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Ingeborg Bachmann
6.25.26 Klagenfurt, Austria / D. 10.17.73 Rome

A rowboat catches at late-breaking waves
grey-brown shoreline in a realm of rainclouds
humps in to the landing, knocks its prow on an old step
ancient harbor lined with stone
deep green water.
The boat is here with my dreams
now I can start,
I thought
just as the cat threw up.
Stomp, fetch, wet, wipe, deodorize,
try to shut my bedroom door; the catch is old and wouldn’t.
Rowboat, mildewed sky, stone blocks water-blackened
greenish-gold sea water deep against the disused wall
I dream dream vanity vanity me dream me dreams
elaborately aggravating.
Until at last
a toothsome young Canadian whose flesh suggests more nakedness than she is showing
my favorite illusion
presents me with a gift, a box of hard-bound books. In their midst, I spot a volume, in German
by Ingeborg Bachmann
the great Austrian poet who died from smoking in bed
it has a blue and white paper cover, maybe thirty years old
and I say
Oh you don’t want to get rid of this.
We open the book, and there on the title page
just as I am suspecting
breezy, balloon-y, a faded denim blue is
Ingeborg Bachmann’s signature.
I can’t believe I said anything. I say
Where did you get? Oh that’s right you’re from Canada, you still have good used bookstores up there.
Yet I collected
my rower’s recompense
a clammy haze of soft blonde kisses.

Consolation Site: Dunkles zu sagen

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