05. 24. 2017. 15:45

János Térey: Ex - Excerpt from The Shortest Ice Age

It happened the last autumn before The Shortest Ice Age / Well before the total airspace closure / One night the Hungarian consul bumped into
Bill Clinton by the hot dog stand / At Faxaflói Bay. – An excerpt from János Térey's epic poem, The Shortest Ice age.



Excerpt from The Shortest Ice Age (2015)

It happened the last autumn before The Shortest Ice Age,
Well before the total airspace closure,
One night the Hungarian consul bumped into
Bill Clinton by the hot dog stand,
At Faxaflói Bay.
All around, the snow-capped volcanoes
And the high, deep blue sky with thinning clouds.
This corrugated tin stall on the beach
Is one of the world's least pretentious,
Among the fragile, temporary-looking shacks
With their concrete bases, colourful
Boarded walls and metal mansards.
Boys in red caps were skateboarding around them.
Bill definitely looked like someone's uncle even then,
He seemed pretty haggard in his parka,
Pulling up his furry hood,
Cocking his head to one side,
Blinking absent-mindedly at Ágoston Mátrai.

The consul knew this was Bill's favourite town;
Some four hours' flight from New York.
It used to be his Reykjavík hot dog stand
With special significance
Down in the bleak, windy port:
His photo's still there next to the till.
Metallica filtered in from a parked car.

Well I've fucked the queen
I've fucked Bach
I've even sucked an old man's cock
So what so what?
And I've fucked a sheep
I've fucked a goat
I rammed my cock right down its throat
So what so what?
So what, so what, you boring little fuck

Ágoston smiled, ill at ease, backed off a bit.
They knew each other from Washington and other places,
They had been introduced about three times.
"There have been three presidents since then;
They're obsolete: both the States and him.
The last time the economy boomed
Was under him;
And the power of the States
Hit its all-time high:
Is it he who embodies the Good Old World?"

The consul really didn't want to make a fuss,
But Bill spotted him in the line and slapped him on the back:
"Only with mustard and geysers?"
"Absolutely, Mister President."
"Well it's a shame, I've become a vegan lately,"
Winked Bill saucily. They hurriedly shook hands.
Apparently, the President was looking for something positive:
"Hey man, wait a minute... Czech Republic?"
"Oh no... Hungary. I'm the Hungarian consul here. "
"Ahhh great, yeah... My hovercraft is full of eels,
So I have to go. Nice meeting you. "

Ágoston jokily saluted him in farewell.
"This man with his fifty-car motorcade,
His fighter jets on mother ships,
His armies at the bases,
His cigar in a girl trainee's mouth,
Had dwelt on the final peak, say what you will,"
He thought as Clinton walked away;
And the heavy metal was as loud as ever.

I've fucked this
I've fucked that
I've even fucked a schoolgirl's twat
So what so what?
So what, so what you boring little fuck

Who cares
Who cares what you do
And who cares
Who cares about you, you, you, you, you, you



László Maczelka and Paul Crowson


About The Shortest Ice Age


The Danube freezes over a ski resort opens on Sváb Hill.

2019, Europe including Hungary falls under the mercy of the global chill following the violent activity of the Icelandic volcanoes. Ágoston Mátrai, the protagonist from Térey’s theatre-play Protocol, is working as a consul in Rekjavik, but when the population are evacuated due to the all-encompassing ash cloud, he has to return to Budapest. The volcanic winter gradually arrives to Hungary. How will Hungarian society struggle with the unexpected disaster? How will the reigning social-democratic centre-right government in Hungary react? Meanwhile beneath the snow and ice inflamed extremist groups appear to be upsetting the comfortable life among the upper-middle-class surroundings. What happens when logistics fail, when money no longer promises to be an efficient guarantee for survival and the ghosts come down from the hills? What happened to the older, better world of Bill Clinton? And why isn’t Viktor Orbán going to the carnival ball?

The Smallest Ice Age is by no means a utopian vision, but an absurdly realistic portrait of our recent past, present and an imagined future. János Térey’s epic poem is an aspiring, ambitious account, poetry that glimmers with the ice and snow of fickle Europe’s apocalypse.



About the author

János Térey was born in Debrecen in 1970, and holds a degree in Hungarian Literature and Linguistics from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. He has been writing full-time since 1998. He has published twelve volumes so far, mostly poetry, but also including fiction and a novel in verse (Paulus). He is the winner of a number of prizes and awards (AEGON Művészeti Díj, József Attila-díj).

Tags: János Térey, poem, László Maczelka, Paul Crowson