Karol Chmel in translation



till they were thirty they cooked from travel books, riverbanks
were fog-lined (in empty trains only bright
blood from the chopped-off heads), land
registry maps related to ostracism, sea
with beehives before winterising, clear, clear, clear,
the fountainheads sang their salt to the tamed, defenseless
meat, female comrades, sneezing into monogrammed
hankies, while horatius was seeking a method to oppose
the degradation of language, speed measurable in knots ticked in motionless
underground targets, in the shallowly
ploughed homelands the ravens pecked out perspectives
and blinded them, glass after chewing, something has changed,
they were playing for time, the hungry were cooking on fast days,
pointlessly squeezing
the sieved soul

Seppuku, the Ritual of Self-Forgetting

Submerged in water from water to water reborn water
aspiring water dreaming equal to water underlying
water waiting if it had to go away
in vain you smile into the empty heaven
polite to the tabooed theme
it will swallow you like a pill
which need not even
be washed down

Aeternitas, Ritual of Resistance

hair standing on end facing the aesthetics of hunting
even if it is simili japan for a refined
sense of touch
all those catharses over the techniques
of pity
it is not enough to know that the air has acclimatised
the vertical is tapering
in both directions
Sunday says: don't hurry
or you will be late

The Tripod

to fold maps
before departure:

forget, you forgetful:
a plasma screen is flashing
under my hand

transparent eyes
with transparent ears

the light is shed
to the bottom
of your shadow's lungs

(as though
a gate builder
was propping up a wall builder)

is posing before a crusade

intended for a rearview mirror

(spectral movements
beyond the range of vision
at a temporary address
for cathedral chants

I'm silent

for all I'm worth

Copyright © Karol Chmel 2012
English Edition © Ars Poetica, o. z. 2012
Translation © Pavol Lukáč 2012
Language Editor © John Minahane 2012
ISBN 978-80-89283-54-5

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