Posts tagged ‘1989’

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Lessons from a Mirror by Thylias Moss

Snow White was nude at her wedding, she’s so white
the gown seemed to disappear when she put it on.

Put me beside her and the proximity is good
for a study of chiaroscuro, not much else.

Her name aggravates me most, as if I need to be told
what’s white and what isn’t.

Judging strictly by appearance there’s a future for me
forever at her heels, a shadow’s constant worship.

Is it fair for me to live that way, unable
to get off the ground?

Turning the tables isn’t fair unless they keep turning.
Then there’s the danger of Russian roulette

and my disadvantage: nothing falls from the sky
to name me.

I am the empty space where the tooth was, that my tongue
rushes to fill because I can’t stand vacancies.

And it’s not enough. The penis just fills another
gap. And it’s not enough.

When you look at me,
know that more than white is missing.


Date: 1989

By: Thylias Moss (1954- )

Sunday, 3 November 2019

GGS 2817: I Awoke From Sleep by Fujiwara no Ietaka

I awoke from sleep
hearing a sad sound
I had not listened for:
the voice of waves at daybreak
breaking on the rocky shore.

From: Carter, Steven D. (ed. and transl.) Waiting for the Wind: Thirty-Six Poets of Japan’s Late Medieval Age, 1989, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 42.

Date:  c12th century (original in Japanese); 1989 (translation in English)

By: Fujiwara no Ietaka (1158-1237)

Translated by: Steven D. Carter (19??- )

Monday, 8 April 2019

Reading by Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAmmār

My eye frees what the page imprisons:
the white the white and the black the black.


Date: 11th century (original in Arabic); 1971 (translation in Spanish);1989 (translation in English)

By: Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAmmār (1031-1086)

Translated by: Emilio García Gómez (1905-1995) and Cola Franzen (1923-2018)

Monday, 24 December 2018

Christmas Eve: My Mother Dressing by Toi Derricotte

My mother was not impressed with her beauty;
once a year she put it on like a costume,
plaited her black hair, slick as cornsilk, down past her hips,
in one rope-thick braid, turned it, carefully, hand over hand,
and fixed it at the nape of her neck, stiff and elegant as a crown,
with tortoise pins, like huge insects,
some belonging to her dead mother,
some to my living grandmother.
Sitting on the stool at the mirror,
she applied a peachy foundation that seemed to hold her down, to trap her,
as if we never would have noticed what flew among us unless it was weighted and bound in its mask.
Vaseline shined her eyebrows,
mascara blackened her lashes until they swept down like feathers;
her eyes deepened until they shone from far away.

Now I remember her hands, her poor hands, which, even then were old from scrubbing,
whiter on the inside than they should have been,
and hard, the first joints of her fingers, little fattened pads,
the nails filed to sharp points like old-fashioned ink pens, painted a jolly color,
Her hands stood next to her face and wanted to be put away, prayed
for the scrub bucket and brush to make them useful.
And, as I write, I forget the years I watched her
pull hairs like a witch from her chin, magnify
every blotch—as if acid were thrown from the inside.

But once a year my mother
rose in her white silk slip,
not the slave of the house, the woman,
took the ironed dress from the hanger—
allowing me to stand on the bed, so that
my face looked directly into her face,
and hold the garment away from her
as she pulled it down.


Date: 1989

By: Toi Derricotte (1941- )

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Dust by Robert Wrigley

From that hard-rutted, high-line road, the dust
billowed up like spindrift behind us,
a cloud the color of my skin, slowly ghosting away.
I loved the dry poultice a single summer day
could be in the mountains, even these mountains,
heavily timbered and ripped again and again
for their logs. I loved the dust as fine
as flour, settled in wind rows and sometimes—
in a low, exposed spot on a south-facing slope—
drifted over the road like a waterless pool, a swamp
of bones and dead men’s breath, untracked
and hot as fresh ash. And it is a fact
that we usually exploded into such places
like children, laughing, while the dust chased
us along the road. But there was one
dry wash we stopped for: lake-sized, the pure dun
from moth wings troweled smooth as glass.
It was a miracle we waded into past
our knees, a hot bath of earth you swore
we could swim through, so we did, and it poured
into us like sun, like music, and we rose
on that other shore changed, our clothes,
our hair, our hands, our lips altogether earth.
That day, we learned again the easy worth
of motion, the truck a dead sea away,
idling, shimmery with heat, and in every way
the antithesis of mountains, their imperceptible dance,
their purity of waiting, those certainties we see as chance.


Date: 1989

By: Robert Wrigley (1951- )

Monday, 26 December 2016

Saint Stephen’s Day with the Griffins by Henri Cole

for Janet and Christopher

Half-eagle, half-lion, the fabulous
animal struts, saber-clawed but saintly,
a candlewicked ornament dangling
from our rickety sugar pine. Butternut

pudding in our bellies. His reindeer
and sleigh hurried here and gone—thank God
for us childless folks. Almost:   the lovelocked
Griffins on the sofa, sockfooted, hearing

gas and a kiddy heart in her tummy—
a life more imaginary than real,
though one is dazzled by gold that fills
the egg unbroken. We feed her crumpets

and listen again: The lamb’s a hungry
bugger, even snug from earth’s
imponderable fury. Tomorrow, in a spurt
by jet I’m home. Clumsy as a puppy

I’ll scale the flightstairs into the nosecone,
luggage banging at my sides, enter the egg-
shaped cabin and await the infrared
climb toward space. Tell me one

thing true? If I could count the way
things slip from us: Mother’s fur gloves,
Sunday’s benediction, the dead gone before us,
love’s rambler on the prairie—all displaced

as we buckle in our shuttle,
jetbound on a screaming runway,
gravity pulling at us castaways,
more mammal than bird, subtle

leg-weary griffins made manifest,
arrowing towards home. How do we
ignore it: the attenuated being
of our age, the bittersweet collapse

of dominoes mooned around our pine?
Withered with hatred from his quarter,
Saint Stephen even at death rolled mercifully over
in high holiness. Sonless, wifeless, nine

thousand feet from land, I roll the lozenge
on my tongue, youthful habit for ache
of any kind, parting a survivor (Wait!),
love rescuing me from the fringe.


Date: 1989

By: Henri Cole (1956- )

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Now Is Fragile by Thomas Wiloch

There is no childhood, except in our memories, and
there is no super man, except in our dreams.
All is memory and imagination. We remember a past
now gone; we imagine a future we will never see.
The now is fragile.
We sit before a sheet of blank paper. We lift a pencil.
We charge this white pulp with meaning.


Date: 1989

By: Thomas Wiloch (1953-2008)

Saturday, 12 March 2016

A Long Melancholy Tune (Autumn Sorrow) – Despair by Li Qingzhao

Searching, seeking.
Seeking, searching:
What comes of it but
Coldness and desolation,
A world of dreariness and misery
And stabbing pain!
As soon as one feels a bit of warmth
A sense of chill returns:
A time so hard to have a quiet rest.
What avail two or three cups of tasteless wine
Against a violent evening wind?
Wild geese wing past at this of all hours,
And it suddenly dawns on me
That I’ve met them before.

Golden chrysanthemums in drifts —
How I’d have loved to pick them,
But now, for whom? On the ground they lie strewn,
Faded, neglected.
There’s nothing for it but to stay at the window,
Motionless, alone.
How the day drags before dusk descends!
Fine rain falling on the leaves of parasol-trees —
Drip, drip, drop, drop, in the deepening twilight.
To convey all the melancholy feelings
Born of these scenes
Can the one word “sorrow” suffice?

From: Wang, Jiaosheng, “The Complete Ci-poems of Li Qingzhao: A New English Translation” in Sino-Platonic Papers, 13, October, 1989, p. 109.

Date: c1110 (original); 1989 (translation)

By: Li Qingzhao (1084-c1151)

Translated by: Jiaosheng Wang (19??- )

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Naming the Animals by Anthony Evan Hecht

Having commanded Adam to bestow
Names upon all the creatures, God withdrew
To empyrean palaces of blue
That warm and windless morning long ago,
And seemed to take no notice of the vexed
Look on the young man’s face as he took thought
Of all the miracles the Lord had wrought,
Now to be labelled, dubbed, yclept, indexed.

Before an addled mind and puddled brow,
The feathered nation and the finny prey
Passed by; there went biped and quadruped.
Adam looked forth with bottomless dismay
Into the tragic eyes of his first cow,
And shyly ventured, “Thou shalt be called ‘Fred.”


Date: 1989

By: Anthony Evan Hecht (1923-2004)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Max Scratchmann

This is the story of Jennifer Titmuss,
A girl who wanted it to always be Christmas,
She hung mistletoe in February and put holly up in June,
And Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was her all-time favourite tune.

Her husband was frustrated, though he didn’t let it show,
But he only ever got some, when under mistletoe,
He said to her, my Jenny, why do you love the Yule?
She answered him, oh Cedric, it’s the season that is cool.

I love hot mince pies in August and crackers in mid March,
And gaudy Christmas packages that crackle like the starch,
Why plod through a dull January and wan and sunny May,
When we can have roast chestnuts, every Christmas day.

But surely there’s merit in the joys of the Spring?
And I’m sure that it is possible to bury this Yule thing,
But she shook her head slowly, said enough of this banter,
Our marriage is over, I’m going off with Santa.


Date: 1989

By: Max Scratchmann (1956- )