04. 10. 2006. 08:23

Sad Sack (Poems)

Roland Acsai

"Like a vital organ / You have transplanted these lines / From a previous poem of yours / To give this one life. / You carefully analyze / Whether words like leukocytes / Will accept them? Or reject?"

Sad Sack


Fire up the gas convector!
It’s time to heat; I’m cold.
Take body and soul:

The former can’t bear the cold,
The latter tolerates it well,
The physical kind, that is to say.

But if it’s only the body you have
Because the soul has been excused
– Like you once from phys ed –

That’s something else: different angst.

Inner Eyes
(Lelki szem)

Your inner eyes are blind –
Your thoughts like
The blind man’s cane explore things

Within your reach.
You must keep an eye
On the keys when you type.

Even if you could do otherwise,
It would solve nothing:
Because what you seek


Blind Synthesizer Player
(Vak szintetizátoros)

“You sad sack……!”
You say to yourself
Because you’re content

Only when it’s a must.
Or when on medications,
Which means as much

As if the blind synthesizer player,
Playing in the underpass,
Had his sight;

Only pretended to be blind.

Spiritual Hygiene
(Lelki higiénia)

That constant hand washing
Is not an adjunct
Of spiritual hygiene,

You’re fully aware. Your
Compulsions have turned
Gooey like handholds

On public transports;
You squeezed them so much –
It’s a thought:

You don’t belong to either touch.

As if she bled you
(Mintha véred venné)

When she opens her mouth, she’s wrong
As the signaling board that shows the stop
The trolley has already passed:

She takes you for someone you’re not.
Offhand you think she’s the hospital help
Who’ll blurt out things

Better left unsaid.
She twists your words as if she bled you.
You can’t sweep from your head

The accumulated bric-a-brac.

(Tovább alhatott)

How difficult it is to start
Another day: you don’t think
The body will do its thing.

And the soul’s worse for it.
As if something in you

That shouldn’t have.
You take the tram and bear
The curses of another

Saturday. It also will end.

Rabid Fox
(Veszett róka)

On the radio it’s announced
A rabid fox was found
In a butcher shop.

As a child, you feared
Rabies so much ground-
Lessly – It can’t be said

You’ve improved since then.
If it’s this or that,
It’s tantamount:

Rabid fox in butcher shop.

Not To Hear It
(Ne kelljen hallanod)

You imagine good health
As convalescence that unwinds
Like a bandage from a wound.

It’s a kind of paranoia
That keeps you awake like the clock
That, carelessly knocked down,

Broke to pieces on the rug;
After you assembled it,
It ticked so loud that you hid it

In the drawer: not to hear it.


“In my lungs compressed air;
the positive pressure
steadily builds.” –

Like a vital organ
You have transplanted these lines
From a previous poem of yours

To give this one life.
You carefully analyze
Whether words like leukocytes

Will accept them? Or reject?


The immune system of verse
Is on alert –
Try not to misapply it

Like your underlying
Dark vision which
Bombards your nerves.

Your vision’s as icy
As a fisheye’s optics
And distorts so you may think:

It’s reality.


Grow Grindingly
(Csikorogva fordul)

Again the medications. Again.
The order of seasons
Signifying nothing.
The unexpected grief
Like falling leaves
Gathers at your feet.

It brings rain, mud
Or frost, the daylight hours
Grow grindingly short –
But enough.
Why extend?

Because you can’t tell
Half of what
You’re unprepared to tell
– Lock up.
Go to bed. –

Of harm, torment.

Translated by Géza Simon

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