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Tadeusz Miciński

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Tadeusz Miciński

Father Faust

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Read by Piotr Czarnota, recorded by Radiofonia Association.
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English translation: Wojciech Łukasik

I felt as if thousands of humming bumblebees were diving into the flower of the blue Lotus – and tearing apart its delicate walls to snatch little bits of the honey...

            Some were mentioning the name of the Beast, as if a mysterious moan, but none of them had the bold look of decision or action on their faces. There is no crime so sophisticated that would not meld in my subconscious with the face of the gentleman I saw lusciously sucking from the Bog!

I walk in the darkness of Plague City, by a marsh green with rot, full of spiritual mist – above a city that once knew the makers of the Constitution, a town, which gave the world the work of its thinkers, which had its great men who stormed the Belweder.*

            Anyway, the old city is no more, even though the corpses of its old streets still remain, and some indeed do believe that the better citizens are hiding somewhere, in their homes.

            In secret announcements the city is known as Makarelowil**, for here the most common type of woman is the dressed-up panderer. Here they kidnap beautiful women in crowded streets and drive them in cabs, gagging their mouths, and none of the knightly passers-by will lend their hand to help! I've been to parties where they confer of young women artists, each of whom has to have a man, a protector who pays for her dresses when she performs as a priestess at the National Temples. At those parties they also talk over the good reviews they need to write for billionaires who entangle the nation in the net of their society, called “The Gibbering Hyena.”

            Through the windows of the café “Na Pajach” I watch the pestilent crowd, through huge, mirror-like glasses I watch these convicts. Always playful, they never lose hope. That's because the Organization called the “Nanny” used to spread Laughing Gas through the pipes of culture, with which the whole city was rigged. Everybody was happy: the man whose neighbour was biting off his ear as well as the one who was so anesthetised that he couldn't feel his legs burn in the fireplace, reading the “Gopher” - that's what the nicey-nicey local organ de presse was called.

 

* the mansion where Grand Duke Constantine, the Russian emperor's brother, lived. The storm on his residence was the beginning of the November Uprising


** an allegory of Warsaw

English translation: Wojciech Łukasik
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Tadeusz Miciński

(1873-1918) poet, writer, dramatist, considered the pioneer of surrealism.
He studied history and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University, but he quitted it after two years only, becoming interested instead in mysticism, occultism and Satanism, which strongly influenced his literary works and his fame of a “wizard poet”.
He wrote short fiction, novels, poems and dramas, as well as columns and treaties. His most famous works are: the novels Nietota. Księga tajemna Tatr (Nietota. The Book of Tatra mystery) of 1910 and Xiądz Faust (Priest Faust) of 1913. Miciński was one of central figures of the Young Poland literary life. He was befriended with Stanisław Przybyszewski, Wincenty Lutosławski (translator of Plato’s dialogues), Zenon “Miriam” Przesmycki, Witkacy and others.
Miciński became also a literary character in Wyzwolenie (Liberation) by Stanisław Wyspiański and in Witkacy’s 622 upadków Bunga, czyli Demonicznej kobiety (partially translated into English as The 622 Downfalls of Bungo or The Demonic Woman and published in The Witkiewicz Reader). In this latter book, Miciński was presented as Magician Childeryk, who “believed himself a little bit a prophet”. Miciński’s works inspired Karol Szymanowski, a well-known Polish composer of the early 20th century, and Roman Kostrzewski, the founder and singer of a death metal band KAT.
He was killed in February 1918 in vague circumstances. According to various versions, he was murdered either by Belarus village thieves, or by a group of Bolsheviks, or by a paid killer contracted by Feliks Dzierżyński. By the way, he had been close to death since early childhood, when his older sister had almost strangled him. (mj)
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