curated by Adam Fitzgerald

Saturday, February 28, 2009

To An Athlete Dying Young

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields were glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

by A.E. Housman (1859 - 1936)

by Danielle Pafunda

Friday, February 27, 2009

How to Continue

Oh there once was a woman
and she kept a shop
selling trinkets to tourists
not far from a dock
who came to see what life could be
far back on the island.

And it was always a party there
always different but very nice
New friends to give you advice
or fall in love with you which is nice
and each grew so perfectly from the other
it was a marvel of poetry
and irony

And in this unsafe quarter
much was scary and dirty
but no one seemed to mind
very much
the parties went on from house to house
There were friends and lovers galore
all around the store
There was moonshine in winter
and starshine in summer
and everybody was happy to have discovered
what they discovered

And then one day the ship sailed away
There were no more dreamers just sleepers
in heavy attitudes on the dock
moving as if they knew how
among the trinkets and the souvenirs
the random shops of modern furniture
and a gale came and said
it is time to take all of you away
from the tops of the trees to the little houses
on little paths so startled

And when it become time to go
they none of them would leave without the other
for they said we are all one here
and if one of us goes the other will not go
and the wind whispered it to the stars
the people all got up to go
and looked back on love

by John Ashbery (b. 1927)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

from Sny (1925-1940)

Dream of the Marten

In the dream I am walking along a headland. Here the rocks have created an odd sort of pass. I wander until I reach a large modern villa with terrace and gazebo adorned with grapevines. It seemed to me in the moonlight like backstage of the Paris Opera. Wanting to spend the night in the gazebo, I climb over the wall. My drowsing was disturbed by the shutters opening on the first floor, which emitted a light the crown of a lush palm engulfed. A woman leaned out of the window. I couldn’t determine her age as she appeared to me as a silhouette. Her hair struck me as peculiar: it was done up in an outmoded bun. Then I discovered it was white, and as she moved I could see the glitter of pearls sewn onto ribbons plaited into her hair. The lady leaned out the window and quietly called out: “I’ll redeem the box when the night is over.” From the top of the palm above me I suddenly heard a melody that reminded me of an old ditty. When I looked to see who was singing it, I saw a giant orangutan playing a fiddle. He had a ruby red box with an odd handle in the shape of a child’s hand hanging from a strap. On the branch of a tree standing near the palm sat a large horse, its head erect as if an illustration in an old book on natural history, as if fascinated by the singing. It had been flayed, and the skin and hairs on its neck gave way to raw meat, which was larded with bacon fat like a hare ready for roasting.

by Jindřich Štyrský (1899–1942)
Translated by Jed Slast

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Porphyria's Lover

The rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soiled gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And called me. When no voice replied,
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair,
Murmuring how she loved me---she
Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me for ever.
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain.
Be sure I looked up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipped me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightened next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propped her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scorned at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gained instead!
Porphyria's love: she guessed not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,
And yet God has not said a word!

by Robert Browning (1812 - 1889)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Carnation’s Misfortunes

The next day the ocean seemed to me even more enrapturing than an operating table. With frowning locks flung over my shoulders, this outmoded mantle from which I never separate, I board this raft without first forgetting to abandon on the shore the two oars, futile to my thirst for carnations, to my hunger to have been tenebrity. Prone on my spine with my stalking dog supine upon my lungs, I stare nostalgically into the sky, enumerating to the thousands the stars, the moon, the wolf’s lair, the vermilion, the Danube, the plague, etc. Over my brow creeps the slashing lip of a saber and two globules of plasma trickle on my cheek recalling the illustrious internal episodes which I am about to intersect like the mysteries of a circus. Monocle fitted to my eyeball, mustache twisting with panache, I stride forth, reckless and viraginous, spellbound and entrancing, slurping with cheeks inflated this magnificent viperous broth which is our internal life. You are a fawn stalked by the swift hunter within me, yes, you! the most enrapturing idol I ever pursued, you who transmutes the macrocosm into the unsurpassed trope of our internal murmur. With temples glued one to the other and both glued to a marble statue, we roam across a palpating byway and our steps disinter cities, rivers, hawks.

I hoist you on my humerus as you would hoist a horseman and with palms lifted above the eyelashes in the mimick of eaves I spy on the sap surging upwards in the distant trees, murder a bird in flight, darken the horizon. Your lashes transmute into a pillow of locks that I plunge my fingers into all the way up to the elbow joints as I might bathe them in a cauldron of plasma and haul out an armorial helmet missing only the skullcap. O! enrapturing idol with the unruffled breath of escargot, with the clamor of bones malefic like a foreshortened fright, I ferry you in my arms like a cauldron for bathing cobras. How tender are the unconcealed symbols and how many tears I would shed over the tiny superstitions misplaced in tiny provincial towns if my eyeball didn’t boast of a retina that could spin an image about nine (or even ninety-nine) revolutions. A limestone retina where they dump empty tuna cans left behind by negligent tourists. Inebriated to vertigo by the spin of this beguiling costume drama, where the entrancing and the odious, tact and impudence, transgression and atonement assemble in your smirk, the retina transmutes into a green mustang with mirroring knees. I myself a mirror, a horseshoe mirror, and your trotting canter appears to be perused across the glowing surface of a mountain lake. Massive rocks engorge us at the precise instant I tether my ascot. O, the tenderness of unconcealed symbols, o! o! O, my idol, o! the unconcealed symbol of this idol, the symbol’s symbol inflaming reality’s realities while the unreal, entrancing as a vampire, beckons me with secret ciphers, from without and within, with a gloved hand or merely with her skeleton.

by Gherasim Luca (1913-1994)
Tr. by Julian Semilian

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slow Dance

More than putting another man on the moon,
more than a New Year’s resolution of yogurt and yoga,
we need the opportunity to dance
with really exquisite strangers. A slow dance
between the couch and dinning room table, at the end
of the party, while the person we love has gone
to bring the car around
because it’s begun to rain and would break their heart
if any part of us got wet. A slow dance
to bring the evening home, to knock it out of the park. Two people
rocking back and forth like a buoy. Nothing extravagant.
A little music. An empty bottle of whiskey.
It’s a little like cheating. Your head resting
on his shoulder, your breath moving up his neck.
Your hands along her spine. Her hips
unfolding like a cotton napkin
and you begin to think about how all the stars in the sky
are dead. The my body
is talking to your body slow dance. The Unchained Melody,
Stairway to Heaven, power-cord slow dance. All my life
I’ve made mistakes. Small
and cruel. I made my plans.
I never arrived. I ate my food. I drank my wine.
The slow dance doesn’t care. It’s all kindness like children
before they turn four. Like being held in the arms
of my brother. The slow dance of siblings.
Two men in the middle of the room. When I dance with him,
one of my great loves, he is absolutely human,
and when he turns to dip me
or I step on his foot because we are both leading,
I know that one of us will die first and the other will suffer.
The slow dance of what’s to come
and the slow dance of insomnia
pouring across the floor like bath water.
When the woman I’m sleeping with
stands naked in the bathroom,
brushing her teeth, the slow dance of ritual is being spit
into the sink. There is no one to save us
because there is no need to be saved.
I’ve hurt you. I’ve loved you. I’ve mowed
the front yard. When the stranger wearing a shear white dress
covered in a million beads
comes toward me like an over-sexed chandelier suddenly come to life,
I take her hand in mine. I spin her out
and bring her in. This is the almond grove
in the dark slow dance.
It is what we should be doing right now. Scrapping
for joy. The haiku and honey. The orange and orangutang slow dance.

by Matthew Dickman (b. 1975)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Black Stone on a White Stone

  I will die in Paris with a downpour,
a day which I can already remember.
I will die in Paris—and I don't budge—
maybe a Thursday, like today, in autumn.

  Thursday it will be, because today, Thursday,
as I prose these lines, I have forced on
my humeri and, never like today, have I turned,
with all my journey, to see myself alone.

  César Vallejo has died, they beat him,
all of them, without him doing anything to them;
they gave it to him hard with a stick and hard

  likewise with a rope; witnesses are
the Thursdays and the humerus bones,
the loneliness, the rain, the roads...

by César Vallejo (1892–1938)
Translated by Clayton Eshleman

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re-
entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of themselves a
visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by
minutest fractions the water's downdrafts and upswirls, the
dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where
they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into
itself (it has those layers) a real current though mostly
invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing
                    motion that forces change—
this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.

by Jorie Graham (b. 1950)

Friday, February 20, 2009

How Many Secrets We Harbour ...

How many secrets we harbour
and have told the flowers,
so that in their graceful bowers
they tell us how strong is our ardour.

The stars are confused to their core
that all our problems we tell.
From the strongest to the most frail
none can put up any more

with our variable mood,
our revolts and our cries -,
except the untiring table's wood
and the bed (when the table's died).

by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926)
Trans. by Brian Cole

Thursday, February 19, 2009

'I stepped from Plank to Plank' F926 (1865) / J875 (1864)

I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my Feet the Sea -

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience -

by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

It's a pretty light, you know. The way anyone leans
forward. Leans forward just enough. There's a dream
in the rain. A good dream. When I can't sleep I am
angels and idiots. They're running around. They're in a
Shakespeare play. It's the longest night of the year. The
light is light gray. They're dancing around. Declaiming.
One saws the air. One puts his foot on my neck. It's
a pretty light. The light is light gray. I love what he's
saying. I want to show him how to do it. I look and I
can't read the words. The words are tiny. But there are
pictures. Rebus rebus rebus. He's a picture thinking. I
don't have time to learn the words. Place the word home
to the left of home, now be home. Mouthful of death,
layers and layers of light, mouthful of ideas about death,
pop culture is awash in fanged bloodsuckers: are you, did
you, will you, can you. The town shines, he breathed,
he loved air, air felt like glass, he wanted and he wanted.
The city shines, he goes to school, he never sleeps. The
early Christians were accused of both cannibalism and
vampirism. And I'll be all awake. A face, a face in a
window. Days make nights. A plastic bottle floating in
a bush. Nights make days. A plastic bottle floating in a
bush. Firefly. Sky purple clay—my soul a cheap hotel.
When my soul opens there will be a cheap hotel. Say it,
no ideas but in apples, apples and sad pictures. You get
sad just looking at the apple. You're down in the everyone
believes. Down in the everyone believes something.

by Joseph Lease

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On Raglan Road

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay -
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day.

by Patrick Kavanagh (1904 - 1967)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Light is the first animal of the visible.

Light was the first animal of the visible, then
stumbled. Your room in The Glass Tavern, a view of

heel clicks heel clicks heel clicks


(Sad now. Who-will-feed-you-the-evening-spoon.)

Swept many thin things are
sideways in blue and pink
with whose broom, the evening sky
              grand not speaking not a question

O the question. You travel?

We could say: swallows have found their throats again.
You sleep at an open window. At earth’s center a certain
someone discovers then forgets the function of arms

on a clock. You?

—The hurry to embrace.

Notes: The title is after José Lezama Lima in "Material Memoria": "La luz es el primer animal visible de lo invisible." Line 11 is after Malachi Black, April 2006: "The swallows have lyrics scratching at their throats."

by Ana Božičević

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Great Western Plains

The little voices of the prairie dogs
Are tireless . . .
They will give three hurrahs
Alike to stage, equestrian, and pullman,
And all unstingingly as to the moon.

And Fifi's bows and poodle ease
Whirl by them centred on the lap
Of Lottie Honeydew, movie queen,
Toward lawyers and Nevada.

And how much more they cannot see!
Alas, there is so little time,
The world moves by so fast these days!
Burrowing in silk is not their way—
And yet they know the tomahawk.

Indeed, old memories come back to life;
Pathetic yelps have sometimes greeted
Noses pressed against the glass.

by Hart Crane (1899 - 1932)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Subtractive Venery

Calling me
with your sickly rhomboid status
calling for me
to return to your insominial wisteria palace
to your overnight guano dimension
to suck on your simulated jasmine
erected by your barrier of chastity by furnace

your cadaverous wrenching of fate
your lobotomized smouldering of dislodged confusion
your incapable tarantula piddling
plaguing me with purgatorial cratering analysis

with your diet of melted swan's food
starving me
always checking my semen
with frantic dyslexic syllables of dread
with your tortuous hounding
with your repetitive scratching of conscience
trying to hold me with scarring
trying to clamp my brain with geriatric forceps
with ligatures of wire
with stony mollusk rims and serrations

in this you have failed
you have invalidated your dysfunctional efforts
of innocence
of perverted virginity
with a mangy face before the eye of God
not even summations of crawling
not even rust cutters or combustion
as if to test your blue vaginal mirrors
inside a Protestant Crimea
listening to your fallacious absorption neurosis

you've forfeited your flames
you've cast into the moat
salacious bonfire bathing
you've given up the power of deepened torturing rums
of magnetic chromosomal nerves
for a weakly neutered clairaudience of failure

in my mind
those ghostly Bermuda funnels
always invading your trajectory
with shattered mercurial caresses
which makes your heart exfoliate
into multiple Appaloosas
into stony aerial confusion
with momentary chartreuse injections in your system

so I've become oblique to you
you've made me want to annul
the nasal
the spiral spinning jennies in you

you've borne in on me
with dust grapes
& I've triumphed above a contradictory wall
the burning
the torment
the seizures

and so
bony with rickets and pre-figured decay
you've forgotten the sun
wandering across deserts of air
never once hot
with intercourse and reddish rhinestone habit

you've passed on the chance
to fly as a deeply bloodied heron
above a newly focused sodium sea
you've passed on the adventure
of fleeing through the gore flecked bounty of yellowed
maritime grasses
to wallow on a couch
magically multiplied into pluperfect brothels
into an ambiance of greenish radium and silver
calling out to the plentiful ghosts
of erotic turpentine and nothingness

chewing owls' flesh
witnessing the shredding of mimetic eglantine murals
those powders of kinetic jugular bliss
allowing us a proto-immersion
allowing us a winged ensconsment
in the very core of hellish underwater gravel
you've renounced
with your peculiar ethical subtraction
the blue corn of light
the hot tornado plummage
with the verdurous intensity
of paradise and flaming

by Will Alexander (b. 1948)

Friday, February 13, 2009

'Your hand full of hours, you came to me'

Your hand full of hours, you came to me - and I said:
Your hair is not brown.
So you lifted it lightly on to the scales of grief; it weighed more than I...

On ships they come to you and make it their cargo, then put it on
sale in the markets of lust -
You smile at me from the depth, I weep at you from the scale
that stays light.
I weep: Your hair is not brown, they offer brine from the sea and
you give them curls ...
You whisper: They're filling the world with me now, in your
heart I'm a hollow way still!
You say: Lay the leafage of years beside you - it's time you came closer and kissed me!

The leafage of years is brown, your hair is not brown.

by Paul Celan (1920 - 1970)
translated by Michael Hamburger

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Cracked pharmacist
Of childhood homicides,

Brother, fuck

Forgetfulness of death.

Let’s into the German
Streamers of God’s golden wind.

And not

by Cynthia Cruz

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Pact

I make a pact with you, Walt Whitman—
I have detested you long enough.
I come to you as a grown child
Who has had a pig-headed father;
I am old enough now to make friends.
It was you that broke the new wood
Now is a time for carving.
We have one sap and one root—
Let there be commerce between us.

by Ezra Pound (1885 - 1972)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Homicidal Domicile II: Night of the No-Par

      The desire to carve criminals up into one's family retains more room in us than the grease, the gold, the urine conversant with the flood: even the left hand's appraisers shun the right's buyers.
      Thus my testicles have divorced but continue to share the same house, if only your penis was sharper it would cut the scrotum in two resolving this rental stumpage, this game forced yet deigned to wear the day-jar's view.
      Where the righteousness of noon corrupts windows; like a name slanted to cry; floorboards that tweak earth: cult pepper, hurled by turban cameras, we grovel at sculptors whose heels punctuate our idol.
      Glittering incidentals, hours in which towers swim off their own balconies, ah what stylites live atop our I's.

by Bill Knott (b 1940)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Soldiers Bathing

The sea at evening moves across the sand.
Under a reddening sky I watch the freedom of a band
Of soldiers who belong to me. Stripped bare
For bathing in the sea, they shout and run in the warm air;
Their flesh, worn by the trade of war, revives
And in my mind towards the meaning of it strives.

All's pathos now. The body that was gross
Rank, ravenous, disgusting in the act or in repose,
All fever, filth and sweat, its bestial strength
And bestial decay, by pain and labour grows at length
Fragile and luminous. 'Poor bare forked animal,'
Conscious of his desires, and needs and flesh that rise and fall
Stands in the soft air, tasting after toil
The sweetness of his nakedness: letting the sea-waves coil
Their frothy tongues about his feet, forgets
His hatred of the war, its terrible pressure that begets
A machinery of death and slavery;
Each being a slave and making slaves of others: finds that he
Remembers his old freedom in a game,
Mocking himself, and comically mimics fear and shame.

He plays with death and animality.
And reading in the shadows of his pallid flesh, I see
The idea of Michelangelo's cartoon
Of soldiers battling, breaking off before they were half done
At some sortie of the enemy, an episode
Of the Pisan wars with Florence. I remember how he showed
Their muscular limbs that clamber from the water,
And heads that turn across the shoulder, eager for the slaughter,
Forgetful of their bodies that are bare,
And hot to buckle on and use the weapons lying there.
- And I think too of the theme another found
When, shadowing men's bodies on a sinister red ground,
Another Florentine, Pollaiuolo,
Painted a naked battle: warriors, straddled, hacked the foe,
Dug their bare toes into the ground and slew
The brother-naked man who lay between their feet and drew
His lips back from his teeth in a grimace.

They were Italians who knew war's sorrow and disgrace
And showed the tiling suspended, stripped: a theme
Born out of the experience of war's horrible extreme
Beneath a sky where even the air flows
With lacrimae Christi. For that nice, that bitterness, those blows,
That hatred of the slain, what could they lie
But indirectly or directly a commentary
On the Crucifixion? And th picture burns
With indignation and pity and despair by turns,
Because it is the obverse of the scene
Where Christ hangs murdered, stripped, upon the Cross. I mean,
That is the explanation of its rage.

And we too have our bitterness and pity that engage
Blood, spirit, in this war. But night begins,
Night of the mind: who nowadays is conscious of our sins?
Though every human deed concerns our blood,
And even we must know, what nobody has understood,
That some great love is over all we do,
And that is what has driven us to this fury, for so few
Can suffer all the terror of that love:
The terror of that love has set us spinning in this groove
Greased with our blood.

These dry themselves and dress,
Combing their hair, and lose the fear and shame of nakedness.
Because to love is frightening we prefer
The freedom of our crimes. Yet, as I drink the dusky air,
I feel a strange delight that fills me full,
Strange gratitude as if evil itself were beautiful,
And kiss the wound in thought, while in the west
I watch a streak of red that might have issued from Christ's breast.

by F.T. Prince (1912 - 2003)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

from Mexico City Blues

211th Chorus

The wheel of the quivering meat conception
Turns in the void expelling human beings,
Pigs, turtles, frogs, insects, nits
Mice, lice, lizards, rats, roan
Racinghorses, poxy bucolic pigtics,
Horrible unnameable lice of vultures
Murderous attacking dog-armies
Of Africa, Rhinos roaming in the jungle,

Vast boars and huge gigantic bull
Elephants, rams, eagles, condors,
Pones and Porcupines and Pills –
All the endless conception of living beings
Gnashing everywhere in Consciousness
Throughout the ten directions of space
Occupying all the quarters in & out,
From supermicroscopic no-bug
To huge Galaxy Lightyear Bowell
Illuminating the sky of one Mind –
Poor! I wish I was free
Of that slaving meat wheel
And safe in heaven dead

by Jack Kerouac (1922–1969)

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I saw a young snake glide
Out of the mottled shade
And hang, limp on a stone:
A thin mouth, and a tongue
Stayed, in the still air.

It turned; it drew away;
Its shadow bent in half;
It quickened and was gone

I felt my slow blood warm.
I longed to be that thing.
The pure, sensuous form.

And I may be, some time.

by Theodore Roethke (1908 - 1963)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Uvula, Bugging Device

While the geezer-starling was sleeping the sleep of the just
sprawled out on the bed with his mouth open,
a light-winged ghost (who else?)
carefully planted another watchful cell – glued a bugging device
to his uvula.
Now even his internal speech
will be known: all of his revolutionary intentions
and the train of his restless thoughts will be revealed
in minute detail. Only two choices remain
to the lucky one: to shrug
his shoulders, wring his hands, and all-the-while speak
words of praise
in dull submissiveness, or to grow to love
deathly silence with an overlong life
under a paralyzed tongue. In the spanking clean
hallways of the Clinic
let’s pray for him, sigh a broken sigh.

by Novica Tadić (b. 1949)
Translated by Steven and Maja Teref

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sea Rose

Rose, harsh rose,
marred and with stint of petals,
meagre flower, thin,
sparse of leaf,

more precious
than a wet rose
single on a stem—
you are caught in the drift.

Stunted, with small leaf,
you are flung on the sand,
you are lifted
in the crisp sand
that drives in the wind.

can the spice rose
drip such acrid fragrance
hardened in a leaf?

by H.D.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sea Horse

Creatures of liquid light, vagabonds of underwater currents,
Students of belly dancing, the ocean’s brides loyal to his moods.

With their final breath, forgotten Phoenician gods
Inflated glassy bodies that shine like empty clepsydrae.

Tails wrap playfully around the mesh in fishing nets,
The tiny wings’ fluttering sketches pillows of eternity in the restless sleep of the drowned.

They are princes of confidence. And when the female spawns eggs into the male
So that he bears them and gives birth, they are the social democratic ideal of reproduction.

Too fragile for guilt, but noticeable enough
That the jealous eye of the blue mussel thinks of beauty and love.

Among the shadows of people, sea horse bodies dry,
Lose translucence, become rough and blunt.

Between two fingers you crush them, beauty and love,
Into what is not beautiful and what (you don’t remember) stopped loving.

by Aleš Šteger (b. 1973)
Translated by Brian Henry

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Sick Rose

O Rose, thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

by William Blake (1757 - 1827)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Consolation: Roses

to N. A.

in your presence even the toes
are as if they remembered!

and the mind more strongly
pierces our head
in your presence!

and together perhaps you are that
they drew out:

of one kind - in one mystery:

deposit of genius in flowers
and mind -
primal layer!

and all - in the presence of one that separates!
and just the same
even here:

as in the presence of the human -
oh it is risky to tell of it! -
in the presence of what is not spoken -

of such:
almost non-existent:

it almost whitens -
as if barely thought of

almost alone -
as if it barely is


by Gennady Aygi (1934-2006)
Translated by Peter France

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Secret Rose

Far-off, most secret, and inviolate Rose,
Enfold me in my hour of hours; where those
Who sought thee in the Holy Sepulchre,
Or in the wine-vat, dwell beyond the stir
And tumult of defeated dreams; and deep
Among pale eyelids, heavy with the sleep
Men have named beauty. Thy great leaves enfold
The ancient beards, the helms of ruby and gold
Of the crowned Magi; and the king whose eyes
Saw the Pierced Hands and Rood of elder rise
In Druid vapour and make the torches dim;
Till vain frenzy woke and he died; and him
Who met Fand walking among flaming dew
By a grey shore where the wind never blew,
And lost the world and Emer for a kiss;
And him who drove the gods out of their liss,
And till a hundred morns had flowered red
Feasted, and wept the barrows of his dead;
And the proud dreaming king who flung the crown
And sorrow away, and calling bard and clown
Dwelt among wine-stained wanderers in deep woods;
And him who sold tillage, and house, and goods,
And sought through lands and islands numberless years,
Until he found, with laughter and with tears,
A woman of so shining loveliness
That men threshed corn at midnight by a tress,
A little stolen tress. I, too, await
The hour of thy great wind of love and hate.
When shall the stars be blown about the sky,
Like the sparks blown out of a smithy, and die?
Surely thine hour has come, thy great wind blows,
Far-off, most secret, and inviolate Rose?

William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)