Poetry by Grzegorz Wróblewski

Tests on Monkeys

we need tests on monkeys again because exposing monkeys
to charged-particle radiation
their ability to operate a spaceship that’s why we need tests
on monkeys
studies involving rats and mice have shown the effect
of cosmic rays
the monkeys would be given a single dose these new tests are different
from previous
experiments and they would look at results from exposure to charged particles
of hydrogen iron and silicon also on astronauts during a mission to Mars
because the central nervous system of primates
that’s why we need tests on monkeys we need tests on monkeys the major hurdle
for human space exploration is not knowing the health risks
to astronauts from exposure to space radiation
because
Earth’s magnetic field protects crew members aboard
space shuttles
but it would affect astronauts on lengthy missions like
a journey to Mars
the monkeys would be given a single dose
we need tests on monkeys we need tests
on monkeys!
these new tests are different from past experiments and they would look at results
from exposure to charged particles of hydrogen iron and silicon all of which create
droplets we need tests on monkeys immediately
micron-sized tears in tissue that are very different from the effects of (high energy)
radiation we need tests on monkeys the proposed tests will
effectively monitor we need tests on monkeys we need tests
exposing monkeys to charged-particle radiation
that’s why we need tests on monkeys
in order to understand any behavioral or cognitive changes
to crew members
that would impair their ability to operate a spaceship they would look at results
from exposure to charged particles of hydrogen
studies involving rats and mice show that heavy-ion
exposure can produce
memory deficits
but
how those findings scale up to humans is unknown that’s why we need tests
on monkeys for lengthy missions like a journey to Mars
the monkeys would be given a single dose these new tests are different from past
experiments they would look at results from exposure to charged particles of hydrogen
so we need tests on monkeys we need tests
on monkeys for possible lengthy missions like a journey to Mars
the monkeys would be given a single dose we need tests on monkeys
we need tests on monkeys

Makamba

The dismembered body of a young albino boy
has been found in a river on the border with Tanzania.
The child, aged nine, was from Makamba province in Burundi…
(You didn’t know? Albino body parts bring fortune
and longevity.)

So why not try UNICORN MEAT!
AT THE END OF ITS LIFESPAN
MASSAGED WITH GUINNESS.
Then ground together with the horn.
For your crunchy pleasure.
For your crunchy pleasure!
Apparently, it tastes somewhat like
chicken.
The boy has been given a formal burial.

Or
The Only Heated Hammock, due to the unique
heating system hidden inside its polyester
padding will reach temperatures up to
122º F.
The most potent parts are those collected from a living
person.

The
most
potent
parts
are
those
collected
from
a
living
person.

Take your pick!
AT THE END OF ITS LIFESPAN
MASSAGED WITH GUINNESS
for your crunchy pleasure.
FATTENED ON CANDY CORN
Then ground together with the horn.

(The most potent parts are those collected from a living
person.) Apparently, they taste somewhat like
chicken.
Makamba…

Anarchy and Tuna

anarchists are throwing Molotov cocktails
paid for with welfare money
counting how much they’ll need to successfully bump off
one policeman
they manage their funds wisely in order to have enough
for a can of tuna and a lemon
tuna is perfect for rebels: it’s a cheap dish
and it will last a long time!
bureaucrats regularly pay out benefits
to anarchists and in this manner support anarchy
but bureaucrats and anarchists are supposed to be two furiously
warring worlds!
don’t talk to a bureaucrat about an anarchist, because he’ll instantly
get nervous hiccups, or to an anarchist about white shirt
tucked inside gray trousers, because he’ll pull out a knife
it’s hard to be a bureaucrat and it’s equally hard to be an anarchist
and it’s particularly inappropriate to be an anarchist
in a welfare state

Renoir and Van Gogh

Renoir wasn’t naïve: “The purpose of painting
is to decorate the walls.”
Conversation…Isshidan Garden in Kyoto.
Tàpies’s stonelike canvases? Or maybe
a poster? “El Quijote” de Antonio Saura.
After Saura’s death–only Tàpies!
Too many reproductions and gap-toothed
prostitutes from Thailand.
Barcelona? So far from here.
In Copenhagen, only a pool table
and Jacobsen’s forks and chairs.
No use denying it, I love cheap jewelry
and expensive prewar silver.
I have always felt happiest in the city,
which is why I’d like to finally escape to the country.
That’s because
I want to see–just one more time before I die–a horse.
Although, to tell the truth, I’m not sure why…
After all, horses can be quite dangerous.
We also have Kierkegaard!
Don’t forget that.
Camus was under his influence.
So horse rather than smoke, since times have changed,
and only subtle sunflowers.
Again Renoir: “For me a picture has to be something
pleasant,
delightful and
pretty.” I disagree.
Take, for example, the uncontrollably shaking
Van Gogh:
“I am risking my life
for my work
and my reason is half gone.”
Failures. Women in flowing dresses
and old scarves.
Van Gogh. Renoir.
Both were right.
(Soon we’ll be transported
to the morgue.) Goodbye, drunken friend!
Their portraits are immortal, as long as I
look at them.

(Disappointment)

A dead sparrow at the bus stop
near Oxford Street in London.

So is this your only discovery?–
you ask with surprise.

Yes, because for a moment I thought
it was different in England.

Bios

Grzegorz Wróblewski

Grzegorz Wróblewski was born in 1962 in Gdansk and grew up in Warsaw. Since 1985, he has lived in Copenhagen. He has published eleven volumes of poetry and four collections of short prose pieces in Poland; three books of poetry, a book of poetic prose, and an experimental novel (translations) in Denmark; and selected poems in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has also published a selection of plays. His work has been translated into ten languages. English translations of Wróblewski’s poetry have appeared in Poetry London, Jacket, Chicago Review, and other journals, as well as in several anthologies, chapbooks, and volumes such as Our Flying Objects: Selected Poems (Equipage, 2007) and A Marzipan Factory: New and Selected Poems (Otoliths, 2010). Piotr Gwiazda’s translations of Wróblewski’s poetry have appeared in AGNI Online, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, The Nation, and Seneca Review. Gwiazda’s translation of Wróblewski’s book of prose poems Kopenhaga has just been published by Zephyr Press.

Piotr Gwiazda

Piotr Gwiazda has published two books of poetry: Messages (Pond Road Press, 2012) and Gagarin Street (Washington Writers' Publishing House, 2005). He is also the author of a critical study entitled James Merrill and W.H. Auden (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). His poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Chicago Review, Jacket, The Seattle Review, the TLS, and XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics. He teaches modern and contemporary poetry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). For more information about his work, please visit: http://piotrgwiazda.net/.

Dwie Kobiety Nad Atlantykiem. Copyright (c) Grzegorz Wróblewski, 2011. English translation copyright (c) Piotr Gwiazda, 2014.