Mr. Minister of Justice…
you Sir offend me.
I don’t know you personally, but I saw your photo in the paper
and I feel deeply offended,
unfortunately not just by you Sir,
the majority of State-run and social institutions
are insults to me,
almost every one of the citizens of our state
is an insult aimed directly at me.
Really, not just once do I ask myself for whom was it so vital to construct so enormous a machine
with architecture, a military, law and crime,
so that it would
personally plague ME.
Even the blind man installed on the street corner is there to drive me insane.
Yet how about it if e.g. you just sent me a package along with a letter:

Mr. Bursa
You are a clever and not bad-looking lad.
We offer you this sacrifice: here is a pair of shoes size 10.

Signed: Mankind
The Government
RE: appeal to the World Council.

But no,
doing this is a waste of money to you.
But for the creation of all those ideologies and apostles,
each one of whom must have at the very least 20 pairs of boots (with goat-skin
uppers), for this, to spite ME
for stuff like this you’ve got money
Mr. Minister!
Ultimately I don’t hold any grudges against you Sir. You Sir are one
bitter pill (your jokes) tossed surreptitiously
into my morning coffee. I’ll digest it as well as you Sir.
But the law, what does the law have to say about this?

Panie ministrze sprawiedliwo_ci…
pan mnie obra_a.
Nie znam pana, ale widzia_em pa_sk_ fotografi_ w gazecie
i czuj_ si_ g__boko obra_ony,
na nieszcz__cie nie tylko przez pana,
wi_kszo__ instytucji pa_stwowych i spo_ecznych
jest dla mnie afrontem,
prawie wszyscy obywatele naszego pa_stwa
s_ obelgami skierowanymi bezpo_rednio we mnie.
Doprawdy, nieraz zapytuj_ si_, komu zale_a_o na zbudowaniu tak ogromniej machiny
z architektur_, wojskiem, prawem i przest_pczo_ci_,
_eby mnie,
osobi_cie m n i e n_ka_.
Nawet na rogu ulicy zainstalowano lepca, _eby mnie doprowadza do sza_u.
A jakby_cie tak np. przys_ali mi paczk_ z listem:

Panie Bursa
jest pan nieg_upim i niebrzydkim ch_opcem.
Ofiarujemy panu t_ oto par_ butów nr 42.

Podpisano: Ludzko__
wzgl. Rada _wiata.

Ale nie,
na to wam szkoda pieni_dza.
Ale na tworzenie ca_ych ideologii i aposto_ów, z których ka_dy
musi mie_ co najmniej 20 par butów (w tym koz_owe
z cholewkami), po to eby m n i e robi na z_o__,
na to jest grosz.
Panie ministrze!
Do pana nie mam ostatecznie pretensji. Jest pan jedn_
gorzk_ pigu_k_ wrzucon_ mi ukradkiem (wasze dowcipy)
do porannej kawy. Strawi_ i pana.
Ale prawo, co prawo na to?


Kevin Christianson is Professor of English at Tennessee Tech University. His poems and translations have appeared in _New Letters, The Formalist, The Minnesota Review, The Sarmatian Review, Passport: The Arkansas Review of Literary Translation_, and _Metamorphoses_. In 1998 he was elected member of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences. In 1999, he received a Fulbright award to teach American literature at Nicholas Copernicus University in Torun Poland.

Halina Ablamowicz is Associate Professor of Speech at Tennessee Tech University. Her article “Shame as Abject Communication: A Semiotic View” appeared in _The American Journal of Semiotics_, and has been reprinted several times as well as translated in Portuguese for use in Brazilian university courses.

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