Göran Sonnevi  (translated by Rika Lesser)


from Mozart's Third Brain


For Machiavelli, too, the greatest political crime was
the banishment, the eradication of peoples, as practiced by Philip of Macedon
The cease-fire came on the third day   Gas and electricity
have been restored in Sarajevo   The Bosnian-Serb
breakaway republic caves in, over its mass graves
What kind of peace will come?  One dictated by the empire
I wish this were a defeat for the ethnic principle
and a triumph for democracy   But the contagion of darkness goes deeper
Machiavelli saw the horrors of war, his own images corresponding exactly
to television's icons, trenches full of human bodies
He pleaded for an armed peace, in readiness for a just war
to preserve the sovereign state, its empire,
because the alternative, devastation, bondage, would be worse
On what level is sovereignty defined?  In what kind of violence?

Innermost in the brain death, too, exists   Its point of
crystal, dark, blinding   But death's smile
also exists   It does not yield   There are no compromises
This also pertains to music   One day music shall die—
Heart-shaped crystal, sounding, pulsating   We go off
en merveille!  Or die only by slow extinction

Reduction   I am cut down from the tree, where I'm climbing, in its
finer and finer branches, sometimes near its luminous boundary   Out-
side there is darkness, the blue, darkening sphere
The tree at my side   Are we the same tree?  Or a chimera?
We are not the same   Nothing has the same location, not even
in growing together   How big is your location?  We move through
one another's sites   In the synaptic leap   In the ontic
For we are also hypostases, living, for one another. . .

There is the grace of shitting and the grace of pissing   We are in this
falling, toward no bottom   We fall through one another
We cannot set ourselves above anyone   Neither thieves nor murderers
Not prostitutes   Not those whose souls are evil   Not even those
who, trapped in hubris, set themselves above others   In this we are all sinners
And shall thus be stuck with our own kind   We read one another
in the single brain   Here I go again   There's no difference
The form of the brain's hubris is a kind of exclusion   Where is the formalization
that is not too rapid?  Inside myself I see your love—

Do you hear the destruction of language?  Yes, I hear!  I hear it inside
myself, all around, everywhere   It is in its creation
In its monster form   In its highest form   I listen to this
in utmost fear   In order to find my courage   With no guarantees
Maybe it's just cowardice that hits me   But I want
to be in prayer, to what I don't know   In a song to infinity
The third trial nears its end   Then maybe
a fourth comes, and a fifth   No one knows the result
beforehand   I am in this   This is also life   This is also
confrontation   When I look death in the face, it has
no features either   But it is not the same   It is not alive

The degraded and the downtrodden   Inside me   Under the foot
of my own fear   That's where I am   Where I no longer am, even if I know
I will return, again and again   Maybe   Nothing is
the same, except for tautologies   And maybe not even there either
because according to Whitehead all functions, including logical
or mathematical, play out over time   And thus every kind of logic also
has its time, which is not eternity   Perhaps there is never any logic without
a substrate!  I am the substrate   Not even Dostoevsky forgave Stavrogin
In furnaces, in hotbeds, we test the intensity of extremes   But the step
can be very small   Executioners are people   The grinding down
in the mental automata goes on without cease   Without respite
No one is immune   What is waiting for us comes regardless of our will
I will not have this!   Then it's part of what is waiting for me
All the more deeply in   In what?  In the invisible   What is the invisible?
There is only further penetration   Space after space   Time after time

And so peace came at last, imposed, a PAX AMERICANA
But I think:  This is better than no peace at all
The alternatives are much worse   Justice will have to come later
If it comes at all   I see the stone faces of the three presidents
in front of the cameras, they don't know what to do with their hands
Light snow also fell in Dayton   From Sarajevo faces
full of joy; some people already spoke of new wars   From those
indicted for crimes against humanity no comments
I speak with A, just home from Tuzla, she has misgivings
Extensions in time   Thresholds rise clear as glass, from below
What we perceive as counterpoint, in our brains or in the real

from Mozart's Third Brain:    CVI, CVII, CXI, CXII, CXIV, CXV, CXVI, CXXVIII, CXXIX

© 2008 Electronic Poetry Review