Ben Lerner, Stewart O’Nan

De Amerikaanse dichter, schrijver, essayist en criticus Benjamin S. (Ben) Lerner werd geboren op 4 februari 1979 in Topeka, Kansas. Zie ook alle tags voor Ben Lerner op dit blog.


The sky narrates snow…

The sky narrates snow. I narrate my name in the snow.
Snow piled in paragraphs. Darkling snow. Geno-snow
and pheno-snow. I staple snow to the ground.

In medieval angelology, there are nine orders of snow.
A vindication of snow in the form of snow.
A jealous snow. An omni-snow. Snow immolation.

Do you remember that winter it snowed?
There were bodies everywhere. Obese, carrot-nosed.
A snow of translucent hexagonal signifiers. Meta-snow.

Sand replaced with snow. Snowpaper. A window of snow
opened onto the snow. Snow replaced with sand.
 A sandman. Obese, carrot-nosed. Tiny swastikas

of snow. Vallejo’s unpublished snow.
Real snow on the stage. Fake blood on the snow.


The sky is a big responsibility…

The sky is a big responsibility. And I am the lone intern. This explains
my drinking. This explains my luminous portage, my baboon heart
that breaks nightly like the news. Who

am I kidding? I am Diego Rodríguez Velázquez. I am a dry
and eviscerated analysis of the Russian Revolution.
I am line seven. And my memory, like a melon,
contains many dark seeds. Already, this poem has achieved

the status of lore amongst you little people of New England. Nevertheless,
I, Dr. Samuel Johnson, experience moments of such profound alienation
that I have surrendered my pistols to the care of my sister,
                                                                   Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche]

Forgive me. For I have taken things too far. And now your carpet is ruined.
Forgive me. For I am not who you think I am, I am Charlie Chaplin

playing a waiter embarrassed by his occupation. And when the rich woman
                                                                                            I love]  
enters this bistro, I must pretend that I’m only pretending to play a waiter
                                                                                            for her]


What am I…

What am I the antecedent of?
When I shave I feel like a Russian.
When I drink I’m the last Jew in Kansas.
I sit in my hammock and whittle my rebus,
I feel disease spread through me like a theory.
I take a sip from Death’s black daiquiri.

Darling, my favorite natural abstraction is a tree
so every time you see one from the highway
remember the ablative case in which I keep
your tilde. (A scythe of moon divides
the cloud. The story regains its upward sweep.)
O slender spadix projecting from a narrow spathe,

you are thinner than spaghetti but not as thin as vermicelli.
You are the first and last indigenous Nintendo


De duisternis verzamelt…

De duisternis verzamelt onze lege flessen, leegt onze asbakken,
Bedoelde je ‘dit kan altijd zo doorgaan’ op een goede manier?
Boven in de geurige spanten wankelen motten rond fijner stuifmeel.
Doe gerust de lichten

aan of uit. Naar de orde van grootte, een glyphe,
draagbaar, smal – Verdomme. Ik ben het kwijt. Behalve zijn schaduw. Geworpen
op de lange termijn. Terwijl de duisternis aan ons zit.
Daarvoor vroeg je, of ik de gegevens zou ingaan als een kamer, nou ja,

Ofwel is de zon begonnen met de verbranding
Van zijn manuscripten of ik ben een sukkel, een sukkel
met mijn elf halfedelstenen ringen. Echte sneeuw
op het podium. Nepbloed in de sneeuw. Zou dit altijd kunnen

doorgaan op een goede manier? Een brein liet kant achter door tijd of bliksem.
De kip is een beetje droog en/of je hebt mijn leven verpest.


Vertaald door Frans Roumen


Ben Lerner (Topeka, 4 februari 1979)


De Amerikaanse schrijver Stewart O’Nan werd geboren op 4 februari 1961 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Zie ook alle tags voor Stewart O’Nan op dit blog.

Uit: Ocean State

“When I was in eighth grade my sister helped kill another girl. She was in love, my mother said, like it was an excuse. She didn’t know what she was doing. I had never been in love then, not really, so I didn’t know what my mother meant, but I do now.
This was in Ashaway, Rhode Island, outside Westerly, down along the shore. That fall we lived in a house by the river, across the road from the mill where my grandmother had met my grandfather. The Line & Twine was closed, posted with rusty NO TRESPASSING signs, but just above the dam someone had snipped a hole in the fence with bolt cutters so you could sneak in the back. We used to roller-skate up and down the aisles between the dusty looms, Angel weaving, teaching me how to do crossovers and go backwards. She could do spins like an iceskater, her hands making shapes in the air. I wanted to do spins and be graceful like her, but I was chubby and a klutz and when I stood beside her in church I was invisible. My mother said I shouldn’t worry, that in time I’d find my special talent. “I was a late bloomer,” she said, as if that was supposed to be comforting. What if I didn’t have a special talent? I wanted to ask. What if a hopeless nerd was all I’d ever be?
My mother’s talent was finding new boyfriends and new places for us to live. She worked as a nurse’s aide at the Elms, an old folks’ home in Westerly where my great-aunt Mildred lived, and didn’t make any money. Fridays she’d come home and change, brushing her hair out, making up her face, using too much perfume. She’d been a cheerleader and could dance. She dieted, or tried to. Facing the narrow mirror on her closet, she complained that nothing fit her anymore. I used to look like you, she told Angel, like a threat, and it was true, in her old pictures they could have been twins. If she’d wanted to, she said, she could have married a doctor, but they were all assholes. Your father was sweet.
We knew our father was sweet. What we didn’t understand was when he’d become an asshole, or why. My grandmother had never liked him because his family was Portuguese. He’d tricked my mother into turning Catholic and then abandoned her. Never trust a Port-a-gees, she said, like it was a joke. I had his dark hair and eyes, so what did that make me?”


Stewart O’Nan (Pittsburgh, 4 februari 1961)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 4e februari ook mijn blog van 4 februari 2019 en eveneens mijn blog van 4 februari 2018 deel 1 en ook deel 2.