Dawid Majer – FIVE POEMS


He broadened the borders of my playground,
conquered all and all of them, even the bad’uns
from the bad ends, which served as conkers
in times when games were still just games –
needing no rules or playfulness.

I only ever cried when
we buried our first dog,
at my grandparents’ allotment,
which burnt down soon after –

I was fifteen then
and in a single moment sensed
the intangible point of the game.

This boomerang, which once thrown
did not return, now whips back
each time I forget.

A chunk of coal into the earth,
buried in a cardboard coffin
branded by pioneer.

1996, 17 VII 2008, V 2009


it’s good that there are so many sorts of us
this way death can choose
or maybe will even prefer
he who casts the first shadow of the day
onto those who do their best to see in the dusk

(F. O’Hara, On the open highway)

at dawn petrol stations and roadside chapels
were like mothers’ breasts – strong and full of love –
which was why mychajło took me out of dreams which were neither
at the jaroslaw or the horyn central stations
and though the night there parted your legs mychajło drove me on in dreams
down the immortal volga, which down to domestics replaced many a dream
with road signs, vodka, the smell of gasoline
and fog, in spite of which we believed
that the sun had not risen yet, that it barely made it
into our registers, its light far weaker
than the laughter through which mychajło shouted –
the car has to be grasped! – and that the fog dumbed us no less
than primulas and strong smokes, lit with the speed of the rosary,
when the horizon – the curve of the cardiograph – rising and falling
while the serpentine was a snake ready to attack,
and so mychajło let go of the steering wheel and at the last
second before the cliff
took the curve



In the main block of the district hospital
where births are received and deaths recorded,
and mother has something the shape of a fist
or an orange removed, low over the fluorescent bulb
the moon is shining. At night, blood
is white.

The main block of the district hospital
where births are received and deaths recorded,
and mother has something the shape of a fist
or an orange removed, I enter without the obligatory
over-shoes at two zlotys a pair. The sky shut tight is

In the corridor of the district hospital
where mother is either departing or coming to,
there is a window with a view to that tower block,
the wintery night and the rented room
in which we must be quiet, so right away
you take a shower, leaving me with an album
of the Modigliani nudes. A splinter is extracted by needle, a cannonball
by knife.

In the tower block next to the district hospital 
your body is a fist I peel like a fruit.
In a town where all the streets are blind
the bed is a confessional, where we must be quiet.
Your body is a fist, white blood into the tightly shut sky.



I don’t want you to be in mourning do not dress in black,
you must now turn round all three hundred and sixty degrees,
you’ve already gone one eighty,

no need to dress in black nothing’s happened, nothing
needs leaving until the last minute, remember nothing, nothing
has happened, today I have taken the drops this is the end,

leave nothing until the last minute
be yourself, the coffin best of oak,
let me consider, nothing
should be left until the last minute,

take the mango gran brought me
I don’t think she can bring the dog into the ward,
you must now turn three hundred
and sixty degrees but you are already

different, I see it, leave nothing behind
for a finale eat the mango not a word

17 VI 2008


Blowing through my mother’s life policy payout
is as if I were raising her from the dead, as if she were
alive in the form of petrol, matches, lighters, booze,
smokes and other flammable materials,
such as:

frozen foods, mineral water, books,
records, tickets, medicines,
condoms, video tapes,
meals from fast food outlets, joss sticks,
jeans, shoes, powder boxes,
caskets, make up tins,
tailoring, sleepovers,
flowers, newspapers, borscht,
coffee, butter, bread, bills,
beef or chicken stock,
taxis by night or day,
internet, television, light,
water, gas and electric.

It’s not right away that memory reawakens the dead,
at first it’s the sweat.

11 III 2005

read the originals in Polish / English pdf version here

Dawid Majer – born 1981 in Gdynia. Ma in Philosophy from the University of Gdansk. Poet and journalist. His writing has been published in, among others, “[fo:pa]”, “Autograf”, “Portret”, “Topos, “Migotania, przejaśnienia”, “Wyspa”, “Nowa Krytyka”, “Fragile”, “Kresy”, “Tygiel Kultury”, “Neurokultura.pl”,  “RED”, “Tygodnik Powszechny”, “Bliza”, “Biuletyn Fotograficzny”, “Pomorski Przegląd Gospodarczy”, “Gazeta Wyborcza” and many web publications. His “Book of Gravity” was nominated for the prestigious Silesius Award as best poetry debut of 2009, while the jury of the IV National Literary Award „Złoty Środek Poezji” chose the volume as the best debut of 2009. Currently living between Gdansk and Kielce.

Dawid Majer – ur. 1981 w Gdynii. Ukończył filozofię na Uniwersytecie Gdańskim. Poeta i dziennikarz. Wiersze i publicystykę publikował  m.in. w “[fo:pa]”, “Autografie”, “Portrecie”, “Toposie, “Migotaniach, przejaśnieniach”, “Wyspie”, “Nowej Krytyce”, “Fragile”, “Kresach”, “Tyglu Kultury”, “Neurokultura.pl”, “RED”, “Tygodniku Powszechnym”, “Blizie”, “Biuletynie Fotograficznym”, “Pomorskim Przeglądzie Gospodarczym”, “Gazecie Wyborczej” oraz wielu portalach internetowych. “Księga grawitacji” była nominowana do prestiżowej nagrody Silesius w kategorii poetycki debiut roku 2009, zaś jury VI Ogólnopolskiego Konkursu Literackiego „Złoty Środek Poezji” uznało ten tom za najlepszy poetycki debiut książkowy roku 2009. Mieszka w Gdańsku oraz Kielcach.