N
1.
in the light of a lamppost, a black fence in the background, wearing a long, fabulously well-cut black coat, feet in leather boots, 6’4” over me, he is a pylon

in his eyes all princesses locked behind heavy-lidded eyes he turns to catch
the silent moonlight so i can shudder at how dark they stay
he tells me his name is meat because he eats meat because he’s from the mountains
he calls me lola he predicts i will regret everything i don’t do
he can’t know that i tell him
my name is dolores and i’m not thinking of anybody

2.
the woman’s loss has been written in an impossible script
there are rules for dealing
the first rule is tears
must flow and she’s only allowed to weep from her eyes
all other methods are wrong

3.
my personal ad has been reduced to the essence:
fem. wants to laugh
lol

4.
on a dark city square on a cold saturday night just before the start of spring
i ask a man with a trumpet to play me the saddest song he has left in his heavy lungs
in exchange for what?
in exchange for nothing
i’m not offering anything i’m not thinking of anybody

5.
i tell an irishman i came for his divine greek ass and stayed for the holes in his pants
he laughs he doesn’t believe me he doesn’t believe in imagery i say
mutual objectification is a form of equality and i’m not thinking of anybody

6.
i get a face—with glasses—tattooed on my privates
you have to get very close
to see if it’s a woman or a man

7.
i stop shaving
i buy a trimmer
my slit is a statement
i keep everything short
because that is genuine

8.
i ask a religious man how long his
beard can grow he suggests we be idle together to find out i have forgotten why
idleness is the devil’s playground and i’m not thinking of anybody

9.
a kiss turns out to be a way of eating someone and the train station looks odd
when you’re munching away at a stranger on the platform without thinking of anybody

10.
i tell a lady from the far north that i smoke i am harboring a grudge my brain is tired and my flesh is weak
i send her songs filled with the most beautiful bits of my sadness she finds me she finds me
beautiful she decorates me with glitter and gleam calling me intense intense i shine i beam
she has invented me

11.
a surly hermit asks “shall we start over?”
i tell him he has to read lolita he asks if the film is based on it i say the book is better of course
he thinks i’m beautiful when i put my hair up
he’s only read dostoevsky
i don’t know what that says about him but i’m not thinking
of anybody

12.
to a creature who claims to be sapiosexual i say less and less
she says she prefers to keep her love free
i tell her dogs like to play with frisbees
she asks if my love is a boomerang too i say
my love
is an asphalt highway the asphalt is still hot but i’m not thinking of anybody

13.
a doll with a perforated lower lip tells me her menstrual cup is too small for her flow
i say my friday’s already taken

14.
to the man with the black bar over his eyes
i say that i wish
someone had told me that mathematics can lead to superior abstraction
he says you’re better off being alone if you expect a lot from life

15.
i call the boy with the red scarf round his head rambo despite the lack of muscle tone
he says he knows i know that bodies are only husks driven by urges he is writing
his thesis on cashew nuts in southeast asia i’ve never been there i’m not thinking of anybody

16.
the socially mobile philosopher doesn’t feel at home in his gray
country of birth he misses the warmth
of the working-class neighborhood he didn’t feel at home in either
he romanticizes the third world i say
i’m off my rocker give me your money the color falls off my body and underneath i’m blacker

17.
a nymph tells me today is just perfect for the combination winter coat plus scarf plus sunglasses
i tell her the woman next to me at the bus stop is a redhead
and that i recently read an article about the postpartum recovery of the female body
and in that article a gynecologist said that redheads have a more difficult time in that area because the recovery of vaginas is a question of connective tissue: something redheads are generally less
well-endowed in
she doesn’t answer

18.
a young underachiever in a village
(which isn’t a village because there’s a movie theater next to the pancake house)
wants to marry me ironically
he asks if he can go bare chested on the wedding card
i tell him i’m going as saint nicholas and he can go as black pete because that is cutely racially sensitive
he laughs
i’m not laughing with anybody

19.
a frenchman says he wants to spend a night inside me
i ask if he knows the joke about the negerin who went to paris

20.
at one o’clock in the afternoon a viking tells me he just woke up
he was asleep on an electric blanket

i ask is an electric blanket a kind of capitulation
is it an expression of loneliness
does he live in a house without heating
or is he still thinking of someone?

21.
a single mom gives me her definition of love her love
is a pleasant silence
i hear the annoying buzz of negative space

22.
the scientist ignores the functioning of my prefrontal cortex
but if necessary he will pay for dinner
i think about what it would feel like to stroke a cloud

23.
a soldier says meow
i hiss

24.
a silhouette reads to me every night from the work of dead polish poets
they are humanists
they are all thinking of others

25.
by the light of a lamp from the sixties
in the semidarkness
where nobody else is present

(Translated by David Colmer