Max Czollek

“bugs bunny”

they tell these stories
about the constellations
of your open laces

that tourniquet
you strap around your arm
on those damned dog days

when someone asks you
to identify the bodies
you used to love

run over that cliff
and only begin to plummet
as you notice your mistake


in wittenberg i wrapped an
anxious animal around my stomach
that fed until full

i jammed a tiny trumpet
under my chin the melody
balancing on a tightrope

something rampant at the heels
a fierce bite to my chest
i carried that in your direction.


“never (in) tel aviv”

blue smashed so blue
teutonic habours before
lift-off liquids like
urin control your
brain control the
sweat bearded salt
overweight in the overhead
overpriced praise your god
race him up the runway &
shut your ear the right one
the left one to the
wailing trains on tracks
won't do won't help
will do permanently
frozen ground clearance
for take-off not granted
you’ve never been in tel
aviv the ocean smashed
so blue and around you
everything white


“to those who were born before our wake”


i came into the cities in a time of
elation when joy
reigned among men

i danced with them

slept among the dumb
without language mouths filled
stuffed with bridges

my arms’ power
left in suitcases
i carried anxieties


truly, i dived into
the great ocean
lost my hair

carried by happiness
when that ended
i went on my way

hope as thin as a
leaf in the woods (i speak of trees
i speak…)

and can’t find the way
to the houses of air


truly, i live in times
in which the unhappy don’t
cry any longer and we
simply keep on writing – anywhere
finger on the trigger who
can stay friendly what use and
what for have we become at the end
of the seas of ice

whereto the streets lead
in my times


“starlit sky”

he likes songs
best that sound

he enjoys the odd wank
under the shower
it's just uncomplicated

he has good friends
and if need be
he thinks of auschwitz


“reflections on schultheiß”

men on scutcheons clutching
tankards in their fists your
son in the ale house raising
his glas / the entrance a pine
green wall a border plantation
outside the trees audibly
growing / your son sits alone
behind the bar with the men
shouts at the round before
the next / give him a name
call him ruben or maximilian
/ the door
               a vertical furrow
you’d like to divide the child
whose is the next? / your son
antlers behind his head
speaks of frontiers you
have no names for / needles
in the air and maybe it's fine
somewhere else or here / you
think all might be lifted
if you stepped out of the woods


תינמרגה הבשומ

i wonder whether this city
so holiday feeling, so fucked up
fits into my rhyme scheme
always on: always off

spring lies in labour
i need close to nothing
to survive merely a plate
of wood and no bread on
the table sweet sand
in bed a few scabs
ground by my dreams

i meant to say: i was
chafed by oaks i think
in rags when its hot
i spot the ocean line

no seagulls here
screeching about home

Max Czollek is a German poet and critic, born in Berlin in 1987. He has studied Political Sciences and is the author of “Druckkammern” (Berlin: Verlagshaus J. Frank, 2012). He is the editor of “Babelsprech” and also a founding member of the collective G13. His poems have been translated into Portuguese, English, Dutch, Ukrainian and Arabic. He has read in festival accross Europe, like the Berlin Poetry Festival (Germany) and Meridian Czernowitz (Ukraine). With Zeitkunst Festival, he toured Brazil and read in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Curitiba. Max Czollek lives and works in Berlin.


Max Czollek