Patrick Friesen and P.K. Brask & Niels Hav
Women of Copenhagen
I have once again fallen in love
this time with five different women during a ride
on the number 40 bus from Njalsgade to Østerbro.
How is one to gain control of one’s life
under such conditions?
One wore a fur coat, another red wellingtons.
One of them was reading a newspaper,
the other Heidegger
-- and the streets were flooded with rain.
At Amager Boulevard a drenched princess entered,
euphoric and furious, and I fell for her utterly.
But she jumped off at the police station
and was replaced by two queens
with flaming kerchiefs,
who spoke shrilly with each other in Pakistani
all the way to the Municipal Hospital
while the bus boiled in poetry.
They were sisters and equally beautiful,
so I lost my heart to both of them
and immediately planned
a new life in a village near Rawalpindi
where children grow up in the scent of hibiscus
while their desperate mothers sing
as dusk settles over the Pakistani plains.
But they didn’t see me!
And the one wearing a fur coat cried beneath
her glove when she got off at Farimagsgade.
The girl reading Heidegger suddenly shut her book
and looked directly at me with a dirisive smile,
as if she’d suddenly caught a glimpse of Mr. Nobody
in his very own insignificance.
And that’s how my heart broke for the fifth time,
when she got up and left the bus with all the others.
Life is so brutal!
I continued for two more stops before giving up.
It always ends like that: You stand alone
on the kerb, sucking on a cigarette,
wound up and mildly unhappy.
© Niels Hav
Translated by P.K. Brask