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Contempt

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my puppet-strings are the
sweet decaying lamps I flutter round.

I am as immense
as a black kid with a spinning top.

drowned tripper fat
crawls into hollow cuffs to be sewn up
like hot cats
cracked soft caryatids in tails.

I'll force you all to your knees
your dirty muzzles will squawk
out of your faces.

and I will continue to climb
I'll spread my thin arms along the queer walls
till they bleed.

I'll reach into threadbare velvet
so that you bash yourselves like poor moths
on corners of night.

the reason I'm here is
to scratch all the white bellies
squatting down there.

your stupid silence I will  just
toss up in the air.

I am as sky high
as all your staring regards laid end to end
on the ground somewhere
lies my broken smile.


Source: Poetry (November 2007)
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Contempt

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  • 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 Vienna. In a 2004 interview Jelinek explained, “My training in music and composition then led me to a kind of musical language process in which, for example, the sound of the words I play with has to expose their true meaning against their will[,] so to speak.”

    She published her first collection of poetry, Lisas Schatten (1967), at the age of 21. Discussing the influence of writer H.C. Atrmann, founder of the Vienna Group, on her work, Jelinek said that “if you want...

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