new zealand electronic poetry centre


John Tranter 


Enzensberger at ĎExilesí [Bookshop]

At the back of the bookshop a Karate expert
keeps a pot of coffee brewing, in the window
a man exhibits his bandages and the lights
flash red, amber, blue; all night long
the sex magazine quiz gets filled in.
What am I doing here? That cloud layer
threatens nothing, and speaks casually
of a distant beach; everybodyís laughing...
they trained beautiful men and women
to meet me at the airport, they
follow me around and buy me lunch,
they point out the misfits and the deviants
and keep me amused at parties where young men
fight and make up like emotional Brownshirts.
In Martinís Bar the topless waitresses
are all sober, their perfectly matched tits
jump at the drunks while upstairs
a poet listens to the race results,
next door at The Balkan a cloud of burnt fat
gushes up the ventilator; these
are the good times, Australian style,
this has become a new vernacular
and waits for my Adler to turn it into German.
Europe is a ruined Paradise buried under
books; here, nothing important was promised.
Iím drinking coffee and writing
in English on a piece of crumpled paper;
soon Iíll learn the native dialect and ask
Where are the ovens? Is it true that you never
learned to kill each other? Are you happy?

Last updated 02 February, 2004