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Breyten Breytenbach (South Africa, 1939)

Breyten Breytenbach (South Africa, 1939)

Threat of the Sick

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Breyten Breytenbach,
the lean man in the green sweater; he is devout
and braces and hammers his oblong head

to fabricate a poem for you       for example:
I am scared to close my eyes
I don’t want to live in the dark and see what goes on
the hospitals of Paris are crammed with pasty people
standing at the windows making threatening gestures
like angels in the furnace
it’s raining the streets flayed and slippery

my eyes are starched
on a wet day like this they/you will bury me
when the sods are raw black flesh
the leaves and jaded flowers snapped and stained with wetness
before the light can gnaw at them,       the sky sweats white blood
but I will refuse to coop up my eyes
pluck my bony wings
the mouth is too secretive not to feel pain
wear boots to my funeral so I can hear the mud
kissing your feet
like black blossoms the starlings titl their smooth leaking heads
the green trees are monks, muttering

plant me on a hill near a pond under snapdragons
let the furtive bitter ducks crap on my grave
in the rain
cats are possessed by the souls of crazed yet cunning women
fears fears fears with drenched colourless heads
and I will refuse to comfort (soothe) my black tongue

Look he is harmless, have mercy on him

Breyten Breytenbach, was born in Bonnievale, South Africa in September 16 of 1939, Poet, painter, novelist and essayist. He left his country in 1960, and settled down in Paris, where he presented several artistic exhibitions. His first published poetic work was Ysterkoei Moet Sweet, 1964. In 1975 he was arrested for political reasons in his country in the days of apartheid. In 1982 he was liberated thanks to the French government's help. During his years in prison he wrote: The true confessions of a white terrorist, 1984. He has lived in Spain, France, South Africa and the United States. He was part of the International Parliament's of Writers delegation that recently visited the occupied Palestinian territories. Other of his works: Die ysterkoei moet sweet, 1964; Katastrofes, 1964; Voetskrif, 1976; Blomskryf - anthology, 1977; Vingermaan - anthology, 1980;Une saison au paradis, 1981 Return to Paradise, 1993; Papierblom, 1998; Boklied, 1998; Memory of Birds in Times of Revolution (essay); Dog Heart, 1999. Lady One Human & Rousseau, 2001. A collection of his first poems was published in English translation in: In Africa Even the Flies Are Happy: Selected Poems, 1964-1977.
Última actualización: 28/06/2018