a poem by Jan Oskar Hansen

I had been cooped up in my flat for weeks,
they, the enemy, was everywhere,
but now walls were talking to me
and the silence was a Homeric laughter.

Left my rooms and walked out into the April night,
looked around and tramped hastily to the nearest bar,
a bleak place where middle aged men sat watching television
and despite a blaring juke-box the silence cried.

Strolled from bar to bar and had a drink in each one,
at the last bar I sat beside a woman
who turned her raven eyes towards me
opened up a red break and spat obscenities!

I fled, but the drinks had taken their toll,
went into a public lavatory
and as I stood there thinking dreamily of physical love,
my reveries was interrupted by a police officer
who arrested me for being lewd in a public place.

He was an enormous black shadow standing too close
and in his eyes I could read the lust of evil intent.
I brutally kneed him and as he fell screaming to the floor
I fled into the night and through the night till I could run no more.

Out of breath I stumbled down steps to a basement flat
and hid in the dark while sirens blared overhead.
The door to the flat opened
and a beautiful but frail woman in her fifties asked me
what I was doing there.
I told her of my plight and she invited me in,
gave me tea, cakes and a warm embrace.

First I was her lover,
but as her illness progressed,
became her nurse.

One night, while reading her a short story by Hemingway,
she sighed and died and I could do nothing but to finish the tale.

Walked back into the night, a year had gone
and “they”, the enemy, had disappeared,
I filled my lungs with the aroma of spring and kept on walking.