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This poem is taken from PN Review 133, Volume 26 Number 5, May - June 2000.

Two Poems (translated by Andrew Shields) Durs Grünbein

The Empty Signs

...in their blows every name and every word...
                                                  Leonardo da Vinci / A. 102v.

1
How does a head that's cleanly severed think?
What does an error seek upon the open hand,
A red arrow along the spinal column?
Whom does the past, a slang of anecdotes,
Interiors, deceive ... the bodies?
No ear remains exempt from hearsay.
The best protection is to shut your mouth.
In the neck, an eel beheaded, the tongue.

2
Stupid asking how it came to this.
It was the wrong place and the wrong time
For a silent film entitled Volk.
The air was right for such futility,
The land far past its expiration date.
...


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