Posts tagged ‘1993’

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

The Evidence of Miracles by Jaimes Alsop

from a line by Robert Bly

I don’t know why the snowline stops a few feet short of every house.
No doubt there is a simple explanation. Something to do with the warmth inside
melting the snow before we notice it. But there is still the surprise that it does.
As though it obeyed an order given long ago; a little forbearance shown us
by an otherwise indifferent god, caught on a good day and in a better mood.

How a man sitting at home alone one evening might take a familiar book
from the shelf and opening it at an accustomed place, see for the first time
something he never saw before. And believe he has misread it or projected his own
interpretation to the printed page, but look again and see he read correctly
what the writer always meant to say and realize in that instant he was never alone,
through all of it, and never feel that solitude again.

Or see his own mortality written on his children’s foreheads and not mind
the years creeping up on him and accept the minor role from then on
with gratitude and a certain humility, feeling somehow honored by it.
How even grief may teach us something, wisdom if it has to, and leave us cleaner
and the better for it. Able to wonder at incongruities or the merely insignificant.
To look for the evidence of miracles in the most ordinary events of our lives; something holy
in snowlines stopping short of every house. Even the empty, the apparently abandoned ones.


Date: 1993

By: Jaimes Alsop (19??- )

Friday, 11 June 2021

Sorcery by Jessica Hagedorn

there are some people i know
whose beauty
is a crime.
who make you so crazy
you don’t know
whether to throw yourself
at them
or kill them.
which makes
for permanent madness.
which could be
bad for you.
you better be on the lookout
for such circumstances.

stay away
from the night.
they most likely lurk
in corners of the room
where they think
they being inconspicuous
but they so beautiful
an aura
gives them away.

stay away
from the day.
they most likely
be walking
down the street
when you least
expect it
trying to look
but they so fine
they break your heart
by making you dream
of other possibilities.

stay away
from crazy music.
they most likely
be creating it.
cuz when you’re that beautiful
you can’t help
putting it out there.
everyone knows
how dangerous
that can get.

stay away
from magic shows.
especially those
involving words.
words are very
tricky things.
everyone knows
the most common
instruments of

they most likely
be saying them,
breathing poems
so rhythmic
you can’t help
but dance.
and once
you start dancing
to words
you might never


Date: 1993

By: Jessica Hagedorn (1949- )

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Against the Evidence by David Ignatow

As I reach to close each book
lying open on my desk, it leaps up
to snap at my fingers. My legs
won’t hold me, I must sit down.
My fingers pain me
where the thick leaves snapped together
at my touch.
All my life
I’ve held books in my hands
like children, carefully turning
their pages and straightening out
their creases. I use books
almost apologetically. I believe
I often think their thoughts for them.
Reading, I never know where theirs leave off
and mine begin. I am so much alone
in the world, I can observe the stars
or study the breeze, I can count the steps
on a stair on the way up or down,
and I can look at another human being
and get a smile, knowing
it is for the sake of politeness.
Nothing must be said of estrangement
among the human race and yet
nothing is said at all
because of that.
But no book will help either.
I stroke my desk,
its wood so smooth, so patient and still.
I set a typewriter on its surface
and begin to type
to tell myself my troubles.
Against the evidence, I live by choice.


Date: 1993

By: David Ignatow (1914-1997)

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Bag of Bones by Dunya Mikhail

What good luck!
She has found his bones.
The skull is also in the bag
the bag in her hand
like all other bags
in all other trembling hands.
His bones, like thousands of bones
in the mass graveyard,
his skull, not like any other skull.
Two eyes or holes
with which he listened to music
that told his own story,
a nose
that never knew clean air,
a mouth, open like a chasm,
was not like that when he kissed her
there, quietly,
not in this place
noisy with skulls and bones and dust
dug up with questions:
What does it mean to die all this death
in a place where the darkness plays all this silence?
What does it mean to meet your loved ones now
with all of these hollow places?
To give back to your mother
on the occasion of death
a handful of bones
she had given to you
on the occasion of birth?
To depart without death or birth certificates
because the dictator does not give receipts
when he takes your life?
The dictator has a heart, too,
a balloon that never pops.
He has a skull, too, a huge one
not like any other skull.
It solved by itself a math problem
That multiplied the one death by millions
to equal homeland
The dictator is the director of a great tragedy.
He has an audience, too,
an audience that claps
until the bones begin to rattle—
the bones in bags,
the full bag finally in her hand,
unlike her disappointed neighbor
who has not yet found her own.


Date: 1993 (original in Arabic); 2005 (translation in English)

By: Dunya Mikhail (1965- )

Translated by: Elizabeth Winslow (19??- )

Friday, 25 September 2020

Waka 1339 by Daini no Sammi

Sent to Middle Counselor [Fujiwara no] Sadayori thrust into a bunch of chrysanthemums after he parted with her

You may be callous
(Yes, that is one side of you),
But to whom else
Would I ever think to show
White chrysanthemums in bloom?

From: Cranston, Edwin A. (ed. and transl.), A Waka Anthology, Volume Two: Grasses of Remembrance, Part B, 1993, Stanford University Press:Palo Alto, California, p. 481.

Date: 11th century (original in Japanese); 1993 (translation in English)

By: Daini no Sammi (c999-10??)

Translated by: Edwin Augustus Cranston (1932- )

Sunday, 2 August 2020

The Laughing Heart by Henry Charles (Heinrich Karl) Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.


Date: 1993

By: Henry Charles (Heinrich Karl) Bukowski (1920-1994)

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

The Poet’s Pipe by Louis Aston Marantz Simpson

I am a poet’s pipe,
The modernistic kind,
Not a churchwarden type
But elegantly lined.

Straight stem and simple bowl,
No grinning Gothic skull,
Nor Chinese rigmarole,
Nor buxom Turkish trull.

I read him like a book
(e.g., I know just where
He got this poem. Look
In the pages of Corbière.)

“Cast off!” he shouts. “Full steam!”
Aye, aye. I’m burning red.
Life is a waking dream
Until he goes to bed.

His devils in dark swarms
Fly from my smoking spout.
Bright, intellectual forms
Are hovering about.

And then his light goes out.


Date: 1993

By: Louis Aston Marantz Simpson (1923-2012)

Monday, 23 March 2020

In the Loneliness of My Heart by Kasa no Iratsume

In the loneliness of my heart
I feel as if I should perish
Like the pale dew-drop
Upon the grass of my garden
In the gathering shades of twilight.

From: Keene, Donald, Seeds in the Heart: Japanes Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century, 1993, Henry Holt and Company: New York, p. 151.

Date: early 8th century (original in Japanese), 1993 (translation in English)

By: Kasa no Iratsume (early 8th century)

Translated by: Donald Lawrence Keene (1922-2019)

Friday, 6 December 2019

Don’t Smile Please by Dennis Joseph Enright

Since the primary school is next door

You can’t help passing the playground
But don’t you smile at the children
Whether  a small girl or a little boy
Don’t you even look
You know what people will think
And you really can’t blame them.

What a world we live in! What went wrong?
If there’s another world to come
Let’s hope it’s one where people smile
And you can smile back safely.

Once they asked you to return their ball
It had sailed over the palings—
Eyes cast discreetly upwards, you stepped
Into the street and were nearly run down
Still, a little boy said ‘Thank you, mister’
A small girl almost smiled.


Date: 1993

By: Dennis Joseph Enright (1920-2002)

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Buying Stock by Denise Duhamel

“…The use of condoms offers substantial protection, but does not guarantee total protection and that while there is no evidence that deep kissing has resulted in transfer of the virus, no one can say that such transmission would be absolutely impossible.” –The Surgeon General, 1987

I know you won’t mind if I ask you to put this on.
It’s for your protection as well as mine–Wait.
Wait.  Here, before we rush into anything
I’ve bought a condom for each one of your fingers. And here–
just a minute–Open up.
I’ll help you put this one on, over your tongue.
I was thinking:
If we leave these two rolled, you can wear them
as patches over your eyes. Partners have been known to cry,
shed tears, bodily fluids, at all this trust, at even the thought
of this closeness.


Date: 1993

By: Denise Duhamel (1961- )