THE CITY by Helwig Brunner, translated by Monika Zobel
Die Stadt zu Linien vereinfacht,
abgeschminkt das eigene Gesicht.
Häuser, Schritte und Gedanken
sind aus demselben Material,
Grafitstaub und Diamanten.
Die Zeit steht, senkt deine Lider,
um einmal jetzt zu sein, inmitten
der schlafenden Welt, hellsichtig
zugewandt den tappenden Fragen
Helwig Brunner‘s work has been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies in Europe and elsewhere, including New European Poets (Graywolf Press, 2008). Brunner has published eight books of poetry, most recently Vorläufige Tage (Leykam Verlag, 2011) and Die Sicht der Dinge: Rätselgedichte (edition keiper, 2012), as well as some novels, short stories, and essays. He has been the recipient of several literary prizes in Austria and Germany.
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The city simplified to lines,
makeup removed from your face.
Houses, footsteps, and thoughts
are made of the same material,
graphite dust and diamonds.
Time stalls, lowers your lids,
to be now for once in the midst of
a sleeping world, clear-sighted
turned toward the groping questions
of the somnambulists.
Monika Zobel‘s poems and translations have been published in Redivider, The Cincinnati Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cream City Review, Mid-American Review, The Adirondack Review, Guernica Magazine, West Branch, Best New Poets 2010, and elsewhere. A senior editor at The California Journal of Poetics and recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, she currently lives in Vienna, Austria.