translation of a contemporary poem by popular Hungarian artist, musician-poet Péter Závada
is what you got, not my true id
spit and polish, that’s all of me
only you believed that I “hid
beyond being, identity”
you didn’t account for the rest,
though forms-a-plenty follow,
that I am, wholeness doesn’t attest,
my existence still rings hollow
seeking truce was all in vain
I couldn’t be fault and fixer
the “source of your pain”
and its dishonest elixir
that “I love you”, is raw grammar the empty can’t be a part of you I have nothing, just forever knowing that I…
a poem by Jenő Heltai, translated by Joe Váradi
We have a lack of understanding,
This I regret greatly, madam,
But if you shalln’t be my lover
All else I just cannot fathom.
For example, as your grace implores
with passioned fervor to no end,
That I rush to the aid of your poor,
Tormented heart, be your best friend.
Best friend! I dare say, quite an honor
To attain such a lofty rung,
But I am not so past my prime,
and you, still alarmingly young.
You, so full of life, so redolent, Flaming, rousing, blinding, pearly, How could…
WYHTM is back, after a near-year-long hiatus. Rested, fortified, vaccinated — as good as new.
It was always a good bit of work, assembling these linguisticles — not to mention the requisite reading — and after sixteen installments spanning four years, featuring over 470 unique terms and expressions, I was burnt out.
But even when I got busy with other pursuits and dialed back my reading, the idiomatic novelties kept cropping up at a steady pace.
Staying true to our tradition, the content below draws from multiple languages, including Kazakh, Arabic, Kannada, German, Italian, Greek and Swahili. …
It’s been forty years, boys,
since you quarreled over me,
my head is still ringing with
that schmaltzy melody
Mike, you were the prince of pop,
Off the Wall, off the chart —
sent me some concert tix and
thought you had bought my heart
Paul, a living legend,
baby face, puppy eyes —
peeking up my Penny Lane,
so sure you deserved that prize
Mike, who did you think I was,
so creepy that
you moonwalked for me
wearing only a bandana …
Paul, I was speechless when you whipped out that wood — Norwegian, did you…
the poem “Kertész leszek” by Attila József, translated by Joe Váradi
Plant my garden, nurture the seeds,
Rise with the sun, uproot the weeds,
Care for none to fill my hours,
only my anointed flowers.
My anointed flowers will be
Lovers who ask nothing of me,
and if they grow into nettle,
I’ll still cherish every petal.
Smoke my pipe, toast with elation,
safeguard my good reputation,
safe from danger, safe from harm, when
I plant myself in my garden.
This we all need, indeed we do, from east to west, let us pursue — if this world must come…
So, we’re at this fancy French restaurant the other night, right?
Just finished peroosing the cart doojer, breathing in the ambien, enjoying the mill-yo.
When this guy comes up to us, out of the blue, and (get this) claims to be “Our Somalian for the evening” — and starts selling us on some upscale wine. Goes into a whole back and forth about what we’re thinking of ordering, what color wine we like and such.
I was taken aback, to say the least.
Not for nothin’, the guy didn’t even look African!
But then he got to talking about regions…
a poem by Gizella Hervay, translated by Joe Váradi
the map bleeds hijacked trains contort and writhe your photo on the shelf bleeds — I fade into twilight infantry trucks through streets bodies laid out in lines bringing our bread back to the barracks — end of times I stand with hands worn raw soul stripped bare at the crossroads and sound a final blare do you hear it still love in reverse on a blind track phone lines crackle lungs hoarse mapped on an iron rack map of our skulls neatly inventoried deemed sound an inventory tag reminder of…
mint strómannal a focitárs:
- Lóci ne szöszmötölj annyit!
Gázt szerelsz még, mit csinálsz?
Hagyd francba a villáskulcsot,
Felcsút főgóréja leszel!
A turpisságok végtelenek
miket Viktorod kieszel!
Hiába szídtuk ellenzékből,
a ballibokra mit sem hatott;
kénytelenek voltunk végül
kőbe vésni a kétharmadot.
Ültünk hosszú méla lesben
(s addig játszottuk a demokráciát),
míg végül Feri Öszödön
oly szépen el nem szólta magát.
Közben szorgosan mostuk,
forgattuk a lóvét házrul házra,
a kifacsart nyereséget
Tiszti Kaszinóból székház,
a székházra bankos vevő —
a gánti pont megfelelő!
És ahogy dőltek a tao-pénzek, úgy épült újjá a világ…
♪ ♫ Don’t want to download your latest version
I’m old school — have tech aversion
All this techno-jargon is really confusing me
Can’t even find your latest version
Googled for hours, my hands are hurtin'
All I want is this stupid app to work for me
ㅤㅤAm I old enough?
ㅤㅤAm I jaded enough?
ㅤㅤAm I dumb enough?
ㅤㅤDidn’t major in EYE-TEEEEE
♪ ♫ Don’t think I have your latest version
The online help is a useless diversion
Might as well be Greek
'Cause it’s making no sense to me
ㅤㅤAm I dull enough? ㅤㅤAm I tired enough? ㅤㅤFrustrated…
Cut an editor some slack — whipping up that Venn-diagram was a decent amount of effort, I don’t feel bad about reusing it.
More to the point, after almost two years of being the online Universe’s premium, and possibly only, outlet dedicated to funny poems, I’ve pretty much cycled through all the classic paintings in the public domain that depict jolly medieval court jesters, our publication’s mascot.
Editor of No Crime in Rhymin' and Language Lab | the Woke Bloke ..."come for the sarcasm, stay for my soft side"