Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lullaby - Peter Everwine

Last night, in the dark, something
came near and frightened me
and left me turning in my bed, listening
to the hum of a mosquito---almost the timbre
of a human voice---as it came and went.
She must have entered from the garden
through the torn screen, looking
to calm a need of her own
and called too---so I've been told---
by the sound a heart makes.
No, this isn't another metaphor
meant to adorn a romantic tale.
Like you, I'd kill a mosquito in a moment.
But it does make one stop and think
how driven we are, even the least, to hear
the world's incessant undersong---
even if it was never meant for us
or never anything but clamor we wanted to be song---
and how much we love it, and with what sadness,
knowing we have to turn away
and enter the dark.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Safe Sex - John Boland

Afterwards, from one
or both of you,
will come a whispered
Are you OK?
as if you had just
been in an accident
and were checking
to see who'd survived.

Untitled - Ikkyu

To write something and leave it behind us,
It is but a dream.
When we awake we know
There is not even anyone to read it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hotel Insomnia
- Charles Simic

I liked my little hole,
Its window facing a brick wall.
Next door there was a piano.
A few evenings a month
a crippled old man came to play
"My Blue Heaven."

Mostly, though, it was quiet.
Each room with its spider in heavy overcoat
Catching his fly with a web
Of cigarette smoke and revery.
So dark,
I could not see my face in the shaving mirror.

At 5 A.M. the sound of bare feet upstairs.
The "Gypsy" fortuneteller,
Whose storefront is on the corner,
Going to pee after a night of love.
Once, too, the sound of a child sobbing.
So near it was, I thought
For a moment, I was sobbing myself.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note - Leroi Jones (Amiri Baraka)

Lately, I've become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelopes me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus...

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I count the stars.
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

Nobody sings anymore.

And then last night I tiptoed up
To my daughter's room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there...
Only she on her knees, peeking into

Her own clasped hands

Hur kan jag säga... - Karin Boye

Hur kan jag säga om din röst är vacker.
Jag vet ju bara, att den genomtränger mig
och kommer mig att darra som ett löv
och trasar sönder mig och spränger mig.

Vad vet jag om din hud och dina lemmar.
Det bara skakar mig att de är dina,
så att för mig finns ingen sömn och vila,
tills de är mina.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Chou Nu Er - Xin Qiji

When I was young I'd never tasted sorrow,
But I loved to climb the highest tower, but I loved to climb the highest tower,
To sit and try and write of the taste of sadness.
But now I have tasted sorrow,
I would like to talk about it, but cannot, I would like to talk about it, but cannot,
And so I only say "The day is cool, the autumn is fine."

Nostalgia - Alberto Blanco

There is the sky. Now I can see it.

There is the open sky
waiting for the best I can give.

Left behind are parents,
friends, givers of advice...

The dream toys of childhood,
the tree of desire,
night in the depths of the pool,
the park that witnessed our first kiss...

I see it all in the distance
like a body that awakens
in a remote part of the landscape.
I look at it as if it were false.

We have arrived at life
by saying farewell to everything we've loved,
to that which was given,
to all those we love.

But there, at this moment, is the sky.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Worth - Jack Gilbert

It astonished him when he got to Katmandu to hear
the man from the embassy say a friend was waiting
outside of customs. It was the Australian woman
he had met in Bali. His fault for running back
across the tarmac when he realized she was crying.
Kissing her while the plane waited with the door open.
Wanting her to feel valuable. Now she had used up all
her money flying to Nepal. Calling what had been
what it was not. Now lying awkwardly on the bed
for a month, marooned in the heat, the Himalayas
above the window. As he watched the delicate dawns
and the old women carrying too much firewood down
from the mountain on their backs. Him thinking of their
happiness up in the lush green terraces of rice.
Remembering her laughter as he came out of the shower,
saying the boy had come again with a plate of melon.
"He asked if you were my husband," she said, "and I
said you were my father." Her eyes merry. Now they sat
in cheap restaurants trying to find anything to say.
Remembering how beautiful she was the first time
coming through the palm trees of the compound at dusk.
Tall and thin in a purple dress that reached to her
bare feet. Watching while he played chess with
the Austrian photographer all night. Now calling
that good thing by the wrong name. Destroying
something valuable. Innocently killing backwards.