Mad Hatters' Review Issue 10, Fall 2008
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Poetry by
Niels Hav
'Being Abroad' by Peter Knoll
Art by Marty Ison

Art by Marty Ison

The Vietnamese Arises

The Vietnamese arises
and pisses yellow, a complete person.
After all, it is allowed
even in New York (New York) where the river naively
blends the sky's light with every thing available
to create a complex metaphysics,
and the Empire State Building (here used as a metaphor)
descends at eve to drink and bathe
its frozen flanks in the lukewarm mud.
But the East River is no illusion
the Vietnamese is aware of that when he surrenders
the Brooklyn Bridge (actually a bridge)
to assault his mirror image.

© Niels Hav
Translated by P. K. Brask & Patrick Friesen,
assisted by Carol Novack



This winter
I am as scary
as an escaped murderer.

On a defective radio
of the make Limbo de Luxe
I listen to morning services
from the cathedral in Copenhagen.
The minister takes his text
from the Book of Micah: People
you know what is demanded of you;
justice, love and humility.

© Niels Hav
Translated by P. K. Brask



The anesthetists discuss astronomy
elevating in the lift
while patients arrive in taxis
accompanied or not by family.

The universe
consists of 100 billion galaxies.
If there are sentient civilizations
on just a millionth of those planets
we are far from alone.

Outside: cold rain,

A sick person
sitting in the waiting room
among frayed magazines
with his threadbare life
has only one single prayer.

© Niels Hav
Translated by P. K. Brask & Patrick Friesen,
assisted by Carol Novack


Spring Attacks

Spring attacks / deaf and blind
tonight the pain will escape

Newborn light falls from far above
yellow around the hospitals

Where laundries wash blood and slime
from death's linen –

From the window the dull student watches
the new cars in traffic.

© Niels Hav
Translated by P. K. Brask & Patrick Friesen



The doctor's clinic is grimy
like an underground toilet
in a suburb to hell.

The bitter medicine of words: we greet
You have to take of your clothes,
your skin is grey, like slaked cement.
Nom? Nationalité?
Da, da, da the doctor says,
everybody is sick!

© Niels Hav
Translated by P.K Brask & Patrick Friesen


Departure Halls

Helicopters swarm
like fat mosquitoes
over the beach. November / murky with rain
we are identical mouths
hanging low in the wind, while aircraft
wearing blue and white raincoats
drop from bleary clouds. The furious sea
washes over the breakwater's broken teeth.
A heavy magnetic sound in the air, we will leave
the museums. Our identities fit
too closely. Come!

© Niels Hav
Translated by P. K. Brask & Patrick Friesen

Edgy and Enlightened Literature, Art and Music in the Age of Dementia
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last update: October 14, 2008