Ondrej Buddeus

Ondřej Buddeus

 
Poems translated from Czech by Tereza Novická
 

CHATROOM: THE HISTORY OF THE COCA COLA TRADEMARK IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE FROM 1990 TO 2011


 
I was born towards the end
of the Cold War. When I follow Putin’s
summer adventures on the internet while writing
this poem, it causes me anxiety. At the beginning

of my compulsory education in the heart
of Europe, the Gulf War
took place, in 4th grade
I endured a field trip to Prachovské

skály and the Rwanda genocide. After
transferring to a language school the
Yugoslav Wars took place. When I
attended dancing lessons, they demolished

the World Trade Center,
attacked The Pentagon and compromised
global security. I graduated
high school during Operation

Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
I started to work during
the Iraq War. Sometimes violence
escalates and we have to

fight terrorists and fanatics who
jeopardize stability. I’d like to publish
a collection of poems because art is very nice, produce
strong offspring to secure

continuity of my line, come to
own a flat, get a tattoo
of some kind of motto and finally
get a driver’s license like young

Americans, but until I
overcome my phobia
of crossroads
and communications, it won’t be

possible. I’m working on it,
sometimes I only focus on that
and nothing else is of
interest to me. And… you?
 
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PEAK OIL ON CANVAS


 
For the eighth time in the last
hour I’ve been checking my e-mail and
I wanna know what it’s like to be Scarlett Johannson or
Petr Borkovec what it would
be like if I
became operating system Linux
and couldn’t run
certain programs for
windows what it would
be like to be the media
image of a zoological
garden to gaze
tenderly through animal eyes
at you from a billboard
when you walk by deep
in thought over the Mark Rothko
painting from 1959
what it’s like to be blue
on yellow even though this
morning in the dark we couldn’t
scrape off the frost from the
windshield and ran a red light
that we didn’t notice what
it’s like to be an overlooked
red light and why
it can’t wait until
it’s resolved when
yesterday was already too late or
to be like the poet Auden
and live in Berlin because
only there
one can live in Berlin
 
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THE STATE OF EQUILIBRIUM (BE GOOD I)


 
He came to do
good, he said.
He took a seat.

He sat
He said nothing
He did good.
 
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THE STATE OF EQUILIBRIUM (BE GOOD II)


 
He came to do
good, he said.
He took a seat
and began.

Eventually
we told him
to go do good
somewhere else.
 
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ONDŘEJ BUDDEUS (*1984) is a Czech translator, poet and a sporadic essayist. He translates from German and Norwegian (J. Winkler, J. E. Vold, A. Mortensen et al.), is editor-in-chief of the contemporary Czech poetry magazine Psí vino and is writing his doctoral thesis in Scandinavian studies. His work has been translated into German, Italian, Polish and English. In 2011, he published his début text collection 55 007 characters with spaces and a picture book for adults, Orangutan in captivity tends towards obesity. He was nominated for the Magnesia Litera Prize, Bank Austria Literaris and Dresdner Lyrikpreis. In 2013, he was awarded the Jiří Orten Prize for his collection Swiftly.
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About the Translator:

 
TEREZA NOVICKÁ grew up in San Francisco, California and moved to the Czech Republic in 2000. She lives in Prague, where she studies Anglo-American Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University. She has translated various Czech and Slovak poets into English including Ondřej Buddeus, Jan Těsnohlídek, Sylva Fischerová, Lenka Daňhelová, Martin Skýpala, Vlado Šimek and Pavel Novotný.
She is an assistant director at the annual Prague Micro Festival.

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Hear Ondřej Buddeus read at the Prague Microfestival
Another poem by Ondřej Buddeus in B O D Y

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