Translated from the Finnish by Anselm Hollo (and Teemu Mäki)

(Lapua–Helsinki 3–5.4.1994, revised in Helsinki 3–12.9.1995)


April, and from the window I watch

the snow melting and revealing

how last year's rotten matter

bored, dutiful, calm,

yet ironically proud of its achievement

pushes up, green, to cover the ground

as grass.

I even have a godson,

unofficial, to be sure,

since I don't belong to a church

since there's no god.

Harri and Sari made the work,

whose name is Jonah.

He is ugly

but endowed with a dick

and everything else.

And fortunately, memory

lasts only as long as a human life.

Before your dreams go sour

like milk you can't drink anymore

it's a good idea to implant them

in children.

Make yogurt, so to speak.

No reason why your meanings of life

that end up in a pile of shit


in your child's mouth,

taste any worse than a chocolate egg.

It's a good thing

when you manage to produce

your own gravedigger, in

your own lifetime.

That way, the corpse

won't be left to the mocking raven

but to the caressing worm.

In our little brats

we have a parachute

into death and dumbness.

Parachute that rips to shreds

a hundred yards above ground.

So you have time to admire the scenery.

That's the main thing.

Even though the homestretch ends

in a dull thud.

Flat, a preconceived image,

hence so pathetic

and tasty.

On Jonah's first birthday

his father asked me, jokingly,

to make him a present of wisdom,

good advice for life, some such.

I came up with a couple of maxims,

deeply banal:

"Life's dick is jerked off

with the hand of death"


"Our only duty and problem

is to have the strength

to live until we die."

I like the first one even more than the second.

The cliche is a lovely art form.

Even though I'd rather listen

to Iannis Xenakis and Samuel Beckett, any time,

right here,

sitting in this car,


immersed in noise and bloody dishwater,

Henry Rollins and Dennis Cooper

fit the bill better.

As this poem spins out of my mouth

(not a poet's, a babbler's)

I would like to inscribe it

on Jonah's ass

with my big felt tip pen.

That's where it belongs.

I come up with a third aphorism:

"Every man is an island

but it is precisely this ocean between us

that gives us life."

And a fourth:

"Everything you can own is inside your skull."

Then, of course, number five:

"Death at Work Equals Life."

Pretty heavy, eh?

But such a blunt pen won't serve

to inscribe long wisdom

on a one–year–old ass

or grownup brainpan.

So, we'll have to choose

one of these five wise men from the east.

Let the kid's father choose.

But I'm the one who's doing the writing.

Hope it won't give the kid a rash,

this scribble,

this childishness of grownups.

Welcome, Jonah,

Oedipus, and all that.

Welcome to light up the belly of the whale.

You're burning now.

Be a tall candle.

Suck the darkness from our eyes,

it is nourishing.

Light us up.

Let's be buddies.

You, mine.

I, yours.

A toy.

Then this whale

really is a flute,

and we, in its guts,

the music

played by the emptiness

that blows through here.

Welcome, Jonah.

It's about time:

things had been getting

too fucking boring around here.