Translated from the Polish by Michal Ciebielski
they put the casket in front of the house: it was padded with a pink fabric and looked like a magnolia and they took pictures with it there was no crying or buzzing of flies someone played a hymn sung by Enrico Caruso when the sun set and it became completely dark they lit lanterns and hung them from the trees then they took the corpse out of the casket and danced with him his wife stepped on his feet as usual and told him with guilt and longing: why did you do this to us how could you how could you and he replied: I died so that you could believe in something again your divine happiness and delight is for me the highest reward for the hours in which my pulse slowed and I heard your whimpering
Mr. Cogito and the written letter
the war is going on and German soldiers visit Mr. Cogito they ask him if he is hiding Jews in his basement Mr. Cogito because he respects the truth and will never lie to get his way says: in my basement I’m hiding fifteen Jews among them six children, two men and seven women a leaf of plaster falls off of the wall in the hallway the lightbulb flickers off but a black cat lovingly purrs and brushes between their legs Mr. Cogito steps down into the basement to get a new lightbulb then twists it in and turns on the light and stands in the window and sees the Germans taking the Jewish family away next he opens the Bible takes a pencil and underlines: do not break your oath all you need to say is simply yes yes no no
Arthur Schopenhauer’s papa committed suicide and in doing so sentenced his own son to a lifetime of agony dear Arthur the Upanishads didn’t help you nor Buddhist Wisdom nor empathy nor esthetics all of this just a luminous substitute it’s four in the afternoon I see you taking walks around Frankfurt together with your funny dog - little devil you’re probably thinking of your wretched mother and of your father repeating in perpetuity: you must live Arthur you must live
he said that he had beaten me and that the truth was on his side both of us died: a spider made a dwelling out of his eye a fox made a burrow out of my belly I don’t hold it against him I’m glad that we achieved equality after death neither one a slave to the other however, sometimes I feel bad for my teeth I had beautiful and strong teeth
Grzegorz Kwiatkowski is a Polish poet and musician from Gdansk. He has published six collections of poetry and his work has been translated into several languages. He is a cocreator and member of the Polish alternative band Trupa Trupa.
Michal Ciebielski is a translator of modern and contemporary Polish poetry.