11. 10. 2015. 08:07

a hermit has no plural (poems)

Gabor G Gyukics is a poet who migrates through countries and languages. His poetry was shaped by the traditions of American beat and jazz poets, during the one and half decades spent as a political refugee living in America.

Gabor G Gyukics is one of the most peculiar figures of Hungarian literary life. He is a poet who migrates through countries and languages. He stands alone, quite without echoes in the relatively closed tradition of Hungarian poetry. This is partly because, although he began to write poems in Hungarian, he was not living in Hungary at the time. The features of his art were shaped during his one and half decades spent as a political refugee living in America, far away from developments in Hungary during this period. He left Hungary in 1986, and after two years in the Netherlands he settled in America—or more exactly, he wandered around in America, spending years, weeks or just days in different places: several years in San Francisco and Brooklyn, with many briefer stops in between. American English became his second poetic language, and his poetry was shaped much more by the traditions of American beat and jazz poets he felt kinship with than literary memories brought from his native Hungary. The structure of his free poems evokes Ezra Pound’s vorticism, which assigns a special status to poetic image. According to this concept, the "image" is essentially a special moment when an external and objective thing is transformed into something or penetrates something which is internal and subjective. These haiku-like image-moments are showing ordinary objects in refraction, depriving them of their familiarity, but giving them a unique freshness. (Orsolya Rákai)

about to decide

through the interfacial
hair-tiny crack
of the locked train window
blown in snow pellets
freeze an iced relief
on the windowsill

the rushing train
scares a heron away
from the iced sedge marsh
along the tracks

a raven chases off
a pair of turtle doves
from a pine tree bough
to see the tracks
drilling through the woods

a pine needle punctures the snow
and suffocates in an ice sheath

a magpie is watching all these

this bird is still at home
it wouldn’t want to go
where the sky is not the same

the noontide and the chemist

the funnel of a once to come quizzical noontide
edged itself to the lung-colored branches of ancient trees

a subtle chemist surprised the seashore crowd by
burning himself and becoming the subject of his
own chemistry as he was washed away

the residue didn't register anywhere
only a saw-toothed shadow of a scapula was seen
later under a sinister cliff side 

cemetery at River Savannah

leaning to the oyster brick fence
as ants order ants to labor
you seem to perceive
whips in their forearms

you won’t talk about the place
you’ve visited in your dream
to anyone

with prewritten answers
you ignore the questioners

you smooth your forehead
the peeling of your skin
is wind blown dust

under the moonless sky
your shadow walks the sun
to the other side


abate to jay walk through this cut off street
where around the corner
assigned agents hunker in the mist
judging your move incongruous
in their inner boredom

you ignore the zealous civil servants
fooling them by flying above the lanes
with your cloud stretching wings
dismissing their concerns
you cross over
landing in the center of this
privately owned neighborhood
paying a visit to no one specific

I’m not here you only imagine me

I need enough hooks to hang my words on
I am hospitable to fleas
and once
where the air was caged
I was an untasted fruit
I carry false papers to cross borders
with the one I used to laugh with
I can hardly keep up with her slowness
the papers contain words
that used to be constipated

only the shadow of snow
was able to perceive
what they held inside:

acquisitions, gallivanting, consignment,
humidity, acceleration, reception,
or a wish
that whatever you hope to turn around was going to turn around –

the poison on your fingertips
seeps into me
around the corner
waiting for the wind
to take us farther away
on its own accord

About the author: Gabor G Gyukics (b. 1958 in Budapest) is a Hungarian-American poet and literary translator who writes poetry both in Hungarian and English. He spent two years in Holland before moving to the United States where he lived between 1988–2002. At present he resides in the isle of Csepel in Budapest, Hungary. He is the author of five books of original poetry, one book of original prose and ten books of poetry translations including the work of Attila József. His poetry and translations have been published in magazines and anthologies in English, Hungarian and other languages worldwide. He received the Füst Milán translator prize in 1999, the National Cultural Foundation grant in 2007 and the Salvatore Quasimodo special prize for poetry in 2012. Thanks to an Arts Link grant, he established an open mike and jazz poetry series in Hungary in 1999. At present, he is editing and translating the poetic works of North American Indigenous poets for an anthology to be published in Hungarian.

Gabor G Gyukics: a hermit has no plural
Columbia, SC: Singing Bone Press, 2015

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