Süleyman (Svenska)

Süleyman, du kan inte vänta dig att jag ska hålla koll på vilken kille i ditt harem som för tillfället har din gunst eller inte, så kan du inte bara skriva mig en lista på vem som just nu är bra och vem som är dålig?

“Jag älskar dig!” sa han.

1. Det du åtrår, det bestämmer du dig för; det du bestämmer dig för, det blir din handling; och som du handlar får du skörda.

Först var jag tyst, sen vände jag mig om för att med kylig artighet fråga, “Ursäkta att jag frågar, men exakt vad är källan till din kärlek?”

2. Jag försöker att förstå saker som är väldigt svåra att förstå.

“Det är du, såklart, du är källan till min kärlek!”

“Jag?” sa jag, och försökte låta överraskad.

“Ja, du!” ropade han, och såg längtansfullt på mig, som ett barn som ber om något det vet att det inte kommer att få. Mitt hjärta började slå med ömkan och bestörtning och således blev jag tvingad att framföra charader så djävulskt osannolika att de skulle verka malplacerade till och med i en Shakespearepjäs.

3. Så som många djur tjänar människan, så tjänar varje människa gud. Utan hans godkännande kan inte ens ett grässtrå röra på sig.

27. Jag går vidare, jag triumferar på vägen.  

85. Man ska fundera på allvarliga saker först när man blivit helt och hållet är besatt av Dionysus, och sedan nykter.

“Visst, jag älskar dig också,” sa jag och hoppades på att vara klar, att gå hem och få lite förlösande sömn. När jag såg in i hans desperata ögon borde jag ha kunnat gissa vad jag nyss satt i rörelse. Även de mest okunniga kan, som hundar, spåra lukten av åska. En rasande våg lyfte mig upp till sitt krön och bar bort mig. Oupphörlig och krävande. Stormen rasade vidare i dagar, i månader – ett helt år förflöt. Allt man vet faller bort om man glömmer bort vem man är, men jag mindes, och levde länge nog för att få se slutet. När jag lämnade ondskans trädgård genom flätade portar, slog mitt hjärta snabbare, och mina bröder omfamnade mig och hällde upp ett utsökt vin åt mig.

4. Bröder slog vakt om platsen där jag anlände. Från vad hade de fötts? Vad lever de på? Vad grundades de på? Vem har bestämt att de ska kunna dricka så mycket, o ni vise män?

Mina bröder, ert vin är för starkt för att man ska kunna dricka det ofta. Ändå kommer jag tillbaka för mer. Kom ihåg, mina bröder, att hicka som denna är en bevingad bön, som kan höras till och med på Baalbek.

Det kommer alltid finnas män som honom, eller jag kanske borde säga: pojkar som honom, som jämför sig själva med din storhet, och hatar det, inte för vad det är, men för vad de själva är eller inte är.

5. När jag tas emot av Änglarna, när kommer han då tänka på mig?

De kan avundas till och med ett barn. De pratar om förnuft, men är vansinnigt känslosamma. Må helgonen skänka dem artighet innan fallet.

6. Jag svär att jag troget, lojalt, och hederligt ska tjäna mina älskare och deras legitima efterträdare, överlämna mig själv åt dem med all min styrka och uppoffra, om det krävs, mitt eget liv för att försvara dem. 

Det är kallt som marmor på tunnelbanestationen, tunnelns käkar är ömma och bortom dem måste havet ligga, där stormarna ryter. Hallelujah!

7. Avges ett löfte, så närmar sig bus.

När hans vänlighet försvunnit vägrade jag vika mig, jag var utan tvekan magisk och vidskeplig. Jag försökte bara visa hjältemod. Så vad ska jag göra nu? Jag avser att visa att min heder är mig mer värd än mitt eget liv. Kärleken förändras inte, men är ändå orsak till alla förändringar.

11. Marcus, Gud välsigne dig.

Jag vet att det är lättare att svara på böner från en man som har besvarat andras böner.

Gudinnorna Anath och Astarte slogs samman till en gudom, som kallades Atargatis.

Jag vet att det är lättare att svara på böner från en man som har besvarat andras böner.

Han Som Rider På Molnen. Fenicierna kallade honom Baal Shamen, Herre över Himlen.

13. Vad mitt namn betyder? Gåva från Gud.

95. Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel wär und wollt uns gar verschlingen, so fürchten wir uns nicht so sehr, es soll uns doch gelingen.

30. Vem? Jag? Heder, ära, och evig seger!

Närhelst sann kärlek visar sitt ansikte (och döden äntrar genom mitt fönster) kommer den att vara sitt eget bevis. Han ser minoansk ut. Han ser byzantisk ut. Han ser baktriskt ut. Jag gillar hans utseende. Det kommer inte finnas någon förvirring. Det kommer inte finnas någon förvirring. Det kommer inte finnas någon förvirring. 

38. När armenier når toppen av klimax kommer de i kaskader. 

39. Du vet, han hade verkligen kunnat rädda vår vänskap, återställa den till lycka och dygd – men det gjorde han inte. Ynkrygg!

62. Välsignade är de som sörjer för de ska komma att bli tröstade.

93. Medelst de vackra läppar som Skaparen lät mig besitta, så kysste jag med min mun: knarklangaren, bartendern, skaterkillen, arkitekten, målaren, diplomaten, och alla de andra också.

Men han som reste sig emot dig, och hade ondska i sig, Süleyman – honom skall du glömma. Men nu, bakverk med saffran, Süleyman. Du flyger som en hök, du kacklar som en gås, Süleyman. Den där hemliga formen, dina två ögonbryn, Süleyman, är som två armar på vågen som väger varje dag och natt. Vad är det, Süleyman? Dina ögon får alla våra hjärtan att svämma över med ljus. 


Text: Ian Memgard
Översättning och bild: Zola Gorgon

My Boyfriend

Watching him snort.

Maybe I should go back to my world tour.

I am stronger by it than the strong, I have power by it more than the mighty.

I’ve been provided, my boyfriend has provided it to me.

The place of restraint is opened. The place of restraint is opened to my soul.

His body is stretched out, the steps are lifted up, and so are my thighs. 

I am weak and feeble. I am weak and motionless in the presence of my boyfriend.

I have stabbed my own heart in the making, performing things for my boyfriend. 

I have opened up to myself every highway in town. 

I have become a prince. I have become glorious.

I have been provided with what is necessary. 

I have shot arrows, I have wounded the prey. 

I have been provided with a million enchantments. 

I smell the air coming forth from his nose; I am exalted by reason of this thing. 

I have made an end of my failings; I have removed all my defects. 

I am the Satrap of my boyfriend.

My poetry was so brand new that my boyfriend fucked me numerous times that night. Many people heard about it and wrote it down in their diaries. Afterwards my boyfriend said, “God can do anything – that is why carbon dating equipment works and that’s also why I can fuck you this much”. We used to live in peace for many months. Sheep played in every vale and valley. Then my boyfriend got bored. He held a conference and told all his friends about a coming war. He said the battles were, “flesh vs spirit, truth vs lies, love vs hate, sanctified angels vs demons”. The things my boyfriend told his friends really amazed me. When we got home from the conference my boyfriend pulled up a book that was lying in a pile with a bunch of papers on the table and showed it to me. 

“Let’s look at this book”, he said. 

I opened it and flipped through the pages one by one. I looked at him and asked, “Now what do you say?” 

“Have you understood what the book is about?”

“It’s a book about claims”, I replied. 

“Dude”, he said and patted me on the shoulder. Later on, after a few beers, my boyfriend started informing me about how to fill out claim documents by writing the cost of each warrant and it didn’t take me long to understand how it was done. 

“Starting tomorrow, I am asking you to come and help me with my work”, he said and looked to see if I would accept or refuse. From then on, I became his great assistant in preparing claims according to travel application documents that came from the government. I did the work with great effort and care until my boyfriend was happy.

“Now listen”, he told me one day after praying for us. “Sit here and rest. Don’t worry because here you are at home. I will take care of you, and God willing, I will get us what we need.” I thought he was joking. It is painful to think your boyfriend is joking when he is being serious. This made him very angry. “Name the market where you can buy a boyfriend, and I’ll go buy a new one for you if you can’t take me seriously!” he said and slapped me across the face. I was so surprised. I thought his hand was stuck solidly only to my heart. It surprised me even more when he called me a faggot at mass. “So if you, my dear boyfriend, the person in whom I place all my trust, start calling me a faggot during mass, let me remind you being a faggot is not a disease! You know very well that when things go from bad to worse, you’ll be seeking me out – I am gone!” I ran away in tears.

Later that evening he took me out dancing. We had such a good time I completely forgot about what had happened. If I could tolerate being called a faggot at mass, I could also tolerate a slap now and then; just a moment to donate what the heart allows. Now, if you’re listening to my story, you’ll notice I talk about memories. Is it even possible to live without belonging to anyone? My boyfriend is an ill tempered man. 

So, they say he’s a bad boy. Tell me, how bad is he exactly? People say he’s using me, and the lies they have spread have traveled all the way to Brussels, to Paris – from Paris they came back to Berlin, and from Berlin the lies even reached Tokyo! What is it with my boyfriend’s name? The clothes that he wears fit him very well and make him look good. When they see me walking next to him downtown, it troubles them. I reject the greetings of a bunch of clowns. What do they want me to tell them? After all, a person’s reputation is harmed the most by what you say to defend it. They criticize my boyfriend at night and during the day too. They do not get tired. They have disrespected my boyfriend a lot. I’m tired of these people, the kin of mosquitoes. They keep on gossiping with their friends and flatmates. Sure, my boyfriend’s conduct might be a little impudent, but his heart has never lacked principles. Has anyone else had this type of boyfriend in the last 8 years? I’m the only one, and this is my vindication, my authenticity as herald of our love. My boyfriend’s presence scares people. I don’t know why. I’m tired of telling people to leave me and my boyfriend alone, the way they left Jesus on the cross.


Text: Ian Memgard
Translation and image: Zola Gorgon

Morning mass

Note to self. Try not to do so much. Become a better listener. Show curiosity. Breathe from the belly. You can live your wildest dreams all you have to do is change everything. All you have to do is change everything.

I’m frozen to the pew and it feels embarrassing to move. We’ve walked far, and I bet we smell. An hour along the highway since our phones are dead and it’s the only way we knew. 

It’s morning and bright and my throat is black from cigarettes when I realize that I, like, hate myself? Not because of what I did tonight. I realize that I hated myself before I left the house to party.

Stella’s kneeling next to me, white tracksuit pants against the red velvet of the prayer bench.

She’s very serious, but still funny, since it’s impossible to know what she’s thinking when she kneels and rises, clasps her hands, at the same time as the congregation. She seems to have come into contact with some kind of archaic suffering, while I’m merely ashamed about last night. My suffering is contemporary, soft and moist. Dry by the evening.

The wooden Jesus sculpture looks sicker than the happy one in Sweden. He’s bony, small and grey. I don’t know if it’s old and worn or if they’ve made it that way for him to look that sad and miserable.

God made his son a human, so he could share in the suffering of men. 

Did God remember to make sure that Jesus also had to feel the unpleasant pendulum movement from fun to sad? To follow a thought with hope and faith and suddenly dive into something bottomless deep? That state where you’re laughing, screaming, heiling and suddenly in the middle of it all realizing that you want to go home.

For me, suffering means writing lists of things you’re gonna change about yourself, instead of changing everything. Stella changed everything a long time ago and that’s why her suffering is archaic. Like Jesus’, her sadness is fundamental.

Uncomfortable evenings. I toss and turn so I don’t have to feel how the darkness falls fast over things I haven’t had time to clean. Blood collects in my lymph nodes. People say “the darkness is compact”, but it is not…

“Hot priest,” Stella whispers, so I look up. It’s not that he’s hot, but he looks “like us” and is reading with a dark, sexy voice. It’s not that he’s hot, but rather tall and slim, a flat body, and his voice vibrates in a manner that might have been domineering but he draws out initial and final vowels and fills the spaces between with “eh” and “um”, as if he wants to distance himself from the words in his sermon. Like he’s a little bit embarrassed and wants to turn it into a joke.

He’s like me, I think. He’s never changed everything. Who’s he looking for when he’s preening like that before the congregation? Is it me?

I’m reminded of springtime, when discomfort disappears. When you fall in love in April … if I’d been the wife of a priest. I’d be so focused on him that all that black stuff just turns into background, wallpaper.

I tell Stella I need to speak to the peirst. We go to talk to the priest, we ask him how long he’s been a priest. Half a year, he says. I present myself and say my name is Francis. As we’re leaving the church, I tell Stella how it felt remarkable, the way the priest didn’t make me hate myself, not because he was nice or warm but because I could see the ways his thoughts drifted, so I thought I had a distance from his opinions about me.

That’s what people never give you – that airy space you long for. I fall in love with people who give me that airy space I always long for. Distance.

I’ve got to go and make confession, it’s my only chance to speak to him alone. It’s me, I whisper through the lattice. Francis.

I’m far away, but very close, he whispers through the confession booth. My mouth, dry, he’s far away, I open and close my mouth and nibble mechanically, like a turtle. I pushed myself into position, pressed to the chair, my seat swells and starts swallowing the booth. Closer, he says. My hands find a nipple, a marble. The further away he is, the closer. He fills my entire mouth, iridescent, swelling. The reformation meant the end of forgiveness. My forehead beats against the air, butts against his chest, but he’s not there. He could have tasted sugar in the marble, iridescent juice. I need to read Decreation now. My fingers keep slipping off my nipple since I can’t stop trembling. Is he laughing at me? I pressed my breasts together. What’s his real name? All fat was in my hands. I wanted them both in his mouth. Was I a reformer? I collect the sides of my breasts. 

The following Sunday, during the sermon, the priest waits for me to come forwards. I’ve been sober all week, showering in the morning and wearing beautiful clothes which I’d washed as early as Thursday.

His shyness is like a flame, gasping and burning out, or a hard-on that suddenly looses track of itself and curls up. But I follow my plan regardless, still walk up to him with the slip of paper with my phone number on it and put it in his hand.

Back on the street, he writes to me. The air is cool and moist. You feel so close right now, he writes. Never am I ever going back to that church.


Text: Fredrika Flinta
Translation and image: Zola Gorgon

Nebuchadnezzar

Nebuchadnezzar was full of grief, and the form of his visage was suddenly changed against Meshach: therefore he spake and said “I’m crying, little brother. They are in a meeting waiting for me. While I’m mourning they get together to plot against me. What a great sadness, melancholy, depression! Where would I go for support? Who would I tell? When I cry it is for you to grow and mature, little brother” Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of Meshach, and spake, and said “Little brother, I do not want another person, that’s my feature. Even in garbage I see great value. By God, I am satisfied, yet you don’t believe me. Come on, I’m surprised you still hate me. The key to blessing is gratitude and I am grateful, little brother. I extend my hands to you, knowing my destiny is upon you. Nothing is perfect, nothing. He who surpasses your beauty, none, little brother.”

Meshach answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, I am not careful to answer you in this matter. We are all weak creatures compared to you. Your glory alone is yours. No one likes to be burdened by evil and also he who knows the meaning of love is perishable. Yet there are those who want their love to be ruined, again and again they will go to their end to find out. That’s what their souls are like, and bad things follow. O great King, keep me from knowing love like theirs”

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said, “The key to goodness is patience and I have patience. Even though you are good, little brother, you are praying so that I may be harmed. You are inventing a false secret for yourself. Be patient and let me tell you the truth.

It is better for you to not bring me down” Then the king commanded the most mighty man that was in his army to undress Meshach, and Meshach was undressed, his coat, his hosen, and his hat, and all his other garments. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, “Your eyes do not look at me, little brother. Why do they not look at me? I shall pour for you a good wine so that you may see me clearly. You do not know what God’s purpose is for you. This is how it is, little brother. Do you remember the note found near Tenco? It said he had decided to kill himself as a protest against the jury and members of the public who had voted against him. Look at me, little brother. Why do you not look at me?”

Then Meshach looked upon Nebuchadnezzar and said to him, “When the war started all the people looked with hope to Tenco. They spoke for him, they prayed for him, they sung for him, they did everything to hold up his hands, as Aaron did for Moses, but whilst they were praying for his success you were undermining the fabric of your own kingdom by playing the fool with me, having me advise you, having me telling you what to do, having me undressed. It is better to deserve me, and to go without, than to have me undeserved.”

Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with a great dark passion and kissed Meshach on the lips, and spake, and said, “Deserve has nothing to do with it, little brother. You found me enjoying a good life, you literally requested to command me and I accepted. You found me enjoying wealth, and asked to take over control and I accepted. I bought myself a Mercedes Benz and asked you that we go out for fun. When we reached the road side you ordered that I take you back where you had been so that people would think it was you who bought this car. Little brother, deserve has nothing to do with it. Yet I pray that it stays this way, and the days will pass until the end of time. It’s time you learned to be a man, but such a thing is impossible, and when I kiss your lips I am sure of it. Little brother, go back to your parents home, there you will find your childhood bed. Your body is still youthful and beautiful but you have destroyed my face. Your habits have destroyed my face. Today problems, tomorrow problems, I’m tired, little brother. Today fighting, tomorrow quarreling, I hate it, little brother. This life has become unbearable to me. Forgive me!”

Thus Nebuchadnezzar threw himself down into the midst of a burning fiery furnace and was killed, and the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, said to each other upon hearing the news, “There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”

Text: Ian Memgard
Image: Pierre-Louis Herold