Posts tagged ‘2007’

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Blackberries by Karl Kirchwey

Words crushed on the palate end in silence
every time, not in the palaver of song.
You cannot fill your basket with what is merely visible,
grapeshot of onyx, gleaming confected dark,
for here neglect has grown complex and fertile,
in this tangled fane, this daggered understory,
and to pluck the sinister fruit, you must angle in
on a reach with your left arm, neither too shallow
not too steep, one from which you can recover,
then bear down gently until you feel the parting
of flesh from hollow stem in a place you cannot see.
Your own reflex will always guide you wrong,
your whole hand driven backward onto the thorn,
returned to sunlight with a wounding cursive,
your blood mingling with the pulp of the drupe.
Read what is written there. Discovering
there are seeds between your teeth, speak that language.


Date: 2007

By: Karl Kirchwey (1956- )

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World by Sherman Joseph Alexie, Junior

The morning air is all awash with angels
—Richard Wilbur, “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World”

The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.

I wonder whom I should call? A plumber,
Proctologist, urologist, or priest?

Who is blessed among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because

He’s astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. “Hey, Ma,”

I say, “Can I talk to Poppa?” She gasps,
And then I remember that my father

Has been dead for nearly a year. “Shit, Mom,”
I say. “I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry—

How did I forget?” “It’s okay,” she says.
“I made him a cup of instant coffee

This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years—

And I didn’t realize my mistake
Until this afternoon.” My mother laughs

At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days

And sing our praise to forgetfulness
Before they slap our souls with their cold wings.

Those angels burden and unbalance us.
Those fucking angels ride us piggyback.

Those angels, forever falling, snare us
And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.


Date: 2007

By: Sherman Joseph Alexie, Junior (1966- )

Friday, 17 November 2017

The Red and the Blue by Josephine Dickinson

You wonder, am I satisfied with you?
Some inequality you take as read.
But ravelling my hemp, your wool, my red,
your blue, we spin a single human hair.

From: Dickinson, Josephine, Silence Fell, 2008, Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston & New York, p. 12.

Date: 2007

By: Josephine Dickinson (1957- )

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Lake Water by David Ferry

It is a summer afternoon in October.
I am sitting on a wooden bench, looking out
At the lake through a tall screen of evergreens,
Or rather, looking out across the plane of the lake,
Seeing the light shaking upon the water
As if it were a shimmering of heat.
Yesterday, when I sat here, it was the same,
The same displaced out-of-season effect.
Seen twice it seemed a truth was being told.
Some of the trees I can see across the lake
Have begun to change, but it is as if the air
Had entirely given itself over to summer,
With the intention of denying its own proper nature.
There is a breeze perfectly steady and persistent
Blowing in toward shore from the other side
Or from the world beyond the other side.
The mild sound of the little tapping waves
The breeze has caused—there’s something infantile
About it, a baby at the breast. The light
Is moving and not moving upon the water.
The breeze picks up slightly but still steadily,
The increase in the breeze becomes the mild
Dominant event, compelling with sweet oblivious
Authority alterations in light and shadow,
Alterations in the light of the sun on the water,
Which becomes at once denser and more quietly
Excited, like a concentration of emotions
That had been dispersed and scattered and now were not.
Then there’s the mitigation of the shadow of a cloud,
And the light subsides a little, into itself.
Although this is a lake it is as if
A tide were running mildly into shore.
The sound of the water so softly battering
Against the shore is decidedly sexual,
In its liquidity, its regularity,
Its persistence, its infantile obliviousness.
It is as if it had come back to being
A beginning, an origination of life.
The plane of the water is like a page on which
Phrases and even sentences are written,
But because of the breeze, and the turning of the year,
And the sense that this lake water, as it is being
Experienced on a particular day, comes from
Some source somewhere, beneath, within, itself,
Or from somewhere else, nearby, a spring, a brook,
Its pure origination somewhere else,
It is like an idea for a poem not yet written
And maybe never to be completed, because
The surface of the page is like lake water,
That takes back what is written on its surface,
And all my language about the lake and its
Emotions or its sweet obliviousness,
Or even its being like an origination,
Is all erased with the changing of the breeze
Or because of the heedless passing of a cloud.
When, moments after she died, I looked into
Her face, it was as untelling as something natural,
A lake, say, the surface of it unreadable,
Its sources of meaning unfindable anymore.
Her mouth was open as if she had something to say;
But maybe my saying so is a figure of speech.


Date: 2007

By: David Ferry (1924- )

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Questions for a Late Night by Gregory Djanikian

And what if the soldiers came
shouting and clattering, pulling you
out of your house for the journey
which had no clear destination?

What if the road you had to follow
looking for fruit trees, spring water,
had to be imagined each morning,
no jacarandas offering you shade,
the deserts wafting you
like a husk in the simoom?

What if the granaries were leveled, the rivers dry,
young girls bruised in the thighs,
the bird-like men without feet?

What would the darkness bring you—
wolf howls, hoof beats
sticking you like needles—
if all you wanted of it
was a place to enter, disguised
from the smallest reflection?

What if there were no night,
the heavens dismantled, the earth
lit by a hundred suns?

What if you were the perpetual witness
walking without sleep
where everyone desired it
and no one dared close his eyes?

What words could you say
to remember the sound of breakage?
In what place would you touch your body
to feel your body touching you back?


Date: 2007

By: Gregory Djanikian (1949- )

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Done Drinking My New Year’s Wine by Lu You

Done drinking my New Year’s wine,
truly now an eighty-year-old man,
Used to worry outspokenness would be my death,
now content just to be poor and write poems.
Rice cheap — that means no thieves this year;
cloudy skies foretell another good harvest.
Something in the food bowl — what other cares?
Smiling, happy, I tag along with the young boys.


Date: 1204 (original); 2007 (translation)

By: Lu You (1125-1209)

Translated by: Burton DeWitt Watson (1925-2017)

Monday, 17 April 2017

La Città Nuova: a construction for Antonio Sant’Elia by Simon Turner

“every generation will have to build its own city”

the fire escapes clatter up the walls
repetitious inky arpeggios
everything is happening &
all at once hissing yellow
repetitious inky arpeggios
jasmine tongues the gas jets
all at once hissing yellow
igniting the interstices of
jasmine tongues the gas jets
everything is arpeggios
igniting the interstices of
repetitious inky gas jets
everything is arpeggios
jasmine tongues the walls
repetitious inky gas jets
igniting the inky arpeggios
jasmine tongues the walls
fire tongues the gas jets
igniting the inky arpeggios
everything is hissing yellow
fire tongues the gas jets
everything is happening &
everything is yellow
the fire escapes, clatters up the walls.


Date: 2007

By: Simon Turner (1980- )

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Dictator in Prison by Adélia Luzia Prado Freitas

The dictator is writing poetry,
poor fellow,
poor us for saying
poor fellow,
since he, too, has a memory
to conjure orange trees,
little bowls of pudding,
laughter and pleasant conversation—
a paradise of lowly delights.
The impatiens have barely opened
and the bees are already busy among them,
turning the day perfect.
Let’s not ridicule the bloodthirsty man
who, under the eyes of the guards,
pours his desire—equal to anyone’s—
into a notebook:
I want to be happy, I want an elastic body,
I want a horse, a sword and a good war!
The dictator is devout,
he observes his canonic hours
like the monks in the choir,
and dozes over the Koran.
I who live outside the walls
tremble for the fate
of a man who pounded the ground
with his iron boot.
Let no one interrupt the outcast’s prayer
or ridicule his verses.
God’s mercy is strange,
its mystery crushing.
For some unfathomable reason
I am not the prisoner.
My compassion is too large
to be my own.
He who invented hearts
loves this poor wretch with mine.


Date: 1976 (original in Portugese); 2007 (translation in English)

By: Adélia Luzia Prado Freitas (1935- )

Translated by: Ellen Doré Watson (1950- )

Friday, 30 December 2016

The Cicada Summer by Dorothy Featherstone Porter

Cath would never forget
that hot terrible Sydney summer
of bushfires
and cicadas,
cicadas so loud
she thought they’d trill
in her deafened ears

the summer
she and Bill never talked about
the summer
she found a lucky cicada
clinging to the bark
of a rusty old gum
perfect in every detail
until it disintegrated
to nasty grit
in her pocket

the summer
Bill’s mum got sick
and the summer
a weird kid
(what was his name?)
fell out of her treehouse
and nearly died.

Bill’s mum
didn’t fall out of a tree cubby
but a year later
she did die.

His father remarried –
a real tart,
who wore a gold lame bikini
that showed everything,
and had enamelled blonde hair
that looked like
it had been cemented
to her head
a complete bitch
who hated kids
even her own sorry

That summer of cicadas.
That hot loud
terrible time.

No wonder
Bill came to Melbourne.


Date: 2007

By: Dorothy Featherstone Porter (1954-2008)

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Northwest Passage by Averill Ann Curdy

Standing on this deck I have watched
morning’s first pale peach jeopardy
of light flush alleys and rooftops,
just touching my neighbors’ gardens,
until the seethes like the green smoke

of a new world. On these sidewalks,
with the linden’s melon scent twined
around an untuned engine’s blue carbon
monoxide and Wednesday’s trash,
I’ve looked for an authentic eloquence:

Frobisher returning three times
from Baffin Island, boreal winds
still on his tongue, timbers strained by tons
of fool’s gold. Circled with lamplight
I’ve imagined sailing under discipline

into strange seas where the sun hangs
dumb as a cabbage all day in ice.
Even as sirens squall down the block,
I’ve fallen asleep in my armchair,
tired as any theoretical geographer

after dinner, who dreams of trading
his knives for nutmegs, mirrors,
for cinnamon and pearls, and beyond—
finding by brute necessity and skill
some route between suffering and song.


Date: 2007

By: Averill Ann Curdy (19??- )