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Friday, October 9, 2015

German Lesson


It’s a long fart to get here from Afghanistan.
Did you just fart? No, I farted
Forty years ago, from Vietnam.

I have a knack for cracking.

I smoked so much dope, man,
On my wedding night. It was
A hoch zeit all right.

Feasting on garbage, I quack.
I’m an elected duckmäuser.

In German, where is who,
And who is where, so where
The fuck are you, and who can
We fart tonight, to get high?

I’ve lived my life according to
The wisdom of Franz Kafka.
That’s why I can’t get laid.

The next village is Blutboden,
A national befreite zone. Hallo!
I’m from the National Liberation Front,
And I’d like to open a nail salon.

The broken bridge is kostenlos.

At the Hexenkessel Bar, I witnessed
Men and women spending several lives
Trying to hit a nail with the wrong end

Of history.


Fahrt (n) journey
knacken (v) crack
hoch (adj) high
Zeit (n) time
Hochzeit (n) wedding
Duckmäuser (n) a sneak or coward who avoids saying his own opinion, a hypocrite
wer (pron) who
wo (adv) where
Blut (n) blood
Boden (n) soil
befreite (adj) liberated
Brücke (n) bridge
kostenlos (adj) costless, free, complimentary
Hexenkessel (n) witch's cauldron, inferno



Olliver said...

I politely and respectfully disagree with the translation of Hexenkessel:
The literal meaning is "witches' cauldron". The meaning "inferno" is only applied within the specific context of history or politics.

On an entirely different and unrelated note, bubblegum chewing Steve from New Jersey didn't teach any of his real American sportsmanship lessons, with real English, really. Presumably he arrived too late at the peer and the ship had already left without him.


Linh Dinh said...

Hi Olliver,

I'll leave "inferno" as secondary meaning then, since "history" follows right after it.



About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.