Thursday, August 21, 2008

Per Højholt / a selection from Praksis, 8: Album, tumult (1989)

Per Højholt (1928 – 2004)

A selection from Praksis, 8: Album, tumult (1989)

3. Around the town, even on its more frequented thoroughfares, there are places where no-one or hardly anyone sets foot. Places which have not always been there, brought into existence as they are by the town itself, an architecture with the rectangle and the square as its basic forms. But since people in the main move in curves, these corners and triangles are in surplus, they fall outside the scope, though never on that account approaching nature. They are without growth and innocence and become places of sojourn for children, dogs, leaves, drunks and litter, which here, without inconveniencing more purposeful traffic, are able to play, shit, perish or rot, or move slightly in windy weather.

16. The way across the floor to the door I manage as a matter of course. It is going down the stairs I take exception to, all those steps, one merely referring to the next. If the last only referred to my death, but it refers as a simple matter of course to the floor down here in the kitchen.

26. The lobster. His one hand is large and red and chapped and wet, it severs the head and fins of the fish and tears away the skin with sacking and passes the parcel over the counter. The other is smaller, yellowish, without nails, and is wiped with a cloth.

39. Minor Kafka idyll. The more I spoke to him the larger his head became. Several times I tried falling silent to encourage him to empty himself, but he challenged me each time with new questions demanding detailed replies, and thereby against my will, little by little, I caused his head to take on a quite monstrous proportion. When later we accompanied each other along the street I noticed to my surprise that it was me people were staring at, not him, and when we took leave of each other and I remained standing a moment to watch him manoeuvre his great, egg-shaped head down through the pedestrian street, it was not him, but me they applauded.

Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken

© Per Højholt & Gyldendal 1989
Translations © Martin Aitken 2008


Martin Aitken [zookeeper] said...

More Højholt! These were done at the request of the editors of CALQUE, who are publishing 15 of these pieces along with my introduction in their issue #5 this autumn. The four pieces here will appear soon in the online supplementary issue here:

Martin Aitken [zookeeper] said...

This has now appeared online at this more specific address: