Holloway was born in Vienna in 1955. She left Austria for Oxford
in 1972 to study English. In the '70s she also lived in Beirut,
Athens and Jerusalem. Her poetry and prose has appeared in the
Oxford Poetry Review, Freibord, Podium, Wespennest and Literarit䴬
as well as in the anthologies When the Drink Shop Shuts (Oxford,
1985) and Wie es uns gef䬬t (Berlin, 1981). Her play Die Puppe
was performed in Vienna in 1995. She also writes film scripts,
translates literature and is part of the Erstes Wiener
Lesetheater, with whom she has produced readings of Beckett,
Ionesco, Max Frisch and Thomas Bernhard. She has been a member
of Labyrinth since 1998. She has two CDs where she performs her
poetry (Sky Walking and Letters from the Wilderness) and a book
with painter David Holmes called Keep Breathing.
Where to, where from
you pull the rope
The path becomes visible behind the chaos
close to the sky
and yet the foot knows,
the thought carries you,
every step a beginning
the trace of traces
The groping foot sees
its glance embraces the smile beyond the clouds.
Sent to the Caribbean by train. A river full of red orange
Climbing down steep steel stairs
A bag full of small sharp knives is emptied on my head.
I wear a wig to hide my baldness and sunglasses to hide my burnt
My eyes are covered. I smash mirrors.
I have black hair, wear a red dress and lipstick smeared around
A friend walks through streets with me, familiar and confusing
at the same time. Are we in Vienna or in New York? Everything is
black and red.
Somebody comes up from behind and hugs me. Donít know who it is,
but it makes me feel warm and protected.
I walk in a landscape of walls and fences. After every wall I
hope for open space, but there is another wall.
My flat is empty. I am nowhere. I look for myself in favourite
places. Friends look for me. Waking up I have no memory of
In Heathrow. Which train? Which terminal? Going where? Buying
ticket, not finding it. Where am I? Who are you? Where are we
Smothered under lots of blankets. They keep falling on my face.
Everywhere around me shades of blue. Sea, sky, everything bathed
POETS POEM ON POETRY
HERE COMES THE CLOWN
Words stumble on paper
Empty stage empty page
A poets fear to lose his words
In concentrated silence he is the clown
Drawn by light and scared to be seen
Leaking words loses them everywhere
yet tries to find the one word day and night
which is just like a light or like a smile
or screams until
the voice is lost again.
The clown - at home in worlds of nonsense
he questions everything
destroys all certainty.
At home in failure
he tries again and again.
So perfect in his imperfection
he fights material borders,
runs against them.
So many ways to stumble,
ways to fall,
he takes a detour,
enjoys the view,
no slave to speed.
Every word a misunderstanding
with physical reality.
Clowns are actors of poetry,
can't stop babbling.
Silence is the abyss.
The world falls apart, if we stop.
So we go on naming everything
and create a space between nothing and nothing
and when thereís nothing left to say
we talk about it until
the void bursts like a bubble
and the world behind it
is visible again.
SONGS IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT
Time is nothing
but suddenly the only thing you feel
flying through landscapes, towns
I reach the tunnel and realize
I don't know how to drive
Staggering under invisible banners of reality
Bullet holes in stone walls
Birds invade sleep with cries
Step by step turn your life into a feast of love
Fiercely happy in this solitude
I will go on wearing songs in the dead of night.
Yellow. Bent. The mirror throws this image back at me. Hard
outside I touch and squeeze so soft inside I hide clinging to my
peel. But your hands come closer. You touch me, aware of my
sweet secret. You start to peel. It tickles. I feel the draught
of fear. I see your mouth, your lips come closer. This kiss will
be the end. You throw away my dress and now itís you who fills
the mirror, not yellow, not bent.
'Aubergine seeks courgette and tomato for happy threesome.
Peppers and mushrooms tolerated.' How beautiful my colour, how
shiny my skin. I want to share my beauty with all of them. It is
heat I love. Fry me, bake me, grill me, salt me, sprinkle me
with herbs, spice me up with curry or chilli. I like to be
bedded on rice. I love to be stirred into noodles. I am
beautiful. I am delicious. I am yours.