[deutsche Nachdichtung: weiter unten]


Our architect is famed for identical buildings:

The School of Broken Necks in Toronto,

The Yahtzee Institute in Bethlehem,

one bleached white, the other grey.

Ours famously fluctuates between the two;

where hockey teams slam their ochre girlfriends

against its dim corridors. Basements hum

with password-protected short stories.

Young minds so deep inside the library

that the very act of standing up

would be like unplugging the lake.

But if legend is correct

and the higher functions of a university

are built around an ancient reptilian brain

then surely this is it— a closed burger van

chronicling the evening’s takings.

The last member of an improv group

selects Iron Maiden for the journey home.

Trainee nurses swing their arms

under the sepia of the streetlights;

the hold music of the sky.


© Ross Sutherland


Nackt III

Unser Architekt ist für seine baugleichen Gebäude berühmt:

Die Schule der Gebrochenen Hälse in Toronto,

Das Kniffel-Institut in Bethlehem,

eines bleichweiß, das andere grau.

Unsers wechselt famos zwischen beiden hin und her;

dort wo Hockeymannschaften ihre ockerfarbenen Freundinnen

in seinen dämmrigen Fluren knallen. Keller voller

passwortgeschützter Kurzgeschichten.

Junge Gemüter, die so tief in der Bibliothek festsitzen,

dass das schiere Aufstehen wäre

wie einem See den Stöpsel zu ziehen.

Wenn aber die Legende stimmt,

wonach die höheren Aufgabenbereiche einer Universität

um ein altes Reptilienhirn herum angesiedelt sind,

dann trifft das hier wohl zu – ein Imbisswagen, der geschlossen hat

und Aufzeichnungen zu den Abendeinnahmen macht.

Das letzte Mitglied einer Improgruppe

wählt für den Heimweg Iron Maiden.

Azubikrankenschwestern schlenkern ihre Arme

im Sepia der Straßenbeleuchtung;

die Warteschleifenmusik des Himmels.

© Deutsche Nachdichtung: Konstantin Ames

10 Kommentare

  • Jai Omo

    We enter a country
    with prejudice
    We think we know
    what awaits us
    We describe something unknown
    with something familiar
    We feel safe with
    our own culture
    Can we feel safe in an unfamiliar environment?
    We are all the same
    We are all different.

    • Ross Sutherland

      I met a neuropathy student the other day-
      he tried to explain the “two drives of the brain”
      One drive was towards new experience, a desperate need for the unexpected
      The other was towards the familiar- always looking for the comfort of home.
      He said, “these seem contradictory, but actually they go together really well. We just find ourselves seeking familiarity in new places.”
      It’s a really simple idea, but it makes a lot of sense to me!
      Anyway, just thought I’d share that. I read your great line, “we describe something unknown / with something familiar.” And that memory just popped into my head…

  • marlenelucy

    When reading this text I had the feeling that Sutherland wanted to describe these institutes “School” and “Yahtzee Institute” without their purpose.
    “Basements hum with password-protected short stories.“ This image is very verbatim as it just gives the literal image of the student’s work that is kept in the school building. It comes down to “password-protected short stories”. Leaving out the purpose of the building, which is education, this image seems very empty. By doing this, Sutherland took away the meaning.

    • Ross Sutherland

      Yes I think this is true. This poem has a lot of emptiness in it. This is a university at night- I wanted to create that feeling of being “locked out” of the purpose of the building. There’s no greater significance to “Yahtzee Institute”. I just thought it sounded interesting.

  • tabea

    My first thought on this poem was that stereotypes are being portrayed. For example when Ross Sutherland writes: “…hockey teams slam their ochre girlfriends against its (referring to the two different buildings) dim corridors…”. At first I thought that this meant that the hockey players, being stereotypical popular in school, were mistreating their girlfriends behind the public eye, therefore in the empty corridors of the schools. And I thought that ochre was referring to the girl’s skin being covered in makeup or something. But obviously that was only one of my first thoughts after reading a few lines of this poem and I figured that it was too easy interpreted by me. Meaning that my thoughts weren’t developed enough, when I was half through the poem, to formulate a good and proper analysing comment or thought. I also figured that that thought couldn’t possibly be what the author was trying to achieve with this poem, nor the direction of thought he wanted to give the reader by writing this. Therefore I read Ross Sutherland`s Thoughts on Nude III and his notes on Nude III. There I saw that Nude III was included in a sequence of twelve other poems. I learned that the three buildings he was referring to at the beginning were identical buildings, made by the same architect, one of them being Sutherland’s university. The sequence of Nude poems refers to a concept of the term “nude” in art. In writing this term means to “write honestly”. This poem was referring to “nudity” in literature and Ross Sutherland was applying this to his university. He mentioned that there is no message to be received from his poem because poems do not always have to end in some though, meaning or message. It is already enough if the poem merely just exists. I really like and appreciate this way of thinking towards literature, which is the main reason I decided to comment on this poem.

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