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- The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein - 5/10 -

You, I can endure these stolid Rooms and barren streets And the red sun on the houses, And the books read A million times ago. Come, we must go far Away from the city. Let us lie down In this gentle meadow. Let us raise, threatening yet helpless Against the mindless, large, Deadly blue, shiny skies, The fleshless, dull eyes, The cursed hands, Swollen from crying.

Summer Evening

All things are seamless, As though forgotten, light and dull. From the sacred heights the green sky spills Still water on the city. Glazed cobblers' lamps shine. Empty bakeries are waiting. People in the street, astonished, stride Towards a miracle. A copper red goblin runs Up towards the roof, up and down. Little girls fall, sobbing From the poles of street lights.

The Trip to the Mental Hospital (II)

A little girl crouches with her little brother Next to an overturned barrel of water. In rags, a beast of a person lies gulping food Like a cigarette butt on the yellow sun. Two skinny goats stand in broad green spaces On pegs, and their ropes sometimes tighten. Invisible behind monstrous trees Unbelievably at peace the huge horror approaches.


In weary circles a sick fish hovers In a pond surrounded by grass. A tree leans against the sky--burned and bent. Yes... the family sits at a large table, Where they peck with their forks from the plates. Gradually they become sleepy, heavy and silent. The sun licks the ground with its hot, poisonous, Voracious mouth, like a dog--a filthy enemy. Bums suddenly collapse without a trace. A coachman looks with concern at a nag Which, torn open, cries in the gutter. Three children stand around in silence.

Towards Morning

What do I care about the swift newspaper boys. The approach of the late auto-beasts does not frighten me. I rest on my moving legs. My face is wet with rain. Green remains of the night Stick to my eyes. That's the way I like it-- Even as the sharp, secret Drops of water crack on thousands of walls. Plop from thousands of roofs. Hop along shining streets... And all the sullen houses Listen to their Eternal song. Close behind me the burning night is ruined... Its smelly corpse burdens my back. But above me I feel the rushing, Cool heaven. Behold--I am in front of a Streaming church. Large and quiet it takes me in. Here I shall stay for a while. Immersed in its dreams. Dreams out of gray Silk that does not shimmer.

Bad Weather

A frozen moon stands waxen, White shadows, Dead face, Above me and the dull Earth. Throws green light Like a garment, A wrinkled one, On bluish land. But from the edge Of the city, Like a soft hand without fingers, Gently rises And fearfully threatening like death Dark, nameless... Rising Without sound, An empty slow sea swells towards us-- At first it was only like a weary Moth, which crawled over the last houses. Now it is a black bleeding hole. It has already buried the city and half the sky. Ah, had I flown-- Now it is too late. My head falls into Desolate hands. On the horizon an apparition like a shriek Announces Terror and imminent end.

The Sick

Evening and grief and lamp light Bury our death-face.

We sit at the window and drop out of it, Far off day still squints at a gray house. We scarcely touch our life... And the world is a morphine dream... Blinded by clouds the sky sinks. The garden expires in dark wind-- The watchmen enter, Lift us up into bed, Inject us with poison, Kill the lamp. Curtains hang in front of the night... They disappear gently and slowly-- Some groan, but no one speaks, Our buried face sleeps.


A fog has destroyed the world so gently. Bloodless trees dissolve in smoke. And shadows hover where shrieks are heard. Burning beasts evaporate like breath.

Captured flies are the gas lanterns. And each flickers, still attempting to escape. But to one side, high in the distance, the poisonous moon, The fat fog-spider, lies in wait, smoldering.

We, however, loathsome, suited for death, Trample along, crunching this desert splendor. And silently stab the white eyes of misery Like spears into the swollen night.

The City

A white bird is the big sky. Under it a cowering city stares. The houses are half-dead old people. A gaunt carriage-horse gapes grumpily. Winds, skinny dogs, run weakly. Their skins squeel on sharp corners. In a street a crazed man groans: You, oh, you-- If only I could find you... A crowd around him is surprised and grins derisively. Three little people play blind man's bluff-- A gentle tear-stained god lays the grey powdery hands Of afternoon over everything.

The World

(Dedicated to a clown)

The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein - 5/10

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