islands of ice upstairs, splitting, a
forehead breaking them, behind the
forehead is a body with a belly,
under its fastened door is a
helplessly rustling black heart, tiny
organ. cheekbone on the floor,
jawbone and tiles. it’s cold,
the bathwater is freezing on the floor.
meanwhile all that can become a
mirror becomes one, with every
celestial phosphorescent and
almighty blackness within. shapeless
red arms, words, but not mouth-
words. it’s the palate calling, crying. it
is asking for horses, mechanical
beings, a messenger to herald the
tragedy that happened here. the
teeth are restless, but not cold. if
they were to shiver they would
knock each other, horses beating
the necks of their kin with their
heads, blowing enraged into the night.
they must be patient. there’s an
airplane in the mirror with a girl on
board wearing panties, bra,
sleeping. she’s drooling on her
partner’s shoulder. he
must not sleep, he is thinking of
horses too, but in a different
context, his own world. he is standing
in a bathroom, hugging the broken
neck of a big black horse. the joint
vapour from their mouths turns into
steam, into extremely simple fog.
the plane, from this point of view, is
smaller than any star, but like a
mountain range, perfect in its totality. this
way the tragedy is nothing more than
noise, a thud in a winter city, then
silence, as you draw your finger
along the mane of the frozen horse.
its gums are bleeding, its eyes begging: ‘I’m
cold and I’m weak, graft me with
Notes on this poem
I met Ferenc aka Feri at the FISZ-tábor 2017 Poetry Camp in Visegrád, about an hour outside of Budapest on a verdant, castle-topped mountain tucked in a bend in the Danube. Juana Adcock and I were there representing Scotland at the invitation of the brilliant poet and translator Balázs Szőllőssy. Our role was to participate in the translation residency programme that accompanies prose, poetry and translation workshops throughout the week. The motivation of the young people who run FISZ, a vibrant organisation responsible for publishing new poets and infusing energy and intention into a literary community under the shadow of an oppressive political regime, was an inspiration. We spent our days with our partnered poets: reading, discussing and translating one another’s work from English originals (written by Juana and myself) and English cribs (created by the Hungarians).
Feri has a very original language for expressing himself and his poems are both metaphysical and personal in a way that unsettles and moves me. When I asked him to talk more about this poem, he spoke of Nietzsche crying out at the cart driver who was beating a fallen horse in the cold, of the philosopher running to embrace the horse’s enormous head and neck and weeping in the street.