Kati Neuvonen: five poems


Translated by José Luis Rico

The following translation of Kati Neuvonen‘s work is part of the Baltic Humanoids poetry series curated by Roxana Crisólogo and José Luis Rico.

Five poems

from Naku (Poesia, Helsinki, 2009)

The mature woman loves like only mature women can love, a round gaze in the indulgent eyes, the tunnel’s end in the field of vision, light. The door is open, the lap is crumpled like refined silk paper. She’s wearing rouge and has the sniffles. She unties ropes and receives the waves, the familiar round begins from here, we turn and turn in circles, fleeing from the stream. By the beach I fold her into a swan, red as a womb and an exclamation at the birthing center. 


Floating water in the huge room, a murky fear of swimming in her eyes, the woman scoops the wrinkles off. The earth is so beautiful, it’s dangerous to play with the walls. Men take, a big fish, electricity under the scales, electronic oxygen from the pipes. This is part of the procedure, they say, to your advantage, they say, tailored for you, they say, and the woman flounders in the countercurrent, bottom muddy surprise, coming coming coming, gills all the way to the courtyard. 


A black-and-white love film is projected on the ceiling, I place an advertisement in a magazine: rare specimen for rent. The concierge ties me to the bed, tightly, drizzles chocolate sauce, leaves me waiting for someone to come by. The walls’ blood vessels bulge rhythmically, at a cozy pace, a long line of lovable people forms in the staircase. There are snacks, I shout out, make yourselves at home. They come one by one, by turns, crawling neighborhood cream, they slide downwards from the slippery hill, splash on the breasts like a sparkler. In the evening I breathe into the mirror, it still fogs up, by the door the light shoes stand guard with the needle heels pointing up. 


In each street corner a woman is masturbating, she teaches a mesmerizing sign language. The legs ramify, supple branches, a dark clover grows out of the wound. No one notices how I watch and suckle, receive a torn pearl necklace. A shy blossom peeps from the sole of my shoe, I want to tell someone how my leg bends. How the snap makes the tongue release its tendon, the flesh its joints, the eye its perception. By turns we unfasten the hearts, which pass from one hand to the other. A thin exclamation comes out of the mouth, all in all the scream never ends. The woman reprimands the hand, whispers: this is a bird, a voiceless bird, a sleeping bird. Find a meaning for it, and permission to breathe for yourself.  


Kisses on the cheek are just as big of a consolation as a dozen fire-red roses. I trample with my leg, the floor squeals, the quake sinks the building, a fingernail peeps from under a heap of bricks, soil from under the fingernail. I begin wafting off a fragrance, a scent of orange, that’s how they can find me, the scent is flesh and the flesh is me. I’ve been missing for ten hours, press your ear to the ground, you hear the swish of wings. Dig, I value hands, that can repair, no repair during an autopsy, it is opened, a flock of hummingbirds flies off the chest, command the state of the weather, the state of air, the mood, choose the most beautiful flowers.