Aug 112017
 

Kinga Fabo black and white

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Vibrato

I. Hidden in distortion

Back into the body; may commotion reach her no more. Busy people had disturbed her relentlessly. Bad memories—noises—had showered her, even amid the strain of—inner—tunes. All rhythm, sheer sound. Tension ever at the ready—ready for rhythm: attuning to the other, conjuring up any of her own rhythms, indeed, any sound she’d ever heard. That which it didn’t conjure up, that, she composed. No one knew of her rare ability; she kept the secret well. The concealed sounds now began storming within her—all of them, at once. (Making their word heard?) A fine orgy flooded through her. Perhaps her overblown need for a personality, her oversize ability to attune, was linked to her singular sensitivity to sounds. Effortlessly she assumed the—rhythm of the—other. Only when turning directly its way. She is in sound and she is so as long as she is—as long as she might be. Yet another orgy flooded through her. She would have broken through her own sounds, but a complete commotion?! May nothing happen! “VIRGINITY  IS  LUXURY, MY  VIRGINITY  LOOSE  HELP ME,” T-shirts once proclaimed. This (grammatically unsound) call to action, which back then was found also on pins, now came to mind. An aftershock of the beat generation. And yet this—still—isn’t why she vibrated. Back then, everyone wore tight T-shirts and jeans. T-shirts emblazoned with words, wrapped snugly around breasts. She should have bulged on the outside—now too. Campaigns bent on conquering—those, she didn’t undertake, after all. Beautifying operations—she was weary of those. No ambition, no action; no action going forward, either. Because externals were all sucked into her at once, they were stuck in her—hiding her. No aligning of perspectives. She’d become mired in authoritarianism. Under a one-way communications blackout she’d been forced into a singular pleasure—a self-pleasuring (art). The vibrations within her were too many. Sound or prosthesis? No longer did it matter. If only she could be done with them. Her whipped-up body knew that an unanticipated stimuli would one day cause its explosure. Her perpetual doubt about whether she lived up to her body’s demands, satisfying it, had now seen dubious proof. Her unique sensitivity to sounds had heightened to the extremes. At every sound she shrank all the more. Now she herself—putting into practice the performative act of naming—dubbed her unprecedented illness, which she was the first to suffer from, “ego-atrophy.” (In the absence of use, personality fades away. Through sound—it comes, and so too it goes. In the meantime: totally tied up.) And, indeed, as her body slowly gobbled up her shrinking self, the exertion bent it out of shape. Having formed a parentheses, it was charged with covering its once (already, then) perfect shape; depriving her of her womanhood before it would deprive her of everything. Until now her shape and form had not overlapped, and so the gaps, where they did occur—there had always been some, and they remained—are for voyeurs to peep through. She tolerated no eyes upon her. For being watched neither on the outside nor the inside; nor for peeping upon her through the gaps. She wore a cuirass. No one could see—in—there. Her onetime desire, slow with the body, was realized in here in distorted form and late (in delay is the pleasure—but whose?). In a distorted mirror, she seemed tinier. Her full, sensual mouth—in parentheses; lying fallow (in reserve, words squelched). Doors and windows elsewhere: she had to fear in two directions. As far as goings-on were concerned, mornings were more radical even now. The house made a big hoopla over her. It screwed her down—one turn, every sound. He abounds at my expense, she thought, my thyroid minds. Can the soul be seen, or only if its stain is? Not wanting to injure an ear, she all but thought this only. My body—a smoothly turning screw; my soul—a metabolic disorder. This, she really did think, but—still not injuring an ear. A great advocate of silent bouts of being left alone, that she was. But, bewitched by the degree of her exploitation (the screw is turning), still driven by the centrifugal force (away from the centre!),[1] words came to the mouth: “I will not share in your degree of noise.” This, she didn’t even think. The late declaration of her stifled demand for her ego—extruding from the mouth—derailed at once: lost in the general commotion. Thus she was compelled to keep sharing. It was to her that every ringing noise pulled in. There was always noise—at the ready. Continual reinforcements: lines waiting. Her anachronistic organs cramped; as with heart and soul. Her love organs could not interlock, her working organ went kaput. If a glance could kill! Alas, it couldn’t. By now her hearing had turned cocky: she differentiated between people based on sound alone. The difference was not too big—only a matter of who happened to fling off which portion of his/her own sound back upon her. Of a certain ringing she claimed to know: surely is to be continued. (It was.) She didn’t want to hear it. She switched to her own volume. She opened all her sources of noise and leapt into their dizzying waves.

(Optional musical closure, cadence)

A singular life—she chose: for it a singular—death. Always she drew on her own source, and so on her own she would have—run out. And yet she didn’t wait it out.

“Shall I regard you as absence?”

“Feel free.”

Never had—the scene and in it, her: simultaneously—become a fact, given that she really had gone away, by homeopathic means: with noises. She couldn’t stand them, so with them she killed herself. Her neighbor, who was not at all rhythmically attuned—helped her unwittingly in this. Or too attuned? With noises he murdered his unknown partner into—into—suicide.

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II. Bestial rutting; the tension degenerates

Out of the body; ready for noise at once. Bad memories didn’t bother him; his were that too.

(He was quite willing to forget anything.) Not even busy people; he too was one. Most of all he liked to make noise (bent on it, he was, hissing from the mouth), but he irritated (tormented, molested) other organs too. His act hit home patient at once. He screwed onto her with every noise. He kept screwing onto himself, too, until—he became erect and stayed that way. His body, prancing as a sheer exclamation mark (a priapism?) but feeling no desire (a priapism indeed) covered everyone: to swarm and to occur! Out and in all directions; dispersed and every which way. And in fact: he was constantly flickering and buzzing. At first he scattered—compliments—properly. His tool gradually took over—on him. His glance—blocked—an operational territory. Storms of communication got stuck there—all of them. He knew no—joke—when it came to noise level. His hyperactivity—mounting to the max—as much as could be. He partook of—singular pleasure. Because his attention could not be riveted, he always adhered to other loose ends. (Perfect cementing.) As a signal of his recognition, at such times he gave forth all sorts of clicking and knapping sounds. He always pulled another to his constantly subservient threads—rotating them often. They were a tool; a silent partner. When he managed to tie himself down, he had pleasure—lots of it. With them—totally tied up. Thus it was he turned cocky (became free). Time having passed, his mood having been satiated, his public disturbances became routine. He organized splendid little mornings (orgies) for himself. He could cause a ruckus as he wished on the house. Spirits set ablaze—the screw turned higher and higher. (Squeezed, pressed, screwed.) Passions set ablaze awaited their turn in subservience (in bonds). His whip was frayed, while he was marching on his own. The chronic, pleasureless swelling of his male organ (the aforementioned priapism)—has entered into a chronic ego-hypertrophy. His onetime desire, May a woman never deflate me, has now reversed, distorted, late: Someone deflate me already! He moved an entire crowd. His great big ego ensured a spewing of pleasure to behold. So much spewing that it almost emptied out, cut to shreds. The tool, the object, the method changed along the way, but—not the aim: to cleave the ear with noise, for he is a homeopathic—murderer. The mass of naked torsos didn’t bother him. Everyone gathered, links in the chain; a public in line (canon fodder). But then one day (malfunction? rigor mortis?), silence fell. His singular mercilessness (exquisite dispassion) toward noises intensified to no end. He rang the doorbell of a random neighbor. A door can’t stand in the way, he thought, indeed—and, intoxicated by this repository of burgeoning opportunities—he flung himself on all potential sources of noise, among them his neighbor, who was just starting to give an overdose of sound,

(Optional musical closure, cadence)

and who, in the end, died multiple deaths. Opening the sources of noise (like turning on the gas on a stove), she overdosed on the noise (as on medication); jumped (as from the fourth floor); and—drowned—in the waves. Finally, she exploded (like a gas tank) due to the simultaneous inner and outer pressure.

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I. and II. Homeopathic murderer and suicide up and away for good . . .

The bodies, and those who take pleasure in them (both of their own), could get mixed up and away even when exploding (much energy in a tight space) but no later than when plummeting. And in the foams! The organs and events are similar, after all, as is, indeed, the method—homeopathy—though in their lives they could have done so. Now—not by chance—they were preparing to plop into a black hole. Explosions yielded many of them everywhere. Nearing the event-horizon, its current immediately sucked everything in. No goal was kicked. And had one been, the black hole would have gobbled it up, too. Neither she who (would have) received it nor he who (would have) kicked it—felt it. Enormous anesthesia, as if after orgasm.

—Kinga Fabó, translated from the Hungarian by Paul Olchváry

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Kinga Fabó is a Hungarian poet, linguist, and essayist. She is the author of eight books. Her latest, a bilingual Indonesian-English poetry collection titled Racun (Poison), was published in 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Fabó’s poetry has been included in various international journals and zines, as well as in anthologies. Some of her individual poems have been translated into Persian, Esperanto or Tamil. One of her poems, “The Ears,” has six different Indonesian translations by six different authors. She has also written an essay on Sylvia Plath. In everything she’s done, Fabó has always been between the verges, on the verge, and in the extreme. Kinga lives in Budapest, Hungary.

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Paul Olchvary

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Paul Olchváry, a native of Amherst, New York, spent much of his adult life in Hungary and has translated numerous Hungarian novels into English for such publishers as Simon & Schuster, New Directions, Hougton Mifflin, Northwestern, and Steerforth. He has received translation grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Hungary’s Milán Füst Foundation. The founder and publisher of New Europe Books, he lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Desire, never yet so fast; maybe—because it is—already it is away from there.

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