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Dawn at the Centrum Söröző & Other Stories

Dawn at the Centrum Söröző

Online at 6a.m., the world wild web,
connected to everyone in theory.
Well I can see my fellow W.B.’s presence at the bottom of the screen.
I think I want an audience with Mr D.J.

We’ve had some good times on their terrace,
Ideally situated on the ring road by a major traffic junction.
Though not recommended for a daytime tipple unless you have run out of smokes.

The greatest moment was one night when all the street lights suddenly went out.
This would normally be worrying,
But we were simply experiencing the transition from night to day,
Dawn at the Centrum Söröző.

More buses started running and the commuters on board peered out at us,
Like a reverse tourist stare.

And I got banned from this dear scuzzy non-stop bar
’cause my compatriot knocked a glass off the counter.
Next time, no service, “Please leave,” says Hajnal.
I explain the error in her memory; no joy.
What’s the problem?
You , and definitely him.
It turns out my mate had called her a cunt some time back. We left.

Another time I crept in, under the radar,
To the unknown upstairs,
I gotta send my fellows down for beers.
Later, on the way out I asked the barmaid in question to unlock the toilet door
with her switch under the counter,
such is this classy joint.
I passed as a legitimate patron it seemed,
Maybe due to having approached the bar from the rear, from upstairs,
Not on the level from the street.
Back on the level again myself.

I look forward again to this year’s Central European Summer Time
And another dawn on the Centrum Söröző terasz.


Flashbacks from the vortex

If you can remember opening time in Vittula then you weren’t there
Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink,
Shit in the dark, hold the door closed with your teeth,
Wipe your ass with a winning betting slip by mistake,
It’s all down the fucking toilet.

Unpredictably, the place is empty, the place is crowded,
Full of men, devoid of girls
And even vice versa but generally inbetween.
Boys on the decks or Csajok a Szetten.

Sometimes it’s Panda Parade in the gallery room, pagan night, farsang, sausage fest, Halloween.
The times of our lives as celebrated by others since time immemorial.
Get to feel at home, step outside dressed like freaks on our local streets for a while, then back into the basement again.

Music DJ maestro please!
If you’re lucky enough to be boogying on the dance floor,
Beware, the stairs to the toilets have been known to act like a trap door,
Hidden and like crocodile jaws, they will devour you and if you’re lucky you’ll escape with minor injuries.
You know they’re there for hell’s sake, do you need a fuckin’ sign? A sign from god,
They were there when you went for your first sober piss,
Just try not to go down head first, please. It makes a mess.
Or did you drink 8 pints before breaking the seal, or just do shots in mid-summer,
You sat at the bar sweating Unicum getting a fake tan in the process.

Finding my way home,
Three blocks, it should be simple. It is, usually.
No need to sing “Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I want to go to bed.”
No stranger has led me to my bed from Vittula but a group of friends walked me to my home address, covering my eyes as we passed the pub next door.
No neighbourly temptation for me.

Summertime a handy girl on the street might leave you with the refreshed route knowledge of where your wallet had once been.

The safe way, always call a licensed taxi
I’m afraid I don’t want to go far but I won’t puke in the back of your cab.
I’ll sit up front, just enough time for a tune from Roxy Radio.
Nice one, 600 forints, 1000 with a tip, kind driver.
Night night.


Modern Times

Do you remember where you were when John Kennedy died Wayne?
Of course not, I hadn’t been born.
Someone said that if you could remember the 60s then you weren’t there.
I have recollections of 1967 and then 1968 when my kid brother was born,
He gave me a toy truck, a horse box as a present and I wondered how he’d got to the shops.
He didn’t even hand it to me. I couldn’t have been there I suppose.

Can you remember Wayne when the Berlin Wall fell?
Yes, quite clearly. I was clearly drunk and clearly lucid.
I was in a parallel space to this one, parallel in situation, twenty-one years parallel in time.
In a dive bar in Chinatown in London, parallel in layout,
Toasting an Australian woman with a beer, predicting that the Wall would last little longer.
I made it home and through the night, which is more than can be said for the wall.
When I got in from the bar, I switched the TV on and it was there on the news, being hacked to pieces.

And where was I when Michael Jackson died? Here, in Vittula.
After some hours of the usual and “your usual Sir?” drinking pint after pint of Slutty Pheasant,
There came an endless stream of Beat it, Thriller and Billie Jean from the speakers.
What the fuck’s going on I asked the landlord.
“Michael Jackson’s dead,” came the reply.
We all drank on in suspicious disbelief and reminisced.
I had to check the facts on the wifi when I got home. Modern times.

In 1989, did I know where I’d be 20 years on?
Phwoa, by what methods I’d be communicating?
In the 70s I was excited to use a typewriter to compose my poetry.
Used to write my first drafts and wipe my hands on napkins.
Now it’s all iPhone, you can do those things on a gadget too.
Take a look around you now. This is the 21st century.
Can’t you see it, can’t you smell it, feel it all around you?
Wearing your smart fabrics, going home by jet taxi, or bunking your fares on BKV.
Is Russia going to turn the gas off again this winter?”
The new modern is yet another retro.
Modern times.


© Frere Wukowski 2011

About the author

Frère Wukowski (The Ubowski Brothers)
Wukowski has been a member of the Belgian Art Movement since the late 1980s. He currently operates out of a duplex in Boedapest.