Our Motorbike

By Elfriede Jelinek b. 1946 Elfriede Jelinek

Translated By Michael Hofmann

rocket water
wooden moon on the roof
                                    signs of night &
                                    the red motorbike's
                                    bleeding muscle
                                    fleshed stalk dripping
                                    and overgrowing our evening
                                    it too
                                    a sign of darkness
a leek's fat body
the red motorbike
our night fire
ravishment of chrome

our red motorbike glazed
with henna and betel it squirts
salmon  juice between the dark
of our thighs it sprouts
and shouts at the bar
                                    it wears a portion of
                                    evening in its eye
                                    it sloughs off sleep like
                                    the bushes drop resin &
our rags dip purring in
even redder roar
our muscles softly skip sweet
sweat flickers we polish
carefully &
assiduously our eyes are perched
on steel antennae surely there is
nothing redder than our motorbike
                                    we will live on it
                                    our red tent
                                    dig our claws into
                                    its heart cherries meat it
                                    shouts out
                                    spittle rip
                                    the juice instructs
                                    the eyes
                                    in the language of iron

the red night squats
pressed against our motorbike

we ride hunting little girls
in the wooden sky

Source: Poetry (November 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the November 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2007
 Elfriede  Jelinek


Recipient of the 2004 Nobel Prize for Literature, Elfriede Jelinek is an Austrian poet, playwright, and novelist. Born to a Catholic-Viennese mother and a Jewish-Czech father in Mürzzuschlag, Styria, Jelinek grew up in Vienna and lost many members of her family to the Holocaust.

Jelinek studied music intensively from an early age. She graduated from the Vienna Conservatory and studied theater and art history at the University of . . .

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Poems by Elfriede Jelinek

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Sports & Outdoor Activities

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

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