Julien Torma Returns from the Mounts of Tyrol

Stefan Karlsson

Your “cruel” Tiernjoch, here is the mountain

of mayhem where our adventure

began. A failed project, I trailed off into

its outset, your beloved star turned collapsar.

I was a poor guide. I never misled you.


You granted me my only life. You cared.


Damn you. Now I will speak with the dead

certainty of the peasant who holds

dear his daily milk and radish on such

arcana as would cripple a more

love-groomed, loathsome poet.


Nothing, gloriously starlit, comes to mind,

the trembling beauty of a safe abortion.

I assure you, I’m a breathing plagiarism,

too, packed, no, packaged with more platitudes

than friends to tell them to. Believe nothing


I don’t say. I’m the iceman haunting cinema.

I write myself à mort: “It’s a coarse coat of frieze,

but it keeps one warm.” Our Last Knight

dawned upon the land he loved to blot out

chamois from the hills with unmatched skill.


Thus I return to void my mark––“Ha ha!”

quoth the mandrill, for the sake of change,

and rightly so. You see, I hate waiting

in movies for life to start again; I loathe

the cold of learning of another person;


I can’t write a word if it’s poetry. Hell hath

its Eden, too, no doubt. Now with the sweet

honesty of the peasant who carves his face

into a dying Christ’s likeness, I’ll cut my spiel

on such pieties I couldn’t cut with diamond.


Grant me one life more, for example.


Tyrol’s dead rise up everyday

to squabble for space in a schoolgirl’s book.

You living give your lives to preserve an alibi.

Mandrills, too, “must love one another or die.”

The good Tyrolese wisely play dead.


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