Monday in the Mariana Trench

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AASE BERG POETRY (translated by Johannes Göransson)



The pale intestine releases a bubble
There is a fish eye in the bubble
Nothing hurts
Remember nothing
there is nothing



Bleka tarmen släpper upp en bubbla
Det är ett fisköga i bubblan
Ingenting gör ont
Minns ingenting,
finns ingenting



150 meters down
at the bottom it is always 4°
That is, November
with no-existent depth visibility,
a sediment of sludge

Suddenly something moves a little –
is it a space worm?
Or a wormhole?
A body, a foot,
a crown of tentacles
surrounds ”the mouth”

The air hose slackens,
the clock clucks shakily,
a deepdown dim starcluster,
the midnight zone’s purple glow

We who really want to live
life do not long for greatness
Instead we make ourselves small,
usedup, meaningless,
remote controlled and dreamed

But hello
we would have died anyways


Trött energi

150 meter ner
på botten är det alltid 4°
Dvs november
med obefintligt siktdjup,
sediment av grummel

Nu rör sig något svagt –
är det en rymdmask?
Eller ett maskhål?
En kropp, en fot,
en krona av tentakler
omger ”munnen”

Luftslangen slackar,
klockan kluckar ostadigt,
djupt nere dunkel stjärnhop,
midnattszonens purpurglöd

Vi som verkligen vill maxa
livet längtar inte efter storhet
Vi gör oss tvärtom små,
förgångna, meningslösa,
fjärrstyrda och drömda

Men hallå,
vi hade dött ändå


Monday in the Mariana Trench

Everyone’s an enemy
Everyone’s prey

The specific features disappear
and general aging takes over
everyone’s face

Negotiation is an art form, not a science.
Sometimes the hostage is killed.
Meanwhile, someone sits on a toilet
smoking weed and chilling as best he can

We made a maze of furnitur
Someone built a bomb out of lighters
It was fucking lonely


Måndag i Marianergraven

Alla är fiender
Alla är byten

Det specifika utseendet försvinner
och den generella ålderdomen tar över
i en människas ansikte

Förhandling är en konstform, inte en vetenskap.
Ibland dödas gisslan.
Under tiden sitter nån på toa och röker weed och chillar så gott han kan

Vi gjorde en labyrint av möbler
Nån byggde en bomb av tändare
Det var jävligt ensamt



On Surrealism and Poetry

My poems are diving in a deep sea of images inspired by my participation in the Surrealist group of Sweden, but that is many years ago. Nowadays I have my own, modified version of Surrealism, for example: I use the powerful magic of hallucination, of shapeshifting, but I combine the subconscious, automatic writing with a conscious processing of the words and worlds. But still, I have the feeling that something/ someone else is writing my poems. The words are submarines or UFOs travelling through my own, alien brain.





Translated by Johannes Göransson

Johannes Göransson is the author of nine books of poetry and criticism, most recently Summer (2022), and is the translator of several books of poetry, including works by Aase Berg, Ann Jäderlund, Helena Boberg and Kim Yideum. His poems, translations and critical writings have appeared in a wide array of journals in the US and broad, including Fence, Lana Turner, Spoon River Review, Modern Poetry in Translation (UK), Kritiker (Denmark) and Lyrikvännen (Sweden). He is an associate professor in the English Department at the University of Notre Dame and, together with Joyelle McSweeney, edits Action Books.

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