Lives Journal 10

Lev Detela




The Tomcat

when the telephone rings
the cat raises its head
and jumps into the shade of a nearby tree

it is not alone
three other cats are already there

the yellow eyes a fifth cat glitter

in an onion patch

what does this
capricious cat
think about poor humankind?

about the catastrophes
of socialism and capitalism?

you ask too much of me

just ask around those furry rascals
under the tree

perhaps they have some sanguine

answers for you

that augur a happy new year

perhaps the cat in the onion patch

could give you the answers

he is, you see, a genuine philosopher
and sort of a demigod
and by certainly a relevant cat

if not the most significant cat
which casually prances around

on flagging limbs

in the hot grass of a summer garden


he could tell you many beautiful things
with his bright buzzing telephone voice
but unfortunately he is as silent as an evil god
we have just insulted

thus it seems to me
that the one in the onion patch
is not a genuine cat
but something completely different

who knows
what is concealed
in this horrific mystery?



Fish in Aspic

it's getting dark
says the fish in aspic
which is extremely important
for the export of the fishing industry

indoors in delamaris * -

water-factory palace
an old white-haired shark drinks
to the health of the fish pie

this brew isnít bad
he says pompously
with his pointed toothy maw

and by the way I know exactly
how to come to grips with such fish dealings

getting to the heart of the matter
and finally the fish as usual

have the final say

you known
that the fish salad
has been transported down for three thousand years...
you apulia and calabria
and in all the straits...
and irrevocably...remember this for all time
to pompeii and naples on the laurel wreath
of the tomb of the immortal virgil

that's unheard of says the sardine in the can
such latin is without rhyme or reason
totally false with no purpose or sense to it
we immediately call good vesuvius for help
giving us this tempest
saving us from this muck

I posit clear and simple
before the whole wide world

that you know what you can do
with your phony grammar
and miserable campania felix

that we have so belittled


so go fly a kite

yell the fish in aspic

this sour jelly
is good for you and since new yearís day
the measure of all things in contemporary civilization
and our dear creator should (bene vertat)
cause us to be happy until our appropriate end



* Delamaris, cannery in Izola, Slovenia



Translated by Herbert Kuhner





Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)