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Pēteris Cedriņš

Θάλαττα! θάλαττα! Indeed wine-dark today, thick snow swirling in the sea-buckthorn and lilac,
Mélusine wailing in the chimney. Lilac to feed the bread-oven, lilac to boil barley. Αλφιτώ. «In
one sense it is the pleasant whiteness of pearl-barley, or a woman's body, or milk, or unsmutched
snow; in another it is the horrifying whiteness of a corpse, or a spectre, or leprosy.» 'In winter
one develops black-and-white vision', she said.
..but as I wrote that it turned glaucous and then a limpid cyan. 'Māja pie pašas jūras ir kaut kas
īpašs', said the woman who thinks I'm her dead brother. Yes. These Wagnerian nights watching
the moon rise and silver, Venus bright enough to break what little sleep I get (the drapes open
despite the peeping habits of the authorities, the cop who is also a dowser: why are you burning
a candle? have you no electricity? writing a poem, are you?) (he refers to himself as 'a
representative of power') ('I crack the head with my nightstick first, then ask questions') (but he's
afraid to go into town lest the bad boys crack his head) ... ... ... 'red sky at morning', then louring
weather / 'jūra jau lien no acīm arā' / the sea already slithers from their eyes (as the slutty
adolescents would rather hang out at the bus stop or on the roof of the warehouse abandoned at
the end of 'the good times' (read: 'the Soviet period') (until the cop chases them off)—but of isos:
it is never the same. Five winters here and I've never seen the same sea. The light on the Cape of
Plagues / flashing constancy. The wild boars wallowing beneath the alder. Their eyes. Our lynx
long dead but there is another, it circumambulates my hovel, silent, leaving evidence at morning.
The old farmer burns humanitarian aid to keep the boars from the crops. No one strides the
beach. The girls flee the great swan but the clever creature awaits them at the other door to the
library. Revenge for the death of his widow. They run away shrieking. A swan drowned a man
last year. A few swans returned in the night (iz 'tāltāluma'). A cloud like an anvil the moon
perched upon, the sea low again as the water slowly drains into the Evening Sea through the
Strait of Irbe. 'I, the representative of power, have brought you a policewoman—she lived in
London, imagine that... you can talk to her'. About what? The trouble in my left hemisphere? But
I rearranged my furniture between the fire vein and the water, the fire where the hearth is, fed
with lilac. The hardest wood in Europe if you don't count Pan's third thigh. The other furnace is
on a water ādere. It sucks. You know a house when you no longer fear the flying monkeys in its
attic. You can find your way to the well when there is no moon and fetch bone dry lilac from the
dilapidated shed. Find the road into the marshes and do not heed the marsh-fires. Do the taimiņi
come when there is no ice; can you tell them apart from salmon? I shat my lover out, but she
returned in a dirty dream. Melnsils doesn't mean what you think it means. Do sea-ravens
correspond with the dead only in Norway? They know everything—which politicians' wives use
which anti-depressants, for instance, and when the lanky boy you hardly ever see now that he has
the Net at home will lose his virginity. And with whom. The Crimean War came here, too, in the
shape of a British ship, 1855. The war never ends. The American ship that ran aground off the
Cape of Plagues—we haven't seen such excitement since the pervert got what was coming to
him; he'll never touch a child again, not until he gets to whatever paradise perverts go to. The art
teacher is really a moonshiner. Fine Korean nets drying in the sun. The poacher has acquired a
cock; it's nice to wake to. Fishing with his bare hands in the frigid sea. He has eighty rabbits,

each with a name. His son feeds them before they're dinner. A pervasive obsession with
symmetry—rectangular plots of perennials, all the same color, in what the poacher calls
Spratstown; we're superior, far away from everyone and everything. 'Paradise is where you can't
hear your neighbor's dog bark'. We're surrounded only by superstitions—even the lowliest
drunkard won't shake hands in a doorway. That the ancient Letts lived in isolated farmsteads is a
myth—only since the plague dispersed the sādžas. That man worked in the lepers' graveyard—
I'd stay away from him if I were you. Coherence—it's down to Blut und Boden. Haus und Grund
und Garten overgrown. The crone leaning against the ghostly church, watching her ancestors
rise—they do that because crusaders wrecked their sacred wood, their skulls coming up like
hairless apples. There was a black woman here long ago, brought back from Africa by Captain
P_ and widowed—'imagine her wading, queenly and weeping, the lamprey nibbling at her
ankles'. The poacher's uncle speaks Apache. There was national romanticism, but that needs Blut
und Boden, too—o my people sporadic people. The man in the poorhouse found his dream job: 'I
still can fish, but here in Yorkshire you don't cut your fingers or stand all night in freezing
blood—I just push a button'. And it's true there is nothing to do with the hands; I think my
neighbor died of it. Isomimetic, palamate men distilling rotgut with their wide-eyed wenches.
Nobody is left—cripples and the crazy, and those too lazy to go to England. O and the
representatives of power, __ sipping coffee on her terrace and waving at me as if I were a parade.
O and the old. And R_ was right: how will historians explain the death of the nation in twenty
years of liberty? As I write this the snow turns to sleet and the sun catches it, copper. «There is
no natural religion.» I liked clean Marxist minds. The skirts are rising; spring must be near. And
the young. The poacher's kid riding in the back, eager to run people off the road, to be just like
his daddy when he grows up. The Charismatic preacher who sells stolen cars on the side.
Genocide of the snails, walking barefoot to the sea in the morning. 'They say the sea air is good
for you, but it's not—how long have I lived here, waiting for my father to die'. The low-ceilinged
little rooms they share with his insane sister. 'My first wife, she was no good—she wouldn't take
care of the sheep'. The smuggler dying of lung cancer deep in the woods—ten packs of
Kaliningrad 'Marlboros' twenty euro. The one-eyed bald man still guarding the empty
warehouse. Captain A_, the old sea wolf, now domesticated. The sound of saws in the bog, and
at night nobody, trawlers brooding in the distance, the swans in moonlight. As I write this the sea
turns to sapphire, the swans in flagrante delicto in the vernal sun. I agree with the Church—ours
is the culture of death. I'm into it and have been since boyhood. Not that we know what death is.
Red laundry at noontide . The sister is not insane—he's merely trying to get her committed to
free up some space. It won't work, and his father will live forever. Another brother spreading the
family tree he drew out on the table for the foreigner. What the earnest young singer told me in
America thirty years ago—'they assimilate; they're lost to us'. My sporadic people he meant.
Vaimanoloģija. A dash of Schadenfreude and a few scoops of conspiracy. 'We were waiting for
the NATO sailors... and when they came, they were just like the Russians'. My dear autochthons.
Did you know that amber is born of lynx piss? A clump of particulars. «And I am not a demigod,
/ I cannot make it cohere.» 'Everybody loves Dionysos, but nobody wants him in his backyard'.
The geezer got vehement when drunk: 'there is not one spot in the fatherland not soaked in
blood'. And you know what kāvi are, when the souls of dead soldiers do battle in the sky. There
were also many words for wind. Sweet wind. Sweet wind, and now cold rain, and I put on the

dead neighbor's torn leather jacket and walk—I love to walk in the rain; I wouldn't miss it for the
world. «No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.» «There is no natural
religion»—tērces, rivulets, vagues, erosion. The halves of the split sea-stone seem to long for
each other; when the sea is this low you can walk between them and / sentimiento inexplicable,
like all your dead loves. Even the eternal return gets old. «Time is not the sea not like the sea.»

For Dorota, Iovis dies, 2016. 25. II., Cape Lament.

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