Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Robert Rybicki : three translations from the Polish by Mark Tardi




The shots will disappear


                                                              The supermarket
melts            like a chocolate bar:

a dendrite stack.
Somebody, with a chic scarf
around her neck, rearranges                  tissues, sighs.
t                                                    I have anything?
tendons. Drugs.
Whale brains on the conveyor belt.                (
un marinero)
Satyrs passed the dialogue                               a volleyball.

Dreams circled like hawks.

Down the vines                                     of verses the vervets

of words                 disappear in a jungle of meanings, their

howls bounce off              the foliage.                        a diagram.

  veiled horse-frogs.  Microfrankenstein.
scrutiny                    &
vice versa.
I was 16 years old
once.                        (historial médico)
High quality

   bioethics,                       computer.
awareness enabled

like night vision,

a waterfall plunges from the roof of
leftovers of
yellow paint
the man wasn
t arranged
in parallel,              a surplus of impressions after a lavish day.

he swam over a coral reef,

glowing viscera                 translucent ribs
the fossil of olympic nectar.
A hesitation after passing the Pillars

of Hercules,

a sheaf

of electric sparks in the abysses of the brain:
lightning between the synapses


      of a funny misunderstanding

  faith in a deeper failure.
inside the brain,

wind into the nervous system.
      over the span of the bridge from Bristol

to Newport,

   a hydroelectric plant,

yourself unreflected
in the water

the thumb              after vanishing.

    a stained-glass brain in the rosette of the skull.

more embarrassed that I
m still talking.

  now you
re a diode.
infinity swells like

a balloon.     blossoms,               swells,

                        a semi-breathing form of life,
beam of dimensions

from its own impassable center,
like some medieval work,
          lemme have a drink

of anchors
tassels of hair were flowing down the window

          the porter dragged a tired donkey
in the soul of the Trabant

the chip fell, the monk

scuffled among the yataghans

The Automat
s Brother.
slithered into the dark den,
with faded sequins.

crosshairs broke,         frozen tortes

                     the Terminator with a bunch of keys to
crack the cryptogram.

I knelt to tie a shoelace,

like a sick apple leaf. Tubers
of Words.

a bunch of stratified vegetables. I picked up

a cracked clam shell,

the runway for a sluggish fly.

In a glass      a tea stone from a thousand years ago.

I saw Genghis Khan
s army                             on motorcycles.
an old sprocket.

over the grass of proverbs.
the majorette, twirling

a baton,        the moon is shining.

I can only divine               the half silence

                I saw the tombstones of medieval bishops.
faces flat like plates,

a canopy of cross-ribbed


                     we’ll pass           under the sky-high portal,
a sculpted history              of dreams strung together.
       after connecting         to the integrated circuit, which

mindless coagulation
the cybernetic ecstasy

with heart

rate               of the paradox of existence.

a generator powered by the gyrations of the solar system.

          the smell of burnt flesh from the chest.
     by the blast furnaces,
it's good that they weren
t human bones. 

I’m coming to you, my missed opportunities,
via particles of humid     
air during a storm, an anchor made of fragile


glass,                                           the frosty

herald of a chimerical autumn,

             burn, experiences,                              in the heap of Words.

Dunk sans bunk

                     the violet Volkswagen                 the vitality of Ricky.
     Oh, marsh mermaid,   p
oviat weekends. 
at a stall with souvenirs & white arms,

   near the tram terminus,

                  she sends a rocket full of tears,
impersonal tears,    tears that don
t need tariffs
  dead sparrow.

the concert crowd

Harps of ribs.

  in the landfill of traumas
  mycobacteria mold.

the bunk of fulfillment

in the middle of nowhere by a stream––CCTV.
Reading is a way to cover your face.

     Brass fleming

Crab-claws in the air! Anarchy in the forest! Electro-ego!

Tis the season –– the smell of shit & earth. The whoosh of mast lines with flags.
In such cases, you need a plan that
ll throw
rhetoric off-balance;

rhetoric like a fog in a landfill of Myth.

It was supposed to be natural speech but we ended up with liminal speech.

When I
warm up to a girl, she goes home.

Here's a phrase at midnight: the vines wrap around the terrace and, it seems,
start to replace the suspenders, the fog once more, of diluted

thoughts, dandelions in the stomach.

                     A comma between beginning and end.

                     I think only singing unites word with body
when you return home thru the dogma,
the jungle.




what. Somewhat
& nowise. Smothering.

Geometry be a thing of the past
with an explosion of nothingness

that unfolds,


deprivation. A flash
of stupidity, unrequested, &

this maybe be a construct. Nothing

being. Nothing’s

off the leash.

Visits of emptiness.
Emptiness visits the night.

Detours from sleep, towards


what appears
beyond the senses

as natural,





          (type so”
& the program suggests:





Robert ‘Ryba’ Rybicki was born in Rybnik in 1976. A poet, translator, squatter (at times) and self-described happener, Rybicki is the author of nine books of poetry, including Epifanie i katatonie [Epiphanies & Catatonics], Masakra kalaczakra [Kalachakra massacre], and Podręcznik naukowy dla onironautów [A Scientific Handbook for Oneironauts]. He served as the former editor of the artistic magazine Plama in Rybnik as well as the Polish weekly Nowy Czas [New Time] in London. His collection Dar Meneli [The Squatters Gift] was the winner of the Juliusz Upper Silesian Literary Award in 2018. He currently lives in Kraków and organizes literary events there.

Mark Tardi is the author of The Circus of Trust, Airport music, and Euclid Shudders. Prologue, an award-winning cinepoem collaboration with Polish multimedia artist Adam Mańkowski, has been screened at film festivals throughout Europe and the United States. Recent work and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Notre Dame Review, Asymptote, Anomaly, Periodicities, and Berlin Quarterly. His translation of The Squatters’ Gift by Robert Rybicki is forthcoming from Dalkey Archive Press in 2021. He was a writer-in-residence at MASS MoCA in January 2020 and will be a research fellow at the Harry Ransom Center in 2021. A former Fulbright scholar, he is on faculty at the University of Łódź.


[1] Mrówkowiec (loosely translated, Ant Farm Estates) is an enormous eleven-story building erected in Wrocław in the mid-1960s which houses some two-thousand residents in nearly six-hundred apartments.

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