Poems by András Gerevich
(Translated by George Szirtes)
“Sometimes I wake from dreams
and I have no idea what I am,
old or young, boy or girl.
I have to touch myself
to check: the only evidence is
my sweating body in the damp bed.”
Tiresias sat facing me. He’d been
walking his dog , I’d been running.
Both of us slumped on a bench.
“It has long ceased to matter whether
it is light or dark. The inner clock
that knew the time of day has stopped.
It’s years since I lived in the present,
only in prophecies and myths;
I can’t find my way in the street.”
He lit a cigarette and scratched his dog
behind the ear. “András, if I could
talk about it, just this once perhaps…
in my dreams I am always a woman,
wild and desirable, and wholly out of reach,
adored and admired by men.
I play with my breasts in my dreams,
my skin soft and delicate. Light trembles
throughout the entire dream-sequence.”
He scratched his shin with his white stick,
the skin was peeling off his hands, his face,
the dog had found a hedgehog to play with.
“The loveliest time of my life seems
So short, a matter of minutes now.
It was when men still desired me.
He gave a deep sigh, spat and looked away.
“If you enjoy being a man be careful,
you could at anytime turn into a woman.
The line between the two is too narrow.
Perhaps if I become pregnant,
I would still be a woman, a mother.”
Achilles and I are hunting for wild boar at dawn in the forest.
Troy is quiet, the encampment is quiet, only birds singing.
I am sweaty and scarred. There’s a foul taste in my mouth.
We partied the night away. We don’t feel like sleeping.
Achilles lies down on the grass, I massage his tired limbs,
And wash his face with a cool cloth dipped in the stream.
„This war of ours will last a long time yet. We’re up for revenge.
All that snarling has given me a toothache. There aren’t enough women.
We’ve been through all the villages but there aren’t enough, never enough, women.”
András Gerevich (Budapest, 1976) published four volumes of poetry in Hungarian, his work has been translated into two dozen languages, he has books in English, French, German, Bulgarian and Slovenian. András has taught courses in Poetry at Vassar College in New York and Eötvös University in Budapest. He was Poetry Editor for two literary journals: Kalligram in Budapest and Chroma in London, and an assistant producer for the radio program Poetry by Post for the BBC World Service. András has also worked as a screenwriter and playwright, and he has published essays, stories and reviews too.