Jonáš Hájek




1984 to: I am a man of borders.
A city divided by two states.
What can and can’t be seen. A hooker
gives me the come on. Whether I really

don’t want anything. I don’t, even if
I think about it afterwards. I don’t want
to cross the border too easily. I was
afraid. There are certain limits.

One part is missing a heart and
is dying out. Nothing but casinos.
The term Hájek, as such, isn’t
explicit and has the following





Beneath a canvas,
Francis preaches to those gathered,
leaning up against the mast of July rain.
And it’s like being on a boat,
like being on an icebreaker
that provides us with new ways to go.

the soft August sun arrives on the scene.
A womb opens up in the forest.
Who are my friends?
I’ll go home, water the plants,
and sit in my black chair to look them up.




The note that rang out of the triumphal arch
knit shut on the rubbish heap.
Is everybody your friend?
Then I must be the enemy.


JONÁŠ HÁJEK has published three poetry collections: Suť (Debris – Fra 2007), Vlastivěda (Social Studies – Fra 2010), Básně 3 (Poems 3 – Triáda 2013). For his first collection, he was awarded the Jiří Orten Prize and nominated for the Magnesia Litera Award in category of Discovery of the Year. He is a contributor to the magazines Souvislosti and Host. In addition to being a poet, he is also a translator of German literature (Günter Eich, Mascha Kaléko). He lives in Prague and works as an editor for a music publisher.


About the Translator:

DEBORAH GARFINKLE is a writer, translator and literary critic living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines anthologies and literary journals in the US and abroad. The Old Man’s Verses, her first full-length translation of selected works by Czech poet Ivan Diviš, was nominated for a Northern California Book Award. Ms. Garfinkle earned both an NEA Translation Fellowship and a PEN Translation Grant for her most recent translation, Worm-Eaten Time: Poems from a Life under Normalization, poems by Pavel Šrut. This collection will be published by Phoneme Media in February, 2016.