Sunday, July 1, 2012

February 8, 1980: And no one has warned me

By Stanislaw Baranczak

And no one has warned me that freedom
may also consist of the fact that
I sit in a police station with a notebook of my own poems
hidden (what foresight) in the leg of my winter underwear,
while five civilians with a higher education
and even higher pay waste time
analyzing junk from my pocket:
streetcar tickets, a laundry receipt, a dirty
handkerchief and a mysterious (I'll die laughing) scrap of paper:
                                                          "greens
                                                            can of peas
                                                            tomato paste
                                                            potatoes";
and no one has warned me that slavery
may also consist of the fact that
I sit in a police station with a notebook of my own poems
hidden (how grotesque) in the leg of my winter underwear,
while five civilians with a higher education
and even higher foreheads have the right
to paw the innards wrenched out of my life:
streetcar tickets, a laundry receipt, a dirty handkerchief
and above all (no, this is more than I can take) that scrap of paper:

                                                          "greens
                                                            can of peas
                                                            tomato paste
                                                            potatoes"; 
and no one has warned me that my entire globe
is the space separating the opposing poles
between which there really is no space. 


Translated by Magnus J. Krynski

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