:: Article

Four poems

By Ulf Stolterfoht.

Jargons IV (1)

opens brightly: sentences exist. deduces claims:
full of words. and that is all there is.
in overtones a merely as what’s surely commonly:
good perception of fruit — may well
stand for other things. complete perception of
good fruit — here’s how it functions:

like apples eyes and. not to mention pears.
presumes pending corroboration: the apple does not
see itself. in this it’s like the eye. you can’t tell from
the looks of one (please look at this as a sentence)
it’s being looked at by another. “please look at this as
a sentence” likewise to be looked at as a sentence etc.

“is to say” takes place. aspects apace. one owes/
thanks/is obliged. “is to mean” goes haywire. also
“more later” belongs here. strong feelings of happiness
through fruit. a newer. a better. a dapper
perhaps. perhaps mere structures but at least crude
and pure. leads from needy to approximate. the word

of fruit in the eye of the beholder. the post as
beam or mote. the sentence of the hereditary
branch. the word of trunk a hybrid. first: the
wrong fruit in the right place. then: the tree as
word — a good sentence. then if I’m not mistaken
the whole tree on the left as strongest branch.

translated by Rosemarie Waldrop

mother tongue 1968/2: ernst mach death league

did sense (true to statute: save experience)
risk its neck for the disproportion touched by
the guild, spoke of the axe in the cordmaker’s
house: ‘swung back – now hack!’ Too late:

he twists no more – already strung his noose
and escaped from the world. is ‘starting from’
what description can do? answer: ‘spawn dwell
in even the smallest pond’ shows what can

be done with stump. a naturally leibnizian allusion.
today perhaps: how to bring the newt to the
drain. along the way saved a lot of water by ec-
onomic verse IS CERTAINLY the scholar’s most

noble behaviour the cretan question ‘earthly burdened’
in favour of ‘saturated with language’. the whole
thing left to its own accord. If words what they themselves
body but at best feel it in the suffix their reference

must be a taking. on ON you signal un
daunted: you’ve corded up – now tie it off! each time
comes a drawing. spoke coarsely of ‘in light of’:
on the foreign knot from the now unavoided swamp.

translated by Brian Currid

Jargons (10/5) [call to all highly armed bohemians]

call to all highly armed bohemians (four works already
ripped to shreds!) in future, the streetwar is to be
fought ‘away from art’. lamentation’s polyvocal ohs and ahs
– but one was asphalted in the most concrete way. the

village vanguard still that very night. (so-called recognised)
resistance biographies lasting many years. Con-
sidering refractioning. On the one hand, the class-
specific interest in erecting new weimar (like:

read faster comrade / radical chic) at the same time
of course the wish to needlepoint the pillow goes on:
we will be well-read / the text is getting too short
for us. the hall fight ends refreshingly. committees

formed. what came since, merely: revolution
as pacified stylistic position. interrogation rooms are
then set up. wimpering about a question of life or
death: an I. ‘if I didn’t take the side of experiment

the publisher would let me die of hunger, arms outstretched’.
the art watchman’s unsympathetic, but all the same judg-
ments based on torturing principles. but – psychotic
systems often possess their own persuasive logic: schelling

already complained about hˆderlin’s subversive hairdo
– all that hair and no comb! now we get used to so
much more: one outgrew his battle shoes and became
adult. the other got stuck in them, turned into song.

Translated by Brian Currid

DIN 2330: concepts and designations general principles

berlin: hotbed of the best. a healthy word (like bran)
back to basics for the true believers. strip the language
to its roots. good. friday: working on vocabulary.
enter the body of language with a heartbeat.

saturday: stock up on signs. a pantry of
concepts. sunday: special lexicon. border terms.
apparently names. in the evenings language theory takes
a sabbatical. for the good of the community you explain ‘shoo stick’.

then goodbye. // vienna. alone at the guesthouse
‘mercy option’. with problems about standards. fear
of failure. come on words: explode! where is
glossolalia when you need her, the glossary

must be produced. only half-hearted agreement on
the best mnemonic. // düsseldorf in autumn.
the coolest squads for linguistic emergency. pep
talkers sound spielers. can justify surveillance:

for the first time voice prints will be taken, the
rules seem watertight, yet braille will rescue
the words. so efficiently sublime: the normmakers
should not feel all was in vain.

Translated by Joanne Burns.


Ulf Stolterfoht was born on 8 June 1963 in Stuttgart. He has studied German literature and philology in Tübingen and Bochum. Even before the publication of his debut volume in 1998, his poems already appeared in various journals and anthologies. From 2008 to 2009 he was professor at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig. Stolterfoht lives in Berlin.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, July 16th, 2011.