I was weak and vulnerable,
trembled with my whole being,
and bled from my torn,
Then like some menacing melody from the past
a huge head appeared at the door
gleaming with health and evil.
A hand tugged me back:
«Lie with your face to the wall!»
and they started trampling on my sides
on the sticky trestle-bed.
The main one sat on the table
and panted satanically
then started up
on me in earnest.
He amused himself by squeezing my Adam’s apple
with his thin, strong fingers.
They squeezed my groin,
then my lungs, then my kidneys,
and how my insides leapt
when they pressed on my solar plexus
and the pen gushed blood
on the innocent paper.
I stripped naked,
feverish and hot.
An old crone
got the syringe ready in the corner.
Terror trampled down my body
from hair roots to heels.
So they’ll shove the needle in
and I’ll crack when I’m half-asleep.
He worked on my stomach
and squeezed my skull, and then
put my forearm in a tourniquet
and stopped the flow of blood.
I would have screamed but I kept quiet,
dry lips locked up,
while he, face contorted and sweaty,
grunted, wrote and revelled.
He flew into a rage - a familiar rage -
and I wanted to shout:
«What are you scribbling down? Show me
your secret rubbish!»
His assistant, a former psychopath,
bound my wrists;
the tarnished instruments of torture
were laid out in a row.
Though hardened and beaten and stern,
I could break like a rope untwisting,
but then there’s a lull, and they take them off,
and my head lolls and I slump.
I lie there like a cowering mouse,
but the pen scratches at the table
constantly writing something in the notes,
although I am saying nothing.
No, I have to conserve my strength,
I am tired and weak.
Soon I’m sure they’ll singe my heels
just to make me laugh.
I’m strung up on my nerves, absolutely alert,
but I feel such disgust:
they’ve shoved a stomach probe down my throat
and I’ve spat it out.
I’m in a vice, I’m held by pincers.
They crawl over me and fawn over me now,
wanting to find everything out, tease everything out,
testing everything blindly.
In less than five minutes
they’ll extract my soul, change it,
defile everything, tear it out,
squeeze it and hang it out to dry.
Breathe in, breathe in deeper,
breathe out or you’ll die!
But in your institution if you breathe out
you won’t be able to breathe in.
I bare my teeth under my parched lips
and say: «So that’s it, mates,
your game of hide and seek with me will not just pass,
my fellow comrades!»
They put out the lights and turned on the gas,
a plank somehow caught fire.
Pus burst from my eyes,
my windpipe gurgled.
He went into an ecstasy of rage.
They dragged in a basin for some reason.
I saw this once:
a film rather like a trophy of war.
They came up behind me
and gave me an injection.
Shoot it in, you bastards,
but let me see it on the record.
I managed to get on my knees
and pressed my forehead to the basin.
I asked threateningly,
and demeaned myself with pleading.
But they tightened the tourniquet
and lit the spirit lamp
a ginger she-devil with a hair wick
Soon they’ll get down to it.
And I, the old clown, try to guess
just when the burning lash will strike.
The witches’ sabbath burned white-hot,
and the hot sweat flowed.
A scream - and a raven settled
on a white shoulder.
And the nimble raven
and reminded me that the torture chamber
leads straight to the morgue.
I still keep up a feeble resistance
although to them I’m a simple fool.
You will have to answer
for this interrogation under torture,
you, who have returned to the middle ages,
will answer by name,
and you will have to hand over to us
the notes from the interrogation.
I look over his shoulder
at what he’s writing.
A yellowed back
«We don’t need your signature,
we know everything anyway.»
Dear nurse, don’t be a coward,
I will not keep quiet, will not wipe myself out.
When I meet with my lawyer
I’ll deny my statement.
I said nothing to them,
I betrayed no one.
Tell all of my friends
I was true to them.
Finishing off the business, he said:
«Read it, then, and cool down.»
I latched onto the writing,
but it was all in Latin.
Circles in the eyes, zeroes in the brain.
They had just taken down
the history of an illness.