*** [after the rain]

after the rain an umbrella become a burden
bare foot standing in the water
running slowly down the folded surface
mr nothing was holding on
to the intricately curved wooden handle

and words that lack a person people
with mispronounced affixes he forgot
the poet left him typewritten
on a stolen remington
every letter stopped halfway

the girl in a red scarf

mr nothing looked at the poet regulating the traffic
on a window ledge invaded by firebugs
and returned to wiping his fountain pen
as if it would clear his thoughts in the process

he found a secret merriment in taking apart his time
as an impersonator striving for every punctuation mark
collecting monologs in tandem and old photographs
of children and elderly using handrails

back then a mutual acquaintance brought him a picture
of the girl in a red scarf but he missed the chance
to tell her about the river don of granite city
or the scent of the north sea in bonfire night

she may never answer to an old neighbour’s ay ay fit like
or burst out laughing as she runs to the mercat cross
when the rain comes down on a summer day
this is the privilege of dreamers and their dreams

tears of judith

And many desired her, but none knew her all the days of her life […]
The King James Bible

the odds were against them
his beheaded body marked her
with lonely repetition of depictions

mr nothing looked at that of michele
the tenebrist knew the maid’s eyes
riveted upon the act would miss her tears

and the drapery in reds used to be
the adornment of the lovers’ line
not of the slaughterhouse backdrop

when leaving the palazzo barberini
mr nothing just glanced at la fornarina
a sword in her hand would go unnoticed

the hours of morning’s late

if lack of physical appearance
means becoming that replaces being
born out of a casual remark
is the poet’s mourning in words
mr nothing has never cried out for
an act of sincerity and grief

they haven’t spoken to one another
since the days they dwelt on past pilcrows
pointing some obsolete gestures
so mr nothing returned to old habits
only occasionally longing for rubrico
in the hours of morning’s late

mr nothing expressed his dislike

[…] those grand old men of yesteryear, they were your father.
David Rabe, The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel

there was no a garment
in mr nothing’s wardrobe
that one couldn’t fit in
but rusty hangers up the hill

and there were choices to make
like snooping neighbours
or hiding brandy behind books
along with lack of modesty

all wrapped in dust jackets
reduced to a meagre abstract
where every word is an act
of judgement self-evidence

inherently contradictory
it might be that what he meant
was that the poet’s betrayal
cannot be translated into it


And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody’s funeral, for there is no one to bury.
T.S. Eliot, East Coker

mr nothing took off his glasses
he liked it that way a bit blurry
when trying to make sense of
the pictures he reached
for de nuptiis the intended
simplicity of thought
bric-a-brac perhaps

he never was a good storyteller

his father mingled clay and drank
his mother bred hydrangeas
and laughed at the butcher
sometimes she just couldn’t cry
like her mother when talked
late at night so no one could hear
it was german after all in such a place

along the way mr nothing grew up

born in despair in the cruellest month
he was supposed to be a figure
of speech a semantic game borrowed
from another language so the other one
the poet could pretend that he no longer
was looking for an embalmer a grammarian
among the tombstones the last to bury

mr nothing began to doubt

distrustful of personal pronouns while speaking
of himself in the third-person singular mr nothing
wondered if he should use he or it if anything

he knew that it was easier to take something amiss
than realize himself as a person or to feign motion
instead of becoming fond of oddities of being alive

but not so much a disbeliever as simply uninterested
in an unnamed passer-by who exist only conventionally
mr nothing began to doubt that he is actually present

as the spirit that cannot be stillborn when mingled
with the crowd disappears and the only question is
whether it was innocent at the time when it happened

mr nothing’s disenchantment

somewhat embarrassing ordeal
life isn’t it no higher authority though
just abandoned abstractions an afterthought
among creatures of flesh and blood

mr nothing stopped halfway engrossed
in words of the itinerant a rag-and-bone man
collecting unwanted on a street corner
the suffering that cannot demand

but handcarts rumbling against cobblestones
drowned him out and there was nobody
so having adjusted the tilting stack of paper
piled up on his cart he moved on slowly

the descending biography

[…] wśród ludzi nie ma, nie może być większego
przeciwieństwa jak biografia wstępująca i zstępująca […]
Witold Gombrowicz, Dziennik

mr nothing bought a fountain pen
as every humanly elaborated life
requires noble writing implements

he knew the descriptive essentials
those fathomless constructs though
wasn’t sure born or imposed on him

all those notes on the back of receipts
questions such as who is allowed
to cast aspersion on one’s own truths

or biscuit crumbs and empty teacup
a shabby photo more often watched
in the candlelight that smells of lilies