István Kemény: UP AND DOWN AT THE ÉRDLIGET STATION

Romanian cigarette pack in the lawn
and sorrow in the heart,
head down, strong sunshine,
I still look young.

Such figures that I had such disdain on
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying nothing remained here anymore,
there is surely none, ever.

It was a nice little station thirty years ago,
heated waiting room in winters, outdoors white
gravel and red-white benches,
many long trains, whole sentences.

Now a ruined building,
concrete platform with cigarettes in the lawn
packs and inaccurate
feeling in the heart.

I used to think I should let things go
get old, weary whatever you want
I let go, it was a mistake
now they come back ruined, in a row,
but well, I stayed the same.

Such figures that I disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying you will see, you will be like that too,
you will be like that, sure, because the character
doesn’t change in a stinky life.

In a lazy meantime,
as if they were coming here from a victorious battle,
eternally losing-looking people
fly along the platform,
little standing, walking up and down,
cigarettes, lots of little time.

Such figures that I had disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
I said they were ugly and ploretarian
I said, they were waiting.

Now a self-destructive feeling,
trampled shoes, mustache, grief,
an almost random gold watch,
head down and an abandoned past.

The past, if it wasn’t cared of from the past,
it knows only revenge since adolescence because
it says every day – on a fine day:
“Look at me: I was at the station in Érdliget
once. And even now I am just that.
Tell me what I care about.
The buggy man died.
Out of his palm
the stag beetle flew away.
The future is a tougher nut to crack. ”
And with that, the past shrugs its shoulders.

The loudspeaker, on the other hand, starts talking,
like the younger brother when he gets a speech,
and promises a future: a train.

Such figures that I had disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying that they were just little
points, but it’s better than nothing,
and that times change.

There will be a sad silence because it is the same
shame to ask the lawn as
the heart as the Romanian cigarette pack.
changing for what?

And a train is coming as scheduled,
once it’s standing here, but it will take you from here,
short trains, incomplete sentences,
I sit down, I look out like a window.
for what.

I don’t pity and I don’t have disdain,
I want a goal and an easy soul
if they don’t go together, it’s good the way it is:
over resounding ore in a passenger car.
But I don’t know.

Translated from the Hungarian poem of István Kemény, “Fel és alá az Érdligeti állomáson” (2004).

Benyamin Bensalah

22.05.2020

War

Isn’t it a funny war ?
Against enemies we both adore …
Among allies we used to hate before …
A day we implore, then ignore …
Say, what is it for …
A self-destroying, inhumane war…
Letting false conceptions to outpour…
Out of their right place before…
A smartass quote from a bookstore…
A heartwarming lore heard on a shore…
Rumours of a folklore…
Mindless decisions of minds and more…
WHAT. What are they for?
To make a war?
Instead of going to explore…
Lessons about Ecuador…
Learning about spore…
About creatures living before…
The thousands of dinausaur…
About creature not living at all…
Harpy, Sphinx and Centaur…
Isn’t it more beautiful after all?
Living as a herbivore…
Peacefully as eating up a drugstore…
So, why the roar?
All the soar…
The bad words like a whore…
We are about to die after all…
So, let’s give up on the war…
Even if it’s funny somehow…
Somehow as cutting a bull into four…
Enjoyed only by the matador…
That’s a war…
No mentor, no guarantor…
No exact why, no therefore…
Just a war…
That’s either silent or has a high tenor…
It never may be funny at all…

Benyamin Bensalah

17.09.2018

György Faludy: Learn this poem of mine

Learn this poem of mine
because how long this book will be by your side?
If it’s yours, it will be borrowed,
ending in a public library,
and if it’s not: its paper is so crappy,
it will turn yellow, will break, will be raggedy,
will dry out, will shred, will swell,
or it will catch fire calling upon hell,
two hundred and forty degrees is enough –
and what do you think how hot it is, how tough
when a big city becomes ash, burning down?
Learn this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine
because soon there will be no book to find,
there will be no poet and no rhyme,
and your car won’t have gasoline,
there won’t be even rum to be drunk,
since the shopkeeper won’t open the shop,
and you may throw out your money,
because the moment is coming with agony,
when your screen instead of image
will transmit a ray of death and cellular damage
and because there will be no one to help,
you will realize the only thing that remains left
as yours, is what your forehead has dined,
you hold.  Give me a place inside.
Learn this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine,
and tell me when it’s the deadline
of the seas littered with alkali,
and the industries’ puke already
covers all soils
and grounds, like the drool of snails,
if all of the lakes were killed,
and destruction is coming crippled,
if the leaf is rotting on the trees,
the sources bubble up disease,
and the evening wind brings you cyan:
if you put on the gas mask fine,
you can recite this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine,
to let me accompany you. Belike,
and you still survive this millenium,
and a few short years will become,
because the bacilli’s raving
revenge may fail,
and the technology’s greedy
divisions have more power
than the globe moving extremely –
bring it up from your memory
and sing another time to me
these lines: since where it has gone
the beauty and love?


Learn this poem of mine,
to let me accompany you if I’m no more alive
when you will be bothered about the house
where you live because there is no water nor gas,
and you hit the road to find a shelter,
to eat buds, seeds, and other gather,
to find water, get a club,
and if there is no free land, to use that club,
to take the land and kill the man –
there, let me amble with you, man
under ruins and above them
and whisper to you: Undead,
where are you going? Your soul is frozen,
no sooner than you leave the town.
Learn this poem of mine.


It could also be that up there
there is no more world, and you down there,
deep in the bunker you ask:
how many more days until the poisonous
air through the lead sheet
penetrates the concrete?
Then what was for and what worth had
the man, if he arrives to such an end?
How can I send you comfort,
if there is no right but discomfort?
Shall I confess that I was always for you
thinking of you for many, many years
through sunlights and through the nights,
and even I died a long time ago, I am still for you
looking through my two sad eyes?
What else could I tell you before I resign?
Forget this poem of mine.

Benyamin Bensalah

15.04.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of György Faludy, “Tanuld meg ezt a versemet”(1980).

Shapeshifting faces

I’ve met spiders in human form,
web-making and trap-setting.
Their venom feels you as a final blessing
what they’ve been actually for.

I’ve met flies flying around garbage,
birds catching them starving.
Cats murder nests, then just sitting
they wait for the applause stage.

I’ve met packs of dogs and wolves howl,
killed as individuals by snakes hiding.
On their bones votchures and ants parasiting
in a while of a sleeptime of an owl.

I’ve met fish eating fish in silence,
elephants walking miles for dying.
The rave symphony of surviving
is painted in a greenish violence.

I’ve met all these dangers of shapeshifters,
the wild abilities of molting.
Like chameleons changing, hiding and biting,
I’m the same shapeshifter of writers.

Benyamin Bensalah

28.10.2018

Village night

Dark, raw and cold is the night.
Surrounding and painting joy on my sight.

The noise is a deeply listening silence.
That has been – in daylight – a wild, mad trance.

The gray roads are sleeping in rest.
Forgetting the daylong toil and unrest.

Sleeping every man, every beast.
Maybe, my heart’s the only that still beats.

I’m energized from the tranquility.
Walking silently through the dark – mini city.

Lamplights cut the darkness sometimes.
On which the time’s committed a thousand of crimes.

Their old, weak and artifical glimmer.
Just makes the night more original and a way dimmer.

Those cracked concrete roads and glimmering lamps.
The sweeping-running world never waits for us saying thanks.

Now, the night is still silent, full of mountain air.
Thou, day to day, it’s being made unmade by a modern snare.

Thus, day to day I must wonder on the village night.
Since, it’s still a lone guard of the mother nature’s tranquilizer sight.

Benyamin Bensalah

29.07.2018

Translated from my Hungarian poem, “Falusi este” (2008)

Worldly drugs

O’ God,

All that you left me just some wordly drugs…

In a world full of shadows;
A shape of a face – human like me,
A shade of a grace – as if she likes me,
Then, everything has been a play of shadows.

All left to me is some wordly drugs…

Braces and necklaces, all phosphorescence;
Discoball beyond a huge ball with music,
Sending down any impulsive fluid,
That’s my only quintessence.

You left me only wordly drugs…

I live with what you’ve written,
Enjoy then the misery of your hands,
Watch me to suffer; see how he pretends,
To enjoy your wordly drugs while just getting sicken.

Thanks God for the wordly drugs.

Benyamin Bensalah

07.07.2018

In Memory of a Ram

When Ram had been a little sheep,
Yes, he was on the farm;
With all the other animals,
Under its cozy charm.

Fresh, green herbage and cold water,
Appeased all his desire;
He lived freely daylight and night,
Behind the barbed wire.

No animal cutting his way,
Not even the shepherd –
By the time of his growing horn,
He became more pepper’d.

                  ***

“Why this chaos on this farm?
Wild animals!” – he moaned.
His eyes scattered sparks and fire,
Looking down from the mound.

“Bah! Chickens run after a cock?
Cow are working the soil?
You all worship the shepherd’s gods,
While the fire’s up to boil.”

“You will die soon under his hand,
Yes, you too, my kitty!”
“Haha, Ram!” – they pooh-poohed him,
“Leave Domesti-City!”.

                  ***

When Ram jumped the fence of the farm,
His hot head got cold thoughts;
“I will live a day free, rather than,
Living years for a sauce.”

He cut the woods and shocked the moose,
Jumped the wolf-hole shouting:
“Once you were wolves, now cartoon toys!”
Who watched without scouting…

This was the story of a Ram,
Who lived his own nature –
Even if I forgot his death,
[He’s been a] legendary creature.

Benyamin Bensalah

28.01.2018