Too nice a drunk

locking up my bike in front of the store
a babbling drunk approached me
I wanted to withdraw
but he said
you forgot
to pat your steed after the ride
I was startled but obeyed
went my hand on the seat

approval flashed in the drunk’s eyes:
you’re young and pretty
but don’t you go
sitting on the ground
before spring thunder

I had a sweetheart once
young and pretty too
but y’see she didn’t listen
and was ugly and ill afore long

I looked upon the drunk
grey-stubbled face
missing most of his teeth
(though his words weren’t toothless at all)
but his eyes
were long-lashed
handsome blue kind

that drunk had been a little boy once
for whom purses were searched for candy
people said
what a boy
what eyelashes
like a doll’s
his mother’s pride and joy

too kind unfortunately
I thought as I patted my bike
before the ride
and spurred it on our way
mounting the saddle once more
and speeding off

but the drunk sat down
on the ground in front of the store
long before
the first spring thunder



But someday a slow time will start

perhaps on a
Friday night following frenetics and frenzy
when I find in my mailbox a ticket
for constant speeding
and you know what:
you’ve got a several-year debt of silence
we’d ask you to pay
at first opportunity
otherwise we may stop or constrain
or even permanently shut down

then the morning must dawn at last
when I wake up only by daylight
gather the alarm clock’s fallen hands
and sticks from my head
with those I’ll light the wood-burning stove

all is only budding
I greet titmice tick- to tockteen minutes
then put stews on the stove
oxtail soup set to quiver
until the broth turns gluish from fat
leg of lamb in the oven for eternity
beans are already soaking

the slowest
of all

there’s time for grinding spices
for waiting while
caraway and cardamom
surrender their deepest secrets

boiling and baking
become a whole day’s doing
I no longer put up with
wiping out my initial appetite
by gobbling
I want to feel every mouthful
reaching atoms
nourishing and replenishing them
there’s time for chatting with plasma

time for healing old pains
not merely for swiftly silencing them

when I’ve finally smeared scented lanolin
down to the tip of my toes
so that from then on all excess
can simply slide away
I can, I start a treatise
in praise of slowness:

bodily speed depends on the frame of reference
by which speed is measured

> Speed-proof, water- and whistle-resistant,
breathable gore-tex me




To be awake and still
so early
when day has appeared for us again
a day like driftwood
on the shore of all days
new and old alike

to be stiller than still
and grasp what is tinier than tiny –
that when silence has become and stayed our jewel

you might even hear how
garden snail penetrates dandelion leaves

to be so still
you might notice anemone’s grace
blossom from last year’s waste
might divine –
no doubt abundance will one day tower
above each ache

to be truly still
so anticipation holier than holy
might elevate us

so the light of old worlds
might shine
and the hope of the new be perceived


so we might finally realize
there is no final silence:
only a suspending pause

and then a beginning again

(piano pianissimo)

to be so awake and still
to believe
every wingbeat affects
and beetle-prayer

(sotto voce)

to be still even yet
when the day has just gone
but to plead before sleep:
save us
save us from empty clamor



Night sparks candles on the chestnut tree
air sings in imaginary tongue

a gust through the open window is knowledge
that both our irises
blossomed in synchrony
on this night

I suppose I think about you
in imaginary tongue
for everything thickens around me
forming a single word
that I don’t yet know
nor dare say aloud