MISTY, BUSY COUNTRYSIDE. Red houses follow red goats. We make plans. Say goat-and-wondercandle, goat-instead-of-child. This should not come as a surprise. We shake bells, the sun stands still. We pull pants, lend hands, a heart is torn in part. We can line up concepts all around the goat, mountain starfish in moving extracts, a blink of an eye in March, elective wind contact. Then encounters will happen. Harbor air. Daily business run through, horizons without compelling reason. We move, feet on the gravel seam of the road. What was above us went all across the sky.
IF YOU DON'T STOP, a whole countryside begins. A palm of the hand turns, turns into a street fair. You now leave and distinctly come back. But your palm already turns again. Turns into construction noise or geraniums. It is not obvious that you are living now. Your way home manages everything on its own: houses, trees, balconies painted on the underside. You may be late, lose two fingers, three rooms, one fear, and close the door. Your keyring gives you sounds, while you give it air.
WHATEVER HAPPENS: we've got some birch trees by the open window that fit in with everything. Every hand gesture, a beginning perhaps, a piece of paper. Also the apartment house in rain or sun or as a large skinned salmon. Women and children begin to call, tie their voices to the birch trees, try out something, go away. We sense a wink on our cheeks. Our fingers appear and play and multiply and ply. We can do no wrong. Even though we fit in with the birch trees, change mood without effort, sit somewhere in summer shoes, our backs to the salmon. Salmon, we say, salmon, and ask: who is in charge of water, of whirls and stormproof sheds? All room air is salmon air now, the outside air of birch trees. And the voices of women and children circle the birch trees without the women and children.
AIR GUITAR. Right now the sky has a crooked shoulder, wants to be named branch and difficulty, begin its wind service among the trees. Long hesitation remains rather long hesitation. It isn't sad to leave me standing here, to help my neck reach all the way to the tongue, my ears will get to hear alright, I'll quickly take an air guitar and practice rustling leaves. I can imagine where the sun is moping on this day that gives in and lights up by molesting itself until a landscape appears. No, it isn't sad to quietly bend over a fence quite without oneself.
THE MOUNTAINS MAKE sense with the window, but not common cause, nor with the tree or shrub grown into the difficulty of handing the view a round of fingers which, appearing and veering, while away the time until a beautiful gesture stands in vain.
WHAT STEPS IN AND INTERVENES? Legs like to return obliviously. I get up. Eat something light at the window. What's up with the trees kicks my back with lack of a plan. The welcome light moves the houses together a bit rudely for my taste, quickly a parking space lights up in order to quiet down, streets fall out of language with the shrubs entrusted to them, then roofs take due notice of movable clouds, and every bus can have its own end of the world. It seems I will take a walk and not remember.
CEDARS. Just distraction at the edge of the lid, no debris. No narrow moon or malleable half-sleep, we stand before cedars. Cedars after a full body-turn out on the slope. First heat opens our armpits. And your voice, my voice, awakened with cedars. Cedars, our sequences of milkless cuntsonants. We play catch. Catch. With airy squabbling silver poplars. You bend your knee. We see our arms come to rest under pressure from the motionless air. The distance unfebrile with two radiant clouds. And the cedars no longer move, except on our tongues.
WATER. Maple leaves. The windings of the dog rose. Eyes. Eyebrows. And hollows in the screen door made by nose and fingers. Showroom, nowhere torn by the airstream of children. A splashing water basin, no fountain turns, shuts off the mouth. Will stun you. Not budge from the spot. You're two-timing your sleep with hexagonal mirror tiles. Only your shadow is playing. Without feet. Against so much water.
from End of the City Map
No Matter What Happens
translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop