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- The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein - 6/10 -

Many days tread upon human animals, In gentle oceans hunger-sharks fly. Heads, beers glisten in coffee-houses. Girls' screams shred on a man. Thunderstorms come crashing down. Forest winds darken. Women knead prayers in skinny hands: May the Lord God send an angel. A shred of moonlight shimmers in the sewers. Readers of books crouch quietly on their bodies. An evening dips the world in lilac lye. The trunk of a body floats in a windshield. From deep in the brain its eyes sink.


Some day--I have signs--a mortal storm Is coming from the far north. Everywhere is the smell of corpses. The great killing begins. The lump of sky grows dark, Storm-death lifts its clawed paws; All the lumps fall down, Mimes burst. Girls explode. Horses' stables crash to the ground. Not a fly can ecape. Handsome homosexuals roll Out of their beds. The walls of houses develop fissures. Fish rot in the stream. Everything meets its own disgusting end. Groaning buses tip over.

Winter Evening

Behind yellow windows shadows drink hot tea. Yearning people sway on a hardened pond Workers find a soft woman's corpse. Glowing blue snows cast a howling darkness. On high poles a scarecrow, implored, hangs. Stores flicker dimly through frosted windows, In front of which human bodies move like ghosts. Students carve a frozen girl. How lovely, the crystalline winter evening burning! A platinum moon now streams through a gap in the houses. Next to green lanterns under a bridge Lies a gypsy woman. And plays an instrument.


They cannot stand their rooms in the evening. They creep out into deep starry streets.

How gentle is the world in the streetlights' wind! How strangely buzzing life melts away... They go by gardens and houses, As though very far off there might be a light, And they look upon every horny man As a sweet gentleman savior

After the Ball

Night creeps into the cellars, musty and dull. Tuxedos totter through the rubble of the street. Faces are moldy and worn out. The blue morning burns coolly in the city. How quickly music and dance and greed melted... It smells of the sun. And day begins With trolleys, horses, shouts and wind. Dull daily labor cloaks the people in dust. Families silently wolf down lunch. At times a hall still vibrates through a skull, Much dull desire and a silken leg.


Like old bones in the pot Of noon the damned streets lie there. It's a long time since I saw you here. A young man pulls at a girl's pigtail. And a couple of dogs wallow in filth. I would like to go arm and arm with you. The sky is gray wrapping paper On which the sun sticks--a spot of butter.


The yellow mother's eye burns up there. Everywhere night lies like a blue cloth. There is no question that I am sucking air. I am only a little picture book. Houses capture dreams of motley sleepers As though in nets in the windows. Autos creep like ladybugs Up luminous streets.

Landscape in the Early Morning

The air is gray. Who knows something good for soot? Next to an ox grazing on the ground Stands an astonished deeply serious mountaineer. Soon there is a powerful downpour of rain. A young boy who is pissing on a meadow Will be the source of a small river. What should one do when nature calls! Be natural. Be yourself. A poet roams around in the world, Observes for himself the orderly flow of traffic And rejoices about sky, field, and dung. Ah, and he takes careful notice of everything. Then he climbs a high mountain Which happens to be close by.

Return of the Village Boy

In my youth the world was a small pond, Grandma and red roof, lowing Of oxen and a clump of trees. And all around the huge green meadow. How lovely was this dreaming into distance. This absolute nothingness as bright air and wind And bird cries and fairy-tale books. Far off the fabled iron snake whistled--

Summer Freshness

The sky is like a blue jellyfish. And all around are fields, rolling meadows-- Peaceful world, you great mousetrap, Would that I might finally escape from you.. O if I had wings-- One plays dice. Guzzles. Chatters about future countries. Each person puts in his own two cents. The earth is a succulent Sunday roast, Nicely dunked into a sweet sun-sauce. If only there were a wind... that ripped The gentle world with iron claws. That would amuse me. But if a storm comes... It would shred The lovely blue eternal sky into a thousand pieces.

Afternoon, Fields and Factory

I can no longer find a place for my eyes. I cannot hold my legs together. My heart is hollow. My head is going to burst. Mushiness all around. Nothing wants to take shape. My tongue breaks. And my mouth twists. In my skull there is neither pleasure nor goal. The sun, a buttercup, rocks itself On a chimney, its slender stalk.

Rainy Night

The day is ruined. The sky is drunk. Like false pearls, little stumps Of chopped up light lie around and reveal A glimpse of streets, a few clumps of houses. Everything else is rotten and devoured By a black fog, which, like a wall, Falls down and is rotten. And the rain Crumbles like rubble in the grip--thick--gray-- As though the whole contaminated darkness Wanted at every moment to sink. Down in a swamp you see an auto flash, Like a strange, drunken plant. The oldest whores come crawling Along out of wet shadows--tubercular toads. There goes one creeping by. Over there a pig is being stabbed. The gushing rain wants to wipe out everything.

The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein - 6/10

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