Aase Berg - Remainland
Remainland: selected poems of Aase Berg
trans Johannes Göransson
It’s all a matter of tone, that elusive tone that winds through Aase Berg’s poetry, or through her poetry as translated by Johannes Göransson. It continually recedes from me as I approach. It fascinates me. The cartoonlike horror (most pronounced in With Deer, from which "In the Guinea Pig Cave" is taken). The broken language, welded together that runs through all her work.
In the Guinea Pig Cave
There lay the guinea pigs. There lay the guinea pigs and waited with blood around their mouths like my sister. There lay the guinea pigs and smelled bad in the cave. There lay my sister and swelled and ached and throbbed. There lay the guinea pigs and ached all over and their legs stuck straight up like beetles and they looked depraved and were blue under their eyes as from months of debauchery. My sister puked calmly and indifferently, it ran slowly out of her slack mouth without her moving a single nerve. And the cave was warm as teats and full of autumn leaves and beneath the soil lay the arm of a mannequin. There lay the guinea pigs and ached and were made of dough. There lay the guinea pigs beside the knives that would slice them up like loaves. And my sister with lips of blueberries, soil and mush. In the distance, the siren bleated inhumanly. That is where the guinea pigs lay and waited with blood around their mouths and contorted bodies. They waited. And I was tired in my whole stomach from meat dough and guinea-pig loaf and I knew that they would take revenge on me.
from Transfer Fat
Cut the keel
in harebroad pool
cut fin in fat
Let time rock calmly in hare
let carry and hold the calm hare
let skull rock calmly in the skeleton bowl
In the shell runs the nerves’ thin ghost
In the shell the nerves’ thin ghost clears time for fat
it will take many thousand years to raise fat