LANGE GASSE 18
The leaves blow through the glass
as dreams float in the room
and people I have travelled with
climb up these timbered stairs.
Memories coat the walls,
days wander down the lane;
there is no telling where the tales
of drunken nights have gone.
Church bells punctuate the moon,
screams open up the dawn,
and I see Jennifer lying there,
poems oozing from her smiles.
At morning, Ingrid, with her little hands,
brings coffee to my brain
and Karin calls at evening’s door
with wine to ease the pain.
All these dancing moments,
the dripping down of hours;
this house’s chest is heaving
with the loss of human touch.
I drink those sunken days
and know the gulps are fleeting
but the moonlight-stains on the empty bed
will show we bled
THE OLD TUEBINGEN SLAUGHTERHOUSE
What ghosts of Swabian poets
What dripping carcasses of words
soak its skin?
Death butchers us all
and turns our pompous dreams
to dried shreds.
Through the dark beams,
the ghosts of Uhland and Moerike
stalk the pigeon-infested morning;
their lyrics breathe
through the dying day.
What dead history?
What living sleepwalks
creak the bloody stairs?
The bells toll through the dust
of long-lost traders;
the startled bats shriek though the rafters
and swifts rush
across the plains of ancient graves.
Hoelderlin is howling still:
the pain of his madness
cuts memories into the wood.
My heart is teeeming with the Neckar,
swarming with the blood of others.
Cut me up.
Slash at my poet’s veins,
my crooked hat hides my fading eyes.
My soul is walking through the Seminary,
taking a pils in Hades
searching for my old friend Horst.
As I sing poetry to old priests,
boats slide along the river,
full of slaughtered tunes.
The lonely choir in the Market Place
speaks of old men rotted on battlefields,
speaks of young men who never learn
and the girls who fall for them.
Photo: Otto Buchegger