Kajetan Herdyński – three new poems


At first, tell tales, rant until it’s gibberish.
Time is a relative matter, look over your shoulder just in case.

Or look behind you. For why should you not age?
K picks a battered handbag off the asphalt, puts it down again.

K likes it when you kick your legs, swinging, carefree
(I only felt this way once, 21 VIII 2005).

Then the photos develop, aping our ancestors’ shamans.
Unashamed of shame, never angry at one’s own anger.

And dancing, though as a rule she tends not to.
And dancing, though as a rule she tends not to.

Ashbery mix

Keep telling it over and over, like an old, well worn joke.
Keep telling it like a story from a poem you cannot recite.
Keep telling it when you are alone, outside, against the breeze,
in worn-through trousers or at home, where someone else sees,

someone playing solitaire with someone else’s cards, drinking cold coffee from
someone else’s cup. This is one of the ways I would use to make our
love dissolve in the everyday. To vanish mid-air like the scent of musk,
when we are holding hands, firmly, as if fixed to dusk.

Once upon a time, we laughed together, drinking wine, staying out all night
(for we did not for a moment believe that charity starts at home, and in any
firmament other than a bauble, like reflections in soap suds, of night overhanging),
and when the colours around us turned slowly and delicately, and we

didn’t so much as entertain the thought that it’s thanks to us, but if it had to be
so, then once again to see that imagined photograph, in which the word
from a calendar unceremoniously descends, gently lowering the tone,
and pass this between lips without saying a word. As light as a balloon.


Definitely Dave not David, though neither name sticks.
Definitely the smoking section, in a pub or the flicks,
as I no longer attend school, in place of sermons choose parks.
Rather wait, prefer dancing only once it gets dark.

Front doors, rectangular, “okno” instead of aisle or window.
Ground floor not mezzanine, up the stairs not by lift now.
Blue Peter instead of Magpie, though Magpie sounds better,
and not window, nor chimney, nor through walls, by the letter.

Tea instead of coffee, West Pier instead of “molo”.
Naturally, football instead of unnatural polo.
Heaney and not Hughes, smoking guns and not pens.
Definitely warehouse hangars and not blue collar trends.

But neither Mick McManus nor Kendo Nagasaki
(never knew both were wrestlers, in their way kind of wacky).
In the street, not at home. On the bench, round the back.
Smoke from chimneys or from fires, from the wrong side of track.

Swapshop? Tiswas? Cords in place of denim
PC and not Apple, though it seems worth upgrading.
Neither Brown nor Blair, in fact no politician.
None in sufficient degree. Such an alien mission,

so much learning ahead, then again, what is alien?
As a mother a father, in all species mammalian?
Comic books instead of novels, though Beano, not Dandy.
No hooligans here, except the odd Olsen-banden.

Especially him, shouting Egon, what an era!
But Reeves or Reevie? Show, gig or opera?
Late period King, early Dick, or maybe Fear and trembling?
Say it all now or hold peace, my forever earthling?

translated by Marek Kazmierski

Kajetan Herdyński, poet, born 1980 in Zamosc. He studied philosophy and literature in Lublin. His poetry has been published in, among others, Kresy, Studium and FA-art. He is currently living and working in Bournemouth, UK.

Kajetan Herdyński, poeta, ur. w 1980 w Zamościu, studiował filozofię i polonistykę w Lublinie, wiersze publikował m.in. w Kresach, Studium, FA-arcie. Obecnie mieszka i pracuje w Bournemouth w UK.