The Operating System


Friederike Mayrocker

Friederike Mayrocker

The poems of Friederike Mayrocker are instances of suspense of a peculiar sort. They luxuriate in thematic and stylistic instability. She handles the unknowability inherent in life with both delicacy and daring. She can be deeply accessible and edgily complex. Ambiguity is an enduring locus in her art. To her, most belief systems are hoaxes. She is not daunted by the idea of questioning history, nationality, autobiography. She writes malleable poetry that can be intensely inquisitive, emotional, and analytical. Her politics are surreal; her probes are festive. For over forty years surprising things have kept surfacing in her poetry. She has been hospitable to interventions of gaps, mazes, obstacles, metamorphosis in her work. Her lyricism and narrativity are passionate and fugitive. Most of her poems are in a state of alert.They are replete with unanswered questions. Craft-wise she collapses and erects new structures. Idealism and practicality play out within/across her texts. I dip into the artful immediacies of her writings with gratitude. Hers is a persistence of genius. I also find her ongoing life a triumph of community and generosity. In the current phase of my work as a practising poet I thrill to the precious inspiration of Mayrocker’s poetic oeuvre.

Goldberg Variation 29

sweetly ascetic life seems sweetly torn into
shreds torn skull and heart two motor-saws separate
skull brow from trunk and so on where there’s no
furniture and no light just a couch and table screeching and groaning
in a delivery-room human factory also where
the trees are hunted to stumps
on stumps round bread the loaf of bread
is exhibited on the stump of a tree objet
d’art in the window of a bread factory on the platform
nymph factory kept on grimacing the whole time into my pocket mirror
grimacing while a heavy shower violent gusts the white cloth
wrapped around my head with bloody plaits hanging down on both
sides or
rope fashioned out of white cotton
scarf-like and blindly constricting my neck
waiting for the provincial train violent striding up and down walking
after sitting still for long the minutes seconds
cornea and blood-letting minutes seconds sawn hacked hewn into
little pieces
bright illumined half-dial of the station-clock
in the dusk tree-stump in my head the whitish
locks nerve factory
fan feathered landlord (‘from which direction the train for V?’)
‘tables newspapers early light’, Zanzotto, I see the TV antenna on a roof
hear the boys screeching on the platform opposite
speaking with tongues and winkings I fold up the umbrella
(‘Finno-uric language so arioso!’)

– Friederike Mayrocker (Translated by Richard Dove)


What The Splicing

held out my hands for the hills of your mother
where language wouldn’t be an enemy where
a look wouldn’t be an enemy where
complexion wouldn’t be an enemy ten arms
to hold you acknowledge your pepper your
dental implants have you auditioned for the
revolution i will appreciate your uneasiness until brown
birds begin to shake up the conversation whatever else
for which security codes whenever we resist moistness ten years
basically wreckage and renewal the small rocks in the shoes
of a crackerjack so as not to be lexical what the kidneys do to
your blood water fled their buckets it is the fault of
philosophy posits itself as emigration which then makes aversion
possible time will do the sulking a forum carved with chicken blood one
way to silverland and dust a lock-up i wade through the stream of roses
(music included) my suite looks across at grateful cliffs
took lessons from mexican guitars that won her immaculate
audiences that love we unmade to her soundtrack there goes a
leprechaun she plays fast and loose with her parole cursing  while in
pain helps being there for a group helps hike helps when it gets to the Ring
of Fire the Johnny Cash stage shining a light on your crotch so the baby can
move towards it a massage a stretch no cutting of the bush around the
hospital putting olive oil on your butt the pushing stage what to expect how
to do it pay attention to what you’re doing when you poop the tao of rear ends
she doesn’t really wear gold she is not keen on a shower scene there are places
in blizzards where a singer whelps it gets loud hold her legs up

-Uche Nduka

Uche Nduka. Photo by Hiroki Kobayashi.

Uche Nduka. Photo by Hiroki Kobayashi.

Uche Nduka– Poet, Collagist, Essayist- lives and writes in New York City. He is the author of nine volumes of poems of which the latest is titled “Ijele” (Overpass Press,2012). Some of his writings have been translated into German, Dutch, Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish. His forthcoming book titled “Nine East” will be published by SPM Publications, London,in May 2013.

2nd Annual 30/30/30 Poetry Month Series:


Post a Comment

1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

    Free shipping
    for orders over 50%