Riina Katajavuori
from The Book of a Thief (1992)
translated by Anselm Hollo

She Named Herself Thief


I have a problem with identification.
It is called stealing.
A disheartened voice wastes my time:
you are not the right obsession.
Tell about yourself in terms of the end:
identification's based on stories,
lies, and thefts.
Anything else would be imitation.
The silence of one who yawns is called wisdom.


I want to turn in a direction where
sentences burn with a big flame
the mouth with quick intelligence, if
the expression of speech is true.
I try to scratch an eye-sized opening
into the random, which is


The critics, whose strong suit is oblivion
they see it all
when the lights dim, inevitably, every week,
accounts are rendered of crimes of passion, treasure maps,
falling crosses and rock and roll history,
take care not to touch anything three-dimensional.
Oh to spare one's eyes, one day, from confessions,
to murder with a camera one's most horrendous fear.
Peep, Peeping Tom
                                     peep peep
It is good in the dark.
No one carries footlights on his back.


Long for the Diamond Merchant's store
(mustn't wash dishes with Diamonds on your fingers)
long for the land where promises are made by the creditor

Sea urchins sway like harmonicas
on turbulent shores

One must smile at Possibilities
wake up in bad company