Posts tagged ‘1992’

Thursday, 23 June 2022

The Road North by Zbigniew Machej

We were driving north, to the sea,
through a land of dry lips and useless sweat.
All around were empty fields. Forests burned.
The sun stripped the ashen riverbeds,
the stones on the bottom white like bones.
Our hands stuck to the steering wheel, tar
to the car’s tires. The wrinkled air
throbbed with heat. Ahead and behind
the horizon blurred. On the radio
just news, ads, and songs
by Michael Jackson. By now almost everywhere
democracy had triumphed, but no one was
happy. The great furnaces had gone out.
Tankers brought water to the cities. Gas
had gone up again. Courage, of course, cost the same.
The authorities were patiently questioning
citizens. Doctors had discovered new, mysterious
infections. The bazaars were hopping, corruption
blossomed, there was an increase in assaults with a deadly
weapon, people told tales of the games
the mafia played. Olympic champions
were eliminated in the first round. In the stadiums
new messiahs worked cures, crowds sang.
Peasant prophecies of the world’s end
spread, not just among tourists.
The idolatry of computers compacted
with the superstition of satellite disks. Black icons
wept red tears and mice
fed on the epidermis of the faithful
who miaowed in the churches a miaow
of their own which wearied their God…

We were driving north.
And in the south the wars went on,
states fell apart…

When we got to the sea,
a hundred sailboats under a cloudless sky
sailed into the bay and from the forest onto the shore
the wild boar came
to lap, lap, lap
the salt water.


Date: 1992 (original in Polish); 2003 (translation in English)

By: Zbigniew Machej (1958- )

Translated by: Georgia Scott (19??- ) and David Malcolm (1952- )

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Not Yet Found by Geoffrey Lehmann

I chose the name Spring Forest
and I’ve yet to find the spring.

Some unfinished equations
are the closest I’ve come
to the puzzle of why I’m here.

There is a book before our eyes—
the night sky of the universe.
Galileo saw its language was mathematics.
A cricket’s encrypted love song,
light from an ancient star
are mathematical messages
arriving in sultry air.

Imaginary and complex numbers
allow life to reproduce itself
endlessly and intricately
without repetition—
the elusive algorithms of a summer night.


Date: 1992

By: Geoffrey Lehmann (1940- )

Friday, 16 July 2021

Everything by Lawson Fusao Inada

When the river rose that year, we were beside it
and ourselves with fear; not that it would do anything
to us, mind you—our hopes were much too high for that—
but there was always that remote, unacknowledged possibility
that we had thrown one stone too many, by the handful,
and that by some force of nature, as they called it,
it might rain and rain for days, as it had been,
with nothing to hold it and the structure back,
and with everything to blame, including children
on into late summer and all the years ahead,
when it would be ours to bear, to do much more with
than remember and let it go at that—some mud,
some driftwood, some space of sky as a reminder
before getting on with the world again;
no, the balance was ours to share, and responsibility
for rivers had as much to do with anything
as rain on the roof and sweet fish for supper,
as forests and trembling and berries at sunrise;
thus it was, then, that we kept our watch,
that we kept our wits about us and all the respect
we could muster, sitting in silence,
sleeping in shifts, and when the fire died,
everyone was there to keep it alive;
somehow, though, in the middle of the night,
despite our vigils, our dreams, our admonitions,
our structure, our people, and all our belongings
broke free with a shudder and went drifting away—
past the landing, the swing, the anchored cages,
down through the haunted rapids, never to be found;
when we awoke that morning, the sun was back,
the river had receded under our measuring stick,
and everything had been astonishingly replaced,
including people and pets, the structure intact,
but in the solitude of all our faces as we ate,
the knowledge was there, of what we all had done,
and that everything would never be the same.


Date: 1992

By: Lawson Fusao Inada (1938- )

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Walking Into Doors by Archibald (Archie) William Roach

You say you’re a man, you understand, but you don’t,
You should lend her a helping hand, but you won’t.
Because I’m a man I don’t understand, but I try
She always does what I command, while she cries.
And why should we do what we do and sleep at night?
The crazy things we put her through, it isn’t right—
It isn’t right.

So, my brother, don’t hurt her anymore:
She’s got her lore; you’ve got yours—
And she’s sick and tired of walking into doors

Her gentle spirit, her sacred way and her smile,
May not be here, she may disappear in a little while.
Sister Moon, Sister Girl and giving birth
Mother Nature, Mother of Pearl and Mother Earth—
Sweet Mother Earth.

So, my brother, don’t hurt her anymore:
She’s got her lore and you’ve got yours—
And she’s sick and tired of walking into doors.

So, my brother, don’t hurt her anymore:
She’s got her lore; you’ve got yours—
And she’s sick and tired of walking into doors—
Yes, she’s sick and tired of walking into doors.

From: (transcribed by flusteredduck)

Date: 1992

By: Archibald (Archie) William Roach (1956- )

Monday, 31 May 2021

I Have Lost My Appetite by Silvia Cuevas-Morales

So we chew on tears
suffocating in the heat,
splinters of words
sticking between our teeth.
Unsuccessfully we try to spit them out,
ungracefully they just fall out.

Syllables running top to end.
Falling out,
we vomit them out,
and they lie confused,
lost in all sense.

tortured words.
They are all in uniform,
and they wear a mask>

Soundlessly falling on dead ears,
effortlessly falling off our tongues.
Vocal cords have no meaning,
they are only insipid pieces of flesh
drowning the fool’s lament.

The questioning does not end,
but the machine is getting rusty.
And as it slowly comes to a halt
only a hoarse scream can be heard
in the middle of the night.

People wake up in fear
holding on to their loved ones.
The mad woman has no one.
She has only herself to embrace.

And she is doubly scared,
for she has heard that scream before…

From: Cuevas, Silvia, ‘I Have Lost My Appetite’ in Westerly, No. 3, Spring 1992, p. 54.

Date: 1992

By: Silvia Cuevas-Morales (1962- )

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Song-Maker by Anita Endrezze

There is a drunk on Main Avenue, slumped
in front of the Union Gospel Mission.
He is dreaming of pintos the color of wine
and ice, and drums that speak the names
of wind. His hair hides his face,
but I think I know him.
Didn’t he make songs people still sing
in their sleep?
Didn’t coyotes beg him for new songs
to give to the moon?
Didn’t he dance all night once and laugh
when the women suddenly turned
shy at dawn
Didn’t he make a song just for me,
one blessed by its being sung only once?

If he would lift his face
I could see his eyes, see
if he’s singing now
a soul-dissolving song.
But he’s all hunched over
and everyone walks around him.
He must still have strong magic
to be so invisible.

I remember him saying
Even grass has a song,
‘though only wind hears it.


Date: 1992

By: Anita Endrezze (1952- )

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Pledge by James Gurney

Survival of all or none.
One raindrop raises the sea.
Weapons are enemies even to their owners.
Give more, take less.
Others first, self last.
Observe, listen, and learn.
Do one thing at a time.
Sing every day.
Exercise imagination.
Eat to live, don’t live to eat.


Date: 1992

By: James Gurney (1958- )

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

What Happened to My Anger? by Janice Gould

What happened to my anger?
It was rounded up
and removed
to a camp, or
it went into self-exile,
it painted itself white.
Now it goes into the world
with a happy face.

What happened to my anger?
It turned itself into a worm
coiled in my belly.
It formed into a mass of cold cells
attached to my spleen.
It became this wound
in my hand.

What happened to my anger?
It became a eunuch
and laid itself down on the divan
before the flickering t.v.
It drowned its sorrow in vacuity,
went to the kitchen in search of food,
prepared many meals,
cleaned the toilet
the catbox, the car,
the carpet.
It has not
worn itself out.

It has not become obedient,
but dumb.

From: Gould, Janice. “What Happened to My Anger?” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, vol. 12, no. 3, 1992, pp. 152–153. JSTOR,

Date: 1992

By: Janice Gould (1949-2019)

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

For the Sun Has Got As His Lot Labor Every Day by Mimnermus

For the sun has got as his lot labor every day,
nor is there ever any rest for him
or his horses when rosy-fingered Dawn leaves behind
Ocean and climbs up the brightening sky,
for over the wave in a lovely spangled bed, forged
by Hephaistos’ hand of precious gold and winged,
he is borne, delightfully asleep, on the water’s face
from the country of the Hesperides
to the land of the Aithiopians, where his steeds
and swift chariot stand until Dawn,
the early-born, appears, and the son of Hyperion
then mounts and drives away his dazzling car.

From: Fowler, Barbara Hughes (ed. and transl.), Archaic Greek Poetry: An Anthology, 1992, The University of Wisconsin Press: Madison, Wisconsin, p. 86.

Date: 7th century BCE (original in Greek); 1992 (translation in English)

By: Mimnermus (fl. 630-600 BCE)

Translated by: Barbara Hughes Fowler (1926- )

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Places Without Names by Philip Edmund Booth

Ilion: besieged ten years, Sung hundreds more, then
written down: how force makes corpses out of men.
Men whose spirits were, by war, undone: Salamis,

Shiloh, Crécy.  Lives going places gone, Placenames
now, no faces.  Sheepmen sent to Passchendaele:
ever after, none could sleep. Barely thirty years:

sons like fathers back to the Marne. Gone again to
Argonne Forest, where fathers they could not remember
blew the enemy apart, until they got themselves

dismembered. Sons, too, shot. Bull Run, Malvern Hill:
history tests. Boys who knew left foot from right
never made the grade. No rolls kept. Voices lost,

names on wooden crosses gone to rot. Abroad,
in rivers hard to say, men in living memory
bled their lives out, bodies bloating far downstream.

On Corregidor, an island rock of fortress caves,
tall men surrendered to small men: to each other
none could speak. Lake Ladoga, the Barents Sea, and Attu:

places millhands froze, for hours before they died.
To islands where men burned, papers gave black headlines:
Guadalcanal. Rabaul. Saipan, Iwo. Over which

men like torpedoes flew their lives down into the Pacific.
Tidal beaches. Mountain passes. Holy buildings
older than this country. Cities. Jungle riverbends

Sealanes old as seawinds. Old villages where,
in some foreign language, country boys got laid.
Around the time the bands again start up, memory

shuts down, each patriot the prisoner of his own flag.
What gene demands old men command young men to die:
The gone singing to Antietam, Aachen, Anzio.

To Bangaladore, the Choisin Reservoir, Dien Bien Phu,
My Lai. Places in the heads of men who have no
mind left. Our fragile idiocy: inflamed five times

a century to take up crossbows, horsepower, warships,
planes, and rocketry. What matter what the weapons,
the dead could not care less. Beyond the homebound wounded

only women, sleepless women, know the holy names:
bed-names, church-names, placenames buried in their
sons’ or lovers’ heads. Stones without voices,

save the incised name. Poppies, stars and crosses:
the poverty of history.  A wealth of lives.  Ours, always
ours: these holy names, these sacrilegious places.

From: Meek, Jay and Reeve, Franklin D. (eds.), After the Storm: Poems on the Persian Gulf War, 1992, Maisonneuve Press: Washington DC, pp. 15-16.

Date: 1992

By: Philip Edmund Booth (1925-2007)