The Carpet Seller in Loulé
Jan Oskar Hansen
The Carpet Seller in Loulé
I thought the very small, secondhand carpet,
the dwarf like man was selling at the market,
a bit expensive; mind, it was nice, its colour
bright, just right for the hallway. I asked him
to reduce the price he got angry, swore, not
only at me, but at the rest of the world as well
so I didn’t get offended; he had a high pitched,
squeaking voice. To mollify him I purchased
the carpet, and as he neatly wrapped it in grey
paper, I tried to be friendly, but his face was
a Janus mask of dislike, he didn’t want to be
my friend. The light-bulb in the hall had gone
and I had no spares; when my wife came home
she slipped on the carpet and broke a leg
The mist that arises
In Indonesian jungles
When day is newborn
Is that of clouded leopards.
If logging takes its habitat
The heavens will surely cry?
I saw god this morning she was naked, had
lose skin on her belly after giving birth to
the world… soldiers laughed prodded her
with sticks and called her a whore, I noticed
that her breast where firm, still lots of life
left in the old lady. Gave god a Burka
to cover her naturality and a hood to protect
her hair from dust. “Dirty Arab!” a soldier
shouted, god smiled, she had nice even teeth,
the grin made the soldier into a statue, his
friends came and carried him away on a fork
lift truck. “Why don’t you bend every gun so?
they can shoot themselves in the ass, god. “
she shook her and said: “No, that’s suicide.”
White Man’s Burden
It has stopped raining; the barrel in the yard is full
of soft liquid, but I’m not thirsty.
Look into the barrel
and as I vainly smile at my own image, a delayed
raindrop falls; my face breaks into bits;
up put them back in place, minus my clichéd grin,
which sinks to the bottom, as residue of banality and
Panzer clouds, torpedoed by sharp light,
disperse; there is sun, glorious and nude, expecting
applause, too late in the afternoon for that, my friend.
But I’m cold will stay here for awhile warm my face,
and say sorry for all my misdeeds, I’m white and has
a lot to answer for, even when I sit in the sun, to get
a deep tan I end up looking like a lobster thrown into
boiling water; so let me atone for past future sins.
As winter returned
Butterflies fell like confetti
On rim frosted earth
Flapped their white wings.
When the enemy came
Swans, in the sky, surrendered
I sit here in the corner, facing the door- like
a fat little spider- watching the coming and
going, and wait for someone to open the door,
enter, and tell a tale I can make a meal of,
cause I have not a life of my own. My view
is a dusty back yard with a pale almond tree
I’ve wrung every drop of corniness off; lost
all leaves, not that I care, it has done its duty,
chop it down, it’s full of ants, bees will not
touch it; a tit will rather die, in the claws of
a hawk, then been seen sitting on one of its
skeletal twigs. Invisible ink, between lines,
tell a story of waiting, lust for love and fear
when someone really knocks on that door.
Got a ladder climbed up to the roof,
had to fix a leak, this upset sparrows
that nest under the old tiles, greatly.
Flew in circles around me and didn’t
know that their warning quaver was
a beautiful overture to spring.
Dawn, I forgot to draw the curtains, last
night, pale light shyly enters, I feel your
warm body beside me, but I keep my eyes
shut, nor do I lift my arm to touch you.
I know you’re not there, but the intensity
of my longings makes you real, turn my
back to you, try to dream of youth, spring
and a wide horizons
Flowers on my window sill
are made of impregnated paper,
deep red they brighten up dull
In summers they tend to look
pale, as lips of a woman after
a night of love; hence I paint
them red again
To Walk the Walk
On iron decks I have walked across
the Atlantic, and forever the drone
of the ship’s heart, beats in my ears
reminding me of our mortality.
Sleepless nights when the engine
ceased in port of calls
It used to be different
walked on solid planks to Mandalay
where fly-fish waked, flapping sails,
roaring silence and worried mariners
when rounding Cape Horn.
Memories go untold.
Fake pearls and crows’ silver I collected,
behind me a wake of loneliness
They have all gone out dancing,
locked the door
and left me here alone;
there is a fire in the kitchen
smoke is seeping out.
I can’t fine the key to get out
and the door is so very tall…
“Under the carpet,”
I hear a distant voice.
I find a key there, but can’t
reach the hole.
I hear a song:
So much smoke, firework outside,
are celebrating first of May and peace
in the air.
A window breaks,
a big shadow picks me
I’m sure it was a friendly troll.
rays of life on a smoldering cabin,
red Indians have
burnt down our homestead, mother read about them
in a book;
they have taken my father prisoner
he’s always absent anyway.
Intense sunlight on marble, a white necropolis;
and a sea of flowers as decorated for a party
that will not happen. A deep hole, in dry earth,
awaits… The living too are silent here, speaks
with hushed voices, children are absent, dogs
not allowed, which makes sense, a paradise of
bones. Bird song. I can see the bay, it is azure
as the sky. Her fathers name in gold, on marble,
João, died at sixty, she remembers him as old,
he always wore a dark suit, hat and tie. We are
both older than her father now, dressed in jeans
and lemon yellow shirts, we don’t feel aged; had
her old man seen us now he would have frowned,
scolded and treated us as wayward teenagers.