Eleven poems from Swedish poet and critic Aase Berg, translated from Swedish into English by Johannes Göransson as part of World Poetry/Prose Portfolio [WPP], curated by Sudeep Sen
From Hackers (2015)
This is a threat:
We are the woman trap. We are the hostess animal, hooked up to slop-fleshed parasites such as lazy men and manipulative fuck-obsessesives and oblivious house-pet lackeys.
But the body is a vicious circle, the women’s movement a rearing spiraling. To speak plainly about the invulnerable vulnerability, we have always been good at very complicated love.
There is a female freedom. Spaces in the feeling you don’t know exists.
Our inner machines are fine-tuned into a frozen focus:
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us — always
Tabula rasa —
the set table
its own weight
battlefield molossoids, gigant elephants, the smoke from war stallions, the block print from the chest supports and diaphragms, shivering clamp-thighs, inner muscles, sunk into seat — the scale’s hard horse-throws ring out
red runs behind, in front of the eyelid
and it is night in Njutånger
While the mud slowly stiffens on the table top and on the woman’s body smeared in mud cracks Golem the intestinal parasite folds out and reaches the stage Penthesilea difficilis; the blinding, shady and unseen terminator
Who would never —
repeat, NEVER! —
cut off its right brest
to better carry a weapon
I want to be a bird. Birds are never free. They are in complete control.
My little girl steps into a room, any room, and announces herself: “Ich bin Alma!”
When you dis me, it doesn’t have anything to do with me. I haven’t said too much or not enough, I’m neither desperate nor reserved. As if! If you can’t handle me, it’s your problem.
Ich bin Alma. I go around the world and I am: Ich bin Alma!
It is a horse and it says No.
But the human says Want you.
If you’re an animal here, you are either alive or dead.
Healthy and hearty or a bullet in your forehead.
Civilization means to love fiercely.
The new Highway E4 between Enånger and Hudiksvall before it is opened to traffic. A cold planet platform in future tense seen through the woods.
The traffic rules have not yet taken effect, and right blows from left. Still a smooth surface, the dimensions have not been awakened, they will be rolled out when speeding vehicles pull out on the wind-speed’s disappear-routes of jet velocity. The vehicles shooting by with faceless ghosts. Thickly blacked vehicles form black asphalt escape routes toward the earth’s heart.
Waves of invisible hope, a rushing river of speed.
Far in the distance, outside the endorfine room, the Motor Men’s bellowing, a four-wheeler absorbing cosmic vastness. A glowing space-fly casts flitting silhouettes on bibulous surface.
When the remorse grows steadily worse, the abuser’s ruthlessness evolves into a manic trance, from which he increasingly fears waking up. Instead metal fatigue will gradually overtake him. Can the sleep of matter be humanized?
Friction against cooling process of slow lava. A horse who grazes next to the highway, dissolved sap in its warm intestines, inflated floating along foraging paths, devouring the world’s rest.
The horse is a shelter in which time stands still.
The sky reddens overhead in a murmuring calm.
But the horse is also a war machine,
the road a cloud,
the asphalt slackens,
If speed is the urge get away, towards what.
Goats crowded together,
stiff eyes closed fast wind
heaped together on the flatbed
How can you do this
to the unsaid?
The liquor man
in a male body
is 100 kg heavier
than a human
against a wall
The Master strikes
whether he strikes
who gets to
She strikes back:
The well-bred woman
Nanoblack horses, vantablack net-fishery in the pearl of Polaris. A hard dull pearl of synthetic material. Or Pinctada margaritifera-cumingi, grown in mussels in Tahiti. Local pollution gives the pearl it’s color. But the core in the authentic pearl from Bahrain is not a grain of sand. Small holes in the oyster shell indicates a parasite. In the soft parts in the slow-slacking intestinal flora of the hover-horse. Along the silk roads of the ocean, where the blank pearls of the motor-men’s helments whirl in the same moonlight, same foam.
Starr sting pain scale. There is a color of sudden sorrow and it is yellow and resembles poison, the sun. Your face is very different when you don’t smile, when you negate sharply and perforate. Stellar wind-whistles that whistle-blow and things seldom end well for the mouth behind never again smile. Yet we have to move nearer to the sting color and the poison, the sun.
Trematodes live inside snails in moist environments. They glide up the snails’ antennaes and start to blink. That is how they steer the host animal to climb up a reed where a little light show takes place. A bird is drawn to the light and it swallows the snail. The trematode has now found its home in the bird, where it wanted to end up!
Who is the first parasite for a hyper-parasite? Can the host insect cross-corrupt its odor-communication? But no crypto-brain, no ping-seeking heart beats me. You, my aquarium for star-fishing, and I, dark vision electronic straight through you.
The highways in heaven are planned routes between breakpoints. Contact Ho Chi Minh, breakpoint Igari. The seven electronic handshakes in the South China Sea and an incomplete handshake near the road’s end. Disappear without a trace in our time, but is it death or just a host change?
Force-finish: Take over the man’s violence, one can queer it, fails in the end. Beneath it there is: Cunning, Cleverness, Foresight.
From Dark Matter(1999)
The Face of Ivo
Against the face of Ivo in a cathedral of writhing through days and nights in the steel.
Ivo can climb gloom-blue up through the dimensions in the girders of the highest Ferris Tower – along the beams of geometric direction toward the heavy self.
The continent tips slowly inte the base chasm. Is there any outer space where people can go? Here by the platform, the cathedrals are anchored with pillars in the ocean. There was oil here in the 1990s. Abandoned halls howl bell-clean empty, there is even a lack of mirage phenomena. The oil tower’s coarse drills grind in the depht. There is nothing to collect from the emptied ocean-pulse vein.
Flutter of strata between the winds of the higher skies. The spectrum of the night-glowing bow have the opposite order.
Dimensions bent from incredible distance-vertigo.
Flutter against the face of Ivo beneath my hands’ deadly calm water milk.
The Kermadec grave
”Magnetized minerals remain in ’the image’ of the magnetic field that existed when the rock was formed.”
Will press the rooms through you, will press the space out of your sheaths. In the chora of distant fires, the refineries shoot magnesium against the night-glowing bow. Submicroscopic crystal germs during shell-shedding, the sound of the clink and sparkle from strong cores being remolded into heavier matter. Pangea chafes against the foundation attempts to twist the spine Reykjanes out of its locked position.
The fissures of the lower mountain chains run systematically through the bone skeleton’s beams. A hole erupts in the wall next to me. A steel face bursts out of the wall next to me. Mechanically you break out of the fabric of the last wall. You stroke your claws against grain boundary surfaces. The only meat that holds up is your salty mammalian tongue. It moves toward my eyeball, the last twitches of the enamel are true pain. At the skin-line, grains enter grains and nail us to the steel-form’s each-other. As if molded in a block we are going to enter the silence of the materials.
In the depth beneath us, the spinal pipe the Gulf Stream will by the earth’s veins slowly congeal into a tunnel tube of eternally solid ur-metal.
The bedrock wrenches its mass and ends up in the right notch. Continental plates topple and are cleft. Come Leatherface, my love, glide into the face of the secret’s bestial longing. Feel the surface contact that boils shakes hard beneath the fragile grain boundary skin. Come, Golem simmers beneath the crawl animals of our hands’ bodies. At the leather-shedding of exposed humanoids. Glide into the heavy tunnel material of the kiss.
Beneath the shell crawls, beneath the shell crawls a frenzied and orgiastic bulimia. To eat into the meat puke beloved and be eaten into the flesh puke beloved in merciless blood throbbing flesh’s powerless return.
Listen, measure, calibrate: disturbances from the nobuspheres of outer space.
It is not death it is the edge folds down the visor we will tear loose the dark matter from each others outer halo crack apart and close eyes move toward the glaciality Ivo climbs me away and I down beneath the surface shoal of song fish between the pillars I form submarine feel the violations of the flesh but do not emit any warning signals I master the plates of the submarine the water masses.
I master the plates of the submarine wall.
Ivo climbs the heroin sings.
Before the secret’s warp slope of Nothing.
* * *
From Transfer Fat (2002)
Whales want water
hollow in water
lightness in fatness
flight in blubber
The rubber tumbler glides
along the uneons of time
The eons of echo time
One rams into walls
of one’s opposite
Blubber Biter —
here hangs the bite
waiting for blubber
for many thousand years
the scalp from within
all whales are
the same whale
* * *
From Uppland (2005)
ache out of chewup
wake time’s tooth
wave clumped corallic
sting viper muck hand
äggu! hättä!, viper
the gape of a yawning
vampire biter’s poison sting
has no bite
swaddle snake sloughs off sum
of a teething ring.
See through dragon
Wide soaring planes
High flying carpet
all the way to Meadowland
flight along the lust principle
Wind rudder vibrates
on the back of a sphinx
Inside is homelike
echo against mattress
the cell wadded
folded-in landing gear
hang-stretched in air
Cocksure in vacuum,
skinless dragon hide
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