Friday, July 30, 2010

Grasshopper Aria - Hemant Mohapatra

4 a.m.: the house is full
of fever and din. He stumbles
through the dark and stops
in front of the kitchen.
It is suddenly quiet—
they are waiting for him.
He pushes the door ajar
and finds them on top
of each other. One
of them, legs splayed
around the edge
of a plate, hands folded
in a prayer, while the other,
perched on its back, proud
and alone. Their bellies pushing
through the exoskeleton, curious
compound-eyes looking up
to the light he is flashing
on them. Caught in that moment
between the sewers and metal,
they are moving into sex. He closes
the door, they begin their song,
antennae sweeping the air
like ancient radios
tuning into love.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I don't want to live a small life - Mary Oliver

I don't want to live a small life. Open your eyes,
open your hands. I have just come
from the berry fields, the sun

kissing me with its golden mouth all the way
(open your hands) and the wind-winged clouds
following along thinking perhaps I might

feed them, but no I carry these heart-shapes
only to you. Look how many how small
but so sweet and maybe the last gift

I will ever bring to anyone in this
world of hope and risk, so do.
Look at me. Open your life, open your hands.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Have the Lovers - Leonard Cohen

You have the lovers,
they are nameless, their histories only for each other,
and you have the room, the bed, and the windows.
Pretend it is a ritual.
Unfurl the bed, bury the lovers, blacken the windows,
let them live in that house for a generation or two.
No one dares disturb them.
Visitors in the corridor tip-toe past the long closed door,
they listen for sounds, for a moan, for a song:
nothing is heard, not even breathing.
You know they are not dead,
you can feel the presence of their intense love.
Your children grow up, they leave you,
they have become soldiers and riders.
Your mate dies after a life of service.
Who knows you? Who remembers you?
But in your house a ritual is in progress:
It is not finished: it needs more people.
One day the door is opened to the lover's chamber.
The room has become a dense garden,
full of colours, smells, sounds you have never known.
The bed is smooth as a wafer of sunlight,
in the midst of the garden it stands alone.
In the bed the lovers, slowly and deliberately and silently,
perform the act of love.
Their eyes are closed,
as tightly as if heavy coins of flesh lay on them.
Their lips are bruised with new and old bruises.
Her hair and his beard are hopelessly tangled.
When he puts his mouth against her shoulder
she is uncertain whether her shoulder
has given or received the kiss.
All her flesh is like a mouth.
He carries his fingers along her waist
and feels his own waist caressed.
She holds him closer and his own arms tighten around her.
She kisses the hand beside her mouth.
It is his hand or her hand, it hardly matters,
there are so many more kisses.
You stand beside the bed, weeping with happiness,
you carefully peel away the sheets
from the slow-moving bodies.
Your eyes filled with tears, you barely make out the lovers,
As you undress you sing out, and your voice is magnificent
because now you believe it is the first human voice
heard in that room.
The garments you let fall grow into vines.
You climb into bed and recover the flesh.
You close your eyes and allow them to be sewn shut.
You create an embrace and fall into it.
There is only one moment of pain or doubt
as you wonder how many multitudes are lying beside your body,
but a mouth kisses and a hand soothes the moment away.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Before Summer Rain - Rainer Maria Rilke

Suddenly, from all the green around you,
something--you don't know what--has disappeared;
you feel it creeping closer to the window,
in total silence. From the nearby wood

you hear the urgent whistling of a plover,
reminding you of someone's Saint Jerome:
so much solitude and passion come
from that one voice, whose fierce request the downpour

will grant. The walls, with their ancient portraits, glide
away from us, cautiously, as though
they weren't supposed to hear what we are saying.

And reflected on the faded tapestries now:
the chill, uncertain sunlight of those long
childhood hours when you were so afraid.

Personality - Leontia Flynn

'Poetry', you are saying, 'is nothing but personality...'
and I look out onto the row upon row of grey hills
and light striking the rooftops, and just at this moment
there isn't much in my life I'd miss if it were over:
the weird cheerful meanness of people to each other,
about pay, status, odd grudges, responsibility;
work's meaninglessness – but its opposite, leisure's abyss!
a snake coiled in the chest morning after morning…

How do I cope when poetry is part of this bullshit?
Part of this racket? What you call 'personality'
seems something heroic; it seems the rictus grin
on a student's practice corpse – that breathes iambically
between each line, with their knives parting the skin,
'love me, love me, love me, love me, love me…'