Pentti Saarikoski
from Trilogy: The Dark One's Dances
translated by Anselm Hollo

"The day draws to a close before"


The day draws to a close before
                                        one gets a grip on it, the species
            because it does not understand
                           how beginning and end are connected
At the dentist's, my teeth were fed into the computer
                                       now even that freedom is gone
            not even while munching bread
can one feel autonomous but the two per cent
                                                                 who wield the power
            want to know the state of their subjects' teeth
                           because it affects their psychological state
                                                        thus it is possible to deduce
                           from the state of their teeth
                           pose a threat to society
Looking for invariances is a madman's task
                            a hand is a hand but what is a concept
I had to piss against the wind
             so they wouldn't see me from the police station
                           by the shore, old car tires float
                                                     for a moment the world
                                         is black paper cut-outs
                            they move slowly, then
on the square, as I crossed it
               I met a man who greeted me by doffing his cap
                            or rather it looked like his cap
had risen of its own accord
                            and he'd just been holding on to it
                to keep it from flying away