Picknick with Black Bees

Three Poems Translated from German by Patty Nash

“Freefall before vertebrates”

On threads, hardly visible from below,
green shells waver and plummet. A replica of the Alps.
Before fine-grained deposits
a family stands in awe, looking
at metamorphoses behind glass.
This total renovation of their bodies
in the pupal stage, Mother says,
as if tasked by an elaborate communiqué.
Perhaps—says Father—we’re as godly
illusions of evolution merely replies
to mouthparts, antennae,
and skins, in perfect execution.
The sons whiff wingspans:
empires of bioenergy,
Nations united in the art of flight.
Airforce dream in upper Devon: scales,
feelers, compound eyes. Vertebrates
breathe with hollow bones.
Thin—thin, this time,
how it floats before the family, but barely
unbreakable, iridescent Plates of Chitin.
The educational service in the back
makes example of humanism
long before death of mankind.

“To Press Olive Oil”

Cloudless sky. Unparented light
in which we stand. Presses and filters.

The petals of olives hang brightly. Waves;
grey, emerald crowns.

Everything apparent in every presence by now,
you say. Everything apparent.

It is light,
which light sees,
that is to be seen.

We’ll become sticks and uvulas,
daughters and sons.

Adjustable rollers, forged
by our prayers’ rotations.

“But what does that even mean: to see.
That’s human language.”

We go blind to the bedrock,
torching alcoves, shoveling
eyeball-sized seeds in earth.

As oil we don’t occur to ourselves,
not even in our dreams.

“All angels speak nonsense perfectly”

How flashes letter our small deaths.
Their lights peak in, blanketed by tent walls.

How splendidly they scream themselves hoarse.
All angels speak nonsense perfectly.

Our knowledge does not hinge on things:
things are merely derived by their colors.

For the good of all that is the case: you shall find
your home, half-asleep, blinking

on a mattress of fresh air breathed solid. God is
a mask of chlorophyll. Beneath it: wild strawberries.

How is it, to be afraid, to be unafraid,
to be a nobody beneath a tempest.

What is green rebounds with the bees.
Wild strawberries alight in the bluff.

The earth thunders like a prayer beneath us.


aphasia of detail
& human
Here I stand on the street