Uljana Wolf, Two Poems

Translated by Greg Nissan

 

wood lord shaft

shakespeare titus andronicus

I

the woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull
— titus, act 2, scene 1

in woods in woods the moss-lit paths
the fuck-rich bloodline in tandem

conspiring with the buried drives that were
called victory and roman honorandglory

and did i mention murk mention dread
and scoundrelhour of two brothers that

were called chiron and demetrius: sons
of tamora antiroman miscre-ants of the

anecdote their gothnads antithetically jacked
up for the hunt – in the woods there in the

woods they let their vengeance run their
cocks punched a message into the moss

 

II

as from a conduit with three issuing spouts
— titus, act 2, scene 4

don’t say rome and roe don’t say dainty
doe chant hunt not pluck a flower plow

a field not plunder back or bedyard not judge
absolightly take flight in waterworks: to tug

the plug out of the captainless speech out
of the faithless stuttertrough which spills

forth lavinia red the legend you are and are
not oh conduit with three issuing spouts speak

bleakly a word in current flushes past the surface
and with blazon and blabla from the fountain’s

floodmouth blundering now and ever blinder
bids good day: your reader i your re-offender

 

III

thou map of woe, that thus dost talk in signs
— titus, act 3, scene 2

the father speaks: you map of woe you thrice
bloody folded-over cipher net-enmeshed

in the markings of scribes how should i
unfold how read how speak for you. shall i

of something other than my pain – you
lack a hand i’ll let mine fall hacked off

and if i knew men dug a grave in your
lap (forgive me i don’t find out till

act 4 scene 1) i’d give my ass instead for
aaron’s führer staff so too should my wrinkles

rummage and cramp into illegibility the
bodies i say are the trouble-shoots of rome

 

IV

faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her
— titus, act 3, scene 1

we read what we saw picking up with
eyes open from the bare retina—

woods-rim filth-fringe foaming at the lids
we didn’t see what occurred in the scene

hollowed behind the densely branching
curtain that spewed you rich with glyphs

onto the screen: a hack and stab fest
into the broadcast of the tongue-root the

daughterbodies flawlessly cut up
in ovidian style stria we saw you

in livestream lavinia we read and in all
eyes you were cataract the dreadgray star

 

 

night in f.

I

girl
your clothes
you fell
in the dunes

the sand
you lay out
in tongues

and between
your legs
nautical miles
anchor

 

II

the sky
a drunken
sailor
whose eye’s
been gouged out

in murk
the white pearl

you sleep
with the cyclops

 


Uljana-Wolf-PicUljana Wolf is a German poet and translator living in Berlin and Brooklyn. She has published four books of poetry, most recently SONNE FROM ORT (kookbooks), a collaborative erasure with Christian Hawkey, and meine schönste lengevitch. i mean i dislike that fate where I was made to where, a translation by Sophie Seita, was published by Wonder in Fall 2015, adding to the three English translations of her work: my cadastre (Nor By Press), false friends (Ugly Duckling Presse), and aliens, an island (Belladonna*). Wolf also translates English-language poets into German, among them John Ashbery, Christian Hawkey, Cole Swensen, and Matthea Harvey. She has received several awards for her poetry and translation, including the prestigious Peter-Huchel-Preis in 2006 for kochanie ich habe brot gekauft, from which these translations are drawn. She teaches German and poetry translation at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Greg-NissanGreg Nissan lives in Berlin, where he’s working on a documentary poetry project as part of a Fulbright grant. His translations of Uljana Wolf have appeared in Asymptote, The Brooklyn Rail, and Two Lines. His poetry is forthcoming from Denver Quarterly and has appeared in Rogue Agent, Small Po

[r]tions, and Theme Can.
2016-12-21T06:15:39+00:00