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Deja flap vu flapUmělec 2011/1
Ivan Mečl | poetry | en cs de
I can still play like this. When translating I come across words like flip flap. A Flip flap is an artificial flower that moves, as I found out when looking for the word’s meaning. In the same way, I came across this poem in some abandoned corner of the internet. I reckon it was written by some young girl in love. It has no title, and I find it pleasant and at times a bit awkward. This is because I’m cold, emotionless. I don’t like love, relationships and such.
I’ve given the poem a name: Oh Satan
Thanks to all those moments with you,
When you told me your hands are frozen through.
Thank you for the fact that you are,
That we saw dogs wandering far.
Thank you for at least writing that you love me,
That you’re so far away makes it hard to breathe.
It hurts that your are not here by my side,
That is the thing I most deride.
And now I’m courting other lads,
They cover me with a hood,
As I shouldn’t see that it hurts so bad,
For better a false love is not had.
It’s you I love somewhere deep inside,
There within me an eternal thank you does reside.
I thank you for giving me most of all,
And for nothing else on you shall I call.
I want you back and my head is in a mess.
I want you back and in a blanket will I you dress.
As I one time did before,
But then gave up and do no more.
Yet not on purpose, it’s an act I foreswore.
You liked my hair in a pony tail.
I want back those days,
When you caressed my locks so frail.
I want to feel your breath on my back,
And behind my ear a jay feather you’ll tack.
I want you again a smile at me to flash,
So I can gently touch your lash.
I want you to seduce me with your gaze,
I want you to find me in a haze.
Stars at that time seemed so huge,
And my eyes were wet from a joyous deluge.
When we said good-bye,
My heart it broke.
And blood ran from it through my eyes,
As if my soul was traumatised.
And I wished to hear nothing more,
And wished I’d stopped living long before.
I wanted you to leave me be,
But from your evil I was not free.
I am guilty of my own melancholy,
I love you…
And then I pluck out the words, I know it wholly, from the final verse. That line did the poem the most damage. And when the author or her friends find the poem in this book, it will be déjà vu at first, and then it will be theft. Déjà vu need not only be God’s error, but it can also be a human lapse.
Long ago, we imagined that the world existed for the two of us, that everything happening around us is constantly executed, organized and embellished with tremendous effort so that we wouldn’t notice. Certain large construction projects, expansive housing estates, nature preserves, and complicated technical inventions were all built way in advance—but not mundane life, day and night; these were determined by our decisions—on where to travel, where to go on a walk or, perhaps only by the direction in which we’d turn our heads. It was probably not easy at all to set up this regular constellation of hundreds of thousands of people and machines, invest in its development and then invent something new every day for our entertainment, and then keep in check with the occasional tragedy—and still keep an eye on where we were headed.
Sometimes we tried to catch them, by turning around suddenly, to see if they’d depart from their designated roles: to see if they’d relax after their faked yawns or if some of them swore, or leaning against a building watching us from behind after we passed by. Perhaps we’d run off in an unexpected direction and we would find the stores were still closed. The streets were filled with people and the grass wasn’t cut with sod scattered all around. We’d find a lot of mistakes: an insufficient number of human types; characters and costumes causing an unwanted repetition of encounters. We’d note the same gestures and we’d hear phrases pronounced and shouted with the same tempo and same tone of voice. We’d sense that we sense something and we did all we could to find some big error.
Despite some minor failures, everything functioned well. Well, except for those melons placed upon plastic bags filled with tripe soup and set on empty car seats so that drivers wouldn’t have to pick us up hitchhiking. That was a very primitive attempt at improvisation; but they got better. Thanks to their amazing ability to predict our actions, we had the constant impression that they could read our thoughts even before we thought them. We found out that they worked on this even at night when we were sleeping. Sometimes we even felt sorry for them.
Sometimes we had a strong urge to tell all this to someone, to ask questions about everything, to try and stop the game for a while—or just force them into admission. This occurred to us when we had had some wine at the bar with someone pleasant and then confided in them. Most of the time they either smiled or stopped talking to us. One pastor told us that God organized it all; he went on to describe this to us as if he were someone capable of organizing something even more credible. When we’d talked about these mistakes, made in trying to organize our lives, with long-winded artists, they’d brush them off as a psychological state—events and images that they call déjà vu. They never stopped inventing.
We waited for decades expecting something to change—that everything would fade or crumble, and these many exhausted people would grow bored of it all—and that one day while we were having breakfast the doors would open and a man would come in and say, “Hello. It’s all over now. Today we stop playing. After you finish your breakfast everyone will begin speaking to you normally. In any case, we could no longer keep this up.”
“OK fine, but don’t worry about it. It was actually good sometimes, but maybe a bit drawn out,” we would respond.
Even though we’re no longer together, nothing has changed. It appears that it works for them even better now and their inexhaustible energy frightens me. Recently, I compared old and new photographs of people, all that I could find—private ones and those where people pose for views from strangers. I noticed how time had flown. People were smiling more and more. Once upon a time they only stood, and most of the time they just looked on with severe expressions. Then the corners of their mouths started to turn upward—that was twenty years ago. Now everyone smiles like madmen in the photos. They show their teeth, sometimes even their tongues and they wave their hands in all directions. Yet there is no real reason for them to do so. I would say it should be the opposite.
But that is yet another mistake that reveals the whole farce. Their self-confidence has grown over the years. They are thrilled that we didn’t manage to figure it out. They laugh at me because I remain alone with my sad little doubts. I know that I will never be able to spoil it for them. I’ve no longer the energy to do so and, when I see déjà vu, I no longer smile.
Poem taken from http://ballu.blog.cz
Translated from Czech by Martin Tharp.