Mellár Dávid

11/14 Text

Dávid Mellár: Flame on the Fire Eater’s Throat. Transl. Austin Wagner

What feels a ballerina toward the body?
What an artist or author? What feels the
masseuse or the surgeon? And what the poet?
What the whore? What is and is not the body, and for whom?
What is dark clothing to the body and what is naked light,
which one’s absence will leave it vulnerable, exposed,
and which will leave it raw and obscene, like meat
in the butcher’s hands? What is touch to the blind,
the pole dancer, or the priest when he places the wafer
in the girl’s mouth, and his finger happens to brush
the soft wet tongue.

What is the body to the earth: material to be processed,
nourishment, or a deposit unnecessary and burdensome?
What to the water, when submerged and decomposing
the bright red of desire seeps from the body.
Only the basic white leaves it at a loss. But that’s where
the fire is, lavish digestion, like a teenage boy:
his appetite as yet unbounded by aging.
What feels the ice, when you’ve only just touched
it, and already it’s sweating itself into perspiring drops?
Or the snow in your excited grip, set running already
in the pre-act embrace.

What feels the carnivorous plant toward its own body
after becoming accustomed to a vegetarian diet?
What the flame to the fire eater? Or perhaps instead:
what feels the flame when it is swallowed, but promptly thrown up?

We launched this project as part of the Bázis website with the support of the Minority Culture Fund. Its aim is to translate contemporary Hungarian poetry in Slovakia into Slovak and English. We want to create a virtual anthology of contemporary Hungarian poetry in Slovakia.