Carl-Christian Elze
translation by Bradley Schmidt


I have fucking flies in my head

i have fucking flies in my head, i have so many
fucking flies in my head, everything buzzes & lays little eggs.
i have things to take care of when i get back home.
how can it be that fucking flies have gotten into me?
the system must be open. how lovelorn is this system?
& if it’s open, can i just go in with my little finger?
& is it enough if i just touch a single fucking fly
while it fucks, run my little finger over its hairy back
so it rustles, enough to be happy myself? ’cause fucking flies
are happy, thus it is written, & all happiness rubs off.


From ich lebe in einem wasserturm am meer, was albern ist (© Luxbooks, 2013) by Carl-Christian Elze. Translation © Bradley Schmidt.


Carl-Christian Elze was born in Berlin in 1974. He now lives in Leipzig, where he initially studied Biology and German before taking a course at the German Creative Writing Program Leipzig (DLL). He writes poetry, prose and screenplays and his work has been extensively published in magazines and anthologies, such as Lyrik von Jetzt 2, Neubuch, Bella Triste and EDIT. His distinctions to date include reaching the finals of the Open Mike (2005) and being awarded several prizes, including the Lyrik-Debütpreis Poetenladen 2005 (Poet’s Newcomer Prize), first prize in the Irseer Pegasus Award (2006), the New York Stipendium of the German Literature Fund (2010) and the Lyrikpreis München 2010 (The Munich Poetry Prize). He has also published recent a volumes of poetry apart entitled gänge (Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung, Leipzig 2009).

Bradley Schmidt grew up in rural Kansas, completed a BA in German Studies at a small liberal arts college there, studied German Literature and Theology in Marburg, and started a dissertation on Schleiermacher in Halle an der Saale before completing an MA in Translation Studies in Leipzig. He lives and works in Leipzig as a freelance translator and adjunct instructor at Leipzig University.

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MadHat, Issue 14, Spring 2013