Here, Today

By Henning Koch


A development occurred.
Rock grew skin,
Water learned to breathe,
Scurrying things
Acquired the art of speech
And murder;

Our world seemed unlikely:
An elliptical ball
Repetitiously circling
In a place not defined.
We wondered why
Our eyes had opened here.

We knew nothing,
Not even whether
To count blessings
Or heap up bitterness.

Imprisoned in monkey thought
We lined up
On sodden branches,
Longing to have
Every thing while
Spending our days

Throwing nuts
At birds

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HENNING KOCH (b. 1962) moved to England at an early age and grew up there. After finishing college, he spent half a decade backpacking and occasionally working as a language teacher. He has a long history of involvement in low-budget movie projects as a screenwriter and continues to write screenplays. In 2005 he moved to Sardinia and, since 2010, has been spending increasing amounts of time in Berlin. He is the author of Love Doesn’t Work (Dzanc, 2011), a short story collection. His novel The Maggot People will be published in 2012, also by Dzanc Books: http://www.dzancbooks.org/love-doesnt-work/

7 responses to “Here, Today”

  1. Irene Zion says:

    Fabulous, Henning.

    I love this!

    I’d love to hear you read it.

  2. Henning Koch says:

    I used to read my poems, years ago, at the Gate’s Head Theatre, London. Seems like a lifetime ago and it probably is. It was a great scene, I once ran into Dario Fo in the bar downstairs, he had a huge beard and we drank pints of beer. Franca Rama was there too, she had written a piece about her abduction by right-wing thugs – so disturbing that I had to run outside to vomit. Franca gave me a hug afterwards, I’ll never forget it, what an amazing woman.

    Those were the days… I think?

  3. Irene Zion says:

    Nostalgia and vomit.
    Let me repeat that a few times and I’m sure it will work, Henning.

  4. Henning Koch says:

    Sharply phrased but yes, nostalgia is rubbish, repainted memory.
    Better to be clear:
    “What are days? Days are things we live in…” (Philip Larkin)
    I still like Franca Rama a lot, though.

  5. Irene Zion says:

    One of my favorite quotes is one from Philip Larkin:

    “ Our flesh surrounds us with its own decisions.”

    Good, huh, Henning?

  6. Henning Koch says:

    Larkin always hit the nail on the head, but he was a freak… read his biography recently, what a sad old bleeder he was…
    Thanks for commenting… otherwise there seems to be a creepy silence in the poetry section…

  7. Reno Romero says:

    great imagery. i love when poems put me there. thanks, mr. koch. nice poem.

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