In 2011, shortly after moving to Sweden, I produced a chapbook, Övergången, containing ten poems in English and Swedish. The translations were kindly provided by Linda Bönström and Boel Schenlaer ahead of my appearance at the Södermalm Poetry Festival. One of the poems, ‘Cute’ (in Swedish, ‘Söt’), would go on to appear in Leaves of Glass. So, in the interests of publicity and cross-cultural communication, I’m reproducing the Swedish translation here. Nu kör vi!
I’ve been writing this post in my head for at least twelve months, and even now I’m not sure I’m ready to publish it. As a consequence of my tardiness, there’s probably very little here on the subject of Animal Collective (AnCo) that’s either current or true. Be that as it may, I also suspect that not having written this post is actually holding me back from writing a stack of other posts that might possess some currency and/or truth.
So, here goes.
City of burnt grass and black limousines. City of nudes and spider lilies, where the grass stands up even though it is on fire, whistling a harvest tune. By the railway lines, entropy rules: jagged weeds and mystery melons scramble for space, riddling the rails, disguising the sleepers with their fantastic tendrils. Like a smoker's signal, brave and futile. Trains slice these ribbons into tendons, timetabling history, scattering seeds, accelerating some abstract chaos. Trampled soccer balls like snakeskin or leather on the shining road. Dressed as inspectors, we climb the stainless steel stairs, pass the plastic clinic and the coffee mall, then enter the machine room. Here, the rumble of traffic is merely a shiver in your bowels, barely shaking the keys. Predicting story arcs is what it's all about. Prisoners, good deeds and friendships betrayed. The studios will be eating out of our hands. Privately, we model alternate scenarios: the prisoner escapes; the can of boiled beef falls from the adjutant's hand; a friendship is consummated in a bloody latrine scene. Here, the streets are viewed as if through the screenshots of an amateur photographer: the perspectives slightly skewed, casting one's eye off balance. Jets scramble overhead, but no one notices. The flags of a thousand federations burst into the blue sky, unfurling like false spring! The sound of trickling water consumes bus drivers and cart pullers alike. Insanity is okay, although mistakes are sometimes made. Usually, these thoughts disappear. Slowly, a city comes to know itself by the bend of a river, the argument of a steel canal. Behind us, mountains; ahead, cartwheels of conversation, opening.
From Imaginary Cities: PC Bangs (2005)
16 reasons why I will find it hard to go ‘home’ in January 2014 …