conradconrad

the world is and continues, my grandfather died

I

for weeks prior to your death i sat with a premonition
of bad writing and a toothache -
not that i ever thought much about my writing -
or that i would have to think very little of it:
more on the lines of - id est quid est -
                                      mind you - i took my mind
off writing by working in the garden  -
the pergola had to be erected so an evergreen could
be cut down -
and the wisteria that was hugging it
could be cleaved from it and dropped onto the:
prior mentioned pergola...
there was some light cement work on the fence:
a little trench had to be dug so the neighbour's
weeds would not burrow beneath...
                all that since i last saw you -
come late july - most certainly - no... wait...
come to think of it... it was late august...
me and your son-in-law (my father) were driving
across all of europe -
and on the way back i remember the heat on
the belgium france border...
                 it was an immense sensation of
whale lung thrown onto a frying pan of a stoney
beach... or at least: the sensation of stickiness
is how it could be imagined -
                perhaps that's how you can ever
begin to read a bruno schulz's cinnamon shops -
immediately from the first sentence:
that barrage of ultra- something or other:
ubergrammar - no... just that necessary style i am
yet to accustomed myself to...

II

that was 3 months ago - and i'm still learning
that: we live by regrets and memories -
which are hardly sins -
just as i remember, you'd say...
'call me every month and check up on me,
call me up and say "hey grandpa! how's
it going?!" i know we both can't talk
on the telephone - to talk you need to see
hands move, you need a face to peer at...'
that is my regret...
although the last words we exchanged
were about you wanting to buy me the rest
of karl ove knausgaard's mein kampf...
which, 3 months later, i knew you would...

IIIa

i've finally sat down to scribble something
down - if i were using my right hand
and a pen on a piece of paper
you'd immediately recognise my hand-writting
and tell me how unrefined it is:
that i'm chicken-scratching -
that i write like: kura pazorem -
   and i'd tell you: precursor of the next
stage in the process: i'll be typing
through and through...

      you died on the 23rd of october
at 5:30am if i remember, 5:10am
sounds better - circa -
            your wife (grandma) called
circa 11am on the 22nd of october and left
a message - i was out walking
complaining: how i'm not alone enough,
premonition after premonition -
she called in a confused state although
i beg to differ - that you were heaving
your last pangs of life
in a hospice - or that she just placed you
there...
i had my ticket booked for the 24th hoping
to catch you: just yet...
on the 23rd i was told at 8am...
your daughter my mother told me
upon waking, then left the house to pretend
nothing had happened...
i got up, cleaned the house...
i begged a deity or simply ex nihil that
i might cry that i might be left with
a sinking sensation...
by evening i was sitting with a headache
worth a siamese twin and hardly
welcoming the next morning where
i would fly out...
    sketchy: barely any details...
and that's how sorrow, grief, anguish...
began to creep in...
the tears your daughter cried...
i would gentle waver in a pseudo-dance
with her in the bathroom
as she cried into my shoulder
and would later
blow her nose into my t-shirt...
it pained me that i was unable
to release my heart from these piles
of rock...

IIIb

it's the 1st of november: guy fawkes night...
i'm sitting sipping a 30% cherry vodka
and pretending to chase it down with some pepsi...
3 months ago i told you i quit smoking,
i lied and i didn't lie:
i continued to smoke 2 a day -
when i wanted to write, when i pretended to write -
and on the odd occasion that i proved
to myself that i was writing: i smoked 3 per evening...
hardly the usual pack a day...
3 months ago when i last saw you
i didn't smoke a single one...
for the last 3 weeks i saw you...

IV

the most vivid image i have of you is you
picking up knausgaard's autumn and reading
an extract about eating apples -
how he never leaves apple cores -
just eats the whole apple so that there's
a pleasure and then a debt at the core:
of bitterness -
i pondered this twice on a walk...
if you leave enough flesh around the core...
three bites along the length of the apple...
and you fiddle the apples seeds
with your tongue and teeth...
there's hardly any bitterness of...
eating an apple like a magician...
hardly any lesson invoked concerning life...
but that wasn't our usual conversation:
you already exhausted your cameo cinema
of memory to the point where
i would remember the surnames /
names of the people in your life...

colonel zydaczek in your days
as a military gendarme...
on parade in warsaw...

V

the intricacy of the hell that is family...
i can't be fooled about how unhappy your marriage
was...
kept for reasons of propriety or some other:
safety mechanism or the best kept excuse imaginable...
what might have been preserved if...
say... if i were the sort of man that was born
into the 20th century -
                many years prior to 1986...
you would have been a great-grandfather for
at least 10 years...
it was hardly necessary to be the only grandchild
but that i was... and remained...

VI

you're dead and i'm still three-quarters alive:
how can i write some solace for myself:
how can death become this spectacular cut-off
point where i can no longer harvest
any memories of you...
you're dead and i'm lingering -
not completely debilitated:
just unsure whether a mountain is this
grand metaphor for something
that is:

today i tested whether grief is an aphrodisiac,
i jerked off to humbert humbert's
fantasy since it was already freely
available and felt no need to go beyond
what was already taboo...
then i took a shadow and i knew that
if on high: herr omni- c.c.t.v. cyclop eye
would not be looking at such details...

you're dead and i'm not going to beg
for rhymes and odes -
to write some miraculous epitaph -
beside cutting up onions today -
tears! finally! tears! i managed to cry
authentic tears once more!
it only took cutting up an onion to do so!
but, with such tears...
no softening of the heart -
heart's still a stone...
and brain is still... hardly a whirlwind of
disposed thoughts
and only: pickled with eye, ear and tongue
extensions:
pretty hoarding fungus chappie: sort of...

VII

i'm happy to tell you the world is still
"happening": whether by concerns for dasein
or a lack of thereof... but the mud / shit flinging has
never been greater...
you took the best of what autumn had to
offer...
a bouquet of bronzes and geld,
of frivolous yellows and burnt orange translating
itself into bold deepenings
of transcending prime artifacts of:
her gown of sweet scented rot: of(f) brown...
you should have seen the light
as it married itself to a fleeting of once
formerly amen of green...
the blistering sky as blue as a aristocracy of
angelic blood: formidable events took
place: i imagine you were in conversation
with someone...

VIII

the ceremony itself was unspectacular...
if the restrictions weren't in place:
i imagine many more people would have come...
three women stood out from
the rest, i imagined them to be your
former lovers...
i stood at the entrance of the church
not wanting to talk to anyone...
closing my eyes i moved from side to side
like a tree teased by the wind...
you were attired in prof. trim of navy
as i was... black can hardly be associated
with mourning or with a funeral...
i chanced upon navy...
grey was also visible...
but black is for paupers / plebs...
something more refined was in order...
navy or a darkening - charcoal grey...
we talked about this: or at least i imagine it
to be so: black is reserved for
priests and for crows...

IX

since your death i have found a return to england,
every time i left you, i left dear mother,
poland,
i guess not anymore...
since the headache of all the formalities:
and your son (my uncle) being so unbelievably
circa 50 years old...
never mind... and your wife (my grandmother)
i landed in england as i only landed
in her bosom only once prior:
the first time -
hardly excited like the first time -
but content that i... don't really have anything
to return to: that feral land...
for the first time i can become
so carelessly formal: expediently pressed
to poker my stay in those black-holes of
a land: you were dying like a patriarch
of former communism when
abortions rights were atheistically pronounced
and liberally secular...
the women came onto the streets
in protests of their rights being removed:
that they would have to give birth
to deformed foetuses...
notably? because by biological deficiency:
they would still have to be born...
since incest or rape didn't play a role...

barbarous land of catholicism...
and all this time i was like:
so... what's it like then?
i jerk off into a tissue and flush it along
with the crocodiles...
am i committing genocide?!
if i were given a fixed amount of sperm!
perhaps... but this spunk comes
like glue or salt in the oceans!

Xa

in the prosektorium...
             the dissecting-room... the morgue...
after all... i knew that walking around town
and putting up the necrologue would be easy...
3 x 100ml of vodka bravado and i was:
pirate-chested hairy!
my long coat and all the your pearls of beauty
would start calling me gwandp'ah...
the bureaucratic details of your death:
someone had to identify you in the coffin...
i was expecting something: completely different...
i'm not sure someone can prepare
you: prepare you seeing a dead body...
esp... a dead body attired for a ceremony...
hell... i've seen a roadkill before:
a fox... i kept feeding a fox for a month...
seen a fox up-close...
i imagine a dead body "by accident" is a lot different
to... i've seen a  man knock another man
dead - one blow to the head
and a pancake on the street...
it's a bit different... seeing someone...
so well presented: for: the ceremony...

Xb

upon entry i remember the colour of the tiles:
what a bewildering window-shopping
reference, a sponge of a waiting room,
i don't really knew what it was that it was
supposed to be waited for:
identifying you:
you adamant to not get new porcelain worth
of teeth: milkshake baron you...
slurp up the rest of your meals...
i supposed... you and your missing
prosthetic teeth...
but first came into view your shoe:
which wasn't yours...
but as an extension of your feet
i guess it was...
it was "just there"...
             NUR DA...
                     peeping from above
the horizon of the coffin...
teasing me before i would come
antlitz zu antlitz...

arms folded: immaculately cut fingernails...
a bruise from the igrawka
of dryp dryp dryp...
your sunken cheeks...
your lips stitched together:
yet your sunken cheeks...
your inability to borrow a jaw... strong enough:
that pearl of a pear of your chin...
your frivolous last expectation
of the already lost hair...
of course i couldn't be a pure
atheistic / materialist -
i was a child again: i wouldn't call it
a soul: i would call it
the sigma-of-animation...
the sum-of-animation...
obviously this was missing...
that detail that essence was lost:
the earth implored for the body to be
paid as ransom...

but there you were: face somehow
recognizable: yet returned to the generic
project of the dead, the babes
and all those daddy-long-legs
anorexic models parading exhausted
beauty on catwalks of:
skin a leopard... dress a skeleton etc.

now we have conceived that:
i want to drink to tell the truth...
i will not revise this like some comedy
sketch:
it's not the best i can do:
it's all i can...
let's not pander to critique or a lack
or audience...

Xc

i do remember a "little" detail concerning
you...
you were a philately enthusiast, weren't you?
no wonder only i among the closest kin
wanted to sleep in the room
where you least heaved:
spewed some blood and were
surrounded by books...
and there be postage stamps!
i "stole" 4 albums with a collection of
them... i hardly think of selling them
to pay for electricity...
believe me: sooner i dead in belgian
euros or swiss franks at a dignitas clinic
since i'll be left completely solo
than have to...
sell them to sustain myself...
but as it happens... your wife...
my grandmother... was furiously tasked:
well... tasked me...
with withdrawing the 500zl per day
of all you 7000zl worth...

money money money:
i do wonder what grandma will spend all that
money on...
i don't think i'll want to inherit:
but these stamps are...
well... i have photographs of you from
1965 when you were still a young man...
but you were my grandfather:
i own your identity card...
with a photograph taken circa 15 years ago...

the circus / the church already stated:
you have died you are relieved from
all things temporal...
why the spatial details at all matter:
coordinates "hier" coordinates "da"...
and "sein" and "abwesend"...

you became a brother at the funeral...
you were no longer hierarchal with contest
for power broking future and past...
my brother: not my grandfather...
the priest: father, said so...
       bollocks' load of hierarchy:
fiddling sputnik violins from kindergarten...
roman catholicism...

grandmother still stresses her upbringing
ever-more...
she still thinks we are vermin-people
and that hitler should have started
with us rather than with the hebrews...
you and i know that's
a ceremony of: no comment...

how would you have detailed this approach:
i know how you would have:
it's not even worth mentioning since
we would already graze upon a superiority
complex with an inability to brush it off
with a laugh...
because we wouldn't laugh...
it would be a a headache to detail:
and i was born with this "other" half
included...

XI

look! we're nearing the devil's dozen...
which comes to the clue:
13: as jesus the hey-zeus!
       proto-paul and the propaganda
of how the hebrews and the wounded greeks
overthrew the romans...
ruled for a bit... and then...
come... the ottoman turks...
sort of... gave head....

XII

we could joke: ich: the plural ownership of they,
ich: haben - that deutsche and i,
one might always expect a dog to bark
come the night...
no no... this all too much detail for all:
the necropolis of poland that's nuanced
egypt - they have to buy up lease
for their graves...
carve out graves without dates of death:
they buy out 2nd mortgages of pyramid
democracy and crux...
the hebrews left pretended to giggle:
hard torn with the ashes...
me buying up history which could
never compete with an anglo-1960s
detail: snippet...

XIII

that i find an oyster wriggling in
the shell that's a skull that's somehow
a chewing gum's worth of a tongue...
this phantom of dirty white that's white
that's also stained with burgundian lashes
of agony of sipping wine
while spilling it over the cranium
of golgotha...
scalped...
learn to detail this new graffiti....

XIV

i talked to Paul before i took toward
the darkness and two whores pretending
to be virgins upon the mt. of Kierkut...
he asked me how tall i was...
then he stood a step one above the tally
of my count, above me...
to measure up...
  and as he talked i had no face:
he would only concentrate on the region
that was supposed to be an ownership of
my heart...
once... i talked to a nurse on defeaning
tube train...
i was lip-reading...
but this thief: he told me... Piccadilly Gardens
of Manchester...
in the prisons with
the russians... and those that punched above
their weight... would inject vaseline or
whatever might... cushion a "sudden"
disappearance of knuckles to
make a full-fat-pouch of a fist...

poluse... not polack...
this guillotine measured "short" would bemoan
his luck with women...
around us... women walked like
sacred cows...
any old mongol would have... would have...
soud-hampton high on Herra...
this is just after your funeral...
i had to take a walk and pretend to
breathe and own a dog...
my list of excuses writing you
are drying up...
what with the promises of the islamic
republic of the world...
all these untouched all these
unloved virgins of the wriggling harem...

XV

arktyka - antarktyka -
antarktyka - arktyka -
             sąd - sad -
  sad - sąd -
      judgement - orchard -
           arctic - antarctic...

XVI

an... AFFOGATO...
well... that's 30ml of espresso...
and... a scoop of ice-cream...

XVII

what daughters-in-law there could have been:
if... bread was skimmed...
and the milk was...
trickling down from heaving...
stones instead of believing oneself
to be a courtesan of cows...
what promises governed the hebrews...
when... for what was their lot:
and subsequent loot...
the qurun drilled a blackening portal...
the arabs celebrated...
the russians would always inherit
siberia...
estonia was given  snippet
of the baltic sea curated by the danes...
lithuania shrunk into memory and beyond...
germany frau benß fur immer merz...
the huns / gargoyles in southern greece:
i.e. and northern macedonia...
balkan pirouettes of detail:
regained pride...

ah! ya!
ß = "z"
s = s
c = k
z = "c"                 jawohl!

XVIII

herrbittebonbon!
and your finger sticky from all that
SS-toffee...
translation: herr! bitte! bonbon!
which you always were...
the 1939 prior to the "adventures"
of the 20th century...
which sedated the grand yawn
of the british empire come
the zenith last exhaustion of
the 1960s and then some
"tremor christ" quasi canadian
for the finicky "end-of" summary
of a fucking football match-up...

the ottoman Janissaries vs.
the egyptian Mamluks!
   vs. the Mongolian horde!
                 in german it must sound
universal:
ist der straße gerad(e)?
to hell with asking in one's native
spreschen... future bent... nuanced got...
this returned alt vater spreschen...
i come with a shadow that
king arthur combated...

XIX

i would be writing a wriggle of russian:
if i were also writing enough finesse of
diacritical detail(s)
but given this diacritical blank:
dyslexia prone pro-latin english
UMPIRE stutter EMEMEM EM...
i would be: but apps don't work
with cyrillic or ancient turkic...
chopper
čopper... wait... what use is that...
extra P?
            çopper?
hiding the "jew" the god... the mammon...
H - one leg one arm of
the tetragrammaton...

        i don't actually mind...
it's not a conspiracy low i.q. "theory":
the dictates of rhyme and fact...
best posit a revision of
punctuation:
the hyper-stressed: newly arrived at
jerusalem kippah brethren are:
insomniac: "somehow"!

it's more a: huh?!
"they" missed the poetry train
and the hyper-cultural-reinvention
of the 1960s... still stricken-blind by
what... erik lehnsherr (henry hillside)
had to endure...
what are these puffs of blistering
a pyramid a sight... these halves?!

like we'd had to total: amost...
a crew of party poopers...
we were we are... these shadow-deafness
"equipment" best excusing:
           für immer fortschritt!

     tsukunft: in ergets nit...

  so much for hebreq married to germanic...
and not to the neighbour... zunge...
yiddish wasn't born from polack tonguing
long: oi! oi! lithuanian spears!
the last remains of paganism...
by prior to moscow... blah ah ha ha...

it's not like the jews married themselves
to polack or russian...
they said their jingle-bells with
pseudo-germanic:
yiddish... didn't they?

XX

i've just seen a corpse readied for a funeral...
coffin and all...
walking through a graveyard
at night is... all too easy...
come to think of it...
i want to sleep in one...
my mortal democratic oath:
i can wait...
no matter...
give me two sponges and enough of them
soaked in acid to wait...
allow my tongue to get drunk...
my ears to succumb to deafness...

how you could deviate from german
with a spice of the odd 'ebrew...
you could...
yeah... i'm one part convinced this
secular niqab tactic does work:
as long as the arabs own
all the yachts and the air-conditioning
and all the camel milk and leather...
but... once they show...
entry points for disgruntled
mongolians...
        
        my corpse is waiting
for the 22nd century for all this to become
a promethenian platitude worth
of yawn as any... prior:
or future:
but thank god...
i'll be left without having made
any genetic investment...
perhaps an idea of mine...
perhaps some artifact that i allowed
myself to keep for a transition
period...

der ende!
as it happens... the world is...
my grandfather died...
i have little concern for the better half of it...
i'm cradling a wound of a quarter...
i guess that's how you
contest things passing guised in
matters of a temporal inquest...
however it goes...

drunk this night...
sober... two nights solid tamed with...
the worst kind of sober:
a socially expected sort of horrid;
a 14 day self-isolation presccription;
otherwise? me?
jog-friendly... whiskey and cat's whiskers!
fuck you! birth of h'america come
november!

empires die in afghanistan:
among the pashtun women.
oh yeah... lived for being fed the soul
of Karen and Mr. Surprise: a Gein Mommy's
Lover Boy -
butz the baconz iz oh soz sizzlez! ya?!

Comments1

  • jarcher54

    This is priceless . . . so many stunning and haunting recollections, impressions, and observations. Thanks so much.



To be able to comment and rate this poem, you must be registered. Register here or if you are already registered, login here.