Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: hearts

The Poet Realizes Almost Too Late that his Advice is Not Wanted

or, The First Three Stanzas

Your heart strings your heartstrings all up in your living-tomb

and last week will last. We could stay. (We should give him room.)

Your organs will begin to rot inside

your skin, you butterfly in progress. Bide

your time for years until you are a corpse,

a living Buddha. Dead. Forgotten. Here,

you see that you’re not getting any where.

I have a poem in my chest tonight.

I know you. You won’t act your best tonight.

We’re broke and we’re broken; we’re blacklight and virgin vein.

Dim lights, pills, your light spills like mist and a purging rain.

You’re shaking like a leaf, you tremble like

a trigger finger, drink pressed like a mic

against your lips, you’re always in a kiss,

you frog, you scorpion. You shouldn’t know

how many people you’re in love with, though.

I have a poem in my throat tonight

and you will let me have your coat tonight.

I meet her and meet her high standards or what-have-you

and so far I’m so far away from you. Not a clue.

And she’s not evil, no-one is, but still.

But still. But still, you flee to your Brazil

committing crimes just to get in, but you,

you kicked chihuahua, don’t belong in hell

or heaven, you belong right here. We tell

ourselves we’re poems, but you cannot fit

a sonnet in a koan, but still: you suck

the marrow out of life itself to fuck

your spine up, crush your bones. And if you let

it go, this poem in between my teeth,

I’ll teach you how to breathe, I’ll stand beneath

and catch you, should you fall, this ending you

can’t help. For we take turns, my friends and I

to be the one to say: today, don’t die.

I have a poem on my tongue tonight

which I have swallowed. I have sung tonight.


From the hidden archives. Offered up today as a prayer that I won’t have to write another one of these.


Good evening, dear readers! Step into my abode, hang up your skin on the rack but feel free to keep your shoes on. Today’s story is The Hyperheart. Translation notes, in English, can as always be found at the bottom of the post. You can find all the entries in this project at this link: /tag/the-north-of-reality-translation-project/


    av Uel Aramchek
        översättning: Johannes Punkt

Det första du märker när du kommer in på klubben är närvaron av hundratals ultravioletta eldflugor som alla signalerar i takt med en avgrundsdjup bas. Portvakten stirrar med förväntan på dig och håller fram en burk full av genomskinlig vätska. Du härmar de framför dig i kön och sträcker in handen i ditt eget bröst för att ta ut ditt hjärta.

Det ser annorlunda ut än vad du föreställt dig. I dina händer är det en pulserande kub som glöder karmosinrött utan klaffar eller rörledningar. Dess puls är hög, för det är fortfarande ditt hjärta, och du är rädd. Trots det släpper du taget och låter det sjunka ned i den underliga krämen. Någon knuffar fram dig medan flaskan korkas och du lyckas inte ta emot din nummerbricka. Folkklungan är tät och det finns ingen återvändo.

Du följer spiralmolnet eldflugor ned till källaren, en tiovåningsfärd som slutar i en virvel av kroppar utan hjärtan. Alla dansar i krets runt samma massiva polygonkluster, en dånande struktur som kallas Hyperhjärtat. Dess musik är blod som genomsyrar dig, och genom det kan du känna ett otal andra människors rörelser och passioner sprudla ut ur dina nerver.

När det är dags att gå därifrån finns det hjärta du minns dock inte att hitta i någon av deras burkar. Det bästa de kan göra för dig är att erbjuda dig ett ifrån hittegods.



One translation principle I try to adhere to is to keep the source language as much as possible out of the target language. It is no secret that anglicisms are mushrooming into the Swedish language from the soil of language itself, and I welcome this. My own conversational Swedish is scattershot with anglicisms and expressions from whatever other language I’ve just been trying to speak in, but in writing I like the rather nuked style of John Ajvide-Lindqvist, who writes with almost zero anglicisms. I don’t know if he speaks English all that well, that might have something to do with it. (Language is, after all, just the name for thousands of idiolects.)

It’s hard to judge how much of my own experience with anglicisms comes across to other people as something Swedes would obviously say or if it would seem a translator’s cop-out. Often, drawing attention to the fact that the thing you’re reading is translated is a bad idea, so I’ve put up a membrane between the two languages. Anything that comes through it unchanged is scrutinised and picked apart. If it doesn’t have a long-ish history of being used in this form in Swedish, it gets reworked. This is why I’ve gone with ultraviolett instead of blacklight. Everyone would understand blacklight-eldflugor or the like but it would sound like a cop-out. Calling them ultra-violet is less specific than a blacklight, but the context of the club already being given, it’d be difficult to get the wrong vibe from that phrasure.

The phrase “a source of bass somewhere deep below” became “en avgrundsdjup bas,” “a bass as deep as the abyss,” because all my attempts at fitting the word for source in there sounded very unnatural, also because I enjoy the pun. It’s not the literal meaning, but I deliberated on it and decided that a) the connotations of “somewhere deep below” are more important than saying exactly where the bass comes from, and b) the bass will be mostly felt through the feet and up anyway, and in the chest like a replacement heartbeat, and it’s hard to pinpoint a source of bass anyway.

The word “fountainworks” is surprisingly bothersome. The word I want to use for it is “rörverk” which should be “pipeworks” according to my sensible language use, but seems to only ever have been used to denote factories for pipe manufacture before. After some thought I went with “rörledningar,” which is “piping.” It sounds a tad more like machinery than Uel’s original phrasing, but within the margins, I’d say.

The last challenge with this piece was the word “ambient,” which is also one of those words that people will understand, because we just say ambient musik for ambient music as far as I can tell, but I feel bad about keeping it that way. Also, the word loses all its connotations in tunneling through the membrane. I picked “blod som genomsyrar dig,” “blood which permeates you,” where genomsyra has connotations of both burning acid and deep meditation.

To a Pervert

Art by Andreas Porss, photo by Cecilia Hellström.

Art by Andreas Porss, photo by Cecilia Hellström.

My good friend Mr. Porss, of, gave me a painting and in return I have written him a poem. Decades from now, art historians and literary historians will uncover this post, printed out and tattered, and they will wonder about the past. Did we really wrestle octopodes together in Cyprus, in an underground and very sexy establishment? Is it true that we invented the pizza salad? What is it with swordfish? None of these questions are answered, or even brought up, in the following poem.

To a Pervert
I know your heart is not some cunt heart
To sheathe a sword in; your young blunt heart

Still sizzling the teflon wok pan:
I cannot eat out your undone heart.

So eat! Eat your own damn heart out, man,
At least feast your eyes. My unwrung heart

Plays Prisoner’s Dilemma, cut-throat,
No Nash equilibrium, some heart.

So shove a microphone down your throat
And learn to speak from your unstrung heart,

But hearts make poor cufflinks, rough red sand
On those you greet, mess, with but one heart

You’d say, today I wanked with this hand.
Today I’m ribs and spine, lung, lung, heart.

Be softer yet, wrap silk round your unspun heart;
And give away your well-hung punk heart.

Shadows and Eggshell

Image courtesy of The Thrusting Sensations

Image courtesy of The Thrusting Sensations, who have a facebook page:, and a website:

There was a desert inside her chest. We went into it. It was always daytime, and the heat rose from the ground, and sometimes stray rocks would crackle and jump like drops of oil on a skillet. There were nine of us surgeons, and two camels; by unspoken agreement we all walked. We carried with us a delicate heart inside a refrigerated box.

The shadows we cast on the desert were all the same colour as the sand that covered it. At one point, Anders picked up a handful of sand and saw that it was pieces of eggshell, white and brown, not sand at all. He knew he carried with him a silhouette of himself and he believed it to follow his movements, stretched out and wrong-angled, but now he had lost track of it. Without knowing where the silhouette ended, Anders blended into the landscape and became a tree, eggshell-coloured and leafless. This, too, was shadowless: in order to see him we had to get down on our knees or our stomachs and search for his outline protruding over the horizon.

We had used up half of our water supply, and Deirdre pointed out that this was the point to turn back. Declare it a lost mission. It had only ever had a 40% chance of working, anyway. I said, “I have a compass. Let me drag the box by myself if I have to, I will do this.” They let me have a camel, and both mine and Anders’ shares of supplies. I was grateful, and I walked quickly, afraid of hearing the hum-whirr-click of the refrigeration running out of power.

At last, I found the sun and saw my shadow dance, exalted to be there again, I think. The fiery ball was half buried in eggshell and my camel was afraid of it, stomping the ground and breathing heavily. That was the last I remember of my humped companion, it must have walked away when it realized I was paying attention to more important things.

The box still wheezed, I opened it carefully and saw everything was intact. Condensation trailed out of the box and onto the ground and sizzled away. I took off my gloves and rubbed lotion onto my hands. I put new gloves on, I removed my facepiece and took a deep breath. The very last of my water bathed my face. I took the cold heart out of the box and held it in my hands, before biting down on it. It was still beating, but slowly, pumping nothing but air, perhaps twice a minute. The blood of a twelve-year-old Parisian boy with the right blood type flowed down my chin and inside my sterile plastic suit. The last thing I remember is swallowing the last bit of meat and staring at my empty hands, wondering if I was required to lick them clean.

Then I was outside the desert again, in the room with the chequered floor, and I had just stopped moving my mouth, talking. Her parents thanked me, they knew we had done everything we could.