to learn by heart
a stain
on the ceiling
over the bed
to see it
even if it weren’t there
as a flower
in a vase
on a table
it’s opening up
spreading fragrance
to learn by heart
and never leave
by the stain’s edge
the sounds just after I wake
when I can’t yet
one from the other
I can’t tell
the origin
of a sound event
for certain
in the morning’s
lingering dark
I wake up to
somebody sobbing near me
perhaps it’s even me
it takes me a while
to calm down
to make sure
that not me
that not near
that it’s not sobbing
but the radio’s on
between my own
and someone else’s self
between a ceiling of indefinite color
and a beige velour carpet
in one of the countless identical rooms
on a rock the size of a tennis court
on a shore of infinite worlds
from the scraps of images of ideas
I piece together
experiences and events
that have never taken place
to create habits of action
but not artificial
of course not
just whether we are breathing
the right way
whether we have made the right
whether we are breathing at all
whether we have rightly
nonetheless we made an effort
sooner habit
than hesitation
it would come to hesitation
dreams about rooms
between is a distance
hard and fragile
a glass wall
where breath condenses (not mixes)
warmth – cold
hazy images of parallel worlds
on the bottom liquefied passions
(in which dream before leaving
did I water the flowers shut the windows
but forget to switch off
the light and the radio?
surfaces shapes bodies
both fast and sleepy
building secret colonies
lingering beginnings of future disasters
irreversible dulling – lassitude
outlines of things vanishing
under a sticky veneer
faces behind glass
under the thin ice
the shallow water breathes
to touch to smell to taste
to fill the air with sprouting
and a ridiculous yell
I haven’t decided yet
again: I’m hesitating blurring
but: I’m repeating actions gestures
carefully examining what from a distance
reminds me of a coastline
new leaves glistening and undulating
shimmering motor vehicles
quiet cloudless dogs disappearing round the corner
the thing between
even without our
doesn’t stay the same
it changes
whether on a seashore
or in a cramped hotel room
between a ceiling of indefinite color
and a beige velour carpet
between the high tide and the ebb
we exert
a lot of energy
to avoid it
we repeat the same actions
apply the same formulas
the result though is never
quite the same
I reach out my hand and want
the same to happen all over again
in reality as in a mirror
I don’t add only take
sipping from a glass unpacking browsing
putting away layers of yellowed whiteness
deposits of dusty air
and cyanotic buzz
wiping the marks of breath before my mouth
I step back from the double-glazed windows
with flies drying in between
beyond which certain colors keep repeating
outside the trees are moving shedding leaves
a touch so unlike a touch
that it’s almost imperceptible
I want and don’t want
at the same time
I want and don’t want to be
in a cramped hotel room
and on a seashore
equally living and dead
in a hotel room
I stand by the window a while
trees are moving beyond the double glass
I can’t hear the sound of the wind in the leaves
neither the whisper nor
the sighs will remind me
of its absence
the weariness that has
detached itself from me
is more real
than what I see
in front of me
in the middle of town
in the middle of the day
I reach out my hand
a pane of glass
another pane of glass
I won’t notice the difference
nor guess the distance right
at noon
at the corners
of the street
trees are moving
it’s still raining
quickly we climb
into a pulled-up taxi
from behind
over his shoulder
I watch the road
constantly forwards
towards the revelation
beyond the glass trees are moving
in the rear mirror
a fragment of reality
between us
something shapeless
it’s still raining
at the appointed time
I’m standing at the appointed place
I offer my hand
say my name
a fragment of reality
projected into a different time
fatigue reduplicates
events repeat themselves
as if events
only repeated themselves
as if they were happening
immediately a second time
as if
the difference is imperceptible but palpable
a glass pane another glass pane
and in between a distance
a gap set between a past
and a present event
a dielectric
the fatigue is more real
the reality more fragile
the glass is double-paned
the difference imperceptible
lights and shadows alternate
outrun each other are rhythmicised
I’m changing
repeating myself
with my silence I imitate the silence
of two weeks ago
half a year ago
the words unspoken
are getting old
on the margin some quick
superficial colors flicker
on the way to the goal
I’m not creating complication
the distance between me
and the goal is diminishing
without my doing
not for a moment do I lose
the firm ground under my feet
here on this train
the goal of the journey is beyond doubt
and clear— no other
(the railway station where I get off)
that I won’t get out
of a cramped room
without windows and doors
where you cannot breathe
where you cannot not think
of the seashore
a line — thin interrupted
washed erased
almost nothing
or after all —
someone else’s story
to replace every single thing
with a word
to replace every word
with another word
to focus on detail
step by step
word by word
to turn your story
into a story
to turn your fear
into someone else’s fear
a tone may be stretched to an hour or a day
to choose a technique but it seems the technique chooses you
if you don’t take the initiative
(somewhere) between life and death
a fluent transition between one and the other
between one and the other you cannot
you cannot draw an exact line
the coastline provisionally marked with water
the horizon vanishing all the time (just breathe)
fill your lungs with pure gas you won’t notice
that no longer air but water that no longer blue
but grey that no longer a day but a tone
nothing was cut
fused knotted
it only came closer
fleetingly touched
for a moment we felt
something pulsing behind the wall
living its own life
under the touch
the skin cells die
and regenerate
go through their life cycle
from beginning to end
but none of that will suffice for a story
(just a vague outline of its contours)
I fight I play I fear (that I’ll go too far)
I shift the imaginary border
I sketch I erase I chisel I smooth out
shifting the lines I’m creating new countries
you too (who more or less cooperate)
what’s opening
is between
zoom in—narrow the space
reduce the dimensions to two
outermost poles—tie a knot
I breathe fast (the same air)
until for the length of one breath in I cling
to the adjacent breath out


translated by Zuzana Starovecká and John Minahane