Poems by Marcell Szabó
Ornette Coleman Transcriptions
It’s the beginning, the end of something
that was kneaded from clumsiness.
The sound of the horns and the bathroom
I need to make talk from now on. I wanted to say
that I became an ever deepening pocket,
still I am full of matchboxes.
The morning freeze happens in a
complicated thrashing way, later,
I’ll make hazy concessions. I can touch
any part of her, I could go on until noon.
The small pile of wood in the yard, I can’t get
it out of my head, to have a cue like this.
Then, as if I’d stare into a heavy helmet,
trying to imagine the faces. These kind of
images create redundant days. Standing
before the large mirror, this body reserves
for me this, at least for my two own mistakes.
That it’s quite human like to oblige her.
She told me to understand
All I could think of was that
these vases are not vases,
that this day is fully packed with
many times and different ways,
that the bread was baked somewhere else
and was calmly brought over here,
that these children
won’t be saved by anyone
from any laughter
they will laugh
that it’d be enough of a hint
if a chair would be thrown at us,
the other instruction for today
would be that whatever happens
I have to run to the back yard
in humiliation as if I were deaf
or shamefully happy
not to see the chequered notebook pages
thumbnailed upon the adobe wall,
the way they, one after another
are scrupulously grateful for even numbers,
for cities and pit-ponies,
for us and for the cold winch of the railroad crossing bar.
(Translated by Michael Castro and Gábor Gyukics)
The Tepid Heart, but Let’s Not Repeat It
The plaid shirt you left forgotten
on the garden bench. Such is time gone past.
In the house you so love your mother
always gets the first word. How long
the backroom’s watched over this head.
Blabbing’s absurd. I waited up for you,
and left to myself like all those times before,
I slipped my hand up your blouse.
Pristine July. The sun comes out
and stays that way through the afternoon.
The grass dries, the puny seed
soaks into the earth. By nightfall even
the last fence becomes clear. You hit
the roof, what d’you mean, pristine,
the dark is nothing but the dark.
With the dead I’m somehow
more steadfast. I say two years,
then we sell the house. The gate, the rusty
bars are what I remember. A heart is
that which hates or might just not,
yet still never gives an inch. You can
roam through life’s blurry halls.
I make coffee without a thought for you.
So long there’s a time-table and there are trains.
At the dirt road’s end the station’s stood
nearly fifty years. I walk to the store, where
the gal’s still called the gal, and I’m still friends
with her daughter. Then back to the waiting room,
back to the scoured stone benches. On our street
an ancient mine gapes, summer passes.
Let it be Sunday, let it be morning. May
the house rouse ’round eight. May everything
follow in drowsy, delayed order,
may two bodies obey a never-known habit.
A light wind, autumn garden, whatever’s in it edible,
just let this all be. And let’s talk till noon,
as if a guest were jotting down, taking note
of every word. Let’s consistently say this carcass
is the past, and in front of life may this regularly appear:
fucking. Let’s lie about character, cities, roles,
but the names, for God’s sake, let’s not repeat.
(Translated by Maya J. LoBello)
Marcell Szabó poet and translator was one of the founding members of Telep (Settlement) poetry group. Since 2014, he is the editor of Versum Online, an online journal of contemporary poetry focusing exclusively on translation. He is currently working on his third book of poetry.