sun
under the linden trees. Time is free
for some of them.
Victory, then.
I’m walking in the snow,
rushing towards the word
it’s most important to conquer
in this battle with
the calendar. March.

The corner of Isaac and Esther Street , Kazimierz, Krakow

they’re scraping strings in the cafés where singer sewing machines
without a single thread
are soothed by customers’ fingers
a handle creaks
a shoulder cracks

parquet squeaks
a confession goes whispering across the candle’s wick
you know
I did eat the chocolate
you had hidden in the drawer
and which you were probably saving for breakfast
it was so bitter
and delicious*

they’re scraping strings in the cafés
amazed you say look how it’s snowing
beyond the drawn-on window pane
in the background a low buzz
of Tom Waits singing Chocolate Jesus

*At this point william carlos williams smiles

Īzāka un Esteres ielu stūris, Kažimeža, Krakova

kur čīgā kafejnīcās kur singera šujmašīnas bez neviena dzīpara
berzējas gar ienācēju pirkstiem tīksmīgi
nokrikšķ durvju kliņķis
nokrakšķ plecs

nočīkst parkets
atzīšanās čukstus iet pār dakti:
es apēdu šokolādi
ko biji noslēpusi atvilktnē
un ko tu noteikti taupīji brokastīm
tā bija tik rūgta
un garda*

čīgā kafejnīcā un tu izbrīnījies saki paskaties kā snieg
aiz gandrīz uzzīmētas rūts
bet fonā šokolādes jēzu toms veits dūc

* šajā vietā pasmaida viljams karloss viljams.

Translated by Ingmara Balode and Zoë Skoulding


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


pavasarī tas stūris izskatījās gaišāks
tu gāji tam garām redzams līdz pēdējam brīdim
ar jaunu seju ko nospriego pēkšņs maigums
iela uzgriezusi mums muguru
apsegusies ar cietām lapām

tu ieej pagriezienā
plāns kā akācijas svilpīte kas sāp pie lūpām
un pazūdi
jūlija tumsā kam pēkšņi ir novembra rokas


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

by Ingmāra Balode, Translated from the Latvian by Ieva Lešinska