Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Serhiy Zhadan

PAPRIKA

Walking through the supermarket at night
past the green flash of salads,
behind the two teens holding hands –
the girl picks out lemons and sweet peppers
and lets the boy hold them, then laughs and puts them back.
It’s ten to ten, before this they argued
for a long time, she wanted to leave, he convinced her to stay;
pockets full of green stuff,
gold Assyrian coins, painkillers,
sweet love, enchanted paprika.

take us out, come on, take us out, the dank soul, every dead fruit, the blood of
strawberries, and fish killed by old ship propellers in southern states, minced
with earrings and British punk pins, their gills stuffed with
caffeine, black disease, turning away from the green light, they groan as if begging

take us out from here, come on, take us out to the nearest bus stop, to the nearest
gas station, to the nearest cool ocean, they seem to signal, bending
their dank souls, till the propellers in the night skies above the supermarket
wreck the juicy air, and the caffeine stains your fingernails

take them out, well come on, hide the warm green flashes in your pockets, place silver and gold coins under your tongue, take us to the nearest hiding place, to the nearest stadium,
blood for blood, the lord calls us, moving our fins

Since I won’t ever be able to hold anyone
the way he holds her, I can’t simply pass by
all this still life, I hesitated too long,
didn’t have the strength to move, so now I have to follow them.

Where you are now, you must know what awaits them, right? where
you wound up, you can predict everything – two or three more years of golden
teenage swooning in the August grass, squandering coins on all kinds of
poisons and that’s it – memory fills the place in you once occupied by tenderness.

Since I won’t ever be able to be afraid for anyone
the way she is afraid for him, I won’t ever be able to give
anything to anyone with the ease with which she places
the warm lemons in his hands;
I will follow them further
through the long exhausting twilight of the supermarket,
with yellow grass underfoot,
dead fish in hand,
warming its heart
with my breath
warming my breath
with its heart.

PAPRIKA

Achter een groene opflakkering van groenten,
achter twee tieners die elkaars hand vasthouden,
loop je ’s avonds te midden van de supermarkt.
Het meisje kiest citroenen en zoete peper,
laat die door haar vriendje vastnemen en legt ze lachend terug.
Tien minuten voor tien, lang hiervoor
hebben ze ruzie gemaakt, zij wou van hem weggaan, hij overtuigde haar te blijven;
hun zakken vol groene dingen,
gouden Assyrische munten, pijnstillers,
zoete liefde, betoverde paprika.

draag weg, toe, draag hiervandaan onze vochtige ziel, elke gestorven vrucht en het bloed van aardbeien, vissen gedood in zuidelijke staten door schroeven van oude stoomboten, vissen gevuld met oorbellen en Britse punkernaalden, kreunen van de cafeïne in hun kieuwen, van zwarte ziekten en groen licht, alsof ze smeken

draag weg, toe draag ons hiervandaan, naar de dichtstbijzijnde parkeerplaats, de dichtstbijzijnde garage, de dichtstbijzijnde koude oceaan, zo lijken ze te tonen, met hun kromme rug, met hun vochtige zielen, terwijl de schroeven in de hemel boven de supermarkt ’s avonds de sappige lucht ontwrichten, terwijl cafeïne onder je nagels koekt

draag weg, toe vooruit, verstop in jullie zakken de warme groene opflakkeringen, leg zilveren en gouden munten onder jullie tong, tot aan de dichtstbijzijnde schuilplaats, het dichtstbijzijnde stadion, bloed om bloed, de heer roept ons, hij beroert onze vinnen

Omdat zoals hij haar vasthoudt, ik nooit
iemand ooit vast kan houden, ga ik niet onaangedaan
voorbij aan dit dode weefsel, ik aarzelde zo al te lang,
zonder kracht om te bewegen, zodat ik hen nu wel moet volgen.

Je weet toch wat hen te wachten staat, niet? Daar waar je nu staat, waar je
toevallig bent, kan je hun alles voorspellen: nog twee-drie jaar ademloos gouden
tienergeluk in gras van augustus, verspillen van munten aan allerlei
gif, en gedaan – herinnering vult de ruimte in jou waar vroeger tederheid was.

Omdat zoals zij om hem bevreesd is, ik nooit
om iemand bevreesd kan zijn, omdat met de lichtheid
waarmee zij die warme citroenen in zijn handen legt, ik nooit
iemand ook maar iets kan geven;
zal ik hen verder volgen,
in het lange slopende schemerdonker van de supermarkt,
met geel gras onder de voeten,
met een dode vis in de handen
terwijl ik het vissenhart verwarm
met mijn adem,
terwijl ik mijn adem
verwarm met dat hart.

Паприка

Close

PAPRIKA

Walking through the supermarket at night
past the green flash of salads,
behind the two teens holding hands –
the girl picks out lemons and sweet peppers
and lets the boy hold them, then laughs and puts them back.
It’s ten to ten, before this they argued
for a long time, she wanted to leave, he convinced her to stay;
pockets full of green stuff,
gold Assyrian coins, painkillers,
sweet love, enchanted paprika.

take us out, come on, take us out, the dank soul, every dead fruit, the blood of
strawberries, and fish killed by old ship propellers in southern states, minced
with earrings and British punk pins, their gills stuffed with
caffeine, black disease, turning away from the green light, they groan as if begging

take us out from here, come on, take us out to the nearest bus stop, to the nearest
gas station, to the nearest cool ocean, they seem to signal, bending
their dank souls, till the propellers in the night skies above the supermarket
wreck the juicy air, and the caffeine stains your fingernails

take them out, well come on, hide the warm green flashes in your pockets, place silver and gold coins under your tongue, take us to the nearest hiding place, to the nearest stadium,
blood for blood, the lord calls us, moving our fins

Since I won’t ever be able to hold anyone
the way he holds her, I can’t simply pass by
all this still life, I hesitated too long,
didn’t have the strength to move, so now I have to follow them.

Where you are now, you must know what awaits them, right? where
you wound up, you can predict everything – two or three more years of golden
teenage swooning in the August grass, squandering coins on all kinds of
poisons and that’s it – memory fills the place in you once occupied by tenderness.

Since I won’t ever be able to be afraid for anyone
the way she is afraid for him, I won’t ever be able to give
anything to anyone with the ease with which she places
the warm lemons in his hands;
I will follow them further
through the long exhausting twilight of the supermarket,
with yellow grass underfoot,
dead fish in hand,
warming its heart
with my breath
warming my breath
with its heart.

PAPRIKA

Walking through the supermarket at night
past the green flash of salads,
behind the two teens holding hands –
the girl picks out lemons and sweet peppers
and lets the boy hold them, then laughs and puts them back.
It’s ten to ten, before this they argued
for a long time, she wanted to leave, he convinced her to stay;
pockets full of green stuff,
gold Assyrian coins, painkillers,
sweet love, enchanted paprika.

take us out, come on, take us out, the dank soul, every dead fruit, the blood of
strawberries, and fish killed by old ship propellers in southern states, minced
with earrings and British punk pins, their gills stuffed with
caffeine, black disease, turning away from the green light, they groan as if begging

take us out from here, come on, take us out to the nearest bus stop, to the nearest
gas station, to the nearest cool ocean, they seem to signal, bending
their dank souls, till the propellers in the night skies above the supermarket
wreck the juicy air, and the caffeine stains your fingernails

take them out, well come on, hide the warm green flashes in your pockets, place silver and gold coins under your tongue, take us to the nearest hiding place, to the nearest stadium,
blood for blood, the lord calls us, moving our fins

Since I won’t ever be able to hold anyone
the way he holds her, I can’t simply pass by
all this still life, I hesitated too long,
didn’t have the strength to move, so now I have to follow them.

Where you are now, you must know what awaits them, right? where
you wound up, you can predict everything – two or three more years of golden
teenage swooning in the August grass, squandering coins on all kinds of
poisons and that’s it – memory fills the place in you once occupied by tenderness.

Since I won’t ever be able to be afraid for anyone
the way she is afraid for him, I won’t ever be able to give
anything to anyone with the ease with which she places
the warm lemons in his hands;
I will follow them further
through the long exhausting twilight of the supermarket,
with yellow grass underfoot,
dead fish in hand,
warming its heart
with my breath
warming my breath
with its heart.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère