‘Fear of wrongful conviction:’ 2 poems by Latvian poet Jelena Glazova

‘Fear of wrongful conviction:’ 2 poems by Latvian poet Jelena Glazova
Image: Kristaps Ungurs via Unsplash

22 October 2021
Poems written by: Jelena Glazova
Poems translated by: Laura Henrickson

Jelena Glazova is a poet and artist from Riga, Latvia. She is the author of four books of poetry. Her first book, Transfers (2013, in Russian and Latvian), was nominated for the Latvian Annual Literary Award (LALIGABA), while her third book, Greed (2019), was shortlisted for the Latvian Poetry Days Award. Her other books include Plasma (2014, available in both English and Latvian), and her next volume, Naïveté, due in November. Glazova’s poetry is translated into Latvian, English, Finnish, Polish, Estonian, Lithuanian, Swedish, and Hungarian.

As an electronic music artist, she creates ambient soundscapes, usually constructed from processed vocals. She performed at experimental music and sound art festivals and contributed to art projects including at Hamburger Bahnhof Museum for Contemporary Art (Berlin, Germany), BOZAR (Brussels, Belgium), Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid, Spain), and Sound around Kaliningrad (Kaliningrad, Russia).


the protagonist enters a dark room

with curved walls

behind the walls lights turn on

slits appear in the walls

there’s a click, and then

the room begins to rotate

around its axis

pictures come to life

diligently catalogued

and labeled –

jesus

war

pornography (a special case of eros)

mickey mouse

segregation/racism

mcdonald’s

childhood

snow white

seven dwarves

misogyny

chauvinism

homophobia

isolationism

love of high-rises

fatal accidents

chanel/adidas

kate moss / naomi

brodsky/baryshnikov

women’s bombs

men’s bombs

daughter of the wolf and red ridinghood

etc.

when the rotation is complete

he has already finished drawing

on a twisted paper mobius strip

each time it’s just one sketch

each time he’s asked why one

he replies he can only see one story

in all the juxtapositions


a glossy child’s figure

emerges from darkness

shimmering like a 3-D hologram

sparks flicker in his eyes

must be static in the transmission

his mouth stays closed

but from somewhere in his throat comes

a sweet childish voice

softly reciting –

fear of poverty

fear of old age

fear of impotence

fear of infertility

fear of venereal disease

fear of ostracism

fear of war

fear of the electric chair

fear of aids

fear of cancer

fear of medical error

fear of corpses

fear of terrorism

fear of dying in a nursing home

fear of being buried alive

fear of earthquakes

fear of floods

fear of getting laid off

fear of offing yourself

fear of car crashes

fear of weapons

fear of wrongful conviction

fear of prison

fear of coma

fear of plague

fear of syphilis

fear of ghouls

fear of satan

fear of zombies

fear of the atom bomb

fear of being raped with a strap-on

fear of obscurity

fear of transparency ….(…)

the transmission continues

as we walk down a dark corridor

and finally come out on a cliff

overhanging the sea

my buddy rummages in his pocket

and holds out a capsule

i take it and the sea vanishes

the cliff recedes

and the childish voice falls silent

is there another way?

i ask my buddy

but he only shrugs

his head ripples slightly

like there’s a bad signal


​Glazova will be performing at the European Poetry Festival in London on 29 November. Find out more here.

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