Robert Prosser is yet another brilliant performer among contemporary Austrian poets. He likes adapting his own literary works for stage, turning them into recitations or performances. His ear for the performative element is clear in his poetry, with all its rhythms and alliterations. He can also be amazingly evocative – I could see, but also smell and taste what he was writing about. Firs in fog, caves and ravines in the mountains… This eye and ear for nature also comes across strongly in his prose writing.
THE EYES I. Firs in fog in a haggard world the hungry I want to atone for nothing but we have to we have to they told me they said it all started with a bite And the taste must have been a shard broken from heaven and eyes cut open look: there are possibilities this idea was enough to chop any notion of love God is a gravedigger I believe he shovels a hole in me and there he waits a lie about redemption They told me about caves and ravines inhabited by hermits mountains echoing of their screams and visions and prayings but here is none except me except you except us none is here blessed Mary A piece of lime I drag you pull you I whittle my praying my love until you find form your face your hands our body pricked and sunburned and frostbitten we can stay at the river bank like lovers would do All around us only rocks I’d prefer an apple I’d choose apple and beauty instead of stone and oblivion the apple is a mirror hanging in the wilderness we both are enough to smash it and finally become one to bite in the apple like in the flesh of another in my mouth the knowledge about a second human Mary your eyes I carve them big and empty can you be something other than ugly the walking justifies my flaws step by step more wood more rock more doubts but Mary I feel Mary I obey I build a shed on your command a house for the two of us and maybe someone will find it discover carving and bone of you of me
By Robert Prosser
Translated by the author
From The Patron Saint of Nightly Fire
by Robert Prosser
Published by Sampson Low (2020)
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Robert Prosser is a writer and performance artist. He lives and works in Alpbach, Tyrol and in Vienna. His novel Phantome (‘Phantoms’, 2017) was nominated for the German Book Prize. His fourth novel, Verschwinden in Lawinen (‘Disappearance in Avalanches’), was published in 2023 by Jung und Jung.