The first time we went to Bulgaria with our parents it was 1978. There was no toilet paper in Polish shops. What is humanity without a decent roll of toilet paper? Every time I saw the toilet paper, I would roll it secretly. I wanted to bring some luxury home. In western countries there was paper, but no truth to write on it. We knew the truth, but had no paper to write it on. No paper to wipe off the system. We carried it like a turf on our asses. What is the culture that cannot regenerate itself by healthy digestion? This is where we beheld the system. Not enough toilet paper to conceal our attitude. There is no good literature without good toilet paper.
Litany of Confiscation Animal Head of unknown origin – protect us Beanie Babies – feed us Belts – defend us Birds nest – root us Bird corpse – spare us Bongs – stone us Butterflies of Prohibition – flutter grace on us Candy Made from Animals – sweeten smuggled beasts in us Cashier Checks – bring us prosperity Chestnuts – crisp us Chicken Feet – don't leap before you hatch Chicken miscellaneous – sustain us Cock fertility tablets – sex us up Cow urine – cure us Cuban Cigars – envelop us in invisibility Deer antlers – protect us Deer blood – heal us Deer penis – cure our uncertainties Deer tongue – stick out at our enemies Eggshells – let us walk carefully Ginkgo Nuts – whisper of Permian Oceans Khat – hypnotize us Kinder Surprise – snuggle us Leaves – rustle in us Lighter – blind the officers of prohibition Mombins –entertain us Mooncakes – taste us Nesting dolls – coil us Nuts – lose your marbles for us Oca – do whatever you want for us Onions – cry officers' eyes out Palm Fruit – sing of our victory Pickled Mango – laugh at us Pigeon Tablets – unpack cooing for us Seeds – germinate us Snails – coil us Whole Duck – quack us Thirteen bottles overproof rum – giggle in us Tree Bark – layer us
Smuggling has to do with metonymies. Metonymies assure us we have nutshells. Metonymies assure us we have eggshells. The fragment, the part of a greater whole which resides in the spiritual realm. Metonymies are centrifugal. They dwell in particulars, peripheries. They have something to do with myopic perception. Metonymies are easier to smuggle. Smugglers do not like throwing away the cheese wrappers and glass jars from their country, as they stand for something bigger. Smugglers yearn for the absent whole. Smuggling is both the attachment and the red herring. It is a condensation of departure. It supplies associations. Just like metonymy, it has to do with compression. It bodies forth lack. It speaks of insufficiency. It is the desire to restore subject to its predicate. It is a deferral of leaving. It is a relationship of ship to sail. We can take in the sail. Nobody wants to go with empty hands. Smuggling shortens the distance between.
Ewa Chrusciel writes in both Polish and English. She has two books in Polish. Her first book in English, Strata, won the 2009 international book contest and was published with Emergency Press in 2011. Her second book in English Contraband of Hoopoe is forthcoming with Omnidawn Press in 2014. Her third book Dybbuk of Angelus was a finalist with River Run Press. Her poems were featured in Jubilat, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Lana Turner, Spoon River Review, Aufgabe among others. She translated Jack London, Joseph Conrad, and I.B. Singer into Polish and Jorie Graham, Lyn Hejinian and Cole Swensen into English.