Across the street from Spinozas house

/, Blesok no. 99/Across the street from Spinozas house

Across the street from Spinozas house

THE FIFTIESafter Adam Zagajewski

dear Beyoncé
a few months before 9/11
I saw you on the Upper East Side
near Central Park
where together with your band
Destiny’s Child

up on the makeshift stage
on the back of a flatbed truck
– probably as part of some advertising campaign –
painfully sensual
and scantily dressed
you launched into a series of your hits:
Bills, Bills, Bills, Bug a Boo, Bootylicious, Survivor…

I managed to squeeze through the crowd
and get real close to the stage
only to be shocked suddenly
by the golden bolt of your gaze

it felt like being whipped
by an electrical sea anemone
fuelled by the flapping of a thousand wings
of Tesla’s pigeons still nesting
on the roof of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel:

it was a sensation
more profound and powerful
than the mightiest satori
so I did everything in my power
to fight it off
painfully stretched like a Laocoön
between your watery reptilian pupils
dumbfounded and pounded
into the NYC asphalt
in my worn-out All Star sneakers
close to the intersection of 59th Street
and Fifth Avenue
not far from the Pulitzer fountain.

desperately trying
in my misery to wriggle out of that forceful
magic grip of yours
I began thinking all kinds of twisted thoughts
remembering Balkan war criminals
the living skeletons behind barbed-wire fences
of their concentration camps
remembering mad cow disease
the throbbing heads of poisoned cattle
remembering the Croatian political scene
and all that endless inter-party bickering
remembering the prophecies and auguries
of Magda Logomer,
the 18th century witch of Križevci
remembering the black-clad right-wingers
and the profound and mysterious ways
of the Croatian
post-socialist Transition,
remembering new-agers attending all those courses
for spiritual renewal,
remembering the stigmas
of a certain initiate from one of our islands
remembering my mom’s Vileda cleaning rags
and those black circles underneath Yuri Gagarin’s eyes
remembering the Bonobo chimpanzees
who resolve all of their political disputes by means
of mutual masturbation,
remembering Agol, the Devil’s star, that darkens every
two days twenty hours and fifty-three minutes,
remembering the Christmas photographs
of my uncle
taken in the early 70s in faraway Canberra,
wherein the whole family poses in checkered shirts
on a shiny lawn
next to neatly grown flowerbeds
as their faces glow silvery reflected
onto the shiny hood of a brand new Holden
& further down
– following the same train of thought –
all the way to Lijanović’s imported hams
100% pure kangaroo meat
and the wail of homeless didgeridoos
rumbling down the Amsterdam sidewalks…

but nothing helped

because in the flaming blaze of your gaze
that you whipped me with so stunningly
I could see – as if bewitched – a good deal of my future
(not liking it one bit for it felt so wet and wooden
like freshly cut up tuna fish)
and I realized that I wouldn’t remain much longer
with the woman standing beside me
at that very moment
although we were exceptionally tender and intimate
with each other and even had lunch
that very afternoon at Woody Allen’s Carnegie Deli
polishing off sizable and tasty
Broadway Danny Rose sandwiches
and then photographed each other
underneath a rusty fire escape in Little Italy
above which someone forgot to take off
a glowing neon sign that read
Perfect Relationship

but nothing seemed to work,
because that look of yours Beyoncé
said it loudly and clearly:

many a desert thou shall cross
before what – you forgot to add…

and so I’m sitting here all alone
in a foreign country
in an apartment above a dingy coffee-shop
with an exceptionally good selection
of Moroccan hashish
(Tbisla, King Hassan, Caramello, Polm, Zero…)

whose smoke is drilling through the dried-out wooden floors
of this ancient Dutch heren-huis
as I’m writing these simple but honest
almost mim-ethical lines for you,
La Belle Dame Sans Merci,

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles,
you wondrous beauty!

so this one’s for you,
dear Beyoncé,
Honey Bunny,
sweet child of mine,

for you my divinely proportioned and dark-complexioned
Destiny’s child
who so efficiently, irrevocably
almost biblically foretold my fate
between two fiery r’n’b flips
of those shiny locks of yours
so cruel and exacting
like those curvy lines on the skin
of that python of fortune
that just as well might have been
an ordinary circus animal
whose legitimate trainers
answer to the names of one Moira
and Orpheus.

2018-08-21T17:22:36+00:00 November 9th, 2014|Categories: Poetry, Blesok no. 99|0 Comments