AFTER THE AFTERMATH


1. Karl's Peace

Screech of street car in the Markt Platz.
The first seat on buses and streetcars

are for the elderly and the blind
and for those wounded.

Mothers stroll among flower stalls
scattered in the Platz or they coo

to their babies. They rest
and smoke. Acrid, the cigar smoke

from a table nearby hurts my throat.
It hits inside my nose like a bomb.

My nose runs the way people ran
when bombs hit the Platz.

The castle too crumbled.
Karlsruhe: Karl's peace.

Ruhe in German. My Lutheran
friend explains the Hebrew

word Ruach. It's breath,
she tells me, and also spirit.



2. Karl's City

Karl built his city
on the principle
of the well-ordered
universe. Streets
radiate from Karl's castle
in the shape of butterfly wings.
This he did
before the calamitous year
1789
broke a dam and the flood
of history erupted.
The streets fan out still
like spikes of equisetum.
The other side of the castle,
he traced his hunting
grounds, a sweeping arch
at the edge of the fan
on which I drive.



3. ORANGERIE: In Karl's Garden

Spirit-- one and always the same--
infused in the venerable banyan tree
its bee-hive of branches, its secluded
chambers.
Spirit infused
in the equisetum
most ancient of plants
rising its jointed hollow stems
--beam on beamits whorls of slender branches
a halo around each stem.
Rising clump of horsetail
so graceful in its tapering rise, so kempt
and proper, neither self-reflecting nor judgmental,
unquestioning.



4. At the Art Museum in Freiburg, Germany

No longer a child, you come back like stubborn growth from a torn-off limb. A stiff-legged mannot youwalks by leaning on a cane. Stubborn, the mind clings to the tatters of the tree of happy returns. Gentiles take care of your ancestors' crumbling stones. You brood. You question all rules. In Dachau the rule spelled not to let the women know. Curtains of fire descended on Dresden. Smoke smothered mothers and babies. Frau Djuba remembers how her baby-grand lost all its keys. The cry of people went straight up to heaven like equisetum tails. Caught between present and past, the mind must lose its baby teeth, grow out of the rubble, see how fire transforms: take this type-writer, smitten into the shape of a crown or skull, a smashed skull, each key a gumless tooth.


5. Wasserklops [1]

I lean
over the east side
of this huge sphere

Can in hand
I water and water
Desperately

I call out
"Children children"
But you're a divided

breed
turn a deaf ear
raise a wall

don't let me
in I keep
watering

My hair flows
a fall
of tears



6. Still Life in Royal Hunting Lodge

guitar and trumpet
stork and quail
shield and helmet

paradise of fowl
pack of dogs on the leash
cornucopia brimming with flowers and fruit

hunting bag
rabbit head hanging down
deer head
one-fanged wild boar head
dead pheasant with feathers still on

fish net
twin fish in the shape of an "X"
Delft blue Neptune

and an owl perched above the door



7. The Muse Calls

The muse calls regularly at eight.
Be ready, pencil and paper.
Sometimes the muse is impatient.

I cannot sing.
I cannot reach between my eyebrows.
I need a bridge.

The muse wants to know.
Are you gone like a little gipsy
girl to buy a pair of shorts?

My needs are small.

You don't feed yourself
enough. You sleep too much.
Don't despise the needs of the world.

I love to dream and stay
in my dreams singing into
the new world, singing
and re-inventing a new world.




8. City

after the sculpture in Berlin by the French artist Jean Ipoustéguy

facing east
the ploughman pulls a plough

the ship of state advances
on steel and by great inertia

the ploughman pulls
ox-like a split skull

his huge head
two giant hemispheres

the ploughman rivets the eye at the point
where blade meets earth

a sudden spark lights
forty flags

behind the ploughman
a furrow

straight ahead
can you see the city?


Renata Treitel
RENATA TREITEL was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, and educated in Italy, Argentina, and the USA. She is a teacher, poet, translator, and retired part-time instructor of Italian and Spanish at the University of Tulsa and Tulsa Community College. Her poetry appears in Archipelago, The Drunken Boat, Cimarron Review, Crazyhorse, etc. Her chapbook, German Notebook, was published by Hadassah Press in 1983. She has published two collections of poetry in translation, the bilingual Spanish-English, Distances/Distancias by Susana Thenon, Sun and Moon Press 1994, and bilingual Italian-English, The Blazing Lights of the Sun/Splendida lumina solis by Rosita Copioli, Sun and Moon Press, 1996.
The Adirondack Review
1. Fountain in Berlin. Berliners call it simply "Wasserklops" (water meat-ball).