I put away my cigarette –
to focus on my pain,
being left alone.

I did my best –
to keep it from burning,
being left alone.

I kept burning inside –
so was my cigarette,
silently, alone.

Benyamin Bensalah


József Podolszki : If you wake up to that

If you wake up to that your pillow is cold,
and there’s no reason to wear pants,
if you wake up to that there’s another day
you have to pass somehow
for nothing, for no one,
if you wake up to that nauseous feeling
from the years ago consumed
sensless liquid,
well, if that is you wake up to, everything’s in vain
every attempt
because you have nowhere to return,
and the night is the worst refuge,
worse than the worst refuge
where at least fleas and lice
live their world on you
I’m saying if you wake up to that
that you are afraid even to fall asleep in the coming darkness,
then at least don’t brag like:
Look at me, I have survived.
No sense in late heroism,
look at the sun
spark in yourself
don’t burn loaned fires.
Then, maybe, there could be with you
who’s also humiliated
just as you.

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of József Podolszki, “Ha arra ébredsz”.


I post an image of my existence.
I’m not expecting anything afterwards.
I only hope –
to be approved, confirmed, assured.
All in vain.

Hope and I were never good friends.
Hope used me all the time.
Making me believe –
believe in things
that were never real.

I post an image of my existence.
The hope of my existence is vain.
I only wish –
to be wanted, needed, loved.
All in pity.

Wishes and I were ever good enemies.
I rejected wishes all the time.
I could never believe –
believe in things
that could never be real.

I post an image of my existence.
Put a like on it, not a heart.
Or you ignore it with kind pity –
not hurting, not loving
that’s between them: I shouldn’t have existed at all.

Benyamin Bensalah


He died.

He died.
That was all my ever speaking grandmother could say.
Hard times of the old age
come only with more hard times
as the time passes.

I wish I could feel anything,
but I understand her pain.
The pain of loss,
the pain from the guilt she must have felt,
being tired taking care of him so long.

I understand.
I understand there’s a time coming,
a time of remembrance for him,
for Pista – the grumpy,
the soldier.

I wish to remember,
remember and feel – something.
But I don’t.
The events are out of my hands,
out of my mind.

He was a good man –
these words must be said from better fitting men.
People who feel and remember –
I could say only, coldly:
May he rest in peace now.

Benyamin Bensalah

12.11.2021 13:13


Now on a silent winter noon
Caught me the humility.

I was sitting, wandering,
Wondering ‘who am I acting’
On an empty needless road
That my self resignedly followed.

Through the shaky weak realities’ fight,
Just one single word was brought out
By the blackguard of a needless sea
Self-loathed from the deepest embassy.

‘Én’, that was the foreign word,
Whose meaning whirled the world:
Moi, Mich or any self of birth,
Still just concepts holding little worth.

‘Én’ I echoed by laughing,
And passed the road embarrassing
Myself by thinking of that notion
Which had given me too much emotion.

A word which filled me with filthy void,
And made me unable to avoid
Fearing another senseless morrow,
Lowering me lower and more low.

I got to be hardly stressed;
Why this mysterious word pressed
On me so cruelly the wrong,
Making me depressed a life time along.

Even if I did have cried for resort,
I was still walking sine a sort
In my mind that’s not a garden of Eden,
And surely I was, by myself, mistaken.

In some or other dreadful way,
My road was riding further away;
Just as in Quasimodo’s horrid story,
I was walking towards Humility.

Benyamin Bensalah


Dezső Kosztolányi: Like someone who fell between the rails …

Like someone who fell between the rails …
And he feels his fading life all over,
while the hot wheels rumble with all power,
many-many oblique images are bursting up as a zigzag flare
and he sees, as he has never seen before:

Like someone who fell between the rails …
the infinite, distant life
says goodbye because it has become far fairy tales,
like someone who fell between the rails:

Like someone who fell between the rails –
wild panorama, awful pleasure –
between rails and between wheels,
the sad time rumbles over my head
and death thunders from afar,
for a minute I’m holding it, what is eternal,
butterflies, dreams, horrors, sweets:

Like someone who fell between the rails.

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of Dezső Kosztolányi, “Mint aki a sínek közé esett…”.

The Curious Case of Benyamin Bensalah

How to live a life if you are not welcome in it?

It’s hard, innit?

You are waiting for supports of any sort.

Does the princess feel alone in the fort,

Waiting for the love to be saved?

Isn’t it foolish from the enslaved?

I could live without those.

But who knows?

I’ve been cursed to find wall after wall

and it’s not hurting me any more after all

I find more comfort in nightmares than in any dream

I find no pleasure in any turn

I know now there’s nothing I can earn

My mere existence is a mourn

I’ve had no home and I’m home for no more

I’ve been here and it’s all written

I’ve been here and it’s all written

Even if I get torn I’m fighting till I’m worn

There’s a reason I was born

I exist here by reason to learn

Trying till the point I scream

I want to turn the nightmare into a dream

Though it’s been just a dream after all

I didn’t understand walls till I built the wall

But who knows?

I’m not deserved of any of those.

Maybe, I just misbehaved.

Waiting for the love to be saved,

Does the princess feel alone in the fort?

You are waiting for support of any sort.

It’s hard, innit?

How to live a life if you are not welcome in it?

Benyamin Bensalah



“You cannot see it till you cannot say it with beauty?”

Because we are illiterate.

Was it the bait?


Everything is love and death

Words must hit as dazzling meth

With a structure that stands 9-11

Carrying a scent of Heaven

From all those Rue and Lilies

From the garden of Great Achilles

Mention a great hero of a nation

With all the fancy connotation

With pictures more vivid than LSD

Rhymes on amok killing spree

Jamming music of beep beep beep

Pleasing critics as it’s deep deep deep

Right down on their throat

That’s how they feel somebody wrote

That’s how you are recognized as artist

Then who cares what your art is…

…about, all those hows and whys

Who cares a homo-sapien cries or dies…

When it’s fitting the current chique

You and your work are both sick.

Benyamin Bensalah


Miklos Radnoti : FORCED MARCH

A fool is the one who falling to the ground rises and walks again,
and moves ankles and knees as a wandering pain,
yet he hits the road like wings sending him airway,
and he is called by the ditch in vain, he dares not to stay anyway,
and if you ask, why not? maybe he’ll say something back,
that his woman awaits him and a wiser, beautiful death.
Though the foolish is a fool, because there at the homes
for a long time only the scorched wind roams,
the house wall lays on its back, the plum tree broke,
and the homeland’s night is covered in fearful fluffy coat.
Oh, if I could believe all: not only carrying it in my heart
all that is worth it, and there is return to a cozy new start;
if there would be any! and as once on the old cool balcony
the womb’s peace would be buzzing while the plum jam gets ready,
and late summer silence would sunbathe on the gardens elated,
between the foliage, fruits would ring naked,
and Fanny would wait blonde in front of the hedge,
and the slow morning would slowly draw a shadowy stretch, –
but believe in it maybe! the moon is so round today!
Don’t go on, my friend, shout at me! and I’m on my way!

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of Miklos Radnoti, “ERŐLTETETT MENET” (September 15, 1944).

The Ninth Circle

Tick… tick… TICK

This is it.
Please, sit.

It’s freezing, innit?
We’re here in this infinity…
with this freezing!

Please, quickly, sit!
Feel free…
We’ll be here with each’…
We need this speaking thingie…

We lived with sins…
Pity we win this!
Infinite sitting in a pit!

If it’s me…
My sin is speaking.
It’s been lil fibs…

I see thee with me, innit?
We’ll be ease with each’!
Been keen t’see thee!

Reall.. Geez!
He isn’t… is he?


Benyamin Bensalah