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West & Highway Series

Janeczka Dabrowski


To Lena, for her help, trust, and friendship. 1


West Series

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- A Farther West Pt 1 - A Farther West Pt 2 - Wild West/ Wild Dust

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A FARTHER WEST PT 1

THE INDIGENOUS

Look at this land It’s all ours As far as the eye can see The fields, the rivers The plains, the mountains The grass, the sky The air It’s all ours And we won’t yield it

The land we live on The land we live off The ground we sleep on - A gift from our ancestors

And we keep on moving Enjoying the wide, free, open spaces Making the most of the earth Working with the seasons Hunting and picking our food And moving back on again Crossing the land further Discovering new treasures Leaving our pasts Yearning for our futures Living for the present

Our only possessions Our bodies and the clothes on our backs 3


Warriors, mothers, wise men All living together All moving forward Along with the wind Free on this land Where the wild horses And buffalo roam Where we can chant And dance till dawn

On this land We know no disease No hunger No sorrow We live at peace with ourselves And the world

We fear not, for we know there is Something bigger than us Bigger than the air and the sky Someone who will protect us In time of need Someone who will guide us When obstacles are near Someone who will look after the land We are so proud of.

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A FARTHER WEST PT 2

THE IMMIGRANTS

Look at this land It’s all ours As far as the horizon The mountains, the plains The rivers, the fields The sky, the air The grass It’s all ours To conquer, tame and explore

The land we build on The land we harvest The land our cattle graze on Our rightly deserved new home

And we settle down With our wives and children Making the most of what we have But we know there is more So we keep travelling Pushing the frontier further back Always expanding to the four corners of this land Discovering new landscapes Learning from the past Yearning for the future Hoping for the present

Our treasured possessions Everything we own 5


Soldiers, women, fathers All living together Looking for riches Searching for a better life We want to be free men on this land And masters of it We’ll tame its animals Get rid of the dangers And make a place for ourselves

On this land We will know no disease No hunger No sorrow We will live One out of many

We know there is something more out there And that we have to fend for ourselves Protect our air and sky Their gods are fearful but weak These are times of need Obstacles are near We have to fight We need to protect our land From their greedy hands.

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WILD WEST/WILD DUST

A recently golden country Where weapons lead blind men and Soon it becomes so very easy To kill in the name of defence

On a deserted battlefield In the now silent prairie No-one is there anymore To close a dead soldier’s eyes.

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Highway Series

- Highway Dream

- Highway Song - Highway Call - Highway Memories - Highway Lament/Complaint - Noyade 1 - Noyade 2

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I. HIGHWAY DREAM

Every night I have recurring dreams At the light of a flame burning bright Coal silhouettes and bare shadows like veils Whilst my hands rest softly on my chest

Against the lovely light Against the velveteen night

I dream of hungry wolves And repeated raptures Of walking blindfold in The forests of my mind

Hypnotised through a maze of marshes I dream of red-blood sins and skins on skins

The fire of desire coursing through my veins The dead certain promise of blood Dripping on the strong roots Of the old oak tree

The wine touches my lips and goes to my head The taste of metal on my tongue

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II. HIGHWAY SONG

Lying down on the cold grass and dead leaves Surrounded by the cool, mossy earth Mist hanging in the air I close my eyes The sunset sky bleeding behind me The road like the promise Of a long run An escape

Slowly I let myself sink And without knowing it My hair is seaweed – I have become part of The dark water Above and below me The waves swallow me And I feel like I’ve come back home

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HIGHWAY CALL

Water lapping in the Pond and old Wrinkled leaves in my hands My hair stroked By the cool evening breeze A stone thrown Makes ripples in the pool Orange and Indigo behind me The smell of Mossy grass leaves the taste Of autumn Slowly melting away On my tongue

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HIGHWAY MEMORIES

Mon esprit enflammé

My mind is aflame

Les babines retroussées

My lip curled up

Je suis prête à

I am ready to

Mordre et à saigner

Bite and bleed

Prête à me défendre

Ready to fight back

Crocs et griffes dehors

Fangs and claws out

Sauvage, le poil hérissé

Wild, hair bristling

Telle que je suis enfin

As I am, finally

Mon regard pénétrant et alerte

My gaze penetrating and alert

Enfièvrée comme un cheval fou

Fevered like a crazy horse

Je me rends compte

I realise

Que tout ce temps-là

That all this time

J’étais un loup sans le savoir

I’d been a wolf without knowing

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HIGHWAY LAMENT

Under the silk sky Silent spells and chapel bells Are calling to me

HIGHWAY COMPLAINT

Horses galloping In a thunderous evening - Wild waves of the sea

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NOYADE – PT I DROWNING – Pt 1

1. une jeune femme à la robe blanche, une lanterne à la main a young woman in a white dress, a lantern in her hand

2. – les papillons de nuit se raccrochent à son halo – - moths hanging to her halo -

3. son corps frêle disparaît et réapparaît, se faufile entre les arbres avec des mouvements fluides et changeants, seulement visibles du coin de l’œil her frail body appears and disappears, edging in and out of the trees with flowing and quick movements that can only be seen from the corner of the eye

4. pieds nus dans l’humus, les feuilles mortes craquèlent sous chacun de ses pas barefoot on the dirt, the dead leaves crackling under her footsteps

5. de ses mains aux ongles fins, elle caresse les chênes forts aux longues branches et aux racines robustes her fine-nailed fingers caress the strong oak trees with the long branches and the solid roots

6. son regard noir et brûlant erre, son âme se perd her dark, burning gaze wanders, her soul loses itself

7. de ses lèvres pécheresses s’élance un appel, un secret a call, a secret, leaps out of

her sinful lips

8. sa voix d’éther envoûtante récite des paroles étranges et maudites dans une langue inconnue – une prière, une balade ? – 14


pour les morts et les vivants ; son chant monte vers le firmament her haunting ether-like voice recites strange and damned words in an unknown language – a prayer, a ballad? – for the living and the dead; her song soars towards the skies

9. le vent fait voler ses longs cheveux noirs – l’orage se rapproche. La tension de l’air domine tout et la rend toutepuissante the wind blows in her long, dark hair. The storm is coming. The tension in the air dominates everything and makes her all powerful

10.

elle se sent toute puissante ; et l’étang est le seul

refuge pour son âme blessée she feels all powerful ; and the pond is the only refuge for her wounded soul

11.

sous l’emprise de l’odeur des pins et des cèdres, sous le

joug de son désir ravageur, salvateur under the hold of the pine and cedar trees’ smell, under the yoke of her ravaging, redeeming desire

12.

l’étreinte de la forêt se referme sur elle the embrace of the forest closes in on her

13.

et sa nuit indigo n’a d’autre témoin que la lune lourde

et pleine qui se reflète, calme et fragile, dans la rivière. and her indigo night has no witness but the full and heavy moon reflecting itself, calm and fragile, in the river.

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NOYADE PT II DROWNING Pt 2

1. une jeune femme fine a thin young woman

2. – l’odeur de l’iode imprègne l’air et le phare blanc à l’œil unique se dresse, imposant – - the smell of iodine permeates the air and the lofty, white lighthouse with its only eye rises -

3. le goût de soufre sur ses épaules mouillées se mélange au goût salé de sa peau the taste of sulphur on her wet shoulders mingles with the salty taste of her skin

4. pieds nus dans le sable qui s’enfonce sous chacun de ses pas barefoot in the sand sinking under her every step

5. elle chante, et on dirait que son chant se fond avec la rumeur de la mer comme un cortège de voix she’s singing, and it seems her song is blending with the rumour of the sea like a choir of voices

6. le vent étire sa voix comme un voile, la lisse, la tisse à travers la distance ; il déforme les sons the wind stretches out her voice like a veil, soothes it, weaves it through the distance, distorting the sounds

7. et elle s’élève, s’envole, flotte au-dessus d’une mer aux nuages fous and the voice rises, flies out, floats above a sea of crazy clouds

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8. ses pensées galopent, sauvages alors que se déchaîne l’orage her thoughts gallop wild as the storm rages

9. et que les vagues, telles des chevaux fougueux, étreignent sa frêle silhouette and the waves, like spirited horses, clench her frail figure

10.

elle a oublié l’espoir, elle n’a plus de mémoire she’s forgotten hope, she has no memory

11.

l’océan accueillant comme une mère veut la réconforter the ocean, welcoming as a mother, wants to comfort her

12.

sous un ciel d’encre, sous une lune pleine et lourde under a sky of ink, under a full and heavy moon

13.

fière face aux vagues, fière parmi les vagues, sa longue

robe noire flotte telle un parachute qui n’aurait pas su la sauver. she’s proud confronting the waves, proud amongst the waves; her long black dress floats like a parachute that didn’t manage to save her.

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THE DREAM OF A SECRET

Barefooted we will dance On the gravel of our graves Intoxicated by bitter wine The wind turning my hair Into a raven flame

Underneath the sultry sky Stallions rush into the sea Alone in the sand The waves crushing before me In a never-ending dreamscape

Solitary marshes and forgotten forests The scent of cedars and silent leaves It is always autumn when I come here. The river doesn’t gush anymore Past the pebbles and stones.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

My deepest thanks go to fellow poet David Randall Curtis for his help and suggestions in the making of this chapbook.

Thanks also to all my French-speaking and Englishspeaking friends/poets/musicians/artists for their love and support. Merci Ă  tou(te)s.

Last, but not least, a big thank you to all the people who got this chapbook. It means a lot to me.

All pictures taken and edited by Janeczka Dabrowski.

Links: YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/janeczka Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Janeczka.D Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/janeczka/

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Janeczka Dabrowski was born (possibly) in a little Polish village that no longer exists. She has successively lived in France, Britain and the USA.

She is a poetess, video-maker, multi-instrumentalist and fulltime brat. This is her first self-published chapbook.

This collection of poems was written in 2007, but never before published.

The pictures were taken between 2006 and 2010.

All poems and pictures Š Janeczka Dabrowski 2006 - 2011 20


West & Highway Series