Friday, February 1, 2013

Hezy Leskly, translated by Adriana X. Jacobs



Jack Johnson I’ll write you
a poem that will ruin
your health.
I want you to get sick, damn it.
I despise health and disease.
Gold is unregulated
Wax is unregulated
Mistakes are unregulated
Health is an unregulated
ghastly flower.
Jack Johnson I give you three priceless gifts:
                            a broken telephone
                               a torn notebook
                                  a poet’s shitty book
I give you three priceless gifts
that I would have given myself.

May a mute dog
               watch over you
               Jack Johnson
               forever and ever.


I strung together parables, Rivka’s parables
Rivka’s fearless

as delectable as

like a mid-
sentence period.

                           The parables of golden Rivka—
                           a slice
and each slice—a limpid fear.

You have a purse
full of chicken

a wart—and two more

a silver vacuum cleaner
and gilded trash bags.

Gottfried Benn was your friend
Celia Dropkin was your friend
I used to be your granddaughter
a parable-killer with rotten teeth.

Rivka looks forward to some peace and quiet.


Years back
my soulmate.
He died of AIDS.
Peter died of AIDS (boots, dancing)
Hans died of AIDS (opera)
Diogenes died of AIDS (Japan)
Ulysses died of AIDS (private collection)

was strangled by a cabbie from Suriname
(telephone cord)
I think Suriname’s the place, I’m not sure
about this.
They were all real people.

Years back
my friend Benny (Bernhard) and I used to hang around
one of Amsterdam’s canals
(Oh admirable canals!)
and I said to him: I have a feeling
that the plane that bombed Hiroshima
flew by and wiped out
gay population.

Suddenly a thought struck,
yes, like lightning:
the name of the plane—or was it the bomb?—I can’t
remember exactly, plane
or bomb;
the name:
Enola Gay
(Oh admirable canals!)

Hezy Leskly (1952-1994) was born in Rehovot, Israel to Czech parents. After dropping out of high school, he devoted himself to an extensive study of dance and choreography. He lived for several years in Holland. Upon his return to Israel, he began a brief but productive career as a dance critic, playwright and choreographer. His first collection of poems, The Finger, appeared in 1986; by the time of his death of AIDS, he was regarded as one of Israel's major literary voices. The three poems included here are from his final book, Dear Perverts, published posthumously in 1994.

© Adriana X. Jacobs

Adriana X. Jacobs is a poet and translator of Hebrew and Spanish-language poetry and currently is a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. Her poetry and translations have appeared in print and online in Drunken Boat, Peter Parasol, Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture, and Metamorphoses, among others. She lives in New York City.

No comments:

Post a Comment