for pierozek: happy birthday
Photograph (from polishwriting)
Marcin Świetlicki (trans. Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese)
In the corner of the street an apparition – as if
a small fraction of blizzard – as if
miseries went astray – went searching for someone
I opened the window – and so it remains
in the corner of the street a still flurry
me leaning forward and anticipating
and the harsh features of a winter sun
Perhaps we see ourselves in photographs: hence our attachment. But that self is abstracted. It is also certainly narrated in this photograph. The “apparition” is as a “blizzard,” as “miseries.” But it is not merely wandering, but searching. There may be a building in the picture with an open window and a figure (our speaker imagining himself?) leaning out of it searching for that “apparition.” What if the apparition isn’t just some blurry figure actually in the scene, but a product of a photo gone bad itself? Maybe the light was at the wrong angle; maybe this was taken with a Holga.
No matter: the speaker who is leaning out the window is looking at that “still flurry” which remains. It could be the case no one was in a photo of any sort or that the speaker saw a photo and then literally replicated the scene. Looking into the distance, lots of things get blurred. “Leaning forward,” “anticipating,” “harsh:” we take mental photos of our struggling with adversity even when that adversity does not exist yet, even when we know winter implies spring. This was never just a photo of a street in a blizzard.