Posts tagged ‘2004’

Friday, 13 August 2021

Some People Don’t Say Much by Han Dong

some people don’t say much
they are neither mute nor introverted
saying only what’s necessary
speaking only when courtesy demands it
floating on the surface of speech
this is how they are all their lives
summed up in a few phrases
some people live like epitaphs
long years reduced to a sentence or two
soberly like headstones they stand there
facing us.

From: https://www.poetryinternational.org/pi/poem/8388/auto/0/0/Han-Dong/Some-People-Dont-Say-Much/en/tile

Date: 2004 (original in Chinese); 2006 (translation in English)

By: Han Dong (1961- )

Translated by: Simon Patton (19??- )

Monday, 5 July 2021

Monuments by Myra Weisberg Sklarew

Today the moon sees fit to come between a parched earth
and sun, hurrying the premature darkness. A rooster in the yard
cuts off its crowing, fooled into momentary sleep.
And soon the Perseid showers, broken bits
of the ancient universe, will pass through the skin of our
atmosphere. Time and space are alive over our city.

Final eclipse of the sun, last of this millennium, our city’s
brightness broken off. We have known other dark hours:
Here, coffin that slowly passes, I give you my sprig
of lilac
—Lincoln’s death, winding procession toward sleep.
We have known slave coffles and holding pens in yards
not half a mile from our Capitol, wooden palings sunk in earth

to guarantee none would escape. In this freest city. Oh if earth
could talk. Earth does talk in the neatly framed yards
where death thinks to lay us down to rest. Asleep,
the marker stones. But not the voices, jagged bits
of memory, shards of poems. Sterling Brown. Our
human possessions and all they’ve left us. This whole city

sings their songs. Say their names. In this city
they are our monuments: Frederick Douglass, our
Rayford Logan, Alain Locke, Franklin Frazier, Georgia
Douglas Johnson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, May Miller: Not sleep
but garlands left to us. Montague Cobb, William Hastie. Yards
of names. And here, the place where we unearth

an immigrant father of seven. He leans down—no earthly
reason for his choice—to pick up his nearest child. A yard-long
rack of brooms behind him, a bin of apples. Not the sleep
of cold, but autumn in Washington. 1913 or a bit
later. He stands awkwardly on 4 1/2 Street, S. W. as our
street photographer, who’s just come by with his city

chatter, ducks beneath a dark cloth. Monuments of the city
behind him, he leans over his black box camera in time to capture
that moment when the child will play her bit
part, pushing away from her father like a boat from shore. In the sleep
of winter, years later, she will become my mother. What yardstick
by which to measure importance? To measure earthly

agency? Each of us has monuments in the bone case of memory. Earth-
bound, I take my sac of marble and carry it down lonely city streets where our
generals on horseback and a tall bearded man keep watch over all their citizens.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52950/monuments-56d231d418a80

Date: 2004

By: Myra Weisberg Sklarew (1934- )

Monday, 28 June 2021

Kind of Blue by Angie Estes

Because most stars were born more than six billion
years ago, the average color of the universe has changed
since that bluer period when there were more young stars.
—The Cosmic Spectrum and the Color of the Universe

So the universe is not blue
after all, not even green

but beige because the stars are
older than we thought. But is it

sad, even sadder than
we knew? Describe the sound

of doves — is it coo, coo
coo or who who who? The French

would say it’s rue rue rue
and in Italy it would be summer,

morning, already brocade,
Cecilia Bartoli gargling. And the throats

of doves, are they beautiful
or true in their blue and pink

embroidery? Young stars burn
hot and blue but those near death

are red. Did your father believe
in God?
and the deer leaped

so high above the road I believed
it had been hit by a car. Dear falling

note, intention, dear
no more, dear rain,

give it up. What remains and need
not be mentioned we’ll call

what have you, musica ficta: not
what’s written down but what’s

been played. What if
you paused for a minuet

instead of a minute? The dark
might sky, the blue might

star, the always
could open, the close

might earth. The doves
are just around

the corner, like a train
before it turns into

view. Miles Davis was
right: there will be fewer

chords but infinite possibilities
as to what to do with them. The doves

are coming, true,
true true.

From: http://www.versedaily.org/kindofblue.shtml

Date: 2004

By: Angie Estes (1950- )

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Many Happy Returns: 26/1/1938 by Tim Thorne

A carriage-load of Kooris* was brought in
from the reserve at Menindee.
They were taken straight from the train and locked
in the Redfern police barracks stable,
guarded by dogs until the 26th.

Then they emerged, ready to play their part.
Wearing leaves, they were chased along the beach
by people dressed as British soldiers,
carrying bayonets. The organisers, it seemed,
hadn’t needed to bring these people in specially
nor lock and guard them like a surprise gift.

Amateur historical and theatrical
society members just love
that sort of thing. Party games and dressing up
are marks of a civilised culture:
playhouse or drawing room, parliament or church.

After sharing a float in the parade
like jolly good fellows, the Kooris were sent back
next day to their tin sheds by the Darling.

*Kooris are one of Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

From: https://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/thorne-tim/poems/many-happy-returns-2611938-0778054

Date: 2004

By: Tim Thorne (1944- )

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Water Jealousy by Amanda Auchter

The sink fills with its tenants:
each side is a little apartment.

The fork tumbles first, its tines
a lost instrument. I carry its tune.

I could be rubber, I could be stone.

I resume my jealousy of solid objects,
fill all spaces: machine life, street life, sky life.

This is a world of floating continents—
last night’s meal, the good china, body of glass.

An odd stick-woman shoos me away with a sponge.

Little green floatation device.

I feel a plate, I feel a drain.

From: https://thediagram.com/4_5/auchter.html

Date: 2004

By: Amanda Auchter (1977- )

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

The Selfish Gene by Joan Latchford

She could feed
some child for a week
with the price of a Starbucks—
meets a friend over a latte
so she doesn’t have to wash
the kitchen floor.

He doesn’t feel
the loss of his neighbour’s job
outsourced to Bangalore—
but resents the accented voice
that renders his God-given Palm support
incomprehensible.

A news junkie
I pride myself on being informed
voyeuse of every disaster—
can’t spare
the price of a newspaper
for relief to Darfur.

From: Renaissance Conspiracy: Poetry Anthology, 2004, Micro Prose: Toronto, p. 31.
(https://archive.org/details/renaissanceconsp0000unse/)

Date: 2004

By: Joan Latchford (1926- )

Monday, 4 May 2020

Language Says by Amir Or

Language says: before language
stands a language.  Language is traces
stained by over there.
Language says: listen now.
You listen: here was
echo.

Take silence and try to be silent.
Take the words and try to speak:
beyond language, language is a wound
from which the world flows and flows.
Language says: is, is not, is,
is not.  Language says: I.
Language says: come on, let’s speak you,
let’s touch you; come on, say
you’ve said –

From: https://www.versoteque.com/authors/amir-or

Date: 2004 (original in Hebrew); 2006 (translation in English)

By: Amir Or (1956- )

Translated by: Fiona Sampson (1963- )

Friday, 1 May 2020

Calling Him Back from Layoff by Bob Hicok

I called a man today. After he said
hello and I said hello came a pause
during which it would have been

confusing to say hello again so I said
how are you doing and guess what, he said
fine and wondered aloud how I was

and it turns out I’m OK. He
was on the couch watching cars
painted with ads for Budweiser follow cars

painted with ads for Tide around an oval
that’s a metaphor for life because
most of us run out of gas and settle

for getting drunk in the stands
and shouting at someone in a t-shirt
we want kraut on our dog. I said

he could have his job back and during
the pause that followed his whiskers
scrubbed the mouthpiece clean

and his breath passed in and out
in the tidal fashion popular
with mammals until he broke through

with the words how soon thank you
ohmyGod which crossed his lips and drove
through the wires on the backs of ions

as one long word as one hard prayer
of relief meant to be heard
by the sky. When he began to cry I tried

with the shape of my silence to say
I understood but each confession
of fear and poverty was more awkward

than what you learn in the shower.
After he hung up I went outside and sat
with one hand in the bower of the other

and thought if I turn my head to the left
it changes the song of the oriole
and if I give a job to one stomach other

forks are naked and if tonight a steak
sizzles in his kitchen do the seven
other people staring at their phones

hear?

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/54793/calling-him-back-from-layoff

Date: 2004

By: Bob Hicok (1960- )

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Reasons to Live by Alison Luterman

for Arlene

The guy with the beautiful waist-length Byronic hair
stands braced in black fish-nets, silver tutu, and high heels
playing his violin without a trace of irony
at the entrance of 24th and Mission
where I’m elbowing through the suits and prostitutes
to get on the 5:13 to Richmond.
Ruby music spills like the blood I’ve been carrying in test-tubes all day,
sweet as raisins and almonds at a Jewish wedding.
That, too, is a reason to live
even when the long tunnel feels endless
and the months stretch out between real kisses.
All of us commuters read so we don’t have to feel
tons of dark water, pressing down on us,
and the steel-lace bridge arcing impossible miles above,
carrying a million cars, a million tiny drivers
like a battalion of sperm aimed at the ovum of evening,
slivers of sun shooting into their tired eyes,
making them wince with beauty. Music is the day’s blood,
it weaves under and over the roar of the train,
the way thought plays its sweet percussion in our wrists and throats
even while we sit so quietly, we can hear the small sounds our hearts make
when they have finished breaking themselves
against the rock of the impossible and the beautiful.
Mother-in-law, musician, friend—you know how hard I tried
to make a bridge, to make a tunnel
between one man and one woman
or between the human and divine in both of us,
between spirit and animal. That I failed is beside the point.
Now I struggle to make the daily trek
between Oakland and the Mission,
and I’m ferried along, I’m even helped
by these currents of invisible music
and the humans who strive in the city—when I turn
to find something beautiful, it is always at my side.
Greed is also a saving grace. I still
want more, you know; another love, another
go-round, and in the meantime more
light, more freedom,
more music that gives the feeling of flying.

From: https://www.rattle.com/reasons-to-live-by-alison-luterman/

Date: 2004

By: Alison Luterman (1958- )

Monday, 17 June 2019

On Becoming a Poet in the 1950s by Stephen Beal

There was love and there was trees.
Either you could stay inside and probe your emotions
or you could go outside and keenly observe nature.
Describe the sheen on carapaces,
the effect of breeze on grass.

What’s the fag doing now? Dad would say.
Picking the nose of his heart?
Wanking off on a daffodil?

He’s not homosexual, Mom would retort, using her apron
as a potholder
to remove the apple brown betty from the oven.
He’s sensitive. He cares.
He wishes to impart values and standards to an indifferent world.

Wow! said Dad, stomping off to the pantry for another scotch.
Two poets in
the family. Ain’t I a lucky duck?

As fate would have it, I became one of your tweedy English
teachers, what
Dad would call a daffodil-wanker,
and Mom ended up doing needlepoint, seventy-two kneelers for
St. Fred’s
before she expired of the heart broken on the afternoon that
Dad
roared off with the Hell’s Angels.
We heard a little from Big Sur. A beard. Tattoos. A girlfriend
named Strawberry.
A boyfriend named Thor.
Bars and pot and coffeehouses, stuff like that.

After years of quotation by younger poets, admiration but no real
notice,
Dad is making the anthologies now.
Critics cite his primal rage, the way he nails Winnetka.

From: https://poets.org/poem/becoming-poet-1950s

Date: 2004

By: Stephen Beal (1939-2010)