A Man. Here he is. He has height and breadth. And something in his eye. The man picks his eye. He picks at his eyelashes, eyelid. On the whole the man has face. It could be described. How should we describe the face. It’s round. Or it’s rectangular. It’s not triangular. And yet. It’s angular with soft bends. It’s round with markings. The man is in any case freshly shaven. His face is a baby’s bottom. And yet. Not.

Here is the man. The man with a face. And a name. The man has a name. Probably a good name, but we don’t know it. We can call him whatever we feel like. Mads or Mikkel. Mozart. The man doesn’t obey, he doesn’t react. Maybe his name isn’t Mads. We could call him the main character. That’s what we’ll call him. Rightly so. The man has had our undivided attention. He’ll keep it a little while longer. Here is the main character.

Here he is, the man. Of average build, a face with hair on top. We call him the main character, he’s on his way somewhere. From somewhere, in between. Appropriately he whistles a tune. We observe the main character. A tarpaulin that clatters in the dark. He’s moving, striding up toward the streets. The main character puts one leg forward. Then the other. And so on. He appears to be moving with no trouble beneath the lamp lights. He puts his legs in front of each other rapidly. Faster. He gently eases the weight from his heels. The main character starts running. He’s running. Ahead somewhere is a bus stop.

From Hovedpersonen. Published 2009 by Jorinde & Joringel, Copenhagen. Copyright  2009 by Frederik Bjerre Andersen. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Morten Høi Jensen. All rights reserved.

En mand. Han har en højde og en drøjde. Og noget i øjet. Manden piller ved sit øje. Han piller ved øjenvipperne, øjenlåget. Manden har i det hele taget et ansigt. Det kan beskrives. Hvordan skal vi beskrive ansigtet. Det er rundt. Eller det er firkantet. Det er ikke trekantet. Og så alligevel. Det er skarpt med bløde rundinger. Det er rundt med markeringer. Manden er i hvert fald velbarberet. Hans ansigt er en barnerøv. Alligevel. Ikke.

Her er manden. Manden med et ansigt. Og et navn. Manden har et navn. Sandsynligvis et godt navn, men vi kender det ikke. Vi kan kalde ham hvad vi vil. Mads eller Mikkel. Mozart. Manden lystrer ikke, han reagerer ikke. Måske hedder han ikke Mads. Vi kan kalde ham hovedpersonen. Det kalder vi ham. Med rette. Manden har haft vores fulde opmærksomhed. Han skal have den lidt endnu. Her er hovedpersonen.

Her er han, manden. Almindelig af bygning, et ansigt og med hår øverst. Vi kalder ham hovedpersonen, han er på vej et sted hen. Et sted fra, midt imellem. Passende fløjter han en melodi. Vi iagttager hovedpersonen. En presenning der buldrer i mørket. Han bevæger sig, strider sig op mod gaderne. Hovedpersonen har det ene ben forrest. Så det andet. Og så fremdeles. Han bevæger sig tilsyneladende problemfrit under gadelamperne. Han sætter benene hurtigt foran hinanden. Hurtigere. Han lemper vægten fra hælene nu. Hovedpersonen er sat i løb. Han løber. Forude ligger et stoppested.




Frederik Bjerre AndersenFrederik Bjerre Andersen

Frederik Bjerre Andersen is a Danish poet and “word artist.” Hovedpersonen (The Main Character, 2010) marked his literary debut, though he has been a mainstay in the Danish poetry scene for the majority of the past decade. His writing has appeared in various anthologies and poetry journals in Denmark.

 

 

Translated from DanishDanish by Morten Høi JensenMorten Høi Jensen

Morten Høi Jensen’s essays and reviews have appeared in Bookforum, Open Letters Monthly, The Quarterly Conversation, and elsewhere. His translations have previously appeared in the Brooklyn Rail’s online supplement, InTranslation.