i’m tormented by certain questions thoughts dim fancies on the edge of my vision flickering shadows weight upon my heart i’ve spoken of them and searched for answers but the answers creep away i’ve tried to address them in articles dissect them in literature maybe i really should ask more brazenly more consistently more institutionally maybe i should organize a protest stand alone in front of the art hall with a placard asking what’s the point of life demanding the philosophy department to say what is beauty stand in front of the psychiatry clinic and the zoology museum with a placard i’m with you in spirit ask where is my root by the song festival grounds what connects us in front of a restaurant i’m always hungry near the dive bar but we’re rather miserable going home in the morning on the library steps why are some not even helped by reading by the bus station is better anywhere else near the jail all those barricades after a couple sardines on the bank of the emajõgi why the incessant rush at the cemetery gates where to next and how i’d just stand around and ask those questions in those places and in others and other people would stare annoyed or amused or indifferent would watch me standing patiently effortlessly demandingly uncompromisingly and maybe some of them would sometimes be somewhat with me in spirit maybe some of them would somehow feel lighter or at least different not so alone

you scramble around like a fly in the sticky web of my memory i sigh cautiously then untangle you again bid farewell safe travels safe travels time to go don’t trip no don’t you turn back my memory rag can’t wipe fly gunk from the world leave my nutshell once and for all so musty and stuffy no don’t turn back you really aren’t welcome i’ll shoot at you from all trumpets i’ll hide somewhere pack up my memory web why won’t you just let me finally retreat and cautiously back away axe held ready to strike enter the future such that i leave no trace my past glints would stop shaking you off

why on earth dear heavens did you bring me a swan you realize what a terrible overstatement it is the huge bird could barely swim in the pond by which me a poor farmhand hasn’t even a sauna where do you expect me to go with that bird people will give me strange looks in public they won’t even let me into the theater or into the building where they dance swan lake and what kind of a message would it give to my swan anyway my swan with bends of the wing aching from the cramped pond not that it would ever be my swan it’d probably turn into a god instead bobbing slowly towards my bed at night head full of lecherous thoughts and even if it doesn’t bob then where there’s god there’s trouble a rooster with him we’ll go fishing the rooster stares pensively at the dark water and i do too we leave the hooks at home when we look for worms the rooster gobbles them up

Selection translated by Adam Cullen

Jüri Kolk (b. 1972) is an Estonian writer, translator, and publicist. His debut poetry collection, Barbarian Conan in the Land Behind the Looking-Glass (and What He Spoke There), was published in 2009, and he has written nearly two dozen books since then. His poetry book Fugue received the 2023 Cultural Endowment of Estonia’s Award for Poetry.

Jüri Kolk

Fuuga/ Fugue

Puänt, 2023,48 pp.

ISBN 9789916968284