Saturday, 23 May 2009

Two Poems by Monika Rinck, translated by Alistair Noon

spending a fortnight in a diving bell

slapping down cards in the chamber of dangerous moments,
then booting a ball around, boomadiboom, the fittings
one enormous clatter. all our bloodstreams
saturated with nitrogen. to decompress
is a daily trial. whole families doze in neoprene,
sorted by size. this waiting, while membranes whimper.
but once that’s over, further treatment with cudgels
fits between first and second tarantellas.
the straps in the gymsuits snap, glasses
mist up inside. between two corresponding shifts
the as yet undecompressed put in a game
of strip chess. but the aching, aging tissue desaturates
too quickly once more, and the pressure just won’t sink.

drifting accumulation

stick to the syllables. no doubt about it now
I’m subject to a takeover, whose aim is to remove me.
some creature launched it. a jellyfish perhaps, conglomerates
of jellyfish. enormous. the weight of it. it’s always inside.
it thinks there’s something to be had. I’m wrong: this
is no animal. depression has no lungs. neither do jellyfish.
its single property is weight. lava lamps, I think.
now they were a good drink, weren’t they. was it there,
back then, the creature that’s no animal but only weight?
we tried to keep the beat. did everything to stop from slowing.
until it cameth to us, spilt and down for the count.
pointless to ponder. it’s there, until it's gone.


Monika Rinck was born in 1969 in Zweibrücken and lives in Berlin. She studied Religious Studies, History und Comparative Literature at Bochum, Berlin and Yale. Her books include Zum Fernbleiben der Umarmung ('to refrain from embracing', poems, Kookbooks 2007), Ah, das Love-Ding (essays, Kookbooks 2006) and Verzückte Distanzen ('enraptured distances', poems, zu Klampen! Verlag 2004). English translations of her work have been published in Shearsman, Litter, No Man's Land, and Atlanta Review, among other places.

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