Eszter Anna Szilágyi

Eszter Anna Szilágyi: Daughters of Nyíregyháza Street (First performed in Hungarian as

A Nyíregyháza utca in Budapest, 2018)

@ Veronika Haacker-Lukacs and Simon Collings 2022




then came Rocky,

with the bow legs,

then came Joe,

shinin’, sparklin’


you never know where

his eyes are lookin’

but if they catch you, if you

catch them –

you two are off into

a hot oven

and you bet

he catches you


I live in a village

by the Puszta town of


in summer and winter

I run to fetch water

I was on my water-run

and a Lada pulled up

in it was Joe

Joe Bling

our Joe.

that’s ’ow we say.


I know a job

a flash place

in the Netherlands

a vacant window

has come up for


you mean for sale – I ask

for a girl to sell

goods from a window

I display

the buyers come

all happen to be men


happen to be men, why’s

that – I ask

’cos over there

purchases are done by men

the ladies at home watchin’

the telly

or bakin’

and can’t get there in time

but the men can

and get on with it

that’s ’ow it is over there


chill the fuck out

the goods are tip-top

an’ Netherlands forints,

grub clothes boots

an’ electricity an’


your own cupboard an’



I carry my water

so they ’ave some at home

let the littl’n drink and my stepfather

takes his beard off today,

the old lady licks her

wooden spoon, there’ll be

paprika chicken cookin’

and today’s when

everyone eats

the multitude eats





the first is mental

the second was sold

the third was in love

with joe, joe bling

the fourth thought she

was ace

seeing right through

things passing through

the eye of a needle

not much fun here

she’ll be the one to leave

and none other

in time




the promotion is underway

the entry tests are underway in

the back part of the village hall

the mothers, fathers and stepfathers

coming and going

scared out of their wits about

what Netherland could do

to their little bitches

budding leaches


coz there is prosperin’ over there

and here is nothin, I tell you wha’

is crowds of people is

nothin’ else besides


men women all need


kids need even more

more and more


I’ll be sure to get out

get through the Netherlands

wall and out I go through the window

Ill be rich Mrs Gadjo

or Ms Gadjo

at the hair salon I’ll bleach

and curl my fab locks

I’ll have teeth and I’ll have a smile

I’ll have a handbag and

I’ll have a purse

to put in it


no one will mind

that I’m the village’s ugliest








four have been selected

in the first round to

go on the prize trip

even the European Union

supported them maybe

that’s how many

fit into the Lada


Csilla Aranka Gyöngyi took

turns on the front seat

to sit beside joe

of sweet tobacco and gucci

scent and buzzing phone

Eszter is a silent person

idiot of the village can’t understand

the dark voice

silky orders

to which three others

women of action

pour a drink

light a cig

close window, open, now a little

now more

tear breaded chicken meat

stuff between meaty lips

hold back breath when

a silky brown fart rips

it’s nearly the country border

what am I saying

no more borders


our home


but what the hell is eszter

sulking for

it’s beyond understanding why

the Netherlands needs

an idiot

a Hungarian idiot

can come in handy, mind,

says joe

when a bird doesn’t

talk your guts into a knot


also at hand our passports

one for each of us


joe has them in

his bum-bag

he said

we also have money

ten euros each

and that will be more than

too much

for us

in the other country

we had a sing-song

we’re going amsterdamin’


have mercy on us




The world is too tight for me

I’m still finding my place to be

Can’t see tomorrow clearly,

I’ll die today, I’m suffering horribly!


Half-full glasses on the table

I might take a sip if I want and am able

Call my name if by chance

We meet in a different Universe!


Call my name if by chance

We meet in a different Universe!



not a package holiday

says Joe

but work Gypsy

work and education

behavioural education

I mean how to

behave yourself

high and mighty Gypsy lady

in the land of the tulips


what d’you mean Gypsy

what d’you mean how to

how to fuck, bitch

what d’you mean others

fuck others

suck ’em neat and


the basic lesson

of your education

tone the fuck down the redness

of your eyes turn back

your homesick feelings

from their wonderings


better not display those

in that window of yours

unless you wanna me to turn

into a tough

and rough




at the back of the village hall

which is to say the threshold of hell

into the shit-house of the tavern

if you will

that pig Rocky with

the bow legs drags me in

rips off the only pair

of decent panties

I have fingers me

why you cryin’

everybody knows

since day one

about the TLC my stepfather

gives my lower regions


what I know is Rocky himself would

fuck me if he could

but his wimpy dick

can’t even piss

how much did your father

get for you

let’s not go there

we’re not gonna

do business

just coz his

other hand

is kneadin’ himself

looks like

he isn’t gettin’ off anytime soon

but I hate

that I’m comin’

let me weep


all I want is

for everyone

to get the fuck off me




sweet melodrama

truth of the world

cage-fighting courtesans’

true loneliness


why the earth

if it isn’t ours

why the sky

if it doubly isn’t



why the country

the town the street

the village the farm

the pig and the brute

why the wretched

cow-shat pavement

even those don’t exist

only the neithers and the nors

why the hearth

and why the

roof beam

Hydra and Echidna

tearing at Magyar

Gypsy hearts

in this alien land

the earth on which

you stagger isn’t yours

no gold boots no

faux fur that

means fake

but in a bikini

you roll about in the dark

the light isn’t yours

street street street

bright communal



a community place

god, let me out

of your boxes



they think

I’m totally stupid

because I don’t care about

anything and

I’m just like


but I don’t talk with

them coz

why should I

you can also check things out

with thoughts

what’s the point tho

not worth your while

and people are just


people altogether

like now I wonder

if this lorry driver can show me

anything at all new

here on this bench in the back

on our way to Holland

as it happens

and I have no questions

well he can’t

such a long time

I have lived on this earth

in so many places and

with so many bodies I rolled

that what I have to do

or you do to me I

have to laugh to myself

I play dumb of course

so no one notices

but what I mean is

these objects

he holds out towards me

and tries inside me

a toilet brush and scissors


but oh his time’s


I laugh to myself

of course

only to myself

humiliated as he is

struggles to pull his pants back on

the animal when

joe joe bling

beats the lorry door

down on us





Shiftin’ my ass around

so I’ll grab the passenger’s

seat by the evening

I wouldn’t ’av minded if

we’d crashed into

the trees linin’ the streets

my head by his head

two bloodied brows

we die

many attempts I made

to divert his attention

from the road anyway an’

on the highway nothin’

would’av been impossible

what with the speed others

raced by at giving us

the finger but joe

didn’t give a damn

somethin’ I adore in him

somethin’ I could die for

he don’t give a damn

for me neither

’e’s sure of himself joe

and I’m sure that I

love ’im

I steal looks at ’im

steal his toothpicks too

and shift around in the car

so that by the evening

I’ll be the first

I tried adjusting the up-and-down

settin’ of the window to

give a be’er temperature

but he yelled at me you

stupid bitch on the motorway

the window must be

up up up


later when we overnight

I’ll be crafty and

make sure he

chooses me first


shining bling blinking lights

you flee you run from facts through the night

coz dreams are ace wonderfully glam

but they’re just fake images it’s only a scam


shining bling blinking lights

you flee you run from facts through the night

coz dreams are ace wonderfully glam

but they’re just fake images it’s only a scam




Amsterdam will be our home

where we stay

here we stay

home is on the corner

corner shop in-out-in-out

here’s the street

endless empty cages

with us on show



first night

two whores had a bust-up

tearin’ at each other’s hair

one of them shaved off the other’s


and so


beat the crap outta them

so they barely dragged themselves away

and crawled

they did before joe

and the next morning

in the shop window

they stood

from noon to midnight


someone will lay’em

then they rest

’coz the only thing they do is

spread their legs wide

but the things

others do

with and to them

the bruises

and the ideas

bloody hell


Molensteeg Street

Magyar slum

Magyar refuge

This is what we’ll call

‘Nyíregyháza Street’