O swift bright water, o-water-o-life
DNA coiled like a hanged man’s tie;
Cell nuclei, mitochondria
like a twisted rope that’ll twist my neck.
Them folks’re wondrin’ if it’s worth a try –
but they can’t do nothin’, cause their acid’s high;
Incapacitated by their nasty genes
like sirens stranded by the angry sea.
A synapsis preaches at a younger friend:
“Catch up on your instinct ‘for it’s too late.”
An axon whispers to another one,
“What has been passed down, that has to be done.”
You can twist’n’turn, you can duplicate –
the genome curse’ll get you in the end.
You can kill yourself, you’ll still be reborn –
a deoxyribonucleic form.
translated by Ola Bilińska
photo Piotr SunderlandJacek Dehnel, born 1980, poet, writer, translator and painter. Dehnel studied at Warsaw University in the MISH College (Interfacultative Individual Humanistic Studies) and graduated from the Polish Language and Literature department. He lives in Warsaw.
His first collection of poems was the last book recommended by Polish Nobel Prize Laureate, Czesław Miłosz. Dehnel has published his poems in various literary magazines, including Kwartalnik Artystyczny, Studium, Przegląd Artystyczno-Literacki, Topos, Tytuł, Undergrunt.
He has been awarded literary prizes that include the Kościelski Award in 2005 and the Paszport Polityki in 2007.
photo Magdalena KmiecikOla Bilińska, born 1986, singer, songwriter and translator, student at the English Literature Department of Warsaw University. She is currently writing her MA thesis on the influence of music, sound and performance on the poetry of G.M. Hopkins, T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas. In an attempt to put theory into practice, she writes song lyrics and translates for other bands, most recently for Pustki. Ola sings in Płyny, an urban-folk band from Warsaw, and Muzyka Końca Lata, a group of nostalgic neo-bigbeaters. Her own stage project involving poetry, music and image has started off recently under the name Babadag.