Adam Wiedemann

Essay: Whenever I think of poetry, I sniff

for Eleni Sikelianos

When I think of poetry, my lady friends
think of soggy spliffs,
but me, I think of noses and hash pipes.

When thinking of my lady friends’ poetry
I feel like a little fish caught in their sweet sights,
while they think of turbines and propellers.

When my lady friends think of poetry, they
think of rubbers and of bones,
but when I think of them and of poetry, I think

of high school fights over low grades and high times
and of the grass upon which I caress them
and of the knees upon which I caress them,

once they seem
completely exhausted, and I think

that when I think of them in their poetry, I think
that only my dead lady friends care to think
what I will think of them after all.

Medana, 23.8.02

A loud essay: Music

for German Ritz

Music, she is German
and the devil is German too.
Angels are descended from Slav stock.

Deliberating about angels
has a calming effect.
Good to know some host is watching over you.

Deliberating on nationhood
can turn people
quite nasty.

Soon enough, we come
to issues of betrayal
and get the hell you damned traitor.

Why do I suffer so,
music asks of us,
to which we reply: As you are so beautiful.

But in fact we don’t respect her at all
and off she goes plucking
that fiddle of hers.

Let her fly around
the room
like a fly.

Musician angels:
the devil writes the score
and The Lord listens

he is
an Arab from Mesopotamia).

Kraków, 23.11.02


and this pleasant game of filling one’s gut
should see someone (really?) deprived of? returned to?

life. sudden attacks of attachment or
lazy waves of indifference. saying yes

to a stream of electrons and the temple of the soul
and fury as they are not accepting parcels at the post office.

birds greet each day with joy as they
do not remember the one just gone. men

remember all their days, and so cheer the new in hope,
knowing better than birds what the world is really like.

but even people face pleasant
obligations such as bliss birthing bringing up children

arguments around children and arguments about children
chats with children on a childish level

everything for the kid and I’ve had enough of this
brat. people in actual fact are

not unlike hamsters: once handed over to the kid
the hamster hopes to have found comfortable shelter

and to be loved combed stroked
while the kid is already asking for a goldfish.

Who thus is more akin to god than a child?

Kraków, 9.12.02

Anna German

the hell with them eurydices, says apollo, come with me.
in times of old. something is aglow still.

you sing well, come with me, says apollo, I thus
baptise you. we are so, with nothing to say to one another.

we have nothing to say to the dead. death,
a simple hellhole, brings humanity

down to base level, to pure spirit.
once dead, people lose their freedom of speech,

it is an experience of that unforgettable sort,
the only one of its kind, hard to shake off.

once dead, nobody is their old self again,
where it’s hard to recover, shrug off those closest

and try not giving a toss, if one had a toss, which is when
come with me, says apollo. something is aglow still.

Essay: Fiction in case of eviction

Chuck this, chuck that, as if it were
doable. The older the
man, the wider the arc of their

throw, but his little self
won’t let what’s his be tossed that easy,
not this or that “treasure”. Everything should be

preserved and even repaired, as even that which is
made in the image of something else sort of stops being
and then what, what to wear, to work

or a funeral? Suddenly, the whole apartment
begins to resemble a tomb, which is when one must
move out sharpish and in about a week

all is well, these old pictures
simply didn’t fit the new walls, just look.
Seen up close, they really

seem to wish they could rest in some drawer (bottomless!),
same as in each walk of life
he will argue until it drops dead,

though not always about the same old. Best throw in
that which we like the look of no more
and which was forced on us. By whom? You dare question.

Kraków, 2.3.03

Rosicrucian by chance

Yes, that was some serious slice of life with it. You did
what you could. And things were so bad
you could cry openly in front of women.

People aren’t there to be toyed with, they have
something to do in this world, themselves
unaware of what, but they do with great

resilience, infecting others with it.
Infecting their dogs, their women, their
offspring. Will you like me along

with my dog?, sang
Ola Jasiak after our graduation ball, and, eventually,
someone did take to her. And so people

do surprise us at times with their serious expressions,
especially in moments “of shame”, “of intimacy”
and those quite “inappropriate”, as in, for example, cases

of divorce or glancing through a newspaper
stating fluctuations in the markets. It’s all just porno.
And people take their offspring

to church, to football games, the dog locked up at home
howling, threatening the heavens, then the man returns,
strokes its head, all right now. These are the customs,

such the order of the world. If you want to escape
then give me your things, commit in your final will
your collection of postcards from places where fortune found you.

Kraków, 19.3.03


Covered in oil, I shake myself dry. The highlights
did initially surprise everyone. Oh,
they’d say, she’s had highlights done! Or: She’s gone grey!

Finding oneself in time sometimes
causes us difficulty. What did I have
to eat the day the war broke out, peas with mayonnaise?

(At this point I must say hello to Darek
Sośnicki, I can’t deny myself the
opportunity, and Darek Białas, who there penniless

in Berlin, during the war.) Going out
to get peas doesn’t come into it when Jacqueline
du Pré, the wife of a Jew

of true stock, Barenboim, just as
she fiddles her bow one last time, though in fact
the nth time in a row; since I got this record

I play it from time to time and it’s always
her very last time. The war
too goes on repeating, expressing

the same old, the same old
killing again in people their humanity.
Slide, say the spirits, let it slide.

Kraków, 20.3.03

read the Polish originals here @ Zeszyty Poetyckie

Adam Wiedemann, (born 1967 Krotoszyn), Polish poet, novelist, translator, literary and music critic; winner of the Kościelski Poetry Prize 1999, nominated three times for the NIKE, Poland’s top literary prize, also winner of the Gdynia Prize for Literature in 2008 for the volume “pensum”. His work has been published in Tygodnik Powszechny, Oder, Kresy, Nowy Wiek, Czas Kultury, Pro Arte, Kursywa, Ha! Art, Rita Baum and Dziennik Portowy. He has been a regular columnist in the Res Publica Nowa and Przekroj.

Adam Wiedemann, (ur. 24 grudnia 1967  w Krotoszynie), polski  poeta, prozaik, tłumacz, krytyk literacki i muzyczny; laureat Nagrody Kościelskich 1999, trzykrotnie nominowany do nagrody Nike. Laureat Nagrody Literackiej Gdynia 2008 za tom Pensum. Publikował w Tygodniku Powszechnym, Odrze, Kresach, Nowym Wieku, Czasie Kultury, Pro Arte, Kursywie, Ha!arcie, Ricie Baum, Dzienniku Portowym. Był stałym felietonistą w Res Publice Nowej i Przekroju.