Dec 272012

So I had to hem and haw for awhile over whether to translate kshe-nigmor as “when we’re done” or “when we come,” since in the Holy Tongue, in which the universe and all its wonders were uttered into being, the verb ligmor (“to finish”) also means “to arrive at one’s sexual climax” (I’m trying to keep it clinical. This is a family website. I actually had a crass joke all set to go, but people with actual religious ordination read this site. My goal is that in print I should be no crasser than R’ Yehuda al-Harizi זצ”ל, which actually gives me a lot of wiggle room). In the end, I went with “when we’re done,” because although Herr Kosman does indeed seem to be talking about coming, “when we’re done” gets the post-coital point across well enough, and preserves the “ambiguity,” such as it is, in the Hebrew verb. Yes, this is how I spend my time. Hi.

So, uh. Admiel Kosman’s id, superego and religion are all, like, super mixed up (to use the proper academic terminology). He’s actually pretty Catholic for a Jew.

Admiel Kosman (1957 – )
Instructions on the Box

Obliterate us when we’re done.
And let some pure air in.
If so it will be necessary
to obliterate us here. Right
here on the bench.

Obliterate us when we’re done.
When the last depleted, weakened word is on
our lips. Like the wings of birds. For him it would be
easy. He’d need only to obliterate
us just like that. In our clothes.
The moment that we’re done.

Obliterate us. Just like that. When we’re done.
The setting sun. The last notes of
a violin’s melody. The day now wipes away
the last remains of light. And it would be
beneath the fruit trees in the yard. The instant
that we’re done. And it would be beneath
the fruit trees in the yard. For him it would be
oh so easy,

so very easy! With a puff of breath, or with a word.
He’d only need a fingertip to move us
easily, rightward, leftward. Forward, straight.

Get up — annihilate, exterminate, obliterate
and just like that, still in our clothes. Cut the head
off at the neck.

Get up and shake it off.
And don’t recall a thing.

אדמיאל קוסמן
הוראות על הקופסה

לְהַשְׁמִיד אוֹתָנוּ כְּשֶׁנִּגְמֹר.
וּלְהַזְרִים לְכָאן אֲוִיר טָהוֹר.
צָרִיךְ יִהְיֶה אִם כָּךְ כְּבָר
לְהַשְׁמִיד אוֹתָנוּ כָּאן. יָשָׁר
עַל הַסַּפְסָל.
לְהַשְׁמִיד אוֹתָנוּ כְּשֶׁנִּגְמֹר.
כְּשֶׁהַמִּלָּה הָאַחֲרוֹנָה רָפָה וּמְדֻלְדֶּלֶת עַל
שְׂפָתֵינוּ. כְּמוֹ כַּנְפֵי צִפּוֹר. יִהְיֶה לוֹ
קַל מְאֹד. הוּא יִצְטָרֵךְ רַק לְהַשְׁמִיד
אוֹתָנוּ כָּכָה. בִּבְגָדֵינוּ.
בָּרֶגַע שֶׁנִּגְמֹר.
לְהַשְׁמִיד אוֹתָנוּ. כָּכָה. כְּשֶׁנִּגְמֹר.
שְׁקִיעָה. צְלִילִים אַחֲרוֹנִים שֶׁל
נְגִינַת כִּנּוֹר. הַיּוֹם מוֹחֶה שְׁיָרִים
אַחֲרוֹנִים שֶׁל אוֹר. וְזֶה יִהְיֶה
מִתַּחַת לַעֲצֵי הַפְּרִי שֶׁבֶּחָצֵר. מִיָּד
כְּשֶׁנִּגְמֹר. וְזֶה יִהְיֶה מִתַּחַת לַעֲצֵי הַפְּרִי
שֶׁבֶּחָצֵר. וְזֶה יִהְיֶה
לוֹ קַל. הוֹ קַל,
קַל כָּל כָּךְ! בְּהֶבֶל פֶּה. בְּמַאֲמָר.
הוּא יִצְטָרֵךְ אֶת קְצֵה הַזֶּרֶת לְהָזִיז
קַלּוֹת, יָמִינָה, שְׂמֹאלָה. קָדִימָה וְיָשָׁר.
לָקוּם וּלְהַצְמִית וּלְהַכְרִית וּלְהַשְׁמִיד
וְכָכָה בַּבְּגָדִים שֶׁלָּנוּ. לְהַתִּיז
אֶת הַצַּוָּאר.
לָקוּם וּלְנַעֵר.
וְלֹא לִזְכֹּר דָּבָר.


Lehashmíd ‘otánu kshe-nigmór.
U-lehazrím le-khán ‘avír tahór.
Tzaríkh yihyéh ‘im kakh kevár
lehashmíd ‘otánu kan. Yashár
ʕal ha-safsál.

Lehashmíd ‘otánu kshe-nigmór.
Ke-she-ha-miláh ha-aḥaronáh rafáh u-meduldélet ʕal
sfatéinu. Kemó kanféi tzipór. Yihyéh lo
kal me’ód. Hu yitztaréikh rak lehashmíd
‘otánu kákhah. Bivgadéinu.
Be-régaʕ she-nigmór.

Lehashmíd ‘otánu. Kákhah. Kshe-nigmór.
Shkiʕáh. Tzlilím ‘aḥaroním shel
neginát kinór. Ha-yóm moḥéh shyarím
‘aḥaroním shel ‘or. Ve-zéh yihyéh
mi-táḥat la-ʕatzéi ha-prí she-ba-ḥatzéir. Miyád
kshe-nigmór. Ve-zéh yihyéh mi-táḥat la-ʕatzéi
ha-prí she-ba-ḥatzéir. Ve-zéh yihyéh
lo kal. Ho kal,

kal kol kakh! Be-hével peh. Be-ma’amár.
Hu yitztaréikh ‘et ketzéih ha-zéret lehazíz
kalót, yemínah, smólah, kadímah ve-yashár.

Lakúm u-lehatzmít u-lehakhrít u-lehashmíd
ve-khákhah babgadím shelánu. Lehatíz
‘et ha-tzavár.

Lakúm u-lenaʕéir.
Ve-ló lizkór davár.

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